- First, few small incisions are made depending on the location of the spinal curve, the number of levels to be fused and the viewpoints required to clearly visualize the spine for instrument placement.
- A thin membrane that lines the chest cavity is gently cut and pulled away to gain access to the spinal bones.
- Sometimes, even a portion of rib is also removed either to serve as a source of bone graft for fusion or to improve the patient’s aesthetic appearance especially with presence of a prominent rib hump.
- Disc material is removed from between the vertebrae involved in the curve. Removal of the disc material increases the flexibility of the curve and also provides a large surface area for spinal fusion.
- Screws are then fixed to the vertebrae to be corrected, guided by the images from the endoscope and fluoroscope.
- The bony surface between the vertebral bodies is roughened and bone graft or bone graft substitute is packed into the space between the vertebral bodies to promote fusion. The source of bone graft may include the removed rib, the crest of the pelvis or allograft (donor) bone.
- A specially contoured customized rod is then attached to the fixed screws at each vertebra. The screws are then tightened appropriately to achieve proper correction of the spinal deformity as possible.
- The endoscope and the retractor are pulled out and the incision is closed.
How long the recovery takes?
The spine looks much straighter soon after the surgery but some curve will still be there. Spinal bones take a minimum 3 months to fuse together. However, complete fusion usually takes one to two years depending on the procedure and your body’s ability to heal and firmly fuse the vertebrae together. Your surgeon may recommend you wear a brace after the surgery. To ensure a smooth and speedy recovery follow the home care instructions given by your doctor and the surgical team closely and diligently.