Scoliosis Research Society
SRS: Scoliosis Research Society

Scoliosis Research Society

Dedicated to the optimal care of patients with spinal deformity

Expected Improvement after Surgery for Adult Spinal Deformity (ASD) Surgery


Medical providers are commonly requested to counsel patients on anticipated improvements in specific health domains including pain, function, and self-image following surgery. Adult spinal deformity (ASD) is a heterogeneous condition; therefore, health domain improvements may vary according to deformity type. Few studies have quantified outcomes for specific ASD types. Read more about this study

Expected Improvement After Surgery

Patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) often have problems with pain, function, mental health and self-image. They ask their surgeons about what improvement they can expect after surgery.

To answer this question, the International Spine Study Group looked at over 350 adult patients from different hospitals in the United States who had surgery for ASD. Then they saw how these patients did and which areas improved the most.

There were differences in how the patients did after surgery depending on the type of scoliosis. Patients with thoracic (middle back) scoliosis were the youngest patients (average age 33 years old). Many of these patients had scoliosis as a teenager  For these patients, the biggest improvements were pain and self-image.

Patients with lumbar (low back) scoliosis were a little older (average age 56 years old). For these patients, the biggest improvements were pain and function. Other types of scoliosis had different outcomes.

This study shows that many patients get better after scoliosis surgery, but each type of scoliosis is different. Patients should have a talk with their surgeons about how much improvement after surgery they can expect.    

Line B, Bess S, Lafage V, Ames C, Burton D, Kim HJ, Gupta M, Hart R, Klineberg E, Kelly M, Kebaish K, Hostin R, Mundis G, Schwab F, Shaffrey C, Smith JS; International Spine Study Group. Counseling Guidelines for Anticipated Postsurgical Improvements in Pain, Function, Mental Health, and Self-image for Different Types of Adult Spinal Deformity. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2020 Aug 15;45(16):1118-1127.



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