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Specialists in the Field of Scoliosis surgery
Information About the Field of Scoliosis surgery
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a medical term used to describe a misalignment of the spine. The spine is deviated from its vertical axis and the vertebral bodies are rotated and displaced with respect to each other. Also the shape of the vertebral bodies may differ from the normal form. In 90% of cases, scoliosis is of idiopathic nature which means that the cause remains unclear. Most of the time, this form is seen in girls during puberty. In the remaining 10% of cases are called secondary scoliosis as they are caused by other diseases.
How is a spinal curvature disorder diagnosed?
This deformity may already be detected during a physical examination. By performing a forward bend test, the position of the spine can be examined and the position of the vertebral bodies can be determined. Further investigation and documentation is carried out by means of an X-ray of the entire spine in an upright position. The X-ray image is particularly suitable for evaluating bony structures. Location of the deformity and its deviation from a normal spine can be determined from the image. Based on the so-called Cobb angle, scoliosis can be classified into degrees of severity.
Scoliosis treatment: As of when is scoliosis surgery recommended?
The degree of severity determines whether scoliosis surgery is indicated. If the Cobb angle is greater than 50°, surgery should be performed. Also, surgery is recommended for children and adolescents suffering from scoliosis who exhibit progression of the disease or who are at risk of progression.
Scoliosis surgery in children
The first stage of therapy in children should always be rehabilitation and conservative therapy such as wearing an individual corset. These measures must be followed rigorously before therapy, since otherwise the scoliosis will quickly aggravate due to the child's growth. If any of the follwoing criteria apply, children should be operated on:
- Curvatures of the thoracic spine of 50° or more.
- Double or S-shaped scolioses of 40-50° or more
- Curvature of the lumbar spine of 35° or more
Scoliosis surgery for adults
If left untreated or not treated properly, adult scoliosis can progress and have severe consequences. Osteoarthritis and strong pain may develop in adulthood. Even in adulthood, it often makes sense to perform scoliosis surgery. Surgery is highly recommended in cases where pain can no longer be managed with medication and conservative measures. Surgery may also be worth considering if osteoarthritis of the affected spinal segments is progressing or the deformity is regarded as cosmetically disfiguring.
Surgical procedure and duration of scoliosis surgery
The aim of the operation is to correct the spine to its normal position and to stabilize it. To achieve this, a procedure referred to as spondylodesis is employed. It involves joining vertebral bodies by means of screws, rods and plates. These implants result in the vertebral bodies fusing with each other. Even though theoretically the implants could be removed after the successful fusion, there is not really a point of performing another operation for this reason. Surgery is carried out under general anesthesia either via the abdomen or via the back. The choice of the procedure is made individually according to the patient.
Risks and postoperative care
Like every operation, certain risks are involved. These include wound healing problems, infections, bleeding or damage to nerves. Also general anesthesia can cause complications during and after surgery. In the majority of cases, patients are instructed to weat a corset after surgery to stabilize the spine. Factors such as age, type of disease, scope of the surgery as well as other parameters determine how long the corset has to be worn and from what point onwards physical activity can be resumed. The surgical outcome as well as the effectiveness of further conservative measures must be monitored at regular intervals.
How much does scoliosis surgery in Germany cost?
Statutory and private health insurance companies will cover the expenses of a scoliosis surgery if it is medically required. The estimated cost is between 10,000 and 15,000 Euros and depends on the scope of the operation and the postoperative hospital stay.
Which doctors and clinics specialize in scoliosis surgery?
Orthopedic and trauma surgery clinics or practices can provide information for patients as well as for parents of affected children regarding their treatment plans for scoliosis. Surgery is performed by specialists in orthopedics and trauma surgery who have undergone advanced training in the discipline of spinal surgery. Also neurosurgeons who specialize in spine surgery can perform scoliosis surgery with expertise.
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