Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is the most common surgical treatment for severe scoliosis in adolescents. This surgery fuses or combines two or more bones in the spine (called vertebrae) together into one solid bone which helps the spine grow in a straighter position.

3 Goals of Scoliosis Surgery

  • Stop the curve’s progression.
  • Reduce the deformity.
  • Maintain trunk balance.

What should patients expect after spinal fusion surgery?

Patients recover at different rates from spinal fusion surgery. It takes almost a full year for the spine to fully heal and for the child to safely resume all normal activities. Below is a general timeline of recovery.

The first few days after surgery

This is the time to rest and heal. Patients remain in the hospital for a couple of days after surgery. When they meet certain milestones, like being able to walk, shower, and get dressed on their own, their doctor will discharge them with instructions to continue their recovery at home.

The first six months after surgery

  • Most children can return to school three to four weeks after spinal fusion surgery. No strenuous physical activity is allowed. Activities are limited to those of daily living, such as personal care, bending and walking. At six months, the child will have a physical exam and X-rays. If all is well, more activities, such as swimming, are allowed.                

Six to 12 months after surgery

  • For most kids, running, jumping and solo sports become safe during this period.

One year after surgery

  • Around one year after the surgery, the child sees the surgeon for a checkup and X-rays. If all is well, all restrictions on the child’s activities may be lifted, and they can return to the activities they enjoyed before surgery.