Thirty adult patients who had thoracoplasties for pulmoary tuberculosis were carefully studied to define the syndrome of thoracoplastic scoliosis. After thoracoplasty, a mild-to-moderate cervicothoracic scoliosis occurs. In most cases the convexity is toward the side of resection and the rotation is toward the concavity. The major curve is limited to the segments of the thoracic spine adjacent to the resected ribs and the apex of the curve is centrally placed in the region of the resected ribs. The degree of curvature is directly proportional to the number of ribs resected, and those patients who have had transversectomies have greater degrees of curvature. Most of the angular deformity develops within one week after surgery and there is virtually no progression after one year in adult patients.
It is clear from this study and the experimental studies of others that the rib cage is an important support of the vertebral column. Several theories are presented regarding the role of the rib cage.
Copyright 1966 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated