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Magnetically-Controlled Rod Shows Promise for Scoliosis

Last Updated: April 19, 2012.

Use of a magnetically-controlled growing rod procedure may be effective and safe for non-invasive outpatient distraction in children with scoliosis, according to research published online April 19 in The Lancet.

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a magnetically-controlled growing rod (MCGR) procedure may be effective and safe for non-invasive outpatient distraction in children with scoliosis, according to research published online April 19 in The Lancet.

To assess the safety and effectiveness of MCGR for non-invasive outpatient distractions, Kenneth Man-Chee Cheung, M.D., from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues implanted the MCGR in five patients who underwent outpatient distractions each month. Radiography was used to assess the magnitude of spinal curvature, rod distraction length, and spinal length, and clinical outcomes were measured.

In two patients with 24 months' follow-up, the researchers found that the mean degree of scoliosis, measured by Cobb angle, was 67 degrees pre-implantation and 29 degrees at 24 months. With each distraction, there was a mean increase of 1.9 mm in the length of the instrumented segment of the spine. For patient 1's rod, the mean predicted versus actual rod distraction length was 2.3 mm versus 1.4 mm; for patient 2's right and left rods, the values were 2.0 and 2.1 mm, respectively, versus 1.9 and 1.7 mm, respectively. Both patients reported no pain, had good functional outcome, and expressed satisfaction with the procedure throughout follow-up. There were no MCGR-related complications.

"The MCGR procedure can be safely and effectively used in outpatient settings, and minimizes surgical scarring and psychological distress, improves quality of life, and is more cost-effective than is the traditional growing rod procedure," the authors write.

Several of the authors disclosed financial ties to Ellipse Technologies, which funded the study.

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