Examination of Adult Spinal Deformity Patients Undergoing Surgery with Implanted Spinal Cord Stimulators and Intrathecal Pumps.


Study design

Retrospective cohort study of a prospectively collected multi-center database of adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients.


We hypothesized that patients undergoing ASD surgery with and without previous spinal cord stimulators (SCS)/ intrathecal medication pumps (ITP) would exhibit increased complication rates but comparable improvement in health-related quality of life.

Summary of background data

ASD patients sometimes seek pain management with SCS or ITP before spinal deformity correction. Few studies have examined outcomes in this patient population.


Patients undergoing ASD surgery and eligible for 2-year follow-up were included. Preoperative radiographs were reviewed for the presence of SCS/ITP. Outcomes included complications, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Short Form-36 Mental Component Score, and SRS-22r. Propensity score matching was utilized.


In total, of 1034 eligible ASD patients, a propensity score-matched cohort of 60 patients (30 with SCS/ITP, 30 controls) was developed. SCS/ITP were removed intraoperatively in most patients (56.7%, n = 17). The overall complication rate was 80.0% versus 76.7% for SCS/ITP versus control (P > 0.2), with similarly nonsignificant differences for intraoperative and infection complications (all P > 0.2). ODI was significantly higher among patients with SCS/ITP at baseline (59.2 vs. 47.6, P = 0.0057) and at 2-year follow-up (44.4 vs. 27.7, P = 0.0295). The magnitude of improvement, however, did not significantly differ (P = 0.45). Similar results were observed for SRS-22r pain domain. Satisfaction did not differ between groups at either baseline or follow-up (P > 0.2). No significant difference was observed in the proportion of patients with SCS/ITP versus control reaching minimal clinically important difference in ODI (47.6% vs. 60.9%, P = 0.38). Narcotic usage was more common among patients with SCS/ITP at both baseline and follow-up (P < 0.05).


ASD patients undergoing surgery with SCS/ITP exhibited worse preoperative and postoperative ODI and SRS-22r pain domain; however, the mean improvement in outcome scores was not significantly different from patients without stimulators or pumps. No significant differences in complications were observed between patients with versus without SCS/ITP.Level of Evidence: 3.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Daniels, Alan H, Wesley M Durand, Alyssa J Steinbaum, Renaud Lafage, D Kojo Hamilton, Peter G Passias, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles Protopsaltis, et al. (2022). Examination of Adult Spinal Deformity Patients Undergoing Surgery with Implanted Spinal Cord Stimulators and Intrathecal Pumps. Spine, 47(3). pp. 227–233. 10.1097/brs.0000000000004176 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28046.

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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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