View Full Version : sport and age differences surgery

10-10-2011, 09:10 PM
I have 3 related questions re our 14 yo daughter who has a double curve of 60 degrees which has been stable for 12 months. She has no pain and minimal obvious physical changes. She plays representative basketball and exercises 5-6 times/week. We have been rec for surgery.
1 What are the implications for sport if having the surgery?
2. What difference if any would there be between surgery at 14/15 v at 18years?
3. What studies have been done re likely rates of progression ?(as given no pain or cosmetic problems we are concerned about surgery)
Many thanks
concerned Mum

Dr Scoliosis
12-10-2011, 06:56 PM
Thank you for your enquiry. In attempting to phrase answers to your question I am presuming that your daughter has idiopathic scoliosis and the double curve is one where the thoracic curve more or less equals the lumbar curve. That is, the two curves more or less balance each other out and hence, the outward appearances are not overtly abnormal. On the other hand, a 60 degree single thoracic curve high in the thoracic spine can produce a significant cosmetic blemish.

1. What are the implications for sport if having the surgery?

Every surgeon has a different set of rules for the management of sporting activities following spinal fusion. To some extent the restrictions depend upon the extent of the spinal fusion and the number of remaining mobile intervertebral discs in the spine. This is a question you should put to the surgeon. The Dr Scoliosis on duty in a long experience advised against participation in contact/collision/high impact sports following spinal fusion for scoliosis. For example, someone with a spinal fusion may undertake horse riding but would be ill-advised to partake in rodeo riding, buck jumping and steeple chasing. Similarly, many patients with fusion for scoliosis become social skiers but put themselves at risk if they partake in ski acrobatics, ski jumping or ski racing. It is a simple matter of protecting the spine in a sensible way. After a spinal fusion there tends to be an increased stress at the junction of the "stiffened" (fused) section of the spine and the remaining mobile part.

2. What differences, if any, would there be between surgery at 14/15 and at 18 years?

By and large, double curves, which I assume your daughter has, do not have a good prognosis. If she is left untreated until 18 years of age then further progression will have taken place. Double curves of 60 degrees are an indication for correction. The smaller the curve the better the correction, that is, the long-term result.

3. What studies have been done re likely rates of progression?

In the early stages, significant curvatures may not give any pain whatsoever. This is the basis for early detection. Curves of 60 degrees would be expected to progressively deteriorate after skeletal maturity has been reached and the rates of progression tend to differ a little according to the location of the curve. This matter too should be discussed with your surgeon.

I trust this information is helpful.

Dr Scoliosis

12-10-2011, 07:08 PM
Dear Dr Scoliosis,
Thank you for your reply. Yes the curves do balance each other out so there is no significant cosmetic problem and there has never been any pain. Just to clarify if we went ahead with the surgery are you saying she should never play competitive basketball again? This would be a significant psychological blow for her at this stage.
Thank you for your time,
kind regards

Dr Scoliosis
13-10-2011, 01:04 PM
Your question concerning sporting activity after spinal fusion for scoliosis is one to be pursued with the surgeon who does the operation. Not unexpectedly, there is a considerable variation in the way surgeons manage their patients post-operatively in terms of sport and this may well vary according to the extent of the spinal fusion.

Basketball is a collision sport and puts considerable demand on the players. These days there are so many sports available to young people and it is usually possible to induce a young person to follow a different path. However, from what you have said it is quite apparent that you need clear and precise answers from the surgeon which you should seek at the next consultation.

Dr Scoliosis