VEPTR Surgery

Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib

Children’s is one of the few pediatric hospitals in the country that performs Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) surgery. It can help patients who have scoliosis and other spine conditions, such as thoracic insufficiency syndrome.

Children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome cannot breathe normally. The condition causes severe deformities of the chest, spine and ribs. Almost all children with this condition also have scoliosis or other spinal problems.

To correct these problems, the surgery involves the placement of a curved metal rod along the child’s ribs, near the spine. This helps keep the spine straighten and expands the ribs to allow the lungs to grow.

There is no set age for the surgery, but it is recommended between the ages of 18 months and 5 years.

After the surgery:

  • Your child will stay in the hospital for two to five days.
  • Every four to six months, the metal rod will be expanded. This happens until your child’s skeleton stops growing.
  • Your child may be fitted for a TLSO brace to wear after surgery.
  • Your child will be able to take part in physical activity in about a month.

The team that performs this surgery includes orthopaedic surgeons, pulmonologists, anesthesiologists, nurses and child life specialists. The surgery is only suitable for some patients. Your child’s doctor will discuss with you the best treatment options.