The Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) is an advanced treatment that helps children with severe chest deformities breathe. It is a curved metal rod that we place near your child’s spine. VEPTR is an important tool in treating thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS) and scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
VEPTR at Children’s National
Children’s National in the only facility in the metro area to use VEPTR. Our orthopaedic and spine surgeons have undergone extensive training to use VEPTR and are involved in the latest research and trials. We are currently investigating early onset scoliosis, including children with scoliosis who are using VEPTR devices.
VEPTR: What to Expect
In children with TIS or scoliosis, the curvature of the spine and rib cage can make it difficult for them to breathe normally. There are limited options to treat children with these conditions. VEPTR offers a consistent, long-term solution. One of the main advantages of VEPTR is that the device expands, making it appropriate for children who are still growing. As your child grows, our team will operate again and lengthen the device. We can usually perform these operations through a small incision in your child’s back.
During VEPTR surgery, we:
- Place your child under general anesthesia. He or she will be asleep for the procedure and not feel any pain.
- Customize the VEPTR device to fit your child’s body.
- Attach the VEPTR near to your child’s ribs (near the spine). While the ribs run horizontally, the VEPTR attaches vertically, opening up space between the ribs.
The VEPTR helps straighten the spine and separate the ribs, providing necessary space in your child’s chest for the lungs to fill with air when he or she breathes.
Benefits of VEPTR
Benefits of the VEPTR device include:
- Easier for your child to breathe normally, with less reliance on supplemental oxygen
- Decreased deformities of the spine, chest, and ribs
- More normal growth
- Increased ability to complete physical activities
- Increased life span
For more information, call 202-476-2112.