The current literature has primarily focused on the 2-year outcomes of operative adult spinal deformity (ASD) treatment. Longer term durability is important given the invasiveness, complications, and costs of these procedures. The aim of this study was to assess minimum 3-year outcomes and complications of ASD surgery.
Operatively treated ASD patients were assessed at baseline, follow-up, and through mailings. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society–22r (SRS-22r) questionnaire, mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) of the SF-36, and numeric rating scale (NRS) for back and leg pain. Complications were classified as perioperative (≤ 90 days), delayed (90 days to 2 years), and long term (≥ 2 years). Analyses focused on patients with minimum 3-year follow-up.
Of 569 patients, 427 (75%) with minimum 3-year follow-up (mean ± SD [range] 4.1 ± 1.1 [3.0–9.6] years) had a mean age of 60.8 years and 75% were women. Operative treatment included a posterior approach for 426 patients (99%), with a mean ± SD 12 ± 4 fusion levels. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion was performed in 35 (8%) patients, and 89 (21%) underwent 3-column osteotomy. All PROMs improved significantly from baseline to last follow-up, including scores on ODI (45.4 to 30.5), PCS (31.0 to 38.5), MCS (45.3 to 50.6), SRS-22r total (2.7 to 3.6), SRS-22r activity (2.8 to 3.5), SRS-22r pain (2.3 to 3.4), SRS-22r appearance (2.4 to 3.5), SRS-22r mental (3.4 to 3.7), SRS-22r satisfaction (2.7 to 4.1), NRS for back pain (7.1 to 3.8), and NRS for leg pain (4.8 to 3.0) (all p < 0.001). Degradations in some outcome measures were observed between the 2-year and last follow-up evaluations, but the magnitudes of these degradations were modest and arguably not clinically significant. Overall, 277 (65%) patients had at least 1 complication, including 185 (43%) perioperative, 118 (27%) delayed, and 56 (13%) long term. Notably, the 142 patients who did not achieve 3-year follow-up were similar to the study patients in terms of demographic characteristics, deformities, and baseline PROMs and had similar rates and types of complications.
This prospective multicenter analysis demonstrated that operative ASD treatment provided significant improvement of health-related quality of life at minimum 3-year follow-up (mean 4.1 years), suggesting that the benefits of surgery for ASD remain durable at longer follow-up. These findings should prove useful for counseling, cost-effectiveness assessments, and efforts to improve the safety of care.