As many as one in 10 scoliosis patients will ultimately get a referral for spinal fusion surgery. Each year, nearly 40,000 choose to endure this invasive procedure.
But just because a doctor recommends spinal fusion doesn’t mean it’s your only — or even best — option.
Before you commit to having your spine fused, it’s important to fully consider the risks of scoliosis surgery. To reach the spine, a surgeon must cut through five layers of spinal muscles, including surrounding ligaments, tendons and the spine’s entire posterior joint system. Stabilizing the curve involves running a solid metal rod through a column of 3-inch screws and hooks inserted into the bone along the entire length of the curve. It’s a highly invasive surgery that requires months of recovery time.