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Francis Lovecchio, Jonathan Charles Elysee, Renaud Lafage, Jeff Varghese, Mathieu Bannwarth, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, and Han Jo Kim

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative planning for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery is essential to prepare the surgical team and consistently obtain postoperative alignment goals. Positional imaging may allow the surgeon to evaluate spinal flexibility and anticipate the need for more invasive techniques. The purpose of this study was to determine whether spine flexibility, defined by the change in alignment between supine and standing imaging, is associated with the need for an osteotomy in ASD surgery.

METHODS

A single-center, dual-surgeon retrospective analysis was performed of adult patients with ASD who underwent correction of a thoracolumbar deformity between 2014 and 2018 (pelvis to upper instrumented vertebra between L1 and T9). Patients were stratified into osteotomy (Ost) and no-osteotomy (NOst) cohorts according to whether an osteotomy was performed (Schwab grade 2 or higher). Demographic, surgical, and radiographic parameters were compared. The sagittal correction from intraoperative prone positioning alone (sagittal flexibility percentage [Sflex%]) was assessed by comparing the change in lumbar lordosis (LL) between preoperative supine to standing radiographs and preoperative to postoperative alignment.

RESULTS

Demographics and preoperative and postoperative sagittal alignment were similar between the Ost (n = 60, 65.9%) and NOst (n = 31, 34.1%) cohorts (p > 0.05). Of all Ost patients, 71.7% had a grade 2 osteotomy (mean 3 per patient), 21.7% had a grade 3 osteotomy, and 12.5% underwent both grade 3 and grade 2 osteotomies. Postoperatively, the NOst and Ost cohorts had similar pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch (mean PI-LL 5.2° vs 1.2°; p = 0.205). Correction obtained through positioning (Sflex%) was significantly lower for in the osteotomy cohort (38.0% vs 76.3%, p = 0.004). A threshold of Sflex% < 70% predicted the need for osteotomy at a sensitivity of 78%, specificity of 56%, and positive predictive value of 77%.

CONCLUSIONS

The flexibility of the spine is quantitatively related to the use of an osteotomy. Prospective studies are needed to determine thresholds that may be used to standardize surgical decision-making in ASD surgery.

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Hai V. Le, Joseph B. Wick, Renaud Lafage, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Shay Bess, Douglas C. Burton, Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Peter G. Passias, Munish C. Gupta, Virginie Lafage, Eric O. Klineberg, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ objective was to determine whether preoperative lateral extension cervical spine radiography can be used to predict osteotomy type and postoperative alignment parameters after cervical spine deformity surgery.

METHODS

A total of 106 patients with cervical spine deformity were reviewed. Radiographic parameters on preoperative cervical neutral and extension lateral radiography were compared with 3-month postoperative radiographic alignment parameters. The parameters included T1 slope, C2 slope, C2–7 cervical lordosis, cervical sagittal vertical axis, and T1 slope minus cervical lordosis. Associations of radiographic parameters with osteotomy type and surgical approach were also assessed.

RESULTS

On extension lateral radiography, patients who underwent lower grade osteotomy had significantly lower T1 slope, T1 slope minus cervical lordosis, cervical sagittal vertical axis, and C2 slope. Patients who achieved more normal parameters on extension lateral radiography were more likely to undergo surgery via an anterior approach. Although baseline parameters were significantly different between neutral lateral and extension lateral radiographs, 3-month postoperative lateral and preoperative extension lateral radiographs were statistically similar for T1 slope minus cervical lordosis and C2 slope.

CONCLUSIONS

Radiographic parameters on preoperative extension lateral radiography were significantly associated with surgical approach and osteotomy grade and were similar to those on 3-month postoperative lateral radiography. These results demonstrated that extension lateral radiography is useful for preoperative planning and predicting postoperative alignment.

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Thomas J. Buell, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Han Jo Kim, Eric O. Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Vedat Deviren, Michael P. Kelly, Alan H. Daniels, Jeffrey L. Gum, Alex Soroceanu, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish C. Gupta, Douglas C. Burton, Richard A. Hostin, Khaled M. Kebaish, Robert A. Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, and The International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

OBJECTIVE

Deterioration of global coronal alignment (GCA) may be associated with worse outcomes after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. The impact of fusion length and upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) selection on patients with this complication is unclear. The authors’ objective was to compare outcomes between long sacropelvic fusion with upper-thoracic (UT) UIV and those with lower-thoracic (LT) UIV in patients with worsening GCA ≥ 1 cm.

