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Natalie Zusman, Jacqueline L. Munch, Alexander Ching, Robert Hart and Jung Yoo

OBJECT

A lack of information exists on the relationship between preoperative epidural spinal injections and outcomes after spine surgery. There is concern that injections might cause local changes, increasing the infection risk and surgical difficulty. Therefore, the authors explored the relationship between preoperative spinal injections and postoperative outcome.

METHODS

The cohort was comprised of patients who underwent thoracic and/or lumbar arthrodesis during the years 2007–2010 and had complete (preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively) outcome scores. Patients’ clinical courses were reviewed to determine the occurrence of major complications within a 30-day postoperative period. Patient-perceived outcomes were evaluated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the SF-12 (12-Item Short Form Health Survey): mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) scores. Analyses were based on exposure to injections and were performed using chi-square exact tests and paired and unpaired t-tests.

RESULTS

Two hundred eighty patients met the inclusion criteria: 117 patients (41.8%) received and 163 patients (58.2%) did not receive preoperative epidural spinal injections. Overall, the likelihood of complication did not differ with respect to exposure (13.7% injection vs 11.7% noninjection); however, injected patients observed a 7.4-fold risk of developing surgical wound complications over noninjected patients (5.1% vs 0.6%, p = 0.02).

Patient-perceived outcomes measures demonstrated no differences between groups. Three months postoperatively, the MCS and ODI scores were similar (MCS: 49.6 ± 11.6 injection vs 47.4 ± 12.8 noninjection; ODI: 35.8 ± 18.0 vs 34.4 ± 19.1). MCS or ODI score improvement (preoperatively compared with 3 months postoperatively) did not vary between groups. Injected patients maintained a 2-point lower PCS score at entry and 3 months postoperatively as compared with noninjected peers (entry: 27.6 ± 8.2 injection vs 29.5 ± 9.3 noninjection, p = 0.09; 3 months: 33.3 ± 8.6 vs 35.7 ± 9.0, p = 0.03); the PCS score improvements between injected and noninjected groups were similar (5.7 ± 9.9 vs 6.2 ± 9.7).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients exposed to preoperative epidural injections had similar complication rates to those who never received a spinal injection. However, they had a greater risk of developing wound complications. These complications had no effect on short-term improvements in outcome measures.

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Alan H. Daniels, Satoshi Kawaguchi, Alec G. Contag, Farbod Rastegar, Garrett Waagmeester, Paul A. Anderson, Melanie Arthur and Robert A. Hart

OBJECTIVE

Beginning in 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) determined that certain hospital-acquired adverse events such as surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery should never occur. The following year, they expanded the ruling to include deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) following total joint arthroplasty. Due to their ruling that “never events” are not the payers' responsibility, CMS insists that the costs of managing these complications be borne by hospitals and health care providers, rather than billings to health care payers for additional care required in their management. Data comparing the expected costs of such adverse events in patients undergoing spine and orthopedic surgery have not previously been reported.

METHODS

The California State Inpatient Database (CA-SID) from 2008 to 2009 was used for the analysis. All patients with primary procedure codes indicating anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), lumbar laminectomy (LL), total knee replacement (TKR), and total hip replacement (THR) were analyzed. Patients with diagnostic and/or treatment codes for DVT, PE, and SSI were separated from patients without these complication codes. Patients with more than 1 primary procedure code or more than 1 complication code were excluded. Median charges for treatment from primary surgery through 3 months postoperatively were calculated.

RESULTS

The incidence of the examined adverse events was lowest for ACDF (0.6% DVT, 0.1% PE, and 0.03% SSI) and highest for TKA (1.3% DVT, 0.3% PE, 0.6% SSI). Median inpatient charges for uncomplicated LL was $51,817, compared with $73,432 for ACDF, $143,601 for PLIF, $74,459 for THR, and $70,116 for TKR. Charges for patients with DVT ranged from $108,387 for TKR (1.5 times greater than index) to $313,536 for ACDF (4.3 times greater than index). Charges for patients with PE ranged from $127,958 for TKR (1.8 times greater than index) to $246,637 for PLIF (1.7 times greater than index). Charges for patients with SSI ranged from $168,964 for TKR (2.4 times greater than index) to $385,753 for PLIF (2.7 times greater than index).

