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Spinal Osteotomy


Spinal osteotomy is a surgical procedure usually performed to treat spinal deformity. Spinal osteotomies are often used as part of a spinal reconstructive procedure to achieve spinal balance, stability and correct spinal alignment. Bone is cut in part of the vertebral segment and then removed to realign the spine in proper positioning. Spinal deformity correction surgery with osteotomy is an option when nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve pain or symptoms. Surgery may be needed for patients whose deformity is progressing or who have curvatures leading to nerve compression. Surgical reconstruction involves some correction of the curve, with a goal of relieving pain and preventing the curvature from worsening in the future

Osteotomy Techniques

There are a number of different types of osteotomy techniques. The specific osteotomy used in surgery depends on the location of the spinal deformity and the amount of correction needed. As part of a spinal realignment procedure, spinal hardware in the form of rods and screws may be used to hold the spine in place while the bones heal. Two examples of an osteotomy are shown below. The area of resection is different in the two examples, but the overall goal remains to correct improper spinal alignment. 

Here, a portion of the bone in the back of the spine is removed to create a lordotic posture.

This is done to correct a kyphotic (hunchback) posture. Here, removing wedged shaped bone allows the spine to straighten out.

Surgical Preparation

The Spinal Specialists at Virginia Spine Institute perform x-rays after a complete history and physical exam to determine the magnitude of the spinal deformity and assess the flexibility of the spine. This allows the surgeons to determine the extent of necessary correction. Careful pre-operative assessment of the curve is required to determine optimal alignment after surgery. The decision to perform surgery to correct spinal deformity with an osteotomy should be made carefully after a thorough discussion with your spine surgeon. 

It is important that all patients are physically and psychologically prepared for any surgery. All patients should stop smoking prior to surgery, as smoking is extremely detrimental to your spine health, potential bone healing and successful surgical outcomes. Any spine surgery has surgical risks involved. You need to discuss these with your surgeon at your pre-operative appointment. Read about Preparing for Spine Surgery and Possible Complications from Spine Surgery.  

Read about Recovery from Spine Surgery and if you are a Dr. Good patient, the Spinal Deformity Packet. Make sure you understand your post-operative plan before your surgery date. Please review additional details with your surgeon prior to your surgery.


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