Long-term follow-up of scoliosis fusion.
One hundred and ten scoliotic patients underwent correction and spine fusion by one of us (J. H. M.) at Gillette Children's Hospital between 1947 and 1957. Sixty-one of these patients were evaluated in 1977 for this follow-up study. The evaluation consisted of physical and roentgenographic examination, photographs, and a detailed psychosocial analysis. The aims of the study were to evaluate: (1) the long-term stability of the fusion; (2) the incidence and severity of low-back pain; and (3) the degree of integration of the patient into society. The results showed that a solid fusion had no significant loss of correction with time. Eighty-four per cent of the patients lost only zero to 5 degrees of correction during an average follow-up of twenty-six years. Low-back pain was found to be no more frequent than in the normal population in this age group, and there was less low-back pain than in a comparable series of scoliotic patients without fusion. There was no correlation between the occurrence of low-back pain and the length or magnitude of the fused curve or the lowest extent of the fusion. An unexpected finding was the high incidence of neck pain, the cause of which is unknown. Psychosocial analysis revealed that the patients were productive, active, stable persons who were working and contributing members of society.