The Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) is a curved metal rod that is designed to help straighten a child's spine and separate the ribs for lung growth and improved breathing. The rod is made of titanium because of its strength and its ability to stay in a child's body without rejecting.
How VEPTR Works
The device works by attaching the rods vertically from rib-to-rib or rib-to-hip bone, allowing for expansion as the child grows. For a child with scoliosis, the ribs are first separated during the initial implant procedure. Next a VEPTR device will be attached from the top of the rib cage to the bottom of the rib cage. Another device will be shaped to fit from the top of the rib cage to the lumbar spine.
As the child grows, the rod expands. Eventually, surgery will be required to further expand the rod to accommodate for more growth. And when patient maximum growth is achieved, the doctor and patient family will discuss if the device is still needed.
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