Recent advances surgical techniques and technology as well as our understanding of scoliosis in growing children have allowed for the development of minimally invasive fusionless surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The technical name for this surgery is vertebral tethering. Instead of fusing the spine rigidly after straightening it out, a tight rope is placed on the convex side of the curve. This can be accomplished using small incisions through which a camera is introduced to look at the spine (minimally invasive). As the child’s spine is allowed to grow, the rope will prevent the tethered convex side from growing, while the other concave side continues to grow. This will gradually straighten out the spine without the need for fusion.
This procedure is currently experimental and not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, it can only be safely performed on select children who are actively growing. Please consult with Dr. Cho to see if this procedure is right for you.
This 12-year-old actively growing teenager presented with progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. She underwent minimally invasive fusionless surgery or vertebral tethering to gradually correct the scoliosis as her spine grows. She returned to the office 2 weeks later, pain-free and without any loss of motion.