SOURCE: OR-Live, Inc.

October 24, 2007 14:40 ET

ORLive Presents: Avoiding Fusion in Early-Onset Scoliosis: Growing Rods and the VEPTR (Vertical Expanding Prosthetic Titanium Ribs): Treatment Option for Children Suffering From Early-Onset Scoliosis

Live Webcast: From Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian: December 5, 2007 7:00 PM EST (00:00 UTC)

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 24, 2007) - On Wednesday December 5th, join experts from Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian for a live panel discussion on VEPTR and growing rods to treat early-onset scoliosis on

Patients with early-onset scoliosis can develop severe, complex spinal deformity that distorts and reduces the volume of the thorax. This deformity inhibits the growth of alveoli and pulmonary arterioles during the critical lung maturation period between birth and the age of eight. The resulting condition, thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS), can be a life-threatening condition that compromises respiratory function and increases morbidity. It can also cause a significant increase in mortality rates in affected individuals.

Growing rods attach to the spine and are affixed to vertebrae at the top and the bottom. Rods can be placed on either one or both sides of the spine, and are "grown" over time using a special mechanism that allows the lengthening to be performed in a simple outpatient surgery. VEPTR is used to treat absent or fused ribs, and consists of a titanium brace placed between two ribs to push them apart, which straightens the spine and opens a larger space for the lungs and other internal organs to grow. Like growing rods, VEPTR can be expanded as the patient grows.

Treating early-onset scoliosis with growing rods and/or VEPTR permits continued growth of the spine, maximizes space available for lungs, and enhances pulmonary function. By increasing pulmonary capacity as well as straightening the spine, these treatments provide significant quality-of-life improvements in the child's ability to breathe, to talk, to eat, and to live. Spinal fusion, by contrast, irreversibly limits growth of the patient's spine, thorax, and lungs. The resulting respiratory insufficiency has a progressive negative impact, starting with low vitality (the child tires easily and has trouble talking and eating). If the respiratory status deteriorates further, respiratory support may be required, and the risk of recurrent pneumonia increases along with mortality.

VEPTR and growing rod procedures are generally shorter surgeries with less blood loss and fluid shifts than traditional spinal surgery. However, treatment for children with a severe spinal and thoracic deformity is a long-term commitment. Lengthening of the growing rods and expansion of the VEPTR to accommodate growth of the spine and organs is needed at four-to-six month intervals. Although the expansions are relatively minor surgical procedures, these surgeries continue over a period of years until maximum spinal growth is achieved. Given the duration of treatment, additional unplanned surgeries are likely although complication rates are considered acceptable.

The complex care required by children diagnosed with early-onset scoliosis has tended to limit their treatment to children's hospitals offering a convergence of strong orthopedic, pulmonary, and ICU facilities. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is one of a group of several hospitals working to advance growing rod and VEPTR treatments. Our orthopedic teams have significant experience in applying these techniques, and are continuing to develop and test techniques, and share in research, with the expectation of even better outcomes in the future.

Visit: http://www.or- to learn more about scoliosis treatment and view a program preview. VNR:

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Alex Fraser
    Director of Marketing
    OR-Live, Inc.
    860-953-2900 x 214
    Email Contact