Perioperative Care of Children with Severe Neurological Impairment and Neuromuscular Scoliosis- A Practical Pathway to Optimize Peri-Operative Health and Guide Decision Making

J Clin Med. 2022 Nov 16;11(22):6769. doi: 10.3390/jcm11226769.


Neuromuscular scoliosis is a common feature in children with severe neurological impairment (SNI), including those with severe cerebral palsy. Surgical correction of scoliosis is the mainstay of treatment. This group of patients also have associated medical complexity. The complication rates post-surgery are high, although, for many, they are worth the risk. There are currently no published practice guidelines or care pathways for children with SNI who are undergoing scoliosis corrective surgery. In response to the high uptake of this surgery, coupled with the expected complication rates, our hospital established a perioperative clinic. The purpose of this paper is to describe our perioperative approach. This clinic has developed into a service beyond perioperative care and, with the collaborative meeting, enables shared decision-making to identify the right candidate for surgery. The process involves surgical expertise, understanding the family and child at the centre, and optimisation of medical care pre- and post-surgery. In this paper, we describe the process in a step-by-step manner. We provide clinical vignettes, as well as the proformas that we use, and we highlight the benefits of the team-based process.

Keywords: cerebral palsy; scoliosis; severe neurological impairment; shared decision-making.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

This research received no external funding.