3 Common Pediatric Ortho Surgery Questions Answered!
Updated: Feb 27
Ameeka George, MS, CPNP is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in Pediatric Orthopedic-Spine Surgery, with an emphasis on Cerebral Palsy, Scoliosis and autism.
Last week we had her take user submissions to answer questions about Pediatric Ortho-Spine Surgery! Here were the top 3
1. What is scoliosis surgery and how long will I be in the hospital?
Surgery for scoliosis is called a posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion (PSIF). During surgery, the patient lies on their stomach and the surgery is done from the back. There are lots of specialists in the room including nurses, anesthesia, neuro-monitoring specialists, and of course your orthopedic surgeon! These are just to name a few ☺ Time of surgery is variable, but for idiopathic scoliosis in otherwise healthy kids it’s about 5-6 hours in the room including set up time for anesthesia. Kids are usually in the hospital for 3-5 days on average.
2. What about post-op pain?!
Your child will have pain after surgery, but it is well managed during their hospital stay using multimodal techniques. This varies by hospital, but on average, narcotics are used initially for severe pain via patient controlled analgesia (PCA), but this is supplemented with IV Tylenol and/or Motrin, massage, ice, music/light therapy, and distraction techniques. The goal is to safely manage your child’s pain wherever they are! You will also be discharged with medication for pain and constipation to manage postoperative symptoms as the first week home is usually the hardest. You’ll be supported every step of the way.
3. Will there be scarring and how can I make it better?
Scarring is a concern for many patients! This depends on the type of surgery, but for spine surgery the incision is about the thickness of a pencil line. Very thin! Initially, the important part is keeping the incision out of direct sunlight so wearing something like a rash guard when outside can be helpful and of course applying sunscreen often. Many people like to use special scar creams like Mederma, however we have found that just something as simple as cocoa butter with Vitamin E can be super helpful! The important part is really rubbing it into the scar, not necessarily the amount applied