Psychological Profile of Children Who Require Repetitive Surgical Procedures for Early Onset Scoliosis: Is a Poorer Quality of Life the Cost of a Straighter Spine?


STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. OBJECTIVE: Assess the psychosocial status of children with early-onset scoliosis (EOS) undergoing multiple procedures and evaluate associations with other variables. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: EOS may require repetitive surgical procedures to control deformity and preserve growth. These procedures impact patients’ psychosocial status because of the repetitive surgeries. METHODS: EOS patients 6-18 years, undergoing traditional growing rod treatment with more than 5 surgical procedures, and neurologically/mentally intact were included. Patients were screened for psychiatric disorders before inclusion. The Quality of Life Scale for Children (PedsQL), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) self-report form, Beck Depression Inventory, Children Depression Inventory (CDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Self-Report for Childhood Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED) were completed by the children. PedsQL Parental Form and SDQ Parent Form were completed by their parents. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients (9 male, 12 female) met the inclusion criteria. Average age was 6.4 years (4-10.5) at index surgery, and 13.5 years (8-17) at final follow-up. The mean number of procedures was 13 (6-18). Mean follow-up was 83.9 months (36-122). Depression was observed in 23.8% of patients, and generalized anxiety disorder in 42.8%. Patients in the study group were more likely than the general population to have a psychiatric diagnosis. Number of procedures undergone was found to correlate negatively with BAI, SCARED, and the behavioral difficulties domain of SDQ parent form score and positively with emotional functioning, psychosocial health summary score, PedsQL total score, and increased social and physical functioning. Nonidiopathic etiology was found to be related to increased behavioral difficulties and lower functioning. CONCLUSION: A higher prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms was observed in patients with EOS along with dysfunctional areas of daily life. Other comorbidities may also contribute to dysfunction and difficulties. Determination of the aspects of EOS treatment that have a negative impact on psychosocial functioning may allow for more competent help for these patients.