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Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

Children who are diagnosed with Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (TIS) cannot breathe normally, and their lungs also cannot grow properly. With TIS, the chest cannot support normal breathing or lung growth due to abnormalities of the thorax such as flail chest syndrome, rib fusion with scoliosis, or hypo plastic thorax. As children with TIS grow, their chest wall is likely to become deformed and sunken, which may require nasal oxygen or a ventilator for breathing support.

Treatment for TIS

The treatment for this condition is often the placement of a Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR). It can help provide support for normal growth in the spine, reduce spine and rib deformity, expand lung capacity, decrease use of supplemental oxygen and improve a child’s emotional health.

WakeMed’s pediatric surgeons and clinical team work closely with you and your family to discuss treatment options, as well as risks and benefits associated with this type of procedure.

VEPTR Procedure

The Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib is a curved metal rod that can be attached to a child’s ribs so that their chest cavity can grow and expand correctly. Implanted by performing minimally invasive surgery, the titanium rib is connected to the child’s ribs near the spine. The rod, which is fitted based on the child’s size, is secured with hooks on each end. Over time, the device helps straightened the spine and provide space between the ribs. As the child grows, the VEPTR device can be adjusted or replaced by making a small incision in the child’s back.

More Information

Learn What to Expect from VEPTR Treatment