Study design: Retrospective analysis.
Objective: To evaluate, in children with cerebral palsy, the following aspects of growing rod (GR) treatment for scoliosis: structural effectiveness, effect of pelvic fixation, hospital stay duration, and complications.
Summary of background data: Children with cerebral palsy frequently develop severe spinal deformity and pelvic obliquity (PO). Growth-preserving strategies are attractive, but comorbidities raise the risk/benefit ratio. To our knowledge, no previous studies have focused on growth-preserving spine surgery in these children.
Methods: From our multicenter patient group, we identified 27 children with cerebral palsy treated with GRs (single rod in 4; dual rods in 23 [15 extending to the pelvis]). We collected radiographical, surgical, hospital stay, and major complication data. We compared Cobb angle and PO improvement between patients with and without pelvic instrumentation via the Student t test (significance, P = 0.05). No patient required anterior spinal fusion.
Results: Average improvements for all patients (preoperative to latest follow-up) were: Cobb angle, 35° ± 23°; PO, 14° ± 19°; T1-S1 length, 7.9 ± 4.4 cm; and space available for lung ratio, 0.17 ± 0.21. For the 8 patients who underwent fusion, average improvements (preoperative to postfusion) were: Cobb angle, 43° ± 28°; PO, 2° ± 21°; T1-S1 length, 9.5 ± 6.0 cm; and space available for lung ratio, 0.26 ± 0.28. Pelvic GR fixation produced better PO correction (P < 0.001) but similar Cobb angle correction (P = 0.556). Hospital stays averaged 8.7 ± 12.1 days after initial surgery, 1.4 ± 2.5 days after lengthening (45% were outpatient procedures), and 13.4 ± 6.2 days after fusion. The most common complication was deep wound infection (30%).
Conclusion: GRs via a posterior-only approach are effective. Constructs extending to the pelvis control PO more effectively. However, 30% of patients experienced deep wound infection.