Long-Term Outcomes Differ After Adolescent Back Surgery

June 5, 2008

Although the long-term health-related quality of life is good for patients who received surgical treatment for idiopathic scoliosis or spondylolisthesis during adolescence, long-term outcomes are better among those treated for scoliosis, researchers report in the June issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Although the long-term health-related quality of life is good for patients who received surgical treatment for idiopathic scoliosis or spondylolisthesis during adolescence, long-term outcomes are better among those treated for scoliosis, researchers report in the June issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Ilkka Helenius, M.D., of Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland, and colleagues studied 190 patients who received surgical treatment for idiopathic scoliosis at a mean age of 15, and 270 patients who received treatment for spondylolisthesis at a mean age of 16.

After a mean follow-up of 14.8 years for the scoliosis group and 17 years for the spondylolisthesis group, the researchers found that median total scores on the Scoliosis Research Society-24 (SRS-24) questionnaire were 102 and 95, respectively, for the scoliosis and spondylolisthesis groups. Their adjusted analysis showed that the scoliosis group had significantly higher odds of a total score of at least 90 (odds ratio, 2.65). They also found that the scoliosis group scored better in self-image domains and had higher median values on the standardized physical component scale of the Short Form-36 (53.8 versus 53.4 points).

"This suggests that back pain in adolescence affects quality of life more than spinal deformity does, or that sagittal spinal deformity, which remains with high-grade spondylolisthesis, should be treated safely and adequately whenever possible," the authors conclude. "We also found that the SRS-24 questionnaire differentiates long-term quality of life better than the Short Form-36 for patients undergoing back surgery in adolescence."

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