Vertebral Body Tethering for Scoliosis in Children

Orthopedic spine surgeons at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone are leaders in the vertebral body tethering (VBT) method—an innovative, minimally invasive surgical procedure that treats severe, progressive scoliosis in children.

VBT corrects curvature by partially restraining one side of the spine using titanium screws and a flexible cord. During the procedure, the surgeon places screws on the side of the spine that curves outward and secures a flexible cord, or tether, along the other side. When the cord is pulled taut, it compresses the adjacent screws to help straighten the spine. This flexible cord helps guide the spine as it continues to grow and straighten. 

VBT is especially well-suited for younger children who are still growing and have curves of more than 50 degrees, for which surgery is recommended. It can be an alternative to traditional surgical procedures, such as spinal fusion surgery, that can reduce flexibility and movement. Our surgeons are prepared to discuss with you whether this procedure is right for your child and to offer guidance if you would like a second opinion.

After VBT surgery, children experience freedom of movement and are able to walk and climb stairs before leaving the hospital. Children can typically return to their previous activities six weeks after surgery, and can return to school within four to six weeks.