An NIHR-approved two-year observational study on magnetically controlled growth rods in the treatment of early onset scoliosis

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Abstract

Aims

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the performance and safety of magnetically controlled growth rods in the treatment of early onset scoliosis. Secondary aims were to evaluate the clinical outcome, the rate of further surgery, the rate of complications, and the durability of correction. Patients and Methods We undertook an observational prospective cohort study of children with early onset scoliosis, who were recruited over a one-year period and followed up for a minimum of two years. Magnetically controlled rods were introduced in a standardized manner with distractions performed three-monthly thereafter. Adverse events which were both related and unrelated to the device were recorded. Ten children, for whom relevant key data points (such as demographic information, growth parameters, Cobb angles, and functional outcomes) were available, were recruited and followed up over the period of the study. There were five boys and five girls. Their mean age was 6.2 years (2.5 to 10).

Results

The mean coronal Cobb angle improved from 57.6° (40° to 81°) preoperatively, 32.8° (28° to 46°) postoperatively, and 41° (19° to 57°) at two years. Five children had an adverse event, with four requiring return to theatre, but none were related to the device. There were no neurological complications or infections. No devices failed. One child developed a proximal junctional kyphosis. The mean gain in spinal column height from T1 to S1 was 45.4 mm (24 to 81) over the period of the study.

Conclusion

Magnetically controlled growth rods provide an alternative solution to traditional growing rods in the surgical management of children with early onset scoliosis, supporting growth of the spine while controlling curve progression. Their use has clear psychosocial and economic benefits, with the reduction of the need for repeat surgery as required with traditional growing rods.

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