Scoliosis Surgery Can Offer Benefits in Middle-Aged

Complications common in 40-and-over crowd, but postoperative improvements also common

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with symptomatic scoliosis who are 40 or over are likely to have improvements from surgical treatment, though complications are common, according to research published in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.

Ryan M. Zimmerman, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed data from 35 patients who were at least 40 years old -- 33 of whom were women -- who underwent primary surgery for scoliosis from a single surgeon between 2000 and 2006.

The researchers found that most patients (86 percent) had at least one comorbidity. The overall rate of complications was 49 percent, with 26 percent of patients having a major complication, most often deep wound infection or osteomyelitis, sacral fracture, and pseudarthrosis. No deaths were noted. The average coronal curve correction was 30.8 degrees (61 percent). Patients had significant improvements in Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form 36, and Scoliosis Research Society 22 scores. Outcomes didn't differ significantly by presence of complications or operative staging.

"Surgery for adults with scoliosis has a high complication rate. Nevertheless, substantial correction was achieved, self-reported outcome questionnaires documented patient benefits, and outcomes were independent of complications. Adults ≥40 years benefit from surgical correction of scoliosis, although patients should be warned that there is substantial risk of experiencing a complication," the authors conclude.

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