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Sequential correction technique in degenerative scoliosis with type C coronal imbalance: a comparison with traditional 2-rod technique

Benlong Shi, Dun Liu, Zezhang Zhu, Yu Wang, Yang Li, Zhen Liu, Xu Sun, and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare the radiographic and clinical outcomes in patients with degenerative scoliosis (DS) with type C coronal imbalance who underwent either a sequential correction technique or a traditional 2-rod technique with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up.

METHODS

DS patients with type C coronal imbalance undergoing posterior correction surgery from February 2014 to January 2018 were divided into groups by technique: the sequential correction technique (SC group) and the traditional 2-rod technique (TT group). Radiographic parameters, including Cobb angle, coronal balance distance (CBD), global kyphosis (GK), thoracic kyphosis (TK), lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), pelvic incidence (PI), pelvic tilt (PT), and sacral slope, were assessed pre- and postoperatively. The SF-36 questionnaire was used to assess quality of life.

RESULTS

A total of 34 patients were included. Significant postoperative improvement in the Cobb angle of the main curve, CBD, GK, TK, LL, SVA, and PT was found in both groups (p < 0.05). Postoperatively, the coronal balance was type A in 13 patients (92.9%) in the SC group and in 16 patients (80.0%) in the TT group (p = 0.298). In the TT group, 1 patient had deteriorative coronal imbalance immediately postoperatively, and coronal imbalance deteriorated from type A to type C in 2 patients during follow-up. The scores of Physical Functioning, Role-Physical, Bodily Pain, Vitality, Social Functioning, Role-Emotional, and Mental Health were statistically improved postoperatively (p < 0.05) in both groups. Type C coronal imbalance at the last follow-up was associated with a relatively worse quality of life. There were no implant failures during follow-up in the SC group, whereas rod fracture was observed in 3 patients in the TT group.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with the traditional 2-rod technique, the sequential correction technique can simplify rod installation procedure, enhance internal instrumentation, and reduce risk of implant failures. The sequential correction technique could be routinely recommended for DS patients with type C coronal imbalance.

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Contribution of postoperative vertebral remodeling to reversal of vertebral wedging and prevention of correction loss in patients with adolescent Scheuermann’s kyphosis

Sinian Wang, Liang Xu, Muyi Wang, Yong Qiu, Zezhang Zhu, Bin Wang, and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to investigate reversal of vertebral wedging and to evaluate the contribution of vertebral remodeling to correction maintenance in patients with adolescent Scheuermann’s kyphosis (SK) after posterior-only instrumented correction.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study of patients with SK was performed. In total, 45 SK patients aged 10–20 years at surgery were included. All patients received at least 24 months of follow-up and had Risser sign greater than grade 4 at latest follow-up. Patients with Risser grade 3 or less at surgery were assigned to the low-Risser group, whereas those with Risser grade 4 or 5 were assigned to the high-Risser group. Radiographic data and patient-reported outcomes were collected preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at latest follow-up and compared between the two groups.

RESULTS

Remarkable postoperative correction of global kyphosis was observed, with similar correction rates between the two groups (p = 0.380). However, correction loss was slightly but significantly less in the low-Risser group during follow-up (p < 0.001). The ratio between anterior vertebral body height (AVBH) and posterior vertebral body height (PVBH) of deformed vertebrae notably increased in SK patients from postoperation to latest follow-up (p < 0.05). Loss of correction of global kyphosis was significantly and negatively correlated with increased AVBH/PVBH ratio. Compared with the high-Risser group, the low-Risser group had significantly greater increase in AVBH/PVBH ratio during follow-up (p < 0.05). The two groups had similar preoperative and postoperative Scoliosis Research Society–22 questionnaire scores for all domains.

CONCLUSIONS

Obvious reversal in wedge deformation of vertebrae was observed in adolescent SK patients. Patients with substantial growth potential had greater vertebral remodeling and less correction loss. Structural remodeling of vertebral bodies has a positive effect and protects against correction loss. These results could be help guide treatment decision-making.

