Spinal implant improves quality of life for little girl with early onset scoliosis

(Reposted from www.dukemedicine.org)
January 20, 2016 \ Karen Doss Bowman

Aubrey Parks’ parents thought their 7-year-old daughter would need at least eight surgeries over the next three years to treat her early onset scoliosis. Instead, the newly FDA-approved MAGEC rod was implanted in her back to lengthen her spine in tiny increments via remote control. This innovative technology is one of the best treatment options available for scoliosis.

Born with spina bifida; living with scoliosis

A vivacious, quick-witted first grader, Aubrey Parks is a “girly girl” who loves to dress like a princess, said her mother, Laura Parks. Unfortunately, wearing frilly dresses hasn’t been possible for the past four years. Instead, Aubrey has worn a corset-style brace around her torso to treat early onset scoliosis.

Aubrey was born at Duke with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair for mobility. The birth defect occurs when a section of a developing fetus’ spinal column fails to close properly. Early onset scoliosis is a common complication. Bracing can minimize the progressive curve of the spine, but by early 2015, it was clear that Aubrey’s brace was no longer effective.  Her spinal curve had progressed to more than 100 degrees. Her pelvis had tilted and her vertebrae were twisted like a spiral staircase.

When Laura and her husband Brian realized Aubrey would need multiple spinal surgeries, the family relocated from Chesapeake, VA, to Willow Springs, NC, to be closer to Duke and Aubrey’s pediatric spine surgeon, Robert Lark, MD. “Dr. Lark is an amazing doctor and really instills confidence in us as parents,” said Parks, who also has a son, Carson.

Watch the video below to hear Aubrey share her story.

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