Anterior Scoliosis Correction ASC

M. Darryl Antonacci MD, FACS
M. Darryl Antonacci MD, FACS
Chief Spine Surgeon & Director Specialist in Pediatric & Adult Spine

What Is ASC (Anterior Scoliosis Correction) ?

Dr. Antonacci's Anterior Scoliosis Correction ASC is a flexible approach used in correcting scoliosis. Using the techniques of ASC, patients will have muscle sparing surgery which helps maximize flexibility while straightening small, large, and even stiff curves in growing or mature patients.

Page Contents:

  • ASC vs VBT - What's the Difference?
  • Who Should Consider Anterior Scoliosis Correction?
  • Am I Too Mature For This Procedure To Work?
  • What If I Am Told My Child’s Curves Are Too Big or Too Stiff ?
  • What are the Advantages of Anterior Scoliosis Correction?

ASC or VBT??

Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC) vs Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT)

What is the difference?

Scoliosis inherently is a process by which the spine is already tethered. In our opinion, the terms ‘tether’ and ‘tethering’ used to describe the technique we perform are not medically accurate. In most cases, spinal curvatures like scoliosis, and particularly with hypokyphosis, need to be “de-tethered” for optimal correction. Therefore, we prefer Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC) and not VBT (Vertebral Body Tethering). For this and many of the reasons listed on this page, Drs. Antonacci, Dr. Betz, and Dr. Cuddihy, who are pioneers in this field, prefer ASC. Furthermore, it is the opinion of Drs. ABC that ASC yields aesthetically appealing cosmetic incisions hidden under the arms better than VBT.

The distinction between Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC) and Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT)  is an important one best represented by who can be treated.



Curve 40-65 degrees Yes Yes
Flexible Curves Yes Yes
Growing Spine Yes Yes
Curves over 65 degrees Yes No
Stiff Curves Yes No
Mature Adolescents Yes No
Adult Curves Yes No
Complex Curves Yes No
*uniquely pioneered by Drs. ABC

Who Should Consider Anterior Scoliosis Correction?

Our candidates for muscle sparing, less invasive scoliosis surgery correction have a variety of scoliosis types. Most have idiopathic scoliosis (adolescent, juvenile, or some forms of adult), or idiopathic “like” (i.e., post-syrinx decompression). But we have also treated patients whose scoliosis is associated with a syndrome, a neuromuscular condition or is congenital. Each case is individually evaluated and carefully considered. Most are at least 10 years of age, with or without remaining spine growth; have a thoracic, thoracolumbar or lumbar curve(s) of 30 to 80 degrees (some higher at the time of actual surgery).

How Does Treating Scoliosis with Anterior Scoliosis Correction Work?

Dr. Antonacci’s Anterior Scoliosis Correction uses “growth modulation” and “remodeling”– partially restraining one side of the spine to allow growth and remodeling on the other side – to reverse the abnormal scoliosis growth pattern in the anterior thoracic (upper) spine in a less invasive surgery. Titanium pedicle screws are placed on the convexity (outside) of the vertebrae that are causing the scoliosis; a a rod-cord ( white polyethylene-terephthalate flexible cord) is attached to each of the bone screws in the vertebral bodies of the spine. When the implants are tightened, it corrects and straightens the spine. The affected curve(s) show an immediate improvement right after surgery, and continued improvement over time as the spine remodels.

I Am Too Mature For This Procedure To Work?

Orthodontists have shown that adult teeth can be realigned and jaw bones can remodel over time using orthodontic braces. In a similar way, we believe mature vertebrae can be realigned using Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC) in mature adolescents and adults. Once the asymmetric pressure of the curve is removed and the spine is held in a more normal position, the vertebrae and disks can remodel to maintain this correction over time. The key is to do ALL of the desired 3-dimensional spine correction at the time of surgery – meaning to straighten the ‘S’ curve itself, de-rotate the rotated vertebrae, and restore the spine’s (sagittal) postural curvatures that are often absent in scoliosis. To achieve this, our team has added some additional, advanced, corrective techniques to the procedure which may be needed if the mature curves are not completely flexible.

Are My Child’s Curves Too Big or Too Stiff ?

We have achieved dramatic curve corrections in stiff and high degree curves not elsewhere obtained. This is because we have pioneered advanced corrective techniques tailored to the individual situation. We really do not have criteria of exclusion from this treatment like many other centers .Each case must be carefully evaluated individually and we will recommend options.

What are the Advantages of Anterior Scoliosis Correction?

Typically surgery that is less invasive will carry less risk for the patient for several reasons. This is the case using of Dr. Antonacci’s Anterior Scoliosis Correction. The spine can continue to move and bend, so the patient may experience less discomfort and more freedom of movement. We achieve this by using a muscle-sparing approach so unlike traditional invasive back surgery, no back muscles are cut, and there is minimal disruption and much faster healing. Additionally blood loss is very low using these less invasive techniques. Recovery therefore averages about 4 weeks, with return to unrestricted activity at 6 weeks in most cases.

Learn about Reagan's story about her passion for running and how she was treated with Dr. Antonacci's Approach: Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC).

“It’s kind of amazing!” – Reagan
“They saved her life,” Carrie (Mom) said. “They gave her quality of life back. She’s actually back to who she was. Everything was taken away from her was given back.”

Listen to Eliana's Story of Scoliosis treated with Dr. Antonacci's Approach: Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC)

Dear Dr. Antonacci, Dr. Betz, Dr. Cuddihy, Janet, and Joel: Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. I appreciate the time and effort you spent explaining and performing the surgery to me and my family. I am grateful to be back to my normal life again. I don’t have to worry about scoliosis anymore and I will be back to dancing and acting in no time. I’m already back to violin, will be in the school’s summer music, and can’t wait to be back on the dance team when it starts with all of my friends in the fall. THANK YOU!

Do You or Your Child Have Scoliosis?

Contact our office to see if your child’s scoliosis (for curvatures over 35 degrees) could benefit from this expertise — Treating Scoliosis with Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC)

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Are you looking to have your Scoliosis case personally reviewed by Dr. Antonacci?

Are you looking to have your Scoliosis case personally reviewed by Dr. Antonacci?

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