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Comparison of multilevel low-grade techniques versus three-column osteotomies in adult spinal deformity surgery: does harmonious correction matter?

Peter G. Passias, Tyler K. Williamson, Jamshaid M. Mir, Jordan A. Lebovic, Pooja Dave, Peter S. Tretiakov, Rachel Joujon-Roche, Bailey Imbo, Oscar Krol, Stephane Owusu-Sarpong, Shaleen Vira, Andrew J. Schoenfeld, Alan H. Daniels, Bassel G. Diebo, Renaud Lafage, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

Recent debate has arisen between whether to use a three-column osteotomy (3CO) or multilevel low-grade (MLG) techniques to treat severe sagittal malalignment in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. The goal of this study was to compare the outcomes of 3CO and MLG techniques performed in corrective surgeries for ASD.

METHODS

ASD patients who had a baseline PI-LL > 30° and 2-year follow-up data were included. Patients underwent either 3CO or MLG (thoracolumbar posterior column osteotomies at ≥ 3 levels or anterior lumbar interbody fusion at ≥ 3 levels with no 3CO). The segmental utility ratio was used to assess relative segmental correction (segmental correction divided by overall correction in lordosis divided by the number of thoracolumbar interventions [interbody fusion, thoracolumbar posterior column osteotomies, and 3CO]). The paired t-test was used to assess lordotic distribution by differences in lordosis between adjacent lumbar disc spaces (e.g., L1–2 to L2–3). Multivariate analysis, controlling for age, sex, BMI, osteoporosis, baseline pelvic incidence, and T1 pelvic angle, was used to evaluate the complication rates and radiographic and patient-reported outcomes between the groups.

RESULTS

A total of 93 patients were included, 53% of whom underwent MLG and 47% of whom underwent 3CO. The MLG group had a lower BMI (p < 0.05). MLG patients received fewer previous fusions than 3CO patients (31% vs 80%, p < 0.001). MLG patients had 24% less blood loss but a 22% longer operative time (565 vs 419 minutes, p = 0.008). Using adjusted analysis, the 3CO group had greater segmental and relative correction at each level (segmental utility ratio mean 69% for 3CO vs 23% for MLG, p < 0.001). However, the 3CO group had lordotic differences between two adjacent lumbar disc pairs (range −0.5° to 9.0°, p = 0.009), while MLG was more harmonious (range 2.2°–6.5°, p > 0.4). MLG patients were more likely to undergo realignment to age-adjusted standards (OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.2–46.4; p = 0.033). MLG patients were less likely to develop neurological complications or undergo reoperation (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.1–0.9; p = 0.041). Adjusted analysis revealed that MLG patients more often met a substantial clinical benefit in the Oswestry Disability Index score (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.1–26.8; p = 0.043).

CONCLUSIONS

MLG techniques showed better utility in lumbar distribution and age-adjusted global correction while minimizing neurological complications and reoperation rates by 2 years postoperatively. In selected instances, these techniques may offer the spine deformity surgeon a safer alternative when correcting severe adult spinal deformity.

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Analysis of tranexamic acid usage in adult spinal deformity patients with relative contraindications: does it increase the risk of complications?

Jeffrey P. Mullin, Mohamed A. R. Soliman, Justin S. Smith, Michael P. Kelly, Thomas J. Buell, Bassel Diebo, Justin K. Scheer, Breton Line, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Eric Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Peter G. Passias, Jeffrey L. Gum, Khaled Kebaish, Robert K. Eastlack, Alan H. Daniels, Alex Soroceanu, Gregory Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish C. Gupta, Stephen J. Lewis, Frank J. Schwab, Lawrence G. Lenke, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames, and Douglas Burton

OBJECTIVE

Complex spinal deformity surgeries may involve significant blood loss. The use of antifibrinolytic agents such as tranexamic acid (TXA) has been proven to reduce perioperative blood loss. However, for patients with a history of thromboembolic events, there is concern of increased risk when TXA is used during these surgeries. This study aimed to assess whether TXA use in patients undergoing complex spinal deformity correction surgeries increases the risk of thromboembolic complications based on preexisting thromboembolic risk factors.

