View Full Version : growing rods

06-05-2012, 11:49 PM
Hi Dr S,

Ive seeked informatiom, so many times before. But Ide like to know if the Forum, could post new advances? To keep our members updated. I know in the JIS, theres huge improvement, with the Phenix Rod, no repeated surgeries.
I do not know the facts, and this is an option, we didnt have, as in, time frame, as it was used a year, after our growing rod surgery, but find it really exciting, for the kids coming through. As a parent, the options have changed. I know, theres not many in Australia, with JIS, but, new options are avaliable, and I hope kids can enjoy, a surgery free few years tilll fusion.


23-05-2012, 12:06 AM
Hi Dr S. I would like to ask,with the new Phenix Rod, would be suitable for any Young children, with growing to do, or is thers a criteria? With underlaying medical issues? And if you could send me any information, that would be great, as, when I googled it, I got fishing rods??


Dr Scoliosis
08-06-2012, 04:19 PM
Early onset (previously called infantile or juvenile) scoliosis is a rare condition. Like the more common adolescent scoliosis, bracing and surgery may be required if the curve is worsening. Scoliosis occurring in children under the age of 10 years can present particular problems if surgery is being considered. This is because the spine still has significant growth remaining. Special techniques and implants need to be used so this growth of the spine is allowed to continue as much as possible.

There are many different surgical techniques that can be used in this group of children. All try to address the problem of stabilising or correcting the spinal deformity without interfering too much with the growth of the rest of the spine. The spinal implants are usually just smaller versions of those used in adolescents and adults with scoliosis. However, they are used in a different way. In the older child or adult, the surgery involves putting anchor points (hooks, screws, wires or tapes) along the entire length of the curve, attaching them to rods to straighten the spine and then ensuring that each bone will join to its neighbour (spinal fusion). In early onset scoliosis only small parts of the spine are exposed. These are usually at the top and bottom ends of the curve. There, anchor points and bone graft are placed. The rest of the spine is not exposed. The rods that will correct the scoliosis are then passed along the muscle layers either side of the spine and connected to the anchor points. Once these rods are in place, they are distracted against the anchors to correct the curve. They are then locked together. To allow the spine to continue to grow, the rods need to be unlocked and elongated on a regular basis. It is usual for the child to have a lengthening operation every 6 to 9 months. It is typically a straightforward procedure. Often the child is home within 2 to 3 days.

These growing rods are not without problems. These children are small so the implants can be prominent. Repeated operations are needed and this increases the risk of scarring and infection. As the spine has not been fused there is a lot of movement and the implants can loosen or break over time. To minimise these problems new implants are being developed.

To avoid the need for lengthening reoperations, telescopic rods with internal magnetic motors are being used in small number in some centres. These are implanted in the same way as traditional growing rods. However, once the first operation is done, subsequent lengthenings are performed in a clinic with a computer-controlled magnet. These may be done as often as once a month. Smaller, more frequent elongations probably better approximate the normal growth of the spine compared to the surgical lengthenings every 6 to 9 months. Further operations are only needed when the rods need to be replaced. This may not be for 2 to 3 years. Early results are encouraging but it must be stressed that this technology has not yet reached the stage where it has been proven better than traditional growing rods.

Your child's surgeon will be in the best position to discuss the treatment options with you.

Dr Scoliosis

15-06-2012, 11:22 PM
Hi Dr S

Thanks for your reply. So, would it be fair to say the phenix rod is still being trialled? The only thing Ive read is a newspaper article from last October, that was sent to me. I believe that was the first phenix rod surgery in Australia? But I could be wrong? It is very exciting for families, who dont have to go through growing rod procedure. As we have just had 4th surgery (3rd lengthening) and with Risser 0 a few more to come? The infection, is still present, even though it didnt come through in lengthening scar? It was still present in surgery. Yes the growing rods are a "challenge, for the whole family" but to be 24 degrees from 59 thats gold!!! And we have never looked back.
I would like to know how the magnets work? As from the Article I read, they were grown everyday from parents remote??

Thanks for your time


Dr Scoliosis
17-06-2012, 10:31 AM
The Phenix system, like other magnetic spinal rods, is in the trial phase. It has been used in Melbourne for about 4 years.

It takes several years of use to be sure if they are as good or better than the older growing rod systems. Therefore, they are used in a few centres initially. They might be used on children who have other problems with their health. In those children, the risk of using a new system is outweighed by the advantage of not having to do repeated lengthenings in the operating theatre.

Magnetic growing rods work by using two magnets. One is an external (hand-held) magnet. The other is within the rod and is connected to a telescopic motor. The external magnet is passed over the skin, above the magnet in the rod. The internal magnet then moves, driving the telescope to lengthen.

With the Phenix system, the parents are given the magnet and can lengthen as often as daily.

With another type, the MAGEC, the external magnet is computer-controlled and lengthenings need to be done in the doctor's rooms. Therefore, these tend to be less frequent, such as monthly.

Dr Scoliosis

19-06-2012, 10:29 PM
Thanks for your reply Dr S,

WOW!! All I can say, is thats AMAZING!!! And hopefully very successful, for these children!! Magic stuff you spinal surgeons do!!

Thanks again