Gaining & Losing Height after Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 5, 2015


Patients worry about all sorts of things before and after spine surgery. Will recovery be painful? How long after surgery can I get back to work? Another issue that may not cross a patient’s mind prior to surgery is gaining or losing height after spine surgery. In this article, we aim to answer the question: “Can a patient lose or gain height after a minimally invasive spine surgery?” Read on to learn more about this topic.

Getting Taller after Spine Surgery

Some surgical procedures can indeed cause a patient to gain a few inches post-operatively. Total disc replacement surgery, and spine fusion procedures can both result in small height gains depending on the hardware used. These increases in height are typically quite minor and may not even be noticeable to the patient.

Scoliosis correction surgery can especially increase a patient’s height. This procedure involves straightening out an excessively curved spine using hardware and other techniques. The result is a straighter spine that allows the patient to stand up straighter than they were previously able to do. Correcting an extreme curvature can add inches to the patient’s overall height.

Getting Shorter after Spine Surgery

On the flip side, there is also the potential for a patient to get shorter after a minimally invasive spine surgery. A patient can lose height even before a spine procedure. Degenerative spinal discs and vertebrae fractures can cause height loss in the patient’s spine. Many surgical procedures are meant to prevent and correct this loss of height. Certain procedures can result in a minor loss of height as well but the likelihood of this is quite small.

If you are worried about gaining or losing height after your spine surgery, talk to your physician about your concerns. They will be able to explain to you the ins and outs of the procedure, and the likelihood of height change post-op.

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