METHODS

Data were analyzed for adult patients who received TXA during surgical correction for spinal deformity at 21 North American centers between August 2018 and October 2022. Patients with preexisting thromboembolic events and other risk factors (history of deep venous thrombosis [DVT], pulmonary embolism [PE], myocardial infarction [MI], stroke, peripheral vascular disease, or cancer) were identified. Thromboembolic complication rates were assessed during the postoperative 90 days. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess thromboembolic outcomes in high-risk and low-risk patients who received intravenous TXA.

RESULTS

Among 411 consecutive patients who underwent complex spinal deformity surgery and received TXA intraoperatively, 130 (31.6%) were considered high-risk patients. There was no significant difference in thromboembolic complications between patients with and those without preexisting thromboembolic risk factors in univariate analysis (high-risk group vs low-risk group: 8.5% vs 2.8%, p = 0.45). Specifically, there were no significant differences between groups regarding the 90-day postoperative rates of DVT (high-risk group vs low-risk group: 1.5% vs 1.4%, p = 0.98), PE (2.3% vs 1.8%, p = 0.71), acute MI (1.5% vs 0%, p = 0.19), or stroke (0.8% vs 1.1%, p > 0.99). On multivariate analysis, high-risk status was not a significant independent predictor for any of the thromboembolic complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Administration of intravenous TXA during the correction procedure did not change rates of thromboembolic events, acute MI, or stroke in this cohort of adult spinal deformity surgery patients.

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Stronger association of objective physical metrics with baseline patient-reported outcome measures than preoperative standing sagittal parameters for adult spinal deformity patients

Tej D. Azad, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Alex Soroceanu, Robert K. Eastlack, Renaud Lafage, Khaled M. Kebaish, Robert A. Hart, Bassel Diebo, Michael P. Kelly, Justin S. Smith, Alan H. Daniels, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish Gupta, Eric O. Klineberg, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Shay Bess, Jeffrey L. Gum, Richard Hostin, Stephen J. Lewis, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Douglas Burton, Lawrence G. Lenke, Christopher P. Ames, and Justin K. Scheer

OBJECTIVE

Sagittal alignment measured on standing radiography remains a fundamental component of surgical planning for adult spinal deformity (ASD). However, the relationship between classic sagittal alignment parameters and objective metrics, such as walking time (WT) and grip strength (GS), remains unknown. The objective of this work was to determine if ASD patients with worse baseline sagittal malalignment have worse objective physical metrics and if those metrics have a stronger relationship to patient-reported outcome metrics (PROMs) than standing alignment.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of a multicenter ASD cohort. ASD patients underwent baseline testing with the timed up-and-go 6-m walk test (seconds) and for GS (pounds). Baseline PROMs were surveyed, including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–22r, and Veterans RAND 12 (VR-12) scores. Standard spinopelvic measurements were obtained (sagittal vertical axis [SVA], pelvic tilt [PT], and mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis [PI-LL], and SRS-Schwab ASD classification). Univariate and multivariable linear regression modeling was performed to interrogate associations between objective physical metrics, sagittal parameters, and PROMs.

RESULTS

In total, 494 patients were included, with mean ± SD age 61 ± 14 years, and 68% were female. Average WT was 11.2 ± 6.1 seconds and average GS was 56.6 ± 24.9 lbs. With increasing PT, PI-LL, and SVA quartiles, WT significantly increased (p < 0.05). SRS-Schwab type N patients demonstrated a significantly longer average WT (12.5 ± 6.2 seconds), and type T patients had a significantly shorter WT time (7.9 ± 2.7 seconds, p = 0.03). With increasing PT quartiles, GS significantly decreased (p < 0.05). SRS-Schwab type T patients had a significantly higher average GS (68.8 ± 27.8 lbs), and type L patients had a significantly lower average GS (51.6 ± 20.4 lbs, p = 0.03). In the frailty-adjusted multivariable linear regression analyses, WT was more strongly associated with PROMs than sagittal parameters. GS was more strongly associated with ODI and PROMIS Physical Function scores.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors observed that increasing baseline sagittal malalignment is associated with slower WT, and possibly weaker GS, in ASD patients. WT has a stronger relationship to PROMs than standing alignment parameters. Objective physical metrics likely offer added value to standard spinopelvic measurements in ASD evaluation and surgical planning.

