Study design: Retrospective study.
Objective: To analyze the prevalence of and reasons for unanticipated revision surgery in an adult spinal deformity population treated at one institution.
Summary of background data: No recent studies exist that analyze the rate or reason for unanticipated revision surgery for adult spinal deformity patients over a long period.
Methods: All patients presenting for primary instrumented spinal fusion with a diagnosis of adult deformity at a single institution from 1985 to 2008 were reviewed using a prospectively acquired database. All surgical patients with instrumented fusion of > or =5 levels using hooks, hybrid, or screw-only constructs were identified. Patient charts and radiographs were reviewed to provide information as to the indication for initial and any subsequent reoperation. A total of 643 patients underwent primary instrumented fusion for a diagnosis of adult idiopathic scoliosis (n = 432), de novo degenerative scoliosis (n = 104), adult kyphotic disease (n = 63), or neuromuscular scoliosis (n = 45). The mean age was 37.9 years (range, 18-84). Mean follow-up for the entire cohort was 4.7 years, and 8.2 years for the subset of the cohort requiring reoperation (range, 1 month-22.3 years).
Results: A total of 58 of 643 patients (9.0%) underwent at least one revision surgery and 15 of 643 (2.3%) had more than one revision (mean 1.3; range, 1-3). The mean time to the first revision was 4.0 years (range, 1 week-19.7 years). The most common reasons for revision were pseudarthrosis (24/643 = 3.7%; 24/58 = 41.4%), curve progression (13/643 = 2.0%; 13/58 = 20.7%), infection (9/643 = 1.4%; 9/58 = 15.5%), and painful/prominent implants (4/643 = 0.6%; 4/58 = 6.9%). Uncommon reasons consisted of adjacent segment degeneration (3), implant failure (3), neurologic deficit (1), and coronal imbalance (1). Revision rates over the follow-up period were: 0 to 2 years (26/58 = 44.8%), 2 to 5 years (17/58 = 29.3%), 5 to 10 years (7/58 = 12.1%), >10 years (8/58 = 13.8%).
Conclusion: Repeat surgical intervention following definitive spinal instrumented fusion for primary adult deformity performed at a single institution demonstrated a relatively low rate of 9.0%. The most common reasons for revision were predictable and included pseudarthrosis, proximal or distal curve progression, and infection.