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VEPTR Treatment: What to Expect


Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about your child’s medications/vitamins/herbs. Some may need to be discontinued a week prior to surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that could impact surgery or anesthesia.
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Blood samples are taken in case your child needs a blood transfusion.

Day of the Surgery

  • Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Only give your child medications that the surgeon has recommended with a small sip of water.
  • You will receive a call from the hospital about arrival time.

After Surgery

Your child will remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days following the procedure. At first, your child will be admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for monitoring. In some cases, a ventilator may be used for a few days, but this is temporary.

  • A dressing will cover your child's surgical site for the next few days, and it must be kept dry. Only allow your child a sponge bath.
  • There will be soreness around the surgical site during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
  • Your child will be prescribed antibiotics to take while he or she recovers.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on your child’s energy level.
  • Your child will feel better after the first week, but he or she must take precautions when performing certain activities.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

Most children will be fully recovered in one month and can resume some normal activities. Most children should avoid strenuous activity that involves a lot of twisting and contact sports like football. Your child's rod must be adjusted or replaced over time. This is also a minimally invasive surgery which requires an overnight hospital stay.

Question & Answer

Below, find answers to commonly asked questions. Click each item to expand the Q&A for each section.

The Procedure

Q: What does the procedure involve?

The Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib is a curved metal rod that can be attached to a child’s ribs so that his or her chest cavity can grow and expand correctly. Your child will be completely asleep using general anesthesia. 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 straighten the spine and provide space between the ribs.


Q: How many incisions are made?

One large incision and up to five tiny incisions are made in the child’s back.

Hospital Stay

Q: How long will my child stay in the hospital?

Children will normally stay 10 to 14 days in the hospital.

Recovery Time

Q: What is the recovery time?

Most children feel better within the first week, but it takes a month to fully recovery. Your child’s pediatric surgeon will advise on what sort of activities to avoid and how to take precautions so that the device does not become infected or detached.