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Michael M. Safaee, Jue Lin, Dana L. Smith, Marissa Fury, Justin K. Scheer, John F. Burke, Crystal Bravate, Dennis Lambert, and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Risk stratification is a critical element of surgical planning. Early tools were fairly crude, while newer instruments incorporate disease-specific elements and markers of frailty. It is unknown if discrepancies between chronological and cellular age can guide surgical planning or treatment. Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes that serve an important role in protecting genomic DNA. Their shortening is a consequence of aging and environmental exposures, with well-established associations with diseases of aging and mortality. There are compelling data to suggest that telomere length can provide insight toward overall health. The authors sought to determine potential associations between telomere length and postoperative complications.

METHODS

Adults undergoing elective surgery for spinal deformity were prospectively enrolled. Telomere length was measured from preoperative whole blood using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and expressed as the ratio of telomere (T) to single-copy gene (S) abundance (T/S ratio), with higher T/S ratios indicating longer telomere length. Demographic and patient data included age, BMI, and results for the following rating scales: the Adult Spinal Deformity Frailty Index (ASD-FI), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society-22r (SRS-22r), American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) classification, and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). Operative and postoperative complication data (medical or surgical within 90 days) were also collected.

RESULTS

Forty-three patients were enrolled, including 31 women (53%), with a mean age of 66 years and a mean BMI of 28.5. The mean number of levels fused was 11, with 21 (48.8%) combined anterior-posterior approaches. Twenty-two patients (51.2%) had a medical or surgical complication. Patients with a postoperative complication had a significantly lower T/S ratio (0.712 vs 0.813, p = 0.008), indicating shorter telomere length, despite a mild difference in age compared with patients without a postoperative complication (68 vs 63 years, p = 0.069). Patients with complications also had higher CCI scores than patients without complications (2.3 vs 3.8, p = 0.004). There were no significant differences in sex, BMI, ASD-FI score, ASA class, preoperative ODI and SRS-22r scores, number of levels fused, or use of three-column osteotomies. In a multivariate model including age, frailty, ASA class, use of an anterior-posterior approach, CCI score, and telomere length, the authors found that short telomere length was significantly associated with postoperative complications. Patients whose telomere length fell in the shortest quartile had the highest risk (OR 18.184, p = 0.030).

CONCLUSIONS

Short telomere length was associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications despite only a mild difference in chronological age. Increasing comorbidity scores also trended toward significance. Larger prospective studies are needed; however, these data provide a compelling impetus to investigate the role of biological aging as a component of surgical risk stratification.

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Bruno Lazaro, Juan Pablo Sardi, Justin S. Smith, Michael P. Kelly, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Brian Dial, Jeffrey Hills, Munish C. Gupta, Christine R. Baldus, Chun Po Yen, Virginie Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Keith H. Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Proximal junctional failure (PJF) is a severe form of proximal junctional kyphosis. Previous reports on PJF have been limited by heterogeneous cohorts and relatively short follow-ups. The authors’ objectives herein were to identify risk factors for PJF and to assess its long-term incidence and revision rates in a homogeneous cohort.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data from the Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis 1 trial (ASLS-1), a National Institutes of Health–sponsored prospective multicenter study. Inclusion criteria were an age ≥ 40 years, ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society revised 22-item questionnaire [SRS-22r] score ≤ 4.0 in pain, function, or self-image domains), and primary thoracolumbar fusion/fixation to the sacrum/pelvis of ≥ 7 levels. PJF was defined as a postoperative proximal junctional angle (PJA) change > 20°, fracture of the uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) or UIV+1 with > 20% vertebral height loss, spondylolisthesis of UIV/UIV+1 > 3 mm, or UIV screw dislodgment.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty patients (141 women) were included in this analysis and had a median age of 62 years and a mean follow-up of 4.3 years (range 0.1–6.1 years). Forty-six patients (28.8%) had PJF at a median of 0.92 years (IQR 0.14, 1.23 years) following surgery. Based on Kaplan-Meier analyses, PJF rates at 1, 2, 3, and 4 years were 14.4%, 21.9%, 25.9%, and 27.4%, respectively. On univariate analysis, PJF was associated with greater age (p = 0.0316), greater body mass index (BMI; p = 0.0319), worse baseline patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs; ODI, SRS-22r, and SF-12 Physical Component Summary [PCS]; all p < 0.04), the use of posterior column osteotomies (PCOs; p = 0.0039), and greater postoperative thoracic kyphosis (TK; p = 0.0031) and PJA (p < 0.001). The use of UIV hooks was protective against PJF (p = 0.0340). On regression analysis (without postoperative measures), PJF was associated with greater BMI (HR 1.077, 95% CI 1.007–1.153, p = 0.0317), lower preoperative PJA (HR 0.607, 95% CI 0.407–0.906, p = 0.0146), and greater preoperative TK (HR 1.362, 95% CI 1.082–1.715, p = 0.0085). Patients with PJF had worse PROMs at the last follow-up (ODI, SRS-22r subscore and self-image, and SF-12 PCS; p < 0.04). Sixteen PJF patients (34.8%) underwent revision, and PJF recurred in 3 (18.8%).

