The standard procedure for surgical correction of scoliosis is the posterior (back) spinal fusion. While fusion is a reliable procedure that can offer great correction of the curvature, there can be long term effects like disc degeneration (wearing of the discs between your spine bones) below the instrumented portion of your spine, increased back pain, and decreased spinal mobility and flexibility. An exciting new alternative to spinal fusion is Anterior Scoliosis Corrective Surgery also known as VBT, Vertebral Body Tethering. The approach results in correction of worsening scoliosis and in growing patient’s takes advantage of future growth to result in further correction of the scoliosis over time without fusing the spine. One of the benefits of the procedure is that it preserves motion of the spine which is particularly important for athletes such as gymnasts and swimmers whose sport requires great flexibility as well as for all individuals.
The procedure is performed through the patient’s side through small incisions that allow for a scope to be used for visualization and access to the spine. The incisions are small and typically hidden by the arm. Through use of the portals, screws and a flexible cord are fixed to the spine with tension applied to the cord to gain correction of the curvature. The instrumentation used for the procedure is approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Humanitarian Use Device. My team and I have performed nearly 350 VBT procedures.
Below is an example of a patient I treated with VBT and she was able to return to a full life as a competitive dancer (https://abc7ny.com/brooklyn-dancer-spinal-surgery-alivia-mccord/10392358/).
About Baron Lonner, M.D.
Dr. Lonner is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Chief of Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He has been in practice for over 25 years and has performed more than 3,000 surgeries in pediatric and adult scoliosis patients. His recent focus has been non-fusion scoliosis correction surgery. He is a pioneer in the Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) procedure and is one of the inventors of the implant.