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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Justin K. Scheer, Shay Bess, S. Samuel Bederman, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Sagittal spinal misalignment (SSM) is an established cause of pain and disability. Treating physicians must be familiar with the radiographic findings consistent with SSM. Additionally, the restoration or maintenance of physiological sagittal spinal alignment after reconstructive spinal procedures is imperative to achieve good clinical outcomes. The C-7 plumb line (sagittal vertical axis) has traditionally been used to evaluate sagittal spinal alignment; however, recent data indicate that the measurement of spinopelvic parameters provides a more comprehensive assessment of sagittal spinal alignment. In this review the authors describe the proper analysis of spinopelvic alignment for surgical planning. Online videos supplement the text to better illustrate the key concepts.

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Justin K. Scheer, Jessica A. Tang, Justin S. Smith, Frank L. Acosta Jr., Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Benjamin Blondel, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

This paper is a narrative review of normal cervical alignment, methods for quantifying alignment, and how alignment is associated with cervical deformity, myelopathy, and adjacent-segment disease (ASD), with discussions of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Popular methods currently used to quantify cervical alignment are discussed including cervical lordosis, sagittal vertical axis, and horizontal gaze with the chin-brow to vertical angle. Cervical deformity is examined in detail as deformities localized to the cervical spine affect, and are affected by, other parameters of the spine in preserving global sagittal alignment. An evolving trend is defining cervical sagittal alignment. Evidence from a few recent studies suggests correlations between radiographic parameters in the cervical spine and HRQOL. Analysis of the cervical regional alignment with respect to overall spinal pelvic alignment is critical. The article details mechanisms by which cervical kyphotic deformity potentially leads to ASD and discusses previous studies that suggest how postoperative sagittal malalignment may promote ASD. Further clinical studies are needed to explore the relationship of cervical malalignment and the development of ASD. Sagittal alignment of the cervical spine may play a substantial role in the development of cervical myelopathy as cervical deformity can lead to spinal cord compression and cord tension. Surgical correction of cervical myelopathy should always take into consideration cervical sagittal alignment, as decompression alone may not decrease cord tension induced by kyphosis. Awareness of the development of postlaminectomy kyphosis is critical as it relates to cervical myelopathy. The future direction of cervical deformity correction should include a comprehensive approach in assessing global cervicalpelvic relationships. Just as understanding pelvic incidence as it relates to lumbar lordosis was crucial in building our knowledge of thoracolumbar deformities, T-1 incidence and cervical sagittal balance can further our understanding of cervical deformities. Other important parameters that account for the cervical-pelvic relationship are surveyed in detail, and it is recognized that all such parameters need to be validated in studies that correlate HRQOL outcomes following cervical deformity correction.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Justin K. Scheer, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Bertrand Moal, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Eric Klineberg, Douglas C. Burton, Robert Hart, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors' objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.

Methods

A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.

Results

The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.

Conclusions

The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.

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Justin K. Scheer, Jessica A. Tang, Justin S. Smith, Eric Klineberg, Robert A. Hart, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Douglas C. Burton, Richard Hostin, Michael F. O'Brien, Shay Bess, Khaled M. Kebaish, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Complications and reoperation for surgery to correct adult spinal deformity are not infrequent, and many studies have analyzed the rates and factors that influence the likelihood of reoperation. However, there is a need for more comprehensive analyses of reoperation in adult spinal deformity surgery from a global standpoint, particularly focusing on the 1st year following operation and considering radiographic parameters and the effects of reoperation on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). This study attempts to determine the prevalence of reoperation following surgery for adult spinal deformity, assess the indications for these reoperations, evaluate for a relation between specific radiographic parameters and the need for reoperation, and determine the potential impact of reoperation on HRQOL measures.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted of a prospective, multicenter, adult spinal deformity database collected through the International Spine Study Group. Data collected included age, body mass index, sex, date of surgery, information regarding complications, reoperation dates, length of stay, and operation time. The radiographic parameters assessed were total number of levels instrumented, total number of interbody fusions, C-7 sagittal vertical axis, uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) location, and presence of 3-column osteotomies. The HRQOL assessment included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical component and mental component summary, and SRS-22 scores. Smoking history, Charlson Comorbidity Index scores, and American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status classification grades were also collected and assessed for correlation with risk of early reoperation. Various statistical tests were performed for evaluation of specific factors listed above, and the level of significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results

Fifty-nine (17%) of a total of 352 patients required reoperation. Forty-four (12.5%) of the reoperations occurred within 1 year after the initial surgery, including 17 reoperations (5%) within 30 days.

Two hundred sixty-eight patients had a minimum of 1 year of follow-up. Fifty-three (20%) of these patients had a 3-column osteotomy, and 10 (19%) of these 53 required reoperation within 1 year of the initial procedure. However, 3-column osteotomy was not predictive of reoperation within 1 year, p = 0.5476). There were no significant differences between groups with regard to the distribution of UIV, and UIV did not have a significant effect on reoperation rates. Patients needing reoperation within 1 year had worse ODI and SRS-22 scores measured at 1-year follow-up than patients not requiring operation.

Conclusions

Analysis of data from a large multicenter adult spinal deformity database shows an overall 17% reoperation rate, with a 19% reoperation rate for patients treated with 3-column osteotomy and a 16% reoperation rate for patients not treated with 3-column osteotomy. The most common indications for reoperation included instrumentation complications and radiographic failure. Reoperation significantly affected HRQOL outcomes at 1-year follow-up. The need for reoperation may be minimized by carefully considering spinal alignment, termination of fixation, and type of surgical procedure (presence of osteotomy). Precautions should be taken to avoid malposition or instrumentation (rod) failure.

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Justin K. Scheer, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Ian M. McCarthy, Gregory M. Mundis, Douglas C. Burton, Eric Klineberg, Munish C. Gupta, Khaled M. Kebaish, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

Object

Spinal osteotomies for adult spinal deformity correction may include resection of all 3 spinal columns (pedicle subtraction osteotomy [PSO] and vertebral column resection [VCR]). The relationship between patient age and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes for patients undergoing major spinal deformity correction via PSO or VCR has not been well characterized. The goal of this study was to characterize that relationship.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of 374 patients who had undergone a 3-column osteotomy (299 PSOs and 75 VCRs) and were part of a prospectively collected, multicenter adult spinal deformity database. The consecutively enrolled patients were drawn from 11 sites across the United States. Health-related QOL outcomes, according to the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36, physical component score [PCS] and mental component score), and Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS), were evaluated preoperatively and 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Differences and correlations between patient age and HRQOL outcomes were investigated. Age groupings included young (age ≤ 45 years), middle aged (age 46–64 years), and elderly (age ≥ 65 years).

Results

In patients who had undergone PSO, age significantly correlated (Spearman's correlation coefficient) with the 2-year ODI (ρ = 0.24, p = 0.0450), 2-year SRS function score (ρ = 0.30, p = 0.0123), and 2-year SRS total score (ρ = 0.30, p = 0.0133). Among all patients (PSO+VCR), the preoperative PCS and ODI in the young group were significantly higher and lower, respectively, than those in the elderly. Among the PSO patients, the elderly group had much greater improvement than the young group in the 1- and 2-year PCS, 2-year ODI, and 2-year SRS function and total scores. Among the VCR patients, the young age group had much greater improvement than the elderly in the 1-year SRS pain score, 1-year PCS, 2-year PCS, and 2-year ODI. There was no significant difference among all the age groups as regards the likelihood of reaching a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) within each of the HRQOL outcomes (p > 0.05 for all). Among the PSO patients, the elderly group was significantly more likely than the young to reach an MCID for the 1-year PCS (61% vs 21%, p = 0.0077) and the 2-year PCS (67% vs 17%, p = 0.0054), SRS pain score (57% vs 20%, p = 0.0457), and SRS function score (62% vs 20%, p = 0.0250). Among the VCR patients, the young group was significantly more likely than the elderly patients to reach an MCID for the 1-year (100% vs 20%, p = 0.0036) and 2-year (100% vs 0%, p = 0.0027) PCS scores and 1-year (60% vs 0%, p = 0.0173) and 2-year (70% vs 0%, p = 0.0433) SRS pain scores.

Conclusions

The PSO and VCR are not equivalent surgeries in terms of HRQOL outcomes and patient age. Among patients who underwent PSO, the elderly group started with more preoperative disability than the younger patients but had greater improvements in HRQOL outcomes and was more likely to reach an MCID at 1 and 2 years after treatment. Among those who underwent VCR, all had similar preoperative disabilities, but the younger patients had greater improvements in HRQOL outcomes and were more likely to reach an MCID at 1 and 2 years after treatment.

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Justin S. Smith, Manish Singh, Eric Klineberg, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Themistocles Protopsaltis, David Ibrahimi, Justin K. Scheer, Gregory Mundis Jr., Munish C. Gupta, Richard Hostin, Vedat Deviren, Khaled Kebaish, Robert Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess and Christopher P. Ames

Object

Increased sagittal vertical axis (SVA) correlates strongly with pain and disability for adults with spinal deformity. A subset of patients with sagittal spinopelvic malalignment (SSM) have flatback deformity (pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis [PI-LL] mismatch > 10°) but remain sagittally compensated with normal SVA. Few data exist for SSM patients with flatback deformity and normal SVA. The authors' objective was to compare baseline disability and treatment outcomes for patients with compensated (SVA < 5 cm and PI-LL mismatch > 10°) and decompensated (SVA > 5 cm) SSM.

