The impact of perioperative complications on clinical outcome in adult deformity surgery

Steven D. Glassman, Christopher L. Hamill, Keith H. Bridwell, Frank J. Schwab, John R. Dimar, Thomas G. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN. Retrospective case-control series. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to determine whether perioperative complications alter subsequent clinical outcome measures in adult spinal deformity surgery. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA. Increasingly, the benefit of surgical intervention is being evaluated based on patient reported outcomes and standardized health related quality of life (HRQOL) measures. As improvement or deterioration in HRQOL scores becomes a standard for clinical evaluation in adult spinal deformity, the correlation between HRQOL outcome scores and historic benchmarks, such as curve correction, sagittal balance, fusion healing, or the occurrence of a complication, must be clarified. METHODS. This study analyzes a prospective multicenter data base for adult spinal deformity. Patients with major, minor, and no complications were matched using a logistic regression technique producing 46 patients in each group. Standardized outcome measures at baseline and at 1 year postop were compared. RESULTS. Forty-seven major complications were reported in 46 patients. Sixty-two minor complications were noted in 46 patients. Comparison between the 3 complication groups revealed that 1-year postoperative outcome measures were not statistically different for the Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Instrument, Medical Outcomes Short Form-36 (SF-12), Oswestry Disability Index, or Numerical Pain Scales. The only significant interaction was in the rate of change from preop to 1-year postop for the SF-12 general health subscale. For the group with major complications, SF-12 general health deteriorated by 2.1 points from preop to 1-year postop. During the same period, the group with minor complications experienced an improvement of 4.2 points and the group with no complications experienced an improvement of 1.5 points. CONCLUSION. This study suggests that risk for minor complications may be a less substantial obstacle than previously assumed for surgical treatment in adult spinal deformity. In contrast, major complications were reported in approximately 10% of cases and adversely affected outcome as evidenced by the deterioration in SF-12 general health scores at 1 year after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2764-2770
Number of pages7
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Adult scoliosis
  • Complications
  • HRQOL outcomes
  • SF-12
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of perioperative complications on clinical outcome in adult deformity surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this