Congenital malformations of the spine are inherited and therefore appear early in the course of life. There are different malformations of the spine, which can lead to a pronounced distortion and curvature of the vertebral column, if left untreated. They can occur in the lateral (side) (kyphosis / humpback formation) and/or frontal plane (scoliosis). Spine deformation is often observed in combination with changes to the thorax and ribs. Based on an exact analysis, atypically deformed vertebral bodies (wedge vertebrae), conjoined vertebrae (block vertebrae), or bony junctions (synostoses) between the ribs can be detected.
Affected children are usually still very small. Corset treatment is rarely used for congenital malformations of the spine (Fig. 3.1). Treatment of congenital malformations and scoliosis must therefore not only have a corrective effect, but must also accompany the growth phase which often extends over many years.
Implants developed for this purpose are able to direct growth. After the implants are applied to the pelvis, spine or ribs, they can be lengthened in the course of short successive interventions depending on the patient’s growth until maturity is reached. The implants "guide" the growth of the spine. The treatment is complex and involves regular examinations. Once the patient has stopped growing, the treatment ends with the removal of the growth-controlling implants (growing rod or VEPTR (Fig. 3.2) etc.) and a definitive operation to reinforce and support the spine long-term.