Scoliosis spinal fusion surgery for degenerative scoliosis patients

For some patients with degenerative scoliosis, spinal fusion surgery may become a treatment option to correct the pain and misalignment of the spine caused by this condition.

Degenerative scoliosis, or adult onset scoliosis, is similar to other forms of the condition in that it is characterized by an abnormal spinal curvature. However, degenerative scoliosis differs slightly because it is most often diagnosed in patients who are 65 years of age or older. The condition tends to arise from the natural degeneration of facet joints, usually in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. Idiopathic scoliosis, on the other hand, is most often diagnosed in patients who are 18 years old or younger.

Before surgery even becomes an option, many physicians will have degenerative scoliosis patients attempt a number of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain medication and physical therapy. In the majority of cases, patients will find relief from the stiffness, inflammation and pain commonly associated with degenerative scoliosis through these nonsurgical therapies.

However, if the condition worsens, causing the abnormal curvature of the spine to prevent you from enjoying your daily activities, spinal fusion may be your next treatment option.

Open back fusion and minimally invasive stabilization

For patients with degenerative scoliosis, spinal fusion surgery can fall under two main categories: open back fusion and minimally invasive stabilization.

Open back fusion involves large incisions, muscle disruption, removal of some of the spine, and the realignment and fusion of two or more affected vertebrae. These highly invasive procedures often result in a lengthy and difficult recovery period, as well as an increased risk of infection, complication and failed back surgery syndrome due to the invasive approach to the spine.

Minimally invasive stabilization, on the other hand, is performed on an outpatient basis and does not require large incisions or muscle cutting. Instead, small surgical tools are used to relieve pressure on the nerve roots near the spine and address spinal curvature caused by adult scoliosis. Our minimally invasive procedure uses bone grafts that are commonly taken from the patient’s own pelvis or other bone region to promote a healthy fusion. Once the spine is properly aligned, the surgeon will stabilize the spine to help it hold the proper alignment.

For more information about the safer, effective alternative to traditional open back fusion, contact Laser Spine Institute and ask about our minimally invasive stabilization surgery for degenerative adult scoliosis. Our surgeons can review your MRI report or CT scan and determine if you are a candidate for our procedure.