Background: In 2007, this prospective study on vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) treatment of early onset scoliosis in children without rib abnormalities was initiated. Two-year follow-up results have previously been reported. This study examines whether, at 5-year follow-up, VEPTR continues to control scoliosis and allow spinal growth.
Methods: A prospective, multicenter, observational cohort design was used. Patients underwent traditional VEPTR implantation ≥5 years before analysis. Preimplantation and last available images were compared, regardless of whether VEPTR remained in vivo. Additional analysis was performed if VEPTR was in vivo ≥5 years.
Results: This study included 59 patients (mean age at VEPTR implantation, 6.1±2.4 y; mean follow-up, 6.9±1.4 y). Currently, 24 patients still have VEPTR, whereas 24 have converted (13 fusions, 6 MCGR, 3 growing rods, 1 hybrid, and 1 Shilla). Three have had VEPTR explanted, 6 are unknown, and 2 have deceased. On last available imaging (n=59; mean follow-up, 4.8±1.9 y), scoliosis improved from 71.8±18.0 degrees preoperatively to 60.9±20.3 degrees (P<0.001) and T1- T12 height increased (15.8±3.2 to 19.3±3.8 cm, P<0.001). T1-S1 height also increased (24.8±4.4 to 31.2±5.3 cm, P<0.001), representing 119% age-matched growth. Composite improvement of scoliosis, T1-T12, and T1-S1 height was achieved in 79% of patients. A subset of 29 patients with VEPTR was analyzed at most recent follow-up ≥5 years while VEPTR remained in vivo (24 patients with VEPTR above, and 5 who later converted to other devices). Mean age at implantation was 5.0±2.2 years, with a mean VEPTR treatment duration of 6.2±1.1 years. Scoliosis improved from preoperatively (69.3±14.5 to 61.6±16.1 degrees, P=0.006), with mild recurrence from postoperative to 5 years. T1-T12 height increased (15.0±3.3 to 18.7±3.3 cm, P<0.001) and T1-S1 height increased (23.7±4.5 to 30.1±4.6 cm, P<0.001), representing 83% age-matched growth. Composite improvement was achieved in 83% of patients. Instrumented sagittal length also increased during this period (21.8±4.2 to 30.3±5.1 cm, P<0.001).
Conclusion: At a 5-year follow-up, VEPTR continues to control scoliosis and allow spinal growth.
Level of evidence: Level II-prospective cohort, therapeutic study.