CONCLUSIONS

Although incidence rates are low, adverse events of spinal procedures substantially increase the cost of care. Charges for patients experiencing DVT, PE, and SSI increased in this study by factors ranging from 1.8 to 4.3 times those for patients without such complications across 5 common spinal and orthopedic procedures. Cost projections by health care providers will need to incorporate expected costs of added care for patients experiencing such complications, assuming that the cost burden of such events continues to shift from payers to providers.

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Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Benjamin Blondel, Frank Schwab, Richard Hostin, Robert Hart, Brian O'Shaughnessy, Shay Bess, Serena S. Hu, Vedat Deviren, Christopher P. Ames and International Spine Study Group

Object

Sagittal spinopelvic malalignment is a significant cause of pain and disability in patients with adult spinal deformity. Surgical correction of spinopelvic malalignment can result in compensatory changes in spinal alignment outside of the fused spinal segments. These compensatory changes, termed reciprocal changes, have been defined for thoracic and lumbar regions but not for the cervical spine. The object of this study was to evaluate postoperative reciprocal changes within the cervical spine following lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO).

Methods

This was a multicenter retrospective radiographic analysis of patients from International Spine Study Group centers. Inclusion criteria were as follows: adults (>18 years old) with spinal deformity treated using lumbar PSO, a preoperative C7–S1 plumb line greater than 5 cm, and availability of pre- and postoperative full-length standing radiographs.

Results

Seventy-five patients (60 women, mean age 59 years) were included. The lumbar PSO significantly improved sagittal alignment, including the C7–S1 plumb line, C7–T12 inclination, and pelvic tilt (p <0.001). After lumbar PSO, reciprocal changes were seen to occur in C2–7 cervical lordosis (from 30.8° to 21.6°, p <0.001), C2–7 plumb line (from 27.0 mm to 22.9 mm), and T-1 slope (from −38.9° to −30.4°, p <0.001). Ideal correction of sagittal malalignment (postoperative sagittal vertical alignment < 50 mm) was associated with the greatest relaxation of cervical hyperlordosis (−12.4° vs −5.7°, p = 0.037). A change in cervical lordosis correlated with changes in T-1 slope (r = −0.621, p <0.001), C7–T12 inclination (r = 0.418, p <0.001), T12–S1 angle (r = −0.339, p = 0.005), and C7–S1 plumb line (r = 0.289, p = 0.018). Radiographic parameters that correlated with changes in cervical lordosis on multivariate linear regression analysis included change in T-1 slope and change in C2–7 plumb line (r2 = 0.53, p <0.001).

Conclusions

Adults with positive sagittal spinopelvic malalignment compensate with abnormally increased cervical lordosis in an effort to maintain horizontal gaze. Surgical correction of sagittal malalignment results in improvement of the abnormal cervical hyperlordosis through reciprocal changes.

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Virginie Lafage, Neil J. Bharucha, Frank Schwab, Robert A. Hart, Douglas Burton, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Christopher Shaffrey, Munish Gupta, Behrooz A. Akbarnia and Shay Bess

Object

Sagittal spinopelvic imbalance is a major contributor to pain and disability for patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). Preoperative planning is essential for pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) candidates; however, current methods are often inaccurate because no formula to date predicts both postoperative sagittal balance and pelvic alignment. The authors of this study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of 2 novel formulas in predicting postoperative spinopelvic alignment after PSO.

Methods

This study is a multicenter retrospective consecutive PSO case series. Adults with spinal deformity (> 21 years old) who were treated with a single-level lumbar PSO for sagittal imbalance were evaluated. All patients underwent preoperative and a minimum of 6-month postoperative radiography. Two novel formulas were used to predict the postoperative spinopelvic alignment. The results predicted by the formulas were then compared with the actual postoperative radiographic values, and the formulas' ability to identify successful (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] ≤ 50 mm and pelvic tilt [PT] ≤ 25°) and unsuccessful (SVA > 50 mm or PT > 25°) outcomes was evaluated.

