Pelvic fixation of growing rods: Comparison of constructs

Paul D. Sponseller, Justin S. Yang, George H. Thompson, Richard E. McCarthy, John B. Emans, David L. Skaggs, Marc A. Asher, Muharrem Yazici, Connie Poe-Kochert, Pat Kostial, Behrooz A. Akbarnia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Study Design. Retrospective review. Objective. To analyze outcomes and complications of growing rods fixed to the pelvis. Summary of Background Data. Growing systems with pelvic foundations are used for neuromuscular/syndromic scoliosis. There is little data comparing different constructs. This project analyzed the outcomes and complications of this population. Methods. Records/radiographs of 36 patients from the Growing Spine database with growing rods anchored in the pelvis were studied. Diagnoses included spinal muscular atrophy-6, cerebral palsy-5, myelomeningocele-5, congenital-4, arthrogryposis-1, and miscellaneous/syndromic-15. Age at surgery was 6.8 ± 3 years. Preoperative curve was 86° ± 22° and pelvic obliquity was 27° ± 11°. Follow-up was 40 ± 23 months. Rod breakage rate was compared to that of 299 patients not fixed to the pelvis. Results. Iliac screws were used in 20 patients, iliac rods in 10, S-rods in 3, and sacral fixation in 6. Dual rods were used in 30 patients; single in 6. At follow-up, mean Cobb improved to 48° ± 20° and pelvic obliquity improved to 11° ± 7°. Iliac screws achieved significantly better Cobb and pelvic obliquity correction than sacral fixation (47% vs. 29%, P = 0.04, 66% vs. 40%, P = 0.001). Pelvic obliquity correction exceeded major curve correction (P < 0.001). Total gain in T1-S1 length was 8.6 ± 4.3 cm; gain during lengthenings was 4.0 ± 4.7 cm. Bilateral rods provided better correction of both pelvic obliquity (67% vs. 44%, P = 0.006) and major curve (47% vs. 25%, P = 0.02) than unilateral rods. Six patients have undergone final fusion at mean 3.3 ± 1.8 years after initial surgery. Five patients developed deep infections. There were 6 rod breakages; this rate did not differ from constructs not anchored in the pelvis (P = 0.36). There were 5 breakages of iliac screws and none of other anchors (P = 0.035). Conclusion. Growing rods can include pelvic fixation to correct pelvic obliquity or obtain adequate fixation. Dual iliac fixation provides the best correction. Both iliac screws and rods provide satisfactory distal fixation; iliac screws had a higher rate of breakage. Growing rods with pelvic fixation are effective in deformity correction and achieving growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1706-1710
Number of pages5
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Distal anchors
  • Growing rods
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis
  • Pelvic fixation
  • Pelvic obliquity
  • Syndromic scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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