CONCLUSIONS

Among 160 primary ASLS patients with a median age of 62 years and predominant coronal deformity, the PJF rate was 28.8% at a mean 4.3-year follow-up, with a revision rate of 34.8%. On univariate analysis, PJF was associated with a greater age and BMI, worse baseline PROMs, the use of PCOs, and greater postoperative TK and PJA. The use of UIV hooks was protective against PJF. On multivariate analysis (without postoperative measures), a higher risk of PJF was associated with greater BMI and preoperative TK and lower preoperative PJA.

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Juan Pablo Sardi, Bruno Lazaro, Justin S. Smith, Michael P. Kelly, Brian Dial, Jeffrey Hills, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Munish Gupta, Christine R. Baldus, Chun Po Yen, Virginie Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Keith H. Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Previous reports of rod fracture (RF) in adult spinal deformity are limited by heterogeneous cohorts, low follow-up rates, and relatively short follow-up durations. Since the majority of RFs present > 2 years after surgery, true occurrence and revision rates remain unclear. The objectives of this study were to better understand the risk factors for RF and assess its occurrence and revision rates following primary thoracolumbar fusions to the sacrum/pelvis for adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) in a prospective series with long-term follow-up.

METHODS

Patient records were obtained from the Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1 (ASLS-1) database, an NIH-sponsored multicenter, prospective study. Inclusion criteria were as follows: patients aged 40–80 years undergoing primary surgeries for ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society-22r ≤ 4.0 in pain, function, and/or self-image) with instrumented fusion of ≥ 7 levels that included the sacrum/pelvis. Patients with and without RF were compared to assess risk factors for RF and revision surgery.

RESULTS

Inclusion criteria were met by 160 patients (median age 62 years, IQR 55.7–67.9 years). At a median follow-up of 5.1 years (IQR 3.8–6.6 years), there were 92 RFs in 62 patients (38.8%). The median time to RF was 3.0 years (IQR 1.9–4.54 years), and 73% occurred > 2 years following surgery. Based on Kaplan-Meier analyses, estimated RF rates at 2, 4, 5, and 8 years after surgery were 11%, 24%, 35%, and 49%, respectively. Baseline radiographic, clinical, and demographic characteristics were similar between patients with and without RF. In Cox regression models, greater postoperative pelvic tilt (HR 1.895, 95% CI 1.196–3.002, p = 0.0065) and greater estimated blood loss (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.005–1.036, p = 0.0088) were associated with increased risk of RF. Thirty-eight patients (61% of all RFs) underwent revision surgery. Bilateral RF was predictive of revision surgery (HR 3.52, 95% CI 1.8–6.9, p = 0.0002), while patients with unilateral nondisplaced RFs were less likely to require revision (HR 0.39, 95% CI 0.18–0.84, p = 0.016).

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides what is to the authors’ knowledge the highest-quality data to date on RF rates following ASLS surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 38.8% of patients had at least one RF. Estimated RF rates at 2, 4, 5, and 8 years after surgery were 11%, 24%, 35%, and 49%, respectively. Greater estimated blood loss and postoperative pelvic tilt were significant risk factors for RF. These findings emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up to realize the true prevalence and cumulative incidence of RF.

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Alexander F. Haddad, Michael M. Safaee, Matheus P. Pereira, Jun Yeop Oh, Darryl Lau, Lee A. Tan, Aaron J. Clark, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Spinal meningiomas pose unique challenges based on the location of their dural attachment. However, there is a paucity of literature investigating the role of dural attachment location on outcomes after posterior-based approach for spinal meningioma resection. The aim of this study was to investigate any differences in outcomes between dural attachment location subgroups in spinal meningioma patients who underwent posterior-based resection.