Results

Ninety-nine patients met inclusion criteria. The median absolute error between the predicted and actual PT was 4.1° (interquartile range 2.0°–6.4°). The median absolute error between the predicted and actual SVA was 27 mm (interquartile range 11–47 mm). Forty-one of 54 patients with a formula that predicted a successful outcome had a successful outcome as shown by radiography (positive predictive value = 0.76). Forty-four of 45 patients with a formula that predicted an unsuccessful outcome had an unsuccessful outcome as shown by radiography (negative predictive value = 0.98).

Conclusions

The spinopelvic alignment formulas were accurate when predicting unsuccessful outcomes but less reliable when predicting successful outcomes. The preoperative surgical plan should be altered if an unsuccessful result is predicted. However, even after obtaining a predicted successful outcome, surgeons should ensure that the predicted values are not too close to unsuccessful values and should identify other variables that may affect alignment. In the near future, it is anticipated that the use of these formulas will lead to better surgical planning and improved outcomes for patients with complex ASD.

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Frank J. Schwab, Ashish Patel, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Jean-Pierre Farcy, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Richard A. Hostin, Robert A. Hart, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess and Virginie Lafage

Object

Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) is a surgical procedure that is frequently performed on patients with sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. Although it allows for substantial spinopelvic realignment, suboptimal realignment outcomes have been reported in up to 33% of patients. The authors' objective in the present study was to identify differences in radiographic profiles and surgical procedures between patients achieving successful versus failed spinopelvic realignment following PSO.

Methods

This study is a multicenter retrospective consecutive PSO case series. The authors evaluated 99 cases involving patients who underwent PSO for sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. Because precise cutoffs of acceptable residual postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) values have not been well defined, comparisons were focused between patient groups with a postoperative SVA that could be clearly considered either a success or a failure. Only cases in which the patients had a postoperative SVA of less than 50 mm (successful PSO realignment) or more than 100 mm (failed PSO realignment) were included in the analysis. Radiographic measures and PSO parameters were compared between successful and failed PSO realignments.

Results

Seventy-nine patients met the inclusion criteria. Successful realignment was achieved in 61 patients (77%), while realignment failed in 18 (23%). Patients with failed realignment had larger preoperative SVA (mean 217.9 vs 106.7 mm, p < 0.01), larger pelvic tilt (mean 36.9° vs 30.7°, p < 0.01), larger pelvic incidence (mean 64.2° vs 53.7°, p < 0.01), and greater lumbar lordosis–pelvic incidence mismatch (−47.1° vs −30.9°, p < 0.01) compared with those in whom realignment was successful. Failed and successful realignments were similar regarding the vertebral level of the PSO, the median size of wedge resection 22.0° (interquartile range 16.5°−28.5°), and the numerical changes in pre- and postoperative spinopelvic parameters (p > 0.05).

Conclusions

Patients with failed PSO realignments had significantly larger preoperative spinopelvic deformity than patients in whom realignment was successful. Despite their apparent need for greater correction, the patients in the failed realignment group only received the same amount of correction as those in the successfully realigned patients. A single-level standard PSO may not achieve optimal outcome in patients with high preoperative spinopelvic sagittal malalignment. Patients with large spinopelvic deformities should receive larger osteotomies or additional corrective procedures beyond PSOs to avoid undercorrection.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Justin K. Scheer, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Bertrand Moal, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Eric Klineberg, Douglas C. Burton, Robert Hart, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors' objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.

Methods

A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.

Results

The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.

Conclusions

The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.

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Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Shaleen Vira, Robert Hart, Douglas Burton, Justin S. Smith, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Alexis Shelokov, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Munish Gupta, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Shay Bess and Jean-Pierre Farcy

Object

Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) is a spinal realignment technique that may be used to correct sagittal spinal imbalance. Theoretically, the level and degree of resection via a PSO should impact the degree of sagittal plane correction in the setting of deformity. However, the quantitative effect of PSO level and focal angular change on postoperative spinopelvic parameters has not been well described. The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between the level/degree of PSO and changes in global sagittal balance and spinopelvic parameters.

Methods

In this multicenter retrospective study, 70 patients (54 women and 16 men) underwent lumbar PSO surgery for spinal imbalance. Preoperative and postoperative free-standing sagittal radiographs were obtained and analyzed by regional curves (lumbar, thoracic, and thoracolumbar), pelvic parameters (pelvic incidence and pelvic tilt [PT]) and global balance (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] and T-1 spinopelvic inclination). Correlations between PSO parameters (level and degree of change in angle between the 2 adjacent vertebrae) and spinopelvic measurements were analyzed.

