One of the risks of scoliosis surgery is injury or damage to nerves contained within the spinal cord (about 1 percent) and of course surgery carries the risks of blood loss; infection; complications associated with anaesthesia and damage to the spinal cord.
Specifically, though unlikely, there is a chance of paralysis. In the months and years following surgery, there is the possibility of dislodged hooks; disc degeneration resulting in back and leg pain; and pseudoarthrosis this most commonly occurs when the bones do not heal properly after a fracture, when a fusion doesn't heal properly and a false joint develops at that site.
Spinal instrumentation carries a significant risk of nerve damage and paralysis. The skill of the surgeon can affect the outcome of the operation, so patients should look for a hospital and surgical team that has a lot of experience doing spinal procedures.
After surgery there is a risk of infection or an inflammatory reaction due to the presence of the foreign material in the body. Serious infection of the membranes covering the spinal cord and brain can occur. In the long-term, the instrumentation may move or break, causing nerve damage and requiring a second surgery. Some bone grafts do not heal well (pseudoarthrosis), lengthening the time the patient must spend in a cast or brace, or necessitating additional surgery.
Casting and wearing a brace may take an emotional toll, especially on young people. Patients who have had spinal instrumentation must avoid contact sports, and, for the rest of their lives, eliminate situations that will abnormally put stress on their spines.