BACKGROUND: Studies evaluating multilevel surgery to treat spastic deformity and functional deficits in cerebral palsy (CP) usually focus on data from instrumented gait analysis and clinical examination without examining functional and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes. Recently, outcome measures for well-being in children with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders have also been validated specifically for CP. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the impact of multilevel surgery on the function and HRQOL in a group of ambulatory children with CP. METHODS: In a multicenter prospective trial, 57 ambulatory children with CP, mean age 9.5 years, underwent multilevel soft tissue surgery to correct sagittal imbalance. Validated clinical outcome measures for HRQOL were administered preoperatively and postoperatively with an average follow-up time of 15.2 months. The functional and psychosocial components of the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI), Pediatric Quality of Life Questionnaire (PedsQL), and the Functional Assessment Questionnaire Walking Score were used. RESULTS: Significant improvements in outcome scores occurred postoperatively in the following: PedsQL parent-total (17.6%; P < 0.001) and parent-physical sections (25.0%; P < 0.001), the Functional Assessment Questionnaire Walking Score (15.3%; P < 0.001), and the PODCI sections for transfers and basic mobility (15.8%; P < 0.001), sports and physical function (23.9%; P = 0.012), and global (12.9%; P < 0.001). Improvements also occurred in the PedsQL child-total (8.4%; P = 0.104) and child-physical sections (8.6%; P = 0.189), but these were not statistically significant. There were no significant changes in the PODCI parent-derived pain (-3.2%; P = 0.504) and happiness sections (1.9%; P = 0.645). CONCLUSIONS: Multilevel surgery in ambulatory patients with CP improves function and HRQOL. However, improved functional well-being does not imply improved psychosocial well-being, and patients and their families should be counseled accordingly. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
- Cerebral palsy
- FAQ Walking Score
- Health-related quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine