The Use of Animal Models in Fusionless Scoliosis Investigations

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Study Design.Review article of current knowledge of animal models used in the investigations of fusionless scoliosis surgery.Objective.To provide a summary of available data on animal studies in the area of fusionless scoliosis surgery.Summary of Background Data.Fusionless scoliosis surgery is an emerging treatment for patients with idiopathic scoliosis as it offers theoretical advantages over current forms of treatment. These advantages include correction of spinal deformity while preserving growth, motion, and function of the spine.Methods.Literature review of animal models used in the investigation of fusionless scoliosis surgery.Results.At present, the theoretical advantages of fusionless scoliosis surgery in the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis are unproven clinically. However, investigations using animal models have demonstrated promise for this new form of treatment. These studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of a variety of fusionless scoliosis implants in treating experimental scoliosis and in modulating spinal growth.Conclusion.Fusionless scoliosis surgery offers theoretical advantages over brace treatment and surgery. Like bracing, fusionless treatments preserve growth, motion, and function of the spine. Like surgery, these treatments offer substantial correction of deformity. However, minimally invasive fusionless scoliosis surgery is less extensive than fusion surgery and may avoid adjacent segment degeneration and other complications related to fusion. Additional investigations are required to identify optimal implant strategies, to evaluate the effects of these implants of the spine and surrounding structures, and to define the appropriate patient population for these interventions.

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