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Rev Esp Cir Ortop Traumatol. 2013 May-Jun;57(3):178-85. doi: 10.1016/j.recot.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Apr 28.

[Growing rods in early-onset scoliosis. Do they really help to control the deformity and spinal and thoracic growth?].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Raquis, Servicio B de Cirugía Ortopédica y Traumatología, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain.



To determine the efficacy of growing rods in the treatment of early onset scoliosis.


A total of 32 patients were treated using fusion techniques that included double growing rods and Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Ribs (VEPTR), in our Early Onset Scoliosis Centre between 2004 and 2011. After analysing the clinical histories and x-rays, 20 patients were included due to meeting the inclusion criteria. All patients had previously received conservative treatment with cranial traction and a series of plasters/corsets. The deformity was analysed before and after the initial surgery, and in successive tightenings, using the x-rays of the coronal and sagittal planes by means of the Cobb angle, as well as the longitudinal and coronal growth of the thorax, and the growth of the spinal column. A series of 188 x-rays of 53 patients with cystic fibrosis were studied in order to perform a comparative analysis with the patients with early-onset scoliosis.


There was significant improvement in the angle (Cobb and kyphosis) and linear parameters (T1-S1 distance, T1-T12 distance, and coronal width of the thorax) after the initial surgery, but the successive tightenings had a minimal beneficial effect, losing effectiveness over a period of time. The patients with early-onset scoliosis showed a lower growth of the thorax compared to the patients with cystic fibrosis.


Treatment of early-onset scoliosis with expandable devices is mainly beneficial with the initial procedure and the first tightenings, but shows a loss of efficacy over a period time.

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