The impact of global coronal malalignment (GCM; C7 plumb line–midsacral offset) on adult spinal deformity (ASD) treatment outcomes is unclear. Here, the authors’ primary objective was to assess surgical outcomes and complications in patients with severe GCM, with a secondary aim of investigating potential surgical target coronal thresholds for optimal outcomes.
This is a retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter database. Operative patients with severe GCM (≥ 1 SD above the mean) and a minimum 2-year follow-up were identified. Demographic, surgical, radiographic, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and complications data were analyzed.
Of 691 potentially eligible operative patients (mean GCM 4 ± 3 cm), 80 met the criteria for severe GCM ≥ 7 cm. Of these, 62 (78%; mean age 63.7 ± 10.7 years, 81% women) had a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean follow-up 3.3 ± 1.1 years). The mean ASD–Frailty Index was 3.9 ± 1.5 (frail), 50% had undergone prior fusion, and 81% had concurrent severe sagittal spinopelvic deformity with GCM and C7–S1 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) positively correlated (r = 0.313, p = 0.015). Surgical characteristics included posterior-only (58%) versus anterior-posterior (42%) approach, mean fusion of 13.2 ± 3.8 levels, iliac fixation (90%), 3-column osteotomy (36%), operative duration of 8.3 ± 3.0 hours, and estimated blood loss of 2.3 ± 1.7 L. Final alignment and HRQOL significantly improved (p < 0.01): GCM, 11 to 4 cm; maximum coronal Cobb angle, 43° to 20°; SVA, 13 to 4 cm; pelvic tilt, 29° to 23°; pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, 31° to 5°; Oswestry Disability Index, 51 to 37; physical component summary of SF-36 (PCS), 29 to 37; 22-Item Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire (SRS-22r) Total, 2.6 to 3.5; and numeric rating scale score for back and leg pain, 7 to 4 and 5 to 3, respectively. Residual GCM ≥ 3 cm was associated with worse SRS-22r Appearance (p = 0.04) and SRS-22r Satisfaction (p = 0.02). The minimal clinically important difference and/or substantial clinical benefit (MCID/SCB) was met in 43%–83% (highest for SRS-22r Appearance [MCID 83%] and PCS [SCB 53%]). The severity of baseline GCM (≥ 2 SD above the mean) significantly impacted postoperative SRS-22r Satisfaction and MCID/SCB improvement for PCS. No significant partial correlations were demonstrated between GCM or SVA correction and HRQOL improvement. There were 89 total complications (34 minor and 55 major), 45 (73%) patients with ≥ 1 complication (most commonly rod fracture [19%] and proximal junctional kyphosis [PJK; 18%]), and 34 reoperations in 22 (35%) patients (most commonly for rod fracture and PJK).
Study results demonstrated that ASD surgery in patients with substantial GCM was associated with significant radiographic and HRQOL improvement despite high complication rates. MCID improvement was highest for SRS-22r Appearance/Self-Image. A residual GCM ≥ 3 cm was associated with a worse outcome, suggesting a potential coronal realignment target threshold to assist surgical planning.