Malaya Vest of Christiansburg is a happy little girl. The 7-year-old loves hugging and squeals with excitement at the sight of Baxter, her big, friendly goldendoodle dog.
At age 5, though, Malaya began showing signs of scoliosis or curvature of the spine, a condition that, if not corrected, could compromise Malaya’s organ function and her ability to breathe.
Malaya’s pediatrician referred her and her parents, Cari and Dave, to the spine specialists at Carilion Clinic’s Institute for Orthopaedics and Neurosciences. When Malaya didn’t respond well to bracing her back, the next option became surgery. Conventional treatment would have required an initial surgery to insert metal rods to straighten her spine, followed by a series of surgeries to adjust them to accommodate her growth. However, Carilion’s new surgical treatment—using magnet technology and adjustable growing rods—enables patients like Malaya to avoid the repetitive surgeries and subsequent complication risks.
With the new treatment, rods are implanted once and lengthened externally by spinning a magnet over the patient’s body. Which means that Malaya’s adjustments can be performed comfortably—without surgery—right in her surgeon’s office. She doesn’t even have to leave her mother’s lap.
Top in Trauma
Carilion Children’s earned designation as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, reflecting expanded care for our community’s children. Ours is one of only three Level 1 programs in the state and the only one in western Virginia. Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 19.