The Growing Spine Study Group (GSSG)

The mission of the GSSG is to improve the care of patients with early onset scoliosis and related deformities through research, education, and advocacy.

GSSG November 16, 2016
Utrecht, Holland

GSSG November 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts

GSSG November 19, 2014
Warsaw, Poland

Why was the GSSG developed?
The GSSG was initiated through educational tutorials and multicenter data collection in 2002 in response to a growing interest about improving treatment options for early onset scoliosis.  The group’s first scientific project was presented at the Scoliosis Research Society’s annual meeting in 2003.  The peer response to this initial research study was overwhelming and multiple institutions asked to collaborate and participate in future research studies.  Thus, the GSSG was formed.  The GSSG is now an internationally recognized study group comprised of pediatric spine deformity surgeons who specialize in the treatment of early onset scoliosis and related spinal and chest wall deformities. 

Who are the members of the GSSG?
The GSSG is comprised of 36 surgeon investigators at 22 centers in seven countries (Canada, Egypt, Japan, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States). All GSSG members have been trained in orthopaedic spine surgery and/or pediatric orthopaedic surgery and specialize in complex spinal deformities in young children.  Study group membership consists of Active and Associate members.  Active members typically see a large number of early onset scoliosis patients, contribute a large amount of research data, and lead new GSSG research studies.  Associate members contribute research data on a small number of patients. 

Where does the GSSG present its work?
For podium or poster presentations, the GSSG typically presents its work on an annual basis at the following professional society meetings:

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques
  • International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis
  • Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
  • Scoliosis Research Society

Once a research study is ready for peer-review publication, the GSSG typically publishes its work in one of the following medical journals:

  • Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
  • Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics
  • Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
  • Spine Deformity
  • Spine

What is the GSSG working on right now? 
The GSSG is working on the following research studies as of October 2012:

  • Is there a significant increase in thoracic height after growing rod surgery for early onset scoliosis?  (Principal Investigator: Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD)
  • Five to sixteen-year results of 201 growing rod patients: is there a difference between etiologies? (Principal Investigator: Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD)
  • Deep surgical site infection following growing rod surgery in early onset scoliosis: how does it change the course of treatment? (Principal Investigator: Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD)
  • Cost analysis in the treatment of early onset scoliosis with growing rods (Principal Investigator: Michael Glotzbecker, MD)
  • Growing rods in early onset scoliosis with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (Principal Investigator: Viral Jain, MD)
  • Age-matched comparison of casting patients to growth sparing implants for outcomes and complications (Principal Investigator: Charles E. Johnston, MD)
  • The effect of serial growing rod lengthening on the sagittal profile in early onset scoliosis (Principal Investigators: Suken Shah, MD and Greg Mundis, MD)
  • Are rib anchors protective against rod breakage in distraction-based growing rods? (Principal Investigator: David L. Skaggs, MD)
  • Proximal junctional kyphosis after growing rod surgery (Principal Investigator: David L. Skaggs, MD)
  • The Shilla technique vs. Distraction-based Growing Rods (Principal Investigator: David L. Skaggs, MD)
  • Is there an optimal time interval to distract dual growing rods? (Principal Investigator: Paul Sponseller, MD)
  • Spine-based vs. Rib-based anchors in growth-sparing constructs for young children with scoliosis (collaborative project with the Chest Wall and Spinal Deformity Study Group and Dr. Michael Vitale)
  • The value of flexibility radiographs in predicting coronal curve correction following growing rod surgery (Principal Investigator: Burt Yaszay, MD)
  • Beware the risks of instrumenting to the pelvis in ambulatory early onset scoliosis patients treated with growth sparing surgery (Principal Investigator: Burt Yaszay, MD)
  • The safety and efficacy of growing rods following kyphectomy in higher level myelomeningocele patients (Principal Investigator: Muharrem Yazici, MD)

Recent GSSG publications

Project Title Year Published Journal
Dual growing rod technique for the treatment of progressive early-onset scoliosis: a multicenter study 2005 Spine
Comparison of single and dual growing rod techniques followed through definitive surgery: a preliminary study 2005 Spine
Growing rod techniques in early-onset scoliosis. 2007 Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Dual growing rod technique followed for three to eleven years until final fusion: the effect of frequency of lengthening 2008 Spine
Neurologic risk in growing rod spine surgery in early onset scoliosis: is neuromonitoring necessary for all cases? 2009 Spine
Growing rods for infantile scoliosis in Marfan syndrome 2009 Spine
Pelvic fixation of growing rods: comparison of constructs 2009 Spine
Complications In Growing Rod Treatment For Early Onset Scoliosis: Analysis Of 140 Patients 2010 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Growing rods for spinal deformity: characterizing consensus and variation in current use 2010 Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
How does thoracic kyphosis affect patient outcomes in growing rod surgery? 2011 Spine
Lengthening of Dual Growing Rods: Is There a Law of Diminishing Returns 2011 Spine
Growing Rods for Scoliosis in Spinal Muscular Atrophy 2011 Spine
Growing Rod Fractures: Risk Factors and Opportunities for Prevention 2011 Spine
Safety and Efficacy of Growing Rod Technique for Pediatric Congenital Spinal Deformities 2011 Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Growing rods for the treatment of pediatric scoliosis in cerebral palsy: a critical assessment 2012 Spine



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