Fusionless surgery for scoliosis

Article · September 2013with1 Reads
Scoliosis is a very common condition, affecting approximately 7 million children in the United States. Treatment of this condition in young children can be challenging. A variety of techniques that avoid spinal fusion have been developed to manage scoliosis in this patient population. This review article describes several of these methods, including growing rods, prosthetic ribs, vertebral stapling, and vertebral tethering. Particular attention is given to literature discussing each technique.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Review of relevant literature including personal opinions. To review the current researches investigating the efficacy of growing rod and thoracic expansion techniques in the treatment of congenital spine deformity of young children, and to highlight the contrasting advantages and limitations in the fusionless treatment of progressive congenital scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis has the potential for severe spinal deformity and thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS). Conventional fusion treatments in children tend to shorten the spine further exacerbating trunk shortening and TIS. In the surgical treatment of congenital spinal deformities in young children, while reconstructing the spinal deformity, one should simultaneously pursue preserving the growth potential of the vertebrae, improving the volume, symmetry, and functions of the thorax, and protecting this improvement during the growth. Today, employed in the treatment of spinal deformities of young children, there are 2 deformity reconstruction methods serving these targets: Growing rod technique and vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) with or without expansion thoracostomy. Peer-reviewed research articles and major international meeting presentations were reviewed. Methods were compared in terms of advantages and limitations. The growing rod technique is a safe and reliable method in the treatment of congenital spine deformity of young children who present some flexibility in the anomalous segment, or when the congenital anomaly involves a vertebral segment too long for resection, or with compensating curve with structural pattern concomitant to the congenital deformity. Expansion thoracostomy and VEPTR are the appropriate choice for severe congenital spine deformity when a large amount of growth remains. Although ventilator dependence is significantly decreasing, thoracic volume and space available for the lung are increased after expansion thoracostomy and VEPTR. Growing rod technique should be used in patients where the primary problem is at the vertebral column. If the patient has rib fusions and/or TIS has developed, in other words, if the primary problem involves the thoracic cage, expansion thoracostomy and VEPTR should be an appropriate option.
    Article · Sep 2009
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An immature bovine model was used to evaluate multilevel anterolateral flexible tethering in a growing spine. To evaluate radiographic, biochemical, histologic, and biomechanical results of tethered spinal growth. An anterolateral flexible tether has been shown to create a kyphotic and scoliotic spinal deformity in calves. Subsequent disc health and spinal motion has not been analyzed. Four consecutive thoracic vertebral bodies (T6-T9) were instrumented anteriorly in 36 1-month-old calves. Seventeen animals (Tether Group) were instrumented with a vertebral staple-two screw construct connected by 2 flexible stainless steel cables. Nineteen animals (Control Group) were instrumented with 1 vertebral body screw with no connecting cable. After a 6-month survival period, the spines were harvest en-bloc and underwent radiographic, computed tomography, biochemical, histologic, and biomechanical analysis. On average, 37.6 degrees +/- 10.6 degrees of coronal and 18.0 degrees +/- 9.9 degrees of sagittal deformity was created in the Tether Group, with significant vertebral wedging toward the tether (P < 0.001). Disc thickness decreased significantly in the Tether Group (P < 0.001), however, disc wedging was not observed. There was no change in gross morphologic disc health or disc water content (P = 0.73). However, proteoglycan synthesis was significantly greater in the tethered discs compared with controls (P < 0.001), and collagen type distribution was different with a trend toward increased type II collagen present on the tethered side of the disc (P = 0.09). Tethers significantly increased spinal stiffness in lateral bending and in flexion/extension (P < 0.05) without affecting torsional stiffness, however, after tether removal range of motion returned to control values. Tethering resulted in vertebral wedging while maintaining spinal flexibility. Although changes in proteoglycan synthesis, collagen type distribution, and disc thickness were observed, the tethered discs had similar water content to control discs and did not demonstrate gross morphologic signs of degeneration. Growth modulation is an attractive treatment option for growing patients with scoliosis, avoiding multilevel fusions or brace wear. Strategies for fusionless scoliosis correction should preserve disc health, as adolescent patients will rely on these discs for decades after treatment.
    Full-text · Article · May 2008
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Longitudinal follow-up of animals after a surgically initiated scoliosis. To create a progressive, structural, idiopathic-type, lordoscoliotic curve convex to the right in the thoracic spine of the immature goat using a flexible posterior asymmetric tether with minimal disruption of the spinal elements along the curve. Our previous work created an experimental scoliosis model using a rigid posterior asymmetric tether to study the safety and efficacy of fusionless scoliosis treatments. Posterior asymmetric tethers, whether rigid or flexible, represent the most reliable method of creating an experimental deformity that approximates idiopathic scoliosis. Although our initial rigid model was unique in creating progressive structural scolioses without violation of the essential spinal elements along the curve, there were a number of shortcomings associated with the model. These included substantially stiff curves and unpredictability of curve progression. Scoliosis was created in 24 Spanish Cross X female goats (age, 6-8 weeks; weight, 8-12 kg) using a braided synthetic ligament as a left posterior asymmetric tether from T5 to L1. Convex rib resection and concave rib tethering from ribs 8 to 13 were performed without disruption of the spinal elements before tensioning of the posterior tether. All goats were followed over an 8-week period with serial radiographs to document progression of the deformity. At the end of 8 weeks, the 20 goats with progressive curves were randomized into treatment groups for a separate study. However, 6 of these 20 remained untreated in the subsequent study and, therefore, were followed for an additional 12 to 16 weeks. There were two deaths in the early postoperative period due to pulmonary complications. Of the remaining 22 goats, 20 (91%) developed progressive, structural, idiopathic-type, lordoscoliotic curves convex to the right in the thoracic spine. Initial scoliosis after tethering measured 55.4 degrees on average (range, 37 degrees-75 degrees) and progressed to 74.4 degrees on average (range, 42 degrees-93 degrees) over 8 weeks. The average progression of 19.0 degrees (range, 5 degrees-33 degrees) was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The average initial lordosis after tethering measured -18.9 degrees (range, -13 degrees to -27 degrees) and progressed to -40.7 degrees on average (range, -28 degrees to -56 degrees) over 8 weeks. The average progression in lordosis of -21.8 degrees (range, -5 degrees to -43 degrees) was significant (P < 0.001). This study demonstrated the effectiveness of a flexible posterior asymmetric tether in creating idiopathic-type deformities in a shorter tethering period than previously described. With substantial remaining spinal growth after the 8-week tethering period and preservation of the essential spinal elements in an undisturbed state, this model is suitable for the study of scoliosis progression and various fusionless scoliosis treatment methods.
    Article · Jul 2006
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