Dr. Michael Vitale Performs NY’s First Magnetic Spine Lengthening Treatment with MAGEC

Columbia Orthopedics provider Dr. Michael Vitale has performed the first magnetic spine lengthening treatment in New York on a 6-year-old patient with scoliosis with MAGEC (Magnetic Expansion Control).

Meredith Engel of The Daily News has captured this historic surgery in an exclusive article which you can read here which Dr. Vitale describes as a ‘game-changer’. Here are some highlights from the article:

Why MAGEC is a Game-Changer

Left untreated, early-onset scoliosis can seriously affect lung function and lead to a shorter lifespan, according to Dr. Michael Vitale, chief of the pediatric spine and scoliosis service at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NY-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. The lungs need the spine to be straight enough so that they can grow properly.

“We pay a lot more attention to young children with scoliosis for those reasons,” said Vitale, who performed Jeremiah’s initial surgery and last week’s first rod lengthening procedure using the MAGEC tool. He calls the technology “a game-changer.”

MAGEC Results

To correct his scoliosis, Jeremiah first had surgery in April to implant an adjustable rod in his spine. In that surgery alone, Vitale was able to reduce his spine curvature from 72 degrees to about 20 degrees — a 50-degree correction, when only 30 degrees were expected.

As a result of the surgery, Jeremiah could stand up and walk around on his own. Doctors expected him to be feeling back to normal in two months — he did so in half the time.

Dr. Vitale Praises MAGEC

“The ultimate goal is to get the child close to the end of growth with a spinal length more or less the same as normal,” Vitale said. “This allows normal lung growth and avoidance of the problems which can occur if the curve progresses.”

The MAGEC device has already been used in 24 countries to treat more than 750 children, but only became FDA-approved in February. Vitale is grateful that the FDA pushed it through, despite early-onset scoliosis’ rarity. It affects just 10% of all kids with scoliosis.

“I have to give (the FDA) a lot of credit,” he said. “They got it. They paid attention. No one really thought it would happen the way it happened.”