The role of traditional growing rods in the era of magnetically controlled growing rods for the treatment of early-onset scoliosis


Purpose: To describe the clinical and radiographic profile of early-onset scoliosis (EOS) patients treated with traditional growing rods (TGR) during the magnetically-controlled growing rod (MCGR) era.

Methods: A US multicenter EOS database was reviewed to identify (1) patients who underwent TGR after MCGR surgery was introduced at their institution, (2) patients who underwent MCGR during the same time period. Of 19 centers, 8 met criteria with all EOS etiologies represented. Clinical notes were reviewed to determine the indication for TGR. Patient demographics and pre-operative radiographs were compared between groups.

Results: A total of 25 TGR and 127 MCGR patients were identified. The TGR patients were grouped by indication into the sagittal plane profile (n = 11), trunk height (n = 6), co-morbidities/need for MRI (n = 4), and other (ex: behavioral issues, remaining growth). Four patients had a combination of sagittal profile and short stature with sagittal profile listed as primary factor. The TGR short trunk group had a mean T1-S1 length of 192 mm vs 273 mm for the MCGR group (p = 0.0002). The TGR sagittal profile group, had a mean maximal kyphosis of 61° vs 55° for the MCGR group (p = 0.09).

Conclusion: TGR continues to have a role in the MCGR era. In this study, the most commonly reported indications for TGR were sagittal plane profile and trunk height. These results suggest that TGR is indicated in patients of short stature with stiff hyperkyphotic curves. As further experience is gained with MCGR, the indications for TGR will likely be refined.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Kevin Smit

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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