Neurologic Deficits Have a Negative Impact on Patient-Related Outcomes in Primary Presentation Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis Surgical Treatment at One-Year Follow-up

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Study Design.

A retrospective analysis of prospective, multicenter National Institute of Health clinical trial.


The aim of this study was to assess the rate of neurologic complications and impact of new neurologic deficits on 1-year postoperative patient-reported outcomes (PROs).

Summary of Background Data.

There are limited studies evaluating the impact of new neurologic deficits on PROs following surgery for primary presentation adult lumbar scoliosis.


Patients were divided into two groups: new postoperative neurological deficit (Def) or no deficit (NoDef). Preoperative and 1-year follow-up PROs were analyzed [Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) Questionnaire, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Short Form-12 Physical/Mental Health Composite Scores (PCS/MCS), and back/leg pain Numerical Rating Scale (NRS)].


One hundred forty-one patients: 14 Def (9.9%), 127 NoDef (90.1%). No differences were observed in demographic, radiographic, or PRO data between groups preoperatively. Def group had longer surgical procedures (8.3 vs. 6.9 hours, P = 0.030), greater blood loss (2832 vs. 2606 mL, P = 0.022), and longer hospitalizations (10.6 vs. 7.8 days, P = 0.004). NoDef group reported significant improvement in all PROs from preop to 1-year postoperative. Def group only had improvement in SRS Pain (2.7 preop to 3.4 postop, P = 0.037) and self-image domains (2.7 to 3.6, p = 0.004), and NRS back pain (6.6 to 3.2, P = 0.004) scores with significant worsening of NRS leg pain (4.1 to 6.1, P = 0.045). Group comparisons of 1-year postop PROs found that Def group reported more NRS leg pain (6.1 vs. 1.7, P < 0.001) and worse outcomes than NoDef group for ODI (35.7 vs. 23.1, P = 0.016) and PCS (32.6 vs. 41.9, P = 0.007).


We found a 9.9% rate of new neurologic deficits following surgery for symptomatic primary presentation adult lumbar scoliosis, much higher than previous studies. Most neurologic deficits improved by 1-year follow-up, but appeared to have a dramatic negative impact on PROs, with increased postoperative leg pain and greater patient-perceived pathology reported in patients experiencing neurological deficits compared with those who did not.


Level of Evidence: 3

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