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Scoliosis Growing Rods

What are Scoliosis Growing Rods?

Scoliosis growing rods are used to treat severe scoliosis in children who are too young to endure a spinal fusion. Unlike adults, young children (< 8 years old) will continue to progress through a series of growth spurts before they can reach skeletal maturity. Not only do these growth spurts give us our height, but they also allow for the expansion of the chest and the development of our lungs.

Unlike spinal fusion, devices like scoliosis growing rods are considered to be growth-sparing. These models allow your child to grow to skeletal maturity, at which point your doctor can perform a more permanent solution, like a spinal fusion.

Types of Scoliosis Growing Rods

Before the advent of minimally invasive growing rods, a child with scoliosis would need to endure a dozen operations (or more) to adjust rod length to match spine growth. Updated systems eliminate this need. These state-of-the-art growing devices include:

  • Magnetically Controlled Growing Rods (MCGR): To use MCGR, your doctor will need to implant the growing rods only one time. From then on, your doctor will use an external remote controller to expand the rods, keeping in pace with changes in your child’s height. The rods themselves contain a magnet, which your doctor can activate using a handheld control. This remote enables your doctor to lengthen the rods without the need for incision.
  • Growth-Guided Devices: Growth-guided devices use “anchor points” to affix expandable rods to the spine via screws or wires. As your child’s spine matures, the growth process then forces these rods to stretch in length. However, other than up-and-down expansion, the rods are quite rigid. In this manner, these rods can correct the curvature of your spine while also sparing growth.
  • Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib Device (VEPTR): Children and adolescents with severe scoliosis may need VEPTR to allow the ribs to expand as the child grows. Keep in mind that a certain level of chest expansion is needed in order to permit the lungs to mature. Only select hospitals in the U.S. are able to perform VEPTR.

Does your child need scoliosis growing rods to avoid the need for multiple scoliosis surgeries? Dr. Jason Lowenstein specializes in the minimally invasive correction of pediatric scoliosis. With over a decade of spinal deformity expertise, Dr. Lowenstein will help your child find the right treatment, at the right time.

What are the Advantages of Scoliosis Growing Rods?

The benefits of scoliosis growing rods over traditional methods are striking. In lieu of your child needing to endure a series of operations, your child should only have to undergo one procedure. Other benefits of using growing rods include:

  • Less medical costs
  • Less stress and shorter recovery times for your child
  • Less scarring, tissue damage, and complications
  • Less exposure to anesthesia
  • Your child can enjoy their childhood with less interruption

To learn more about how your child can benefit from scoliosis growing rods, contact our team of spine experts today!

Does My Child Qualify for Scoliosis Growing Rods?

Your doctor can use scoliosis growing rods to treat many different kinds of scoliosis. However, for your child to truly need this type of surgery, he or she must have severe scoliosis that does not respond to scoliosis bracing.

Types of scoliosis that can be corrected with scoliosis growing rods include:

  • Congenital Scoliosis: Your child may have this condition if he or she was born with an S- or C-shaped bend in the spine.
  • Pediatric Scoliosis: Any scoliosis patient who is younger than 18-years of age can be said to have this type of scoliosis.
  • Neuromuscular Scoliosis (NMS): Your child may have NMS if he or she was born with a condition, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, that affects spinal curvature.

Furthermore, for your child to need growing rods, a doctor must deem him or her “too young” to have a spinal fusion. As such, your doctor will not suggest this treatment for individuals (such as adults) who are old enough to handle fusion.

Ready to take the next step? Our team of spine experts is happy to help you plan your child’s recovery. To get the right treatment at the right time for your child, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Jason Lowenstein today!