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Would you do it again? Discrepancies between patient and surgeon perceptions following adult spine deformity surgery


      • A total of 18.6% of surgically treated adult spinal deformity patients indicated they were unsure or would not undergo surgery again.
      • Patients indicating they were unsure or wound not have surgery again had more postoperative complications requiring surgery than patients indicating they would have surgery again.
      • Patients indicating they were unsure or wound not have surgery again had worse postoperative PROs and fewer percentages reaching minimal clinically important difference for SRS-22r and ODI than patients indicating they would have surgery again.
      • At minimum 2 year follow-up 93.0% of patients indicating they would have surgery again reported they were satisfied with the results of their back management compared 82.3% of unsure if they would have the same surgery again and 72.4% of patients that wound not have surgery again (p<.05).
      • Surgeons accurately identified patients indicating they would have surgery again (91.1%) but poorly identified patients indicating they wound not have surgery again (13.8%; p<.05).



      Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery can improve patient pain and physical function but is associated with high complication rates and long postoperative recovery. Accordingly, if given a choice, patients may indicate they would not undergo ASD surgery again.


      Evaluate surgically treated ASD patients to assess if given the option (1) would surgically treated ASD patients choose to undergo the same ASD surgery again, (2) would the treating surgeon perform the same ASD surgery again and if not why, (3) evaluate for consensus and/or discrepancies between patient and surgeon opinions for willingness to perform/receive the same surgery, and (4) evaluate for associations with willingness to undergo or not undergo the same surgery again and patient demographics, patient reported outcomes, and postoperative complications.


      Retrospective review of a prospective ASD study.


      Surgically treated ASD patients enrolled into a multicenter prospective study.


      Scoliosis Research Society-22r questionnaire (SRS-22r), Short Form-36v2 questionnaire (SF-36) physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric pain rating for back pain (NRS back) and leg pain (NRS leg), minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for SRS-22r domains and ODI, intraoperative and postoperative complications, surgeon and patient satisfaction with surgery.


      Surgically treated ASD patients prospectively enrolled into a multicenter study were asked at minimum 2 year postoperative, if, based upon their hospital and surgical experiences and surgical recovery experiences, would the patient undergo the same surgery again. Treating surgeons were then matched to their corresponding patients, blinded to the patients’ preoperative and postoperative patient reported outcome measures, and interviewed and asked if (1) the surgeon believed that the corresponding patient would undergo the surgery again, (2) if the surgeon believed the corresponding patient was improved by the surgery and (3) if the surgeon would perform the same surgery on the corresponding patient again, and if not why. ASD patients were divided into those indicating they would (YES), would not (NO) or were unsure (UNSURE) if they would have same surgery again. Agreement between patient and surgeon willingness to receive/perform the same surgery was assessed and correlations between patient willingness for same surgery, postoperative complications, spine deformity correction, patient reported outcomes (PROs).


      A total of 580 of 961 ASD patients eligible for study were evaluated. YES (n=472) had similar surgical procedures performed, similar duration of hospital and ICU stay, similar spine deformity correction and similar postoperative spinal alignment as NO (n=29; p>.05). UNSURE (n=79) had greater preoperative depression and opioid use rates, UNSURE and NO had more postoperative complications requiring surgery, and UNSURE and NO had fewer percentages of patients reaching postoperative MCID for SRS-22r domains and MCID for ODI than YES (p<.05). Comparison of patient willingness to receive the same surgery versus surgeon perceptions on patient's willingness to receive the same surgery demonstrated surgeons accurately identified YES (91.1%) but poorly identified NO (13.8%; p<.05).


      If given a choice, 18.6% of surgically treated ASD patients indicated they were unsure or would not undergo the surgery again. ASD patients indicating they were unsure or would not undergo ASD surgery again had greater preoperative depression, greater preoperative opioid use, worse postoperative PROs, fewer patients reaching MCID, more complications requiring surgery, and greater postoperative opioid use. Additionally, patients that indicated they would not have the same surgery again were poorly identified by their treating surgeons compared to patients indicating they would be willing to receive the same surgery again. More research is needed to understand patient expectations and improve patient experiences following ASD surgery.


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