METHODS

This was a single-institution review of patients who underwent resection of a spinal meningioma from 1997 to 2017. Surgical, oncological, and neurological outcomes were compared between patients with varying dural attachments. Multivariate analysis was utilized.

RESULTS

A total of 141 patients were identified. The mean age was 62 years, and 110 women were included. The sites of dural attachments were as follows: 16 (11.3%) dorsal, 31 (22.0%) dorsolateral, 17 (12.1%) lateral, 40 (28.4%) ventral, and 37 (26.2%) ventrolateral. Most meningiomas were WHO grade I (92.2%) and in the thoracic spine (61.0%). All patients underwent a posterior approach for tumor resection. There were no differences between subgroups in terms of largest diameter of tumor resected (p = 0.201), gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection (p = 0.362), Simpson grade of resection, perioperative complications (p = 0.116), long-term neurological deficit (p = 0.100), or postoperative radiation therapy (p = 0.971). Cervical spine location was associated with reduced incidence of GTR (OR 0.271, 95% CI 0.108–0.684, p = 0.006) on multivariate analysis. The overall incidence of recurrence/progression was 4.6%, with no difference (p = 0.800) between subgroups. Similarly, the average length of follow-up was 28.1 months, with no difference between subgroups (p = 0.413).

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior-based approaches for resection of spinal meningiomas are safe and effective, regardless of dural attachment location, with similar surgical, oncological, and neurological outcomes. Comparison of long-term recurrence rates between dural attachment subgroups is required.

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Wesley M. Durand, Alan H. Daniels, Kevin DiSilvestro, Renaud Lafage, Bassel G. Diebo, Peter G. Passias, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Munish C. Gupta, Eric O. Klineberg, Frank Schwab, Jeffrey L. Gum, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Khaled Kebaish, Alex Soroceanu, Richard A. Hostin, Douglas Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames, Robert A. Hart, D. Kojo Hamilton, and

OBJECTIVE

Revision surgery is often necessary for adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients. Satisfaction with management is an important component of health-related quality of life. The authors hypothesized that patients who underwent multiple revision surgeries following ASD correction would exhibit lower self-reported satisfaction scores.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of 668 patients who underwent ASD surgery and were eligible for a minimum 2-year follow-up. Visits were stratified by occurrence prior to the index surgery (period 0), after the index surgery only (period 1), after the first revision only (period 2), and after the second revision only (period 3). Patients were further stratified by prior spine surgery before their index surgery. Scoliosis Research Society–22 (SRS-22r) health-related quality-of-life satisfaction subscore and total satisfaction scores were evaluated at all periods using multiple linear regression and adjustment for age, sex, and Charlson Comorbidity Index.

RESULTS

In total, 46.6% of the study patients had undergone prior spine surgery before their index surgery. The overall revision rate was 21.3%. Among patients with no spine surgery prior to the index surgery, SRS-22r satisfaction scores increased from period 0 to 1 (from 2.8 to 4.3, p < 0.0001), decreased after one revision from period 1 to 2 (4.3 to 3.9, p = 0.0004), and decreased further after a second revision from period 2 to 3 (3.9 to 3.3, p = 0.0437). Among patients with spine surgery prior to the index procedure, SRS-22r satisfaction increased from period 0 to 1 (2.8 to 4.2, p < 0.0001) and decreased from period 1 to 2 (4.2 to 3.8, p = 0.0011). No differences in follow-up time from last surgery were observed (all p > 0.3). Among patients with multiple revisions, 40% experienced rod fracture, 40% proximal junctional kyphosis, and 33% pseudarthrosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Among patients undergoing ASD surgery, revision surgery is associated with decreased satisfaction, and multiple revisions are associated with additive detriment to satisfaction among patients initially undergoing primary surgery. These findings have direct implications for preoperative patient counseling and establishment of postoperative expectations.

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Elias Elias, Shay Bess, Breton G. Line, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Eric Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Peter Passias, Zeina Nasser, Jeffrey L. Gum, Khaled Kebaish, Robert Eastlack, Alan H. Daniels, Gregory Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Alex Soroceanu, D. Kojo Hamilton, Michael P. Kelly, Munish Gupta, Robert Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Douglas Burton, Christopher P. Ames, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, and

OBJECTIVE

Adult cervical deformity (ACD) has high complication rates due to surgical complexity and patient frailty. Very few studies have focused on longer-term outcomes of operative ACD treatment. The objective of this study was to assess minimum 2-year outcomes and complications of ACD surgery.

