Surgical treatment is often recommended 1) to stop the curve from getting worse and 2) to correct the spinal deformity using modern surgical techniques and implants when non- surgical treatments do not relieve the pain, the curve noticeably worsens, or the curve is bigger than 45 degrees – and especially when the curve is large enough to reduce lung function and hasten the development of arthritis in the spine.
Dr. Cho performs the surgery from the back of the spine (posterior approach) using appropriate implants (e.g., screws and rods) to straighten the curve and to immobilize the spinal segments as they heal and fuse together in a corrected position.
For the fusion part of the procedure, Dr. Cho uses patient’s own bone from the spine, along with bone from a bone bank (allograft). When the risk of bones not fusing together is high, Dr. Cho uses special biologic proteins to help the spine to heal better.
Another important goal of scoliosis surgery is to fuse the least number of spinal segments (vertebrae) to correct the deformity, which allows the patient to maintain as much motion in the spine as possible. Dr. Cho reviews multiple factors thoroughly, including patient’s age, clinical appearance as well as various x-rays, before deciding which levels to fuse. Dr. Cho is committed to providing the least invasive and risky procedure that will yield the best outcome for each patient.
The patient is a 28-year-old woman who presented with adult idiopathic scoliosis. The patient had increasing back pain. She was also concerned about her worsening appearance. Physical examination revealed a right-sided rib hump and uneven waistline. X-rays showed significant curvatures in the spine.
Surgery was offered to correct the deformity and fuse the spinal segments in a straighter position.
The patient successfully underwent surgery with selective fusion to correct only the upper back (thoracic spine) and leave the lower back (lumbar spine) alone. At the 2-year follow-up visit, the patient was extremely pleased with the outcome of surgery.
A 56-year-old patient had severe double-major idiopathic scoliosis and successfully underwent surgical correction of her deformity with excellent outcome.