The principal investigator has previously published a study (see below) of scoliosis fusion patients correlating their preoperative pain and disability to MRI scan findings.Our preliminary results suggest that with a patient’s age there is an increase in low back pain.The purpose of this study is to correlate MRI changes in the unfused lumbar spine on patients who have had a previous thoracic spinal fusion to pain and disability over time.Specifically, patients who are between eight to ten years since their posterior thoracic spinal fusion will be recruited for a lumbar MRI scan at no cost to the patient. The MRI scan will be read by a radiologist who is blinded to the patient’s pain and disability as assessed by multiple outcome instruments (visual analog pain scale, Oswestry Disability Index, pain drawing, pain medication usage).The radiologist will also assess changes (particularly disc degeneration) compared to the preoperative scan. Statistical analysis will then be used to correlate possible symptoms and MRI scan findings as well as changes relative to the preoperative scan.
We anticipate that this study will take approximately ten years to complete in order to get sufficient numbers for statistical significance.Ultimately we anticipate that the study will be published in a peer review journal.
The risks of this study are minimal; there is no radiation involved in this type of study, and MRI scans are thought to be safe.The greatest risk is loss of confidentiality, and as in all of our Midwest Spine & Brain studies, HIPPA compliance and patient confidentiality is taken seriously.All data is stored on a password-protected computer to ensure patient confidentiality.
A second part of the study to be instituted in the next five years will be to get lumbar MRI scans of our control patients who are also part of the original scoliosis and MRI scan study.