Scoliosis Surgery in South Africa

More than 20-30 million people are known to be affected with scoliosis across the world. It is recognized as a curved spine condition, or a condition where the vertebral column bends resulting into a C-shape hunch formation. Scoliosis is mostly reported among children before adolescence or have just hit puberty. However, it may affect any individual from 7 years to 40 years of age. In primary stages, the condition can be improved with the help of physiotherapist, back braces, and invasive treatments, however, surgical procedures may also be implemented in extreme cases. In general, scoliosis surgery cost begins approximately from $11,000 to $55,000 and may exceed depending on a number of factors. 

What is Scoliosis Surgery?

In case of more than 45° or 50° of spinal curvature, scoliosis surgery is implemented. The surgical procedure is performed in order to realign the bent spine into a normal or straight spine. The procedure involves fusion of the curved spines which are thereafter pushed or realigned to form a straighter backbone. This is furnished with the help of specialized tools which are inserted via multiple minute incisions made throughout the backbone.

Ideal Candidates for Scoliosis Surgery 

Scoliosis surgeries are being performed in millions every year across the world. Where the procedure is mostly performed in children, modern advancements have made it possible for aged individuals as well. The ideal candidates for scoliosis surgery are children/individual who:

  • Have more than 40° to 45° of curvature
  • Are unresponsive towards conservative treatments, exercises, and physiotherapies
  • Do not show improvement even after implementation of braces

Factors affecting the cost of Scoliosis Surgery

The average scoliosis surgery cost highly depends on the country where it is performed. Apart from that, the other factors affecting the cost are:

  • Degree of curvature
  • Extent of surgery required
  • Complexity of the condition
  • Possible risks to nerves attached (if any)
  • Type of healthcare benefits availed.
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About the Scoliosis Surgery

Scoliosis is a medical condition, characterized by an abnormal curve of the spine. There are different types of scoliosis, depending on the exact location of the abnormal curve and the age of the patient. The abnormal curvature of the spin is the most common symptom of scoliosis.

The spinal curve looks straight when looking from the front. The normal curved of the spine visualized from the sides are known as kyphosis and lordosis. People with scoliosis develop an additional curve in their spine to five it a C-shaped or an S-shaped appearance.

Scoliosis can affect adults as well as children. However, it is most common in patients aged above 10. Additionally, this condition is more common in girls than boys. A sideways curvature of the lumbar vertebrae is also known as lumbar scoliosis.

The most common test used to diagnosed scoliosis is Adam’s Forward Bend Test. During this test, the doctor asks the suspected patient to bend at the waist with palms touching the floor and knees straight. In this position, any abnormality in the curvature of the spine is clearly visible.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

There are no specific symptoms of scoliosis. The appearance of the abnormal curvature of the spine is most often the first sign of scoliosis. The diagnosis of this condition most commonly takes place during an examination at school and college.

In severe cases of scoliosis, breathing difficulty, chest pain, and shortness of breath may appear. Scoliosis is not usually painful. But it can cause neck pain, back pain, abdominal pain, rib pain, and muscle spasms.

How is Scoliosis Surgery performed?

There are three approaches or types of scoliosis surgery. Out of these, spinal fusion is the most common procedure.

  • Rod placement: In this approach, rods of specific length are placed in the back of the child with scoliosis. These rods are anchored to the spine, which helps maintain the spine curvature as the child grows. However, a surgery is required every six months to one year to correct the length of the rods as per the increased length of the spine. Once the child has reached a stage where the spine is matured, spinal fusion can be conducted. Fusing the vertebrae as an age where the body development is still taking place may lead to a disproportionate body and less room for specific organs such as lungs.
  • Fusionless surgery: In this approach, a constant pressure is built on the outer side of the spinal curve to stop or delay its development. As a result, the growth is restricted in the abnormally curved part of the spine, while the inner part continues to grow normally. Over a period of time, the spine achieves the normal curvature. This approach has several potential benefits over spinal fusion and may lead to greater stability but it is a newer approach with limited clinical data backing its use.
  • Spinal fusion: This is the most common approach used to treat scoliosis. During this procedure, two or more adjacent vertebrae are fused to form a single bone that is no longer flexible. This procedure is highly effective and safe and this is the reason why surgeons recommend patients to undergo this surgery for long-term relief.

Recovery from Scoliosis Surgery

The patient is expected to move around in two or three days after the surgery. But total stay in the hospital can range from four to seven days. Children can resume going to school after two to four weeks of the surgery.

Physical activity has to be highly limited to keep the spine immobile allowing better fusion. Bending twisting, or lifting will be restricted for the first three months. Surgeons recommend wearing braces for a few months during the scoliosis surgery recovery.

Patients will be occasionally monitored with intermittent X rays even after one to two years until the bone fuses completely and becomes solid. Female patients can undergo normal delivery after undergoing the surgery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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