Message to families attending OLCHC re MAGEC Rods

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Information for Scoliosis patients and families attending Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (OLCHC) about orthopaedic implants

Dear Patients/Parents/Guardians

This week, BBC One’s Panorama aired a programme on medical device regulation, which is part of a large international investigation called ‘Implant Files’ carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). There have also been news articles published by other UK and Ireland partners in the investigation, including the BBC and The Guardian, The UK Times and The Irish Times.

We are aware that orthopaedic patients and their families who attend OLCHC may have seen these programmes and articles, and have concerns.

Some of the UK media coverage has focused on MAGEC rods used in spinal surgery for children with a scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

MAGEC RODS

MAGEC rods have been available for 10 years in the UK, and have been used in children’s spinal deformity surgery.   OLCHC commenced using MAGEC Rods in 2014.  All NuVasive MAGEC Rods supplied to OLCHC meet accepted quality standards.  They are only used in children with progressive scoliosis who are too young to perform a full spinal fusion, and who need a growing system to help straighten the spine but still allow growth. Once a child receives their MAGEC Rods they continue to attend a dedicated OLCHC outpatient clinic which ensures monitoring and adjustments to rods while the child continues to grow.  

This group of patients present a unique challenge for surgeons. The alternative to using MAGEC rods is to carry out repeated surgeries, often every six months, leading to multiple admissions, anaesthetics and operations in each child.  There is a complication rate associated with this form of surgery, as well as pain and time off school. 

Some patients experience complications with the MAGEC system which are primarily related to fixation of the rod to the spine.  We have not seen an increase in complications compared to other systems that are used to manage this very complex condition.  There has been a significant reduction in the number of operations that this vulnerable group of patients have to undergo compared to the use of other spinal implant systems.  Overall, they have proven very useful in managing this specific group of patients and we consider the MAGEC system to be an important treatment option in managing spinal deformity.

OLCHC Orthopaedic Surgeons strongly advocate for the development of a National Spine Register (NSR) similar to the Irish National Orthopaedic Register (INOR) which is under the governance of the National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA). The Children’s Hospital Group will progress the NSR with NOCA and HSE ensuring that it is adequately resourced.  While this is happening we will continue to monitor our patients and audit their ongoing care documenting any problems that arise. 

To reassure families attending OLCHC we still consider the MAGEC system to be an important treatment option in managing spinal deformity.

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin has a dedicated telephone line in place for parents/guardians only who have queries in relation to their child regarding their scoliosis related surgery.

Tel: 01 409 6877      Mon – Fri: 9.00am to 12.00 noon.