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Comparative Study
, 32 (1), 93-7

The Selection of Operative Versus Nonoperative Treatment in Patients With Adult Scoliosis

Comparative Study

The Selection of Operative Versus Nonoperative Treatment in Patients With Adult Scoliosis

Steven D Glassman et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976).


Study design: Retrospective case-control matched series.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to define factors that influence the patient and surgeon in the selection of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment for adult scoliosis.

Summary of background data: There is no literature that specifically examines why adult scoliosis patients and/or their surgeons choose surgical versus nonsurgical treatment.

Methods: This study analyzes a prospective multicentered database for adult spinal deformity. A logistic regression technique was used to perform case-control matching. A total of 161 matched pairs were compared for radiographic characteristics, questionnaire responses, and standardized outcome measures.

Results: Nonsurgical patients had greater preoperative medical risk factors. Surgical patients had larger thoracic (51 degrees vs. 44 degrees, P = 0.006) and thoracolumbar/lumbar curves (55 degrees vs. 43 degrees, P = 0.000). Surgical patients had more frequent leg pain (47% vs. 35%, P = 0.04). They reported a higher mean level of daily back pain (P = 0.008) and more frequent moderate-to-severe back pain over the past 6 months (P = 0.03). There were also significant differences in perception of appearance and social function between the cohorts.

Conclusions: This study emphasizes the complexity of surgical decision making for adult scoliosis patients. It also underscores the importance of patient-based health status measures in evaluating the adult scoliosis patient.

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