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Coronal imbalance after growing rod treatment in early-onset scoliosis: a minimum of 5 years’ follow-up

Liang Xu, Xu Sun, Muyi Wang, Bo Yang, Changzhi Du, Qingshuang Zhou, Zezhang Zhu, and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate the incidence and risk factors of coronal imbalance (CI) in patients with early-onset scoliosis (EOS) who underwent growing rod (GR) treatment.

METHODS

A consecutive series of 61 patients with EOS (25 boys and 36 girls, mean age 5.8 ± 1.7 years) who underwent GR treatment was retrospectively reviewed. Postoperative CI was defined as postoperative C7 translation on either side ≥ 20 mm. Patients were divided into an imbalanced and a balanced group. Coronal patterns were classified into three types: type A (C7 translation < 20 mm), type B (C7 translation ≥ 20 mm with C7 plumb line [C7PL] shifted to the concave side of the curve), and type C (C7 translation ≥ 20 mm and a C7PL shifted to the convex side of the curve).

RESULTS

Each patient had an average of 5.3 ± 1.0 lengthening procedures and was followed for an average of 6.2 ± 1.3 years. Eleven patients (18%) were diagnosed with CI at the latest distraction, 5 of whom graduated from GRs and underwent definitive fusion. However, these patients continued to present with CI at the last follow-up evaluation. The proportion of preoperative type C pattern (54.5% vs 16.0%, p = 0.018), immediate postoperative apical vertebral translation (30.4 ± 13.5 mm vs 21.2 ± 11.7 mm, p = 0.025), lowest instrumented vertebra tilt (11.4° ± 8.2° vs 7.3° ± 3.3°, p = 0.008), and spanned obliquity angle (SOA) (9.7° ± 10.5° vs 4.1° ± 4.5°, p = 0.006) values in the imbalanced group were significantly higher than in the balanced group. Multiple logistic regression demonstrated that a preoperative type C pattern and immediate postoperative SOA > 11° were independent risk factors for postoperative CI.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of CI in patients with EOS who underwent GR treatment was 18%. This complication could only be slightly improved after definitive spinal fusion because of the autofusion phenomenon. A preoperative type C pattern and immediate postoperative SOA > 11° were found to be the risk factors for CI occurrence at the latest follow-up.

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Sequential correction using satellite rod for severe thoracic idiopathic scoliosis: an effective method to optimize deformity correction

Yang Li, Benlong Shi, Dun Liu, Zhen Liu, Xu Sun, Yong Qiu, and Zezhang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to compare the radiographic and clinical outcomes between the sequential correction (SC) technique and the traditional 2-rod correction (TC) technique in patients with severe thoracic idiopathic scoliosis (STIS) undergoing posterior-only correction surgery.

METHODS

Records of a consecutive series of STIS patients undergoing posterior-only correction surgery between October 2013 and October 2017 with more than 2 years of follow-up were reviewed. The radiographic parameters were assessed preoperatively, postoperatively, and at the last follow-up. Radiographic parameters, operative time, blood loss, and complications were compared between the two groups.

RESULTS

A total of 33 patients were included in the SC group, and 21 patients were included in the TC group. There was no significant difference in age, sex, or deformity magnitude (93.6° ± 7.8° vs 89.8° ± 6.6°, p = 0.070) preoperatively between groups. The operation time was shorter in the SC group than in the TC group (251.5 ± 42.8 minutes vs 275.4 ± 39.8 minutes, p = 0.020), while both blood loss (1284.6 ± 483.3 vs 1398.0 ± 558.4 ml, p = 0.432) and number of fused levels (13.1 ± 2.8 vs 13.6 ± 2.4, p = 0.503) were similar between the groups. Compared with the TC group, patients in the SC group had a higher correction rate (55.8% ± 9.2% vs 45.7% ± 8.8%, p < 0.001), less coronal (1.1° ± 0.81° vs 2.9° ± 0.93°, p < 0.001) and sagittal (1.5° ± 0.96° vs 2.1° ± 0.64°, p = 0.015) correction loss at the 2-year follow-up, and a lower incidence of intraoperative pedicle screw pullout (14.3% vs 23.8%, p = 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS

The SC technique could significantly and practically reduce the difficulty of rod installation with better deformity correction outcomes than the traditional TC technique. The SC technique was an effective alternative for patients with STIS.

