Growing Rods for Spinal Care
Children younger than 10 years of age need a different approach than older children and teenagers. We want to be sure their treatment supports their growing spine, while also helping to correct the spinal curvature.
When 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.
The type of surgery decided upon for any given child is dependent on any underlying condition, skeletal maturity (how much growth a child has left) and the size and type of curve that they have. Younger children with a significant curve may undergo a procedure that is considered a guided growth procedure where there is not an actual fusion of the spine. Your surgeon will determine what procedure is best for your child.
If your child has a worsening spinal deformity, but their body will still be growing, we can implant traditional growing rods.
Growing rods allow for the chest and lungs to continue to grow while controlling the deformity. Traditional growing rods are placed in the back during surgery. The area of the curve is spanned by one or two rods, and they are attached to the spine above and below by hooks or screws.
Your child will recover in the hospital. This normally takes a few days. Your child will return approximately every six months for a lengthening procedure to help the rods keep up with their growth.
Lengthening surgeries are normally an outpatient surgery in which your child gets to go home on the same day. Once your child is done growing, they will often have a final surgery for posterior spinal fusion in order to prevent any further spinal deformity.
Shilla growing rods
The Shilla growing rod technique provides initial correction to the most deformed portion of the spine with instrumentation and fusion.
This procedure involves the placement of screws and rods, but allows a certain amount of spine flexibility to prevent auto-fusion and stiffness of the spine. The procedure guides the growth of the abnormal spine to a more normal shape and position. This procedure does not require surgical lengthening.
MAGEC growing rods
MAGEC growing rods, which are similar to a traditional growing rod, are surgically attached to the spine and sometimes to the pelvis.
MAGEC rods can be lengthened in the clinic in just a few minutes using an external magnet. This spares your child from repeated trips to the operating room under anesthesia. The lengthening takes place every few months at a clinic visit.
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