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Scoliosis might not seem like such a real problem to the ones that are unaffected by it, but to those that have to live daily with a bended backbone, it is another issue completely. It is true that in most cases, scoliosis does not hurt. The reason behind that is that, when the bend is below 25 degrees, it is usually manageable by some physical therapy. Mind you, some years of costly therapy, but nothing more than that. However, once the bend goes past 25 degrees, there is a very real possibility that the only way to fix this and reduce, if not eliminate the pain, is scoliosis surgery.
There are several moments in which scoliosis surgery is indicated and several in which it is really not a solution to the problem. For example, if your backbone bends at more than 25 degrees, but less than 40 degrees, scoliosis surgery might be a bit of an extreme way out. In this case and if the pain is at about a five out of ten, a brace is used. It is more efficient in small children, that have not yet fully developed their bones and whose bodies can still straighten the damaged backbone with the proper support. In adults, it usually takes about five to ten years of wearing it constantly for it to make a difference. However, if you keep at it, the results might surprise you.
Unfortunately, if the angle of your backbone bend is higher than 40, then scoliosis surgery becomes inevitable. Small children, younger than 5 years old, with such big problems might be able to avoid the surgery for a couple of years by wearing the aforementioned brace. However, you will find it pretty hard to convince your three year old that a tight and uncomfortable medical corset is something he or she actually needs. This is one of the reasons why some parents agree to the scoliosis surgery even for small children.
Scoliosis surgery implies two things as goals: reducing the curvature of the backbone and preventing the further development of the curve. Now, the damage already done is pretty hard to undo, but you have to keep in mind that a permanent body posture problem can cause serious malformations in your cardiopulmonary system. Thus, the sooner the scoliosis surgery takes place, the better. Also, remember that your backbone grows and develops as you grow older, therefore making it more difficult to fix at a later age. The perfect timing for the surgery is somewhere in your teens or early twenties, if you can postpone it that much.
Scoliosis surgery pictures
Scoliosis surgery: the procedure
Scoliosis surgery has been performed for many years now, starting from the very first intervention, sometime in the 1970s'. It is needless to say that both the procedure in itself and the aftercare have come a long way since then. However, even now, the procedure might seem a bit barbaric: an incision is made, cutting the back muscles enough for the surgeon to get access to the backbone. When they get there, they install some metal rods, usually two of them, so as to straighten out the bones. The moment that the bones start healing, they will take the form of the rods and the curvature will be reduced. After a six to ten day stint in the hospital, the patient is released and his or her backbone is significantly straighter. The aftercare includes, as you can imagine, some very severe rules.
Some of these rules might seem a bit on the odd side, but they must be obeyed to get the maximum of results from such a traumatic procedure. For example, it should be obvious that the patient cannot do any sort of physical effort for at least fourteen days after the release from hospital. Afterwards, only medical physiotherapy is allowed for another six months. Also, the sufferer cannot lift anything heavy and cannot bend at the waist for long periods of time. Some support means should be recommended by the attending physician, like a medicinal belt or some form of corset, even if only for a while.
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