New research presented at the International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis and the Growing Spine suggests that vertebral body tethering may not be effective in improving the major Cobb angle in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The study analyzed 113 patients who underwent vertebral body tethering between 2013 and 2020. The results showed that patients had a preoperative mean major Cobb angle of 51.1°, which improved to a mean major Cobb angle of 27.4° on first erect radiographs, and a mean major Cobb angle of 31.1° at final follow-up.
The study also found that stable curves were observed in only 50.4% of patients, while more than a 5° increase in Cobb angle was seen in 41.6% of patients following the initial erect radiograph. During the follow-up period, only 8% of patients had more than a 5° decrease in Cobb angle and 4.4% of patients had greater than 10° of correction.
According to Lindsay M. Andras, MD, associate division chief and director of the spine program at the Jackie and Gene Autry Orthopedic Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, this suggests that vertebral body tethering may not be effective in consistently harnessing growth. The study also suggests that the technique needs to be performed in a younger population and that a little more correction may be required during the procedure.
These findings are significant as vertebral body tethering is considered a promising alternative to spinal fusion surgery in treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. However, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this technique, including patient selection and optimal timing, to ensure the best outcomes for patients.
While vertebral body tethering may be a promising technique for treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, it’s important to remember that it is still a relatively new procedure and more research needs to be done to fully understand its long-term benefits and risks.
Non-invasive scoliosis treatment options: A safer alternative to surgical techniques
In the meantime, it’s always more beneficial to try non-invasive options first before considering surgery. There are many non-surgical scoliosis correction treatments available today, such as the ScolioLife® method, which uses a combination of specialized exercises and manual therapy to improve spinal alignment and reduce scoliosis curvature.
Another non-surgical option is the ScolioAlign® brace, which is a custom-made brace that is designed to correct the spinal curve gradually over time. This brace is made with advanced 3D scanning and printing technology, ensuring a perfect fit for each patient.
Both the ScolioLife® method and the ScolioAlign® brace have been shown to be effective in reducing scoliosis curvature and improving overall spinal health, without the need for surgery. Plus, they are non-invasive and have little to no side effects.
It’s important to remember that surgery should always be a last resort when it comes to treating scoliosis. While vertebral body tethering may be a promising technique, it’s still in the early stages of development and more research is needed to fully understand its benefits and risks. In the meantime, non-invasive options such as the ScolioLife® method and the ScolioAlign® brace can provide effective and safe treatment for scoliosis patients of all ages.