The aims of this study were to evaluate the effect of a thoracoplasty procedure in addition to a posterior spinal fusion and instrumentation on an Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) patient’s 3D back contour as measured by surface topography. We performed a retrospective review to identify patients who were treated with posterior spinal fusion with spinal instrumentation and those who were treated with an additional thoracoplasty procedure. We analyzed changes in surface topography measurements between these two groups using t-test and ANCOVA statistical analyses. Although there were no statistically significant differences in 11 of 12 variables, thoracoplasty-posterior spinal fusion (n=10) group had a mean 6.6 unit reduction in trunk asymmetry while the posterior spinal fusion group (n=26) had a mean 22.8 unit reduction in trunk asymmetry (p-value<0.05). The posterior spinal fusion group and thoracoplasty-posterior spinal fusion group were not shown to have clinically significant differences in 3D back contour correction. An additional thoracoplasty procedure does not provide better correction in the transverse plane and in fact had a smaller degree of trunk asymmetry correction. This supports the current trends of decreasing use of thoracoplasty in AIS patients to address severe rib hump deformities given concerns for decreased post-operative lung function and alternative methods of vertebral body derotation, such as thoracic pedicle screws.
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