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Justin S. Smith, Ellen Shaffrey, Eric Klineberg, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Justin K. Scheer, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Kai-Ming G. Fu, Munish C. Gupta, Richard Hostin, Vedat Deviren, Khaled Kebaish, Robert Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Breton Line, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

Object

Improved understanding of rod fracture (RF) following adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery could prove valuable for surgical planning, patient counseling, and implant design. The objective of this study was to prospectively assess the rates of and risk factors for RF following surgery for ASD.

Methods

This was a prospective, multicenter, consecutive series. Inclusion criteria were ASD, age > 18 years, ≥5 levels posterior instrumented fusion, baseline full-length standing spine radiographs, and either development of RF or full-length standing spine radiographs obtained at least 1 year after surgery that demonstrated lack of RF. ASD was defined as presence of at least one of the following: coronal Cobb angle ≥20°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) ≥5 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) ≥25°, and thoracic kyphosis ≥60°.

Results

Of 287 patients who otherwise met inclusion criteria, 200 (70%) either demonstrated RF or had radiographic imaging obtained at a minimum of 1 year after surgery showing lack of RF. The patients' mean age was 54.8 ± 15.8 years; 81% were women; 10% were smokers; the mean body mass index (BMI) was 27.1 ± 6.5; the mean number of levels fused was 12.0 ± 3.8; and 50 patients (25%) had a pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO). The rod material was cobalt chromium (CC) in 53%, stainless steel (SS), in 26%, or titanium alloy (TA) in 21% of cases; the rod diameters were 5.5 mm (in 68% of cases), 6.0 mm (in 13%), or 6.35 mm (in 19%). RF occurred in 18 cases (9.0%) at a mean of 14.7 months (range 3–27 months); patients without RF had a mean follow-up of 19 months (range 12–24 months). Patients with RF were older (62.3 vs 54.1 years, p = 0.036), had greater BMI (30.6 vs 26.7, p = 0.019), had greater baseline sagittal malalignment (SVA 11.8 vs 5.0 cm, p = 0.001; PT 29.1° vs 21.9°, p = 0.016; and pelvic incidence [PI]–lumbar lordosis [LL] mismatch 29.6° vs 12.0°, p = 0.002), and had greater sagittal alignment correction following surgery (SVA reduction by 9.6 vs 2.8 cm, p < 0.001; and PI-LL mismatch reduction by 26.3° vs 10.9°, p = 0.003). RF occurred in 22.0% of patients with PSO (10 of the 11 fractures occurred adjacent to the PSO level), with rates ranging from 10.0% to 31.6% across centers. CC rods were used in 68% of PSO cases, including all with RF. Smoking, levels fused, and rod diameter did not differ significantly between patients with and without RF (p > 0.05). In cases including a PSO, the rate of RF was significantly higher with CC rods than with TA or SS rods (33% vs 0%, p = 0.010). On multivariate analysis, only PSO was associated with RF (p = 0.001, OR 5.76, 95% CI 2.01–15.8).

Conclusions

Rod fracture occurred in 9.0% of ASD patients and in 22.0% of PSO patients with a minimum of 1-year follow-up. With further follow-up these rates would likely be even higher. There was a substantial range in the rate of RF with PSO across centers, suggesting potential variations in technique that warrant future investigation. Due to higher rates of RF with PSO, alternative instrumentation strategies should be considered for these cases.

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Kseniya Slobodyanyuk, Caroline E. Poorman, Justin S. Smith, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Richard Hostin, Shay Bess, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Frank J. Schwab and Virginie Lafage

Object

The goal of this study was to determine the outcome and risk factors in patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) who elected to receive nonoperative care.

Methods

In this retrospective study the authors reviewed a nonoperative branch of the International Spine Study Group database, derived from 10 sites across the US. Specific inclusion criteria included nonoperative treatment for ASD and the availability of Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-22 scores and radiographic data at baseline (BL) and at 1-year (1Y) follow-up. Health-related quality of life measures were assessed using the SRS-22 and radiographic data. Changes in SRS-22 scores were evaluated by domain and expressed in number of minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) gained or lost; BL and 1Y scores were also compared with age- and sex-matched normative references.

