Previous studies have demonstrated that Lenke lumbar modifier A contains 2 distinct types (AR and AL), and the AR curve pattern is likely to develop adding-on (i.e., a progressive increase in the number of vertebrae included within the primary curve distally after posterior surgery). However, the results of anterior surgery are unknown. The purpose of this study was to present the surgical results in a cohort of patients undergoing scoliosis treatment for type 1AR curves and to compare anterior and posterior surgeries to consider the ideal indications and advantages of anterior surgery for type 1AR curves.
Patients with a Lenke type 1 or 2 and lumbar modifier AR (L4 vertebral tilt to the right) and a minimum 2-year postoperative follow-up were included. The incidence of adding-on and radiographic data were compared between the anterior and posterior surgery groups. The numbers of levels between the end, stable, neutral, and last touching vertebra to the lower instrumented vertebra (LIV) were also evaluated.
Forty-four patients with a mean follow-up of 57 months were included. There were 14 patients in the anterior group and 30 patients in the posterior group. The main thoracic Cobb angle was not significantly different between the groups preoperatively and at final follow-up. At final follow-up, the anterior group had significantly less tilting of the LIV than the posterior group (−0.8° ± 4.5° vs 3° ± 4°). Distal adding-on was observed in no patient in the anterior group and in 6 patients in the posterior group at final follow-up (p = 0.025). In the anterior group, no LIV was set below the end vertebra, and all LIVs were set above last touching vertebra. The LIV was significantly more proximal in the anterior group than in the posterior surgery patients without adding-on for all reference vertebrae (p < 0.001).
This is the first study to investigate the surgical results of anterior surgery for Lenke type 1AR curve patterns, and it showed that anterior surgery for the curves could minimize the distal extent of the instrumented fusion without adding-on. This would leave more mobile disc space below the fusion.