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Long-Term Psychological Sequelae of Surgically Versus Nonsurgically Treated Scoliosis

CLAYSON, DAVID PhD; LUZ-ALTERMAN, STEVEN PhD; CATALETTO, MAURO M. MD; LEVINE, DAVID B. MD
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Forty-six female scoliosis patients (21-34 years of age) were tested psychologically 4 or more years following treatment. Twenty-three had been treated by bracing (Group A) and 23 by posterior spinal fusion (Group B). Variables evaluated were: self-esteem, capacity for intimacy, sexual satisfaction, and mental representation of the patient's own body (body image). The prediction that normal controls would show better psychological adjustment than scoliotic women—surgically treated or not—was only partially borne out. Contrary to expectations, both groups of scoliotics showed higher levels of sexual satisfaction than controls. Group B showed a greater need for intimacy and better sexual adjustment, self-esteem, and body image than Group A.

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