Further Progression is Certain
Without treatment, further progression is almost certain. Severe scoliosis carries a 90% risk of progression.
Scoliosis is a very serious condition. Spinal curves that progress beyond 40 degrees are often recommended for multiple level spinal fusion surgery. The main reason that surgery is recommended at this level is to halt this continued progression. While scoliosis surgery has improved over the past several decades, choosing surgery is never easy, and many patients find that the risks and poor treatment outcomes make this a last resort.
Many cases of severe scoliosis have the potential to continue to progress throughout life. Even surgery is not always successful in preventing this continued progression. In the absence of any treatment, or if treatment is started but not maintained, the Cobb angle can increase even after the spine is done growing.
Many long-term studies indicate poor treatment outcomes for surgically treated patients and some studies even recommend a second surgery for complete removal of the hardware after bony fusion has taken place. Research indicates that surgical intervention, while potentially necessary at times for very large spinal curves, is primarily a cosmetic procedure which ultimately leaves the complex condition of scoliosis untreated. The surgical procedure simply transforms the spinal deformity into a permanent spinal dysfunction that often results in chronic pain, disfigurement, and even long-term disability.
Unfortunately, if the goal is to avoid surgery, patients are faced with limited choices once their scoliosis has become severe. However, we recognize that not every person feels comfortable choosing spinal surgery as a treatment. We are happy to provide a less invasive alternative. We have developed new and less invasive treatment methods for treating severe scoliosis. Specialized rehabilitation equipment, custom treatment plans and protocols have been created for the specific purpose of providing patients with a less invasive alternative for curves above forty degrees. If, for any reason, our treatment is not successful in achieving the results you expected, surgery is always available as a choice down the road.