The use of photographs can improve patient satisfaction following scoliosis surgery

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A study published-ahead-of-print in the journal Spine suggests that by showing scoliosis patients their photographs before and after corrective surgery, surgeons can significantly improve post-operative patient satisfaction with the procedure.

The study team, led by Akif Albayrak, Baltalimani Metin Sabanci Bone and Joint Diseases Education and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey, took pre- and postoperative photographs from the anterior, posterior and right and left lateral views of 60 patients undergoing surgery for correction of idiopathic scoliosis (Lenke type 1).

The patients were split evenly into two groups which had similar age, sex, distribution of Lenke type and Risser sign, follow-up, and pre- and postoperative Cobb angles and balance (coronal and sagittal). Patients in the first group were shown the preoperative and most recent follow-up photographs, while patients in the second group underwent routine evaluation but without being shown their photographs. All patients completed the Scoliosis Research Society-22 survey.

Albayrak et al note that “A significant difference was observed between the groups for survey question 10 (which was about self-image), question 18 (which was about function and activity), and question 21 (which was about satisfaction) (p<= 0.05). There were no differences between patients in group one and two in Scoliosis Research Society-22 domain or total scores.”

“By showing patients the pre- and postoperative clinical photographs, patient satisfaction may be greater, as measured with some SRS-22 scores. This method may enable clinicians to positively change the patient’s self-image perception after surgery for correction of scoliosis,” the authors conclude.