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Emmanuelle Ferrero, Barthelemy Liabaud, Jensen K. Henry, Christopher P. Ames, Khaled Kebaish, Gregory M. Mundis, Richard Hostin, Munish C. Gupta, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Justin S. Smith, Robert A. Hart, Ibrahim Obeid, Bassel G. Diebo, Frank J. Schwab and Virginie Lafage


Three-column osteotomy (3CO) is a demanding technique that is performed to correct sagittal spinal malalignment. However, the impact of the 3CO level on pelvic or truncal sagittal correction remains unclear. In this study, the authors assessed the impact of 3CO level and postoperative apex of lumbar lordosis on sagittal alignment correction, complications, and revisions.


In this retrospective study of a multicenter spinal deformity database, radiographic data were analyzed at baseline and at 1- and 2-year follow-up to quantify spinopelvic alignment, apex of lordosis, and resection angle. The impact of 3CO level and apex level of lumbar lordosis on the sagittal correction was assessed. Logistic regression analyses were performed, controlling for cofounders, to investigate the effects of 3CO level and apex level on intraoperative and postoperative complications as well as on the need for subsequent revision surgery.


A total of 468 patients were included (mean age 60.8 years, mean body mass index 28.1 kg/m2); 70% of patients were female. The average 3CO resection angle was 25.1° and did not significantly differ with regard to 3CO level. There were no significant correlations between the 3CO level and amount of sagittal vertical axis or pelvic tilt correction. The postoperative apex level significantly correlated with greater correction of pelvic tilt (2° per more caudal level, R = −0.2, p = 0.006). Lower-level 3CO significantly correlated with revisions for pseudarthrosis (OR = 3.88, p = 0.001) and postoperative motor deficits (OR = 2.02, p = 0.026).


In this study, a more caudal lumbar 3CO level did not lead to greater sagittal vertical axis correction. The postoperative apex of lumbar lordosis significantly impacted pelvic tilt. 3CO levels that were more caudal were associated with more postoperative motor deficits and revisions.

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Shayan Fakurnejad, Justin K. Scheer, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Douglas C. Burton, Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Khaled Kebaish, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group


Three-column osteotomies (3COs) are technically challenging techniques for correcting severe rigid spinal deformities. The impact of these interventions on outcomes reaching minimum clinically important difference (MCID) or substantial clinical benefit (SCB) is unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the rates of MCID and SCB in standard health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures after 3COs in patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). The impacts of location of the uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) on clinical outcomes and of maintenance on sagittal correction at 2 years postoperatively were also examined.


The authors conducted a retrospective multicenter analysis of the records from adult patients who underwent 3CO with complete 2-year radiographic and clinical follow-ups. Cases were categorized according to established radiographic thresholds for pelvic tilt (> 22°), sagittal vertical axis (> 4.7 cm), and the mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (> 11°). The cases were also analyzed on the basis of a UIV in the upper thoracic (T1–6) or thoracolumbar (T9–L1) region. Patient-reported outcome measures evaluated preoperatively and 2 years postoperatively included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, and Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22) scores. The percentages of patients whose outcomes for these measures met MCID and SCB were compared among the groups.


Data from 140 patients (101 women and 39 men) were included in the analysis; the average patient age was 57.3 ± 12.4 years (range 20–82 years). Of these patients, 94 had undergone only pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and 42 only vertebral column resection (VCR); 113 patients had a UIV in the upper thoracic (n = 63) orthoracolumbar region (n = 50). On average, 2 years postoperatively the patients had significantly improved in all HRQOL measures except the MCS score. For the entire patient cohort, the improvements ranged from 57.6% for the SRS-22 pain score MCID to 24.4% for the ODI score SCB. For patients undergoing PSO or VCR, the likelihood of their outcomes reaching MCID or SCB ranged from 24.3% to 62.3% and from 16.2% to 47.8%, respectively. The SRS-22 self-image score of patients who had a UIV in the upper thoracic region reached MCID significantly more than that of patients who had a UIV in the thoracolumbar region (70.6% vs 41.9%, p = 0.0281). All other outcomes were similar for UIVs of upper thoracic and thoracolumbar regions. Comparison of patients whose spines were above or below the radiographic thresholds associated with disability indicated similar rates of meeting MCID and SCB for HRQOL at the 2-year follow-up.


Outcomes for patients having UIVs in the upper thoracic region were no more likely to meet MCID or SCB than for those having UIVs in the thoracolumbar region, except for the MCID in the SRS-22 self-image measure. The HRQOL outcomes in patients who had optimal sagittal correction according to radiographic thresholds determined preoperatively were not significantly more likely to reach MCID or SCB at the 2-year follow-up. Future work needs to determine whether the Schwab preoperative radiographic thresholds for severe disability apply in postoperative settings.

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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


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.


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°.


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).


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.