The purpose of this study was to analyze risk factors for sacral fracture following noninstrumented partial sacral amputation for en bloc chordoma resection.
A multicenter retrospective chart review identified patients who underwent noninstrumented partial sacral amputation for en bloc chordoma resection with pre- and postoperative imaging. Hounsfield units (HU) were measured in the S1 level. Sacral amputation level nomenclature was based on the highest sacral level with bone removed (e.g., S1 foramen amputation at the S1–2 vestigial disc is an S2 sacral amputation). Variables collected included basic demographics, patient comorbidities, surgical approach, preoperative radiographic details, neoadjuvant and adjuvant radiation therapy, and postoperative sacral fracture data.
A total of 101 patients (60 men, 41 women) were included; they had an average age of 69 years, BMI of 29 kg/m2, and follow-up of 60 months. The sacral amputation level was S1 (2%), S2 (37%), S3 (44%), S4 (9%), and S5 (9%). Patients had a posterior-only approach (77%) or a combined anterior–posterior approach (23%), with 10 patients (10%) having partial sacroiliac (SI) joint resection. Twenty-seven patients (27%) suffered a postoperative sacral fracture, all occurring between 1 and 7 months after the index surgery. Multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated S1 or S2 sacral amputation level (p = 0.001), combined anterior–posterior approach (p = 0.0064), and low superior S1 HU (p = 0.027) to be independent predictors of sacral fracture. The fracture rate for patients with superior S1 HU < 225, 225–300, and > 300 was 38%, 15%, and 9%, respectively. An optimal superior S1 HU cutoff of 300 was found to maximize sensitivity (89%) and specificity (42%) in predicting postamputation sacral fracture. In addition, the fracture rate for patients who underwent partial SI joint resection was 100%.
Patients with S1 or S2 partial sacral amputations, a combined anterior–posterior surgical approach, low superior S1 HU, and partial SI joint resection are at higher risk for postoperative sacral fracture following en bloc chordoma resection and should be considered for spinopelvic instrumentation at the index procedure.