IMAST 2019: Longer term results needed to assess efficacy of growth modulation techniques

Kenneth Cheung (Hong Kong) speaks to BLearning at IMAST 2019 (17 –20 July, Amsterdam) about how growth modulation techniques can be used to treat spinal deformity in young children. Traditionally, spinal deformity has been corrected using spinal fusion. However, Cheung notes that in young children, with spinal fusion “the spine no longer grows” and this is where growth modulation techniques come in.

Cheung, who is a past-president of the Scoliosis Research Society, explains that “what we want to try to do is maintain growth of the spine using these techniques by slowing down growth on the longer side of the spine to allow the spine on the other side catch up”.

Spinal fusion is “a very successful procedure” and growth modulation techniques are “new and exciting” but that because of their relative infancy “we need to wait to see the long term results to see if they are actually good”, Cheung adds.

Cheung also highlights that while there are proponents for both vertebral body tethering and posterior dynamic control system growth modulation techniques, there are currently “no direct comparisons as to which is better”.

Cheung, Kenneth

Kenneth M.C. Cheung is the Jessie Ho Professor in Spine Surgery and the Head of the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, The University of Hong Kong. In 1987, he obtained his undergraduate medical degree at the Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, The University of London, UK. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1991, and a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in 1995. After returning to Hong Kong from the UK in 1992, he pursued both a clinical career in Spinal Surgery, as well as a research career culminating in the award of an MD from The University of Hong Kong in 2007. He is also a past president of the Scoliosis Research Society.

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