Shizumasa Murata, Shunji Tsutsui, Hiroshi Hashizume, Akihito Minamide, Yukihiro Nakagawa, Hiroshi Iwasaki, Masanari Takami, Keiji Nagata, Kimihide Murakami, Ryo Taiji, Takuhei Kozaki, Hiroshi Yamada

September 2022, pp 1 - 9 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07379-5

First Online: 13 September 2022


Physiologically, people age at different rates, which leads to a discrepancy between physiological and chronological age. Physiological age should be a priority when considering the indications for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. The primary objective of this study was to determine the characteristics of the postoperative course, surgical outcomes, and complication rates to extend the healthy life expectancy of older ASD patients (≥ 75 years). The secondary objective was to clarify the importance of physiological age in the surgical treatment of older ASD patients, considering frailty.


A retrospective review of 109 consecutive patients aged ≥ 65 years with symptomatic ASD who underwent a corrective long fusion with lateral interbody fusion from the lower thoracic spine to the pelvis from 2015 to 2019 was conducted. Patients were classified into two groups according to age (group Y [65–74 years], group O [≥ 75 years]) and further divided into four groups according to the ASD-frailty index score (Y-F, Y-NF, O-F, and O-NF groups). To account for potential risk factors for perioperative course characteristics, complication rates, and surgical outcomes, patients from the database were subjected to propensity score matching based on sex, BMI, and preoperative sagittal spinal alignment (C7 sagittal vertical axis, pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis, and pelvic tilt). Clinical outcomes were evaluated 2 years postoperatively, using three patient-reported outcome measures of health-related quality of life: the Oswestry Disability Index, Scoliosis Research Society questionnaire (SRS-22), and Short Form 36 (SF-36). Additionally, the postoperative time-to-first ambulation, as well as minor, major, and mechanical complications, were evaluated.


In the comparison between Y and O groups, patients in group O were at a higher risk of minor complications (delirium and urinary tract infection). In contrast, other surgical outcomes of group O were comparable to those of group Y, except for SRS-22 (satisfaction) and time to ambulation after surgery, with better outcomes in Group O. Patients in the O-NF group had better postoperative outcomes (time to ambulation after surgery, SRS-22 (function, self-image, satisfaction), SF-36 [PCS]) than those in the Y-F group.


Older age warrants monitoring of minor complications in the postoperative management of patients. However, the outcomes of ASD surgery depended more on frailty than on chronological age. Older ASD patients without frailty might tolerate corrective surgery and have satisfactory outcomes when minimally invasive techniques are used. Physiological age is more important than chronological age when determining the indications for surgery in older patients with ASD.

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