A. Baroncini, P. Trobisch, J. Eschweiler, F. Migliorini

May 2022, pp 1 - 7 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07231-w

First Online: 04 May 2022

Analysis of the risk factors for early tether breakage following vertebral body tethering in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis


Tether breakage is a common mechanical complication after VBT. When this occurs shortly after surgery, patients may be at higher risk for loss of correction. Aim of this study was to analyze demographic and radiographic parameters that may potentially be risk factors for early tether breakage, as no data are yet available on this topic.

Materials and methods

All skeletally immature patients who underwent VBT and for whom a 1-year follow-up was available were included in the study. Demographic, intraoperative and coronal and sagittal parameters from the preoperative and 1st standing X-rays were collected. Patients were divided in two groups according to the presence or absence of a breakage and the outcomes of interest were compared.


Data from 105 patients were available (age 14.2 ± 1.5, 153 curves). Lumbar curves showed a higher risk of breakage than thoracic ones (71% vs. 29%, P < 0.0001). Overall, preoperative risk factors were a high curve magnitude (MD, mean difference − 4.1°, P = 0.03) and a limited flexibility (MD 8.9%, P = 0.006); postoperative risk factors were a large residual curve (MD − 6.4°, P = 0.0005) and a limited correction (MD 8.4%, P = 0.0005). The same risk factors were identified in thoracic curves, while in lumbar instrumentation only a higher preoperative Cobb angle represented a risk factor for breakage. Age and skeletal maturity did not represent risk factors.


The main preoperative risk factors for early tether breakage after VBT are a high curve magnitude and a limited flexibility. A limited curve correction also represents a risk factor for this complication.

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