Major complications following surgical correction of spine deformity in 257 patients with cerebral palsy

Burt Yaszay, Carrie E. Bartley, Paul D. Sponseller, Mark Abel, Patrick J. Cahill, Suken A. Shah, Firoz Miyanji, Amer F. Samdani, Carlie Daquino, Peter O. Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study design: Observational. Objectives: To report on the rate of major complications following spinal fusion and instrumentation to treat spinal deformity in patients with cerebral palsy (CP). Summary of background data: Understanding the risk of major complications following the surgical treatment of spine deformities in patients with CP is critical. Methods: A prospectively collected, multicenter database of patients with CP who had surgical correction of their spinal deformity (scoliosis or kyphosis) was reviewed for all major complications. Patients with ≥ 2 year follow-up or who died ≤ 2 years of surgery were included. A complication was defined as major if it resulted in reoperation, re-admission to the hospital, prolongation of the hospital stay, was considered life-threatening, or resulted in residual disability. Overall complication and revision rates were calculated for the perioperative (Peri-op; occurring ≤ 90 days postoperative) and delayed postoperative (Delayed; > 90 days) time periods. Results: Two hundred and fifty-seven patients met inclusion. Seventy-eight (30%) patients had a major complication, 18 (7%) had > 1. There were 92 (36%) major complications; 64 (24.9%) occurred Peri-op. The most common Peri-op complications were wound (n = 16, 6.2%) and pulmonary issues (n = 28, 10.9%), specifically deep infections (n = 12, 4.7%) and prolonged ventilator support (n = 21, 8.2%). Delayed complications (n = 28, 10.9%) were primarily deep infections (n = 8, 3.1%) and instrumentation-related (n = 6, 2.3%). There were 42 additional surgeries for an overall unplanned return to the operating room rate of 16% (Peri-op: 8.6%, Delayed: 7.8%). Thirty-six (14.0%) reoperations were spine related surgeries (wound or instrumentation-related). Eleven (4.3%) patients died between 3 months to 5.6 years postoperatively; 4 occurred ≤ 1 year of surgery. Two deaths were directly related to the spinal deformity surgery. Conclusion: Spinal deformity surgery in CP patients with greater than 2 years of follow-up have a postoperative major complication rate of 36% with a spine-related reoperation rate of 14.0%. Level of evidence: Therapeutic-IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1312
Number of pages8
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Complications
  • Deformity
  • Fusion
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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