Spinal fusion for scoliosis — what are the risks?

Scoliosis is a spine condition that describes an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine. This can be caused by degenerative conditions in older adults or by developmental problems in children. Patients with scoliosis often find effective treatment though conservative therapies such as back braces and physical therapy. However more severe cases of scoliosis can potentially require surgery to treat the condition.

If you are considering spinal fusion for scoliosis, you should thoroughly research the risks and benefits of each treatment option before deciding which surgical procedure is right for you. There are two main approaches to spinal fusion available to patients with scoliosis: traditional open back fusion or minimally invasive stabilization. As you research these options, we encourage you to reach out to our caring team at Laser Spine Institute with questions or concerns. We are here to help you find information so you can make an informed decision about your spine care needs.

Traditional open back fusion to treat scoliosis

Some adult patients choose traditional open back fusion to treat scoliosis because they are not aware that other treatment options are available to them. Traditional open back fusion is a highly invasive procedure that comes with relatively high risk of complication and a potentially difficult recovery period.^ Due to the large incision and muscle disruption required, patients typically require overnight hospitalization.

Once the spine is accessed, the surgeon will stabilize the spine by removing displaced spinal anatomy that is contributing to the progression of curvature. Each type of scoliosis is different, so the component of the spine that is removed may vary. The surgeon will then insert stabilizing material, such as a bone graft and metal rods to provide stability.

The highly invasive nature of this approach leads to risk of complications like blood loss, infection and failed back surgery syndrome.

Minimally invasive treatment for scoliosis

Traditional open spinal fusion is not the only surgical option available to patients who have scoliosis. Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back fusion, helping our patients enjoy less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time.^ By using muscle-sparing techniques, our highly skilled surgeons perform minimally invasive stabilization on an outpatient basis. These procedures can slow down the progression of curvature for patients with degenerative scoliosis without the large incision and significant muscle disruption associated with traditional open spine procedures.

Contact us today. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.