Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery

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Evolution of Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery

Traditional scoliosis surgery involved drilling screws into the strong pedicle parts of each vertebral bone and attaching them to long, straight metal rods along each side of the spinal column. The bones of the spine would then be fused together in a corrected position; no further spine growth was possible with this early scoliosis surgery technique. Lung function was often compromised in these patients because the chest cavity was restricted in growth after spine fusion at an early age. The next generation of scoliosis surgery for children involved placing rods along the spine without fusion of the vertebral bones. The idea was to focus on and be ‘friendly’ to growth, while still treating the scoliosis. As children or teenagers grew taller, the rods would be changed out for longer ones, through multiple surgeries, roughly every six months, throughout childhood and adolescence. When adult height was reached, the spine could be fused in the corrected position. Concerns about repeated procedures under anesthesia led surgeons to search for other techniques of surgical scoliosis management.

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