Scoliosis impacts an estimated six to nine million Americans, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal curvature in the spine, but not every individual diagnosed with scoliosis experiences the same severity of symptoms. Curves that exceed 45 degrees are considered severe. Mild cases of scoliosis might do well with braces or extra monitoring, but severe curves often require more immediate treatment.
Dr. John Regan and the team at Spine Group Beverly Hills may suggest a spinal fusion to help reduce the curve from worsening.
If you (or your child) are facing a scoliosis diagnosis, keep reading to learn more about spinal fusions and how they can help you.
A spinal fusion, sometimes called spondylodesis, is a surgery that fuses two or more vertebrae together. By fusing the bones together, there's a reduced chance that the spine will continue to curve abnormally.
At Spine Group Beverly Hills, Dr. Regan uses a coflex® device during the surgery to help reduce future spinal curvatures from developing. The coflex® device consists of special screws and metal rods to keep the bones from moving.
When the vertebrae are fused together, they start to heal similar to broken bones. As a result, the fused vertebrae act like one, single bone. This helps prevent scoliosis from worsening or causing other complications.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, spinal fusions are often very successful in reducing back pain associated with scoliosis, correcting the curve, and improving the appearance of the spine.
Spinal fusions can be performed in a few ways, but most procedures require a bone graft material. With the coflex® device, metal rods and screws are used. Benefits include:
In general, minimally-invasive procedures lead to less blood loss during the procedure. Minimally-invasive procedures also tend to produce less scarring since smaller incisions are made during the surgery.
If you have scoliosis, it’s important to seek treatment. Untreated severe scoliosis can lead to lung and heart damage if your spine presses on these organs. Thankfully, Dr. Regan is here to guide you with your next steps. Whether you're at the beginning of your scoliosis journey or continuing to seek out the right treatment, we can help. To learn more about spinal fusion, visit our website to request an appointment at our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California clinic.