As with all things in life, sometimes it’s necessary to take risks to reap the rewards. If you’re considering having surgery to treat your scoliosis, you may be feeling a little apprehensive. This is normal — any surgery can be a daunting proposition. There are always a thousand “what-ifs” that will run through your mind. The upside is that the benefits of scoliosis surgery far outweigh the risks. Imagine being able to go through your day without the pain or difficulty caused by scoliosis. It’s a possibility that is within your reach!
Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, is estimated to affect as much as 2 to 3 percent of the population. For some, it can be a minor issue that doesn’t really have any effect on their daily life, while for others it’s more severe and can be a constant struggle. If you’re considering corrective surgery, you should educate yourself as much as possible on both the scoliosis surgery risks and the benefits; it may just be the key to enjoying a fulfilling and improved life.
Here are five reasons that you may want to undergo surgery:
1. Fewer Health Risks in the Future
Depending on the severity of your particular case of scoliosis and its progression, you may find that by having surgery, you reduce or eliminate certain health risks. In cases of moderate to severe scoliosis, the curvature of the spine (over 70 degrees) can cause the ribs to be pressed into the lungs and heart, causing injuries and sometimes resulting in lung infections such as pneumonia.
Other health risks can include a higher risk of damage to vertebrae and other skeletal structures, as scoliosis is frequently associated with osteopenia, a condition in which there is a lower-than-normal level of bone mineral density. Osteopenia puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis, which, when compounded with the asymmetries posed by scoliosis, can create the perfect storm for compromised bone structures. This alone makes the scoliosis surgery risks pale in comparison to its benefits.
2. Reduced Pain
While not everyone who suffers from scoliosis will experience the associated pain, it’s more common than it should be. Most people with scoliosis deal with at least some level of discomfort caused by the abnormal configuration of their spines. It’s not a guarantee, but there is a distinct possibility that undergoing surgery to correct the abnormal curvature of the spine will result in some level of pain relief, if not a full cessation. It’s important to discuss options for eliminating associated pain with your surgeon prior to surgery in order to determine the right course of action.
3. Boost Your Confidence and Self-Image
A particularly cruel condition, scoliosis can have an impact on not only your physical health but also your emotional and mental well-being. It’s likely you have dealt with the emotional turmoil of looking and moving differently from the majority of people due to your spinal curvature. Children with the condition often experience a high level of teasing and taunting from peers — unfortunately, this can even follow them into adulthood.
If your condition is severe enough to warrant a brace, you’ve probably learned to try to make yourself as unnoticeable as possible. You shouldn’t feel as though you need to be on the periphery — what if you could join the activities around you and be noticed for the person you are, instead of being defined by your condition?
4. More Freedom in Your Day-to-Day Life
Your daily activities can be deeply impacted by your scoliosis. What may be an easy task for most might prove to be arduous at best for someone living with scoliosis. Carrying a bucket of water, stooping to pick something up — all of these things and more can be incredibly difficult to do when you suffer from scoliosis.
Luckily, surgery can help correct posture and alignment issues, making it easier for you to bear more weight, move more freely and approach tasks with much greater ease and comfort. When you really think about it, how many of your day-to-day activities and tasks have you had to modify or completely avoid (or bring in assistance for) due to your inability to perform them efficiently? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to load your own groceries? Water your flowerbeds? Vacuum your rugs?
5. Enjoy a Better Quality of Life
When you weigh the scoliosis surgery risks against the higher quality of life you could have, it may change your outlook on seeking surgical intervention. With a well-planned and executed recovery post-op, you can expect to do things you never thought would be possible and, perhaps, gain some independence from the pain and discomfort you’ve been experiencing since the onset of your condition.
There are many compelling reasons to consider having surgery for the correction or remediation of your scoliosis. It’s ultimately up to you and your doctor to review the scoliosis surgery risks and weigh them against the benefits. This should help you decide if it will bring you the freedom and relief you seek from your condition.