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J Craniovertebr Junction Spine. 2018 Oct-Dec;9(4):250-253. doi: 10.4103/jcvjs.JCVJS_105_18.

A novel technique for the subfascial insertion of magnetically controlled growing rods - The Alder Hey technique.

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Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, UK.



In this study, we would like to describe a novel technique for subfascial insertion of magnetically controlled growing rods using chest drain during surgery for early-onset scoliosis.

Materials and Methods:

Posterior approach, surgical dissection to the spine is performed exposing the relevant anatomy to allow placement of pedicle screws always in the distal construct and pedicle screws or hooks in the proximal construct. To allow easy passage of the Magnetic Expansion Control (MAGEC) rod, as well as easy maneuvering of the rod in either the cranial to caudal direction, we use a chest drain of size 24 French diameter as a tunnel. This allows surgeons to fit the nonflexible part of MAGEC rod in the middle of the deformity and cut to length passed through the chest drain from a cranial to caudal position and then chest drain is removed.


A total of 40 children with early-onset scoliosis had insertion of MAGEC rods using this technique. There were 21 female and 19 male patients. Early-onset scoliosis etiology is idiopathic in 20 patients, neuromuscular in 16 patients, and others in 4 patients. Median age across all groups was 7 years (range 4-13) at the time of surgery. Follow-up ranged from 11 to 56 months with a median of 24 months.


The use of a chest drain during subfascial passage of magnetically controlled growing rod is a safe, reliable, reproducible novel technique. This shortens overall time of surgery in our experience.


Early-onset scoliosis; Magnetic Expansion Control rod; novel technique; subfascial insertion; the Alder Hey technique

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