We offer the latest technology to help young patients suffering from severe early onset scoliosis. Magnetically Controlled Growth Rods (MCGR) are surgically implantable rods whose length we control with an External Remote Control (ERC). With this tool, our doctors can lengthen the rods in the office without sedation or surgery.
Magnetically Controlled Growth Rods are a drastic improvement. In the past, when bracing and casting failed for some children suffering from scoliosis (severe deformity of the spine and chest), doctors surgically implanted rods in order to minimize the progression of the curve and still allow for continued growth.
With MCGR, our doctors can lengthen the rods in the office without sedation or surgery.
Unfortunately, the child would have to undergo surgery every six months to lengthen the rods and the spine. This led to many complications, including high infection rates and psychological ramifications. Some children developed deep anxiety and fear related to the surgeries. Many doctors also worried about the long-term effects of anesthesia.
The MCGR technology was developed to improve patient care and outcomes. It allows us to lengthen the spine while keeping the patient’s chest open without surgery or sedation. The rods work best in very young children who have very large curves.
Advantages of MCGR for Scoliosis Treatment
- Fewer surgeries
- Lower infection rates
- Less anesthesia exposure
- Reduced patient and parent anxiety
- Better patient experience
To understand the advantages of MCGR, you must first understand the history of growth rods in scoliosis. Severe early onset scoliosis has always been a challenging problem to treat. At its worst, the scoliosis can progress rapidly, leading to severe deformity of the spine and chest, which then causes lung and heart dysfunction. When bracing and casting fail, surgery is our only option to minimize the deformity of the spine, thereby allowing the chest to grow and provide enough space for the lungs and heart to perform adequately.
In the past, surgery consisted of implantable rods, but no fusion. This allowed us to minimize the progression of the curve, and allowed for continued growth, but it certainly had a cost. In order to allow growth, we had to take the child to the operating room every six months to lengthen the rods and lengthen the spine. This led to many complications. Infection rates were high, due both to the number of surgeries and the fragile state of health in which many of these children already live. It also affected the children psychologically. They developed deep anxiety and fear related to the surgeries, including fear of IV placement and fear of postoperative pain. Many doctors also worried about the long term effects of children undergoing so many episodes of anesthesia.
The New Technology
To improve our patient care and outcomes, a new technology was developed, the magnetically controlled growth rods (MCGR). These are surgically implantable rods, whose length we control with an External Remote Control (ERC). With this tool, our experts can lengthen the rods, making the spine grow and the chest remain open. This can be done in the office without sedation or surgery! The rods work best in very young children with substantial growth remaining, who have very large curves.