J Korean Med Assoc.  2021 Nov;64(11):722-726. 10.5124/jkma.2021.64.11.722.

Health insurance policy on surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity

  • 1Spine Center and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea


Recent burgeoning research on adult spinal deformity (ASD) has unveiled the benefits of surgical treatment and how to gain the benefits although these have only been around for 10 years.
Current Concepts
During the last decade, the significance of pelvic incidence in the global spinal sagittal alignment and introductions of the Scoliosis Research Society-Schwab classification for ASD have been the guidelines of surgical treatment for ASD and the milestones for promising surgical results. However, one of the unsolved problems for the surgical treatment of ASD is the proximal junctional kyphosis, for which multifactorial causative factors have been suggested. Recent studies have focused on dynamic natures in patients with ASD during daily activities, which might be a clue for both prevention of proximal junctional kyphosis and a better level of surgical results. Even though a recent remarkable advancement for surgical treatment for ASD is present, the national guideline for reimbursement is still following the surgical indication for lumbar degenerative kyphosis published in 1988.
Discussion and Conclusion
A significant gap exists between the national reimbursement guideline and generally held surgical indication for ASD surgery. Consequently, this huge gap raises trouble in both patients and surgeons. The patients with ASD cannot take an appropriate surgery for ASD, while the spine surgeons experience unreasonable adjustment of the cost by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service.


Adult spinal deformity; Treatment; Health insurance; 성인척추변형; 치료; 건강보험
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