Additionally, this new growing rod system has potentially widespread applications in other disorders
Scoliosis, a progressive condition that causes the spine to grow in a twisted or curved ‘C’ or ‘S’ shape, affects nearly 5 out of every 1,000 children. Although the condition can be present at birth, most cases are diagnosed in children or adolescents (mostly female) during times of growth; common physical signs of scoliosis are uneven shoulder blades, asymmetrical hem lines, rib prominence on one side, or a look of ‘leaning’ to one side as the spine grows crookedly.
The majority of children and adolescents affected by scoliosis will only have a slight curvature of the spine and not require treatment, but for those with a more serious curvature, scoliosis will worsen as the child grows. If a child has moderate scoliosis, bracing will typically be used to prevent further curvature, but in severe cases, surgery will be needed to correct the spine’s growth; if left untreated, severe scoliosis can cause breathing problems and heart issues as ribs from the twisted side compress the heart and lungs.
Young, growing children with severe scoliosis will often require multiple surgeries to correct the curvature. Surgery is invasive and involves the implanting of telescoping steel rods at the top and bottom of the curved section of the spine; since the child is still growing, these rods have to be lengthened with additional invasive surgeries every few months.
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