We know it may be tempting to use what seems to be a quick fix, such as back surgery, for your child’s scoliosis, but we would like to make an argument for correcting any misalignments in their upper two vertebrae before you consider scoliosis surgery.
In order to make that argument, it’s important to understand the two types of spinal fusion surgeries that may be performed on your child.
Scoliosis and the Posterior Surgical Approach
The first type of surgery is the Posterior Surgical Approach, which is making a long incision along the back, the length of the Thoracic Spine. This approach consists of:
- Removing the muscles from the spine
- Inserting screws and rods to reduce the curvature
- Using the bone from a parent, the child’s hips, or a cadaver to fuse the spine together
In children 10 to 12 years of age, the surgeon may also recommend an anterior release of the disc space. This involves the removal of the disc from the anterior column, which is the part of the spine facing the front of the body, so the child can continue to grow. The bone can then be added to the disc space to be fused together.
Scoliosis and the Anterior Surgical Approach
The other approach is to make the incision in the front, but this is only an option for those who have scoliosis at the thoracolumbar junction, which is the junction between the mid-spine and the lower-spine.
- This involves an open incision in the front and the removal of a rib
- The diaphragm may also be released from the chest wall and spine for a better view of the thoracic and lumbar spine
- The discs are removed to loosen the spine
- Screws are placed in the vertebral bodies
- Rods are used to reduce the curvature
- Bone from a parent, the child’s hips, or a cadaver are used to fuse the spine
The Upper Cervical Approach
Upper cervical chiropractic focuses on correcting your child’s scoliosis by correcting any misalignments in their upper neck. Misalignments in the upper neck vertebrae of an adult can lead to correctable back and neck pain. Though, in children, who are still growing, those misalignments can cause the spine to collapse on itself causing curvature of the spine. When the top two vertebrae in a child are aligned, it allows the spine to begin to realign. The sooner the misalignment in the upper neck can be corrected the more likely it is for a child to have a significant reduction in curvature of the scoliosis.
Dr. Tymothy Flory, Dr. James Weiss and Dr. Jameson Wong of Atlas Spinal Care in Upland, California are Upper Cervical Specialists trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Their upper cervical clinic also serves Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and surrounding areas. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems.