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History of the device

Veptr.com is an unofficial support group. Most of the community consists of parents with children with VEPTR devices, however occasionally medical professionals will stop in for a brief chat. Under no circumstances should information here at VEPTR.COM be accepted unquestionably, this site is not a substitute for qualified medical advice. In other words, if you have an important question, ask your local physician!

What is the VEPTR device?

The VEPTR device is a unique implementation designed to address the difficulties in stabilizing a deformed chest cavity in young children. Unlike traditional techniques, like a spinal fusion, the device uses telescoping rods to allow expansion during the growth of the child.

Mechanically, the VEPTR device works through telescoping rods, often attached from rib-to-rib, or rib-to-illiac crest (hip bones). This works to stabilize the lung cavity, offering expansions and ease of expansion as the child grows.

What sort of patients can receive VEPTR implementations?

The device is indented for young and growing children, typically children should be at least 18 months old before being considered. Skeletally mature patients, like adults, will have more appropriate options. Additionally, while VEPTR patients typically recover relatively quickly, complications may arise and all patients must be healthy enough to undergo the rigors of intensive surgery.

What sort of conditions is the VEPTR device designed to treat?

Scoliosis, Jarcho-Levin, missing or fused ribs, missing or malformed vertebra, and kyphosis (to a much lesser degree). Many deformities of the rib cage can be stabilized with a VEPTR device.

What sort of benefits will a patient see?

Patients may experience increased lung expansion, easier breathing, reduced discomfort, improved quality of life, and slowing progression, or even reversal of chest deformities. Indirectly corrects and / or improves scoliosis.

What sort of complications may arise?

Bone erosion, skin breakthrough, infection, post-operative pain, device fracture due to stress fatigue, device removal.

What is the long term prognosis for VEPTR patients?

While data is still limited, as even the initial patients are still in early adulthood, the prognosis seems very good. Often after a patient has become skeletally mature, they may be considered for a more conventional treatment such as a spinal fusion in order to provide stability later in life. Some patients leave the VEPTR devices implanted. The course of action varies from patient and doctor.

How do I get an evaluation for the VEPTR device?

Contact a center or physician. Be prepared to submit xrays, or other diagnostic imaging for evaluation!