Lengthening of magnetically controlled growing rods caused minimal pain in 25 children: pain assessment with FPS-R, NRS, and r-FLACC

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Study design: Descriptive case series. Objective: The aim of the study is to investigate the pain associated with magnetically controlled growing rod (MCGR) lengthening procedures. Summary of background data: MCGRs have gained popularity because they offer non-surgical lengthening procedures in early-onset scoliosis (EOS) instead of semi-annual open surgery elongations with traditional growing rods. Many aspects of MCGR treatment have been investigated, but pain in conjunction with distraction is only sparsely described in the literature. Methods: Pain intensity was assessed in 25 EOS patients before, during and after MCGR lengthening procedures in an outpatient setup. They underwent at least two (range 2–16) lengthening procedures prior to this study. The pain intensity was estimated using patient-reported Faces Pain Scale (FPS-R), caregiver-reported pain numeric rating scale (NRS), and NRS and revised Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability scale (r-FLACC) by two medically trained observers. The inter-rater reliability and correlation between instruments were analyzed. Results: 23 of 25 EOS patients (8- to 16-year old) with mixed etiology were able to self-report pain. The average pain intensity was mild: median 1 (range 0–6) on all four instruments on a 0-to-10 scale. Afterward, 22/25 patients (88%) were completely pain free and the remaining 3 patients had a pain score of 1. MCGR stalling (i.e. clunking) was encountered in 14/25 (56%) of the patients without impact on the pain intensity. Conclusions: The average maximum pain intensities during the lengthening procedures were mild and pain ceased within few minutes. The inter-rater reliability was good to excellent for NRS and r-FLACC, and there were high correlations between all the four pain instruments, indicating high criterion validity. Level of evidence: Level IV, case series.

TidsskriftSpine Deformity
Sider (fra-til)763-770
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2020

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