Scoliosis is a degenerative condition that can reach severe levels. When scoliosis rapidly progresses to such a degree that it unbalances the spine, we may recommend you talk to an Neurosurgeon specializing in curvature correction. If conservative treatment modalities such as bracing and scoliosis specific exercises are no longer sufficient to treat your condition, surgery becomes the de-facto method for correcting it.
Surgery is not recommended based only on the degree of curve. Other determining factors include the age of the patient, the balance of the curves in the spine, additional growth, and more. There is no absolute guideline for surgery. It may be recommended for curves as low as 40 degrees, while cases with curves as high as 60 degrees may not require surgical intervention.
There are several types of surgery for correcting scoliosis, depending on the type and location of the curve. The most commonly performed surgery is a fusion using screws and rods.
Who Benefits From Surgery?
Surgery to correct scoliosis is most effective in adolescents. Compared to surgery in children, it’s much more difficult to make corrections in an adult with degenerative scoliosis.
For adults, surgery may be needed when a degenerated curve results in damaged discs and arthritis. However, surgery may not be required in adults when pain relief is the only major concern. For that, a regimen of scoliosis specific exercise, bracing and chiropractic adjustment is recommended.
When is Surgery the Best Option?
Serious complications from scoliosis such as heart and lung issues are rare, and mostly associated with neuromuscular scoliosis cases. If these concerns are present, surgery is often recommended from the outset.
Often, the decision to undergo surgery is based on a cosmetic reason. If conservative treatment is undertaken early, it is often possible to avoid surgery for cosmetic reasons. At Scoliosis Center of Utah, we advocate for a conservative approach before more invasive options. We encourage specialized exercise programs, such as Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP), SpineCor, SEAS, Schroth or CLEAR – all of which have been shown to be helpful in mitigating the need for surgery by demonstrating effective results.