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Are insufficient corrections a major factor in distal junctional kyphosis? A simulated analysis of cervical deformity correction using in-construct measurements

Fares Ani, Ethan Sissman, Dainn Woo, Alex Soroceanu, Gregory Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Justin S. Smith, D. Kojo Hamilton, Han Jo Kim, Alan H. Daniels, Eric O. Klineberg, Brian Neuman, Daniel M. Sciubba, Munish C. Gupta, Khaled M. Kebaish, Peter G. Passias, Robert A. Hart, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, and Themistocles S. Protopsaltis

OBJECTIVE

The present study utilized recently developed in-construct measurements in simulations of cervical deformity surgery in order to assess undercorrection and predict distal junctional kyphosis (DJK).

METHODS

A retrospective review of a database of operative cervical deformity patients was analyzed for severe DJK and mild DJK. C2–lower instrumented vertebra (LIV) sagittal angle (SA) was measured postoperatively, and the correction was simulated in the preoperative radiograph in order to match the C2-LIV by using the planning software. Linear regression analysis that used C2 pelvic angle (CPA) and pelvic tilt (PT) determined the simulated PT that matched the virtual CPA. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the C2–T1 SA, C2–T4 SA, and C2–T10 SA that corresponded to DJK of 20° and cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) of 40 mm.

RESULTS

Sixty-nine cervical deformity patients were included. Severe and mild DJK occurred in 11 (16%) and 22 (32%) patients, respectively; 3 (4%) required DJK revision. Simulated corrections demonstrated that severe and mild DJK patients had worse alignment compared to non-DJK patients in terms of cSVA (42.5 mm vs 33.0 mm vs 23.4 mm, p < 0.001) and C2-LIV SVA (68.9 mm vs 57.3 mm vs 36.8 mm, p < 0.001). Linear regression revealed the relationships between in-construct measures (C2–T1 SA, C2–T4 SA, and C2–T10 SA), cSVA, and change in DJK (all R > 0.57, p < 0.001). A cSVA of 40 mm corresponded to C2–T4 SA of 10.4° and C2–T10 SA of 28.0°. A DJK angle change of 10° corresponded to C2–T4 SA of 5.8° and C2–T10 SA of 20.1°.

CONCLUSIONS

Simulated cervical deformity corrections demonstrated that severe DJK patients have insufficient corrections compared to patients without DJK. In-construct measures assess sagittal alignment within the fusion separate from DJK and subjacent compensation. They can be useful as intraoperative tools to gauge the adequacy of cervical deformity correction.

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Predictors of pelvic tilt normalization: a multicenter study on the impact of regional and lower-extremity compensation on pelvic alignment after complex adult spinal deformity surgery

Pooja Dave, Renaud Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Breton G. Line, Peter S. Tretiakov, Jamshaid Mir, Bassel Diebo, Alan H. Daniels, Jeffrey L. Gum, D. Kojo Hamilton, Thomas Buell, Khoi D. Than, Kai-Ming Fu, Justin K. Scheer, Robert Eastlack, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Gregory Mundis Jr., Naobumi Hosogane, Mitsuru Yagi, Pierce Nunley, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Eric O. Klineberg, Khaled M. Kebaish, Stephen Lewis, Richard A. Hostin Jr., Munish C. Gupta, Han Jo Kim, Christopher P. Ames, Robert A. Hart, Lawrence G. Lenke, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Douglas C. Burton, and Peter G. Passias

OBJECTIVE

The objective was to determine the degree of regional decompensation to pelvic tilt (PT) normalization after complex adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

Operative ASD patients with 1 year of PT measurements were included. Patients with normalized PT at baseline were excluded. Predicted PT was compared to actual PT, tested for change from baseline, and then compared against age-adjusted, Scoliosis Research Society–Schwab, and global alignment and proportion (GAP) scores. Lower-extremity (LE) parameters included the cranial-hip-sacrum angle, cranial-knee-sacrum angle, and cranial-ankle-sacrum angle. LE compensation was set as the 1-year upper tertile compared with intraoperative baseline. Univariate analyses were used to compare normalized and nonnormalized data against alignment outcomes. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to develop a model consisting of significant predictors for normalization related to regional compensation.

