INTRODUCTION: The craniovertebral abnormalities found in patients with Type VI mucopolysaccharidosis (Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome) are described, and the indications for and outcomes of surgery in this group are assessed.
METHODS: The clinical histories and radiological findings in all patients with Type VI mucopolysaccharidosis treated at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital during the past 10 years were reviewed.
RESULTS: The typical findings in patients with this disease are of canal stenosis at the level of the foramen magnum and upper cervical spine with or without cord compression. The stenosis is secondary to thickening of the posterior longitudinal ligament. Atlantoaxial instability is rare. Of nine patients under regular clinical review, four underwent decompressive surgery for cervical cord compression. Three of the four showed improvement in their neurological symptoms and signs postoperatively. Of the children reviewed, six had radiological evidence of cord compression, although only those with neurological signs or symptoms were treated surgically.
DISCUSSION: Despite the often formidable anesthetic challenge, surgery is indicated in those patients who present with progressive neurological deficit due to cervical myelopathy. Surgery can be undertaken safely if the associated medical problems in these children are recognized and managed appropriately.