METHODS

This was a retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter database of consecutive ASD patients. Index operations involved instrumented fusion from sacropelvis to thoracic spine. Global coronal deterioration was defined as worsening GCA ≥ 1 cm from preoperation to 2-year follow-up.

RESULTS

Of 875 potentially eligible patients, 560 (64%) had complete 2-year follow-up data, of which 144 (25.7%) demonstrated worse GCA at 2-year postoperative follow-up (35.4% of UT patients vs 64.6% of LT patients). At baseline, UT patients were younger (61.6 ± 9.9 vs 64.5 ± 8.6 years, p = 0.008), a greater percentage of UT patients had osteoporosis (35.3% vs 16.1%, p = 0.009), and UT patients had worse scoliosis (51.9° ± 22.5° vs 32.5° ± 16.3°, p < 0.001). Index operations were comparable, except UT patients had longer fusions (16.4 ± 0.9 vs 9.7 ± 1.2 levels, p < 0.001) and operative duration (8.6 ± 3.2 vs 7.6 ± 3.0 hours, p = 0.023). At 2-year follow-up, global coronal deterioration averaged 2.7 ± 1.4 cm (1.9 to 4.6 cm, p < 0.001), scoliosis improved (39.3° ± 20.8° to 18.0° ± 14.8°, p < 0.001), and sagittal spinopelvic alignment improved significantly in all patients. UT patients maintained smaller positive C7 sagittal vertical axis (2.7 ± 5.7 vs 4.7 ± 5.7 cm, p = 0.014). Postoperative 2-year health-related quality of life (HRQL) significantly improved from baseline for all patients. HRQL comparisons demonstrated that UT patients had worse Scoliosis Research Society–22r (SRS-22r) Activity (3.2 ± 1.0 vs 3.6 ± 0.8, p = 0.040) and SRS-22r Satisfaction (3.9 ± 1.1 vs 4.3 ± 0.8, p = 0.021) scores. Also, fewer UT patients improved by ≥ 1 minimal clinically important difference in numerical rating scale scores for leg pain (41.3% vs 62.7%, p = 0.020). Comparable percentages of UT and LT patients had complications (208 total, including 53 reoperations, 77 major complications, and 78 minor complications), but the percentage of reoperated patients was higher among UT patients (35.3% vs 18.3%, p = 0.023). UT patients had higher reoperation rates of rod fracture (13.7% vs 2.2%, p = 0.006) and pseudarthrosis (7.8% vs 1.1%, p = 0.006) but not proximal junctional kyphosis (9.8% vs 8.6%, p = 0.810).

CONCLUSIONS

In ASD patients with worse 2-year GCA after long sacropelvic fusion, UT UIV was associated with worse 2-year HRQL compared with LT UIV. This may suggest that residual global coronal malalignment is clinically less tolerated in ASD patients with longer fusion to the proximal thoracic spine. These results may inform operative planning and improve patient counseling.

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Thomas J. Buell, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Han Jo Kim, Eric O. Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Vedat Deviren, Michael P. Kelly, Alan H. Daniels, Jeffrey L. Gum, Alex Soroceanu, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish C. Gupta, Douglas C. Burton, Richard A. Hostin, Khaled M. Kebaish, Robert A. Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Few studies have compared fractional curve correction after long fusion between transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) for adult symptomatic thoracolumbar/lumbar scoliosis (ASLS). The objective of this study was to compare fractional correction, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and complications associated with L4–S1 TLIF versus those of ALIF as an operative treatment of ASLS.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed a prospective multicenter adult spinal deformity database. Inclusion required a fractional curve ≥ 10°, a thoracolumbar/lumbar curve ≥ 30°, index TLIF or ALIF performed at L4–5 and/or L5–S1, and a minimum 2-year follow-up. TLIF and ALIF patients were propensity matched according to the number and type of interbody fusion at L4–S1.

RESULTS

Of 135 potentially eligible consecutive patients, 106 (78.5%) achieved the minimum 2-year follow-up (mean ± SD age 60.6 ± 9.3 years, 85% women, 44.3% underwent TLIF, and 55.7% underwent ALIF). Index operations had mean ± SD 12.2 ± 3.6 posterior levels, 86.6% of patients underwent iliac fixation, 67.0% underwent TLIF/ALIF at L4–5, and 84.0% underwent TLIF/ALIF at L5–S1. Compared with TLIF patients, ALIF patients had greater cage height (10.9 ± 2.1 mm for TLIF patients vs 14.5 ± 3.0 mm for ALIF patients, p = 0.001) and lordosis (6.3° ± 1.6° for TLIF patients vs 17.0° ± 9.9° for ALIF patients, p = 0.001) and longer operative duration (6.7 ± 1.5 hours for TLIF patients vs 8.9 ± 2.5 hours for ALIF patients, p < 0.001). In all patients, final alignment improved significantly in terms of the fractional curve (20.2° ± 7.0° to 6.9° ± 5.2°), maximum coronal Cobb angle (55.0° ± 14.8° to 23.9° ± 14.3°), C7 sagittal vertical axis (5.1 ± 6.2 cm to 2.3 ± 5.4 cm), pelvic tilt (24.6° ± 8.1° to 22.7° ± 9.5°), and lumbar lordosis (32.3° ± 18.8° to 51.4° ± 14.1°) (all p < 0.05). Matched analysis demonstrated comparable fractional correction (−13.6° ± 6.7° for TLIF patients vs −13.6° ± 8.1° for ALIF patients, p = 0.982). In all patients, final HRQL improved significantly in terms of Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score (42.4 ± 16.3 to 24.2 ± 19.9), physical component summary (PCS) score of the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (32.6 ± 9.3 to 41.3 ± 11.7), and Scoliosis Research Society–22r score (2.9 ± 0.6 to 3.7 ± 0.7) (all p < 0.05). Matched analysis demonstrated worse ODI (30.9 ± 21.1 for TLIF patients vs 17.9 ± 17.1 for ALIF patients, p = 0.017) and PCS (38.3 ± 12.0 for TLIF patients vs 45.3 ± 10.1 for ALIF patients, p = 0.020) scores for TLIF patients at the last follow-up (despite no differences in these parameters at baseline). The rates of total complications were similar (76.6% for TLIF patients vs 71.2% for ALIF patients, p = 0.530), but significantly more TLIF patients had rod fracture (28.6% of TLIF patients vs 7.1% of ALIF patients, p = 0.036). Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that a 1-mm increase in L4–5 TLIF cage height led to a 2.2° reduction in L4 coronal tilt (p = 0.011), and a 1° increase in L5–S1 ALIF cage lordosis led to a 0.4° increase in L5–S1 segmental lordosis (p = 0.045).

CONCLUSIONS

Operative treatment of ASLS with L4–S1 TLIF versus ALIF demonstrated comparable mean fractional curve correction (66.7% vs 64.8%), despite use of significantly larger, more lordotic ALIF cages. TLIF cage height had a significant impact on leveling L4 coronal tilt, whereas ALIF cage lordosis had a significant impact on restoration of lumbosacral lordosis. The advantages of TLIF may include reduced operative duration and hospitalization; however, associated HRQL was inferior and more rod fractures were detected in the TLIF patients included in this study.

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Mathieu Bannwarth, Justin S. Smith, Shay Bess, Eric O. Klineberg, Christopher P. Ames, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Han Jo Kim, Renaud Lafage, Munish C. Gupta, Douglas C. Burton, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, and and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

OBJECTIVE

Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) has been shown to increase fusion rates; however, cost, limited FDA approval, and possible complications impact its use. Decisions regarding rhBMP-2 use and changes over time have not been well defined. In this study, the authors aimed to assess changes in rhBMP-2 use for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery over the past decade.

METHODS

A retrospective review of the International Spine Study Group prospective multicenter database was performed to identify ASD patients treated surgically from 2008 to 2018. For assessment of rhBMP-2 use over time, 3 periods were created: 2008–2011, 2012–2015, and 2016–2018.

RESULTS

Of the patients identified, 1180 met inclusion criteria, with a mean age 60 years and 30% of patients requiring revision surgery; rhBMP-2 was used in 73.9% of patients overall. The mean rhBMP-2 dose per patient was 23.6 mg. Patients receiving rhBMP-2 were older (61 vs 58 years, p < 0.001) and had more comorbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index 1.9 vs 1.4, p < 0.001), a higher rate of the Scoliosis Research Society–Schwab pelvic tilt modifier (> 0; 68% vs 62%, p = 0.026), a greater deformity correction (change in pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis 15° vs 12°, p = 0.01), and more levels fused (8.9 vs 7.9, p = 0.003). Over the 3 time periods, the overall rate of rhBMP-2 use increased and then stabilized (62.5% vs 79% vs 77%). Stratified analysis showed that after an overall increase in rhBMP-2 use, only patients who were younger than 50 years, those who were smokers, those who received a three-column osteotomy (3CO), and patients who underwent revision sustained an increased rate of rhBMP-2 use between the later two periods. No similar increases were noted for older patients, nonsmokers, primary surgery patients, and patients without a 3CO. The total rhBMP-2 dose decreased over time (26.6 mg vs 24.8 mg vs 20.7 mg, p < 0.001). After matching patients by preoperative alignment, 215 patients were included, and a significantly lower rate of complications leading to revision surgery was observed within the 2012–2015 period compared with the 2008–2011 (21.4% vs 13.0%, p = 0.029) period, while rhBMP-2 was increasingly used (80.5% vs 66.0%, p = 0.001). There was a trend toward a lower rate of pseudarthrosis for patients in the 2012–2015 period, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (7% vs 4.2%, p = 0.283).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that rhBMP-2 was used in the majority of ASD patients and was more commonly used in those with greater deformity correction. Additionally, over the last 10 years, rhBMP-2 was increasingly used for ASD patients, but the dose has decreased.

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Francis Lovecchio, Renaud Lafage, Jonathan Charles Elysee, Alex Huang, Bryan Ang, Mathieu Bannwarth, Han Jo Kim, Frank Schwab, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

Supine radiographs have successfully been used for preoperative planning of lumbar deformity corrections. However, they have not been used to assess thoracic flexibility, which has recently garnered attention as a potential contributor to proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). The purpose of this study was to compare supine to standing radiographs to assess thoracic flexibility and to determine whether thoracic flexibility is associated with PJK.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted of a single-institution database of patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). Sagittal alignment parameters were compared between standing and supine and between pre- and postoperative radiographs. Thoracic flexibility was determined as the change between preoperative standing thoracic kyphosis (TK) and preoperative supine TK, and these changes were measured over the overall thoracic spine and the fused portion of the thoracic spine (i.e., TK fused). A case-control analysis was performed to compare thoracic flexibility between patients with PJK and those without (no PJK). The cohort was also stratified into three groups based on thoracic flexibility: kyphotic change (increased TK), lordotic change (decreased TK), and no change. The PJK rate was compared between the cohorts.

RESULTS

A total of 101 patients (mean 63 years old, 82.2% female, mean BMI 27.4 kg/m2) were included. Preoperative Scoliosis Research Society–Schwab ASD classification showed moderate preoperative deformity (pelvic tilt 27.7% [score ++]; pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch 44.6% [score ++]; sagittal vertical axis 42.6% [score ++]). Postoperatively, the average offset from age-adjusted alignment goals demonstrated slight overcorrection in the study sample (−8.5° ± 15.6° pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, −29.2 ± 53.1 mm sagittal vertical axis, −5.4 ± 10.8 pelvic tilt, and −7.6 ± 11.7 T1 pelvic angle). TK decreased between standing and supine radiographs and increased postoperatively (TK fused: −25.3° vs −19.6° vs −29.9°; all p < 0.001). The overall rate of radiographic PJK was 23.8%. Comparisons between PJK and no PJK demonstrated that offsets from age-adjusted alignment goals were similar (p > 0.05 for all). There was a significant difference in the PJK rate when stratified by thoracic flexibility cohorts (kyphotic: 0.0% vs no change: 18.4% vs lordotic: 35.0%; p = 0.049). Logistic regression revealed thoracic flexibility (p = 0.045) as the only independent correlate of PJK.

CONCLUSIONS

Half of patients with ASD experienced significant changes in TK during supine positioning, a quality that may influence surgical strategy. Increased thoracic flexibility is associated with PJK, possibly secondary to fusing the patient’s spine in a flattened position intraoperatively.

