Depending on the severity of the scoliosis and the measured rate of its progression, there are several options for a patient, including:
Observation: Your surgeon and/or healthcare providers will monitor your child’s scoliosis over time and can determine when interventional treatment is required.
Bracing: Your child will may be prescribed to wear an external, wearable brace to control the deformity and allow for continued growth. Bracing cannot correct a deformity once it’s present, but can guide the growth of the spine, and prevent the deformity from progressing.
Casting: Serial casting is a process of slowing and correcting the spinal curve by enclosing your child’s mid-body in plaster casts. While wearing the cast, your child usually cannot bathe or get it wet, and movement can be encumbered by the weight and bulk. To adjust for changes in the curve and your child’s growth, casts are typically replaced every 8 to 16 weeks. Some casting procedures require anesthesia to be administered to the patient.
Growing rod(s): In more serious progressive cases, surgery is used to implant growing rod(s) to control the curvature in the spine. These rods are generally adjusted by way of follow-up surgeries that can occur every six months (on average), to address correction of the curve and normal growth. Clinical data shows that the complication risk increases by 24% for each additional surgical procedure performed in early onset scoliosis patients.1
Guided growth: Surgery is used to implant rods with unconstrained anchors that allow the spine to grow along the rod as your child grows. While this technique does not require postoperative distractions, it does require additional fusion levels in your child’s spine compared to the average levels fused in traditional growing rod procedures.
MAGEC: The MAGEC system uses magnetically-controlled growing rods to achieve distraction control and growth without the need for multiple planned distraction surgeries. MAGEC can provide noninvasive, controlled growth through its proprietary magnetic technology that allows the growing rods to be distracted in an outpatient setting with an External Remote Controller. Because your child is not subjected to multiple planned distraction surgeries, MAGEC may help reduce the chance of complications experienced with traditional growing rods.
1Bess S, Akbarnia BA, Thompson GH, et al. Complications of growing-rod treatment for early-onset scoliosis: analysis of one hundred and forty patients. J Bone Joint Surg Am 2010 Nov 3;92(15):2533-43.