Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is a common spine condition that affects millions of children in the country each year. If left untreated, it can affect the quality of the patient’s life as they continue growing. One effective way to straighten the curved spine is through Vertebral Body Tethering – a minimally invasive surgery that offers more flexibility than other procedures.
In this article, we will discuss how Vertebral Body Tethering corrects the spine curve and how it compares with other treatments for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.
Is VBT An Effective Treatment for AIS?
Vertebral Body Tethering is a newly approved treatment by the FDA for idiopathic scoliosis. It is a minimally invasive procedure that straightens the spine and helps it grow healthily. Since it doesn’t involve fusing parts of the spine, it offers a wider range of motion for the patient.
However, not everyone can be qualified to undergo vertebral body tethering for correcting the spine curve. Patients must meet the following qualifications to opt for this treatment:
- The patient must be aged at least 10 years old
- Scoliosis must be idiopathic and not a symptom of another medical condition
- The spinal curve must be 35 to 70-degree angle
- The skeletal maturity must be 0-2 on the Risser scale
Comparing VBT With Other AIS Treatments
The biggest advantage of VBT from other AIS treatments is that it offers more flexibility and fewer risks of complications for the patient.
Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Medicine
The treatment plan for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients will depend on the severity of the problem and how early the diagnosis is. One of the ways to manage scoliosis and prevent the curve from progressing is through physical therapy. This method utilizes techniques like strength and range of motion exercises.
Another way to improve the patient’s flexibility as well as relieve back pains is chiropractic medicine. Scoliosis-specific chiropractic treatments are usually utilized by people who already had corrective surgeries and adolescents who don’t want to wear a brace.
But unlike VBT, both physical therapy and chiropractic medicine are not corrective procedures for idiopathic scoliosis. They are only complementary treatments that can assist in the patient’s recovery and improve their mobility.
Braces are typically prescribed for patients that have a spine curve of around 25 to 40-degree angles. Young patients who wear braces for their idiopathic scoliosis will be advised to wear it until the spine growth has stopped. This is when their Risser score has reached 4 or 5.
However, instead of correcting the spine shape, it only stops the curve from progressing. Although it is effective for many idiopathic scoliosis patients, wearing a body brace is difficult because it limits movement.
Spinal Fusion Surgery
Spinal fusion surgery is recommended for patients who have a spine curve of at least 45-degree angles. It aims to stop the curve from worsening while attempting to straighten the spine. The surgery involves removing the joints between the affected part of the spine and inserting a bone graft between the spaces to help it fuse together into a solid unit.
Unlike VBT that utilizes a tether, spinal fusion surgery uses rods, screws, and hooks to hold the spine together as it heals. Since it is an invasive procedure, spinal fusion surgery is accompanied by more risks and a longer recovery period.
Corrective Treatments for AIS by Scoliosis Associates
Here at Scoliosis Associates, we are experienced in providing excellent care for pediatric and adult patients diagnosed with spine deformities. With the right tools and techniques, we guarantee to provide treatments that will help you return to your old routines quickly. Call us at (212) 241 – 8947 now to book a consultation.