Original Article

HSS Journal

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 71-76

First online:

Posterior Vertebral Column Resection for VATER/VACTERL Associated Spinal Deformity: A Case Report

  • Matthew E. CunninghamAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Scoliosis Service, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Gina CharlesAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Scoliosis Service, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Oheneba Boachie-AdjeAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Scoliosis Service, Hospital for Special Surgery Email author 

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The VATER/VACTERL association is a syndrome notable for congenital vertebral malformations, anal atresia, cardiovascular anomalies, tracheoesophageal 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 three 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° kyphosis from T11 to 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.

Key words

VATER VACTERL kyphosis kyphectomy spinal deformity recurrent