Today in Memphis, surgeons will be employing a new tool against pediatric thoracic insufficiency, a debilitating condition often caused by advanced scoliosis:
Two patients are scheduled to undergo a a Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib implant. A telescoping titanium attaches to both the ribs and the pelvis of the patient. When adjusted it corrects for both the curvature of the spine, and distortions to the rib cage, allowing the patient to breathe normally.
As the child grows, the bones assume a more natural shape, and growth of organs such as the lungs is normal.
In the traditional procedure rods are fused to the spine, addressing the scoliosis but not the problems in the rib cage.
These kids will check in periodically, as they grow, to have their ribs elongated. We suspect that process can’t be too pleasant (we still have nightmares about having our braces adjusted), but it beats having a constricted thorax.
More from the FDA and Synthes…