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The Impact of Corrective Surgery on Health-Related Quality of Life Subclasses in Adult Scoliosis: Will Degree of Correction Prognosticate Degree of Improvement?



Objectives in scoliosis corrective surgery include restoration of normal sagittal and coronal parameters to achieve patient satisfaction. HRQLs improvements remain limited after corrective surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the HRQL subclass variability specific to the sagittal and coronal correction in adult scoliosis surgery.


This multi-centre prospective analysis of consecutive adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients, from five European centres, only included multilevel instrumentation for scoliosis. d-(delta) values for each parameter represented pre to post-operative changes. Parameters included demographics, baseline, 1- and 2-year. HRQL outcomes (Oswestry disability index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-22 and Short Form (SF36)), sagittal correction including relative spinopelvic alignment (dRSA) and coronal correction including major Cobb (dCobb) angles.


A total of 353 patients reached 1-year and 2-year follow up. All HRQL total scores significantly improved postoperatively, including ODI, SRS-22 and SF36. HRQL subclasses which displayed persistent improvements correlated to dRSA included sex-life, self-image, fatigue, vitality, social functioning. The only HRQL subclass improvement that correlated with dCobb was self-image.


Adult scoliosis surgery improves overall HRQL, having a minimal effect on each variable. Importantly, greater coronal deformity correction affects only greater self-image scores, whereas with greater sagittal correction there are many greater HRQL sub-class impacts. Correction and restoration of coronal balance is one of the surgical goals in adult scoliosis but the degree to which Cobb angle is corrected, apart from self-image, does not correlate with gains in sub-classes of HRQL. These results need to be taken into account when planning surgery.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Adult spinal deformity


Indicates body mass index


Core Outcome Measures Index


Global tilt; LL, lumbar lordosis


Mental Component Summary


Oswestry Disability Index


Physical Component Summary


Pelvic incidence


Pelvic tilt


Short Form 36


Scoliosis Research Society 22-question Questionnaire


Sagittal vertical axis


Pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis


Relative spinopelvic alignment


Body mass index


Sagittal vertical axis


Thoracic kyphosis


Pelvic tilt


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Correspondence to D. T. Cawley.

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Cawley, D.T., Takemoto, M., Boissiere, L. et al. The Impact of Corrective Surgery on Health-Related Quality of Life Subclasses in Adult Scoliosis: Will Degree of Correction Prognosticate Degree of Improvement?. Eur Spine J 30, 2033–2039 (2021).

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  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Scoliosis
  • Health related quality of life
  • Coronal
  • Deformity correction