Vertebral body tethering is a newly approved treatment by the FDA that aims to correct the spinal curve of AIS patients. It is a minimally invasive procedure that offers more flexibility to patients without the risks that accompany a major surgery like spinal fusion surgery.
In this article, we will explain all the important details about VBT to help you decide if this treatment is the best option for your child.
Vertebral Body Tethering: A New Treatment for AIS
According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, around 4 million children are affected by Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis in the US. Since the main cause of idiopathic scoliosis is still unknown, it’s difficult to figure out a way to prevent it.
But for a patient who has been diagnosed with AIS, they have the option to undergo several treatment plans to correct the curve or stop its progression. Among these treatments is the Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) introduced by Zimmer Biomet Spine, Inc. This procedure provides patients with a safer alternative to correct their spinal curves while allowing them to have a wider range of motion.
Is VBT a Safe Treatment for AIS?
Vertebral Body Tethering is an FDA-approved treatment for correcting the spinal curve. Gaining recognition from the FDA means that a device or treatment is an effective remedy for a condition without the risk of developing severe complications.
Another reason which guarantees VBT as a safe treatment for AIS is that it is a minimally invasive procedure. It involves less blood loss and smaller incisions than typical spinal fusion surgery.
How Does VBT Correct the Spine Curve?
During VBT, the tether is installed and secured with screws on one side of the spine. This cord rod is pulled tautly to relieve the compression from one side of the spine. By slowing the growth of the curved spine on one side, the other side catches up. This allows the vertebrae to develop straighter as the patient continues growing.
Since VBT does not involve fusing some parts of the spine or wearing a bulky device under the clothes, it provides additional flexibility for the patient compared to other methods of correcting the spinal curve.
Are There Any Risks That Come with VBT Procedures?
In rare cases, tether breakage or overcorrection may occur. If this happens, another surgery will be needed to remove or replace the tether. Other complications that may develop after the treatment are minor issues that can be solved by another visit to the doctor’s office. These risks include:
- Infection at the site
- Bleeding at the site
- Allergic reactions
To ensure that the patient’s VBT procedure will be successful, it’s better to find a spine specialist who has experience in performing the surgery.
Vertebral Body Tethering and Other AIS Treatments at Scoliosis Associates
At Scoliosis Associates, we specialize in providing safe and effective treatments for patients with idiopathic scoliosis. Our spine specialists, like Dr. Lonner, are experienced in performing different corrective treatments for AIS, including Vertebral Body Tethering.
Learn more about VBT at Scoliosis Associates by consulting with us now.