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Growing Rods for Spinal Care

Children's Mercy is an American College of Surgeons Verified Center

Children younger than 10 years of age need a different approach than the older patient and teenager. The growing spine needs to be supported by the treatment. In children in whom casting or bracing is not an option we recommend surgery which allows the spine to grow. Below you can find the several types of growing rods and techniques.

VEPTR (vertical expandable prosthetic titanium ribs)

This is rib-based surgery which means that the device attaches to the ribs. The upper devices attach to one or more ribs and the lower devices attach to ribs, the spine or the pelvis. The patient generally has a lengthening of the device every six months, typically as an outpatient. The device is lengthened until early adolescence when the lengthening procedures stop and the rod is left or replaced with permanent rods.

Growing rods

These are rods that attach to several levels of the spine at the top end and attach to the spine or the pelvis at the lower end. The device is typically lengthened surgically every six months as an outpatient.


The Shilla growing rod technique uses the concept of screws sliding on two rods that are fixed to the spine. This allows the natrual growth of the spine to drive the lengthening of the spine without repeat surgeries. 

MAGEC rods

This is the newest technique, which is similar to a growing rod in that it is surgically attached to the spine and sometimes to the pelvis. The lengthening of the rod is done in the clinic and requires no surgery. The lengthening takes only a few minutes and it done by an external magnet.