Results

Pedicle subtraction osteotomy distribution by level and degree of correction was as follows: L-1 (6 patients, 24°), L-2 (15 patients, 24°), L-3 (29 patients, 25°), and L-4 (20 patients, 22°). There was no significant difference in the focal correction achieved by PSO by level. All patients demonstrated changes in preoperative to postoperative parameters including increased lumbar lordosis (from 20° to 49°, p < 0.001), increased thoracic kyphosis (from 30° to 38°, p < 0.001), decreased SVA and T-1 spinopelvic inclination (from 122 to 34 mm, p < 0.001 and from +3° to −4°, p < 0.001, respectively), and decreased PT (from 31° to 23°, p < 0.001). More caudal PSO was correlated with greater PT reduction (r = −0.410, p < 0.05). No correlation was found between SVA correction and PSO location. The PSO degree was correlated with change in thoracic kyphosis (r = −0.474, p < 0.001), lumbar lordosis (r = 0.667, p < 0.001), sacral slope (r = 0.426, p < 0.001), and PT (r = −0.358, p < 0.005).

Conclusions

The degree of PSO resection correlates more with spinopelvic parameters (lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, PT, and sacral slope) than PSO level. More importantly, PSO level impacts postoperative PT correction but not SVA.

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Robert A. Hart, Christopher M. Domes, Brady Goodwin, Charles R. D'Amato, Jung U. Yoo, Ronald J. Turker and Matthew F. Halsey

Object

The ideal surgical management of high-grade spondylolisthesis remains unclear. Concerns regarding the original Bohlman transsacral interbody fusion technique with stand-alone autologous fibular strut include late graft fracture and incomplete reduction of lumbosacral kyphosis. The authors' goal was to evaluate the radiographic and surgical outcomes of patients treated for high-grade spondylolisthesis with either transsacral S-1 screws or standard pedicle screw fixation augmenting the Bohlman posterior transsacral interbody fusion technique.

Methods

A retrospective review of patients who underwent fusion for high-grade spondylolisthesis in which a Bohlman oblique posterior interbody fusion augmented with either transsacral or standard pedicle screw fixation was performed by 4 spine surgeons was completed. Estimated blood loss, operating time, perioperative complications, and need for revision surgery were evaluated. Upright pre- and postsurgical lumbar spine radiographs were compared for slip percent and slip angle.

Results

Sixteen patients (12 female and 4 male) with an average age of 29 years (range 9–66 years) were evaluated. The average clinical follow-up was 78 months (range 5–137 months) and the average radiographic follow-up was 48 months (range 5–108 months). Ten L4–S1 and 6 L5–S1 fusions were performed. Five fibular struts and 11 titanium mesh cages were used for interbody fusion. Six patients had isolated transsacral screws placed, with 2 (33%) of the 6 requiring revision surgery for nonunion. No nonunions were observed in patients undergoing spanning pedicle screw fixation augmenting the interbody graft. Six patients experienced perioperative complications including 3 iliac crest site infections, 1 L-5 radiculopathy without motor involvement, 1 deep vein thrombosis, and 1 epidural hematoma requiring irrigation and debridement. The average estimated blood loss and operating times were 763 ml and 360 minutes, respectively. Slip percent improved from an average of 62% to 37% (n = 16; p < 0.01) and slip angle improved from an average of 18° to 8° (n = 16; p < 0.01). No patient experienced L-5 or other motor deficit postoperatively.

Conclusions

The modified Bohlman technique for treatment of high-grade spondylolisthesis has reproducible outcomes among multiple surgeons and results in significant improvements in slip percent and slip angle. Fusion rates were high (14 of 16; 88%), especially with spanning instrumentation augmenting the oblique interbody fusion. Rates of L-5 motor deficit were low in comparison with techniques involving reduction of the anterolisthesis.

