Is Magnetically Controlled Growing Rod the Game Changer in Early-onset Scoliosis? A Preliminary Report

Bekmez S., Afandiyev A., Dede O., KARAİSMAİLOĞLU E., DEMİRKIRAN H. G., YAZICI M.

JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC ORTHOPAEDICS, vol.39, no.3, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Background: Magnetically controlled growing rod (MCGR) concept was introduced with the premise of minimizing the repetitive lengthening surgeries, which is default in traditional growing rod (TGR) treatment for early-onset scoliosis (EOS). Despite good radiographic outcomes, previous studies did not compare identical patient groups in terms of etiology and deformity characteristics; therefore, a true comparison of the MCGR and TGR is essential. This study was designed to compare 2 techniques in terms of clinical, radiologic, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes. Methods: Patients with long sweeping congenital curves who underwent convex growth arrest and concave distraction (with TGR or MCGR) were retrospectively reviewed. Instrumented all-posterior convex growth arrest and concave distraction with growing rod technique were performed. Demographic parameters, follow-up time, number of lengthening procedures, radiographic parameters, number of unplanned surgeries, and complications were recorded. The Early-Onset Scoliosis Questionnaire (EOSQ-24) was used to evaluate HRQoL outcomes. Results: A total of 20 patients were included (10 MCGR, 10 TGR). No significant differences were found with regard to average age, follow-up time, radiographic parameters, or complications. Overall surgery per patient including index surgery, and planned and unplanned procedures were significantly lower in the MCGR group (8.8 vs. 1.3) (P=0.01). No patient in either group had graduated from growing rod treatment. HRQoL analysis revealed no significant difference between the 2 groups in any specific domain or in the overall score of the EOSQ-24. Conclusions: Although equally effective in controlling the deformity and superior in reducing the number of surgeries with comparable complication rates, MCGR does not offer any significant improvement in HRQoL outcomes or the overall complication rate. Despite the obvious advantages, according to this preliminary report, the current technology and technique of MCGR may not be sufficient to be the long-awaited "game changer" in the treatment of EOS.