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Hemivertebra Resection

By Editorial Team (2)
January 31, 2022

Hemivertebrae is a type of anomaly in your vertebrae that can result in a lack of formation in one half of your body. Hemivertebrae is most commonly the cause of congenital scoliosis.

Moreover, Hemivertebrae can cause an angular deformity in the formation of the spine as a result of their wedge-shape. This can be the cause not only of scoliosis but also of various spinal deformities as well such as kyphosis, and lordosis.

Hemivertebrae are considered dangerous among most spinal deformities, as they are the ones who are most likely to cause neurological problems in the person affected. Hemivertebrae most often occurs in the midthoracic section of your vertebrae, or namely, in the middle of the middle region of your spine.

Symptoms of Hemivertebrae

The physical and neurological symptoms and consequences of having a Hemivertebrae can range from rear limb paralysis and weakness, urinary and fecal incontinence, spinal pain, as well as headaches,  bouts of nausea and dizziness.

Causes of Hemivertebrae

The probable cause of having a Hemivertebrae can be the lack of blood supply to the affected vertebrae, causing it to be deformed, or not to form entirely. Hemivertebrae can affect humans, but it can affect dogs more commonly, such as in the case of a dog having a Hemivertebrae in the tail, resulting in a screw shape formation.

What is Hemivertebrae Resection?

Hemivertebrae can be corrected through a process known as Hemivertebrae resection. Hemivertebrae resection is known as the surgical procedure medical specialists use to correct and/or prevent complications related to congenital spinal curvatures.

Hemivertebrae is most often done on children, as some of them are born with abnormal spinal curvatures, and have deformed, wedge-shaped vertebra known as Hemivertebrae. Hemivertebrae are formed like triangles or wedge-shaped unlike normal vertebrae, which are formed in a rectangular shape.

In all of these cases involving Hemivertebrae, a resection is needed depending on where the spinal abnormalities are located in order to correct these deformities and prevent further complications.

What is the Purpose of Having a Hemivertebrae Resection?

  • Primarily, a hemivertebrae resection is needed when there is a diagnosed hemivertebrae in the person affected, which in most cases is a child. Sometimes, when there is congenital scoliosis with no clear indication if a hemivertebrae resection is needed or how the spinal deformity will progress, a hemivertebrae resection is deemed necessary if the: Spinal abnormalities are located in the thoracic or commonly known as the midsection of the spine, and when the spinal abnormalities are located only on one side of the spine.
  • A hemivertebrae resection is necessary for children as their bone growth, especially in the spine progresses at a fast pace, and not being able to correct any deformity that might arise from this area of the body will lead to further complications.

How Does One Prepare for a Hemivertebrae Resection?

  • A Hemivertebrae resection has various levels of preparation, most commonly occurring first with physical examinations and various imaging procedures. Your attending physician will first subject you to medical imaging procedures such as an MRI and a CT Scan.
  • An MRI is used to get a view of your entire spine before the operation, and a neurosurgeon or specialist is called in to review the results. 
  • CT Scan can then be obtained and reviewed to further understand the anatomy of the spinal deformity and to further plan the operating process. A CT scan is essential in order to map and create a template for where the pedicle screws for your spine will be placed, as well as to estimate their length and diameter.

The surgical room where the procedure will take place will then be prepared as well as various instruments that the surgeons will use. The pedicle screws, which were mentioned before will be prepared with the appropriate length and diameter based on your CT Scan before the operation. Hooks will also be prepared.

What are the Procedures for doing Hemivertebrae Resection?

  • When finally undergoing Hemivertebrae Resection, you will be placed upon a surgical table, which will either be specially structured for spinal surgeries such as a Jackson spine surgical table or will be a regular flat top table. Either one will be fine.
  • You will then be operated in either of two approaches, the anterior or posterior approach. The anterior approach, as you may have guessed it, involves operating on your spine from the front, and with posterior, from the back. Surgeons mostly use the posterior approach.

Screws will then be placed on your spine to correct your posture, and the most commonly used are fixed angle screws.

Hemivertebrae Resection Post-operative Care

You will most likely stay in the hospital for a few days to a week until you fully recover, and even then you will undergo physical therapy to make sure most of your function returns back to normal. The whole time you will be in the hospital you will be under IV fluids, painkiller medications and antibiotics.

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