Purpose: A retrospective study was conducted to review the surgical results among 24 patients with neuromuscular scoliosis, who were treated with spinal instrumentation and fusion at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University Hospital, Singapore between March 1993 and December 1998.
Methods: We examined complete hospital records of patients who had scoliosis due to aetiologies such as spinal muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and congenital myopathies. The mean age of patients was 10.6 years (range, 6-14 years) and the mean follow-up duration was 5.5 years.
Results: 18 patients had posterior surgery alone, whereas 4 had an anterior release with posterior instrumentation, and 2 had an anterior fusion with instrumentation. The mean length of stay in the intensive care unit was 2 days and the mean duration of hospital stay was 11 days. The mean correction in scoliosis angle ranged from 75.6 degrees to 25.7 degrees. All patients could at least sit without support postoperatively. The one-second forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity were, in general, maintained throughout the follow-up. There were 2 major complications and 2 minor ones; these were pseudarthrosis with rod breakage requiring revision, deep infection necessitating hardware removal, superficial infection that responded to antibiotics, and urinary tract infection requiring 3 weeks of antibiotic treatment. There were no deaths or any neurological complications after instrumentation.
Conclusion: Spinal stabilisation and fusion in children with neuromuscular scoliosis is a safe and effective treatment modality. The effect of surgery on long-term pulmonary function, however, remains controversial and needs to be addressed.