RESULTS

In total, 156 patients met the inclusion criteria (mean ± SD age 64.6 ± 9.1 years, BMI 27.9 ± 5.6 kg/m2, Charlson Comorbidity Index 1.9 ± 1.6). Patients with normalized PT were more likely to have overcorrected pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis and sagittal vertical axis at 6 weeks (p < 0.05). GAP score at 6 weeks was greater for patients with nonnormalized PT (0.6 vs 1.3, p = 0.08). At baseline, 58.5% of patients had compensation in the thoracic and cervical regions. Postoperatively, compensation was maintained by 42% with no change after matching in age-adjusted or GAP score. The patients with nonnormalized PT had increased rates of thoracic and cervical compensation (p < 0.05). Compensation in thoracic kyphosis differed between patients with normalized PT at 6 weeks and those with normalized PT at 1 year (69% vs 35%, p < 0.05). Those who compensated had increased rates of implant complications by 1 year (OR [95% CI] 2.08 [1.32–6.56], p < 0.05). Cervical compensation was maintained at 6 weeks and 1 year (56% vs 43%, p = 0.12), with no difference in implant complications (OR 1.31 [95% CI −2.34 to 1.03], p = 0.09). For the lower extremities at baseline, 61% were compensating. Matching age-adjusted alignment did not eliminate compensation at any joint (all p > 0.05). Patients with nonnormalized PT had higher rates of LE compensation across joints (all p < 0.01). Overall, patients with normalized PT at 1 year had the greatest odds of resolving LE compensation (OR 9.6, p < 0.001). Patients with normalized PT at 1 year had lower rates of implant failure (8.9% vs 19.5%, p < 0.05), rod breakage (1.3% vs 13.8%, p < 0.05), and pseudarthrosis (0% vs 4.6%, p < 0.05) compared with patients with nonnormalized PT. The complication rate was significantly lower for patients with normalized PT at 1 year (56.7% vs 66.1%, p = 0.02), despite comparable health-related quality of life scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with PT normalization had greater rates of resolution in thoracic and LE compensation, leading to lower rates of complications by 1 year. Thus, consideration of both the lower extremities and thoracic regions in surgical planning is vital to preventing adverse outcomes and maintaining pelvic alignment.

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Determining the best vertebra for measuring pelvic incidence and spinopelvic parameters in adult spinal deformity patients with transitional anatomy

Fares Ani, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Yesha Parekh, Khalid Odeh, Renaud Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Robert K. Eastlack, Lawrence Lenke, Frank Schwab, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Munish C. Gupta, Eric O. Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Robert Hart, Douglas Burton, Christopher P. Ames, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Shay Bess

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine if spinal deformity patients with L5 sacralization should have pelvic incidence (PI) and other spinopelvic parameters measured from the L5 or S1 endplate.

METHODS

This study was a multicenter retrospective comparative cohort study comprising a large database of adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients and a database of asymptomatic individuals. Linear regression modeling was used to determine normative T1 pelvic angle (TPA) and PI − lumbar lordosis (LL) mismatch (PI-LL) based on PI and age in a database of asymptomatic subjects. In an ASD database, patients with radiographic evidence of L5 sacralization had the PI, LL, and TPA measured from the superior endplate of S1 and then also from L5. The differences in TPA and PI-LL from normative were calculated in the sacralization cohort relative to L5 and S1 and correlated to the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Patients were grouped based on the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–Schwab PI-LL modifier (0, +, or ++) using the L5 PI-LL and S1 PI-LL. Baseline ODI and SF-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores were compared across and within groups.

RESULTS

Among 1179 ASD patients, 276 (23.4%) had transitional anatomy, 176 with sacralized L5 (14.9%) and 100 (8.48%) with lumbarization of S1. The 176 patients with sacralized L5 were analyzed. When measured using the L5 superior endplate, pelvic parameters were significantly smaller than those measured relative to S1 (PI: 24.5° ± 11.0° vs 55.7° ± 12.0°, p = 0.001;TPA: 11.2° ± 12.0° vs 20.3° ± 12.5°, p = 0.001; and PI-LL: 0.67° ± 21.1° vs 11.4° ± 20.8°, p = 0.001). When measured from S1, 76 (43%), 45 (25.6%), and 55 (31.3%) patients had SRS-Schwab PI-LL modifiers of 0, +, and ++, respectively, compared with 124 (70.5%), 22 (12.5%), and 30 (17.0%), respectively, when measured from L5. There were significant differences in ODI and PCS scores as the SRS-Schwab grade increased regardless of L5 or S1 measurement. The L5 group had lower PCS functional scores for SRS-Schwab modifiers 0 and ++ relative to same grades in the S1 group. Offset from normative TPA (0.5° ± 11.1° vs 9.6° ± 10.8°, p = 0.001) and PI-LL (4.5° ± 20.4° vs 15.2° ± 19.3°, p = 0.001) were smaller when measuring from L5. Moreover, S1 measurements were more correlated with health status by ODI (TPA offset from normative: S1, R = 0.326 vs L5, R = 0.285; PI-LL offset from normative: S1, R = 0.318 vs L5, R = 0.274).

