Scoliosis is a disease developing mainly during childhood. Scoliosis is characterized with the frontal curvature of the spine and vertebrae rotation (turning).
One may ask if scoliosis is a curable condition. Yes, the disease can be cured at stages 1-2 with the help of conservative treatment. The angle of the curvature does not exceed 25 ° at the initial stages of the illness. Therefore, it is possible to stop the progression of scoliosis with the help of gymnastics, massage, physiotherapy and special corsets. More radical measures such as surgery are required to cure stages 3 and 4 of scoliosis in children.
There are no ideal treatment methods so far which would allow for a complete cure of scoliosis, that has a high safety profile as well as a good tolerance by patients. Research is constantly ongoing in this very direction. They develop and evaluate the efficiency of new surgery types and drug-free treatment strategies. You are welcome to find out how they cure scoliosis in the foreign hospitals in this article.
Conservative methods of treatment scoliosis in children
Conservative methods of treatment scoliosis in children are efficient to cure stages 1 and 2 of the illness when curvature angle does not exceed 25°. Scoliosis of stage 1 requires physiotherapy and therapeutic gymnastics. Treatment strategy of stage 2 scoliosis is not different from that of stage 1. A course of massage therapy can be prescribed by the doctor to each individual child if there is such a need. Normally, exercises for scoliosis are selected individually and represent a 15-minute exercise set. Therapeutic physical training for treatment scoliosis in children helps to relieve the spinal tension, strengthen the muscles of the back and eliminate asymmetry. Swimming is also an efficient kind of therapy for scoliosis treatment.
Wearing a spinal brace (back brace, orthopedic corset) is one of the ways to treat stage 1 and 2 scoliosis. In the foreign hospitals braces are being made individually for each patient. Please, remember that even the conservative treatment methods should be prescribed by the doctor only. Independent exercising without a specialist consultation can lead to the eventual deterioration of the patient's condition.
Surgical methods of treatment scoliosis in children
How should scoliosis of stage 3 and 4 be treated in children? When curvature of the child’s spine is 26° degrees and more – the medical solution would be to undergo surgery.
Spinal Fusion is one of the most popular types of spinal surgery for scoliosis treatment. A fixation of the vertebrae using a special device is done during the surgery. Thus, several vertebrae are completely stabilized. This intervention has a side effect - the amplitude of patient movements decreases due to the static nature of this spine segment. The limitation of movements depends on which zone the curvature is located in. This small limitation is justified for many patients, because thanks to Spinal Fusion, one can get rid of stages 3 and 4 spinal curvature, as well as of the concomitant effects.
Scoliosis surgery using ApiFix implant. This is an innovative device which is a small metal construction with two screws. The screws are screwed into the vertebrae on both sides of the curvature and secured with washers. After the hospitalization period (2-3 days) is over, the patient goes home. Two weeks later, in order for the implant to begin to function, it is necessary to begin exercise therapy. Special exercises make the spine stretch in a curved place, while ApiFix fixes even minimal improvements. Gradually, the vertebrae take the right position, and the device supports it.
Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib. Recently, VEPTR titanium implants for the support of the ribs have been approved for the treatment of scoliosis in children. They increase the distance between the vertebrae on the concave side, stabilize the structure between the ribs and vertebrae. The length of these rods is adjustable and they are adjusted every 4-6 months. Now doctors have the opportunity to correct the strain of the spine during the growth of the child's body. Modern dynamic VEPTR systems are actively used in German hospitals. They allow simultaneous correction of deformation of the spine and chest.
Additional methods of treatment scoliosis in children
O-ARM CT scan system is a robotic computer tomography system, capable of creating high resolution 2D and 3D images. The system makes a prediction of surgical intervention.
Applying Mazor Robotics Renaissance robotic system. This system helps a surgeon to conduct spinal fusion surgery.
Robot’s tasks include:
- Plan a surgery by creating a 3D-model on the basis of images
- Navigation during the implants installation
- Positioning and insertion of surgical instruments
Applying robotic systems for spinal surgeries helps to provide maximum safety to the patient. Many sensitive sensors follow the operation and the whole process is carefully planned. In addition, such systems exclude the human factor - where the hand of the surgeon can tire or shudder, the robot will conduct manipulations with 100% accuracy.
New surgical wound closure technique. A new method of closing a surgical wound was developed at one of the US medical centers, which allows a significant reduction in the risk of infectious complications after the establishment of corrective devices. Usually, the infection develops in a "dead space" - a zone of confluence of the patient's own tissues with devices.
The essence of the method is the multilayer closure of the surgical wound. At the same time, the blood supply is saved from the donor site to the recipient site. It is expected that this technique will reduce the risk of infectious complications after surgery to 1%. It is precisely these data that the researchers point out in their publication.
Magnetically Controlled Growing Rods (MCGR) is the latest method of treatment, which reduces the need for surgical interventions. When using the VEPTR system it is necessary to perform an intervention to correct the length of the rods. But after installing telescopic rods, controlled by magnets, there will be no such a need.
The procedure for elongation of the rods is carried out in an outpatient basis with the help of strong magnets. It is safe for the patient and reduces the number of interventions, avoids general anesthesia, reduces the risk of bleeding or infectious complications. In addition, the method provides better tolerability of treatment for the child.
Life after a spinal surgery for scoliosis treatment
Spinal surgeries for scoliosis treatment have certain consequences like any other intervention. In the long-term perspective, it can be limited mobility. However, this is usually imperceptible and does not restrict any of the life spheres. Maybe, some kinds of sport will have to be excluded after such an operation. Other consequences of the operation for scoliosis treatment are associated with the risk of infection and other postoperative consequences. However, when conducting a surgery for scoliosis treatment in a foreign hospital, such a risk does not exceed 1%.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova