Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 469, Issue 5, pp 1272–1278

Kyphectomy in Children with Myelomeningocele

  • Haluk Altiok
  • Craig Finlayson
  • Sahar Hassani
  • Peter Sturm
Symposium: Myelomeningocele

DOI: 10.1007/s11999-010-1641-9

Cite this article as:
Altiok, H., Finlayson, C., Hassani, S. et al. Clin Orthop Relat Res (2011) 469: 1272. doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1641-9



Patients with myelomeningocele and rigid lumbar and thoracolumbar kyphosis face substantial functional difficulties with sitting and lying supine and are prone to skin breakdown over the gibbus and risk of infection. Kyphectomy, along with cordotomy and segmental spinal instrumentation down to the pelvis, is one alternative that can provide reliable correction of the deformity but also can maintain that correction over a period of time.


We determined the fusion rates, deformity correction and maintenance, and perioperative complications of kyphectomy with long segmental spinal instrumentation using the Warner and Fackler technique.


We retrospectively reviewed the charts and radiographs of 33 patients with myelomeningocele who had kyphectomy with segmental spinal instrumentation down to the pelvis between 1991 and 2006. The average age at surgery was 7.6 years (range, 3–19 years). Twenty-one patients had a minimum 2-year followup (average, 7.0 years; range, 2.4–15.7 years).


The average preoperative kyphosis of 124° (range, 75°–210°) improved at last followup to 22° (range, 3°–55°) with an average correction of 81% (range, 59%–98%). We identified 17 postoperative complications. Wound and skin complications were most common; 11 secondary surgeries were performed in 10 patients.


Surgery for myelomeningocele kyphosis is technically demanding and carries substantial risk. Kyphectomy and posterior spinal fusion and instrumentation with the Warner and Fackler technique allow correction and maintenance of sagittal alignment.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haluk Altiok
    • 1
    • 2
  • Craig Finlayson
    • 1
  • Sahar Hassani
    • 1
  • Peter Sturm
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsShriners Hospital for Children–ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of OrthopaedicsLoyola University Medical CenterMaywoodUSA

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