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Justin S. Smith, Michael P. Kelly, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Christine R. Baldus, Thomas J. Buell, Jon D. Lurie, Charles Edwards, Steven D. Glassman, Lawrence G. Lenke, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Jacob M. Buchowski, Leah Y. Carreon, Charles H. Crawford III, Thomas J. Errico, Stephen J. Lewis, Tyler Koski, Stefan Parent, Virginie Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Christopher P. Ames, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab, Christopher I Shaffrey, and Keith H Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Although short-term adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) studies favor operative over nonoperative treatment, longer outcomes are critical for assessment of treatment durability, especially for operative treatment, because the majority of implant failures and nonunions present between 2 and 5 years after surgery. The objectives of this study were to assess the durability of treatment outcomes for operative versus nonoperative treatment of ASLS, to report the rates and types of associated serious adverse events (SAEs), and to determine the potential impact of treatment-related SAEs on outcomes.

METHODS

The ASLS-1 (Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1) trial is an NIH-sponsored multicenter prospective study to assess operative versus nonoperative ASLS treatment. Patients were 40–80 years of age and had ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]–22 subscore ≤ 4.0 in the Pain, Function, and/or Self-Image domains). Patients receiving operative and nonoperative treatment were compared using as-treated analysis, and the impact of related SAEs was assessed. Primary outcome measures were ODI and SRS-22.

RESULTS

The 286 patients with ASLS (107 with nonoperative treatment, 179 with operative treatment) had 2-year and 5-year follow-up rates of 90% (n = 256) and 74% (n = 211), respectively. At 5 years, compared with patients treated nonoperatively, those who underwent surgery had greater improvement in ODI (mean difference −15.2 [95% CI −18.7 to −11.7]) and SRS-22 subscore (mean difference 0.63 [95% CI 0.48–0.78]) (p < 0.001), with treatment effects (TEs) exceeding the minimum detectable measurement difference (MDMD) for ODI (7) and SRS-22 subscore (0.4). TEs at 5 years remained as favorable as 2-year TEs (ODI −13.9, SRS-22 0.52). For patients in the operative group, the incidence rates of treatment-related SAEs during the first 2 years and 2–5 years after surgery were 22.38 and 8.17 per 100 person-years, respectively. At 5 years, patients in the operative group who had 1 treatment-related SAE still had significantly greater improvement, with TEs (ODI −12.2, SRS-22 0.53; p < 0.001) exceeding the MDMD. Twelve patients who received surgery and who had 2 or more treatment-related SAEs had greater improvement than nonsurgically treated patients based on ODI (TE −8.34, p = 0.017) and SRS-22 (TE 0.32, p = 0.029), but the SRS-22 TE did not exceed the MDMD.

CONCLUSIONS

The significantly greater improvement of operative versus nonoperative treatment for ASLS at 2 years was durably maintained at the 5-year follow-up. Patients in the operative cohort with a treatment-related SAE still had greater improvement than patients in the nonoperative cohort. These findings have important implications for patient counseling and future cost-effectiveness assessments.

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Peter G. Passias, Haddy Alas, Shay Bess, Breton G. Line, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, Douglas C. Burton, Avery Brown, Cole Bortz, Katherine Pierce, Waleed Ahmad, Sara Naessig, Michael P. Kelly, Richard Hostin, Khaled M. Kebaish, Khoi D. Than, Pierce Nunley, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric O. Klineberg, Justin S. Smith, Frank J. Schwab, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Patients with nonoperative (N-Op) adult spinal deformity (ASD) have inferior long-term spinopelvic alignment and clinical outcomes. Predictors of lower quality-of-life measures in N-Op populations have yet to be sufficiently investigated. The aim of this study was to identify patient-related factors and radiographic parameters associated with inferior health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) scores in N-Op ASD patients.

