The transition from child to adult in neurosurgery

Adv Tech Stand Neurosurg. 2007;32:3-24. doi: 10.1007/978-3-211-47423-5_1.


The transition from child to adult is a growing concern in neurosurgery. Data documenting long-term follow-up are necessary to define this population's healthcare needs. In order to evaluate the problems posed by the child-to-adult transition in neurosurgery, we have studied the neurological, functional and social outcome of patients treated in our department for tumor of the central nervous system, hydrocephalus or myelomeningocele, and followed beyond the age of eighteen years. A large number of patients suffered from chronic ailments, either sequelae of their initial disease, or delayed complications of their initial treatment, with significant morbidity. The mortality during adulthood was 4.6% in the tumor group, 1.1% in the hydrocephalus group, and zero in the spina bifida group. The proportion of patients employed in normal jobs was 35.6, 18.7 and 11.5% for tumors, hydrocephalus and myelomeningocele respectively. IQ score and performance at school generally overestimated the capacity for social integration. Based on these data and on the available literature, we tried to identify the problems and devise solutions for the management of the transition from child-to-adulthood transition. Many problems present during childhood persist to adulthood, some of which are made more acute because of a more competitive environment, the lack of structures and inadequate medical follow-up. The transition from child to adult must be managed jointly by pediatric and adult neurosurgeons. More clinical research is required in order to precisely evaluate the problems posed by adult patients treated during childhood for the different neurosurgical diseases. Based on these data, a concerted trans-disciplinary approach is necessary, tailored to the specific needs of patients suffering from different diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / mortality
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery*
  • Meningomyelocele / mortality
  • Meningomyelocele / surgery*
  • Neurosurgery / organization & administration*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome