View Full Version : Staples

03-13-2009, 06:42 PM
Doctor in Kansas just said it is time to consider staple surgery for my 10 year old. We are moving to Houston in 2 months. Don't know whether to do it now before we leave or wait. Does anyone know any doctors in Houston who perform this procedure?:confused:

03-13-2009, 07:57 PM
Just go back from an appointment at Baylor Scoliosis in Plano, Tx. The Dr. mentioned trying staples on one patient. I think there might also be a Baylor Scoliosis in Houston. They are also doing some interesting studies there. I can't remember the age range 9-11 maybe with curves around 25. They are trying to determine if curves will progress.


03-16-2009, 05:56 PM
Hi Greenthumb,

I was interested in this for my daughter too but now have major doubts.


Good luck to you and your daughter, whatever your decision.


03-16-2009, 06:04 PM
Hi Greenthumb,

If you are referring to VBS (vertebral body stapling), there is a forum dedicated to that at vertebralstapling.com. If you are looking for a surgeon local to you, there might be someone there who can give you info.

03-16-2009, 09:27 PM
Greenthumb and Babs,

As you can see from my signature, my son had VBS (stapling) over five years ago and is doing great. It's not the best option for EVERY child, but it is a good option for many children.

The best thing to do - if you are considering stapling - would be to talk to others whose children have had the surgery. I can assure you, none of us went into it lightly or without doing our homework. I know several parents who are doctors and nurses (so they are well-schooled in these things) and they opted for VBS after reviewing all the data.

Then I would talk to a doctor who is trained in the procedure. We go to Shriners in Philadelphia and they are very straightforward - and have even told certain patients that they were not good candidates for stapling.

But for those who fit the criteria, the success rate has been very good.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have specific questions about the surgery, recovery, etc. Or post them here. Whatever you prefer.

My son plays baseball, basketball and has NO restrictions on his activities. Like most every parent I have spoken to who has chosen VBS for their child, I have no regrets. In fact, for my son it has been a Godsend as it has spared him years and years of full-time bracing and allowed him to have a more normal childhood.

Again, every case is different. My son was young so he was facing many years of bracing. Had he been facing only a year or two, perhaps our decision would have been different.

03-19-2009, 10:57 PM
Doctor in Kansas just said it is time to consider staple surgery for my 10 year old. We are moving to Houston in 2 months. Don't know whether to do it now before we leave or wait. Does anyone know any doctors in Houston who perform this procedure?:confused:

Darrell S. Hanson (my surgeon) does VBS at Texas Childrens (not Shriners) in Houston, and as someone mentioned, yes, he is with Baylor Orthopedics in the Texas Med Center in Houston.

Email me if you want more info on him.


03-20-2009, 11:49 AM
Maria, I'm a moderator at scoliosis-support.org, and being a UK-based forum we don't have any members who have had VBS treatment as it isn't yet available in this country. We are starting to get questions about it though, so would it be OK to refer people to your posts over here? I've mentioned that people have experience with VBS here but didn't want to specifically refer to anyone without permission.

Thanks loads! :)


03-20-2009, 11:58 AM
Hi Toni,

I think the best thing to do would be to refer them to www.vertebralstapling.com. The difference is that nearly everyone there has personal experience with VBS - and, since we were all at one point or another considering VBS for our precious children, we all did LOTS AND LOTS of research, talked to various doctors trained in the procedure, etc. A few parents are in the medical field (doctors, nurses, radiologists) and the amount of information, knowledge and first-hand experiences to be found there is plentiful.

Of course, you could also direct folks to this forum or any other scoliosis forum as well. Let me be clear - I am NOT taking anything away from any other scoliosis forum. I think this is a really great forum with TONS of information on a wide array of topics related to scoliosis. But if someone were seeking information SPECIFICALLY on VBS, I'd have them start with the VBS site.

Please let me know if there is anything else you need.

Best regards,

03-20-2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks Maria, I'll do that. It's OK, I don't see any scoliosis forum or site as being in competition with others, so I don't expect others to either - we're all here to help people find info and gain support, and I'm always happy to send people to other sites if I think it will help. We quite often send people over here and to Spinekids :)

I'm glad that VBS has worked so well for your son! I grew up in body casts and Milwaukee braces (from 6 months old until I was 10) so it is fantastic to see kids benefitting from new innovations such as growth rods, VEPTR and VBS.

