What Are the Options for Scoliosis Surgery?
Scoliosis is a medical condition that occurs when there is a sideways curve in an individual’s spine. This condition usually shows up early in childhood or adolescence, and it can be a chronic condition that can last for years or your entire lifetime depending on its severity and whether it is treatable. Some of the main signs and symptoms of scoliosis include:
- A visible curve in your back
- One shoulder blade that appears larger than the other
- Uneven hips, shoulders, or waist
- Ribs sticking out farther on one side of your body than the other
Along with these different visual signs, individuals with scoliosis may also experience certain symptoms, such as:
- Muscle strain
- Lower back pain
- Back stiffness
- Numbness and pain in your legs
The signs and symptoms that are present depend on the specific kind of scoliosis and its severity. There are a few main types of scoliosis, including:
- Idiopathic scoliosis - This type of scoliosis doesn’t have an exact known cause and accounts for up to 80% of all cases of individuals with a curved spine.
- Congenital scoliosis - This type of scoliosis starts before a baby is born as their bones are still developing in the womb. Problems with a baby’s vertebrae can cause the spine to curve.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis - This type of scoliosis results from other conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or a spinal cord injury. These disorders can lead to muscle damage, which can cause improper support of the spine and make it curve.
- Degenerative scoliosis - This type of scoliosis mainly affects adults and develops as the joints, discs, and muscles in the lower back wear out with age, causing the spine to curve.
All of these types of scoliosis are often divided up into two main categories: structural and nonstructural. Nonstructural scoliosis involves the spine still functioning normally, but simply looking curved. This can be caused by a few different reasons:
- Muscle spasms
- Having one leg that is longer than the other
- Inflammations like appendicitis
When these underlying conditions are treated, the scoliosis usually goes away. However, structural scoliosis is more problematic as the spine is rigid and the curve cannot be changed. The causes of structural scoliosis include:
- Genetic conditions like Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome
- Birth defects
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
So, what scoliosis treatments can help individuals to correct the curve in their spine or alleviate the severity of it? For mild cases of scoliosis, it may be as simple as a doctor taking X-rays and tracking your development, as you can sometimes grow out of the condition. Another option involves wearing braces to prevent the curve from getting worse. However, more severe cases of scoliosis may require scoliosis surgery. There are two main surgical procedures, including:
- Spinal fusion surgery - This procedure involves a doctor putting small pieces of bone—or a similar material—between the bones in your spine. The bones are then connected by hardware that keeps them in place until they grow together, also known as fusing. Spinal fusion surgery helps to reduce the curve of your spine and prevent it from getting worse.
- Spine and rib-based growing operation - This procedure addresses more severe cases of scoliosis in children who are still growing, and it involves a doctor connecting rods to your ribs or spine with hardware. This helps to lessen the curve of your spine as you grow, and the rods are adjusted accordingly.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) continues to provide humanitarian aid to children and their families through our hospitals, pediatric medical programs, health initiatives, hospital infrastructure projects, orphan and refugee sponsorships, and medical missions. These efforts help to ensure that children in need get the vital assistance they require.
PCRF has a committee of volunteer pediatricians on our Medical Advisory Board who are dedicated to building up services through training, programs, and guiding PCRF to improve the quality of pediatric care in Palestine. This includes providing surgery for children who have scoliosis.
PCRF is not a political or religious organization. Our mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, politics, or religion. We rely on charitable giving to provide medical treatment, surgeries, safety, shelter, and support to children and their families in Palestine and the Levant. Find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in children’s lives today!