If you have questions about treatment with the MAGEC system, please consult your health care provider.

Early Onset Scoliosis and MAGEC

Viewed from the front or back, the spinal column should be straight. When scoliosis is present, you will see a sideways bending or curvature of the spine to the right or left. The spinal curve is diagnosed using an x-ray image, and the curve of the spine is measured in degrees, referred to as a Cobb angle. Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal curvature of the spine with a Cobb angle greater than 10 degrees.

Early onset scoliosis (EOS) affects skeletally immature children less than 10 years of age. Children with EOS are still undergoing development, which can place them at risk for progression of the deformity. Many children can be treated through observation or the use of an external, wearable brace. If EOS progresses to a severe state, the spine can crowd the space within the chest cavity, and can cause Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (TIS), where the chest cavity (thorax) cannot support normal breathing or lung growth. Treatment for EOS should be sought in a timely manner to prevent progression of the deformity.

The treatment goals for EOS are:

  • Controlling progression of the deformity
  • Growth of the chest cavity space by increasing the height of the thoracic spine.

Source: Growing Spine Foundation, 'An Introduction to Early Onset Scoliosis for Patients and Parents'

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Surgical treatment – traditional methods

Traditional growing rod treatment for patients with moderate to severe EOS involves an initial surgery to place hooks and/or screws and rods in a child’s back to help control the progression of the scoliosis curve. Because children are growing during treatment, an operation is required approximately every 6 months in order to lengthen the rods to accommodate the child’s growth. Generally, patients with traditional growing rods undergo multiple distraction surgeries after the initial surgery.

Repetitive surgeries do have some notable risks that surgeons and hospitals try to minimize as much as possible:

  • Increased chance of postoperative infections1
  • Increased risk of psychological distress and anxiety due to repetitive and prolonged time in the hospital (for reference, a hospital stay can last about a week)
  • Repetitive exposure to x-rays
  • Repetitive exposure to anesthesia

Surgical treatment with MAGEC

The MAGEC system allows EOS patients to undergo similar treatment to traditional growing rod procedures, but with noninvasive distractions. After an initial surgery to implant screws and/or hooks and MAGEC rods, planned distractions take place in an office setting, typically at the cost of a regular office visit. These noninvasive distractions are generally quick and painless, and a child can return to physician guided activity immediately after the office visit (see questions to ask your child’s doctor for more guidance on activity levels).

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Questions about MAGEC?

Do you have questions about MAGEC? Are you meeting with a surgeon about Early Onset Scoliosis treatment and want to know what you should ask? We have compiled a comprehensive list of questions and answers to help guide you.

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