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The Shilla Growth Guidance Technique for Early-Onset Spinal Deformities at 2-Year Follow-Up: A Preliminary Report

McCarthy, Richard E. MD*; Luhmann, Scott MD; Lenke, Lawrence MD; McCullough, Frances L. RNP, MNSc

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: January 2014 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 1–7
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e31829f92dc

Background: The Shilla growth guidance technique has been developed to treat spinal deformities without the necessity of repeated operative lengthenings. The dual stainless steel rods are fixed to the corrected apex of the curve by pedicle screws with limited fusion about the apex. Vertebral growth occurs in a cephalad and caudad direction through extraperiosteally placed sliding pedicle screws. A retrospective review of patients treated with the Shilla growth guidance technique for early-onset spinal deformity was performed to study patients with >2-year follow-up and describe outcome parameters.

Methods: From a cohort of 38 patients, 10 patients with a mean age of 7+6 years were identified as qualifying for 2-year follow-up inclusion.

Results: The average preoperative curve of 70.5 degrees was corrected to 27 degrees at 6 weeks follow-up and maintained at 2-year follow-up. The space available for lung improved an average of 13%. Truncal height (C7 to S1) increased an average of 12%. One patient required rod revision, 1 required rod change to a smaller size rod, and 1 required rod replacement. Two patients required wound debridement for low-grade infection in the early-postoperative period for a total of 5 procedures beyond the index correction. No patient had changes neurologically as a result of surgery. Patients were braced for the first 3 months postoperatively while the fusion was incorporating then not thereafter.

Conclusions: At 2-year follow-up, the Shilla procedure has allowed children correction of their spinal deformity with an acceptable complication rate and ability to grow brace free without repeated trips to the operating room for lengthenings. These patients would have had 49 scheduled lengthening procedures after their initial correction if treated by conventional distraction growing rod methods.

Level of Evidence: IV case series of therapeutic study investigating results of treatment.

*Arkansas Children’s Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, AR

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO

R.E.M. is an Medtronic consultant and has received royalities. The other authors declare no conflict of interest. No outside funding was received for this work.

Reprints: Richard E. McCarthy, MD, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 1 Children’s Way, Slot 839, Little Rock, AR 72202. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins