We report the incidence of and risk factors for complications after scoliosis surgery in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and compare them with those of other neuromuscular conditions.
We identified 110 (64 males, 46 females) consecutive patients with a neuromuscular disorder who underwent correction of the scoliosis at a mean age of 14 years (7 to 19) and had a minimum two-year follow-up. We recorded demographic and peri-operative data, including complications and re-operations.
There were 60 patients with cerebral palsy (54.5%) and 26 with DMD (23.6%). The overall complication rate was 22% (24 patients), the most common of which were deep wound infection (9, 8.1%), gastrointestinal complications (5, 4.5%) and hepatotoxicity (4, 3.6%). The complication rate was higher in patients with DMD (10/26, 38.5%) than in those with other neuromuscular conditions (14/84, 16.7% (p = 0.019). All hepatotoxicity occurred in patients with DMD (p = 0.003), who also had an increased rate of deep wound infection (19%vs5%) (p = 0.033). In the DMD group, no peri-operative factors were significantly associated with the rate of overall complications or deep wound infection. Increased intra-operative blood loss was associated with hepatotoxicity (p = 0.036).
In our series, correction of a neuromuscular scoliosis had an acceptable rate of complications: patients with DMD had an increased overall rate compared with those with other neuromuscular conditions. These included deep wound infection and hepatotoxicity. Hepatotoxicity was unique to DMD patients, and we recommend peri-operative vigilance after correction of a scoliosis in this group.