Martina Tognini, Harry Hothi, Elisabetta Dal Gal, Masood Shafafy, Colin Nnadi, Stewart Tucker, Johann Henckel, Alister Hart

July 2021, Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 1799 - 1812 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06774-8

First Online: 05 March 2021


Early-Onset Scoliosis (EOS) (defined as a curvature of the spine ≥ 10° with onset before 10 years of age) if not properly treated, can lead to increased morbidity and mortality. Traditionally Growing Rods (TGRs), implants fixated to the spine and extended every 6–8 months by surgery, are considered the gold standard, but Magnetically Controlled Growing Rods (MCGRs) avoid multiple surgeries. While the potential benefit of outpatient distraction procedure with MCGR is huge, concerns still remain about its risks, up to the release of a Medical Device Alert (MDA) by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advising not to implant MCGRs until further notice. The aim of this literature review is to (1) give an overview on the use of MCGRs and (2) identify what is currently understood about the surgical, implant and patient factors associated with the use of MCGRs.


Systematic literature review.


Surgical factors such as use of single rod configuration or incorrect rod contouring might affect early failure of MCGRs. Patient’s older age and higher BMI are correlated with rod slippage. Wear debris and distraction mechanism failure may result from implant design and iteration.


Despite the complications reported, this technology still offers one of the best solutions to spine surgeons dealing with severe EOS. Lowering the complication rate by identifying risk factors for failure is possible and further studies in this direction are required. Once the risk factors are well described, some of these can be addressed enabling a safer use of MCGRs.

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