METHODS

A multicenter, prospective observational study was performed at 13 centers across the United States to evaluate surgical outcomes for ACD. Demographics, complications, radiographic parameters, and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs; Neck Disability Index, modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association, EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D], and numeric rating scale [NRS] for neck and back pain) were evaluated, and analyses focused on patients with ≥ 2-year follow-up.

RESULTS

Of 169 patients with ACD who were eligible for the study, 102 (60.4%) had a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean 3.4 years, range 2–8.1 years). The mean age at surgery was 62 years (SD 11 years). Surgical approaches included anterior-only (22.8%), posterior-only (39.6%), and combined (37.6%). PROMs significantly improved from baseline to last follow-up, including Neck Disability Index (from 47.3 to 33.0) and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score (from 12.0 to 12.8; for patients with baseline score ≤ 14), neck pain NRS (from 6.8 to 3.8), back pain NRS (from 5.5 to 4.8), EQ-5D score (from 0.74 to 0.78), and EQ-5D visual analog scale score (from 59.5 to 66.6) (all p ≤ 0.04). More than half of the patients (n = 58, 56.9%) had at least one complication, with the most common complications including dysphagia, distal junctional kyphosis, instrumentation failure, and cardiopulmonary events. The patients who did not achieve 2-year follow-up (n = 67) were similar to study patients based on baseline demographics, comorbidities, and PROMs. Over the course of follow-up, 23 of the total 169 enrolled patients were reported to have died. Notably, these represent all-cause mortalities during the course of follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

This multicenter, prospective analysis demonstrates that operative treatment for ACD provides significant improvement of health-related quality of life at a mean 3.4-year follow-up, despite high complication rates and a high rate of all-cause mortality that is reflective of the overall frailty of this patient population. To the authors’ knowledge, this study represents the largest and most comprehensive prospective effort to date designed to assess the intermediate-term outcomes and complications of operative treatment for ACD.

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Anthony L. Mikula, Nikita Lakomkin, Zach Pennington, Zachariah W. Pinter, Ahmad Nassr, Brett Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Mohamad Bydon, Christopher P. Ames, Jeremy L. Fogelson, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to analyze risk factors and avoidance techniques for proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) and proximal junctional failure (PJF) in the upper thoracic spine with an emphasis on bone mineral density (BMD) as estimated by Hounsfield units (HU).

METHODS

A retrospective chart review identified patients at least 50 years of age who underwent instrumented fusion extending from the pelvis to an upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) between T1 and T6 and had a preoperative CT, pre- and postoperative radiographs, and a minimum follow-up of 12 months. HU were measured in the UIV, the vertebral body cephalad to the UIV (UIV+1), and the L3 and L4 vertebral bodies. Numerous perioperative variables were collected, including basic demographics, smoking and steroid use, preoperative osteoporosis treatment, multiple frailty indices, use of a proximal junctional tether, UIV soft landing, preoperative dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, spinopelvic parameters, UIV screw tip distance to the superior endplate, UIV pedicle screw/pedicle diameter ratio, lumbar lordosis distribution, and postoperative spinopelvic parameters compared with age-adjusted normal values.

RESULTS

Eighty-one patients were included in the study (21 men and 60 women) with a mean (SD) age of 66 years (6.9 years), BMI of 29 (5.5), and follow-up of 38 months (25 months). Spinal fusion constructs at the time of surgery extended from the pelvis to a UIV of T1 (5%), T2 (15%), T3 (25%), T4 (33%), T5 (21%), and T6 (1%). Twenty-seven patients (33%) developed PJK and/or PJF; 21 (26%) had PJK and 15 (19%) had PJF. Variables associated with PJK/PJF with p < 0.05 were included in the multivariable analysis, including HU at the UIV/UIV+1, HU at L3/L4, DXA femoral neck T-score, UIV screw tip distance to the superior endplate, UIV pedicle screw/pedicle diameter ratio, and postoperative lumbar lordosis distribution. Multivariable analysis (area under the curve = 0.77) demonstrated HU at the UIV/UIV+1 to be the only independent predictor of PJK and PJF with an OR of 0.96 (p = 0.005). Patients with < 147 HU (n = 27), 147–195 HU (n = 27), and > 195 HU (n = 27) at the UIV/UIV+1 had PJK/PJF rates of 59%, 33%, and 7%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with upper thoracic–to-pelvis spinal reconstruction, lower HU at the UIV and UIV+1 were independently associated with PJK and PJF, with an optimal cutoff of 159 HU that maximizes sensitivity and specificity.