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Different distal fixation anchors in lumbosacral spinal deformities associated with sacral agenesis: which one is better?

Tianyuan Zhang, Hongda Bao, Shibin Shu, Zhen Liu, Xu Sun, Bin Wang, Yong Qiu, and Zezhang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

Sacral agenesis (SA) is a rare congenital malformation of the spine. There has been a paucity of clinical research to investigate the surgical outcome of spinopelvic fixation in these patients. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the outcome of different distal fixation anchors in lumbosacral spinal deformities associated with SA and to determine the optimal distal fixation anchor.

METHODS

Patients with diagnoses of SA and lumbosacral scoliosis undergoing spinopelvic fixation with S1 screws, iliac screws, or S2-alar-iliac (S2AI) screws were analyzed. The main curve, coronal balance distance, and pelvic obliquity were compared at baseline, postoperatively, and during follow-up in three groups. The complications were also recorded.

RESULTS

A total of 24 patients were included: 8 patients were stratified into group 1 (S1 screws), 9 into group 2 (iliac screws), and 7 into group 3 (S2AI screws). The main curves were well corrected postoperatively (p < 0.05) in all groups. Coronal balance showed a tendency of deterioration during follow-up in patients with S1 screws (from 18.8 mm to 27.0 mm). Regarding pelvic obliquity, patients with both iliac and S2AI screws showed significant correction (from 3.7° to 2.3° and from 3.3° to 1.6°). Implant-related complications were rod breakage in 3 patients and infection in 1 patient in group 2, and no implant-related complications were observed in group 3. There were 3 cases of unilateral S1 pedicle screw misplacement in group 1.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinopelvic fixation is a safe and effective procedure that can achieve coronal correction in lumbosacral scoliosis associated with SA. Compared with S1 and iliac screws, S2AI screws as distal fixation anchors can achieve a more satisfactory correction with fewer implant-related complications.

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Similar surgical outcomes of the growing rod technique for treatment of early-onset scoliosis with versus without untreated intraspinal anomalies

Hongru Ma, Benlong Shi, Yang Li, Dun Liu, Zhen Liu, Xu Sun, Yong Qiu, and Zezhang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare the radiological and clinical outcomes of early-onset scoliosis (EOS) patients with or without intraspinal anomalies (IAs) managed with growing rods (GRs), and to evaluate the safety of the GR technique in EOS patients with untreated IAs.

METHODS

EOS patients undergoing GR placement between August 2008 and July 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with untreated IAs were classified into the EOS+IA group, and those without IAs into the EOS−IA group. The radiographic parameters including Cobb angle of the major curve, T1–S1 height, and apical vertebral translation were measured, and a detailed assessment of the neurological status was performed at each visit.

RESULTS

Seventy-six patients with EOS (32 boys, 44 girls) with an average age of 6.5 ± 2.3 years at initial surgery satisfied the inclusion and exclusion criteria, including 28 patients in the EOS+IA group and 48 patients in the EOS−IA group. The radiographic measurements were comparable between groups preoperatively, postoperatively, and at the latest follow-up. One patient in the EOS+IA group experienced sensory deficit in a unilateral lower extremity after initial surgery, and an intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring event was observed in a patient in the EOS−IA group. No permanent neurological deficit was observed in either group.

CONCLUSIONS

EOS patients with and those without IAs had comparable clinical and radiological outcomes of the GR technique. Repeated lengthening procedures may be safe for EOS patients with untreated IAs.

