NEW HYDE PARK, NY – After watching little Jordan Jennings race around the room clutching her new doll, it’s hard to imagine that the energetic little girl was only recently implanted with two metal rods to help her fight dangerous spinal deformity caused by scoliosis.
Jordan’s parents, Joanne and Douglas, met her surgical team yesterday at Cohen Children’s Medical Center to thank them for finding a revolutionary treatment for pediatric scoliosis that was granted FDA-approval only one year ago. Traditionally, metal rods were surgically implanted in a child of Jordan’s age to straighten the back. Following the procedure, other surgeries would follow every six months, during which the rods would be lengthened to allow for growth.
“The traditional treatment route was very hard on the patient and the family,” said Terry Amaral, MD, Chief of Pediatric Orthopedics at Cohen. “In order to prevent breathing complications and damage to other internal organs, we must straighten out the severe spinal curvature. We’re so proud of the fact that we were able to use this new technology to relieve Jordan’s situation while avoiding the stress and complications of future lengthening surgeries.”
In 2014, after exhausting chiropractic and other treatments, Jordan was exhibiting such severe curvature that her parents knew surgery would be the only option.
“Jordan was born with infantile scoliosis,”said her surgeon, Selina Poon, MD. “Back in December of 2014, her curvature had advanced to 130 degrees. We had tried treating her with a brace and it just wasn’t enough.
“Now, we’re happy to report that after this successful surgery, Jordan’s curvature has been reduced to 66 degrees. She is not perfectly straight, but she is significantly better. And, she is happy and energetic… she’s the kind of child who will bounce right back.”
The new surgical technique for scoliosis is known as the MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) Spinal Bracing System. With MAGEC, magnetic rods are surgically implanted but instead of follow-up operations, the rods can be magnetically lengthened in the doctor’s office every few months, eliminating the stress and dangers of future lengthening surgeries.
Jordan had her surgery on March 2, 2015, almost a year to the day of MAGEC’s arrival in the US. Five weeks later, her parents report that she is moving with greater ease and is better able to handle all the activities of daily life.
“I just couldn’t accept that my daughter would have to face a childhood of painful surgeries every six months,” an emotional Joanne Jennings said. “I wanted her to have a chance to be a normal little girl.”
Then, embracing her active daughter, she looked directly into her eyes.
“Now you have a chance,” she said.
About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York
Opened in 1983, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York is home to about 675 pediatricians, including 200 full-time physicians, and a total workforce of more than 1,200, including more than 500 nurses. For the eighth consecutive year in 2014, CCMC was ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2014-15 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” survey.