Dr Stitzel

Scoliosis – Trading deformity for dysfunction

Rate this Entry
by , 06-04-2009 at 07:20 PM (5332 Views)

“Scoliosis Surgery That Is Less Invasive”
an L.A. Times article that is quite informative
yet slightly disillusioning.
I found the current article in the L.A. Times entitled “Scoliosis Surgery That Is Less Invasive” to be quite informative, but subtly disillusioning. The author painted a gruesome and all-to-accurate picture of the highly invasive surgical fusion surgery some scoliosis patients elect to undergo for purely cosmetic reasons. Multiple sort-term and long-term studies have found that scoliosis fusion surgery does not prevent long-term chronic pain or improve lung function. To the contrary, one such 2002 study conducted in Germany found 40% of surgically treated we’re legally defined as severely handicapped within 16.7 years following the surgery. Such a startling statistic obviously begs the question of how can there even be medical rationale for a procedure that provides such a terribly high failure rate. The answer is simple; there isn’t. A widely read and highly regarded scoliosis research and physician, Dr. Has-Rudolf Weiss, concluded in his 2008 article in Disability and Rehabilitation that “no evidence has been found in terms of prospective controlled studies to support surgical intervention from the medical point of view…… Until such evidence exists, there can be no medical indication for surgery. The indications for surgery are limited for cosmetic reasons in severe cases and only if the parent and family agree with this.”

While less invasiveness in any surgical procedure is generally a welcome development (and this is no exception) the subtly disillusioning part is that the inherent invasiveness of the procedure is secondary to the procedure itself. The spine is made up of 24 moveable bones called vertebrae. Each vertebrae has individual motion, but doesn’t move individually (no one can wiggle a single vertebra right?). So the vertebrae work together in groups in a lever arm fashion. These groups work together by twisting and bending to create the torque which drives the pelvic and shoulder girdles; thus providing the power for locomotion. Metaphorically, envision the spine as a 24 cylinder engine that creates the spinal core power to move you forward. The surgical spinal fusion performed on scoliosis patients, again for cosmetic reasons only, will often include the fusion of 18 out of the 24 vertebrae. Essentially, it is the same as fusing 18 out of the 24 cylinders in your engine and expecting it to run better.

Scoliosis patients whom choose multi level spinal fusion surgery are essentially trading deformity for dysfunction and long-term chronic pain. The non-fused areas of the spine begin degenerating as an alarming rate and long-term studies indicate the vast majority of these patients will experience some form of hardware failure in their lifetime.

Research and efforts to create early stage scoliosis intervention programs are desperately needed and long overdue. Creating a less invasive surgery is a step in the right direction, but avoiding the surgery entirely is by far and away the patient’s best treatment option.
Tags: scoliosis Add / Edit Tags
Scoliosis News Watch


Non Surgical Scoliosis Treatment Forum

Copyright © FixScoliosis.com. All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:27 AM.
Proudly Powered by: vBSocial Notifications 9.0
Powered by vBSocial Easy Register