Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is the most common surgical treatment for severe scoliosis in adolescents. This surgery fuses or grows 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

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 your 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, meaning personal care, bending and walking. At six months, your 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.

1 year after surgery

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