Complication rate after scoliosis surgery in children with cerebral palsy


cerebral palsy ; scoliosis surgery ; complication rate

Published online: Sep 14 2021

Elke Vandendriessche, Marijke Proesmans, Els Ortibus, Pierre Moens

From the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium


Scoliosis is an important problem in children with cerebral palsy (CP). However, the choice for a spinal fusion has to be weighed against the risks of major surgery in this vulnerable population. Paediatricians are frequently consulted preoperatively to assess the (respiratory) risk involved, but data on this question specific for CP are rare. Therefore, we investigated the complication rate after scoliosis surgery in children with CP, compared to idiopathic scoliosis (IS), and we searched for risk factors for the most common complications. In a retrospective monocenter study we analyzed the medical records from all children with CP and IS undergoing scoliosis surgery from 2010 until 2014. Duration of hospitalization and postoperative complications were compared within a 6-month follow-up. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify risk factors. The study included 44 patients with CP (mean age 15y0mo) and 78 patients with IS (mean age 14y6mo). Children with CP experience a higher rate of complications : respiratory and cardiovascular, as well as wound infections and decubitus ulcers (p<0.05). Postoperative pneumonia was the most frequent complication in both patient groups (43% and 18% in CP and IS respectively), with epilepsy being a significant risk factor (OR 3.85, p= 0.037) in children with CP. Intensive care unit and total hospital stay were longer in the CP group (p<0.001). These results may add information on perioperative care and surgical decision making.