What Is Vertebral Body Tethering?

Vertebral body tethering is used to treat adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). It is called VBT for short. This treatment changes the growth of the spine to correct scoliosis. It allows the spine to continue to grow during this treatment.

During this surgery, a strong cord called a tether is attached to the spine. The cord causes the spine to straighten as a patient grows. This cord is flexible, so patients with vertebral body tethering can keep some flexibility in their spine. This is a major advantage of this procedure.

The FDA approved vertebral body tethering for use in children in August of 2019. A surgeon may recommend vertebral body tethering based on several things, including:

  • The degree of your child’s spinal curve.
  • How much more growing your child has left to do. This is called skeletal maturity. People reach skeletal maturity at different ages. For girls, it's often between ages 13-15; and for boys, it is around ages 15-17.