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MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) Spinal Growing Rod for Early Onset Scoliosis

magec rod

Children’s National Hospital was among the first in the country to offer a spinal growing rod for children with scoliosis. The MAGEC™ (MAGnetic Expansion Control) Spinal Growing Rod is a non-invasive treatment for children with early onset scoliosis.

After the initial procedure to implant the rod, doctors use an external remote control outside of the body to lengthen the magnetically controlled rod as a child grows. At Children’s National, we perform follow-up care in the office. It’s non-invasive, making the adjustments easier for patients during their course of treatment, because they need fewer surgeries.

Growing rods have become effective tools for children whose spinal curvature is too significant to control with bracing or casting. The rods — which are surgically attached to the spine above and below the curve and then lengthened during follow-up surgical procedures — allow the spine to continue growing while managing the curve until the child is old enough for spinal fusion.

The problem: Children must bear the physical and psychological burden of undergoing lengthening procedures every six to 12 months until they are skeletally mature enough to have spinal fusion — typically around age 10 for girls and age 12 or 13 for boys. 

“Traditional growing rods work, but they require multiple surgeries that increase complication rates and time spent in the hospital,” said Matthew Oetgen, M.D., division chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and director of orthopaedic research at Children’s National. “We treat many children each year who have or are candidates for growing rods, so it’s important for us to embrace new technology to make the lengthening process easier and less painful for children while decreasing morbidity.” Dr. Oetgen and his colleagues believe they’ve found just such a technology in the MAGEC Spinal Bracing and Distraction System by Ellipse Technologies, Inc.

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Providers of MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) Spinal Growing Rod

Departments that Offer MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) Spinal Growing Rod

Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic

For more than 25 years, the Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic has provided multidisciplinary care for infants, children, and young adults with various forms of skeletal disorders.

Children’s National orthopaedic surgeon Sean Tabaie, M.D., cares for pediatric patient in cast.

Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine

From sprains and strains to complex congenital conditions, Children's National Hospital offers one of the most experienced pediatric orthopaedic practices in the nation, with experience in treating all areas from head to toe.