12 Nov 2019   |   By : Dr Albert Winandar B.S, D.C

Scoliosis Surgery

Scoliosis Surgery

Scoliosis Surgery Background

Scoliosis has been discovered since Hippocrates (460BC - 370BC) and treatment for scoliosis has been developed and there are many advancement of scoliosis treatment over the past century including scoliosis surgery.

Scoliosis surgery has been discovered since 1960s. Surgical procedure was developed by Paul Harrington and using Harrington rod operated on ratchet system. Since then, scoliosis surgery has been improved and titanium rods has been used to replace metal rods, however someone with scoliosis usually will develop rotation of the spine due to muscular imbalance on both deep intrinsic involuntary musculature as well as surface extrinsic muscles. These muscles over time would become tighter and further imbalance. In addition, over time someone with scoliosis will develop compensated posture when they are going through their daily activities. These are the part that will cause scoliosis curve to keep getting worse even after growth spurts and may lead to scoliosis surgery.

Scoliosis is a symptom of Neuromusculoskeletal imbalance between brain and body deep intrinsic musculature and extrinsic musculature. These would lead to lack of coordination between brain and body during daily activities that would develop into posture problems and eventually lead to bending and rotation of the spine, hence the word scoliosis.

Our spine is combination of cervical(neck), thoracic(mid-back), lumbar(lower back), skull and hip joints. Every single joints contribute to movement in our body. Someone with scoliosis would have muscle tightness on one side of the spine and muscle inactivity on the opposite side of the spine. This imbalance would lead to rotation and bending of the spine and causing scoliosis curvature to increase. Scoliosis surgery would patch the symptom which is bending and rotation of the spine by adding rods, however it would not fix the problem. When surgery is being done, it is treating the spine, however deep subconscious involuntary muscles around the spine stays imbalance. Scoliosis surgery would also cause postural changes such as flat back of the thoracic spine, reduce spine flexibility and mobility, increase chance of having pain, numbness in the extremities, and causing early spine degeneration.

Scoliosis Surgery Testimony

Below, I am going to share testimony of one of our patient that went through scoliosis surgery when she was a teenager. This is merely her experience and her opinion in regards of scoliosis surgery.

Dear Dr Albert,

I would like to share my story about my 2 major scoliosis surgery that happened in my lifetime. I'm in my 30s, diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and I've had 2 major surgeries due to scoliosis in my life. I was born normal and healthy but in my teens, my parents discovered I had scoliosis. Not knowing what to do in the 1990s, nobody talked about scoliosis, there was no way to find out, their only option was the hospital.

After a few medical check ups, they decided to agree with the doctor’s suggestion to do a spinal fusion to my spine. This is to go through an 8 hours surgery, insert 2 titanium rod to my spine and hope my spine will be “normal” after the surgery. What I went through was pain after surgery, dizziness and vomiting.

1 year of my 1st surgery, my curve didn't get any better, in fact, the “world's strongest metal” bend together following the curve of my spine, which now if i think about it, is dangerous because if it happened to break while the rod is inside my body, I would have been in worse condition. Paralyze maybe. And so we did the 2nd surgery after the 1st one, this time round to remove the rods that is already bent.

The doctor will not tell what can happen 10 years down the road, they do not share what happens if there's numbness on the feet or when the pain that doesn't stop. Like what I went through, when the rod bent, the doctor said "she might not be able to walk after 10 years". I was just in my teens when he said that.

I have the biggest and longest scar at my back and the after effect of the surgery causes muscle weakness due to imbalance on one side of the body and with scars in the deep tissue, I have yet to find out what my future will be like.

Dear parents (of scoliosis child), if i could turn back time to meet my parents in person, I would strongly advise them NOT to do the surgery and seek 2nd opinion. There is absolutely NO guarantee the surgery can straighten or cure the spine. It may worsen the condition because with foreign object in the body, they will have long term restriction doing physical activities. I couldn't do any sports because of the rod. I was still growing and the rod couldn't grow/keep up with me.

I highly recommend the natural way of treatment/therapy because for the long term, your child will learn to master their body by creating body awareness and mindfulness of how they stand and sit.

Here are some alternatives treatment without surgery:

  • Chiropractor at All Well Scoliosis
  • Yoga for scoliosis - Academy of Yoga
  • Pilates for Scoliosis
  • Schroth Method - Core Fitness 

My parents still tell me, to this date, their biggest regret was putting me through the 2 surgeries and should have done more research than just to believe the doctor.

Dr Albert, after 3 sessions, I noticed the pain gradually decrease and I am more aware of how I stand and sit. I look forward to every session and hopefully, I will be able to get back to my feet and continue my passion for Kettlebell Sports.

Thank you Dr Albert for helping me.

Here are some links I've read up about surgery:


IG: @AlyScoli

Scoliosis condition is not absolutely has to end up with surgical intervention. Parents, if your daughters or sons have scoliosis or has been diagnose with scoliosis, do not take this news lightly, please do your own research on the condition and find out many different type of non-invasive treatment to help them. Please get second, even third opinion prior in taking the surgical procedure.

Scoliosis is a neuromusculoskeletal condition that causing lack of coordination between brain and body during daily movement that would eventually create compensated posture and lead to increase scoliosis curvature. If we can improve brain and body coordination and increase deep intrinsic musculature balance as well as extrinsic musculature, then scoliosis curvature will be able to improve, posture will be able to improve and scoliosis surgery will be able to avoid.