Is frailty responsive to surgical correction of adult spinal deformity? An investigation of sagittal re-alignment and frailty component drivers of postoperative frailty status.



Frailty has been associated with adverse postoperative outcomes. Recently, a novel frailty index for preoperative risk stratification in patients with adult spinal deformity was developed. Components of the ASD-FI utilize patient comorbidity, clinical symptoms, and patient-reported-outcome-measures (PROMS). Our purpose was to investigate components of the Adult Spinal Deformity Frailty Index (ASD-FI) responsive to surgery and drivers of overall frailty.


Operative ASD patients ≥ 18 years, undergoing multilevel fusions, with complete baseline, 6 W, 1Y and 2Y ASD-FI scores. Descriptive analysis assessed demographics, radiographic parameters, and surgical details. Pearson bivariate correlations, independent and paired t tests assessed postoperative changes to ASD-FI components, total score, and radiographic parameters. Linear regression models determined the effect of successful surgery (achieving lowest level SRS-Schwab classification modifiers) on change in ASD-FI total scores.


409 6-week, 696 1-year, and 253 2-year operative ASD patients were included. 6-week and 1-year baseline frailty scores were 0.34, 2 years was 0.38. Following surgery, 6-week frailty was 0.36 (p = 0.033), 1 year was 0.25 (p < 0.001), and 2 years was 0.28 (p < 0.001). Of the ASD-FI variables, 17/40 improved at 6 weeks, 21/40 at 1 year, and 18/40 at 2 years. Successful surgery significantly predicted decreases in 1-year frailty scores (R = 0.27, p < 0.001), SRS-Schwab SVA modifier was the greatest predictor (Adjusted Beta: - 0.29, p < 0.001).


Improvement in sagittal realignment and functional status correlated with improved postoperative frailty. Additional research and deformity sub-group analyses are needed to describe associations between specific functional activities that correlated with frailty improvement as well as evaluation of modifiable and non-modifiable indices.

Level of evidence: 3





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Publication Info

Passias, Peter G, Frank A Segreto, Kevin A Moattari, Renaud Lafage, Justin S Smith, Breton G Line, Robert K Eastlack, Douglas C Burton, et al. (2022). Is frailty responsive to surgical correction of adult spinal deformity? An investigation of sagittal re-alignment and frailty component drivers of postoperative frailty status. Spine deformity, 10(4). pp. 901–911. 10.1007/s43390-022-00476-x Retrieved from

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Peter Passias

Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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