...and if we should fail in our efforts, is not such failure noble?
The controversy surrounding surgery in growing children with scoliosis revolves around the fact that the surgery options available are really not a "quick fix". It’s very different from surgery in a skeletally mature child. In growing children with scoliosis, there is either surgical "management" of scoliosis or non-operative “management” (bracing) of scoliosis.Doctors try to manage the condition because a growing spine is constantly changing - hence dynamic.
In some cases, if the scoliosis is treated early enough with bracing or casting one can see complete curve resolution or reduction of the curve to a more manageable level. Children who are surgically managed, are not having an easy time!! Far from it! It's a very sad situation.Growth rods involve surgery every six months and spinal fusion has its own set of problems.
So…. one has to question why are many doctors doing nothing about this condition until surgery is the only option?Granted, surgery is inevitable in some cases if it’s caught too late.
What infuriates many parents is that doctors don't offer patients alternatives to surgery when the condition is still treatable and many times even curable - especially with serial casting in infantile scoliosis! Parents are advised to ''Watch and Wait". This watch and wait stance is quite baffling, given that spinal fusion or growth rod surgery in a growing child can be accompanied by a myriad of complications which can leave a child scarred - emotionally and physically.
If bracing doesn't work in the long term at least it can hold off surgery to a point when the child is skeletally mature. It should be noted that a progressive scoliosis left untreated in the infantile and juvenile age group will result in cardio - pulmonary problems and severe life altering deformity.
Correcting Scoliosis during the AIS
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