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Georgina E. Sellyn, Andrew T. Hale, Alan R. Tang, Alaina Waters, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Spinal conditions and injuries in the pediatric population can necessitate surgical treatment. For many pediatric patients, a return to athletic activity after spinal surgery is a significant postoperative focus. However, there is a lack of standardized guidelines to determine criteria for safe return to play (RTP). To understand clinical criteria for patients to safely RTP, the authors conducted a systematic review of outcomes and the period of time before physicians recommend an RTP for pediatric patients undergoing spinal surgery.

METHODS

English-language publications were searched systematically in the PubMed electronic database, and a review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Additional relevant studies found via a supplementary literature search were also included. Studies assessing return to athletic activity in a pediatric population after spinal surgery were included. Studies without an RTP, postsurgical activity outcomes, or surgical intervention were excluded.

RESULTS

A PubMed search identified 295 articles, with 29 included for the systematic review. In addition, 4 studies were included from a supplementary literature search. The majority of these studies were retrospective case series and cohort studies, and the remaining studies included questionnaire-based studies, prospective cohorts, and case-control studies. The most common spinal conditions or injuries included spondylolysis, and this was followed by adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Overall, the most frequent recommendation for RTP for noncontact and contact sports was 6 months after surgery (range 1–12 months), and for collision sports it was 12 months after surgery. However, some physicians recommended never returning to collision sports after spinal intervention.

CONCLUSIONS

Most pediatric patients are able to return to some level of sports after spinal surgery. However, no standardized criteria have been proposed, and RTP recommendations vary according to the treating surgeon. In addition, limited data are published on the variation in timelines for RTP with regard to classifications of sports (noncontact, contact, and collision). Further analysis of specific spinal conditions and injuries with postoperative athletic recovery is needed.

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Ranbir Ahluwalia, Jarrett Foster, Madeleine M. Sherburn, Georgina E. Sellyn, Katherine A. Kelly, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of deformational brachycephaly has risen since the “Back to Sleep” movement in 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Brachycephaly prevalence and understanding the dynamic nature of the pediatric skull have not been explored in relation to the cranial index (CI). The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of brachycephaly, via the CI, with respect to time.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 1499 patients ≤ 19 years of age who presented for trauma evaluation with a negative CT scan for trauma (absence of bleed) in 2018. The CI was calculated using CT at the lateral-most point of the parietal bone (cephalic width), and the distance from the glabella to the opisthocranion (cephalic length). Brachycephaly was defined as a CI ≥ 90%.

RESULTS

The mean CI was 82.6, with an average patient age of 6.8 years. The prevalence of deformational brachycephaly steadily decreased from 27% to 4% from birth to > 2 years of life. The mean CI was statistically different between ages < 12 months, 12–24 months, and > 24 months (F[2,1496] = 124.058, p < 0.0005). A simple linear regression was calculated to predict the CI based on age; the CI was found to decrease by 0.038 each month. A significant regression equation was found (F[1,1497] = 296.846, p < 0.0005), with an R2 of 0.140.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of deformational brachycephaly is common in infants but decreases as the child progresses through early childhood. Clinicians can expect a significant decrease in mean CI at 12 and 24 months. Additionally, these regression models show that clinicians can expect continued improvement throughout childhood.

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Jarrett Foster, Ranbir Ahluwalia, Madeleine Sherburn, Katherine Kelly, Georgina E. Sellyn, Chelsea Kiely, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Stephen Gannon, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

No study has established a relationship between cranial deformations and demographic factors. While the connection between the Back to Sleep campaign and cranial deformation has been outlined, considerations toward cultural or anthropological differences should also be investigated.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 1499 patients (age range 2 months to less than 19 years) who presented for possible trauma in 2018 and had a negative CT scan. The cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI) and cranial index (CI) were used to evaluate potential cranial deformations. The cohort was evaluated for differences between sex, race, and ethnicity among 1) all patients and 2) patients within the clinical treatment window (2–24 months of age). Patients categorized as “other” and those for whom data were missing were excluded from analysis.

RESULTS

In the CVAI cohort with available data (n = 1499, although data were missing for each variable), 800 (56.7%) of 1411 patients were male, 1024 (79%) of 1304 patients were Caucasian, 253 (19.4%) of 1304 patients were African American, and 127 (10.3%) of 1236 patients were of Hispanic/Latin American descent. The mean CVAI values were significantly different between sex (p < 0.001) and race (p < 0.001). However, only race was associated with differences in positional posterior plagiocephaly (PPP) diagnosis (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in CVAI measurements for ethnicity (p = 0.968). Of the 520 patients in the treatment window cohort, 307 (59%) were male. Of the 421 patients with data for race, 334 were Caucasian and 80 were African American; 47 of the 483 patients with ethnicity data were of Hispanic/Latin American descent. There were no differences between mean CVAI values for sex (p = 0.404) or ethnicity (p = 0.600). There were significant differences between the mean CVAI values for Caucasian and African American patients (p < 0.001) and rate of PPP diagnosis (p = 0.02). In the CI cohort with available data (n = 1429, although data were missing for each variable), 849 (56.8%) of 1494 patients were male, 1007 (67.4%) of 1283 were Caucasian, 248 (16.6%) of 1283 were African American, and 138 patients with ethnicity data (n = 1320) of Hispanic/Latin American descent. Within the clinical treatment window cohort with available data, 373 (59.2%) of 630 patients were male, 403 were Caucasian (81.9%), 84 were African American (17.1%), and 55 (10.5%) of 528 patients were of Hispanic/Latin American descent. The mean CI values were not significantly different between sexes (p = 0.450) in either cohort. However, there were significant differences between CI measurements for Caucasian and African American patients (p < 0.001) as well as patients of Hispanic/Latin American descent (p < 0.001) in both cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found no significant associations between cranial deformations and sex. However, significant differences exist between Caucasian and African American patients as well as patients with Hispanic/Latin American heritage. These findings suggest cultural or anthropological influences on defining skull deformations. Further investigation into the factors contributing to these differences should be undertaken.