CONCLUSIONS

Measuring the PI and spinopelvic parameters at L5 in sacralized anatomy results in underestimating spinal deformity and is less correlated with health-related quality of life. Surgeons may consider measuring PI and spinopelvic parameters relative to S1 rather than at L5 in patients with a sacralized L5.

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Economic burden of nonoperative treatment of adult spinal deformity

Peter G. Passias, Waleed Ahmad, Pooja Dave, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Jamshaid Mir, Eric O. Klineberg, Khaled M. Kabeish, Jeffrey L. Gum, Breton G. Line, Robert Hart, Douglas Burton, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Richard Hostin, Thomas Buell, D. Kojo Hamilton, and Shay Bess

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the cost utility of nonoperative treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

Nonoperatively and operatively treated patients who met database criteria for ASD and in whom complete radiographic and health-related quality of life data at baseline and at 2 years were available were included. A cost analysis was completed on the PearlDiver database assessing the average cost of nonoperative treatment prior to surgical intervention based on previously published treatments (NSAIDs, narcotics, muscle relaxants, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, and chiropractor). Utility data were calculated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) converted to SF-6D with published conversion methods. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) used a 3% discount rate to account for residual decline in life expectancy (78.7 years). Minor and major comorbidities and complications were assessed according to the CMS.gov manual’s definitions. Successful nonoperative treatment was defined as a gain in the minimum clinically importance difference (MCID) in both ODI and Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–pain scores, and failure was defined as a loss in MCID or conversion to operative treatment. Patients with baseline ODI ≤ 20 and continued ODI of ≤ 20 at 2 years were considered nonoperative successful maintenance. The average utilization of nonoperative treatment and cost were applied to the ASD cohort.

RESULTS

A total of 824 patients were included (mean age 58.24 years, 81% female, mean body mass index 27.2 kg/m2). Overall, 75.5% of patients were in the operative and 24.5% were in the nonoperative cohort. At baseline patients in the operative cohort were significantly older, had a greater body mass index, increased pelvic tilt, and increased pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (all p < 0.05). With respect to deformity, patients in the operative group had higher rates of severe (i.e., ++) sagittal deformity according to SRS–Schwab modifiers for pelvic tilt, sagittal vertical axis, and pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (p < 0.05). At 2 years, patients in the operative cohort showed significantly increased rates of a gain in MCID for physical component summary of SF-36, ODI, and SRS-activity, SRS-pain, SRS-appearance, and SRS-mental scores. Cost analysis showed the average cost of nonoperative treatment 2 years prior to surgical intervention to be $2041. Overall, at 2 years patients in the nonoperative cohort had again in ODI of 0.36, did not show a gain in QALYs, and nonoperative treatment was determined to be cost-ineffective. However, a subset of patients in this cohort underwent successful maintenance treatment and had a decrease in ODI of 1.1 and a gain in utility of 0.006 at 2 years. If utility gained for this cohort was sustained to full life expectancy, patients’ cost per QALY was $18,934 compared to a cost per QALY gained of $70,690.79 for posterior-only and $48,273.49 for combined approach in patients in the operative cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with ASD undergoing operative treatment at baseline had greater sagittal deformity and greater improvement in health-related quality of life postoperatively compared to patients treated nonoperatively. Additionally, patients in the nonoperative cohort overall had an increase in ODI and did not show improvement in utility gained. Patients in the nonoperative cohort who had low disability and sagittal deformity underwent successful maintenance and cost-effective treatment.

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Should realignment goals vary based on patient frailty status in adult spinal deformity?

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on the Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Peter G. Passias, Jamshaid M. Mir, Tyler K. Williamson, Peter S. Tretiakov, Pooja Dave, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, and Andrew J. Schoenfeld

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to adjust the sagittal age-adjusted score (SAAS) to accommodate frailty in alignment considerations and thereby increase the predictability of clinical outcomes and junctional failure.

