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Neurologic Complications Resolve in the Majority of Adult Spinal Deformity Surgeries

San Diego, CA—March 14, 2017

Patients who undergo spinal surgery will occasionally develop neurologic complications following the procedure – namely problems with motor function and sensation. However, encouraging new data suggest that in the majority of patients, these complications resolve and don’t impair quality of life.  

The new research – conducted by members of the International Spine Study Group from multiple academic centers, and presented today at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting reported the rates of recovery and time to recovery for neurologic complications resulting from spinal deformity surgery in the largest population of Adult Deformity patients reported on in the literature. By following 73 patients with neurologic deficits in a study of over 560 patients, the authors found that 51 percent of cases were neurologically recovered by an average of 7 months after their surgery; another 36 percent experienced partial recovery.

"Our findings suggest that although neurologic complications will occur in 17-22 percent of cases in adult spinal deformity surgery, 87 percent of these cases will experience complete or partial resolution," comments Han Jo Kim, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. "These findings suggest that permanent neurologic deficits will occur with an incidence between 2-3 percent. This can be valuable information for patient counseling and education but it also leads the way to future studies for discovering methods for preventing these complications."


About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic of musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.


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