Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), which can worsen a patient’s quality of life, is a common complication following the surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD). Although various radiographic parameters have been proposed to predict the occurrence of PJK, the optimal method has not been established. The present study aimed to investigate the usefulness of the T1–L1 pelvic angle in the standing position (standing TLPA) for predicting the occurrence of PJK.
The authors retrospectively extracted data for patients with ASD who underwent minimum 5-level fusion to the pelvis with upper instrumented vertebra between T8 and L1. In the present study, PJK was defined as ≥ 10° progression of the proximal junctional angle or reoperation due to progressive kyphosis during 1 year of follow-up. The following parameters were analyzed on whole-spine standing radiographs: the T1–pelvic angle, conventional thoracic kyphosis (TK; T4–12), whole-thoracic TK (T1–12), and the standing TLPA (defined as the angle formed by lines extending from the center of T1 and L1 to the femoral head axis). A logistic regression analysis and a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis were performed.
A total of 50 patients with ASD were enrolled (84% female; mean age 74.4 years). PJK occurred in 19 (38%) patients. Preoperatively, the PJK group showed significantly greater T1–pelvic angle (49.2° vs 34.4°), conventional TK (26.6° vs 17.6°), and standing-TLPA (30.0° vs 14.9°) values in comparison to the non-PJK group. There was no significant difference in the whole-thoracic TK between the two groups. A multivariate analysis showed that the standing TLPA and whole-thoracic TK were independent predictors of PJK. The standing TLPA had better accuracy than whole-thoracic TK (AUC 0.86 vs 0.64, p = 0.03). The optimal cutoff value of the standing TLPA was 23.0° (sensitivity 0.79, specificity 0.74). Using this cutoff value, the standing TLPA was the best predictor of PJK (OR 8.4, 95% CI 1.8–39, p = 0.007).
The preoperative standing TLPA was more closely associated with the occurrence of PJK than other radiographic parameters. These results suggest that this easily measured parameter is useful for the prediction of PJK.