Non-fusion surgeries for scoliosis are gaining popularity with patients and their parents as a motion-sparing alternative to traditional scoliosis fusion surgery. Two of these procedures (VBT vs ApiFix) have been “CE mark” approved in Europe and used “off label” for years in the United States, but recently received FDA HDE approval for both devices, paving the way for careful and selective usage.
Vertebral body tethering, or VBT, is a relatively new procedure being used to treat idiopathic scoliosis. Though ScoliSMART doesn’t perform VBT, it has close relationships with many doctors who perform the operation.
VBT is a surgery that uses tethering of bones – inserting screws and cord into each of the spinal bone – to help correct the curvature associated with scoliosis. For VBT to be most effective, we recommend that it only be used by adolescent patients who are still growing and already have a curvature of over 40 degrees. Though we do all we can to avoid invasive surgeries, like spinal fusion, VBT is a less invasive, surgery that still allows the spine to grow and also allows for further treatment options in the future. It’s a great option for advanced scoliosis in adolescents, as it both arrests the growth of the curve – and begins to reduce it.
Fusionless scoliosis tethering (otherwise known as vertebral body tethering or VBT) is a less invasive surgical procedure that has been used for the past 7 years by a select number of Orthopedic surgeons. While still a highly invasive surgical procedure, as all spinal surgeries are, it does offer some significant advantages over the more widely used spinal fusion for scoliosis procedures.
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