METHODS

Surgical adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients with 2-year data were included. Frailty was assessed with the continuous ASD modified frailty index (ASD-mFI). Two-year outcomes were proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), proximal junctional failure (PJF), major mechanical complications, and best clinical outcome (BCO), defined as Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score < 15 and Scoliosis Research Society outcomes questionnaire total score > 4.5 by 2 years. Linear regression analysis established a 6-week score based on the component scores of SAAS, frailty, and US normal values for ODI score. Logistic regression analysis followed by conditional inference tree run forest analysis generated categorical thresholds. Multivariate analysis, controlling for age, baseline deformity, and history of revision, was used to compare outcome rates, and logistic regression generated odds ratios for the continuous score. Thirty percent of the cohort was used as a random sample for internal validation.

RESULTS

In total, 412 patients were included (mean ± SD age 60.1 ± 14.2 years, 80% female, BMI 26.9 ± 5.4 kg/m2). Baseline frailty categories were as follows: 57% not frail, 30% frail, and 14% severely frail. Overall, by 2 years, 39% of patients had developed PJK, 8% PJF, and 21% mechanical complications; 22% had undergone a reoperation; and 15% met BCO. When the cohort as a whole was assessed, the 6-week SAAS had a correlation with the development of PJK and PJF, but not mechanical complications, reoperation, or BCO. Development of mechanical complications, PJF, reoperation, and BCO demonstrated correlations with ASD-mFI (all p < 0.05). Regression analysis modifying SAAS on the basis of ODI norms and frailty generated the following equation: frailty-adjusted SAAS (FAS) = 0.108 × T1 pelvic angle + 0.162 × pelvic tilt − 0.39 × pelvic incidence − lumbar lordosis − 0.03 × ASD-mFI − 1.6771. With conditional inference tree analysis, thresholds were derived for FAS: aligned < 1.7, offset 1.7–2.2, and severely offset > 2.2. Significance between FAS categories was found for PJK, PJF, mechanical complications, reoperation, and BCO by 2 years. Binary logistic regression, controlling for baseline deformity and revision status, demonstrated significance between FAS and all 5 outcome variables (all p < 0.01). Internal validation saw each outcome variable maintain significance between categories, with even greater odds for PJF (OR 13.4, 95% CI 4.7–38.3, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Consideration of physiological age, in addition to chronological age, may be beneficial in the management of operative goals to maximize clinical outcomes while minimizing junctional failure. This combination enables the spine surgeon to fortify a surgical plan for even the most challenging patients undergoing ASD corrective surgery.

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Predictive role of global spinopelvic alignment and upper instrumented vertebra level in symptomatic proximal junctional kyphosis in adult spinal deformity

Jichao Ye, Sachin Gupta, Ali S. Farooqi, Tsung Yin, Alex Soroceanu, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Michael P. Kelly, Khaled Kebaish, Richard Hostin, Jeffrey L. Gum, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Eric O. Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Robert A. Hart, D. Kojo Hamilton, Christopher P. Ames, and Munish C. Gupta

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study sought to evaluate the predictive role of global sagittal alignment and upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) level in symptomatic proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) among patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

Data on ASD patients who had undergone fusion of ≥ 5 vertebrae from 2008 to 2018 and with a minimum follow-up of 1 year were obtained from a prospectively collected multicenter database and evaluated (n = 1312). Radiographs were obtained preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years postoperatively. The 22-Item Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire Revised (SRS-22r) scores were collected preoperatively, 1 year postoperatively, and 2 years postoperatively. Symptomatic PJK was defined as a kyphotic increase > 20° in the Cobb angle from the UIV to the UIV+2. At 6 weeks postoperatively, sagittal parameters were evaluated and patients were categorized by global alignment and proportion (GAP) score/category and SRS-Schwab sagittal modifiers. Patients were stratified by UIV level: upper thoracic (UT) UIV ≥ T8 or lower thoracic (LT) UIV ≤ T9.

