A Risk-Benefit Analysis of Increasing Surgical Invasiveness Relative to Frailty Status in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery.


Study design

Retrospective review of a prospectively enrolled multicenter Adult Spinal Deformity (ASD) database.


Investigate invasiveness and outcomes of ASD surgery by frailty state.

Summary of background data

The ASD Invasiveness Index incorporates deformity-specific components to assess correction magnitude. Intersections of invasiveness, surgical outcomes, and frailty state are understudied.


ASD patients with baseline and 3-year (3Y) data were included. Logistic regression analyzed the relationship between increasing invasiveness and major complications or reoperations and meeting minimal clinically important differences (MCID) for health-related quality-of-life measures at 3Y. Decision tree analysis assessed invasiveness risk-benefit cutoff points, above which experiencing complications or reoperations and not reaching MCID were higher. Significance was set to P < 0.05.


Overall, 195 of 322 patients were included. Baseline demographics: age 59.9 ± 14.4, 75% female, BMI 27.8 ± 6.2, mean Charlson Comorbidity Index: 1.7 ± 1.7. Surgical information: 61% osteotomy, 52% decompression, 11.0 ± 4.1 levels fused. There were 98 not frail (NF), 65 frail (F), and 30 severely frail (SF) patients. Relationships were found between increasing invasiveness and experiencing a major complication or reoperation for the entire cohort and by frailty group (all P < 0.05). Defining a favorable outcome as no major complications or reoperation and meeting MCID in any health-related quality of life at 3Y established an invasiveness cutoff of 63.9. Patients below this threshold were 1.8[1.38-2.35] (P < 0.001) times more likely to achieve favorable outcome. For NF patients, the cutoff was 79.3 (2.11[1.39-3.20] (P < 0.001), 111 for F (2.62 [1.70-4.06] (P < 0.001), and 53.3 for SF (2.35[0.78-7.13] (P = 0.13).


Increasing invasiveness is associated with increased odds of major complications and reoperations. Risk-benefit cutoffs for successful outcomes were 79.3 for NF, 111 for F, and 53.3 for SF patients. Above these, increasing invasiveness has increasing risk of major complications or reoperations and not meeting MCID at 3Y.Level of Evidence: 3.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Passias, Peter G, Avery E Brown, Cole Bortz, Katherine Pierce, Haddy Alas, Waleed Ahmad, Lara Passfall, Nicholas Kummer, et al. (2021). A Risk-Benefit Analysis of Increasing Surgical Invasiveness Relative to Frailty Status in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. Spine, 46(16). pp. 1087–1096. 10.1097/brs.0000000000003977 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28081.

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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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