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Study shows that modern surgery for scoliosis has good long-term outcomes
Date:4/5/2011

Teenagers who undergo spine fusion for scoliosis using the newest surgical techniques can expect to be doing well 10 years after surgery, according to a Hospital for Special Surgery study published online ahead of print in the [TK issue] of the journal Spine. Researchers had thought that the surgery would cause damage to the spine just below the fused discs, but the study showed that this was not the case.

"Fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis using the newer generation spine implants appears to spare junctional disc degeneration and allows patients ten years out to have a relatively normal pain free lifestyle," said Daniel Green, M.D., a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York who led the study.

Scoliosis is a condition in which a person's spine is curved. The condition can be classified as congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (arising after birth and caused by unknown factors) or neuromuscular, where it is a secondary symptom of another condition such as spina bifida. Starting in the early 1960s and up until the late 1990s, scoliosis was treated with surgery with so-called Harrington rods that were implanted along the spinal column. Starting in the late 1990s, surgeons started using newer techniques to fuse the spinal column together and these straight rods became obsolete. Spinal fusion is basically a procedure where doctors "weld" parts of the spine together, so the vertebral column heals into a single, solid rigid unit.

The modern surgery is superior to the Harrington rods surgery because it allows the spine to be corrected in a much more natural, physiologic way, but there haven't been many studies evaluating how patients who undergo the surgery fare years down the road. To remedy this, HSS investigators conducted a pre- and post-operative MRI analysis in patients undergoing the surgery with modern techniques.

The investigators review
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
phyllis.fisher@gmail.com
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert  

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