RESULTS

Patients who developed symptomatic PJK (n = 260) had worse 1-year postoperative SRS-22r mental health (3.70 vs 3.86) and total (3.56 vs 3.67) scores, as well as worse 2-year postoperative self-image (3.45 vs 3.65) and satisfaction (4.03 vs 4.22) scores (all p ≤ 0.04). In the whole study cohort, patients with PJK had less pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch (−0.24° vs 3.29°, p < 0.001) but no difference in their GAP score/category or SRS-Schwab sagittal modifiers compared with the patients without PJK. Regression showed a higher risk of PJK with a pelvic tilt (PT) grade ++ (OR 2.35) and less risk with a PI-LL grade ++ (OR 0.35; both p < 0.01). When specifically analyzing the LT UIV cohort, patients with PJK had a higher GAP score (5.66 vs 4.79), greater PT (23.02° vs 20.90°), and less PI-LL mismatch (1.61° vs 4.45°; all p ≤ 0.02). PJK patients were less likely to be proportioned postoperatively (17.6% vs 30.0%, p = 0.015), and regression demonstrated a greater PJK risk with severe disproportion (OR 1.98) and a PT grade ++ (OR 3.15) but less risk with a PI-LL grade ++ (OR 0.45; all p ≤ 0.01). When specifically evaluating the UT UIV cohort, the PJK patients had less PI-LL mismatch (−2.11° vs 1.45°) but no difference in their GAP score/category. Regression showed a greater PJK risk with a PT grade + (OR 1.58) and a decreased risk with a PI-LL grade ++ (OR 0.21; both p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Symptomatic PJK leads to worse patient-reported outcomes and is associated with less postoperative PI-LL mismatch and greater postoperative PT. A worse postoperative GAP score and disproportion are only predictive of symptomatic PJK in patients with an LT UIV.

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Are we improving in the optimization of surgery for high-risk adult cervical spine deformity patients over time?

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Peter G. Passias, Peter S. Tretiakov, Justin S. Smith, Renaud Lafage, Bassel Diebo, Justin K. Scheer, Robert K. Eastlack, Alan H. Daniels, Eric O. Klineberg, Khaled M. Khabeish, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Jay D. Turner, Munish C. Gupta, Han Jo Kim, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Virginie Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, and Christopher I. Shaffrey

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate whether surgery for high-risk patients is being optimized over time and if poor outcomes are being minimized.

METHODS

Patients who underwent surgery for cervical deformity (CD) and were ≥ 18 years with baseline and 2-year data were stratified by year of surgery from 2013 to 2018. The cohort was divided into two groups based on when the surgery was performed. Patients in the early cohort underwent surgery between 2013 and 2015 and those in the recent cohort underwent surgery between 2016 and 2018. High-risk patients met at least 2 of the following criteria: 1) baseline C2–7 Cobb angle > 15°, mismatch between T1 slope and cervical lordosis ≥ 35°, C2–7 sagittal vertical axis > 4 cm, or chin-brow vertical angle > 25°; 2) age ≥ 70 years; 3) severe baseline frailty (Miller index); 4) Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) ≥ 1 SD above the mean; 5) three-column osteotomy as treatment; and 6) fusion > 10 levels or > 7 levels for elderly patients. The mean comparison analysis assessed differences between groups. Stepwise multivariable linear regression described associations between increasing year of surgery and complications.

RESULTS

Eighty-two CD patients met high-risk criteria (mean age 62.11 ± 10.87 years, 63.7% female, mean BMI 29.70 ± 8.16 kg/m2, and mean CCI 1.07 ± 1.45). The proportion of high-risk patients increased with time, with 41.8% of patients in the early cohort classified as high risk compared with 47.6% of patients in the recent cohort (p > 0.05). Recent high-risk patients were more likely to be female (p = 0.008), have a lower BMI (p = 0.038), and have a higher baseline CCI (p = 0.013). Surgically, high-risk patients in the recent cohort were more likely to undergo low-grade osteotomy (p = 0.003). By postoperative complications, recent high-risk patients were less likely to experience any postoperative adverse events overall (p = 0.020) or complications such as dysphagia (p = 0.045) at 2 years. Regression analysis revealed increasing year of surgery to be correlated with decreasing minor complication rates (p = 0.030), as well as lowered rates of distal junctional kyphosis by 2 years (p = 0.048).

CONCLUSIONS

Over time, high-risk CD patients have an increase in frequency and comorbidity rates but have demonstrated improved postoperative outcomes. These findings suggest that spine surgeons have improved over time in optimizing selection and reducing potential adverse events in high-risk patients.