Background: Postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) is unfortunately a commonly encountered complication in the surgical treatment of children with Early Onset Scoliosis (EOS). There is documented variation in the treatment of this patient population. Previous work building consensus for the approach to high risk patients (eg, neuromuscular etiology) has been promising. The goal of the current study is to apply similar principles to develop consensus-based guidelines for the treatment of patients with EOS.
Methods: A focus group from 2 multicenter pediatric spine deformity study groups developed a list of statements to be distributed to a larger group of EOS experts. Using the Delphi process, participants were presented with a systematic review of the literature as well as a review of current practices in growth friendly surgery. The first round was conducted using an electronic survey. Results of this survey were then discussed face-to-face and the statements were further refined. A final round was conducted using the Audience Response System, allowing participants to vote for each statement (strongly agree or agree). Agreement >80% or disagreement <20% was considered consensus.
Results: A total of 29 of 57 statements reached consensus. Negative statements (statements of disagreement) were excluded, so the final consensus guidelines included 22 statements. The number of statements from the previously published Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) approved for insertion and lengthening growth friendly procedures were 12 of 14 and 11 of 14, respectively. The high risk BPG therefore does not cover all of the issues specific to the EOS population, and explains why 22 statements reached consensus in the current guideline. Upon completion of the surveys, 100% of the participants agreed to support its publication.
Conclusions: Using the Delphi process several "best practices" were developed for growth friendly surgical treatment of EOS.
Level of evidence: Level V.