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World J Orthop. 2015 Sep 18;6(8):564-6. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i8.564. eCollection 2015 Sep 18.

Neuromuscular scoliosis and pelvic fixation in 2015: Where do we stand?

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Jason B Anari, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19102, United States.


Neuromuscular scoliosis is a challenging problem to treat in a heterogeneous patient population. When the decision is made for surgery the surgeon must select a technique employed to correct the curve and achieve the goals of surgery, namely a straight spine over a level pelvis. Pre-operatively the surgeon must ask if pelvic fixation is worth the extra complications and infection risk it introduces to an already compromised host. Since the advent of posterior spinal fusion the technology used for instrumentation has changed drastically. However, many of the common problems seen with the unit rod decades ago we are still dealing with today with pedicle screw technology. Screw cut out, pseudoarthrosis, non-union, prominent hardware, wound complications, and infection are all possible complications when extending a spinal fusion construct to the pelvis in a neuromuscular scoliosis patient. Additionally, placing pelvic fixation in a neuromuscular patient results in extra blood loss, greater surgical time, more extensive dissection with creation of a deep dead space, and an incision that extends close to the rectum in patients who are commonly incontinent. Balancing the risk of placing pelvic fixation when the benefit, some may argue, is limited in non-ambulating patients is difficult when the literature is so mottled. Despite frequent advancements in technology issues with neuromuscular scoliosis remain the same and in the next 10 years we must do what we can to make safe neuromuscular spine surgery a reality.


Fixation; Neuromuscular; Pelvic pediatrics; Scoliosis; Spine

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