The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new device on a compassion basis that doctors say will help keep children with scoliosis out of the operating room.
Beckem Nimmo, 5, is the first person in North America to have the Phenix Rod installed on his spine.
The device was formed by French engineer Arnaud Soubeiran and attaches to the spine. The rod is controlled by magnets and will allow parents to extend it. Doctors call it is a remarkable piece of technology.
To extend the rod, parents will hold the device over the child's back. Hayley Nimmo, Beckem's mother, says the device is very easy to use. She says doctors at Shriners Hospitals for Children taught the family how to work the rod and magnet.
Dr. J Ivan Krajich says without the device, Beckem would be required to undergo at least two surgeries a year to help keep his spine straight.
Doctors say Beckem was a fitting candidate for the special rod because of his age, size and the severity of his spinal curve.
Unlike other growing rod systems that required surgery to physically extend the rod, this new system does not.
Parents turn the magnet once a day to lengthen the rod by 0.2mm. Over time, the rod grows with the child.
Beckem's family chose to come to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Portland because of the specialty device. The family is from Canada, where Haley Nimmo says the wait for this type of surgery is backed up for four years.
Krajich says Beckem will be able to go home to Canada within the next few days.
His mom says Thursday is Beckem's sixth birthday. Before the surgery on Tuesday, the hospital staff held a birthday party for Beckem.
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