Kyphectomy in children with myelomeningocele

Haluk Altiok*, Craig Finlayson, Sahar Hassani, Peter Sturm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with myelomeningocele and rigid lumbar and thoracolumbar kyphosis face substantial functional difficulties with sitting and lying supine and are prone to skin breakdown over the gibbus and risk of infection. Kyphectomy, along with cordotomy and segmental spinal instrumentation down to the pelvis, is one alternative that can provide reliable correction of the deformity but also can maintain that correction over a period of time. Questions/purposes: We determined the fusion rates, deformity correction and maintenance, and perioperative complications of kyphectomy with long segmental spinal instrumentation using the Warner and Fackler technique. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts and radiographs of 33 patients with myelomeningocele who had kyphectomy with segmental spinal instrumentation down to the pelvis between 1991 and 2006. The average age at surgery was 7.6 years (range, 3-19 years). Twenty-one patients had a minimum 2-year followup (average, 7.0 years; range, 2.4-15.7 years). Results: The average preoperative kyphosis of 124° (range, 75°-210°) improved at last followup to 22° (range, 3°-55°) with an average correction of 81% (range, 59%-98%). We identified 17 postoperative complications. Wound and skin complications were most common; 11 secondary surgeries were performed in 10 patients. Conclusions: Surgery for myelomeningocele kyphosis is technically demanding and carries substantial risk. Kyphectomy and posterior spinal fusion and instrumentation with the Warner and Fackler technique allow correction and maintenance of sagittal alignment. Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1272-1278
Number of pages7
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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