Since kindergarten, Chloe has worn a plastic shell around her torso for 23 hours a day to keep her early-onset scoliosis in check. As she grew taller, however, the curve of her spine worsened, raising one side of her back.
As the curve worsened into a question mark shape, Chloe’s parents considered another option. Though initially skeptical about surgery, Chloe’s parents Angela and Chris decided it would be best for their daughter to avoid the risk of her internal organs being crowded as her condition progressed.
In October 2015, Magnetic Expansion Control (MAGEC®) growing rods were surgically implanted into Chloe’s spinal column to minimize the progression of her scoliosis.
“As soon as she sat up in the hospital bed, she sat up straighter and taller,” Angela says.
“When braces don’t sufficiently keep a patient’s spine from curving, the MAGEC rods may be appropriate — especially if the patient is young and his or her spine still has years to grow,” says Dr. Beebe, who performed Chloe’s surgery.
Traditionally, lengthening involves surgery under general anesthesia every six months. MAGEC rods can be lengthened without an invasive procedure. As she grows, the rod implanted in Chloe’s spine will be lengthened — not through additional surgeries like traditional implanted rods — but through a quick office procedure with an external remote control, requiring no incisions
During an office visit every two months, the remote control is placed over Chloe’s spine and then manually activated, causing a magnet inside the rod to rotate and lengthen the rod.
The first MAGEC rod implantation was done at Nationwide Children’s in June 2015. Since then, ten implantations have been done, enabling more patients to straighten their spines with fewer surgeries.
Depending on how the curve in her spine progresses, Chloe, now 10 years old, may have the rods removed in her adolescence or she may keep them into adulthood. For now, she is thrilled to have shed her back braces. Two braces dotted with butterflies, and another featuring Scooby Doo, now occupy spots on her bedroom wall.