Treatments & Research

A New, Innovative Option for Scoliosis Treatment

Shriners Hospitals offers a new and innovative option for scoliosis treatment

Finally, Leticia, 13, has little to no back pain. The difference is VBT – vertebral body tethering – an innovative surgical procedure that corrects a scoliosis curve while maintaining flexibility in the spine as the patient grows. About a year ago, spinal surgeon Rolando Roberto, M.D., medical director of pediatric spinal surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California, performed the surgery on Leticia to correct her scoliosis.

Leticia is virtually pain-free after her VBT surgery for scoliosis.

“Dr. Roberto was very thorough and provided a lot of resources and information about the VBT procedure,” said Destiny, Leticia’s mother. “He also answered all the questions that we had about the surgery.”

After the surgery, Leticia is doing much better. “I feel more confident and active,” she said.

A huge difference
The medical staff of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia, led by Amer Samdani, M.D., chief of surgery, developed the methods and techniques underlying this treatment. They worked closely with the FDA and the medical device industry to bring the new device, specifically designed for VBT surgery, to approval.

“The ability to utilize a child’s growth to correct the curve in their back is a leap in the way these children are treated. Properly selected patients can achieve curve correction while maintaining spinal mobility,” said Dr. Samdani.

The best option
Josh, 17, had scoliosis, and the curve progressed quickly. After seeing a few doctors, his mother brought him to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville for another opinion. Orthopaedic surgeon Michael Mendelow, M.D., suggested that Josh have spinal fusion surgery. He also recommended that Josh see Joshua Pahys, M.D., at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia, as he might be a candidate for VBT. The procedure would help control spine growth during periods of rapid growth spurts, with shorter recovery time than spinal fusion surgery. Ultimately, Josh’s mother, Victoria, decided VBT surgery with Dr. Pahys was the best option for her son.

“The care was top-notch,” said Victoria. “We are appreciative of everyone’s hard work at the hospital. The staff walked us through each step. That really put our minds at ease.”

Following the surgery, Josh recovered quickly and was able to go home after only four days in the hospital. Shortly after that, he returned to his normal activities. He graduated high school this past summer and is hoping to study carpentry in college.

TO LEARN MORE about VBT and other treatments for scoliosis, please visit