This review sought to describe and analyze published protocols for rehabilitation after single-event multilevel surgery for people with cerebral palsy, to identify their differences and limits, and to introduce a common step-by-step framework for future descriptions and assessments of postoperative rehabilitation protocols.
The MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library databases were searched. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) single-event multilevel surgery, (2) full-text reports published after 1985, and (3) articles with a method section describing the rehabilitation protocol. Interventions were coded using the Oxford Levels of Evidence and the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies Index.
Twenty-four articles were included in the review. Studies included patients aged 4–30 yrs with spastic cerebral palsy (hemiplegia, diplegia, and quadriplegia). The mean postoperative rehabilitation duration was 4.5 mos, with 4 sessions per week, and rehabilitation took place in a rehabilitation center. This review provides relevant information about the modalities, contents, limits, and difficulties associated with the post-SEMS rehabilitation protocol reported in the literature. Pain was identified as a major problem.
A more precise and comprehensive description of post-SEMS rehabilitation protocols would be useful. The proposed five-step framework could be used by future studies to standardize their protocol description in terms of objective, content, and intensity.