Scoliosis Surgery: the Untold Truth
by Scoliosis Correction Center
Scoliosis is estimated to affect 4.5% of the general population. In a nation of approximately 300 million people, this means that over 13 million cases of scoliosis exist, and almost 500 more are diagnosed each day - about 173,000 every year. According to some studies, the average scoliosis patient will suffer a 14-year reduction in their average life expectancy. This means that if by some miracle we could eliminate scoliosis completely, this would add 168 million years of health and productivity to our society. Clearly this is not a minor issue, but an epidemic, and one that should be taken very seriously.
There are no scoliosis experts. If there were, there would be no scoliosis patients. Please consider all the information you get carefully, evaluate the alternatives, and then make a conscious and deliberate decision on its validity. For too long, professional jealousy and ego have dominated all facets of the healthcare profession. It is time to refocus on the real reason our profession exists - without any patients, there would be no doctors. Let us place the health and well-being of those who have been entrusted to our care before any personal considerations, and work together to find the most effective cure for every condition.
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Every year in the United States, roughly 20,000 Harrington rod implantation surgeries are performed on patients with scoliosis, at an average cost of $120,000 per operation. One-third of all spinal surgeries are performed on scoliosis patients. Every year, about 8,000 people who underwent this surgery in their youth for the correction of their scoliosis are legally defined as permanently disabled for the rest of their lives. Even worse, follow-up x-rays performed upon these individuals reveal that, an average of 22 years after the surgery was performed, their scoliosis has returned to pre-operative levels. The Harrington rods inserted into these individuals’ spines will either bend, break loose from the wires, or worse, break completely in two, necessitating further surgical intervention and removal of the rod. Once the rod is removed, corrosion (rust) is found on two out of every three. After the operation is performed, the average patient suffers a 25% reduction in their spinal ranges of motion. Non-fused adult scoliosis patients do not have this same impairment. This flatly contradicts the claim that having a steel rod fused to your spine will not affect your mobility, physical activities, or quality of life. These facts are never shared with the patient prior to the surgery. Parents do not choose the Harrington rod implantation procedure because it is the best choice for their son or daughter, but rather because they are misled into believing that it is the only choice. However, many studies suggest that the side effects of the surgery are worse than the side effects of the scoliosis itself.
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