Are We Focused on the Wrong Early Postoperative Quality Metrics? Optimal Realignment Outweighs Perioperative Risk in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

J Clin Med


Medicare; adult spinal deformity; clinical improvement; complex realignment; complications; cost-utility; washington; swedish; swedish neuro


BACKGROUND: While reimbursement is centered on 90-day outcomes, many patients may still achieve optimal, long-term outcomes following adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery despite transient short-term complications.

OBJECTIVE: Compare long-term clinical success and cost-utility between patients achieving optimal realignment and suboptimally aligned peers.

STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: Retrospective cohort study of a prospectively collected multicenter database.

METHODS: ASD patients with two-year (2Y) data included. Groups were propensity score matched (PSM) for age, frailty, body mass index (BMI), Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), and baseline deformity. Optimal radiographic criteria are defined as meeting low deformity in all three (Scoliosis Research Society) SRS-Schwab parameters or being proportioned in Global Alignment and Proportionality (GAP). Cost-per-QALY was calculated for each time point. Multivariable logistic regression analysis and ANCOVA (analysis of covariance) adjusting for baseline disability and deformity (pelvic incidence (PI), pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL)) were used to determine the significance of surgical details, complications, clinical outcomes, and cost-utility.

RESULTS: A total of 930 patients were considered. Following PSM, 253 "optimal" (O) and 253 "not optimal" (NO) patients were assessed. The O group underwent more invasive procedures and had more levels fused. Analysis of complications by two years showed that the O group suffered less overall major (38% vs. 52%,

CONCLUSIONS: Fewer late complications (mechanical and reoperations) are seen in optimally aligned patients, leading to better long-term cost-utility overall. Therefore, the current focus on avoiding short-term complications may be counterproductive, as achieving optimal surgical correction is critical for long-term success.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)