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What Are Growing Rods?

For children who are still growing and have not reached skeletal maturity, a device known as a growing rod may help correct your child's scoliosis. Growing rod implant surgery is often the recommended treatment to correct the spinal curve and allow for continued growth of the spine.

Surgery is done through the back of the spine to insert the growing rods. The rods are attached to the spine at two spots — above and below the curve.

Every few months, the child will return for routine care in order to expand the rods to keep up with the child's growth. The rods are typically removed after a child has finished growing, and a spinal fusion is performed.

Every child is different, and so is each approach to spine care to correct scoliosis. We're here to answer your questions before and after surgery, and throughout your child’s recovery and rehabilitation.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

What to Expect Before Growing Rods Insertion Surgery

MRI Scanning

Several months before your child's surgery, they'll have an MRI scan measure the curve of the spine and use it as a starting point for monitoring the curve as your child grows.

Blood Tests

Within 30 days of your child’s surgery, we will provide you with an order for your child to have blood work done. The results will show us if there are signs of infection or any concerns related to the blood's ability to clot, as well as provide information about how well their kidneys and liver are functioning.

Anesthesiology

One of our anesthesiologists will call you within seven days of the surgery or meet with you on the morning of the surgery. If your child is under the care of a cardiologist or neurologist, we will ask them to provide their approval that your child is in good health for the procedure.

The Night Before Surgery

On the night before your child's surgery, they should not eat or drink anything after midnight. A member of the care team will let you know if your child should or should not take particular medications after that time.

What to Expect After Growing Rods Insertion Surgery

After Surgery

On the day of the surgery, your child should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to take off and put back on.

Most children stay overnight for three to five days after a growing rod insertion procedure.

Rehabilitation typically isn’t required, so your child can likely return to daily activities soon after and to school a few weeks later. You child's care team will help you and your child understand what activities are safe, and how soon they may return to more intense physical activities, including sports.

The Follow Up

Approximately two weeks after surgery, you'll schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician, or their local orthopedic physician if they have one. They'll look at the incision to be sure there are no signs of infection and that healing is going well.

Six weeks after surgery, your child’s surgeon will meet with you and your child to see how things are going. Lengthening treatments will begin three to four months after that visit.

Baylee no longer needs her body brace, she's pain-free and most importantly, she has a lot of confidence. Baylee is even learning how to do back handsprings in her gymnastics class!
Melissa, Northern California
patient and physician looking at spine model

A Simple Approach to Spine Surgery

We want your child as happy, healthy, and comfortable as they can be. Our physicians and surgeons are world leaders in developing new techniques for spinal surgery, so you can rest assured knowing your child is receiving the best care possible. Our doctors work together with you and your child to feel safe and taken care of before, during, and after surgery.

Services We Provide

View All Related Services

Care Management

The care management team at Shriners Children's consists of registered nurses and social workers who act as resources for families throughout their plan of care.

Child Life Services

Child life professionals at Shriners Children’s take pride in focusing on the "above and beyond" aspects of medical care for our patients. From procedure support to camps, they are ready to advocate for your family.

Orthopedic Surgery

With their expertise in treating children from toddlers to teens, the pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Shriners Children’s understand the challenges of planning ahead for growing bones and bodies.

Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services

Shriners Children’s Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services designs, fits and manufactures orthotics and prosthetics for children from infants to young adults.

Pediatric Rehabilitation

Shriners Children's specializes in supporting your child physically, developmentally and emotionally to reach his or her pediatric rehabilitation and therapy goals.

Radiology and Imaging

Shriners Children's radiology and imaging services are a noninvasive way for physicians to see what's going on inside a child's body. Our radiology and imaging professionals work to do this in the safest way possible.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.