Study design: Single center, retrospective chart review. Objectives: To determine if routine posterior spinal fusion (PSF) is unnecessary in non-ambulatory growing rod graduates with SMA. Summary of background data: Most non-ambulatory children with SMA develop early-onset scoliosis (EOS). Posterior growing rods (GR) have been shown safe and effective in managing spinal deformities in these children. The best management of these children, once graduated from their GR, is currently unknown. In this study, we report the clinical results of managing these children without routine definitive fusion following a course of GR treatment. Methods: A single-center, retrospective chart and radiographic review was performed on children with SMA treated with posterior distraction GR, with a two-year minimum follow-up since final lengthening. Electronic medical records and radiographs were reviewed for demographic variables, Cobb measurements, implant revisions, occult radiographic implant failure, symptomatic failure, and/or conversion to PSF. Result: 12 patients (2 type 1, 9 type 2, 1 type 1/2) met inclusion criteria. Mean age at growing rod insertion was 6.2 years of age (range 4.1–8.2) and age at final lengthening 10.3 years of age (range 9.3–11.9). The mean time between last lengthening and latest clinical or radiographic review was 5.5 (range 2.1–9.0) years. Average mean pre, post, final Cobb angles were 71°, 27° (p < 0.001), 25°. Following final lengthening, only one patient required hardware revision and conversion to definitive fusion in attempts to alleviate chronic hip pain, which was unsuccessful. One additional patient was found to have an occult rod failure that has not required treatment. Conclusion: While limited by sample size, this single-center cohort of non-ambulatory SMA patients with EOS treated with similar constructs suggests that routine, definitive fusion in SMA GR graduates may be unnecessary. Level of evidence: Level IV.
- Early onset scoliosis
- Growing rods
- Spinal muscular atrophy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine