Magnetic vs. traditional growing rods for scoliosis: Which is better?

Written by Laura Dyrda | November 04, 2014 | Print  |

Are magnetically-controlled growing rods better than traditional growing rods for early-onset scoliosis?

A new study in Spinal Deformity examines just that. The study authors compared magnetically-controlled growing rods for patients less than 10 years old with a major curve greater than 30 degrees, thoracic height less than 22 cm and no previous surgery. There were 12 patients who met these criteria.


The 12 patients were matched with patients who underwent the procedure with traditional growing rods based on etiology, gender, single or dual rods, preoperative age and preoperative major curve.


The patients were followed for an average of 2.5 years in the metallically-controlled growing rod group and 1.6 years in the traditional growing rod group. The researchers found:


1. Patients in the magnetically-controlled growing rod group experienced average 8.1 mm per year increase in the T1-S1 during the lengthening period. The traditional growing rod patients reported 9.7 mm per year.


2. The patients who received magnetically-controlled growing rods reported an average increase in T1-T12 of 1.5 mm per year. The traditional growing rod patients reported 2.3 mm per year.


3. There were 72 open surgeries in the traditional growing rod group, of which 56 were lengthenings.


4. There were 16 open surgeries in the magnetically-controlled growing rod group, and 137 noninvasive lengthenings.


5. Three of the patients in the traditional group underwent five unplanned revision surgeries; three patients in the magnetically-controlled growing rod group also underwent four unplanned revision surgeries.


6. The authors concluded major curve correction was similar between the two groups throughout treatment. As such, patients who desire fewer surgical procedures may choose to have the magnetically controlled growing rods, as patients in that group underwent 57 fewer surgical procedures.


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