Adolescents Undergoing Surgery for Idiopathic Scoliosis: How Physical and Psychological Characteristics Relate to Patient Satisfaction With the Cosmetic Result

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Abstract

Study Design.

Patient satisfaction with the cosmetic result of spinal fusion surgery was studied in 42 cases of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Neutral or dissatisfied patients were compared with satisfied patients on several physical and psychological characteristics.

Objectives.

To determine whether adolescents generally report satisfaction with the postoperative appearance of their back after the correction of severe curves and whether preoperative medical and/or psychological factors distinguish between patients who will report satisfaction with the cosmetic surgical result from those who will report neutrality or dissatisfaction.

Summary of Background Data.

Previous reports emphasize the need for medical outcomes research that evaluates both patient satisfaction and technical success. Patient satisfaction with spinal surgery has largely been evaluated in retrospective studies and most consistently related to postoperative cosmesis and degree of curve correction.

Methods.

Forty-two adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis without comorbidity, who were 12 years 6 months of age or older, and who did not require both anterior and posterior spinal fusion, were studied preoperatively and postoperatively by physical and psychological measurements.

Results.

Of patients undergoing surgical correction of severe curves, 73% reported satisfaction with the cosmetic result. Neutral or dissatisfied patients were more likely than satisfied patients to have a lower body mass index (P < 0.05), to be younger in menarcheal status (P < 0.05), and have a King II or King III curve type. Preoperative psychological difficulties (P < 0.05) and unmet expectations regarding the postoperative cosmesis (P < 0.05) were more common among neutral or dissatisfied patients.

Conclusions.

Most adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis expressed satisfaction with the cosmetic surgical result. Preoperative physical characteristics, psychological difficulties, and unrealistic expectations regarding postoperative cosmesis are associated with patient neutrality or dissatisfaction.

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