Anterior vs. Posterior Surgery for Scoliosis

Scoliosis pic
Scoliosis
Image: WebMD.com

As a board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Ilyas Munshi offers treatment for scoliosis and other disorders of the spine. Dr. Ilyas Munshi maintains an in-depth knowledge of both anterior and posterior approaches to scoliosis surgery.

The term “scoliosis” refers to an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. It can cause visible deformities, an imbalanced stance, and back pain, as well as a variety of secondary conditions. Mild cases may be treated by wearing a brace, although curvatures of more than 45 degrees may require surgery. The most common such surgery, particularly in children and adolescents, is posterior spinal fusion.

In posterior spinal fusion surgery, a small incision in the patient’s back provides access to those vertebrae that cause the problematic curvature. After retracting the muscles that attach to the spine, the surgeon attaches a rod or set of rods that act on the spine to correct the curve. The surgeon also introduces a bone graft, which encourages the bones to better connect and support stabilization.

Like the posterior approach, anterior fusion employs stabilizing rods and bone grafts to correct the curvature and stabilize the spinal column. However, this particular approach is more commonly used in the treatment of lumbar or thoracic curvatures. Another difference is that stabilizers get attached to the side of the vertebrae. A surgeon performing this procedure must enter the body either through the side, chest, or abdomen, which may require the removal of a rib or the temporary deflation of a lung to support access.

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