Severe idiopathic scoliosis with respiratory insufficiency treated with preoperative traction and staged anteroposterior spinal fusion with a 2-level apical vertebrectomy

Spine J. 2009 Jul;9(7):e9-e13. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2009.01.009. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Background context: Severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis with respiratory insufficiency is infrequently seen in North America currently.

Purpose: To present the case of a teenager from Moscow, Russia who was referred to our center with a severe scoliosis and respiratory compromise.

Study design/setting: A case report on the evaluation and surgical treatment of a severely deformed teenager.

Methods: A 14+10-year-old was referred to our center for treatment of a 149 degrees thoracic scoliosis. Preoperative pulmonary function tests (PFTs) revealed severe restrictive disease with a forced vital capacity (FVC) of 1.3L (34% predicted) and a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) of 0.99L (31% predicted). She underwent a 2-stage anterior and posterior 2-level vertebral column resection (VCR) with preoperative and in between anterior and posterior stage perioperative halo-gravity traction.

Results: Her thoracic scoliosis was corrected to 48 degrees over 3 years postoperative. Her 3-year follow-up PFT revealed an FVC of 1.85L (52% predicted) and an FEV(1) of 1.6L (50% predicted).

Conclusions: A staged anterior and posterior VCR with intervening halo-gravity traction is a viable option to treat severe scoliosis in patients with restrictive pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Scoliosis / complications*
  • Scoliosis / therapy*
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Traction* / methods