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Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery: an innovative technique in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Vishal Sarwahi*, Adam L Wollowick, Etan P Sugarman, Jonathan J Horn, Melanie Gambassi and Terry D Amaral

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

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Scoliosis 2011, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-6-16

Published: 11 August 2011


Minimally invasive spine surgery is becoming more common in the treatment of adult lumbar degenerative disorders. Minimally invasive techniques have been utilized for multilevel pathology, including adult lumbar degenerative scoliosis. The next logical step is to apply minimally invasive surgical techniques to the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). However, there are significant technical challenges of performing minimally invasive surgery on this patient population. For more than two years, we have been utilizing minimally invasive spine surgery techniques in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. We have developed the present technique to allow for utilization of all standard reduction maneuvers through three small midline skin incisions. Our technique allows easy passage of contoured rods, placement of pedicle screws without image guidance, and allows adequate facet osteotomy to enable fusion. There are multiple potential advantages of this technique, including: less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, earlier mobilization, and relatively less pain and need for pain medication. The operative time needed to complete this surgery is longer. We feel that a minimally invasive approach, although technically challenging, is a feasible option in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Although there are multiple perceived benefits, long term data is needed before it can be recommended for routine use.