Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders have been evaluating magnetically controlled growing rods (MCGR) for treating scoliosis in children without the need for repeat surgeries.
Scoliosis in children is more commonly treated by implanting a rod to straighten the spine. As the child’s spine grows, the rods can be lengthened with several invasive, follow-up operations. Naturally, this process is costly and disruptive for the young patients. The new MCGR approach aims to bypass the need for repeat surgeries by carrying out the rod lengthening using a handheld magnetic controller at monthly outpatient appointments.
The researchers have published the results of their first-in-man study in The Lancet last week. The study examined the MCGR therapy in 5 scoliosis patients. While the exact details of the devices used for the study are not clear, they were supplied by Ellipse Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of MCGR systems. Ellipse’s MAGEC MCGR device would appear to be the one used for this study. Its operation is described in great detail on their product page.
According to The Lancet article:
MCGR procedure can be safely and eﬀ ectively used in outpatient settings, and minimises surgical scarring and psychological distress, improves quality of life, and is more cost-eﬀective than is the traditional growing rod procedure.
It is a very impressive technology and we will be interested to see how it progresses from here. It certainly seems to be generating a lot of interest in clinical circles.