After adolescent idiopathic scoliosis surgery

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Every patient's recovery following scoliosis surgery is different. Read about what to expect following your child’s surgery including how they will be monitored immediately after the operation, during recovery and after discharge from the hospital.

Key points

  • Most children who have scoliosis surgery stay in hospital for two to five days.
  • After surgery, your child will be continuously monitored. Doctors and nurses will ask your child various questions about their pain levels, appetite, bowel and urinary function, and the sensation in their back, to ensure they are recovering appropriately, and their spinal cord has not been injured. It is important that your child answers as many of the questions asked as possible.
  • Stitches will close the incision on your child's back, and they will have a large bandage covering the incision site. Your child will have a shower and their first dressing change two days after surgery, where a new bandage will be put on their back. This new bandage can be removed approximately two days after it has been applied and will not need to be replaced again once removed.
  • In order for your child to go home, they must have normal bladder function, pass gas and/or have had a bowel movement, be able to drink fluids and eat small amounts of food, walk short distances, use the stairs and be able to control pain with pain medications.
  • Your child’s health-care team will discuss physical activity restrictions, such as lifting, forward bending, and twisting of the spine before discharge home.
  • Your child will need help with activities such as showering and getting dressed until they can work their way up to doing them independently.
Last updated: December 8th 2020