Hasbro Children's Hospital First in State to Perform New Pediatric Spinal Surgery

September 30, 2015

Spinal_HCHCraig Eberson, MD, chief of pediatric orthopedics at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, has performed the first magnetic growing rod surgery in Rhode Island on an eight-year-old boy with a muscle disorder. The surgery eliminates the need for patients to return to the operating room twice a year under general anesthesia, as is the case with standard growing rods. Instead, the patient can be lengthened with an external magnet during an outpatient office visit. Hasbro Children’s Hospital is one of only a handful of medical centers in New England using this technology.

“When children have a severe case of scoliosis, or an abnormal curvature of the spine, the current treatment plan involves surgically attaching a rod along the spine to control the curvature and prop up their chests,” said Eberson. “Twice per year, those patients must go back into surgery to manually extend those rods. This new technology can completely avoid those trips to the operating room, thereby reducing infection risk and recovery time, while increasing quality of life.”

This new magnetic rod, such as the one implanted in Eberson’s young patient, can be lengthened during an office visit every several months using a hand-held magnetic device placed along the patient’s back. No anesthesia is necessary.

Eberson’s patient will now be able to grow and remain seated upright, which will greatly preserve his lung function. “It is the mission of our department to be able to provide the highest level of pediatric spine care,” said Eberson. “This new treatment option allows patients with scoliosis to manage their care in a five-minute outpatient procedure with no pain medication, no recovery time and no absence from school.”