Spinal fusion, ending caudally at L5 rather than at the sacrum, is recommended for selected patients with scoliosis due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We present a retrospective review of 48 patients operated on for this condition. Patients having spinal curvature with a Cobb angle of less than 40° and with less than 10° between a line tangential to the superior margins of both iliac crests and a line perpendicular to the spinous processes of L4 and L5, were fused to L5 (38 patients); patients not meeting these criteria were fused to the sacrum (10 patients).
Spinal and sitting obliquity increased in patients fused to L5, rather than to the sacrum, but the severity of the worsening obliquity was significantly greater in patients in whom the apex of the curve was below L1. Two of the ten latter patients required revision procedures for worsening obliquity when their pulmonary function deteriorated to less than 25% of predicted values.
We recommend fusion to the sacrum for scoliosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, especially for patients with an apex to their curve below L1.
- Received August 10, 1998.
- Accepted January 20, 1999.
- © 1999 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery