Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

Thoracic insufficiency is a condition in which the chest walls do not properly support normal respiration or lung development.  This can be caused by a number of spinal deformities such as congenital scoliosis, missing ribs, fused ribs, deformed vertebrae, or other types of severe early onset scoliosis.  Children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome often experience impaired breathing or lung growth.  As the child grows, the spine and rib cage do not keep pace, resulting in chest wall deformities and sometimes requiring oxygen or ventilator support.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS).  Our multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons and pulmonologists—all of whom specialize exclusively in the care of children—bring expertise, experience and leading edge care to the treatment of children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome. 

Comprehensive treatment for thoracic insufficiency

Various techniques, including bracing, casting, stapling, and growing rods can be used to manage early scoliosis and thoracic insufficiency. 

The most common treatment for children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome is the innovative VEPTR (vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib) device.  The VEPTR device is a vertical titanium rib that is implanted between the natural ribs to keep the chest wall expanded.  The device helps the spine grow straighter and supports lung growth and natural breathing.  It can be expanded and adjusted as a child grows. 

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was the first comprehensive TIS treatment program in Michigan, and among the first in the nation, to give children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome access to the groundbreaking VEPTR device and we continue to be one of the most experienced VEPTR programs in the country.

Collaborative care from a multidisciplinary team

The University of Michigan’s team of specialists works together to bring decades of collective wisdom from multiple pediatric specialties together to create a plan of care for each individual child.  Your care team will include pediatric orthopedic surgery, pediatric general surgery, pediatric pulmonology, advanced practice nurses and other pediatric care specialists to provide complete diagnosis, treatment, and long-term support and follow-up care.  Together, the team will debate the pros and cons of the various treatment options for your child, including VEPTR expansion as well as growing rods and any other appropriate treatment options to help your child.

Why choose us?

In the case of a young child with a developing body, it does make a difference where you get treated.  Children with thoracic insufficiency require a multidisciplinary team able to offer a full range of treatment options that includes cutting edge technologies performed by skilled, experienced pediatric surgeons. 

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is one of the most experienced, largest VEPTR programs in the United States.  Our team of specialists offers a comprehensive evaluation and individualized treatment approach for children and their families. 

We offer a full spectrum of care, including social work support, child life therapy to help your child cope with treatment, and long term follow up care.

Our track record of being among the first to offer patients advanced treatment options, combined with our patient- and family-centered approach to caring for your child distinguishes us as a destination program for the treatment of children with thoracic insufficiency.

Make an Appointment

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 734-936-5780.