Results

One hundred eighty-nine patients (mean age 53 years, 86% female) met inclusion criteria. Pain was the domain with the largest offset for 43% of patients, followed by the Appearance (23%), Activity (18%), and Mental (15%) domains. On average, patients improved 0.3 MCID in Pain over 1Y, without changes in Activity or Appearance. Baseline scores significantly impacted 1Y outcomes, with up to 85% of patients in the mildest category of deformity being classified as < 1 MCID of normative reference at 1Y, versus 0% of patients with the most severe initial deformity. Baseline radiographic parameters did not correlate with outcome.

Conclusions

Patients who received nonoperative care are significantly more disabled than age- and sex-matched normative references. The likelihood for a patient to reach SRS scores similar to the normative reference at 1Y decreases with increased BL disability. Nonoperative treatment is a viable option for certain patients with ASD, and up to 24% of patients demonstrated significant improvement over 1Y with nonoperative care.

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Raqeeb M. Haque, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Yousef Ahmed, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Michael Y. Wang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Juan S. Uribe, David O. Okonkwo, Robert K. Eastlack, Neel Anand, Adam S. Kanter, Frank La Marca, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Paul Park, Virginie Lafage, Jamie S. Terran, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric Klineberg, Vedat Deviren and Richard G. Fessler

Object

Various surgical approaches, including open, minimally invasive, and hybrid techniques, have gained momentum in the management of adult spinal deformity. However, few data exist on the radiographic outcomes of different surgical techniques. The objective of this study was to compare the radiographic and clinical outcomes of the surgical techniques used in the treatment of adult spinal deformity.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of two adult spinal deformity patient databases, a prospective open surgery database and a retrospective minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and hybrid surgery database. The time frame of enrollment in this study was from 2007 to 2012. Spinal deformity patients were stratified into 3 surgery groups: MIS, hybrid surgery, and open surgery. The following pre- and postoperative radiographic parameters were assessed: lumbar major Cobb angle, lumbar lordosis, pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI−LL), sagittal vertical axis, and pelvic tilt. Scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and a visual analog scale (VAS) for both back and leg pain were also obtained from each patient.

Results

Of the 234 patients with adult spinal deformity, 184 patients had pre- and postoperative radiographs and were thus included in the study (MIS, n = 42; hybrid, n = 33; open, n = 109). Patients were a mean of 61.7 years old and had a mean body mass index of 26.9 kg/m2. Regarding radiographic outcomes, the MIS group maintained a significantly smaller mean lumbar Cobb angle (13.1°) after surgery compared with the open group (20.4°, p = 0.002), while the hybrid group had a significantly larger lumbar curve correction (26.6°) compared with the MIS group (18.8°, p = 0.045). The mean change in the PI−LL was larger for the hybrid group (20.6°) compared with the open (10.2°, p = 0.023) and MIS groups (5.5°, p = 0.003). The mean sagittal vertical axis correction was greater for the open group (25 mm) compared with the MIS group (≤ 1 mm, p = 0.008). Patients in the open group had a significantly larger postoperative thoracic kyphosis (41.45°) compared with the MIS patients (33.5°, p = 0.005). There were no significant differences between groups in terms of pre- and postoperative mean ODI and VAS scores at the 1-year follow-up. However, patients in the MIS group had much lower estimated blood loss and transfusion rates compared with patients in the hybrid or open groups (p < 0.001). Operating room time was significantly longer with the hybrid group compared with the MIS and open groups (p < 0.001). Major complications occurred in 14% of patients in the MIS group, 14% in the hybrid group, and 45% in the open group (p = 0.032).

Conclusions

This study provides valuable baseline characteristics of radiographic parameters among 3 different surgical techniques used in the treatment of adult spinal deformity. Each technique has advantages, but much like any surgical technique, the positive and negative elements must be considered when tailoring a treatment to a patient. Minimally invasive surgical techniques can result in clinical outcomes at 1 year comparable to those obtained from hybrid and open surgical techniques.

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Juan S. Uribe, Armen R. Deukmedjian, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Robert Eastlack, Michael Y. Wang, Neel Anand, Richard G. Fessler, Frank La Marca, Paul Park, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Shay Bess and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

It is hypothesized that minimally invasive surgical techniques lead to fewer complications than open surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD). The goal of this study was to analyze matched patient cohorts in an attempt to isolate the impact of approach on adverse events.