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Kai-Ming G. Fu, Justin S. Smith, David W. Polly Jr., Joseph H. Perra, Charles A. Sansur, Sigurd H. Berven, Paul A. Broadstone, Theodore J. Choma, Michael J. Goytan, Hilali H. Noordeen, D. Raymond Knapp Jr., Robert A. Hart, Reinhard D. Zeller, William F. Donaldson III, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prospectively collected Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) database to assess the incidences of morbidity and mortality (M&M) in the operative treatment of degenerative lumbar stenosis, one of the most common procedures performed by spine surgeons.

Methods

All patients who underwent surgical treatment for degenerative lumbar stenosis between 2004 and 2007 were identified from the SRS M&M database. Inclusion criteria for analysis included an age ≥ 21 years and no history of lumbar surgery. Patients were treated with either decompression alone or decompression with concomitant fusion. Statistical comparisons were performed using a 2-sided Fisher exact test.

Results

Of the 10,329 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 6609 (64%) were treated with decompression alone, and 3720 (36%) were treated with decompression and fusion. Among those who underwent fusion, instrumentation was placed in 3377 (91%). The overall mean patient age was 63 ± 13 years (range 21–96 years). Seven hundred nineteen complications (7.0%), including 13 deaths (0.1%), were identified. New neurological deficits were reported in 0.6% of patients. Deaths were related to cardiac (4 cases), respiratory (5 cases), pulmonary embolus (2 cases), and sepsis (1 case) etiologies, and a perforated gastric ulcer (1 case). Complication rates did not differ based on patient age or whether fusion was performed. Minimally invasive procedures were associated with fewer complications and fewer new neurological deficits (p = 0.01 and 0.03, respectively).

Conclusions

The results from this analysis of the SRS M&M database provide surgeons with useful information for preoperative counseling of patients contemplating surgical intervention for symptomatic degenerative lumbar stenosis.

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Joshua Bakhsheshian, Justin K. Scheer, Jeffrey L. Gum, Richard Hostin, Virginie Lafage, Shay Bess, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Douglas C. Burton, Malla Kate Keefe, Robert A. Hart, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Mental disease burden can have a significant impact on levels of disability and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures. Therefore, the authors investigated the significance of mental health status in adults with spinal deformity and poor physical function.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter database of 365 adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients who had undergone surgical treatment was performed. Health-related QOL variables were examined preoperatively and at the 2-year postoperative follow-up. Patients were grouped by their 36-Item Short Form Health Survey mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) scores. Both groups had PCS scores ≤ 25th percentile for matched norms; however, the low mental health (LMH) group consisted of patients with an MCS score ≤ 25th percentile, and the high mental health (HMH) group included patients with an MCS score ≥ 75th percentile.

RESULTS

Of the 264 patients (72.3%) with a 2-year follow-up, 104 (28.5%) met the inclusion criteria for LMH and 40 patients (11.0%) met those for HMH. The LMH group had a significantly higher overall rate of comorbidities, specifically leg weakness, depression, hypertension, and self-reported neurological and psychiatric disease processes, and were more likely to be unemployed as compared with the HMH group (p < 0.05 for all). The 2 groups had similar 2-year postoperative improvements in HRQOL (p > 0.05) except for the greater improvements in the MCS and the Scoliosis Research Society-22r questionnaire (SRS-22r) mental domain (p < 0.05) in the LMH group and greater improvements in PCS and SRS-22r satisfaction and back pain domains (p < 0.05) in the HMH group. The LMH group had a higher rate of reaching a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) on the SRS-22r mental domain (p < 0.01), and the HMH group had a higher rate of reaching an MCID on the PCS and SRS-22r activity domain (p < 0.05). On multivariable logistic regression, having LMH was a significant independent predictor of failure to reach an MCID on the PCS (p < 0.05). At the 2-year postoperative follow-up, 14 LMH patients (15.1%) were categorized as HMH. Two LMH patients (2.2%), and 3 HMH patients (7.7%) transitioned to a PCS score ≥ 75th percentile for age- and sex-matched US norms (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

While patients with poor mental and physical health, according to their MCS and PCS scores, have higher medical comorbidity and unemployment rates, they still demonstrate significant improvements in HRQOL measurements postoperatively. Both LMH and HMH patient groups demonstrated similar improvements in most HRQOL domains, except that the LMH patients had difficulties in obtaining improvements in the PCS domain.