Myelomeningocele: A new functional classification

Luciano S. Dias*, Vineeta T. Swaroop, Luiz R.A. de Angeli, Jill E. Larson, Ana Marie Rojas, Tasos Karakostas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose In myelomeningocele, several classifications have been used. The present manuscript proposes a new functional classification to better assess the prognosis and management of these patients. Methods The manual muscle test is what defines the actual group in which the patient should be included. Furthermore, this new classification brings information about the bracing and external supports recommended to each functional lev-el. We also recommend that the patient’s Functional Mobility Scale should always be mentioned together with their functional level. Results The four levels in this classification are MMFC1, MMFC2, MMFC3 and MMFC4. The MMFC1 group includes patients with significant muscle weakness. They need to use high braces crossing the hip joint with a walker to achieve some ambulation. The MMFC2 group includes patients who have functional hip flexors, knee extensors and knee flexors. However, the hip abductors are quite weak. These patients usually need to use a walker-or crutches-and Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFOs). The MMFC3 group includes patients with functional hip flexors, knee extensors, knee flexors and hip abductors. However, the ankle plantar flex-ion function is absent. Most of them are able to walk inde-pendently, only using AFOs without any external support. The MMFC4 group includes patients who have preserved function in the entire lower limb musculature. These patients don’t need any assistive devices to achieve an ade-quate ambulation pattern. Conclusions We hope that this new classification is a system that is simple to understand, serves as a gait prognosis guide and facilitates communication among healthcare professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Children's Orthopaedics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Ambulatory function
  • Classification
  • Functional mobility scale
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Spina bifida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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