He added, however, that "the downside is that with every new technology potential complications can occur. The sample size is very small with just two patients being followed two years after surgery.
"Many more patients will need to be enrolled in the trial and followed for many years before we can say this new technology is safe and effective," Khabie said. "However, the very early findings are encouraging."
And in a journal editorial, two experts noted that magnetically controlled rods are not yet approved for use in the United States.
"If this technology was available in the U.S., we believe that it would be rapidly used to avoid repetitive surgeries and improve quality of life for children with spinal deformity," wrote Dr. John Smith, of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Dr. Robert Campbell Jr., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The two experts said they, "strongly encourage Cheung and colleagues to continue to report their results -- both positive outcomes and adverse events. We are hopeful that further development of the technology will make this treatment increasingly available to children worldwide."
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about scoliosis.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Victor Khabie, M.D., chief, department of surgery, and co-director, Orthopedic and Spine Institute, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; The Lancet, news release, April 18, 2012
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