Complication Rates Following Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Evaluation of the Category of Complication and Chronology.



Provide benchmarks for the rates of complications by type and timing.

Study design

Prospective multicenter database.


Complication rates following adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery have been previously reported. However, the interplay between timing and complication type warrants further analysis.


The data for this study were sourced from a prospective, multicenter ASD database. Date and type of complication were collected and classified into three severity groups (minor, major, major leading to reoperation). Only complications occurring before the 2-year visit were retained for analysis.


Of the 1260 patients eligible for 2-year follow-up, 997 (79.1%) achieved 2-year follow-up. The overall complication rate was 67.4% (N=672). 247 patients (24.8%) experienced at least one complication on the day of surgery (including intra-operatively), 359 (36.0%) between post-op day 1 and 6 weeks post-op, 271 (27.2%) between 6 weeks and 1 one -year post-op, and finally 162 (16.3%) between 1 year and 2 years post-op. Using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, the rate of remaining complication-free was estimated at different time points for different severities and types of complications. Stratification by type of complication demonstrated that most of the medical complications occurred within the first 60 days. Surgical complications presented over two distinct timeframes. Operative complications, incision-related complications, and infections occurred early (within 60 d), while implant-related and radiographic complications occurred at a constant rate over the 2-year follow-up period. Neurologic complications had the highest occurrence within the first 60 days but continued to increase up to the 2-year visit.


Only one-third of ASD patients remained complication-free by 2 years, and 2 out of 10 patients had a complication requiring a reoperation or revision. Estimation of timing and type of complication associated with surgical treatment may prove useful for more meaningful patient counseling and aid in assessing the cost-effectiveness of treatment.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Lafage, Renaud, R Daniel Bass, Eric Klineberg, Justin S Smith, Shay Bess, Christopher Shaffrey, Douglas C Burton, Han Jo Kim, et al. (2024). Complication Rates Following Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Evaluation of the Category of Complication and Chronology. Spine. 10.1097/brs.0000000000004969 Retrieved from

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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.

Peter Passias

Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

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