Effect of Serious Adverse Events on Health-related Quality of Life Measures Following Surgery for Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis.


Study design

Secondary analysis of prospective multicenter cohort.


To assess effect of serious adverse events (SAEs) on 2- and 4-year patient-reported outcomes measures (PROMs) in patients surgically treated for adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS).

Summary of background data

Operative treatment for ASLS can improve health-related quality of life, but has high rates of SAEs. How these SAEs effect health-related quality of life remain unclear.


The ASLS study assessed operative versus nonoperative ASLS treatment, with randomized and observational arms. Patients were 40- to 80-years-old with ASLS, defined as lumbar coronal Cobb ≥30° and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) ≥20 or Scoliosis Research Society-22 (SRS-22) ≤4.0 in pain, function, and/or self-image domains. SRS-22 subscore and ODI were compared between operative patients with and without a related SAE and nonoperative patients using an as-treated analysis combining randomized and observational cohorts.


Two hundred eighty-six patients were enrolled, and 2- and 4-year follow-up rates were 90% and 81%, respectively, although at the time of data extraction not all patients were eligible for 4-year follow-up. A total of 97 SAEs were reported among 173 operatively treated patients. The most common were implant failure/pseudarthrosis (n = 25), proximal junctional kyphosis/failure (n = 10), and minor motor deficit (n = 8). At 2 years patients with an SAE improved less than those without an SAE based on SRS-22 (0.52 vs. 0.79, P = 0.004) and ODI (-11.59 vs. -17.34, P = 0.021). These differences were maintained at 4-years for both SRS-22 (0.51 vs. 0.86, P = 0.001) and ODI (-10.73 vs. -16.69, P = 0.012). Despite this effect, patients sustaining an operative SAE had greater PROM improvement than nonoperative patients (P<0.001).


Patients affected by SAEs following surgery for ASLS had significantly less improvement of PROMs at 2- and 4-year follow-ups versus those without an SAE. Regardless of SAE occurrence, operatively treated patients had significantly greater improvement in PROMs than those treated nonoperatively.

Level of evidence






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Smith, Justin S, Christopher I Shaffrey, Michael P Kelly, Elizabeth L Yanik, Jon D Lurie, Christine R Baldus, Charles Edwards, Steven D Glassman, et al. (2019). Effect of Serious Adverse Events on Health-related Quality of Life Measures Following Surgery for Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis. Spine, 44(17). pp. 1211–1219. 10.1097/brs.0000000000003036 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28186.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



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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