Retrospective case series.
The objective was to assess the long-term outcomes on scoliosis following Chiari-I (CM-I) decompression in patients with CM-I and syringomyelia (SM). A secondary objective was to identify risk factors of scoliosis progression.
The association between CM-I with SM and scoliosis is recognized, but it remains unclear if CM-I decompression alters the long-term evolution of scoliosis in patients with associated syringomyelia.
A retrospective review of children with scoliosis, CM-I, and SM during 1997–2015 was performed. Congenital, syndromic, and neuromuscular scoliosis were excluded. Clinical and radiographic characteristics were recorded at presentation, pre-decompression, after 1-year, and latest follow-up. A scale to measure syringomyelia area on MRI was used to evaluate SM changes post-decompression.
65 children with CM-I, SM, and scoliosis and a mean age of 8.9 years (range 0.7–15.8) were identified. Mean follow-up was 6.9 years (range 2.0–20.4). Atypical curves were present in 28 (43%) children. Thirty-eight patients (58%) underwent decompression before 10 years. Syringomyelia size reduced a mean of 70% after decompression (p < 0.001). Scoliosis improved in 26 (40%), stabilized in 17 (26%), and progressed in 22 (34%) cases. Early spinal fusion was required in 7 (11%) patients after a mean of 0.5 ± 0.37 years and delayed fusion in 16 (25%) patients after 6.0 ± 3.24 years. The remaining 42 (65%) patients were followed for a median of 6.1 years (range 2.0–12.3) without spine instrumentation or fusion. Fusion patients experienced less improvement in curve magnitude 1-year post-decompression (p < 0.001) and had larger curves at presentation (43° vs. 34°; p = 0.004).
Syringomyelia size decreased by 70% after CM-I decompression and scoliosis stabilized or improved in two-thirds of patients. Greater curve improvement within the first year post-decompression and smaller curves at presentation decreased the risk of spinal fusion. Neurosurgical decompression is recommended in children with CM-I, SM, and scoliosis with the potential to treat all three conditions.
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Investigation performed at: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard Teaching Hospital), Boston, MA, USA
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Verhofste, B.P., Davis, E.A., Miller, P.E. et al. Chiari I malformations with syringomyelia: long-term results of neurosurgical decompression. Spine Deform (2020) doi:10.1007/s43390-019-00009-z
- Chiari I