Management of the collapsing spine for patients with duchenne muscular dystrophy

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Instrumented fusion of the collapsing spine has gained widespread acceptance for patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy but controversy still exists on the issue of extending the surgical fusion to sacrum in these patients.

This retrospective study reviews the long-term outcome of a group of patients with spinal deformity associated with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who were managed with long spinal fusion to L5 and ongoing wheelchair seating attention. The clinical notes and radiographs of 19 consecutive patients were reviewed. Fifteen patients attended for clinical and radiological assessment at a mean of 28 months post operatively.

The surgery for these patients involved a mean anaesthetic time of 3.5 h and a mean transfusion requirement of 5 units of red cell concentrate. At long-term follow-up 15 patients continued to sit in a well-balanced position.

Surgical fusion of the spine to L5 combined with ongoing attention to seating is associated with good long-term functional results in these patients.

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