FAQ - Scoliosis Introduction


FAQ - Scoliosis Introduction

BY Jon W

17 February 2020

In this series of interview clips, two of our senior orthotists, Sally Hews and Debs Turnbull, talk to the Academy of Physical Medicine to answer some of the most common questions people have about scoliosis.

Just watch the videos to find out more!

If you still have questions or would like to talk to one of our orthotists or arrange a consultation, visit our scoliosis page where you can explore treatment options and enquire about treatment.

You can also get answers to other questions about scoliosis by visiting these pages:

Who suffers from scoliosis?Treating scoliosis with the Schroth method

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How do you assess the success of scoliosis treatment?

What is the difference between private and NHS scoliosis care?



The operation used to treat severe scoliosis curves is typically spinal fusion surgery; a major procedure that involves moving muscles and realigning the skeleton into place. The curved, deformed vertebrae are fused together into a single bone, putting metal screws and rods into the spine to help straighten it. Surgery typically lasts between 4 and 8 hours depending on the severity of the curve. Bone graft is then taken from other parts of the body and used to cover the implants.

Following the operation, it is necessary to spend around a week in intensive care before returning home and the first few days are often uncomfortable. Most adolescents can expect to return to school from 2-4 weeks following surgery, but pain medication may be required up to 6 weeks following. A full recovery from the procedure can take up to a year, as it can take that long for the spine to heal fully.

Spinal fusion surgery causes the fused portion of the back to become permanently stiff, as a result, returning to sports that require large amounts of flexibility (ballet, yoga, gymnastics, dance) or contact (rugby, football, karate, hockey) may take longer.

Risks of spinal fusion surgery are like that of any other major procedure and include infection, blood clots and anaesthesia complications. The added risks include permanent nerve damage to the spine and paralysis.