Children’s National Health System is among the first in the country to offer a spinal growing rod for children with scoliosis. The MAGEC™ (MAGnetic Expansion Control) Spinal Growing Rod
is a non-invasive treatment for children with early onset scoliosis
.About Current Growing Rods
Growing rods have become effective tools for children whose spinal curvature is too significant to control with bracing or casting. The rods—which are surgically attached to the spine above and below the curve and then lengthened during follow-up surgical procedures—allow the spine to continue growing while managing the curve until the child is old enough for spinal fusion.
Children must bear the physical and psychological burden of undergoing lengthening procedures every six to 12 months until they are skeletally mature enough to have spinal fusion—typically around age 10 for girls and age 12 or 13 for boys. The procedure also has a recovery period following each surgery, meaning some missed school days.Why MAGEC Growing Rods are Different
MAGEC rods are similar to traditional growing rods in that an orthopaedic surgeon attaches them to the spine through an incision in the patient’s back, a procedure requiring several days of inpatient recovery. Unlike conventional growing rods, however, the surgeon lengthens the MAGEC rods in minutes during subsequent outpatient visits every three or four months using the MAGEC External Remote Controller (ERC)—no surgery required. The ERC is like a magnetic wand and as it is waved over the back, it lengthens the rods internally. Because the follow up procedures can be done in the outpatient setting and are non-invasive, patients recover faster and can return to school sooner.
“Traditional growing rods work, but they require multiple surgeries that increase complication rates and time spent in the hospital,” says Matthew Oetgen, MD
, Interim Division Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine
and Director of Orthopaedic Research at Children’s National. “We treat many children each year who have or are candidates for growing rods, so it’s important for us to embrace new technology to make the lengthening process easier and less painful for children while decreasing morbidity.”First to Use MAGEC Growing Rods in Washington, DC
Following MAGEC’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February 2014, surgeons at Children’s National performed two of the first 15 MAGEC implantations in the country, and the first in the greater Washington, DC, area. Jeffrey Hanway, MD
, and Shannon Kelly, MD
, orthopaedic surgeons, each performed a case at Children’s National on May 6.
“My patient was a somewhat atypical candidate because he was 10 years old, but he was a young 10, skeletally speaking,” Dr. Hanway says. “A brace adequately managed his curve for a while, but by this spring, a slow increase in the bend had pushed it past 50 degrees. When MAGEC became available, I said, ‘This is ideal for him.’ If he can continue with MAGEC for two or three years, he’ll be in a good place in terms of readiness for spinal fusion.”
Read more about the MAGEC growing rod's ongoing research in Advancing Pediatrics.