METHODS

N-Op ASD patients with complete radiographic and outcome data at baseline and 2 years were included. N-Op patients and operative (Op) patients were propensity score matched for baseline disability and deformity. Patient-related factors and radiographic alignment parameters (pelvic tilt [PT], sagittal vertical axis [SVA], pelvic incidence [PI]–lumbar lordosis [LL] mismatch, mismatch between cervical lordosis and T1 segment slope [TS-CL], cervical-thoracic pelvic angle [PA], and others) at baseline and 2 years were analyzed as predictors for moderate to severe 2-year Oswestry Disability Index (ODI > 20) and failing to meet the minimal clinically importance difference (MCID) for 2-year Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Questionnaire (SRS) scores (< 0.4 increase from baseline). Conditional inference decision trees identified predictors of each HRQOL measure and established cutoffs at which factors have a global effect. Random forest analysis (RFA) generated 5000 conditional inference trees to compute a variable importance table for top predictors of inferior HRQOL. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

Six hundred sixty-two patients with ASD (331 Op patients and 331 N-Op patients) with complete radiographic and HRQOL data at their 2-year follow-up were included. There were no differences in demographics, ODI, and Schwab deformity modifiers between groups at baseline (all p > 0.05). N-Op patients had higher 2-year ODI scores (27.9 vs 20.3, p < 0.001), higher rates of moderate to severe disability (29.3% vs 22.4%, p = 0.05), lower SRS total scores (3.47 vs 3.91, p < 0.001), and higher rates of failure to reach SRS MCID (35.3% vs 15.7%, p < 0.001) than Op patients at 2 years. RFA ranked the top overall predictors for moderate to severe ODI at 2 years for N-Op patients as follows: 1) frailty index > 2.8, 2) BMI > 35 kg/m, T4PA > 28°, and 4) Charlson Comorbidity Index > 1. Top radiographic predictors were T4PA > 28° and C2–S1 SVA > 93 mm. RFA also ranked the top overall predictors for failure to reach 2-year SRS MCID for N-Op patients, as follows: 1) T12–S1 lordosis > 53°, 2) cervical SVA (cSVA) > 28 mm, 3) C2–S1 angle > 14.5°, 4) TS-CL > 12°, and 5) PT > 23°. The top radiographic predictors were T12–S1 Cobb angle, cSVA, C2–S1 angle, and TS-CL.

CONCLUSIONS

When controlling for baseline deformity in N-Op versus Op patients, subsequent deterioration in frailty, BMI, and radiographic progression over a 2-year follow-up were found to drive suboptimal patient-reported outcome measures in N-Op cohorts as measured by validated ODI and SRS clinical instruments.

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Peter G. Passias, Haddy Alas, Sara Naessig, Han Jo Kim, Renaud Lafage, Christopher Ames, Eric Klineberg, Katherine Pierce, Waleed Ahmad, Douglas Burton, Bassel Diebo, Shay Bess, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish Gupta, Paul Park, Breton Line, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to assess the conversion rate from baseline cervical alignment to postoperative cervical deformity (CD) and the corresponding proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) rate in patients undergoing thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

The operative records of patients with ASD with complete radiographic data beginning at baseline up to 3 years were included. Patients with no baseline CD were postoperatively stratified by Ames CD criteria (T1 slope–cervical lordosis mismatch [TS-CL] > 20°, cervical sagittal vertical axis [cSVA] > 40 mm), where CD was defined as fulfilling one or more of the Ames criteria. Severe CD was defined as TS-CL > 30° or cSVA > 60 mm. Follow-up intervals were established after ASD surgery, with 6 weeks postoperatively defined as early; 6 weeks–1 year as intermediate; 1–2 years as late; and 2–3 years as long-term. Descriptive analyses and McNemar tests identified the CD conversion rate, PJK rate (< −10° change in uppermost instrumented vertebra and the superior endplate of the vertebra 2 levels superior to the uppermost instrumented vertebra), and specific alignment parameters that converted.

