Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) and Scoliosis Tethering in Illinois
While surgery is a last resort to halt the progression of a scoliosis curve, it’s often the case that patients who are still growing can benefit from vertebral body tethering (VBT) and scoliosis tethering. This is especially true when conservative approaches haven’t been successful in hating progression.
While spinal fusion is the traditional response, this approach robs patients of mobility. That’s not the case with VBT.
Significantly less invasive than other methodologies, VBT controls the growth of bone during growth spurts. This is when adolescent patients tend to see the curvature progress aggressively.
It’s important to note here that VBT can also be applied to patients who are either experiencing minimal skeletal growth or have stopped growing entirely (largely depending on the flexibility of the spine).
Slowing Down Bone Growth
The concept of VBT grew out of the Hueter-Volkmann principle, which states that bone which is placed under pressure grows more slowly and, as a result, becomes denser and more resilient as it grows.
This effect is aimed at influencing imbalance caused by the scoliosis curve. As the curve progresses, the bone on the curve’s interior grows more slowly than the bone on the curve’s exterior, which leads to a wedge deformity.
VBT is seen as the most successful intervention for scoliosis patients and has better outcomes than spinal fusion techniques. This is due to maintaining flexibility in the spine, while allowing growth to continue normally. There’s also the advantage of long-term curve correction, with time.
As stated earlier, this type of surgery is best adapted to patients who are still growing and are over the age of 10. The procedure can even be applied to curves of between 40 and 70 degrees. In some cases, VBT can be used to treat younger children and those who have stopped growing, who wish to avoid spinal fusion.
Vertebral body tethering employs 1 or 2 very small incisions and deploys imaging technology to guide the surgeon’s hands. This factor alone reduces some profound complications associated with all surgeries, especially infection.
Titanium screws are then introduced. These are coated with a substance mimicking the composition of human bone, which helps it unite with the existing skeletal structure.
A flexible cord rod is then inserted in the screws and pulled tight to begin the process of correcting the scoliosis curvature.
In 3- 5 days, the patient is ready to go home and in 6 weeks, ready to play sports.
In those six weeks, the titanium screws will have integrated with the vertebrae, creating a stable structure for curve mitigation.
Scoliosis & Spine Associates
Our lead physician and director, Dr. Baron Lonner, is a renowned specialist in the field of scoliosis surgery, research and innovation. He brings 2 decades’ experience to vertebral body tethering (VBT) and scoliosis tethering in Illinois. Making life better for scoliosis patients is a mission at Scoliosis & Spine.
Is your child a candidate for this groundbreaking surgery? Contact us.