When Do Patients Return to Physical Activities and Athletics After Scoliosis Surgery? A Validated Patient Questionnaire Based Study

Vishal Sarwahi, Stephen Wendolowski, Rachel Gecelter, Kathleen Maguire, Melanie Gambassi, Dana Orlando, Yungtai Lo, Terry Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: A retrospective chart review with a survey OBJECTIVES.: This study seeks to determine time of return to normal, physical and athletic activities and delaying factors after all pedicle screw fixation. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Return to athletic activity after PSF in AIS is largely dependent on surgeonʼs philosophy. Some allow contact and collision sports by 6 and 12 months, while others avoid contact sports for 1 year and never allow collision sports. We have utilized a patient driven self-directed approach. METHODS.: The sports activity questionnaire (SAQ) was developed and activities were categorized into normal (school, gym, and backpack), physical (running, bending, and bicycling) and athletics (AAP criteria: non-contact, contact and collision sports). SAQ was validated through the “test-retest” method on 25 patients and retesting after 3 weeks to minimize recall bias. Questions with kappa >0.7 were included. Patient demographics, x-ray measurements, and perioperative details were recorded. RESULTS.: 95 patients completed the SAQ. By 3 months; 77% (72/93) returned to school, 60% (54/90) to bending, 52% (48/93) to carrying backpacks, 43% (37/87) to running and 37% (30/81) to gym. By 6 months, 54% (27/50) returned to non-contact sports, and 63% (21/33) to contact sports. 79% and 53% returned to preoperative level of contact and non-contact sports. Higher BMI was a risk for delayed return (> 3 months) to school and gym (p?<?0.05), while fusion below L2 and younger age for running, bending and carrying backpacks (p?<?0.05). In contrast, there was no patient/curve characteristics associated with delay. LIV, Lenke types were not risk factors. There was no correction loss, implant failure, or complications. CONCLUSION.: Patients return to athletics much earlier than expected; a quarter returned by 3 months, and over half by 6 months. Age and LIV are determinants for return to ‘physical activity’.Level of Evidence: 3

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 9 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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