Dr. Baron Lonner touts benefits of vertebral body tethering

Alan Condon -  

Vertebral body tethering, a novel minimally invasive surgery for scoliosis, is helping some patients get back to activity in half the time of those who get traditional spinal fusion, CBS Miami reports.

In August 2019, the FDA approved the first spinal tether system for pediatric patients with idiopathic scoliosis. The Tether System, developed by Zimmer Biomet Spine, is being evaluated through a patient registry to assess its long-term performance.

The advantages of vertebral body tethering are its ability to maintain flexibility and lead to fewer problems than patients have post-spinal fusion, Baron Lonner, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told the news outlet.

Dr. Lonner, who has performed more than 3,000 surgeries in scoliosis patients, described the tether as like "a flexible rope" that surgeons "tension and get correction of the curve, while again maintaining flexibility and growth of the spine." 

This is a major benefit the procedure has over fusion, he said.

The spine demonstrates immediate improvement after surgery and continues to improve as the spine remodels over time, he said. 

Although the advantages of vertebral body tethering are wel-documented in the medical community, the risks are still relatively unknown a little more than one year since its approval in the U.S.

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