03-20-2009, 12:18 PM
Hi Toni,

I know you did not take it that way (that I was saying that any one site was better than another) - but sometimes the written word is misinterpreted and so many people read these posts that I just wanted to make sure I was being clear :)

By the way, do you know if there are any doctors in the U.K. who are or would be interesting in learning VBS?

We often get inquiries from parents in other countries. Like I always say, VBS is not perfect for everyone, but for kids who fit a specific set of criteria it can be a very good alternative to years of bracing (and could also help some of them to avoid fusion).

And it always bothers me to think there may be children living in places where VBS is not yet available who would be perfect candidates for it.

And, WOW, body casts and braces from 6 months through 10 years! It must have been rough - although I'm sure you knew nothing else. Do you mind if I ask if you ended up having fusion? I'm also curious if you have a child with scoliosis - or if you are just giving back to the caues because of what you have been through. Again, I don't want you to post anything that you're not comfortable sharing. So I apologize in advance if I asked anything I shouldn't have :)

Take care,

03-20-2009, 12:30 PM
I don't know if any surgeons here are currently looking into VBS, but I will make enquiries. There are a handful of consultants who offer VEPTR and other innovative treatments here so I'd imagine that there will be some who would be interested, most likely those at the major orthopaedic centres such as the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore (near London) or the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. My own consultant is based at the RNOH so I'll try to ask him about it next time I see him.

Growing up in casts and braces wasn't *too* bad, because as you say, I didn't really know anything different :) I had a 62/40 degree curve as a six month old baby and my parents were really very strict with the braces - I only had one hour a day out of them - and I am thankful for it, because I managed to pretty much stop the curves from getting too much worse until I had my first fusion when I was ten! I had my thoracic curve fused (T1-T12) with a Harrington Rod, after three weeks in halo traction, and my curve was corrected from 76 degrees to 45 degrees. My lumbar curve seemed to be stable at 45 degrees but then began to deteriorate when I was 18, so I had that fused too - they replaced the Harrington with a longer one, put in an anterior rod too (a Zielke rod) and corrected the curve from 55 to 35 degrees. I've had two costoplasties (one with the last fusion, one as a separate procedure) because I had a lot of rotation that the Harringtons couldn't address, and I did have a quite severe rib hump. I'm now fused from T1-L3, but I need to have the fusion extended as my L3-L4 disc has worn out completely and I'm out of sagittal balance so I'm just waiting to go into hospital for more surgery. I can't complain though, I do think I have been very fortunate and had the best possible treatment at the time :)

03-20-2009, 12:33 PM
I agree that a surgeon who thinks "outside the box" and performs procedures such as VEPTR and other innovative techniques, would likely be the type interested in VBS.

I know that Dr. Betz, the inventor of VBS, has travelled within the U.S. to train several doctors in the procedure or even be present in the OR when they did their first "stapling" surgery. If any surgeon in the U.K. is interested in chatting with him about it, let me know - I am not afraid to ask him - LOL!

03-20-2009, 01:11 PM
Excellent, thank you! :D I'll see if the British Scoliosis Society website has any mention of VBS.

04-28-2010, 10:08 AM
I looked back at my original posting about VBS and thought I would offer an update:

My son was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 9. His curves were both around 16 degrees when first measured. Over the following year they continued to progress. When they reached 26 degrees the doctor said we needed to start some form of intervention because the curves were definitely progressing. We considered both bracing and VBS. He would need full time bracing for years if we went that route, potentially 6 years or more. After hearing the options my son voted for VBS surgery rather than bracing. We don't have any long term studies on VBS, but we felt the potential for success was great and worth trying. There have been plenty of studies that indicate that if you can keep the curves below 40 degrees at maturity the chance of progression goes way down.

We had to make a decision quickly. My son was at a risser 0, but based upon his older brother's growth, we knew he was about to start his growth spurt. The studies have also shown that after 35 degrees the success rate for VBS drops. We did go ahead with the VBS knowing that a brace might still be in his future.

The surgery was at the begining of summer and he was totally healed and cleared for all activities (even roller coasters!) before school started in the fall.

Here is what I really want you to know: My son's double curves were 28 degrees before VBS surgery. After 11 months and 4" of growth, his curves are 7 degrees thoracic and 11 degrees lumbar! Staples were placed only on the thoracic curve. His surgeon jokingly called him the "poster child for VBS."