Why Choose CHOP for the Treatment of Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

Children and adolescents with chest wall and spine deformities that affect normal breathing can find world-class care and life-saving treatment at the Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (CTIS) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

CHOP’s pioneering surgeons and multidisciplinary team provide patients and families with a full gamut of treatment options – all customized to each patient’s individual and specific needs.

CHOP offers the only FDA-approved treatment for thoracic insufficiency syndrome – the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR). The VEPTR was designed by the late Robert M. Campbell Jr., past director of the center, and manufactured by Hansjorg Wyss, a philanthropist and businessman who saw the device’s lifesaving potential.

When making decisions about your child’s treatment and care team, consider the following:

Cross-specialty expertise matters. 

The Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome is the first national, multidisciplinary program devoted solely to the treatment of thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS), a rare and complex syndrome caused by progressive scoliosis and severe rib fusion, or a variety of genetic conditions that affect the spine, rib cage and chest wall.

The Center has the backing of two pediatric specialty programs: The Division of Orthopaedics and the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. Both divisions have been regularly top ranked in the nation by U.S News & World Report’s Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals for the past five years. See rankings for 2023-24.

TIS assessment and treatment is not one-size-fits-all. 

Though thoracic insufficiency syndrome is most often caused by progressive scoliosis/severe rib fusion or a congenital syndrome, every child’s condition is unique. We provide comprehensive evaluation using the latest diagnostic technologies to see how your child’s TIS is affecting air supply to their lungs.

Consultations with other specialists – from pulmonology, general surgery, orthopaedics, genetics and others – are included as needed. Once testing is complete, a multidisciplinary team meets to decide which treatment option will provide your child with the best outcome and quality of life. Treatment may include VEPTR, traditional growing rods, magnetic growing rods, bracing and/or other treatments.

Access to care.

Patients followed through our center can be seen at several convenient locations through CHOP’s Care Network, though most surgeries are performed on our Philadelphia Campus.

Our nurse program manager and nurse navigator help guide you along the way. 

Our two resource nurses help families schedule appointments, get necessary referrals and approvals from primary doctors and insurance companies, and help guide you through your child’s evaluation, treatment and follow-up care.

Have a question? Contact us online today.

Support for a smooth transition, and care at CHOP into adulthood as needed. 

For children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome, long-term follow-up care is crucial to the patient’s continued health. While VEPTRs and growing rods will no longer need to be lengthened after skeletal maturity, there are occasionally challenges related to equipment damage or infection. Patients will always have a home at CHOP and a caring, experienced doctor to take care of any concerns as they get older.

Young boy hugging mom

Would you like a second opinion from a CTIS expert?

Our referral nurse navigator and program manager are here to help guide your child’s care journey.

Your Child's TIS Evaluation

What to expect during your child’s first appointment, starting with a comprehensive evaluation of their spine and chest wall deformity.