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Under-contouring of rods: a potential risk factor for proximal junctional kyphosis after posterior correction of Scheuermann kyphosis

Michael Grelat, Chang-Zhi Du, Liang Xu, Xu Sun, and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

Scheuermann kyphosis (SK) could require surgical treatment in certain situations. A posterior reduction is the most widespread treatment so far, although the development of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is one of the possible complications of this procedure. The contour of the proximal part of the rod could influence the occurrence of PJK in SK patients. The objective of this study was to analyze the impact of the proximal rod contour on the occurrence of a PJK complication in SK patients.

METHODS

This retrospective monocentric study was performed in the Nanjing Spine Surgery Department. All eligible patients had undergone posterior correction surgery with pedicle screws only between 2002 and 2017 and had at least 24 months of follow-up. The presence of PJK was quantified on radiographs using the proximal junctional angle (PJA > 10° at the last follow-up). The authors propose a new radiological parameter to measure the angulation of the proximal part of the instrumentation: the proximal contouring rod angle (PCRA) is the angle between the upper endplate of the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) and the lower endplate of the second vertebra caudal to the UIV. The patients were analyzed according to the presence or absence of PJK. A t-test, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, and logistic regression analysis were performed for statistical analysis.

RESULTS

Sixty-two patients treated for SK were included in this study. The mean age was 18.6 ± 8.5 years, and the mean follow-up was 42.5 ± 16.4 months. The mean correction rate of global kyphosis was 46.4% ± 13.7%. At the last follow-up, 17 patients (27.4%) presented with PJK. No significant difference was found between the PJK and non-PJK groups in terms of age and other preoperative variables. A significant difference in the postoperative PCRA was found between the PJK and non-PJK groups (8.2° ± 4.9° vs 15.7° ± 6.6°, respectively; p = 0.001). A postoperative PCRA less than 10.1° predicted a significantly higher risk for PJK (p = 0.002, OR 2.431, 95% CI 1.781–4.133).

CONCLUSIONS

Under-contouring of the proximal part of the rods (lower than 10°) is a risk factor for PJK after posterior correction of SK.

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How does sagittal spinopelvic alignment of lumbar multisegmental spondylolysis differ from monosegmental spondylolysis?

Qing-shuang Zhou, MM, Xu Sun, Xi Chen, Liang Xu, Bang-ping Qian, Ze-zhang Zhu, Bin Wang, and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate sagittal alignment and compensatory mechanisms in patients with monosegmental spondylolysis (mono_lysis) and multisegmental spondylolysis (multi_lysis).

METHODS

A total of 453 adult patients treated for symptomatic low-grade spondylolytic spondylolisthesis were retrospectively studied at a single center. Patients were divided into 2 subgroups, the mono_lysis group and the multi_lysis group, based on the number of spondylolysis segments. A total of 158 asymptomatic healthy volunteers were enrolled in this study as the control group. Radiographic parameters measured on standing sagittal radiographs and the ratios of L4–S1 segmental lordosis (SL) to lumbar lordosis (L4–S1 SL/LL) and pelvic tilt to pelvic incidence (PT/PI) were compared between all experimental groups.

RESULTS

There were 51 patients (11.3%) with a diagnosis of multi_lysis in the spondylolysis group. When compared with the control group, the spondylolysis group exhibited larger PI (p < 0.001), PT (p < 0.001), LL (p < 0.001), and L4–S1 SL (p = 0.025) and a smaller L4–S1 SL/LL ratio (p < 0.001). When analyzing the specific spondylolysis subgroups, there were no significant differences in PI, but the multi_lysis group had a higher L5 incidence (p = 0.004), PT (p = 0.018), and PT/PI ratio (p = 0.039). The multi_lysis group also had a smaller L4–S1 SL/LL ratio (p = 0.012) and greater sagittal vertical axis (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

A high-PI spinopelvic pattern was involved in the development of spondylolytic spondylolisthesis, and a larger L5 incidence might be associated with the occurrence of consecutive multi_lysis. Unlike patients with mono_lysis, individuals with multi_lysis were characterized by an anterior trunk, insufficiency of L4–S1 SL, and pelvic retroversion.

