Introduction: This is a prospective study of adolescent patients in whom idiopathic thoracic scoliosis was corrected by short anterior fusion through a mini-open thoracotomy approach. Clinical, radiological and pulmonary function results of minimal 2-year (2-6) follow-up are presented.
Materials and methods: Consecutive 62 patients with Lenke 1 and 2 curves, having main thoracic scoliosis of up to 75°, were prospectively included. The shoulder imbalance in Lenke 2 patients was less than 20 mm. Thoracic scoliosis was corrected by short anterior fusion. The thoracic spine was exposed by an 8-cm mini-open thoracotomy incision. The operation technique and choosing of fusion levels are thoroughly described. Complete 360° discectomies and convex side vertebral endplates osteotomies are essential for deformity corrections with short fusions. Single-rod 5.5-mm titanium implants were used. The age at the time of operation was mean 15.2 years; 56 patients had a single thoracic curve and 6 patients had a double thoracic curve. There were almost equal numbers of patients with lumbar modifier A, B or C. The average length of fusion was 5.5 (4-7) vertebrae. The average length of fusion was 3.5 (2-6) vertebrae shorter than the average curve length.
Results: The instrumented thoracic curves improved by 58.3% at 6 weeks and 56.3% at the last follow-up. Apex thoracic vertebral rotation improved by 73.78% at 6 weeks and 76.24% at the last follow-up. The non-instrumented upper thoracic curve improved by 25% in double thoracic scoliosis, where the mid-thoracic curve was selectively fused, and the non-instrumented lumbar curves improved by 33.9% at the last follow-up. The radiological changes from 6 weeks to the last follow-up were statistically not significant. The clinical rib hump improved by 54% at the last follow-up. There were no significant changes in the pulmonary function. FVC% was 81.04% preoperatively, 76.41% at 6 months and 80.38% at the 2-year follow-up. The results of SRS 24 questionnaire improved from a total of 61.40 points preoperatively to 100.50 points at 6 months and 98.62 points at the 2-year follow-up. There were no neurological or thoracotomy related complications, no pseudarthrosis, no implant pullout or breakage.
Conclusion: A good deformity correction without loss of correction or adding on, a good cosmetic result and good patient's satisfaction were achieved through shorter than end-to-end thoracic fusions. The radiological residual deformity is acceptable. Anterior correction of thoracic scoliosis with a short spinal fusion is recommended to keep the large part of the spine mobile. A very short fusion, small thoracotomy incision, low-profile implants and complete closure of parietal pleura are keys to prevent reduction in postoperative lung function.