Methods

Two multicenter databases queried for patients with ASD treated via surgery and at least 1 year of follow-up revealed 280 patients who had undergone minimally invasive surgery (MIS) or a hybrid procedure (HYB; n = 85) or open surgery (OPEN; n = 195). These patients were divided into 3 separate groups based on the approach performed and were propensity matched for age, preoperative sagittal vertebral axis (SVA), number of levels fused posteriorly, and lumbar coronal Cobb angle (CCA) in an attempt to neutralize these patient variables and to make conclusions based on approach only. Inclusion criteria for both databases were similar, and inclusion criteria specific to this study consisted of an age > 45 years, CCA > 20°, 3 or more levels of fusion, and minimum of 1 year of follow-up. Patients in the OPEN group with a thoracic CCA > 75° were excluded to further ensure a more homogeneous patient population.

Results

In all, 60 matched patients were available for analysis (MIS = 20, HYB = 20, OPEN = 20). Blood loss was less in the MIS group than in the HYB and OPEN groups, but a significant difference was only found between the MIS and the OPEN group (669 vs 2322 ml, p = 0.001). The MIS and HYB groups had more fused interbody levels (4.5 and 4.1, respectively) than the OPEN group (1.6, p < 0.001). The OPEN group had less operative time than either the MIS or HYB group, but it was only statistically different from the HYB group (367 vs 665 minutes, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the duration of hospital stay among the groups. In patients with complete data, the overall complication rate was 45.5% (25 of 55). There was no significant difference in the total complication rate among the MIS, HYB, and OPEN groups (30%, 47%, and 63%, respectively; p = 0.147). No intraoperative complications were reported for the MIS group, 5.3% for the HYB group, and 25% for the OPEN group (p < 0.03). At least one postoperative complication occurred in 30%, 47%, and 50% (p = 0.40) of the MIS, HYB, and OPEN groups, respectively. One major complication occurred in 30%, 47%, and 63% (p = 0.147) of the MIS, HYB, and OPEN groups, respectively. All patients had significant improvement in both the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale scores after surgery (p < 0.001), although the MIS group did not have significant improvement in leg pain. The occurrence of complications had no impact on the ODI.

Conclusions

Results in this study suggest that the surgical approach may impact complications. The MIS group had significantly fewer intraoperative complications than did either the HYB or OPEN groups. If the goals of ASD surgery can be achieved, consideration should be given to less invasive techniques.

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Michael Y. Wang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Neel Anand, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Frank La Marca, Richard Fessler, Juan Uribe, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Raqeeb M. Haque, Vedat Deviren and Gregory M. Mundis Jr.

Object

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) options for the treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD) have advanced significantly over the past decade. However, a wide array of options have been described as being MIS or less invasive. In this study the authors investigated a multiinstitutional cohort of patients with ASD who were treated with less invasive methods to determine the extent of deformity correction achieved.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of multicenter prospectively collected data in 85 consecutive patients with ASD undergoing MIS surgery. Inclusion criteria were as follows: age older than 45 years; minimum 20° coronal lumbar Cobb angle; and 1 year of follow-up. Procedures were classified as follows: 1) stand-alone (n = 7); 2) circumferential MIS (n = 43); or 3) hybrid (n = 35).

Results

An average of 4.2 discs (range 3–7) were fused, with a mean follow-up duration of 26.1 months in this study. For the stand-alone group the preoperative Cobb range was 22°–51°, with 57% greater than 30° and 28.6% greater than 50°. The mean Cobb angle improved from 35.7° to 30°. A ceiling effect of 23° for curve correction was observed, regardless of preoperative curve severity. For the circumferential MIS group the preoperative Cobb range was 19°–62°, with 44% greater than 30° and 5% greater than 50°. The mean Cobb angle improved from 32° to 12°. A ceiling effect of 34° for curve correction was observed. For the hybrid group the preoperative Cobb range was 23°–82°, with 74% greater than 30° and 23% greater than 50°. The mean Cobb angle improved from 43° to 15°. A ceiling effect of 55° for curve correction was observed.

