THE TETHER – VERTEBRAL BODY TETHERING (VBT) SYSTEM
This blog provides the details of how a Tethering System helps pediatric scoliosis patients. For children with a scoliosis condition, their parents should talk to their orthopedic doctor. And, their doctor should tell them about the Tether™. Doctors believe that the Tether system provides an excellent treatment for pediatric scoliosis patients.
The Vertebral Body Tethering System
The Tether – Vertebral Body Tethering System helps treat children with advanced scoliosis. These patients need surgery to stop an increasing idiopathic scoliosis spinal curve. The patient described here has scoliosis with a main 30-65 degrees Cobb angle and whose body will adequately support screw fixation (Radiographic imaging determines this). Also, the Tether provides an alternative solution when bracing gives poor results or the patient can’t use a brace.
The Tether provides another option for a scoliosis patient. The typical procedure that we have mastered uses an approach to fuse vertebras together, It also implants stiff metal rods along either side of your spine. Doctors carry out this technique to straighten unwanted curves.
Rather than stiff metal rods, the Tether – Vertebral Body Tethering System uses a strong flexible cord. The cord pulls on the outside of the spinal curve and straightens out the spine. The system straightens the spine using the patient’s own growth process. Doctors refer to this process as growth modulation.
The bones or vertebra in a scoliotic spine look like a wedge, tall on one and short on the other. When the cord gets pulled, it puts pressure on the tall side of the vertebra on the outside of the cure. This pressure slows down the growth on the tall side so that the short side can grow and catch up. After surgery, the spine continues to straighten even more over time with the growth of the child.
The Tether Attached to a Spine
The Tether – Vertebral Body Tethering System provides a different approach from the other surgical treatments for scoliosis because the spine can bend and flex, rather than being fused in place with the stiff metal rods needed for spinal fusion. However, when it comes to the Tether, we only consider children. A child’s growth causes the spinal curve to correct itself over time.
The Tether’s approval stems from a special medical classification called a Humanitarian Use Device. This means that the FDA approved the device for idiopathic scoliosis in young people who possess scoliosis with a significant amount of growth remaining. However, note that Tether does not appear to help all cases of scoliosis, it falls under the classification of a humanitarian use device. Instead, the Tether has been shown to have a probable benefit. The tether – Vertebral Body Tethering System is the only medical device available that treats scoliosis while a person actively grows and uses their own growth to repair their curve. We strongly suggest that parents talk with our doctors about tethering procedures, and learn from the literature that is available on the procedure, and what outcomes have been like for other patients
Here are the steps in the Tether procedure to correct scoliosis:
- The surgeon makes a small incision in the back.
- The surgeon carefully separates the muscles and nerves to expose the spine.
- The surgeon identifies the location of the curve in the spine.
- The surgeon attaches the tether to the spine at the location of the curve.
- The surgeon tightens the tether to gradually correct the curve over time.
- The surgeon closes the incision.
Potential Benefits of the Tether
When compared with traditional straightening of the spine using screws, rods, and spinal fusion, the Tether has the following observations:
- The Tether – Vertebral Body Tethering System allows for motion at the levels treated
- The procedure requires smaller incisions with less scarring
- The Tether could cause muscle and soft tissue disruption
The Use of the Tether
Studies show a likely benefit with less invasive surgery for scoliosis surgery with the Tether™ – Vertebral Body Tethering System, however, with all surgeries, complications are possible and parents should discuss those with their doctor.
Why should Parents bring their Children with Scoliosis to the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute?
The Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute is a medical practice that specializes in the treating children with scoliosis. As such, their surgeons are experts in the Tether procedure, a surgical technique used to treat certain types of scoliosis. Also, the website provides valuable information about the Tether procedure and the benefits it can offer to patients.
If you are considering bringing your child to the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute for treatment with offices in Dallas, Plano, and Frisco, Texas, it is important to do your own research and gather information about the practice and its surgeons. You may want to look at online reviews and ratings from other patients who have received treatment at the institute. It’s smart to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons to discuss your child’s condition and treatment options.
It is important to remember that every patient and every case of scoliosis is unique. While the Tether procedure may be an appropriate treatment option for some children with scoliosis, it may not be the best option for every child. Your child’s treatment plan should be individualized to their specific needs and circumstances. It is important to work with a medical team that you trust and feel comfortable with, and who can provide you with the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions about your child’s care. We urge you to call us and make an appointment.
National Institute of Health: The Tether
If you or your loved one suffers from degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, or another complex spine condition. We can help. Call Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment today.