Return to work after adult spinal deformity surgery.



To determine the proportions of patients returning to work at various points after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery and the associations between surgical invasiveness and time to return to work.


Using a multicenter database of patients treated surgically for ASD from 2008 to 2015, we identified 188 patients (mean age 51 ± 15 years) who self-reported as employed preoperatively and had 2-year follow-up. Per the ASD-Surgical and Radiographical Invasiveness Index (ASD-SR), 118 patients (63%) underwent high-invasiveness (HI) surgery (ASD-SR ≥ 100) and 70 (37%) had low-invasiveness (LI) surgery (ASD-SR < 100). Patients who self-reported ≥ 75% normal level of work/school activity were considered to be working full time. Chi-squared and Fisher exact tests were used to compare categorical variables (α = .05).


Preoperatively, 69% of employed patients worked full time. Postoperatively, 15% of employed patients were full time at 6 weeks, 70% at 6 months, 83% at 1 year, and 84% at 2 years. Percentage of employed patients working full time at 2 years was greater than preoperatively (p < .001); percentage of patients returning to full time at 6 weeks was lower in the HI (5%) than in the LI group (19%) (p = .03), a difference not significant at later points.


Most adults returned to full-time work after ASD surgery. A smaller percentage of patients in the HI group than in the LI group returned to full-time work at 6 weeks. Patients employed full time preoperatively will likely return to full-time employment after ASD surgery.

Level of evidence






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Neuman, Brian J, Kevin Y Wang, Andrew B Harris, Micheal Raad, Richard A Hostin, Themisctocles S Protopsaltis, Christopher P Ames, Peter G Passias, et al. (2023). Return to work after adult spinal deformity surgery. Spine deformity, 11(1). pp. 197–204. 10.1007/s43390-022-00552-2 Retrieved from

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.


Peter Passias

Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

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