Can Scoliosis Be Treated With Surgery?

Diagnosis for scoliosis

Scoliosis is diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam and x-rays. Often, your child will have a screening in school and then will follow up in a doctor’s office. The doctor will assess family and medical history and do a physical exam with x-rays to determine the severity of the condition.

Treatment for scoliosis

Scoliosis treatment depends on several factors, including the age when you get your diagnosis and the severity of the curvature. There aren’t any medications that can help treat it.

In some cases, the person only requires checkups and monitoring. More severe cases may require a brace or even surgery.

Home care

For milder cases, observation and regular checkups are key to monitoring scoliosis. When a person with scoliosis is still growing, you should carefully monitor them to see if the condition is getting worse. You may see a family doctor, pediatrician, physical therapist, or orthopedist for monitoring. If the curve is getting worse, then your doctor will discuss further treatment options.

Alternative therapies

It is becoming more common for families to seek out alternative therapies for milder cases of scoliosis. Yoga, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatments are a few ways you can treat it naturally.


Bracing is often used in moderate cases of scoliosis when an adolescent is still growing. They will have a brace fitted to them and need to wear it for a certain number of hours each day. 

A brace is effective when worn as directed. However, in some cases, as the adolescent continues to grow, the brace is not sufficient to stop the curvature. If this happens, the doctor may suggest surgery.


Doctors may recommend surgery depending on your age and the angle of the curve. The surgery or spinal fusion is a successful way to treat the spine’s curvature when it is greater than 45 or 50 degrees.

The spinal fusion will realign and connect the vertebrae into one single piece. Spinal fusion surgery uses a bone graft, which helps seal the fusion.

A bone graft is created by using small bone pieces between the vertebrae to allow the bones to fuse and heal. They promote bone healing and stimulate bone production.

Your doctor may use metal rods to hold the spine together during the fusing process. These rods connect to the spine through screws and hooks. Spinal fusion surgery takes 4 to 8 hours, depending on the person’s specific curvature.

Scoliosis surgeons can successfully treat the spinal curve and make significant improvements on the curvature. Depending on the degree of curvature, your surgeon can correct it to a noticeable level. However, it will still have a slight curve. 

The level of scoliosis flexibility determines the degree to which a surgeon can correct it. A doctor will check this before surgery and assess to what degree they can align the curve.

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