Most spinal surgeries are intended to stop growth; however, the usage of growing rods is not intended to stop growth. The usage of the rods takes into account the inevitable growth of the spine as well as the growth of the rib cage and lungs.
How Growing Rods Work
During the initial procedure, rods are attached directly to the spine at the top and bottom of the curve with implants (hooks or screws). The growing rods act as an internal brace that controls the curve but still allows for growth. Periodic follow ups and possible lengthenings of the implants are often required until growth is achieved. The adjustments can often be done on an outpatient basis with general anesthesia. Often, a child will need to wear a protective brace for protection. And when the child has reached full growth, a spinal fusion procedure will be performed.
Severe right thoracic juvenile scoliosis.
Two telescoping growth rods have been inserted and will be re-lengthened every six months to maintain the correction.
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Photos courtesy of srs.org