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Scoliosis surgery is an operation to correct a spinal curvature that is severe enough to affect a child’s growth and lung function. Spinal curvatures greater than 45-50 degrees can progress irreversibly into adulthood. Riley at IU Health pediatric orthopedic surgeons consider your child’s age and severity of scoliosis prior to forming his or her specific treatment plan.
View Child-Friendly Explanation
Sometimes a curvature in the spine is so serious that it requires surgery. This isn’t very common, but if your spine could eventually grow so curved that it will affect your breathing, your doctor will correct the curvature in surgery.Pediatric Orthopedic doctor
The most common form of adolescent scoliosis surgery is spinal fusion. In this surgery, your child’s spine is reset into proper alignment and held in place with rods. This surgery is typically done once your child has reached their adult height and is done growing. Children with progressive scoliosis who still have several years of growth remaining are often given scoliosis casting [link to page] or bracing [link to page] – or even growth-friendly surgical rods – to prevent the curvature from worsening excessively until your child is old enough for spinal fusion surgery.
Your child’s scoliosis surgery team has specialty training in spinal surgery and includes:
During the surgery, the anesthesiologist will put your child to sleep, and then highly trained neuro-monitoring technicians will connect your child to electrodes, which are little needles inserted into the back while your child is asleep. These electrodes work like your child’s avatar, telling the surgeon which muscles and nerves are working while he or she is asleep.
During spinal fusion surgery:
Once your child wakes up from surgery, you will meet the spine pain team of physicians, nurses and physical therapists who will begin Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) - a protocol created at Riley at IU Health. These highly trained specialists work to improve pain control while reducing opioid consumptions. Data from the ERAS program shows patients feel better and need fewer narcotics. The program is now becoming popular at other hospitals based on the success at Riley at IU Health.
By using ERAS following surgery, you can expect: