Traditional growing rods are intended for young patients with significant growth potential and a high risk of spinal deformity...
Evolution of Scoliosis Surgery
While the vast majority of scoliosis cases can be successfully managed with observation or external braces, there are some individuals that benefit from surgical intervention, particularly those presenting with early onset scoliosis. The main goals of surgery are to stop progression of the curve, reduce deformity, and reduce pain which is classically done through a fusion procedure.
Fusion of the spine is when two or more adjacent vertebrae are permanently connected to grow together at the spinal joint and form a solid bone. This technique uses metal rods and screws to achieve better curvature correction and faster recovery times than in the past. Fusion has long been the gold standard treatment for scoliosis, however a drawback to the procedure is that any fused vertebral segment will lose mobility, which can permanently limit the ability for one to bend and twist.
If a patient is too young to undergo fusion then growing implants are the treatment of choice to help guide the spine as it grows, preventing the curve from worsening as the spine matures and eventually becomes ready for a fusion if needed.