Spinal deformity surgery covers a wide range of procedures including surgery for children’s disorders through to the aged spine. In general, it will involve either surgery through the back (posterior surgery) or to the front of the spine (anterior surgery), or a combination of both techniques to achieve an improvement in the overall shape of the spine and in particular, so that the head is balanced over the pelvis both when looking from the front and when looking from the side. Often when a spine deforms, the spinal canal contents (either spinal cord or spinal nerves) are compressed and need to be decompressed or freed during the surgery.
A spinal deformity operation can be a single level operation where only one disc and two bones are operated upon all the way up to fusion from essentially the neck down to the pelvis.
Multi-level deformity surgeries are major operations requiring a large amount of planning and preparation. Usually you will be seen by our physicians and also our physiotherapists for a preoperative stretching and strengthening program, and then again after surgery to monitor your progress and help you to restore function in the weeks and months following surgical intervention.
Spinal deformity surgery is complex and not offered by all surgeons. It is typically a set of procedures with significant risks and therefore should not be undertaken lightly. Some surgeries will take up to 12 hours or more to perform.
If you are being considered for deformity surgery, we are more than happy to put you in touch with patients who have been through deformity surgery themselves so that you can discuss your fears, share your expectations and hear their experience of the process. Often the recovery from this surgery is lengthy.