A century of spine surgery: what can patients expect?

Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(10):808-17. doi: 10.1080/09638280801889972.


Purpose: To evaluate the hypothesis that spinal fusion surgery is an effective method to address spinal deformity-associated clinical problems, including magnitude of curvature (Cobb angle), pulmonary dysfunction, and pain.

Method: A systematic review was carried out using Science Citation Index (SCI) Expanded (1900 - present), Social Sciences Citation Index (1956 - present), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1965 - present), Medline (1950 - present) and PubMed Central databases (1887 - present) to access information regarding efficacy of spine surgery in preventing or improving the health and function of patients diagnosed with scoliosis in adolescence.

Results: Since 1950, more than 12,600 articles on scoliosis have been published, and nearly 50% (5721) focus on methods, rationale, outcome, and complications of surgical intervention. Among these, 82 articles have documented outcome for groups of > or =10 patients, treated for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and followed for at least 2 years after treatment. These data provide an overview of the impact of spine surgery on scoliosis for 5780 patients as surgery methods and approaches have evolved.

Conclusions: For most patients, a reduced magnitude of spinal curvature can be achieved through one or more spinal fusion surgeries. There is no evidence to support the premise that this result is correlated with improved pulmonary function or reduced pain.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Scoliosis / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion*
  • Treatment Outcome