Magnetically controlled growing rod technique is safe and effective in treating children with early onset scoliosis


Preliminary clinical data suggest that children with progressive early onset scoliosis can be treated safely and effectively with a non-invasive magnetically controlled growing rod technique. The initial results have shown that this technique avoids the need for repeated surgery required with the standard growing rod technique, therefore complication rates can be reduced. Data were presented by Behrooz Akbarnia, California, USA, at the 18th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Technologies (IMAST) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Growing rod technique has been a viable alternative for the treatment of progressive early onset scoliosis. However, a high complication rate associated with growing rod has been attributed to frequent surgeries required for lengthening,” according to Akbarnia, principal investigator, past president of the Scoliosis Research Society and medical director at the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders, La Jolla, California, USA. The magnetically controlled growing rod technique “may be considered as an alternative to traditional growing rod technique,” Akbarnia commented. 


In a multicentre, prospective review, fourteen children (seven male and seven female) with progressive early onset scoliosis underwent magnetically controlled growing rod surgery with the Magec system (Ellipse Technologies). Children’s mean age was eight years. The mean follow-up was nine months. The results showed 4.2mm in average distraction achievement. The average time between index surgery and the first distraction was 66 days and thereafter was 43 days. Complications included superficial infection in one single rod, prominent implant in one dual rod and minimal loss of initial length in three (21%). There was no neurologic deficit or implant failure. There were no major complications in the follow-up period.

With regards to the technology used, Akbarnia commented, “Ellipse has developed a truly remarkable technology that will dramatically advance the treatment of spinal deformity and significantly improve the otherwise traumatic experience these children currently endure. The Magec System has exceeded my expectations for what I had hoped to someday witness during my clinical research career.”

About Magec


Magec’s adjustability allows a physician to modify the length of the rod and the force applied to the spine throughout the implanted period as the patient responds to therapy. The system is designed to result in reduced spinal curvature, improving appearance and posture. The elimination of repeat surgical procedures is expected to help in significant reduction in complications and costs associated with the repetition of such surgeries.

The Magec system has been CE-marked since October 2009. The system is not yet available for use in the United States.