Predicting outcomes of rectus femoris transfer surgery

Jeffrey A. Reinbolt, Melanie D. Fox, Michael H. Schwartz, Scott L. Delp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Rectus femoris transfer surgery is a common treatment for stiff knee gait in children with cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, the improvement in knee motion after surgery is inconsistent. There is great interest in understanding the causes of stiff knee gait and determining predictors of improved knee motion after surgery. This study demonstrates that it is possible to predict whether or not a patient's knee motion will improve following rectus femoris transfer surgery with greater than 80% accuracy. A predictive model was developed that requires only a few preoperative gait analysis measurements, already collected as a routine part of treatment planning. Our examination of 62 patients before and after rectus femoris transfer revealed that a combination of hip power, knee power, and knee flexion velocity at toe-off correctly predicted postoperative outcome for 80% of cases. With the addition of two more preoperative measurements, hip flexion and internal rotation, prediction accuracy increased to nearly 88%. Other combinations of preoperative gait analysis measurements also predicted outcomes with high accuracy. These results provide insight into factors related to positive outcomes and suggest that predictive models provide a valuable tool for determining indications for rectus femoris transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Allison Arnold, Jennifer Hicks, Saryn Goldberg, and the staff of the Center for Gait and Motion Analysis at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. This work was supported by an NSF Graduate Fellowship, NIH R01 HD046814, and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research U54 GM072970. Conflict of interest


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Gait analysis
  • Predicting outcomes
  • Rectus femoris transfer
  • Stiff knee gait


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