Vertebral stapling is a newly developed minimally invasive procedure used to treat scoliosis. The procedure involves inserting c-shaped nickel and titanium alloy staples into the vertebrae to hold them in position. This slows growth on the stapled side of the spine and helps to gradually straighten the spine or prevent a curve from worsening.
Vertebral stapling is a possible treatment option for children between 8-15 years of age who have not reached skeletal maturity and have a moderate spinal curve (25 to 40 degrees) that is at risk of progressing.
The vertebral stapling procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Two or three small incisions are made in the chest to insert a thoracoscope (camera fitted at the end of a long tube) and surgical tools. The staples are then inserted into the spine to hold the vertebrae firmly in place while preventing slippage. The procedure is typically performed under X-ray guidance to ensure that the staples are inserted in the proper location. The incisions are firmly sutured with stitches at the end of the procedure.
After surgery, a small tube may be inserted into the chest for 1-2 days to drain air and fluid out of the chest. The child may be kept in ICU for 24 hours after the surgery and discharged after 3-4 days. Upon discharge, the child will have to wear a custom spine brace for 6 weeks and may be advised to receive physiotherapy for a faster recovery.
- Minimally invasive procedure compared to traditional open surgery
- Less painful
- Faster recovery
- Eliminates use of braces
- Maintains natural spine motion when compared to spinal fusion
- Infection in less than 1% of the cases
- Bleeding at the site of incision
- Rare chance of staples breaking or moving requiring another surgery
- Possibility of lung collapsing
- Schwend, R. (2009, February 12) Vertebral Body Stapling for Scoliosis. ChildrensMercy.org. Retrieved on August 15, 2014 from https://www.childrensmercy.org/Content/uploadedFiles/Vertebral%20Body%20Stapling%20for%20Scoliosis%282%29.pdf