As school has been disrupted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, more parents could be looking to schedule their child’s surgery for this summer.
Even during normal times, summer is a popular time for kids who need scoliosis surgery to have their operation. It’s less disruptive to the school year, and as school has been disrupted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, more parents could be looking to schedule their child’s surgery for this summer.
If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, they have four basic treatment options: keep an eye on it, physical therapy, bracing, or surgery.
Observation is typically right for adolescents who are finished growing with a smaller curve. Children who are still growing with larger curves are often candidates for physical therapy and bracing. Other children with significant curves may be candidates for surgery.
Surgery will fuse two or more vertebrae together, and surgical metal rods will help the spine grow straighter, easing back pain.
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“If surgery is required, kids are typically up and around in a day and off pain medication in a few weeks,” said Jeffrey L. Gum, M.D., orthopedic spine surgeon with Norton Leatherman Spine. “Three or four weeks after surgery, most patients can go back to school, but it may take as long as six to twelve months for the bones to fuse. Even though they may not be completely healed, we typically allow them to start gym class and sports as early as three months”
Physical therapy for several months helps some children in their recovery.
Total fusion of the bones should be complete after six months to a year. The metal rods are no longer necessary, but there’s no reason to perform another operation to remove them.
To help your child heal at home, you can encourage them to walk or move around more and more each day. Start with light activity and work toward longer walks. Lifting more than a few pounds will have to wait for clearance from your health care provider.