In spinal fusion for scoliosis, rods, hooks, wires, or screws are attached to the curved part of the backbone and the spine is straightened. Small pieces of bone are then put over the spine. The bone pieces will grow together with the spinal bone, fusing it into the proper position. Spinal fusion is major surgery that usually takes several hours to complete.Although the basic procedure is the same, a variety of specialized techniques can be used to do spinal fusion. Many different types of spinal instrumentation are used to treat scoliosis. Also, techniques vary, from what type of hooks or rods are used to whether the surgery is done from the front of the body or from the back. The method chosen will depend on a number of things, including the child’s age, spinal maturity, the location and severity of the curve, the clinical opinion of the surgeon, and the preference of the child and parents.The surgical technique most often used to straighten and stabilize the spine is to do surgery from the back, called the posterior approach.Another option is to do the surgery from the front of the body, called the anterior approach.Antibiotics to prevent infection are usually given at the beginning of surgery and continued for 48 hours after the operation.Most people spend several days in the hospital after surgery, gradually increasing their movement over those several days. Depending on which technique was used, some people may be fitted for a brace, but this is much less common now than in the past.By the time a person leaves the hospital after surgery, he or she will be able to dress, bathe, feed himself or herself, and walk around. A child may not return to school for 3 to 4 weeks.Medicine used to reduce pain will be gradually decreased over a few weeksAfter surgery, it is important to avoid any extreme bending, twisting, stooping, or lifting of objects weighing more than 10 lb (4.5 kg). One should expect to spend the first weeks at home with occasional rest periods throughout the day.Activities that could jar the spine-including competitive sports, ice skating, roller skating, and skiing (water or snow)-are restricted for 6 to 12 months. Cycling and swimming can usually be resumed in 3 to 4 months, unless prohibited by a brace or cast.Why It Is Done.Surgery is indicated for:Your child has a moderate to severe curve or yours is severe, and the curve is getting worse.You have pain or trouble doing your daily activities.
Bracing cannot be used or does not work.Other factors considered before surgery include:Age, skeletal age, and status of puberty.