Conclusions

Specific procedures for treating ASD have particular limitations for scoliotic curve correction. Less invasive techniques were associated with a reduced ability to straighten the spine, particularly with advanced curves. These data can guide preoperative technique selection when treating patients with ASD.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Lawrence G. Lenke, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Frank La Marca, Justin S. Smith, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., David O. Okonkwo, Bertrand Moal, Richard G. Fessler, Neel Anand, Juan S. Uribe, Adam S. Kanter, Behrooz Akbarnia and Kai-Ming G. Fu

Object

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is an alternative to open deformity surgery for the treatment of patients with adult spinal deformity. However, at this time MIS techniques are not as versatile as open deformity techniques, and MIS techniques have been reported to result in suboptimal sagittal plane correction or pseudarthrosis when used for severe deformities. The minimally invasive spinal deformity surgery (MISDEF) algorithm was created to provide a framework for rational decision making for surgeons who are considering MIS versus open spine surgery.

Methods

A team of experienced spinal deformity surgeons developed the MISDEF algorithm that incorporates a patient's preoperative radiographic parameters and leads to one of 3 general plans ranging from MIS direct or indirect decompression to open deformity surgery with osteotomies. The authors surveyed fellowship-trained spine surgeons experienced with spinal deformity surgery to validate the algorithm using a set of 20 cases to establish interobserver reliability. They then resurveyed the same surgeons 2 months later with the same cases presented in a different sequence to establish intraobserver reliability. Responses were collected and tabulated. Fleiss' analysis was performed using MATLAB software.

Results

Over a 3-month period, 11 surgeons completed the surveys. Responses for MISDEF algorithm case review demonstrated an interobserver kappa of 0.58 for the first round of surveys and an interobserver kappa of 0.69 for the second round of surveys, consistent with substantial agreement. In at least 10 cases there was perfect agreement between the reviewing surgeons. The mean intraobserver kappa for the 2 surveys was 0.86 ± 0.15 (± SD) and ranged from 0.62 to 1.

Conclusions

The use of the MISDEF algorithm provides consistent and straightforward guidance for surgeons who are considering either an MIS or an open approach for the treatment of patients with adult spinal deformity. The MISDEF algorithm was found to have substantial inter- and intraobserver agreement. Although further studies are needed, the application of this algorithm could provide a platform for surgeons to achieve the desired goals of surgery.

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Justin K. Scheer, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Ian M. McCarthy, Gregory M. Mundis, Douglas C. Burton, Eric Klineberg, Munish C. Gupta, Khaled M. Kebaish, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

Object

Spinal osteotomies for adult spinal deformity correction may include resection of all 3 spinal columns (pedicle subtraction osteotomy [PSO] and vertebral column resection [VCR]). The relationship between patient age and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes for patients undergoing major spinal deformity correction via PSO or VCR has not been well characterized. The goal of this study was to characterize that relationship.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of 374 patients who had undergone a 3-column osteotomy (299 PSOs and 75 VCRs) and were part of a prospectively collected, multicenter adult spinal deformity database. The consecutively enrolled patients were drawn from 11 sites across the United States. Health-related QOL outcomes, according to the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36, physical component score [PCS] and mental component score), and Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS), were evaluated preoperatively and 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Differences and correlations between patient age and HRQOL outcomes were investigated. Age groupings included young (age ≤ 45 years), middle aged (age 46–64 years), and elderly (age ≥ 65 years).

Results

In patients who had undergone PSO, age significantly correlated (Spearman's correlation coefficient) with the 2-year ODI (ρ = 0.24, p = 0.0450), 2-year SRS function score (ρ = 0.30, p = 0.0123), and 2-year SRS total score (ρ = 0.30, p = 0.0133). Among all patients (PSO+VCR), the preoperative PCS and ODI in the young group were significantly higher and lower, respectively, than those in the elderly. Among the PSO patients, the elderly group had much greater improvement than the young group in the 1- and 2-year PCS, 2-year ODI, and 2-year SRS function and total scores. Among the VCR patients, the young age group had much greater improvement than the elderly in the 1-year SRS pain score, 1-year PCS, 2-year PCS, and 2-year ODI. There was no significant difference among all the age groups as regards the likelihood of reaching a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) within each of the HRQOL outcomes (p > 0.05 for all). Among the PSO patients, the elderly group was significantly more likely than the young to reach an MCID for the 1-year PCS (61% vs 21%, p = 0.0077) and the 2-year PCS (67% vs 17%, p = 0.0054), SRS pain score (57% vs 20%, p = 0.0457), and SRS function score (62% vs 20%, p = 0.0250). Among the VCR patients, the young group was significantly more likely than the elderly patients to reach an MCID for the 1-year (100% vs 20%, p = 0.0036) and 2-year (100% vs 0%, p = 0.0027) PCS scores and 1-year (60% vs 0%, p = 0.0173) and 2-year (70% vs 0%, p = 0.0433) SRS pain scores.

