If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis and surgery may be needed, you might have questions about what to expect in the days, weeks and months before, during and after surgery.
Our specialists of surgeons, physical therapists and staff are here to answer your questions and make sure your child receives the best treatment and post-surgical care possible. Rest assured that during your appointments leading up to the surgery as well as your child’s time in the hospital, your team will be by your side to guide you through the process.
The information below is an overview to help you better understand the day-of-surgery process as well as what to expect post-surgerys.
On the day of your child’s scoliosis surgery, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Once surgery is completed (usually 5–7 hours), our staff will gradually and gently waken your child in our Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). This process usually takes 2 hours and your surgeon will brief your family while you are in our PACU.
Once your child is awake, vital signs are stable and pain is well controlled, your child will be transported to the Pediatric Inpatient Floor (PICU). In the PICU, our staff focuses on monitoring your child’s vital signs, making sure they are getting restful sleep and providing any other help they may need, such as pain management.
A typical hospital stay after scoliosis surgery lasts between 4 and 6 days. Each day, your child will go through a number of tests and examinations to make sure they’re on the right track to a full recovery.
Be aware that while your child is in the hospital, they may need to:
Our specialists and physical therapists will work closely with your child to ensure they are on the right track to a full recovery. Each day, our specialists will make sure your child is continuing to recover by walking, decreasing pain medication, sitting more frequently, and progressing from a liquid diet to solid foods.
Before your child is discharged from the hospital, we carefully follow all steps and hospital protocols to ensure they are ready to go home.
Every child and situation is different, however in general these are the things a doctor considers before discharging a child from the hospital:
Your surgeon will provide you with guidelines to help you take care of your child at home, and someone from your child’s care team will go over them with you before you leave the hospital. You’ll have a chance to ask questions so you can make sure you are well-informed before you go home. These guidelines will include more specific information about the topics below:
Your child will have their first follow-up visit 6 weeks after surgery and at this time, your doctor will probably take X-rays to check on the spine implants. Most children need to attend routine 3-month, 6-month, 12-month, 2-year and 5-year follow-up appointments. At each appointment, your child will likely have X-rays and your child’s doctor will talk to you about when your child can progress with certain activities.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, call your doctor as soon as possible, or go to the emergency department if you are concerned that you shouldn’t wait. If your child: