European Spine Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 854–861 | Cite as

Minimum 20-year follow-up results of Harrington rod fusion for idiopathic scoliosis

Original Article


We evaluated the outcome of spinal fusion with a single Harrington distraction rod in patients with idiopathic scoliosis. At follow-up visits a minimum of 20 years post-surgery, we studied 24 patients who had been operated on by the same surgeon. The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) Instrument and an additional questionnaire of our own, along with an invitation for a follow-up visit, were originally mailed to 28 consecutive patients of the surgeon. The SRS Instrument has seven domains dealing with back pain, general self-image, self-image after surgery, general function, function in terms of level of activity, function after surgery, and degree of satisfaction with the surgery. The length of time between surgery and the follow-up visit averaged 22.9 years (20.2–27.3). The mean age at surgery and follow-up were 15.8 (13–22) and 38.8 (35–48) years, respectively. Twenty-four patients sent back the completed questionnaires and 16 of them participated in the clinic and radiographic follow-up. To assess the meaning of the questionnaires’ results, a control group of the same sex, age and geographic provenance was selected from our outpatients without scoliosis. The average follow-up score on the SRS Instrument for the patients was 100.8 (78–110). When we compared the study and control groups, no significant differences in the single SRS domain scores were observed. The mean Cobb angle and rib cage deformity before surgery were 70.46° (40–120) and 36.4 mm (20–60 mm), respectively, whereas on follow-up they were 41.23° (16–75) and 22.3 mm (5–50 mm), respectively. These long-term results lead us to consider Harrington fusion a procedure that produces a long-lasting high degree of self-reported post-operative satisfaction.


Scoliosis Quality of life Spinal fusion Treatment outcome 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyUniversity “Federico II”Italy

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