Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) and Scoliosis Tethering in Texas
Surgery is the last resort for halting the progression of scoliosis curves. Adolescent patients who aren’t done growing can benefit from vertebral body tethering (VBT) and scoliosis tethering. It’s an excellent option when conservative responses haven’t been successful in stopping curve progression.
While spinal fusion is the conventional response, this surgery tends to diminish spinal mobility. With VBT, patient flexibility is retained.
Less invasive than alternatives, VBT slows the bone’s growth during growth spurts. This is when adolescent patients usually see rapid curvature progression.
It’s important we mention that VBT can also be an enormous help to patients who are either experiencing little skeletal growth or have sopped growing altogether (depending mostly on the flexibility of the patient’s spine).
Modulating Bone Growth
The VBT surgery was developed after the Hueter-Volkmann principle, which states that bone placed under pressure grows more slowly, becoming more resilient and denser as it continues growing.
This concept is employed in surgically correcting imbalance caused by the scoliosis curvature. As the curve progresses, the implicated bone in the curve’s interior grows more slowly than the exterior bone. This is responsible for creating the wedge vertebral deformity.
VBT has been demonstrated to be the most effective surgical response for scoliosis patients. The procedure returns outcomes vastly superior to spinal fusion responses. That’s largely due to VBT’s proven ability to maintain spinal flexibility, while not interfering with normal growth. There’s also the enormous benefit of progressive curve mitigation over time.
As we’ve touched on above, this procedure is remarkably effective for adolescent patients who are in the growth cycle and who are older than 10. It’s also key to note that VBT can be deployed to address curves between 40 and 70 degrees and to treat younger children, as well as patients who are no longer growing but who would prefer to avoid spinal fusion.
Vertebral body tethering employs 1 or 2 tiny incisions and uses imaging technology to direct the surgeon’s hands. This feature alone reduces the complications associated with all varieties of surgery, especially infection.
Titanium screws are then inserted. These are coated with a substance which duplicates the composition of human bone, helping the screw to integrate with the vertebra.
A flexible cord rod is inserted, passed through the screws and pulled tight – the start of addressing the curvature.
The patient may leave hospital in 3- 5 days. In 6 weeks, participation in sports is allowed – even encouraged.
In those six weeks, the titanium screws will have integrated with the vertebrae, creating a strong framework for curve correction.
Scoliosis & Spine Associates
Our lead doctor Dr. Baron Lonner is an internationally-renowned, award-winning leader in the field of scoliosis research, innovation and surgery. With 20 years’ experience with VBT procedures, he’s an expert in vertebral body tethering (VBT) and scoliosis tethering in Texas.
We encourage you to book an appointment to talk about how this extraordinary surgery can improve the life of your child living with scoliosis.