A Comprehensive Review of Complication Rates After Surgery for Adult Deformity: A Reference for Informed Consent

Spine Deform. 2015 Nov;3(6):575-594. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2015.04.005. Epub 2015 Oct 28.


Objective: An up-to-date review of recent literatures and a comprehensive reference for informed consent specific to ASD complications is lacking. The goal of the present study was to determine current complication rates after ASD surgery, in order to provide a reference for informed consent as well as to determine differences between three-column and non-three-column osteotomy procedures to aid in shared decision making.

Methods: A review of the literature was conducted using the PubMed database. Randomized controlled trials, nonrandomized trials, cohort studies, case-control studies, and case series providing postoperative complications published in 2000 or later were included. Complication rates were recorded and calculated for perioperative (both major and minor) and long-term complication rates. Postoperative outcomes were all stratified by surgical procedure (ie, three-column osteotomy and non-three-column osteotomy).

Results: Ninety-three articles were ultimately eligible for analysis. The data of 11,692 patients were extracted; there were 3,646 complications, mean age at surgery was 53.3 years (range: 25-77 years), mean follow-up was 3.49 years (range: 6 weeks-9.7 years), estimated blood loss was 2,161 mL (range: 717-7,034 mL), and the overall mean complication rate was 55%. Specifically, major perioperative complications occurred at a mean rate of 18.5%, minor perioperative complications occurred at a mean rate of 15.7%, and long-term complications occurred at a mean rate of 20.5%. Furthermore, three-column osteotomy resulted in a higher overall complication rate and estimated blood loss than non-three-column osteotomy.

Conclusions: A review of recent literatures providing complication rates for ASD surgery was performed, providing the most up-to-date incidence of early and late complications. Providers may use such data in helping to counsel patients of the literature-supported complication rates of such procedures despite the planned benefits, thus obtaining a more thorough informed consent.

Keywords: Adult spinal deformity; Complications; PSO; Scoliosis; Three-column osteotomy.