Gregory Cunningham, Dan Wright, Colin Nnadi

August 2020, Volume 29, Issue 8, pp 2025 - 2028 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06440-5

First Online: 07 May 2020


The purpose of this study is to report a novel smartphone app technique to localise a magnetically controlled growing rod (MCGR) actuator, along with determining this novel technique accuracy compared to current tactile localisation techniques through an experimental study.


Five spinal surgery fellows recorded attempts localising the MCGR magnetic actuator using a novel smartphone app technique, MAGEC Wand and magnetic disc. Three attempts per technique were performed and repeated in both the average and overweight patient models.


In total, 90 separate localisation attempts were recorded. The smartphone app produced less localisation error than both the MAGEC Wand and magnetic disc. Mean difference was − 0.71 cm (95% CI − 1.24 to − 0.18 cm p = 0.06) and − 0.58 cm (95% CI − 1.11 to − 0.04 cm p = 0.031), respectively. Mean localisation error for the smartphone app, MAGEC Wand and magnetic disc, was 0.9 cm, 1.61 cm, 1.47 cm, respectively, for both average and overweight models combined.


This novel smartphone app localisation technique is accurate. Current MAGEC Wand and magnetic disc techniques produced more localisation error than the reported tolerance of the external remote control lengthening unit in this experiment.

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