The necessity of final fusion for early-onset scoliosis pediatric patients: 6 takeaways


Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers studied the necessity of spinal fusions for children with early-onset scoliosis, according to News-Medical. Paul Sponseller, MD, Johns Hopkins pediatric orthopedic surgeon, co-authored the study.

The study included medical records of 167 children who underwent growing rod treatments between 1995 and 2010. Of those children, 137 children had final spinal fusions. Dr. Sponseller analyzed the outcomes of the 30 children who did not receive final spinal fusions.


The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery published the study on July 6.


Here are six takeaways:


1. Dr. Sponseller noted rod insertion operations usually result in the children's spine bones fusing on their own. Therefore, final fusions may not be critical to maintaining straightness.


2. Of the 30 children not receiving final fusions, 26 children maintained straight spines in the three years to seven years after their final growing rod surgeries.


3. Surgeons removed the other four children's rods due to infection.


4. The authors cautioned their study is limited and providers should closely monitor children opting out of final fusion.


5. Further research could unveil whether children with magnetic rods, who don't require multiple surgeries, will need final fusion.


6. Dr. Sponseller concluded many children with early-onset scoliosis probably do not require a final fusion.


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