Implant for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
About 3% of adolescents suffer from adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Conventional surgery for patients with significant spinal curvature involves long hours of difficult surgeries that accompany a long and painful rehabilitation. Israeli experts have the solution, having recently developed an innovative surgical procedure that takes only an hour to perform, which retains backbone flexibility and significantly reduces the rehabilitation period.
Current Scoliosis Treatment
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) - the abnormal curvature of the spine (“S” or “C” shape); usually develops between the ages of 8-14 years. There are three main types of scoliosis (depending on the degree of curvature), each of which requires a specific therapeutic approach. Children with mild scoliosis are appointed physiotherapy; while those with the moderate condition wear a corset over several years for 18-20 hours a day; severe scoliosis is an indication for surgical intervention.
Today, surgical treatment of AIS involves the fixation of 10 or more vertebrae with metal structures and over 20 bolts screwed into the spine. Surgery can take up to 5-6 hours, and deprives patients a degree of flexibility of the spine, which in turn can cause complications and negatively affect the quality of life. Furthermore, these type of surgeries may include considerable blood loss leading to blood transfusions, postoperative infections, back pain and disc degeneration of the non-fused spinal sections.
Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Treatment
Uri Arnin, CEO of ApiFix emphasizes, “There is a dire need for an alternative to today’s standard for scoliosis correction in adolescents 12 to 18 years old, the age when rapid growth typically occurs,” he further added, “In 80 percent of these children, the cause of their scoliosis is ‘idiopathic’, or unknown. While the reduction in spine mobility is certainly a difficult consequence of long spinal fusions, which are the gold standard of treating scoliosis today, other critically important negative consequences include high chance for back pain and additional spine surgery during the first 20 years post-original surgery.”
Following these challenges, a new, revolutionary medical device developed by an Israeli company called ApiFix has made huge impact in the treatment of AIS. This ratcheting device does not require fusion of the vertebra and is a minimally invasive procedure – unlike conventional scoliosis surgery, which is one of the most invasive procedures of the spine. The ApiFix eliminates the extensive list of likely complications associated with conventional scoliosis surgery, its success demonstrated by the excellent results at 1-3 year follow-ups of ApiFix patients.
Innovative Idiopathic Scoliosis Surgery
The ratcheting device gently coaxes the spine to reduce its curvature over time, complete with rehabilitation; the patient’s condition significantly improves. Surgery involves screwing the ratchet into the spine above and below the main curvature using an eye joint, which allows angular adjustment. The implant is fixed to the screws while still maintaining polyaxial freedom. Then 2-3 weeks post-surgery, the patient starts physiotherapy over a period of weeks, encouraging spinal correction (of the curvature) by bending sideways in the corrective direction. This continual movement allows the ratcheting system to move up incrementally, gradually correcting the spinal curvature until the desired position is achieved. The success of this implant in adolescents may also be applied for adults in their 20s-30s who avoided surgery in their earlier years. Below is the ApiFix device:
The CE-marked ApiFix device acts as an internal corset, avoiding irreversible fixation of multiple vertebrae, and prevents the progression of spinal curvature. The implant is already used in several European centers, and with great success. The Ministry of Health of Israel has now also approved it.
The finest and most sought after spinal surgeons in Israel conduct successful surgeries at Herzliya Medical Center, introducing innovative treatment approaches for an extensive range of spinal diseases, including scoliosis treatment at the Deaprtment of Orthopedics.