An international consensus on the appropriate evaluation and treatment for adults with spinal deformity

Aospine Knowledge Forum Deformity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Evaluation and surgical management for adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients varies between health care providers. The purpose of this study is to identify appropriateness of specific approaches and management strategies for the treatment of ASD. Methods: From January to July 2015, the AOSpine Knowledge Deformity Forum performed a modified Delphi survey where 53 experienced deformity surgeons from 24 countries, rated the appropriateness of management strategies for multiple ASD clinical scenarios. Four rounds were performed: three surveys and a face-to-face meeting. Consensus was achieved with ≥70% agreement. Results: Appropriate surgical goals are improvement of function, pain, and neural symptoms. Appropriate preoperative patient evaluation includes recording information on history and comorbidities, and radiographic workup, including long standing films and MRI for all patients. Preoperative pulmonary and cardiac testing and DEXA scan is appropriate for at-risk patients. Intraoperatively, appropriate surgical strategies include long fusions with deformity correction for patients with large deformity and sagittal imbalance, and pelvic fixation for multilevel fusions with large curves, sagittal imbalance, and osteoporosis. Decompression alone is inappropriate in patients with large curves, sagittal imbalance, and progressive deformity. It is inappropriate to fuse to L5 in patients with symptomatic disk degeneration at L5–S1. Conclusions: These results provide guidance for informed decision-making in the evaluation and management of ASD. Appropriate care for ASD, a very diverse spectrum of disease, must be responsive to patient preference and values, and considerations of the care provider, and the healthcare system. A monolithic approach to care should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-596
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We are grateful to the 53 panelists (Supplementary Table 2) for contributing to this study. This research was supported by AOSpine International through a grant to the AOSpine Deformity Knowledge Forum. AOSpine is a clinical division of the AOFoundation-an independent, medically guided not for profit organization.

Funding Information:
Funding This study received financial support from AOSpine International through the AOSpine Deformity Knowledge Forum.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Appropriateness
  • Consensus
  • Delphi
  • Surgery

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