Minimum 2-Year Experience with Magnetically Controlled Growing Rods for the Treatment of Early-Onset Scoliosis: A Systematic Review

Asian Spine J. 2019 Mar 26;13(4):682-693. doi: 10.31616/asj.2018.0272. Print 2019 Aug.


Magnetically controlled growing rods have been used to treat early-onset scoliosis for the last 9 years; however, few studies have been published, with only short-term follow-up. The aim of the present study is to systematically review the outcomes of magnetically controlled growing rods in the treatment of early-onset scoliosis with a minimum of 2-year follow-up. Studies were included if patients with early-onset scoliosis (scoliosis diagnosed before 10 years of age) underwent implantation of magnetically controlled growing rods with a minimum of 2-year follow-up. The literature review and data extraction followed the established preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis guidelines. Data of distraction frequency, number of distractions, distracted length, Cobb angle, kyphosis, T1-T12 length, and T1-S1 length preoperatively, postoperatively, and at final follow-up were collected. Data regarding complications and unplanned reoperations were also extracted. The mean values of these parameters were calculated, or pooled meta-analysis was performed if available. Ten articles were included in this systematic review, with a total of 116 patients and a follow-up period between 23 and 61 months. The mean preoperative Cobb angle and kyphosis angle were 60.1° and 38.0°, respectively, and improved to 35.4° and 26.1° postoperatively. At final follow-up, the Cobb and kyphosis angles were maintained at 36.9° and 36.0°, respectively. The average preoperative T1-T12 and T1-S1 lengths were 180.6 mm and 293.6 mm, respectively, and increased to 198.3 mm and 320.3 mm postoperatively. T1-T12 and T1-S1 lengths were 212.3 mm and 339.3 mm at final follow-up, respectively. The overall rate of patients with complications was 48% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-0.58) and unplanned reoperation 44% (95% CI, 0.33-0.55) after sensitivity analysis. The current evidence from different countries with a minimum of a 2-year follow-up suggests that magnetically controlled growing rods are an effective technique to treat pediatric scoliosis and promote spine growth. However, nearly half of patients still developed complications or required unplanned reoperations.

Keywords: Early-onset scoliosis; Magnetically controlled growing rods; Pediatric scoliosis; Systematic review.