Pain Rises in Scoliosis Patients Years After Treatment

May 8, 2008

A sample of patients surgically treated for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis reported a statistically significant increase in pain between two and five years after the procedure, according to research published in the May 1 issue of Spine.

THURSDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- A sample of patients surgically treated for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis reported a statistically significant increase in pain between two and five years after the procedure, according to research published in the May 1 issue of Spine.

Vidyadhar V. Upasani, M.D., of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues analyzed data from 49 patients, mean age 14 years, who responded to the Scoliosis Research Society questionnaire preoperatively and at two and five years after surgery. This tool measures outcomes in areas such as pain, self-image and function, and patient satisfaction. Comprehensive radiographic measures were available for all patients.

Patients reported an increase in pain between the two- and five-year follow-ups, and a trend was noted toward worsening scores for general self-image, function from back condition, general level of activity, and postoperative self-image. However, patient satisfaction remained unchanged over this period.

"It is important to note that despite the worsening five-year pain scores compared with two years post-op, patients continue to report a significant improvement in pain compared with their preoperative scores. Traditionally, pain has not been one of the main indications for spinal deformity correction and fusion in patients with idiopathic scoliosis; however, deteriorating subjective measures in the midterm may need to be addressed to ensure long-term success. This study attempted to elucidate factors responsible for the worsening pain scores; however, could not identify an association with lowest instrumented vertebra, surgical approach, or radiographic measures," the authors write.

The study authors disclosed that corporate or industry funds supported the study and that at least one author has received or will receive benefits from a company related to the subject of the article.

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