Ground-breaking innovation for scoliosis patients

The (Universitair Medisch Centrum) UMC Utrecht inserted two extendable corrective rods in the back of a child with scoliosis, making repetitive surgery unnecessary. It's the first time the technique is applied in the Netherlands.

For years the UMC used a similar technique, but with fixed rods, on either side of the spine.

Gkiokas A et al

The downside is that with growing children the procedure would have to be repeated about twice a year to replace the rods with longer ones. The extendable rods in this case can be extended with a remote control, so no surgery is required.

The 11-year-old girl who underwent the procedure mid December last year has a severe case of scoliosis. Her spine angled sideways and affected the development of her lungs and heart. She is doing well, according to René Castelein, head of the orthopedic department at UMC. ' We have already extended the rods several times as an outpatient procedure,' said Castelein.

The procedure is more common in Britain and Hong Kong. The costs for the rods alone are estimated at 30 to 35,000 euros, but statistics show that in the long run it's cheaper than the old method, because less surgeries are needed. Castelein hopes the insurances will approve the method for their patients.