Scoliosis: what are the latest surgical advancements?
The main aim of scoliosis surgery for a patient is to correct their curvature. We need to of course make sure that surgery is safer, but also that
it’s done in a minimally invasive way. On occasions, we can actually do motion preserving
surgery, but that’s really for the younger age group possibly between the ages of 4 and
10. Essentially, we’re trying to guide the growth to make sure that we don’t actually
have to fuse the patient too early. In the past, we’ve put growth rods into
the spine to try to lengthen the spine sequentially as the young child grows. We’ve been able
to do that remotely now with magnetic technology. In addition, we’re actually now starting
to do a technique called tethering, which is to essentially stunt the growth by putting
implants on the long side of a curvature to allow the shorter side of a curve to
catch up and therefore to normalise the spine and potentially give a cure for the patients.
Some of these patients of course will need to go on to have a definitive fusion. In all types of surgery, both paediatric and adult, spinal navigation computer-assisted
surgery has made our surgery a lot safer. That will eventually give way to robotic surgery
in the future.