Is scoliosis surgery for you?

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Read about factors to consider when deciding whether to have scoliosis surgery. These factors include age, growth, and the degree of the Cobb curve.

Key points

  • Most surgeons will recommend scoliosis surgery if the degree of your curve is more than 40 to 45 degrees. The recommendation will also depend your age and how much you still have to grow.
  • Your surgeon will help to guide your decision about surgery by sharing some of the pros and cons of surgery, informing you of the health risks of surgery and estimating how much they can correct your curve and the length of your recovery time.
  • It is important to listen to the advice of your surgeon, your parents and other important people in your life before making your decision.

You are probably at this website because you have scoliosis and there is a possibility you may need surgery. This website has been created for teens with scoliosis curves that are large enough to consider surgery (40 to 50 degrees or higher). It will NOT provide information about small curves (less than 40 degrees) that may be treated with bracing or observation.

Your surgeon will help to guide your decision about surgery. Generally, most surgeons will recommend doing surgery if your Cobb angle, meaning the degree of your curve, is more than 40 to 45 degrees. However, this recommendation really depends on your surgeon and what they think of your particular curve. It also depends on your age and how much you still have to grow.

If your surgeon has recommended surgery, you have a big decision to make. Your doctor will share with you some of the pros and cons of surgery. They may be able to estimate how much they can correct your curve. They will let you know the health risks of surgery. They will also tell you how long it might take for you to recover and get back to your normal activities. Of course, everyone’s recovery is different, so your doctor can only estimate what will happen. They cannot predict with 100% certainty how things will turn out.

Deciding whether or not to have surgery can seem overwhelming. Listen to your surgeon’s advice and that of your parents and other important people in your life. Take your time to consider all the information and opinions you have received, and then make your decision.

This section will give you a tool to help your decision-making. It will tell you what some other teens thought about before they decided to have surgery. Finally, it breaks down what most teens with scoliosis, their parents, and their surgeons are expecting from surgery.

Last updated: June 1st 2008