Long term effects of specialist spinal surgery prove to be positive

12th April 2011

A study investigating the long-term effects of a modern form of spinal surgery for children with scoliosis has proved that the technique seems to be successful.

Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York, had been concerned that using the new generation spinal implants could cause spinal problems for patients in the long run, but this was not the case.

They reviewed 20 patients who had undergone modern surgery at the hospital between 1991 and 1997, by looking at pre and post-operative MRI scans with at least ten years between them.

Lead researcher Dr Daniel Green said: "We found that the area of the spine adjacent to the fusion was pretty healthy and didn’t show any major degeneration ten years later. While mild degenerative changes were noted in almost every patient, the severe changes that we were concerned that we might find were not there at all."

All patients in the study had suffered from idiopathic scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. It was originally corrected using a method called Harrington Rods, but this was phased out in the 1990s.

Medical experts predict that around three per cent of people suffer from idiopathic scoliosis worldwide.

 Posted by Philip Briggs

1. Daniel Green et al. "Long Term MRI Follow-up Demonstrates Minimal Transitional Level Lumbar Disc Degeneration after Posterior Spine Fusion for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis." Spine, 1 February 2011.
 

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