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Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment near me in PA

Vertebral body tethering is a minimally invasive surgery meant to correct the spine curve caused by idiopathic scoliosis. Many adolescents opt for this treatment instead of braces or spinal fusion because it does not limit mobility. Patients can go back to their daily routine a couple of weeks after the surgery.

In this article, we will discuss what happens after patients undergo vertebral body tethering.

Life After Vertebral Body Tethering

Most scoliosis patients who receive treatment for their condition usually return to their usual routine after a few months. What makes the vertebral body tethering the better option among other treatments – like spinal fusion and back brace – is that it shortens the recovery time of the patient without limiting their mobility.

A study about “skeletally immature patients with scoliosis” explores the effects of VBT to adolescent scoliosis patients two to four years after the surgery. In this research, the treatment had about a 59% success rate and a 41% revision rate. Revision surgeries were performed on 10 out of 17 subjects because of:

  • Tether removal due to complete or overcorrection
  • Additional lumbar tether installment
  • Replacement due to breakage
  • Revision to spinal fusion surgery

What Happens During the Recovery Phase?

Depending on the surgeon’s decision, you can return home two to three days after the surgery. By this time, you are expected to carry out normal activities such as walking, climbing the stairs, and other basic chores. You can also return to school in one to three weeks, depending on the progress of your recovery.

The doctor should also cover the chest tube site with a dressing that can only be removed three days after the surgery. If you notice a scab over the treatment area, you can leave it uncovered. But if scabs are still absent, you should plaster a fresh bandage over the wound.

Aftercare Tips

Typically, physical therapy or back brace isn’t necessary after the surgery. But some doctors recommend physical therapy appointments after two weeks to help you recover faster. You must also return to the clinic to undergo X-rays or other imaging tests. This helps the doctor monitor your progress.

Regular trips to visit the doctor every six months until you finish growing is also advisable. This way, the surgeon can closely observe whether or not the curve continues to progress.

Results to Expect

Studies on patients who have remaining growth before they reach spine maturity showed that VBT is an effective treatment to straighten the spine and modulate its growth. With proper therapy and monitoring, they returned to their usual activities within four to six weeks.

However, since VBT is a new procedure, there is insufficient data about the long-term results of the treatment. We could only predict a few scenarios that might happen based on the results of other implant systems in place. Like the screws utilized in other surgical treatments, the titanium screws installed during VBT can also have prominence, migration, or pullout issues.

Treat Adolescent Scoliosis with Scoliosis Associates

Adolescent scoliosis can be a huge burden for young adults who are still growing into their bodies. Our specialists at Scoliosis Associates can offer you the right care and treatment fit for an adolescent scoliosis patient. Consult with us and let’s talk about the best procedure for you.