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Renaud Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Alex Moy Fong, Basel Sheikh Alshabab, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Eric O. Klineberg, Gregory Mundis Jr., Peter G. Passias, Munish Gupta, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Han Jo Kim, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames, Virginie Lafage, and

OBJECTIVE

Hyperextension of C0–2 is a debilitating compensatory mechanism used to maintain horizontal gaze, analogous to high pelvic tilt in the lumbopelvic complex to maintain an upright posture. This study aims to investigate the impact of cervical deformity (CD) correction on this hyperextension. The authors hypothesize that correction of cervical sagittal malalignment allows for relaxation of C0–2 hyperextension and improved clinical outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of a multicenter database of patients with CD undergoing spinal realignment and fusion caudal to C2 and cephalad to the pelvis. Range of motion (ROM) and reserve of extension (ROE) were calculated across C2–7 and C0–2. The association between C2–7 correction and change in C0–2 ROE was investigated while controlling for horizontal gaze, followed by stratification into ΔC2–7 percentiles.

RESULTS

Sixty-five patients were included (mean age 61.8 ± 9.6 years, 68% female). At baseline, patients had cervical kyphosis (C2–7, −11.7° ± 18.2°; T1 slope–cervical lordosis mismatch, 38.6° ± 18.6°), negative global alignment (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] −12.8 ± 71.2 mm), and hyperlordosis at C0–2 (mean 33.2° ± 11.8°). The mean ROM was 25.7° ± 17.7° and 21.3° ± 9.9° at C2–7 and C0–2, respectively, with an ROE of approximately 9° for each segment. Limited C0–2 ROM and ROE correlated with the Neck Disability Index (r = −0.371 and −0.394, p < 0.01). The mean number of levels fused was 7.0 ± 3.1 (24.6% anterior, 43.1% posterior), with 87.7% undergoing at least an osteotomy. At 1 year, mean C2–7 increased to 5.5° ± 13.4°, SVA became neutral (11.5 ± 54.8 mm), C0–2 hyperlordosis decreased to 27.8° ± 11.7°, and thoracic kyphosis (TK) increased to −49.4° ± 18.1° (all p < 0.001). Concurrently, mean C0–2 ROM increased to 27.6° ± 8.1° and C2–7 ROM decreased significantly to 9.0° ± 12.3° without a change in ROE. Controlling for horizontal gaze, change in C2–7 lordosis significantly correlated with increased TK (r = −0.617, p < 0.001), decreased C0–2 (r = −0.747, p < 0.001), and increased C0–2 ROE (r = 0.550, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

CD correction can significantly impact cephalad and caudal compensation in the upper cervical and thoracic spine. Restoration of cervical alignment resulted in increased C0–2 ROE and TK and was also associated with improved clinical outcome.

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Elias Elias, Shay Bess, Breton Line, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Eric Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Peter G. Passias, Zeina Nasser, Jeffrey L. Gum, Khal Kebaish, Robert Eastlack, Alan H. Daniels, Gregory Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Alex Soroceanu, D. Kojo Hamilton, Michael P. Kelly, Munish Gupta, Robert Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Douglas Burton, Christopher P. Ames, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, and

OBJECTIVE

The current literature has primarily focused on the 2-year outcomes of operative adult spinal deformity (ASD) treatment. Longer term durability is important given the invasiveness, complications, and costs of these procedures. The aim of this study was to assess minimum 3-year outcomes and complications of ASD surgery.

METHODS

Operatively treated ASD patients were assessed at baseline, follow-up, and through mailings. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society–22r (SRS-22r) questionnaire, mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) of the SF-36, and numeric rating scale (NRS) for back and leg pain. Complications were classified as perioperative (≤ 90 days), delayed (90 days to 2 years), and long term (≥ 2 years). Analyses focused on patients with minimum 3-year follow-up.