Conclusions

The PSO and VCR are not equivalent surgeries in terms of HRQOL outcomes and patient age. Among patients who underwent PSO, the elderly group started with more preoperative disability than the younger patients but had greater improvements in HRQOL outcomes and was more likely to reach an MCID at 1 and 2 years after treatment. Among those who underwent VCR, all had similar preoperative disabilities, but the younger patients had greater improvements in HRQOL outcomes and were more likely to reach an MCID at 1 and 2 years after treatment.

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Justin K. Scheer, Jessica A. Tang, Justin S. Smith, Eric Klineberg, Robert A. Hart, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Douglas C. Burton, Richard Hostin, Michael F. O'Brien, Shay Bess, Khaled M. Kebaish, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Complications and reoperation for surgery to correct adult spinal deformity are not infrequent, and many studies have analyzed the rates and factors that influence the likelihood of reoperation. However, there is a need for more comprehensive analyses of reoperation in adult spinal deformity surgery from a global standpoint, particularly focusing on the 1st year following operation and considering radiographic parameters and the effects of reoperation on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). This study attempts to determine the prevalence of reoperation following surgery for adult spinal deformity, assess the indications for these reoperations, evaluate for a relation between specific radiographic parameters and the need for reoperation, and determine the potential impact of reoperation on HRQOL measures.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted of a prospective, multicenter, adult spinal deformity database collected through the International Spine Study Group. Data collected included age, body mass index, sex, date of surgery, information regarding complications, reoperation dates, length of stay, and operation time. The radiographic parameters assessed were total number of levels instrumented, total number of interbody fusions, C-7 sagittal vertical axis, uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) location, and presence of 3-column osteotomies. The HRQOL assessment included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical component and mental component summary, and SRS-22 scores. Smoking history, Charlson Comorbidity Index scores, and American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status classification grades were also collected and assessed for correlation with risk of early reoperation. Various statistical tests were performed for evaluation of specific factors listed above, and the level of significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results

Fifty-nine (17%) of a total of 352 patients required reoperation. Forty-four (12.5%) of the reoperations occurred within 1 year after the initial surgery, including 17 reoperations (5%) within 30 days.

Two hundred sixty-eight patients had a minimum of 1 year of follow-up. Fifty-three (20%) of these patients had a 3-column osteotomy, and 10 (19%) of these 53 required reoperation within 1 year of the initial procedure. However, 3-column osteotomy was not predictive of reoperation within 1 year, p = 0.5476). There were no significant differences between groups with regard to the distribution of UIV, and UIV did not have a significant effect on reoperation rates. Patients needing reoperation within 1 year had worse ODI and SRS-22 scores measured at 1-year follow-up than patients not requiring operation.

Conclusions

Analysis of data from a large multicenter adult spinal deformity database shows an overall 17% reoperation rate, with a 19% reoperation rate for patients treated with 3-column osteotomy and a 16% reoperation rate for patients not treated with 3-column osteotomy. The most common indications for reoperation included instrumentation complications and radiographic failure. Reoperation significantly affected HRQOL outcomes at 1-year follow-up. The need for reoperation may be minimized by carefully considering spinal alignment, termination of fixation, and type of surgical procedure (presence of osteotomy). Precautions should be taken to avoid malposition or instrumentation (rod) failure.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Justin K. Scheer, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Bertrand Moal, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Eric Klineberg, Douglas C. Burton, Robert Hart, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors' objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.

Methods

A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.

Results

The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.

Conclusions

The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.