Understanding Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery

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The purpose of surgery to correct scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, is to prevent the condition from progressing. All surgical options involve a combination of rods and hooks and a spinal fusion. Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery is an endoscopic procedure designed to minimize the risks associated with traditional surgical procedures while achieving the same outcome.

How the Procedure Is Performed

The surgery is performed via a few small incisions rather than a single incision. A small, telescope-like instrument (endoscope) is inserted after the incision is made to provide the surgeon with internal images. The surgeon then uses the images to determine where to focus when performing the procedure through the other small incisions. Benefits for the surgeon and patient include:

  • Improved visualization of the spinal column and chest cavity
  • Greater flexibility in the placement of instrumentation
  • A reduced risk of unintentional nerve damage

Less Stress on Muscles Supporting the Spine

As with similar minimally invasive spine procedures, the big advantage of this type of surgery is that it avoids unnecessary cutting and muscle stress. Special techniques dilate the muscles to create a path for the surgeon. Additional advantages include:

  • Minimal scarring and reduced infection risk
  • Less blood loss during surgery
  • Shorter hospital stays and recovery periods
  • Less post-surgery pain

Ideal Candidates for Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery

The procedure isn’t an ideal option for every patient. This surgery is recommended for patients with an extended curvature of the spine affecting the thoracic spine (middle to upper back area). The traditional open procedure is recommended for an abnormal curvature of the spine affecting the mid to lower back.

Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery Risks

Treatment and eventual outcome is different for every patient with any type of spine surgery. Even with a minimally invasive procedure, there are some risks involved with a surgery of this nature, including:

  • Failure of the spine to fuse
  • Infection of the incision site
  • Dislodging of screws or breakage of rods

Surgery for scoliosis is recommended when curvature of the spine exceeds 40-45 degrees. Whether the procedure is minimally invasive or not, surgery can correct spinal alignment up to 50 percent.

To learn more about your treatment options or receive a second opinion, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae of The Spinal Institute Center for Spinal Restoration in Santa Monica. Dr. Bae is a national leader in minimally invasive surgery and his team can help you determine the appropriate treatment options for your individual diagnosis. Call (310) 828-7757 to request an in-person consultation.