Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery
VANCOUVER – Orthopedic surgeons at
BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services
Authority, are the first to perform minimally invasive spinal surgery
for scoliosis in Canada.
Scoliosis is a medical condition where the spine is curved (shaped like
an “s”) and may also be rotated. Surgery may be required to correct the
curve in the spine.
“To access the spine and back muscles, we make three small minimally
invasive incisions in the patient’s back instead of one large incision,”
says Dr. Firoz Miyanji, Pediatric Spine Surgeon, BC Children’s. “Then,
we use a special technique to feed a rod to support the spine through
the incisions and underneath the spinal muscles, using the natural
muscle planes instead of extensively stripping the muscle off the bone.
The rod allows for correction of the scoliosis.”
Patients who have idiopathic scoliosis (no other underlying medical
condition causing the curve) are the best candidates for this technique.
With this minimally invasive technique, they experience less pain, less
blood loss, and can get up and move around earlier, enabling them to go
Dr. Miyanji performed this technique for the first time at BC Children’s
and in Canada on Carmen Stolk, an 18-year-old from Prince George.
Because of this procedure, Carmen was able to recover more quickly
without a stay in the pediatric intensive care unit. She had her first
follow-up appointment at BC Children’s on October 8, six weeks after the
surgery. She has minimal scarring and has recovered well.
Thirty years ago, Carmen’s mother, Donna Stolk, who also had scoliosis,
had a rod inserted into her spine at BC Children’s Hospital. “I was at
BC Children’s for three weeks on a Stryker frame and had to be turned
every four hours,” recalls Donna. “I was sent home on a flight to
Kamloops, taking up 12 regular seats; on the floor of a float plane for
two hours; and then put into the back of a pick-up truck to be driven to
my house. I was in a full body cast on my back for two months and then a
walking body cast for four. Recovering from my surgery took more than
six months. Carmen was operated on a Monday and walked away Friday.”
“The difference between Donna’s and Carmen’s experiences is a great
example of how surgical procedures have improved,” says Dr. Christopher
Reilly, Head, Department of Orthopedics, BC Children’s. “We have an
excellent spinal surgery team at BC Children’s Hospital, and we are
pleased to be able to provide this type of surgery for our patients.
This is a positive step in reducing wait time for certain types of
scoliosis surgery as many of our patients with spinal deformities are
candidates for this minimally invasive surgical procedure. We continue
to work hard to provide the best care possible for the children of B.C.”
Posted October 22, 2009