Aims Increasingly, Lycra garments are provided for children with cerebral palsy. The authors wanted to review the evidence that these garments improve function and posture for children with cerebral palsy.
Methods A systematic review of the published literature was performed in October 2009. The databases Medline, EMBASE and CINAHL were searched with the terms “cerebral palsy” (as keyword and exploded MESH term) and “Lycra” (as keyword and exploded MESH term) with “splints” and “clothing” from search tree. Our limits were human, English language and age 0–18 years. The databases were searched from 1990 onwards as Lycra splints/suits were only developed in early 1990s. The Cochrane Library yielded no relevant results.
Results 66 papers were identified, but only eight were relevant to the research question. One paper was a descriptive study, cross-over and recipient trial and one was a review article including two case studies. Five papers were case series and there was one case study.
Conclusions The available studies suggest wearing Lycra garments helps to improve proximal stability and function in some children with cerebral palsy. The benefits have not yet been tested in an experimental study design. Lycra garments are expensive and can cause problems with a child's comfort and toileting.
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