Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Scoliosis and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research

Pulmonary function after less invasive anterior instrumentation and fusion for idiopathic thoracic scoliosis

Geertje C Huitema1*, Rob C Jansen2, Edward Dompeling3, Paul Willems2, Ilona Punt4 and Lodewijk W van Rhijn2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Westfriesgasthuis, Hoorn, NH, The Netherlands

2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands

3 Department of Paediatric Pulmonology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands

4 Research School CAPHRI, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

Scoliosis 2013, 8:14  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-8-14

Published: 21 August 2013



Standard thoracotomy for anterior instrumentation and fusion of the thoracic spine in idiopathic scoliosis may have detrimental effects on pulmonary function. In this study we describe a less invasive anterior surgical technique and show the pre- and postoperative pulmonary function with a minimum follow-up of 2 years.


Twenty patients with Lenke type 1 adolescent thoracic idiopathic scoliosis were treated with anterior spinal fusion and instrumentation. The mean preoperative Cobb angle of the thoracic curve was 53° ± 5.8. Pulmonary function tests (PFT) and radiographic evaluation was performed.


The mean postoperative correction in Cobb angle of the thoracic curve was 27° ± 8.2 (49%).

The mean preoperative FEV1 was 2.81 ± 0.43 L, which increased to 3.14 ± 0.50 L at 2 years postoperatively (P = 0.000). The mean FEV1% did not change (89.60 ± 7.49% preoperatively, versus 90.53 ± 5.95% at 2 years follow-up, P = 0.467). The TLC increased from 4.62 ± 0.62 L preoperatively to 5.17 ± 0.63 L at 2 years follow-up (P = 0.000). The FEV1% at two years of follow-up improved to 104% of the FEV1% predicted value. The FEV1 improved to 97% of the FEV1 predicted value.


Anterior spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis by means of a minimal open thoracotomy proved to be a safe surgical technique that resulted in an improvement of pulmonary function. Our results are similar to those of thoracoscopic procedures reported in literature.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Pulmonary function tests; Anterior fusion; Anterior instrumentation