← Back Natale B. | Scoliosis Case

Natalie was first diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 3 years old. Initially, her curve was small and was treated conservatively. However, when she went for her regular visit at age 7 her curve had suddenly jumped from 27 degrees to 63 degrees and she was referred to Dr. Vitale for further management.

Dr. Vitale met with Natalie and her parents and discussed surgical options for correcting Natalie’s curve while she grows. He recommended a MAGEC—magnetically controlled growing rod. This is a new technology that allows the rods to be lengthened non-invasively and painlessly at an office visit. Previous growing rods required a trip to the operating room every 6 months for lengthening.

Natalie had an MRI as a part of the routine pre-operative assessment and it showed a difference in her spinal cord that was the likely cause of her rapid curve progression. Natalie had a tethered spinal cord. The end of her spinal cord was attached to one of the lumbar vertebrae instead of floating freely in the spinal canal. Therefore, as she grew, her spinal cord was being stretched. It was necessary to release this tether before trying to correct her scoliosis, so Dr. Vitale teamed up with Dr. Richard Anderson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, to perform both procedures in the same day. Natalie was back to school 5 weeks after her surgery and is very active in soccer and swimming.

Natalie has had several MAGEC lengthenings in the office. She was nervous before the first one, but now that she knows that it doesn’t hurt she is all smiles when she comes to see Dr. Vitale! Her latest x-ray showed that her curve measured only 15 degrees!