Magnets are Helping Make Back Braces a Thing of the Past

Cal Sorensen is an 11-year-old who loves to play sports. After years of being in a back brace failed to straighten his severely curved spine, Cal can now shoot, swing and throw thanks to a new technique doctors are increasingly using for growing patients.

Last August rods were surgically placed into Cal’s back to straighten his spine, incorporating the use of a magnetic pull. Dr. Steven Mardjetko,  Illinois Bone and Joint Institute orthopedic surgeon, called this procedure a dual rod growth construct.

As Cal grows so does the hardware. The rods in his back are magnetic and telescopic. An external magnet motor hovers over Cal’s back, causing the internal rods to spin and slowly lengthen in pre-programmed increments to stretch the spine. It’s not for every child with scoliosis, but so far it’s working for Cal.