Kenneth Cheung (Hong Kong) speaks to BLearning at IMAST 2019 (17 –20 July, Amsterdam) about how growth modulation techniques can be used to treat spinal deformity in young children. Traditionally, spinal deformity has been corrected using spinal fusion. However, Cheung notes that in young children, with spinal fusion “the spine no longer grows” and this is where growth modulation techniques come in.
Cheung, who is a past-president of the Scoliosis Research Society, explains that “what we want to try to do is maintain growth of the spine using these techniques by slowing down growth on the longer side of the spine to allow the spine on the other side catch up”.
Spinal fusion is “a very successful procedure” and growth modulation techniques are “new and exciting” but that because of their relative infancy “we need to wait to see the long term results to see if they are actually good”, Cheung adds.
Cheung also highlights that while there are proponents for both vertebral body tethering and posterior dynamic control system growth modulation techniques, there are currently “no direct comparisons as to which is better”.