MAGEC for Malaya: A New Approach to Scoliosis Surgery

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By News Team on May 30, 2019

Traditionally, a diagnosis of early-onset scoliosis meant multiple surgeries to implant and continually adjust the mechanical growing rods that help to straighten a child's spine as she grows.

Major surgery every four to six months would have been overwhelming for Malaya Vest, who lives with multiple conditions related to microcephaly in addition to a 60-degree spine curvature.

Fortunately for Malaya, Carilion Clinic's Orthopaedic Spine section chief Jonathan Carmouche, M.D., suggested a new approach that would straighten Malaya's spine with a single surgery at Roanoke's Institute for Orthopaedics and Neurosciences.

The Magnetic Expansion Control technology, or MAGEC, uses a single procedure to implant the growing rods around a child's spine.

Then as the child grows, the surgeon lengthens the rods using magnets placed on her back during simple office visits, with no followup surgeries needed.

The initial procedure reduced Malaya's spine curvature by half, from 60 degrees to 30 degrees. Each office visit with Dr. Carmouche will straighten it out even more. 

The significant improvement in her scoliosis makes it easier for Malaya to walk and balance as she works to become more mobile at school and at home with her family—including Baxter, her service dog-in-training.

Watch the video to see how MAGEC has made a difference for Malaya, and find out more about how technology and medicine converge at Carilion Clinic's Institute for Orthopaedics and Neurosciences.

And find out more about the latest, most innovative procedures Carilion Clinic is using to improve our patients' lives, visit