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What is the effect of preoperative depression on outcomes after minimally invasive surgery for adult spinal deformity? A prospective cohort analysis

Nitin Agarwal, Vijay Letchuman, Raj Swaroop Lavadi, Vivian P. Le, Alexander A. Aabedi, Saman Shabani, Andrew K. Chan, Paul Park, Juan S. Uribe, Jay D. Turner, Robert K. Eastlack, Richard G. Fessler, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Pierce D. Nunley, Neel Anand, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Peter G. Passias, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Dean Chou, and Praveen V. Mummaneni


Depression has been implicated with worse immediate postoperative outcomes in adult spinal deformity (ASD) correction, yet the specific impact of depression on those patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) requires further clarity. This study aimed to evaluate the role of depression in the recovery of patients with ASD after undergoing MIS.


Patients who underwent MIS for ASD with a minimum postoperative follow-up of 1 year were included from a prospectively collected, multicenter registry. Two cohorts of patients were identified that consisted of either those affirming or denying depression on preoperative assessment. The patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) compared included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) for back and leg pain, Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Questionnaire (SRS-22), SF-36 physical component summary, SF-36 mental component summary (MCS), EQ-5D, and EQ-5D visual analog scale.


Twenty-seven of 147 (18.4%) patients screened positive for preoperative depression. The nondepressed cohort had an average of 4.83 levels fused, and the depressed cohort had 5.56 levels fused per patient (p = 0.267). At 1-year follow-up, 10 patients still reported depression, representing a 63% decrease. Postoperatively, both cohorts demonstrated improvement in their PROMs; however, at 1-year follow-up, those without depression had statistically better outcomes based on the EQ-5D, MCS, and SRS-22 scores (p < 0.05). Patients with depression continued to experience higher NRS leg scores at 1-year follow-up (3.63 vs 2.22, p = 0.018). After controlling for covariates, the authors found that depression significantly impacted only 1-year follow-up MCS scores (β = 8.490, p < 0.05).


Depressed and nondepressed patients reported similar improvements after MIS surgery, except MCS scores were more likely to improve in nondepressed patients.