Zayne Stegeman and his family live 60 miles northwest of Minneapolis in Mora, MN, and come to Gillette for rare disease and spine care. 

Four-year-old Zayne was born with cri-du-chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder caused by missing pieces on chromosome 5. The characteristics of a baby born with cri-du-chat include a small head size (microcephaly), low birth weight, craniofacial malformations, and developmental delays.

When Zayne was about a year old, his primary care doctor referred him to Gillette.

Time for Interventions

Zayne’s mother, Jesse Stegeman, recalls at one of her son’s first appointments the Gillette team discovered a slight curve in his spine and recommended he be monitored for scoliosis. 

Eventually, Zayne’s scoliosis got to the point where pediatric spine surgeon, Eduardo Beauchamp, MD, and his team suggested care and interventions. Dr. Beauchamp initially put Zayne in a full-time Thoraco-Lumbo-Sacral Orthosis (TLSO). This type of brace is made of plastic and foam and extends from a child’s upper armpits to just below their hips. 

“Zayne wears his brace 23 hours a day,” Jesse says. “Surprisingly, he tolerates it really well, but the brace did not stop the progression of his curve.” 

Controlling the Curve

As Zayne continued to grow and develop, Dr. Beauchamp suggested Zayne undergo surgery using magnetically driven growing rods known as MAGEC® rods. 

Gillette is an international leader in this procedure that involves implanting two rods in a patient’s back to straighten a 
patient’s spine. MAGEC rods are one of the first ways to treat early onset scoliosis. The MAGEC rods are surgically placed on either side of the spine to help control the curve. The rods can be lengthened with a remote control every three to six months in a doctor’s office.

One of the main benefits of this treatment is that the rods can expand as the child grows, often eliminating the need for repeated surgeries.

A Strong Team for Zayne

Gillette is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in pediatric orthopedics and in the treatment of pediatric spine conditions, including scoliosis.

Jesse is incredibly thankful Zayne receives care from a large team of experts at Gillette. “The doctors are awesome,” Jesse beams. “The support staff, nurses, schedulers, and everyone is just wonderful, and they truly care.”

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