A study conducted by Columbia-based University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care has shown vertebral body tethering to be a promising treatment for scoliosis patients who have flexibility and growth remaining in their spine.
VBT is provided as an alternative to posterior spinal fusion, which is regarded as the standard of care for patients with curves exceeding 45 degrees. However, downsides of the procedure include loss of spinal mobility, persistent pain and adjacent segment disc disease.
VBT attaches screws to the thoracic or lumbar vertebra. The screws can then be tightened over time to correct curvature of the spine.
A retrospective review of 29 patients found that 27 patients reached skeletal maturity and 74 percent achieved clinical success, which is defined as a curve of less than 30 degrees in patients who reached skeletally maturity and did not undergo posterior spinal fusion.
"Our overall revision rate was 21 percent and a [posterior spinal fusion] was avoided in 93 percent of patients, indicating that VBT may be a reliable treatment option for adolescent scoliosis," said Dan Hoernschemeyer, MD, principal investigator of the study.