About the Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

The Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is the first program in the nation devoted solely to treating children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS), a complex spine and chest wall condition that affects normal breathing and lung growth.

We are the only center of our kind that utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to care. We evaluate hundreds of children from around the world and offer complete care, from evaluation through long-term follow-up, using the latest technologies and surgeries. 

Our center was originally founded more than 15 years ago. Today, the team is led by Patrick J. Cahill, MD. A CHOP orthopedic surgeon, the late Robert Campbell, MD, invented the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR). It is the only FDA-approved device to treat TIS. VEPTR surgery has revolutionized the care of children with spine disorders and restricted lung growth. Our center is one of only a few institutions in the world to offer this revolutionary treatment. We perform more than 200 VEPTR and other growth-sparing procedures each year.

Our comprehensive evaluation includes

  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Dynamic lung MRI
  • 3-D EOS imaging
  • Genetic testing
  • X-ray
  • CT scans of the chest and spine

Our team consults with a pulmonologist and general surgeon, as well as a cardiologist and neurosurgeon, if needed, to develop an individual treatment plan for each child. Care may include implanting growing rods or VEPTRs, surgical devices that correct the spinal deformity and expand the child’s rib cage, which enables lung growth.

Our team collaborates closely with CHOP’s Spine Program, one of the largest multidisciplinary programs of its kind in the world, as well as cardiothoracic surgeons, hematology specialists, neuroradiologists, interventional pulmonologists and genetic counselors throughout the Hospital.

Today, we can offer children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome something unheard of 20 years ago — a future.

Our Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome was designated a Frontier Program by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Frontier Programs are unique, cutting-edge programs that will forge important new discoveries, deliver novel therapies, and help even more children thrive.

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