Talking To Your Child About Spinal Fusion Surgery
A spinal fusion surgery is a pretty common procedure for individuals with SMA. This operation is done to help people with SMA prevent or manage scoliosis https://smanewstoday.com/spinal-muscular-atrophy-scoliosis/.
I had this surgery in the summer of 2005, when I was 11 years old. In my experience talking with other people in the SMA community, I would say that most people who have this surgery do it when they’re younger. The longer you wait to do it, the more likely you are to develop severe scoliosis.
Spinal fusion is a major surgery, and recovering from it is physically and emotionally taxing. I was able to have mine before the school year started, but I spent much of that summer bedridden and unable to do much. The surgery was well worth it, as I was able to sit up straighter and improve my respiratory levels, but the recovery was long and painful.
If you are a parent or caregiver, I would recommend talking with your child and their doctors about this surgery. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but it’s likely that their doctors will recommend it. Talk to your child about it, and ask them what concerns they might have. Also, feel free to reach out to me and others with SMA who have gone through this surgery. I’m always happy to answer questions, and to talk about why I’m glad I did this procedure.
What questions do you have about spinal fusion? Who here has had this surgery, or has a child who has had it?