Patient Expectations of Adult Spinal Deformity Correction Surgery

Won Hyung A. Ryu, Andrew Platt, John E. O'Toole, Ricardo Fontes, Richard G. Fessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: There is a growing interest in examining preoperative expectations as a potential predictor of postoperative outcome. However, it has never been studied in the setting of adult spinal deformity (ASD). This study aims to characterize patient expectations before ASD surgery and examine the relationship between preoperative expectation and postoperative patient-reported outcomes (PROs). Methods: Analysis of prospectively collected clinical and PRO data was performed on patients who underwent ASD surgery. Inclusion criteria were age >18 years, a diagnosis of ASD, >3 vertebral level instrumentation, and completed pre- and postoperative surveys. The preoperative expectation survey included expectations of surgical outcome, pain reduction, complications, and the duration of postoperative recovery. Relationships between patient expectations and PROs were assessed. Results: Twenty-seven patients who underwent operative management of ASD met the inclusion criteria. In their preoperative survey, 66% of patients expected highly successful surgery, whereas 22% had a moderate expectation of complications. Patients anticipated an average 71% reduction in back pain (range 42%–100%) and 68% reduction in leg pain (range 0%–100%). Patients who met their expectations of leg pain reduction had significantly greater satisfaction scores than those who did not. There were moderate-to-strong positive correlations between preoperative expectation and observed improvement in back pain, leg pain, and mental health. Conclusions: While substantial variability in patient expectation exists for the surgical management of ASD, patients anticipated a positive outcome with a significant reduction in pain. Greater postoperative satisfaction was associated with patients who met the expected improvement in leg pain. Preoperative expectation was positively correlated with change in pain and mental health scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e931-e939
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Open deformity surgery
  • Patient expectation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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