Large animal models in fusionless scoliosis correction research: a literature review

Alex K. Roth, Rob Bogie, Eva Jacobs, Jacobus J.C. Arts, Lodewijk W. van Rhijn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background context: Numerous prenatal, systemic, or local procedures have been described that have created an experimental scoliosis within different animal species. Compression-based fusionless scoliosis correction devices have been used to induce scoliosis (inverse approach) as an indication for their potential corrective efficacy in large animals. Deformities that most closely approximate the three-dimensional nature of an idiopathic-like scoliosis have been created in large animals using a posterior spinal tether. Fusionless scoliosis correction devices have subsequently been tested in these models. Purpose: To provide an overview of large animal models used for preclinical testing of fusionless scoliosis correction devices and to describe recent advances in the creation of an idiopathic-like scoliosis large animal model. Study design: Literature review of large animal models in fusionless scoliosis correction research. Methods: MEDLINE electronic database was searched for studies in which large animal models for spinal or vertebral growth modulation or the creation of an experimental scoliosis were described. The literature search was limited to articles written in the English language. Results: The pig appears to be the most suitable animal species for preclinical testing of fusionless scoliosis correction devices because of its large growth potential and the possibility for early weaning. With the inverse approach, it is difficult to gain insight into the possible corrective efficacy of the tested device, and therefore, a two-step approach is preferred. Using a posterior spinal tether, persistent spinal deformities are attained when the deformity has approximately doubled in comparison to the postoperative measure in a time span of approximately 12 weeks. Sufficient tether midline offset is required to render rib procedures unnecessary. Conclusions: An idiopathic-like scoliosis animal model can be created using a posterior spinal tether in a fully reversible procedure. Experimental results will need to be reproduced to establish a standard idiopathic-like scoliosis large animal model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-688
Number of pages14
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013



  • Animal model
  • Experimental scoliosis
  • Fusionless scoliosis correction
  • Review
  • Spinal growth modulation

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