RESULTS

Of 569 patients, 427 (75%) with minimum 3-year follow-up (mean ± SD [range] 4.1 ± 1.1 [3.0–9.6] years) had a mean age of 60.8 years and 75% were women. Operative treatment included a posterior approach for 426 patients (99%), with a mean ± SD 12 ± 4 fusion levels. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion was performed in 35 (8%) patients, and 89 (21%) underwent 3-column osteotomy. All PROMs improved significantly from baseline to last follow-up, including scores on ODI (45.4 to 30.5), PCS (31.0 to 38.5), MCS (45.3 to 50.6), SRS-22r total (2.7 to 3.6), SRS-22r activity (2.8 to 3.5), SRS-22r pain (2.3 to 3.4), SRS-22r appearance (2.4 to 3.5), SRS-22r mental (3.4 to 3.7), SRS-22r satisfaction (2.7 to 4.1), NRS for back pain (7.1 to 3.8), and NRS for leg pain (4.8 to 3.0) (all p < 0.001). Degradations in some outcome measures were observed between the 2-year and last follow-up evaluations, but the magnitudes of these degradations were modest and arguably not clinically significant. Overall, 277 (65%) patients had at least 1 complication, including 185 (43%) perioperative, 118 (27%) delayed, and 56 (13%) long term. Notably, the 142 patients who did not achieve 3-year follow-up were similar to the study patients in terms of demographic characteristics, deformities, and baseline PROMs and had similar rates and types of complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This prospective multicenter analysis demonstrated that operative ASD treatment provided significant improvement of health-related quality of life at minimum 3-year follow-up (mean 4.1 years), suggesting that the benefits of surgery for ASD remain durable at longer follow-up. These findings should prove useful for counseling, cost-effectiveness assessments, and efforts to improve the safety of care.

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Peter G. Passias, Sara Naessig, Nicholas Kummer, Lara Passfall, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Breton Line, Bassel G. Diebo, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Han Jo Kim, Robert Eastlack, Alex Soroceanu, Eric O. Klineberg, Robert A. Hart, Douglas Burton, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

This retrospective cohort study aimed to develop a formal predictive model distinguishing between symptomatic and asymptomatic distal junctional kyphosis (DJK). In this study the authors identified a DJK rate of 32.2%. Predictive models were created that can be used with high reliability to help distinguish between severe symptomatic DJK and mild asymptomatic DJK through the use of surgical factors, radiographic parameters, and patient variables.

METHODS

Patients with cervical deformity (CD) were stratified into asymptomatic and symptomatic DJK groups. Symptomatic: 1) DJK angle (DJKA) > 10° and either reoperation due to DJK or > 1 new-onset neurological sequela related to DJK; or 2) either a DJKA > 20° or ∆DJKA > 20°. Asymptomatic: ∆DJK > 10° in the absence of neurological sequelae. Stepwise logistic regressions were used to identify factors associated with these types of DJK. Decision tree analysis established cutoffs.

RESULTS

A total of 99 patients with CD were included, with 32.2% developing DJK (34.3% asymptomatic, 65.7% symptomatic). A total of 37.5% of asymptomatic patients received a reoperation versus 62.5% symptomatic patients. Multivariate analysis identified independent baseline factors for developing symptomatic DJK as follows: pelvic incidence (OR 1.02); preoperative cervical flexibility (OR 1.04); and combined approach (OR 6.2). Having abnormal hyperkyphosis in the thoracic spine, more so than abnormal cervical lordosis, was a factor for developing symptomatic disease when analyzed against asymptomatic patients (OR 1.2). Predictive modeling identified factors that were predictive of symptomatic versus no DJK, as follows: myelopathy (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score 12–14); combined approach; uppermost instrumented vertebra C3 or C4; preoperative hypermobility; and > 7 levels fused (area under the curve 0.89). A predictive model for symptomatic versus asymptomatic disease (area under the curve 0.85) included being frail, T1 slope minus cervical lordosis > 20°, and a pelvic incidence > 46.3°. Controlling for baseline deformity and disability, symptomatic patients had a greater cervical sagittal vertical axis (4–8 cm: 47.6% vs 27%) and were more malaligned according to their Scoliosis Research Society sagittal vertical axis measurement (OR 0.1) than patients without DJK at 1 year (all p < 0.05). Despite their symptomatology and higher reoperation rate, outcomes equilibrated in the symptomatic cohort at 1 year following revision.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, 32.2% of patients with CD suffered from DJK. Symptomatic DJK can be predicted with high reliability. It can be further distinguished from asymptomatic occurrences by taking into account pelvic incidence and baseline cervicothoracic deformity severity.