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Magnetically controlled growing rod in early onset scoliosis: a 30-case multicenter study



Preliminary results of magnetically controlled growing rods (MCGR) are encouraging. However, only short case series of MCGR for the treatment of early onset scoliosis (EOS) have been reported. Our aim was to evaluate its effectiveness and complications.


We report a 30-case retrospective, consecutive, multicenter series of MCGR. Effectiveness was judged upon: deformity correction and difficulties to achieve desired distraction. Secondary endpoints included complications and revision surgeries.


Median age at surgery was 9.1 years (5–13). Mean follow-up was 18.4 months (12–33.9). Mean Cobb angle was 66° preoperatively and 44° at latest follow-up. MCGR has avoided an average of 2.03 scheduled surgical procedures per patient compared to traditional growing rod (GR). The intended total length gain was 40.1 mm per patient (5–140) and the total measured length gain was 21.9 mm (45.5% discrepancy). There were 24 complications: 7 proximal pull-outs of the hooks, 3 rod breakages, 6 failures of the lengthening of which 4 complete blockages and 2 complete blockages followed by backtracking, 1 proximal junctional kyphosis, 1 wound dehiscence, 1 superficial infection, 1 deep infection requiring implant removal, 1 pulmonary embolism, 1 pulmonary insufficiency, 1 secondary lumbar scoliosis, and 1 painful outpatient distraction. Eight patients had a gradual loss of effectiveness of distractions. There were 13 revision surgeries in 9 patients.


MCGR provides satisfactory deformity correction and avoids repeated surgical procedures for lengthening. However, it has substantial complication rate. Although less frequent than in GR, the law of diminishing returns also applies to MCGR.

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Correspondence to Julie Lebon.

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Lebon, J., Batailler, C., Wargny, M. et al. Magnetically controlled growing rod in early onset scoliosis: a 30-case multicenter study. Eur Spine J 26, 1567–1576 (2017).

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  • Magnetically controlled growing rod
  • Early onset scoliosis
  • Complication
  • Revision
  • Multicenter study