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Rady Children's Specialists

Spinal Growth Tethering Surgery

A highly advanced procedure being performed at Rady Children’s Spine Center is vertebral body tethering (VBT), also called spinal growth tethering surgery, in which a small rope-like cord is attached to the vertebrae along the side of the spinal column to asymmetrically alter spinal growth.

Mia Schloegel after spinal tethering surgery. See her “before” and “after’ images below.

Unlike spinal fusion, VBT corrects the curvature while maintaining the mobility of the treated areas of the spine. Peter Newton, M.D., performs spinal tethering surgery in scoliosis patients who have two to three years of remaining growth with curves of more than 45 degrees in the chest region of the spine.

Patients from across the country have come to Rady Children’s for this procedure, including Mia Schloegel, a triathlete from Kansas City; her curvature was corrected (see images below), and she continues to win races and compete at a very high level.

A study led by Peter Newton, M.D., finds that anterior spinal growth tethering is a viable alternative to spinal fusion for certain patients with thoracic scoliosis. It is the longest follow-up study on spinal tethering patients done to date. The study was featured in Orthopedics This Week and published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mia After VBT

Mia Before VBT