Long-term Results of Spine Stapling for AIS to Skeletal Maturity and Beyond

J Pediatr Orthop. 2020 Jan;40(1):e37-e41. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001389.


Background: We looked at long-term follow-up of spine stapling with Nitinol Staples. This was a cohort of all adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients with curves at high risk to progress based on curve magnitude, premenarchal status in all females, failure of brace treatment, and skeletal immaturity.

Methods: This is a single surgeon retrospective review of consecutive AIS patients treated with Nitinol staples for progressive scoliosis. Fourteen patients, 16 curves from 2005 to 2008 were eligible. Minimum curve for stapling was 30 degrees. Standard preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative data were collected. All patients were followed for a minimum of 36 months and to skeletal maturity. Three groups were: improved (group 1), correction of any amount; minimal progression (group 2), progression ≤10 degrees; and failure (group 3), ≥10 degrees of progression.

Results: A total of 13 thoracic curves and 2 compensatory lumbar curves met the inclusion criteria (94%). Average follow-up was 61 months. The mean preoperative main thoracic curve was 35 degrees. All but 1 patients progressed at least 9 degrees in a brace prior to stapling. Females were all premenarchal, 10 patients were Risser 0 and 3 Risser 1. The average number of vertebrae stapled per curve was 6. Group 1 included 6 curves (40%). Group 2, 5 curves (33%). Group 3, 4 curves (27%). Three patients went on to uncomplicated fusion. Final curve measurement at the end of follow-up or before fusion (P=0.0037), curve progression (P≤0.001), and percentage of coronal correction on first postoperative standing radiograph (P=0.042) were the significant differences between groups 1+2 (successful) versus group 3 (failures). In total, 73% of this group either progressed ≤10 degrees or improved.

Conclusions: This is the first study that follows AIS patients treated with spine stapling to skeletal maturity. Staples likely changed natural history in some of our patients. Initial percentage of correction on first standing postoperative PA x-rays was the only predictor of success. Stapling was safe without any long-term complications.

Level of evidence: Level III-retrospective study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aftercare
  • Alloys
  • Bone Development
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Scoliosis / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Surgical Stapling*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Alloys
  • nitinol