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Multicenter Study
. Apr-May 2016;36(3):219-25.
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000431.

VEPTR Implantation After Age 3 Is Associated With Similar Radiographic Outcomes With Fewer Complications

Multicenter Study

VEPTR Implantation After Age 3 Is Associated With Similar Radiographic Outcomes With Fewer Complications

Vidyadhar V Upasani et al. J Pediatr Orthop. .


Background: The purpose of this study was to analyze the risks and benefits of early vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) implantation (below 3 y of age) compared with delayed intervention (3 to 6 y of age). Early intervention with milder deformity may make device implantation easier and may facilitate symmetric chest and pulmonary development. However, later intervention may decrease the number of lengthenings required, and implant anchor points and bone quality may be better in older patients.

Methods: A multicenter prospective database of patients treated with the VEPTR device was retrospectively reviewed. A total of 71 patients with minimum 5-year follow-up were included. Thirty-seven patients had VEPTR surgery below 3 years of age (group 1), and 34 patients had surgery between 3 and 6 years of age (group 2). Radiographs from the preoperative, immediate postoperative, and most recent follow-up visits were reviewed to determine coronal plane deformity and change in T1-T12 height over time. Complications were analyzed using a nonparametric mean cumulative function for the number of complications per subject over time.

Results: Patients in both groups had similar diagnoses, ASA scores (P=0.22), and number of lengthenings (10±4 in both groups, P=0.40). Preoperative and most recent major Cobb angles were not significantly different between the 2 groups [66±22 and 60±20 degrees (group 1) vs. 63±19 and 57±23 degrees (group 2), respectively] (P=0.38). The change in T1-T12 was significantly correlated with the number of lengthenings (P<0.001); however, there was no difference between age groups (P=0.55). There were 118 complications in 33 subjects in group 1 and there were 69 complications in 28 subjects in group 2. The number of complications per lengthening was significantly different between the 2 age groups (P<0.001). Subjects in group 2 had 41% fewer complications per lengthening compared with subjects in group 1 (P<0.001).

Conclusions: VEPTR treatment resulted in similar deformity control and thoracic growth in both age groups with lower complication rates in the older population. The rate of complications was similar between the 2 groups for the first 2 years postimplantation, but after 2 years, the rate of complications increased over time faster for the younger group compared with the older group.

Level of evidence: Level III-retrospective chart and radiographic review.

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