According to new research published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, a procedure called distal rectus femoris transfer can produce long-lasting and meaningful improvement in peak knee flexion in people with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy as well as individuals with stiff-knee gait with decreased peak knee flexion in the swing phase.
The research was published in the distinguished journal on October 3rd by Thomas Dreher, M.D. of Heidelberg University Clinics in Germany. Dreher and his colleagues evaluated 53 ambulatory patients with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and stiff-knee gait one year and nine years after distal rectus femoris transfer (DRFT) surgery was performed.
Separate evaluations were done on patients who had surgery for their decreased peak knee flexion in swing phase (C-DRFT) and those who did prophylactic surgery for normal or increased peak knee flexion in swing phase (P-DRFT).
Evaluations after one year showed that those in the C-DRFT group had a significantly increased peak knee flexion. Those in the P-DRFT group had a noteworthy 15 degree loss in peak flexion. Nine years later the evaluations showed a small, insignificant increase in peak knee flexion in swing phase in both groups. But in the C-DRFT group there was an important improvement in the timing of peak knee flexion. The researchers also found that in both groups knee motion and flexion speed increased substantially. The researchers conclude that this improvement was maintained at the nine-year follow-up exam in the C-DRFT group, and no deterioration was observed in the P-DRFT group.
“DRFT is an effective procedure to treat stiff-knee gait featuring decreased peak knee flexion in swing phase and leads to a long-lasting increase of peak knee flexion in swing phase nine years after surgery,” Doctor Dreher and his colleagues stated.