Intraoperative Traction May Be a Viable Alternative to Anterior Surgery in Cerebral Palsy Scoliosis ≥100 Degrees

Taylor J. Jackson, Burt Yaszay, Joshua M. Pahys, Anuj Singla, Firoz Miyanji, Suken A. Shah, Paul D. Sponseller, Peter O. Newton, John M. Flynn, Patrick J. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: For large scoliosis, 2 strategies to maximize correction include intraoperative traction and/or anterior release. It is unclear which patients will benefit the most form either approach. The purpose of our study is to compare the radiographic, perioperative clinical outcomes, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes of 2 approaches when used in severe neuromuscular scoliosis in the setting of cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: In total, 23 patients with minimum 2-year follow-up, major curves ≥100 degrees, and in whom treatment included posterior spinal fusion were evaluated. Eighteen were treated with posterior spinal fusion with intraoperative traction and 5 with anterior/posterior spinal fusion (APSF). The baseline characteristics, perioperative outcomes, and preoperative and 2-year follow-up data for HRQoL and radiographic measures were compared. Results: The groups had similar age, sex, nutritional and seizure status, GMFCS level, and change in CPCHILD scores. The groups had similar curve magnitude (120 vs. 105 degrees, P=0.330) and flexibility (28% vs. 40%, P=0.090), but the APSF group had less pelvic obliquity (POB) (24 vs. 42 degrees, P=0.009). There were similar postoperative major curves (37 vs. 40 degrees, P=0.350), but greater correction in POB (33.5 vs. 14 degrees of correction, P=0.007) in the traction group. The APSF group had longer anesthesia times (669 vs. 415 min, P=0.005), but similar hospital stays, intensive care unit and days intubated, estimated blood loss, cell saver, and red blood cells used. Although the APSF group had twice the rate of complications (22% vs. 40%) during the first 90 days postoperatively, this did not reach statistical significance. Conclusions: Both intraoperative traction and anterior surgery were used to aid correction in severe CP scoliosis. Anterior surgery did not offer superior correction or better HRQoL, and was associated with increased operative times, whereas intraoperative traction was associated with greater correction of POB. Intraoperative traction may be a viable alternative to an anterior release in severe CP scoliosis. Level of Evidence: Level II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e278-e284
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018


  • anterior spinal fusion
  • cerebral palsy
  • complications
  • halo traction
  • neuromuscular scoliosis
  • outcomes
  • posterior spinal fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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