Watts HG.. Article. Techniques in Orthopaedics. 2005. 20(2):179–189.
Summary: In the developed world paralytic poliomyelitis is almost extinct. This is clearly not the case elsewhere While immunization has markedly decreased the incidence it has no effect on those who already have had the disease. These children are now mostly adults. This has a number of important orthopedic implications: 1) Adults do not heal as readily; 2) Postoperative regimens need to be extended; 3) Postoperative rehabilitation facilities will be in more demand; 3) Adults will have a more difficult time accommodating alterations in the mechanics that follows some operations. Well-intended surgery may not have the results expected; 4) What will be the worldwide impact of “Post-Polio syndrome (new functional loss that may occur many decades after the disease first occurred in childhood). By some estimates 40% of polio victims will suffer from Post-Polio syndrome as they reach their 50s and 60s. The decisions in the surgical treatment of polio are more difficult than the procedures themselves. Hurried decisions are frequently bad—if in doubt, proceed cautiously and in stages.
Keywords: Poliomyelitis—Prioritize treatment goals—Adult consequences of polio
An article originally published in the June 2005 edition of Techniques In Orthopaedics (Volume 20, Number 2). Licensed and reprinted with the permission of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.