CASE HISTORY – May 2021

First Estonian experience with magnetically controlled rods for scoliosis correction

Authors: Karl Pintsaar, Kätlin Puksand, Jana Kritt

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Abstract

Scoliosis is a severely debilitating condition for young growing children. So far the most commonly used systems in early onset scoliosis (EOS) have been traditional growing

rods. They are so called „growth friendly“ distraction based systems. However, they require elongation surgery every 6 months, subjecting children and parents to the risks of general anaesthesia, post traumatic stress, and infection. The invasive nature is considered the main shortcoming of this technique. As a solution,, a new method was developed – the magnetically controlled growing rods. This implant was introduced in the European Union in 2009. In Estonia, we used the magnetic rods for the first time in January 2020 for neuromuscular scoliosis in an 8- year- old girl. The surgery and immediate postoperative period were without any complications. Three days after  surgery the patient was discharged from hospital. The immediate postoperative x-ray investigation showed significant improvement in her Cobb angle. She has undergone three elongation procedures during a 10 month period without any complications. Her everyday life has improved: she can sit in a wheelchair now without problems. There has been no need for further surgical interventions. The rods will remain in place for at least one year, until we can proceed to definitve fixation and fusion of the spine. Although the new method has some drawbacks as well, e.g. local metallosis, it has shown promising results and has proved to be superior to older methods.