The VATER/VACTERL association is a syndrome notable for congenital vertebral malformations, anal atresia, cardiovascular anomalies, tracheo-esophageal fistula, esophageal atresia, and renal or limb malformations. Vertebral malformations may include the entire spectrum of congenital spinal deformities, including kyphosis, as was seen in this case. A 14 year old girl presented to our institution with severe rigid sagittal deformity in the thoracolumbar spine that had recurred following 3 prior spinal fusion surgeries: the first posterior only, the second anterior and posterior, and the third a posterior only proximal extension. These surgeries were performed to control progressive kyphosis from a complex failure of segmentation that resulted in a 66 degree kyphosis from T11-L3 by the time she was 9 years old. Our evaluation revealed solid arthrodesis from the most recent procedures with resultant sagittal imbalance, and surgical options to restore balance included anterior and posterior revision spinal fusion with osteotomies, multiple posterior extension osteotomies with circumferential spine fusion, and posterior vertebral column resection with circumferential spine fusion. She was advised that multiple posterior extension osteotomies would likely be insufficient to restore sagittal balance in the setting of solid arthrodesis from anterior and posterior surgery and that the posterior only vertebral column resection would provide results equivalent to revision anterior and posterior surgery, without the morbidity of the anterior approach. She successfully underwent posterior vertebrectomy and circumferential spinal fusion with instrumentation and is doing well 2 years postoperatively. Severe rigid sagittal deformity can be effectively managed with a posterior-only surgical approach, vertebrectomy, and circumferential spinal fusion with instrumentation.
About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.