Myelopathic Patients Undergoing Severe Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery Can Improve Neurologic Function to That of Non-Myelopathic Patients by 1-Year Postoperative

Meghan Cerpa, Scott L. Zuckerman, Lawrence G. Lenke, Michael P. Kelly, Burt Yaszay, Peter Newton, Paul Sponseller, Mark Erickson, Sumeet Garg, Joshua Pahys, Amer Samdani, Patrick Cahill, Richard McCarthy, David Bumpass, Daniel Sucato, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Suken Shah, Munish Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Multi-center, prospective, observational cohort. Objective: To compare myelopathic vs. non-myelopathic ambulatory patients in short- and long-term neurologic function, operative treatment, and patient-reported outcomes. Methods: Pediatric deformity patients from 16 centers were enrolled with the following inclusion criteria: aged 10-21 years-old, a Cobb angle ≥100° in either the coronal or sagittal plane or any sized deformity with a planned 3-column osteotomy, and community ambulators. Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups: myelopathic (abnormal preoperative neurologic exam with signs/symptoms of myelopathy) and non-myelopathic (no clinical signs/symptoms of myelopathy). Results: Of 311 patients with an average age of 14.7 ± 2.8 years, 29 (9.3%) were myelopathic and 282 (90.7%) were non-myelopathic. There was no difference in age (P = 0.18), gender (P = 0.09), and Risser Stage (P = 0.06), while more patients in the non-myelopathic group had previous surgery (16.1% vs. 3.9%; P = 0.03). Mean lower extremity motor score (LEMS) in myelopathic patients increased significantly compared to baseline at every postoperative visit: Baseline: 40.7 ± 9.9; Immediate postop: 46.0 ± 7.1, P = 0.02; 1-year: 48.2 ± 3.7, P < 0.001; 2-year: 48.2 ± 7.7, P < 0.001). The non-myelopathic group had significantly higher LEMS immediately postoperative (P = 0.0007), but by 1-year postoperative, there was no difference in LEMS between groups (non-myelopathic: 49.3 ± 3.6, myelopathic: 48.2 ± 3.7, P = 0.10) and was maintained at 2-years postoperative (non-myelopathic: 49.2 ± 3.3, myelopathic: 48.2 ± 5.7, P = 0.09). Both groups improved significantly in all SRS domains compared to preoperative, with no difference in scores in the domains for pain (P = 0.12), self-image (P = 0.08), and satisfaction (P = 0.83) at latest follow-up. Conclusion: In severe spinal deformity pediatric patients presenting with preoperative myelopathy undergoing spinal reconstructive surgery, myelopathic patients can expect significant improvement in neurologic function postoperatively. At 1-year and 2-year postoperative, neurologic function was no different between groups. While non-myelopathic patients had significantly higher postoperative outcomes in SRS mental-health, function, and total-score, both groups had significantly improved outcomes in every SRS domain compared to preoperative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1384-1393
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • myelopathy
  • neurologic deficit
  • neurologic function
  • pediatric spine surgery
  • scoliosis
  • severe pediatric spinal deformity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Myelopathic Patients Undergoing Severe Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery Can Improve Neurologic Function to That of Non-Myelopathic Patients by 1-Year Postoperative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this