Methods

The study was a multicenter, prospective analysis of adults with spinal deformity who consecutively underwent surgical treatment for SSM. Inclusion criteria included age older than 18 years, presence of adult spinal deformity with SSM, plan for surgical treatment, and minimum 1-year follow-up data. Patients with SSM were divided into 2 groups: those with compensated SSM (SVA < 5 cm and PI-LL mismatch > 10°) and those with decompensated SSM (SVA ≥ 5 cm). Baseline and 1-year follow-up radiographic and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes included Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form–36 scores, and Scoliosis Research Society–22 scores. Percentages of patients achieving minimal clinically important difference (MCID) were also assessed.

Results

A total of 125 patients (27 compensated and 98 decompensated) met inclusion criteria. Compared with patients in the compensated group, patients in the decompensated group were older (62.9 vs 55.1 years; p = 0.004) and had less scoliosis (43° vs 54°; p = 0.002), greater SVA (12.0 cm vs 1.7 cm; p < 0.001), greater PI-LL mismatch (26° vs 20°; p = 0.013), and poorer HRQOL scores (Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form-36 physical component score, Scoliosis Research Society-22 total; p ≤ 0.016). Although these baseline HRQOL differences between the groups reached statistical significance, only the mean difference in Short Form–36 physical component score reached threshold for MCID. Compared with baseline assessment, at 1 year after surgery improvement was noted for patients in both groups for mean SVA (compensated –1.1 cm, decompensated +4.8 cm; p ≤ 0.009), mean PI-LL mismatch (compensated 6°, decompensated 5°; p < 0.001), and all HRQOL measures assessed (p ≤ 0.005). No significant differences were found between the compensated and decompensated groups in the magnitude of HRQOL score improvement or in the percentages of patients achieving MCID for each of the outcome measures assessed.

Conclusions

Decompensated SSM patients with elevated SVA experience significant disability; however, the amount of disability in compensated SSM patients with flatback deformity caused by PI-LL mismatch but normal SVA is underappreciated. Surgical correction of SSM demonstrated similar radiographic and HRQOL score improvements for patients in both groups. Evaluation of SSM should extend beyond measuring SVA. Among patients with concordant pain and disability, PI-LL mismatch must be evaluated for SSM patients and can be considered a primary indication for surgery.

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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

Object

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.

Methods

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°.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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.

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Taemin Oh, Justin K. Scheer, Robert Eastlack, Justin S. Smith, Virginie Lafage, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Peter G. Passias, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Munish Gupta, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECT

Alignment changes in the cervical spine that occur following surgical correction for thoracic deformity remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to evaluate such changes in a cohort of adults with thoracic deformity treated surgically.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis of consecutive patients with thoracic deformity. Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: corrective osteotomy for thoracic deformity, upper-most instrumented vertebra (UIV) between T-1 and T-4, lower-most instrumented vertebra (LIV) at or above L-5 (LIV ≥ L-5) or at the ilium (LIV-ilium), and a minimum radiographic follow-up of 2 years. Sagittal radiographic parameters were assessed preoperatively as well as at 3 months and 2 years postoperatively, including the C-7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), C2–7 cervical lordosis (CL), C2–7 SVA, T-1 slope (T1S), T1S minus CL (T1S-CL), T2–12 thoracic kyphosis (TK), apical TK, lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI), PI-LL, pelvic tilt (PT), and sacral slope (SS).

RESULTS

Fifty-seven patients with a mean age of 49.1 ± 14.6 years met the study inclusion criteria. The preoperative prevalence of increased CL (CL > 15°) was 48.9%. Both 3-month and 2-year apical TK improved from baseline (p < 0.05, statistically significant). At the 2-year follow-up, only the C2–7 SVA increased significantly from baseline (p = 0.01), whereas LL decreased from baseline (p < 0.01). The prevalence of increased CL was 35.3% at 3 months and 47.8% at 2 years, which did not represent a significant change. Postoperative cervical alignment changes were not significantly different from preoperative values regardless of the LIV (LIV ≥ L-5 or LIV-ilium, p > 0.05 for both). In a subset of patients with a maximum TK ≥ 60° (35 patients) and 3-column osteotomy (38 patients), no significant postoperative cervical changes were seen.

CONCLUSION

Increased CL is common in adult spinal deformity patients with thoracic deformities and, unlike after lumbar corrective surgery, does not appear to normalize after thoracic corrective surgery. Cervical sagittal malalignment (C2–7 SVA) also increases postoperatively. Surgeons should be aware that spontaneous cervical alignment normalization might not occur following thoracic deformity correction.