Background: Children with neuromuscular disorders with a progressive muscle weakness such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy frequently develop a progressive scoliosis. A severe scoliosis compromises respiratory function and makes sitting more difficult. Spinal surgery is considered the primary treatment option for correcting severe scoliosis in neuromuscular disorders. Surgery in this population requires a multidisciplinary approach, careful planning, dedicated surgical procedures, and specialized after care.
Methods: The guideline is based on scientific evidence and expert opinions. A multidisciplinary working group representing experts from all relevant specialties performed the research. A literature search was conducted to collect scientific evidence in answer to specific questions posed by the working group. Literature was classified according to the level of evidence.
Results: For most aspects of the treatment scientific evidence is scarce and only low level cohort studies were found. Nevertheless, a high degree of consensus was reached about the management of patients with scoliosis in neuromuscular disorders. This was translated into a set of recommendations, which are now officially accepted as a general guideline in the Netherlands.
Conclusion: In order to optimize the treatment for scoliosis in neuromuscular disorders a Dutch guideline has been composed. This evidence-based, multidisciplinary guideline addresses conservative treatment, the preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative care of scoliosis in neuromuscular disorders.