Story 9 – Ah J
At the age of 7, Ah J was diagnosed with early onset severe double thoracic scoliosis. X-rays showed his scoliosis in his thoracic spine at 41°, and from his lower thoracic to lumbar spine at 52°, with extensive syringomyelia (cyst within the spinal cord) from his cervical to thoracic spine, and Arnold Chiari malformation (defect of the cerebellum). Inserting a magnetic growing rod would have benefited Ah J’s scoliosis, but with the rods in him, he would not have been able to have MRI scans to monitor his syringomyelia. Therefore, bracing treatment was chosen to prevent his scoliosis from worsening whilst giving time for the neurosurgeon to address his other medical conditions.
Unfortunately, Ah J was not very compliant to bracing, so after 2 months of bracing treatment, he underwent a decompression. A subsequent MRI showed good decompression of the foramen magnum and perhaps some stringing of the synrinx in the cervical spine. In view of his young age and significant curvature, MAGEC rods implant was deemed to be the best treatment for him. Surgery for the insertion of the bilateral MAGEC growing rods from T2 down to L3 took place in March 2016.
He was in the scoliosis clinic for continuous follow-up and ‘distractions’, being the action of extending the rods. In March 2019, the doctor explained to the family the choice of rods exchange or definitive fusion surgery. The family had many concerns regarding another surgery, in particular anesthesia. Eventually posterior spinal fusion was chosen, the surgery was carried out in August 2019 and the overall spinal alignment was satisfactory.