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Spinal fusion in children with cerebral palsy

Scoliosis and other spinal deformities affect between 50% and 75% of children with severe, nonambulatory cerebral palsy (CP) — causing both neurological impairment and a decline in functional ability. Surgical correction of scoliosis is generally the best course of treatment for patients with CP.

Previously, the benefits of spinal fusion using contemporary procedures for patients with CP had not been prospectively studied. DiFazio et al. evaluates changes in caregivers’ perceptions of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and caregiver burden in nonambulatory (GMFCS IV-V) children treated for severe scoliosis through posterior spinal fusion.

The authors hypothesize that spine fusion will induce statistically significant improvements in HRQOL for the patient, but cause no significant change in caregiver burden, and show no correlation between HRQOL/caregiver burden and the severity of the deformity or the extent of correction.

DiFazio RL, Miller PE, Vessey JA, Snyder BD. Health-Related Quality of Life and Care Giver Burden Following Spinal Fusion in Children With Cerebral Palsy. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Jun 15;42(12):E733-E739.