Revolutionary Treatment for Pediatric Scoliosis

Selena Poon, MD, and Jordan Jennings.

After watching 4-year-old Jordan Jennings race around the room clutching her new doll, it’s hard to imagine that the energetic little girl only recently had a pair of metal rods implanted in her back to help fight dangerous spinal deformity caused by scoliosis.

Jordan’s parents, Joanne and Douglas, are very grateful to the surgical team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center for finding a solution for their daughter’s spinal condition. Traditionally, metal rods were surgically implanted in a child of Jordan’s age to straighten the back. 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 Children’s. “In order to prevent breathing complications and damage to other internal organs, we must straighten out the severe spinal curvature. 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, Selena Poon, MD. “Last December, 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 in March, and 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,” said Ms. Jennings. “I wanted her to have a chance to be a normal little girl.”

Watch Jordan's story below.

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