Patients' Perceptions of Breast Asymmetry Improve After Spinal Fusion for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Spine Deform. 2019 Jan;7(1):80-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2018.06.011.


Study design: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients undergoing spine fusion (SF) had their data prospectively collected. The SRS Spine Appearance Questionnaire (SAQ) was the primary outcome measure. The data were reviewed in a retrospective manner.

Objectives: Patient concerns about breast/chest wall asymmetry in AIS is high. This study sought to determine the improvement after spinal fusion (SF).

Summary: Breast/chest wall asymmetry is a significant physical deformity associated with AIS. No literature exists on patient satisfaction related to improved breast/chest wall appearance after SF surgery.

Methods: 474 patients undergoing SF for AIS from 2006 to 2014 completed the SRS SAQ preoperation and at two years postoperation. Data were prospectively collected and reviewed in a retrospective manner. The SAQ includes two statements regarding breast/chest wall asymmetry (19 and 20). Statistical analysis was performed to determine a relationship between improved SAQ responses and any clinical/radiographic or surgical parameters.

Results: 395 females and 79 males (14.4 ± 2.0 years) with preoperation and two-year postoperation Cobb angle 60.6 ± 11.5 and 26.6 ± 12.1 were reviewed. Before surgery, 68.0% of patients identified with the statement "I want to have more even breasts" compared with 37.0% at two years postoperation. In addition, 78.9% identified with the statement "I want to have a more even chest in the front" preoperatively compared with 34.0% at two years postoperation. Positive preoperative responses correlated with scoliometer (p = .029) (p = .044) and Cobb angle of the major curve (p = .048 and p = .006). At two years postoperation, there was a significant number of patients (76%) who had at least a two-point decrease in their response to either statement (p < .0001).

Conclusion: Breast asymmetry is a significant concern of many AIS patients, including males, and correlates with preoperative curve magnitude. SF results in significant improvement in patient perception of breast/chest wall asymmetry, with 76% of patients reporting good outcomes at two years postoperation.

Level of evidence: Level 2.

Keywords: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Breast asymmetry; Self perception; Spinal fusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Breast / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis / pathology
  • Scoliosis / psychology*
  • Scoliosis / surgery
  • Spinal Fusion / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires