The surgical treatment of severe early-onset scoliosis (EOS) is controversial. Obtaining and maintaining deformity correction, achieving adequate spinal growth, allowing lung development, and the high complication rate make surgical treatment very challenging. Growing rods are the most common method of management.
Currently, there are 3 systems being used for the surgical treatment of EOS: single growing rod, dual growing rods, and the vertical expandable titanium prosthetic rib implant. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. These are presented and discussed in this review.
The current clinical and radiographic results indicate that all 3 techniques can be effective in the surgical management of EOS. Vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR), which is not considered a true growing rod system, is particularly effective in congenital scoliosis with fused ribs.
The current expandable spinal implant systems appear effective in controlling progressive EOS, allowing for spinal growth and improving lung development. All have a moderate complication rate, especially rod breakage and hook displacement.