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Scoliosis in the Institutionalized Cerebral Palsy Population

MADIGAN, ROBERT R., MD; WALLACE, SIDNEY L., MD

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A prospective review of 272 institutionalized cerebral palsy residents was undertaken in order to determine the incidence and characteristics of neuromuscular scoliosis in this population. The types of cerebral palsy in the group consisted of 75% spastic, 8% dyskinetic, 4% ataxic, 8% mixed, and 5% undefined. There was a 64% incidence of roentgenographic scoliosis greater than 10°. Two distinct curve patterns were determined with equal frequency, single and multiple. The significance of the curve patterns could not be determined. Scoliosis was most common in the spastic group with the highest incidence in the spastic quadriplegics. The incidence directly paralleled the severity of the neurologic deficit but also appeared to be aggravated by the effects of gravity when the individuals were artificially placed in the sitting position. There was a definite inverse relationship between the level of ambulation and scoliosis: the higher the level of ambulation the lower the incidence of scoliosis. Hip stability per se could not be correlated with the incidence of scoliosis. The most important factors in predicting scoliosis in this population are the presence of spasticity and the severity of the neurologic deficit.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.

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