Depression and anxiety have been demonstrated to have negative impacts on outcomes after spine surgery. In patients with cervical deformity (CD), the psychological and physiological burdens of the disease may overlap without clear boundaries. While surgery has a proven record of bringing about significant pain relief and decreased disability, the impact of depression and anxiety on recovery from cervical deformity corrective surgery has not been previously reported on in the literature. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of depression and anxiety on patients’ recovery from and improvement after CD surgery.
The authors conducted a retrospective review of a prospective, multicenter CD database. Patients with a history of clinical depression, in addition to those with current self-reported anxiety or depression, were defined as depressed (D group). The D group was compared with nondepressed patients (ND group) with a similar baseline deformity determined by propensity score matching of the cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA). Baseline demographic, comorbidity, clinical, and radiographic data were compared among patients using t-tests. Improvement of symptoms was recorded at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year postoperatively. All health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores collected at these follow-up time points were compared using t-tests.
Sixty-six patients were matched for baseline radiographic parameters: 33 with a history of depression and/or current depression, and 33 without. Depressed patients had similar age, sex, race, and radiographic alignment: cSVA, T-1 slope minus C2–7 lordosis, SVA, and T-1 pelvic angle (p > 0.05). Compared with nondepressed individuals, depressed patients had a higher incidence of osteoporosis (21.2% vs 3.2%, p = 0.028), rheumatoid arthritis (18.2% vs 3.2%, p = 0.012), and connective tissue disorders (18.2% vs 3.2%, p = 0.012). At baseline, the D group had greater neck pain (7.9 of 10 vs 6.6 on a Numeric Rating Scale [NRS], p = 0.015), lower mean EQ-5D scores (68.9 vs 74.7, p < 0.001), but similar Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores (57.5 vs 49.9, p = 0.063) and myelopathy scores (13.4 vs 13.9, p = 0.546). Surgeries performed in either group were similar in terms of number of levels fused, osteotomies performed, and correction achieved (baseline to 3-month measurements) (p < 0.05). At 3 months, EQ-5D scores remained lower in the D group (74.0 vs 78.2, p = 0.044), and NDI scores were similar (48.5 vs 39.0, p = 0.053). However, neck pain improved in the D group (NRS score of 5.0 vs 4.3, p = 0.331), and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scores remained similar (14.2 vs 15.0, p = 0.211). At 6 months and 1 year, all HRQOL scores were similar between the 2 cohorts. One-year measurements were as follows: NDI 39.7 vs 40.7 (p = 0.878), NRS neck pain score of 4.1 vs 5.0 (p = 0.326), EQ-5D score of 77.1 vs 78.2 (p = 0.646), and mJOA score of 14.0 vs 14.2 (p = 0.835). Anxiety/depression levels reported on the EQ-5D scale were significantly higher in the depressed cohort at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months (all p < 0.05), but were similar between groups at 1 year postoperatively (1.72 vs 1.53, p = 0.416).
Clinical depression was observed in many of the study patients with CD. After matching for baseline deformity, depression symptomology resulted in worse baseline EQ-5D and pain scores. Despite these baseline differences, both cohorts achieved similar results in all HRQOL assessments 6 months and 1 year postoperatively, demonstrating no clinical impact of depression on recovery up until 1 year after CD surgery. Thus, a history of depression does not appear to have an impact on recovery from CD surgery.