RESULTS

Two hundred sixty-six patients who underwent ASD surgery (mean age 59.7 years, 77.4% female) met the inclusion criteria; 103 of these converted postoperatively, and the remaining 163 did not meet conversion criteria. Thirty-eight patients converted to CD early, 26 converted at the intermediate time point, 29 converted late, and 10 converted in the long-term. At conversion, the early group had the highest mean TS-CL at 25.4° ± 8.5° and the highest mean cSVA at 33.6 mm—both higher than any other conversion group. The long-term group had the highest mean C2–7 angle at 19.7° and the highest rate of PJK compared to other groups (p = 0.180). The early group had the highest rate of conversion to severe CD, with 9 of 38 patients having severe TS-CL and only 1 patient per group converting to severe cSVA. Seven patients progressed from having only malaligned TS-CL at baseline (with normal cSVA) to CD with both malaligned TS-CL and cSVA by 6 weeks. Conversely, only 2 patients progressed from malaligned cSVA to both malaligned cSVA and TS-CL. By 1 year, the former number increased from 7 to 26 patients, and the latter increased from 2 to 20 patients. The revision rate was highest in the intermediate group at 48.0%, versus the early group at 19.2%, late group at 27.3%, and long-term group at 20% (p = 0.128). A higher pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, lower thoracic kyphosis, and a higher thoracic kyphosis apex immediately postoperatively significantly predicted earlier rather than later conversion (all p < 0.05). Baseline lumbar lordosis, pelvic tilt, and sacral slope were not significant predictors.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with ASD with normative cervical alignment who converted to CD after thoracolumbar surgery had varying radiographic findings based on timing of conversion. Although the highest number of patients converted within 6 weeks postoperatively, patients who converted in the late or long-term follow-up intervals had higher rates of concurrent PJK and greater radiographic progression.

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Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Nicholas Stekas, Justin S. Smith, Alexandra Soroceanu, Renaud Lafage, Alan H. Daniels, Han Jo Kim, Peter G. Passias, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric O. Klineberg, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish Gupta, Virginie Lafage, Robert A. Hart, Frank Schwab, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Cervical deformity (CD) patients have severe disability and poor health status. However, little is known about how patients with rigid CD compare with those with flexible CD. The main objectives of this study were to 1) assess whether patients with rigid CD have worse baseline alignment and therefore require more aggressive surgical corrections and 2) determine whether patients with rigid CD have similar postoperative outcomes as those with flexible CD.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospective, multicenter CD database. Rigid CD was defined as cervical lordosis (CL) change < 10° between flexion and extension radiographs, and flexible CD was defined as a CL change ≥ 10°. Patients with rigid CD were compared with those with flexible CD in terms of cervical alignment and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) at baseline and at multiple postoperative time points. The patients were also compared in terms of surgical and intraoperative factors such as operative time, blood loss, and number of levels fused.

RESULTS

A total of 127 patients met inclusion criteria (32 with rigid and 95 with flexible CD, 63.4% of whom were females; mean age 60.8 years; mean BMI 27.4); 47.2% of cases were revisions. Rigid CD was associated with worse preoperative alignment in terms of T1 slope minus CL, T1 slope, C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (cSVA), and C2 slope (C2S; all p < 0.05). Postoperatively, patients with rigid CD had an increased mean C2S (29.1° vs 22.2°) at 3 months and increased cSVA (47.1 mm vs 37.5 mm) at 1 year (p < 0.05) compared with those with flexible CD. Patients with rigid CD had more posterior levels fused (9.5 vs 6.3), fewer anterior levels fused (1 vs 2.0), greater blood loss (1036.7 mL vs 698.5 mL), more 3-column osteotomies (40.6% vs 12.6%), greater total osteotomy grade (6.5 vs 4.5), and mean osteotomy grade per level (3.3 vs 2.1) (p < 0.05 for all). There were no significant differences in baseline HRQOL scores, the rate of distal junctional kyphosis, or major/minor complications between patients with rigid and flexible CD. Both rigid and flexible CD patients reported significant improvements from baseline to 1 year according to the numeric rating scale for the neck (−2.4 and −2.7, respectively), Neck Disability Index (−8.4 and −13.3, respectively), modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score (0.1 and 0.6), and EQ-5D (0.01 and 0.05) (p < 0.05). However, HRQOL changes from baseline to 1 year did not differ between rigid and flexible CD patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with rigid CD have worse baseline cervical malalignment compared with those with flexible CD but do not significantly differ in terms of baseline disability. Rigid CD was associated with more invasive surgery and more aggressive corrections, resulting in increased operative time and blood loss. Despite more extensive surgeries, rigid CD patients had equivalent improvements in HRQOL compared with flexible CD patients. This study quantifies the importance of analyzing flexion-extension images, creating a prognostic tool for surgeons planning CD correction, and counseling patients who are considering CD surgery.