Treatment and complications in flaccid neuromuscular scoliosis (Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy) with posterior-only pedicle screw instrumentation

Hitesh N. Modi, Seung Woo Suh, Jae Young Hong, Jae Woo Cho, Jong Hoon Park, Jae Hyuk Yang

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72 Citations (Scopus)


Literature has described treatment of flaccid neuromuscular scoliosis using different instrumentation; however, only one article has been published using posterior-only pedicle screw fixation. Complications using pedicle screws in paralytic neuromuscular scoliosis has not been described before. To present results and complications with posterior-only pedicle screws, a retrospective study was carried out in 27 consecutive patients with flaccid neuromuscular scoliosis (Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy), who were operated between 2002 and 2006 using posterior-only pedicle screw instrumentation. Immediate postoperative and final follow-up results were compared using t test for Cobb angle, pelvic obliquity, thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis. Perioperative and postoperative complications were noted from the hospital records of each patient. Complications, not described in literature, were discussed in detail. Average follow-up was 32.2 months. Preoperative, immediate postoperative and final follow-up Cobb angle were 79.8°, 30.2° (63.3% correction, p < 0.0001) and 31.9°, respectively; and pelvic obliquity was 18.3°, 8.9° (52% correction, p < 0.0001) and 8.9°. Postoperative thoracic kyphosis remained unchanged from 27.6° to 19.9° (p = 0.376); while lumbar lordosis improved significantly from +15.6° to -22.4° lordosis (p = 0.0002). Most patients had major to moderate improvement in postoperative functional and ambulatory status compared to the preoperative status. Thirteen (48.1%) perioperative complications were noted with five major complications (four respiratory in the form of hemothorax or respiratory failure that required ventilator support and one death) and eight minor complications (three UTI, two atelectasis, two neurological and one ileus). Postoperatively, we noted complications, such as coccygodynia with subluxation in 7, back sore on the convex side in 4 and dislodging of rod distally in 1 patient making a total of 12 (44.4%) postoperative complications. Of 12 postoperative complications, 6 (50%) required secondary procedure. We conclude that although flaccid neuromuscular scoliosis can be well corrected with posterior-only pedicle screw, there is a high rate of associated complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-393
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar


  • Flaccid neuromuscular scoliosis
  • Perioperative and postoperative complications
  • Posterior-only pedicle screw fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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