European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 154, Supplement 4, pp S85–S89 | Cite as

Psychosocial aspects in the treatment of children with myelomeningocele: An assessment after a decade

  • Anna Rüdeberg
  • Filippo Donati
  • Georges Kaiser
Living Pediatrics Symposium in Honour of the 80th Birthday of Professor E. Rossi, Berne, Switzerland


The aim of this study was to recognize the possible psychological advantages when children with a severe CNS disorder like myelomeningocele (MMC) are given very early rehabilitation treatment. One hundred and seven newborns with MMC seen between 1971–1992 were prospectively analysed with respect to two different therapeutic approaches. The children born during the period 1971–1980 did not receive very early therapeutic rehabilitation treatment, whereas those born during the period 1981–1992, received this treatment. In the latter group, special attention was paid to support an improvement in the difficult relationship between the parents and the child with MMC as well as between parents and caregivers. The following statistically significant differences between the two treatment programmes were found: (1) all children achieved independent locomotion at 5 years, in the very early intervention group, compared to only 35% (P<0.001) in the group without this programme. Orthopaedic operations in the first-mentioned group were markedly reduced; (2) urological surgery decreased drastically in the group with very early urodynamic rehabilitation. Thus, there were 0.6 operations per patient in the older group, but only 0.06 operations per patient in the younger one (P<0.001); (3) normal schooling was reached by 76% (22/29) and social continence by 80% (23/29) of the children with very early interventional therapy. In the older group only 54% reached normal schooling (P<0.05) and 29% social continence (P<0.001). The very early co-ordinated medical and physiotherapeutic rehabilitation treatment of children with MMC usually reduces the psychosocial stress and improves the quality of life of these children and of their families.

Key words

Myelomeningocele Psychosocial Rehabilitation Social Therapy 





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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Rüdeberg
    • 1
  • Filippo Donati
    • 2
  • Georges Kaiser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric Surgery, University of Berne, InselspitalUniversity Children's HospitalBerneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of NeurologyUniversity of BerneBerneSwitzerland

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