Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT)

Vertebral Body Tethering in Türkiye

What is Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT)?

Vertebral Body Tethering, or VBT, is a surgical method aimed at treating growing children with idiopathic scoliosis that's worsening despite bracing. Gaining FDA approval in August 2019, VBT employs a "growth modulation" technique. Instead of opting for spinal fusion surgery, some children with idiopathic scoliosis can benefit from this treatment.

How VBT Operates

VBT uses the spine's organic growth to address curvatures while still promoting spinal growth.

Surgeons affix metal anchors to the outward-curving spine side. They then connect a flexible tether to these anchors and tension it. As a child matures, the tether restricts growth on the spine's curved side, letting the opposite side grow evenly, straightening the spine. This setup stays permanently attached unless complications arise.

VBT vs. Spinal Fusion Surgery

While spinal fusion surgery causes vertebrae to fuse into a solid, non-flexible bone, VBT maintains spinal flexibility and promotes growth.

Despite VBT's recent emergence and promising initial outcomes, its long-term success remains to be studied comprehensively. In contrast, spinal fusion surgery has a well-established track record.

Is VBT Suitable for My Child?

VBT serves as a potential remedy for children with idiopathic scoliosis, particularly if braces are ineffective or unsuitable. Our surgical team will provide a comprehensive evaluation and discuss potential treatments, considering:

  • VBT's reliance on spinal growth makes it most effective for children yet to achieve their full height.
  • It requires children to have sufficiently robust bones for anchor support.
  • Typically, suitable candidates are between 8 and 16 years old.
  • Curves under 45 degrees risk overcorrection.
  • Curves surpassing 65 degrees might not benefit significantly from VBT.
  • VBT is primarily for idiopathic scoliosis cases, not ones stemming from neurological issues, other deformities, or injuries.

Post-VBT Recovery

After undergoing VBT, children typically spend two to three nights in the hospital. Most resume school within one to three weeks post-surgery and return to regular activities within six weeks.

> Who is a suitable candidate for VBT?
VBT is primarily recommended for growing children with idiopathic scoliosis that continues to progress despite bracing. Your orthopedic surgeon will determine if VBT is a suitable treatment option based on the patient's age, bone maturity, and the degree and location of the curve.
> How is VBT different from spinal fusion surgery?
Unlike spinal fusion, which fuses vertebrae together, VBT retains the spine's natural movement and flexibility. It capitalizes on the spine's growth to correct the curvature.
> What can patients expect post-surgery?
After VBT, patients usually experience a shorter recovery time than with spinal fusion. Activities and movements might be limited initially, but patients can generally return to their usual activities within weeks.
> Are there risks associated with VBT?
All surgical procedures come with risks. Potential complications with VBT include overcorrection of the spine, breakage of the tether, or unintended effects on spinal growth. Discuss potential risks and benefits with your surgeon.
> How long is the hospital stay after VBT?
Hospital stay can vary, but patients are typically discharged a few days after the procedure. The exact duration will depend on the individual's recovery progress.
> Will there be a visible scar after the surgery?
VBT is minimally invasive, so scars are usually small and less noticeable. Their appearance will depend on the individual's skin type and healing process.
> Is VBT covered by insurance?
Coverage varies by insurer and policy. It's essential to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs.
> How long has VBT been performed?
While the concept of growth modulation for scoliosis has been around for some time, VBT, as we know it today, has gained traction over the past decade. It received FDA approval in 2019.
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