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How does the cervical spine respond to hyperkyphosis correction in Scheuermann’s disease?

Liang Xu, Benlong Shi, Yong Qiu, Zhonghui Chen, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Qingshuang Zhou, Zezhang Zhu, and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to quantify the response of the cervical spine to the surgical correction of Scheuermann’s kyphosis (SK) and to postoperative proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK).

METHODS

Fifty-nine patients (mean age 14.6 ± 2.3 years) were enrolled in the study: 35 patients in a thoracic SK (T-SK) group and 24 in a thoracolumbar SK (TL-SK) group. The mean follow-up period was 47.2 ± 17.6 months. Radiographic data, PJK-related complications, and patient-reported outcomes were compared between groups.

RESULTS

The global kyphosis significantly decreased postoperatively, and similar correction rates were observed between the two groups (mean 47.1% ± 8.6% [T-SK] vs 45.8% ± 9.4% [TL-SK], p = 0.585). The cervical lordosis (CL) in the T-SK group notably decreased from 21.4° ± 13.3° to 13.1° ± 12.4° after surgery and was maintained at 14.9° ± 10.7° at the latest follow-up, whereas in the TL-SK group, CL considerably increased from 7.2° ± 10.7° to 11.7° ± 11.1° after surgery and to 13.8° ± 8.9° at the latest follow-up. PJK was identified in 16 patients (27.1%). Its incidence in the TL-SK group was notably higher than it was in the T-SK group (41.6% [n = 10] vs 17.1% [n = 6], p = 0.037). Compared with non-PJK patients, PJK patients had greater CL and lower pain scores on the Scoliosis Research Society–22 questionnaire (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Hyperkyphosis correction eventually resulted in reciprocal changes in the cervical spine, with CL notably decreased in the T-SK group but significantly increased in the TL-SK group. Patients developing PJK have increased CL, which seems to have a negative effect on patients’ health-related quality of life.

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Do untreated intraspinal anomalies in congenital scoliosis impact the safety and efficacy of spinal correction surgery? A retrospective case-control study

Qinghua Zhao, Benlong Shi, Xu Sun, Zhen Liu, Hao Su, Yang Li, Zezhang Zhu, and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

Intraspinal anomalies associated with congenital scoliosis (CS) complicate the decision-making process for spinal correction surgery in CS patients. Recently, deformity correction surgery without prior prophylactic neurological intervention has been recognized to be safe in CS patients with intact or stable neurological status. However, no case-control study has identified the surgical outcomes and risks of spinal correction surgery in this patient population. The authors sought to investigate the safety and efficacy of spinal correction surgery for CS associated with untreated intraspinal anomalies (split cord malformation [SCM], tethered cord, and/or syringomyelia) with intact or stable neurological status.

METHODS

A group of CS patients with intraspinal anomalies (CS+IA) and another group of CS patients without intraspinal anomalies (CS-IA) undergoing 1-stage posterior correction surgery were retrospectively reviewed. The radiographic and clinical outcomes and postoperative complications were compared between the 2 groups.

RESULTS

There were 57 patients in the CS+IA group and 184 patients in the CS-IA group. No significant difference was observed in age, sex, spinal curve pattern, main Cobb angle, and flexibility of the main curve between the 2 groups (p > 0.05 for all). The postoperative correction rates of the major curve were comparable between the 2 groups (53.5% vs 55.7% for the CS+IA and CS-IA groups, respectively, p > 0.05). No significant difference was observed in the incidence of either implant-related or neurological complications between 2 groups. No patients in the CS+IA group developed neurological complications, whereas 1 patient in the CS-IA group experienced transient weakness of the left lower extremity after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Coexisting intraspinal anomalies (SCM, tethered cord, and/or syringomyelia) in CS patients with normal or stable neurological status do not significantly increase the risk of neurological complications of correction surgery. Prophylactic neurosurgical intervention for intraspinal anomalies before correction surgery might be unnecessary for these patients.