European Journal of Neurology vol:8 Suppl 5 pages:88-97
The present study attempts to provide objective evidence of two treatment options for children with cerebral palsy (CP): multilevel botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) injections and multilevel surgery. The purpose of the study was to clarify the differences and the similarities, and common treatment principles of both treatment strategies. Objective three dimensional gait analysis data were studied retrospectively in two patient groups pre- and post-treatment (randomly selected from a group of children that were treated between 1998 and 1999). In the first group, 29 children with CP were managed with BTX-A injections according to an integrated multilevel approach (Molenaers et al., 1999a). A second group of 23 children with CP were managed by a more traditional single event multilevel surgery, also according to an integrated approach. Our aim was to evaluate the differences as well as the similarities between both patient groups, using a set of 56 parameters selected from three-dimensional gait analysis. The unifying concept between management with BTX-A injections and orthopaedic surgery was the adoption of a multilevel approach at one session. The groups demonstrated considerable differences with respect to age, pretreatment condition and amount and level of improvement after treatment. The children who received BTX-A were typically younger, and showed primary gait problems in the distal joints, whereas the children who underwent surgery demonstrated a higher frequency of gait deviations in the transverse plane and had more complications. Although the benefit of both treatments was confirmed by the present study, a difference in the amount and level of improvement was also demonstrated. In conclusion, these treatment modalities should be regarded as complementary rather than mutually exclusive treatments, with both calling for an integrated approach.