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Justin K. Scheer, Justin S. Smith, Aaron J. Clark, Virginie Lafage, Han Jo Kim, John D. Rolston, Robert Eastlack, Robert A. Hart, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Michael P. Kelly, Khaled Kebaish, Munish Gupta, Eric Klineberg, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Back and leg pain are the primary outcomes of adult spinal deformity (ASD) and predict patients' seeking of surgical management. The authors sought to characterize changes in back and leg pain after operative or nonoperative management of ASD. Outcomes were assessed according to pain severity, type of surgical procedure, Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–Schwab spine deformity class, and patient satisfaction.

METHODS

This study retrospectively reviewed data in a prospective multicenter database of ASD patients. Inclusion criteria were the following: age > 18 years and presence of spinal deformity as defined by a scoliosis Cobb angle ≥ 20°, sagittal vertical axis length ≥ 5 cm, pelvic tilt angle ≥ 25°, or thoracic kyphosis angle ≥ 60°. Patients were grouped into nonoperated and operated subcohorts and by the type of surgical procedure, spine SRS-Schwab deformity class, preoperative pain severity, and patient satisfaction. Numerical rating scale (NRS) scores of back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, physical component summary (PCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs), and substantial clinical benefits (SCBs) were assessed.

RESULTS

Patients in whom ASD had been operatively managed were 6 times more likely to have an improvement in back pain and 3 times more likely to have an improvement in leg pain than patients in whom ASD had been nonoperatively managed. Patients whose ASD had been managed nonoperatively were more likely to have their back or leg pain remain the same or worsen. The incidence of postoperative leg pain was 37.0% at 6 weeks postoperatively and 33.3% at the 2-year follow-up (FU). At the 2-year FU, among patients with any preoperative back or leg pain, 24.3% and 37.8% were free of back and leg pain, respectively, and among patients with severe (NRS scores of 7–10) preoperative back or leg pain, 21.0% and 32.8% were free of back and leg pain, respectively. Decompression resulted in more patients having an improvement in leg pain and their pain scores reaching MCID. Although osteotomies improved back pain, they were associated with a higher incidence of leg pain. Patients whose spine had an SRS-Schwab coronal curve Type N deformity (sagittal malalignment only) were least likely to report improvements in back pain. Patients with a Type L deformity were most likely to report improved back or leg pain and to have reductions in pain severity scores reaching MCID and SCB. Patients with a Type D deformity were least likely to report improved leg pain and were more likely to experience a worsening of leg pain. Preoperative pain severity affected pain improvement over 2 years because patients who had higher preoperative pain severity experienced larger improvements, and their changes in pain severity were more likely to reach MCID/SCB than for those reporting lower preoperative pain. Reductions in back pain contributed to improvements in ODI and PCS scores and to patient satisfaction more than reductions in leg pain did.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' results provide a valuable reference for counseling patients preoperatively about what improvements or worsening in back or leg pain they may experience after surgical intervention for ASD.

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Yoji Ogura, Jeffrey L. Gum, Alex Soroceanu, Alan H. Daniels, Breton Line, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Richard A. Hostin, Peter G. Passias, Douglas C. Burton, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Eric O. Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Andrew Harris, Khaled Kebaish, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames, Leah Y. Carreon, and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

OBJECTIVE

The shared decision-making (SDM) process provides an opportunity to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs). The authors aimed to present a concise list of answers to FAQs to aid in SDM for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

From a prospective, multicenter ASD database, patients enrolled between 2008 and 2016 who underwent fusions of 5 or more levels with a minimum 2-year follow-up were included. All deformity types were included to provide general applicability. The authors compiled a list of FAQs from patients undergoing ASD surgery and used a retrospective analysis to provide answers. All responses are reported as either the means or the proportions reaching the minimal clinically important difference at the 2-year follow-up interval.

RESULTS

Of 689 patients with ASD who were eligible for 2-year follow-up, 521 (76%) had health-related quality-of-life scores available at the time of that follow-up. The mean age at the initial surgery was 58.2 years, and 78% of patients were female. The majority (73%) underwent surgery with a posterior-only approach. The mean number of fused levels was 12.2. Revision surgery accounted for 48% of patients. The authors answered 12 FAQs as follows:

1. Will my pain improve? Back and leg pain will both be reduced by approximately 50%.

2. Will my activity level improve? Approximately 65% of patients feel improvement in their activity level.

3. Will I feel better about myself? More than 70% of patients feel improvement in their appearance.

4. Is there a chance I will get worse? 4.1% feel worse at 2 years postoperatively.

5. What is the likelihood I will have a complication? 67.8% will have a major or minor complication, with 47.8% having a major complication.

6. Will I need another surgery? 25.0% will have a reoperation within 2 years.

7. Will I regret having surgery? 6.5% would not choose the same treatment.

8. Will I get a blood transfusion? 73.7% require a blood transfusion.

9. How long will I stay in the hospital? You need to stay 8.1 days on average.

10. Will I have to go to the ICU? 76.0% will have to go to the ICU.

11. Will I be able to return to work? More than 70% will be working at 1 year postoperatively.

12. Will I be taller after surgery? You will be 1.1 cm taller on average.

CONCLUSIONS

The above list provides concise, practical answers to FAQs encountered in the SDM process while counseling patients for ASD surgery.