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Virginie Lafage, Neil J. Bharucha, Frank Schwab, Robert A. Hart, Douglas Burton, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Christopher Shaffrey, Munish Gupta, Behrooz A. Akbarnia and Shay Bess

Object

Sagittal spinopelvic imbalance is a major contributor to pain and disability for patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). Preoperative planning is essential for pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) candidates; however, current methods are often inaccurate because no formula to date predicts both postoperative sagittal balance and pelvic alignment. The authors of this study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of 2 novel formulas in predicting postoperative spinopelvic alignment after PSO.

Methods

This study is a multicenter retrospective consecutive PSO case series. Adults with spinal deformity (> 21 years old) who were treated with a single-level lumbar PSO for sagittal imbalance were evaluated. All patients underwent preoperative and a minimum of 6-month postoperative radiography. Two novel formulas were used to predict the postoperative spinopelvic alignment. The results predicted by the formulas were then compared with the actual postoperative radiographic values, and the formulas' ability to identify successful (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] ≤ 50 mm and pelvic tilt [PT] ≤ 25°) and unsuccessful (SVA > 50 mm or PT > 25°) outcomes was evaluated.

Results

Ninety-nine patients met inclusion criteria. The median absolute error between the predicted and actual PT was 4.1° (interquartile range 2.0°–6.4°). The median absolute error between the predicted and actual SVA was 27 mm (interquartile range 11–47 mm). Forty-one of 54 patients with a formula that predicted a successful outcome had a successful outcome as shown by radiography (positive predictive value = 0.76). Forty-four of 45 patients with a formula that predicted an unsuccessful outcome had an unsuccessful outcome as shown by radiography (negative predictive value = 0.98).

Conclusions

The spinopelvic alignment formulas were accurate when predicting unsuccessful outcomes but less reliable when predicting successful outcomes. The preoperative surgical plan should be altered if an unsuccessful result is predicted. However, even after obtaining a predicted successful outcome, surgeons should ensure that the predicted values are not too close to unsuccessful values and should identify other variables that may affect alignment. In the near future, it is anticipated that the use of these formulas will lead to better surgical planning and improved outcomes for patients with complex ASD.

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Carolyn J. Sparrey, Jeannie F. Bailey, Michael Safaee, Aaron J. Clark, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Justin S. Smith and Christopher P. Ames

The goal of this review is to discuss the mechanisms of postural degeneration, particularly the loss of lumbar lordosis commonly observed in the elderly in the context of evolution, mechanical, and biological studies of the human spine and to synthesize recent research findings to clinical management of postural malalignment. Lumbar lordosis is unique to the human spine and is necessary to facilitate our upright posture. However, decreased lumbar lordosis and increased thoracic kyphosis are hallmarks of an aging human spinal column. The unique upright posture and lordotic lumbar curvature of the human spine suggest that an understanding of the evolution of the human spinal column, and the unique anatomical features that support lumbar lordosis may provide insight into spine health and degeneration. Considering evolution of the skeleton in isolation from other scientific studies provides a limited picture for clinicians. The evolution and development of human lumbar lordosis highlight the interdependence of pelvic structure and lumbar lordosis. Studies of fossils of human lineage demonstrate a convergence on the degree of lumbar lordosis and the number of lumbar vertebrae in modern Homo sapiens. Evolution and spine mechanics research show that lumbar lordosis is dictated by pelvic incidence, spinal musculature, vertebral wedging, and disc health. The evolution, mechanics, and biology research all point to the importance of spinal posture and flexibility in supporting optimal health. However, surgical management of postural deformity has focused on restoring posture at the expense of flexibility. It is possible that the need for complex and costly spinal fixation can be eliminated by developing tools for early identification of patients at risk for postural deformities through patient history (genetics, mechanics, and environmental exposure) and tracking postural changes over time.

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Justin K. Scheer, Justin S. Smith, Aaron J. Clark, Virginie Lafage, Han Jo Kim, John D. Rolston, Robert Eastlack, Robert A. Hart, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Michael P. Kelly, Khaled Kebaish, Munish Gupta, Eric Klineberg, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Back and leg pain are the primary outcomes of adult spinal deformity (ASD) and predict patients' seeking of surgical management. The authors sought to characterize changes in back and leg pain after operative or nonoperative management of ASD. Outcomes were assessed according to pain severity, type of surgical procedure, Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–Schwab spine deformity class, and patient satisfaction.

METHODS

This study retrospectively reviewed data in a prospective multicenter database of ASD patients. Inclusion criteria were the following: age > 18 years and presence of spinal deformity as defined by a scoliosis Cobb angle ≥ 20°, sagittal vertical axis length ≥ 5 cm, pelvic tilt angle ≥ 25°, or thoracic kyphosis angle ≥ 60°. Patients were grouped into nonoperated and operated subcohorts and by the type of surgical procedure, spine SRS-Schwab deformity class, preoperative pain severity, and patient satisfaction. Numerical rating scale (NRS) scores of back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, physical component summary (PCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs), and substantial clinical benefits (SCBs) were assessed.

RESULTS

Patients in whom ASD had been operatively managed were 6 times more likely to have an improvement in back pain and 3 times more likely to have an improvement in leg pain than patients in whom ASD had been nonoperatively managed. Patients whose ASD had been managed nonoperatively were more likely to have their back or leg pain remain the same or worsen. The incidence of postoperative leg pain was 37.0% at 6 weeks postoperatively and 33.3% at the 2-year follow-up (FU). At the 2-year FU, among patients with any preoperative back or leg pain, 24.3% and 37.8% were free of back and leg pain, respectively, and among patients with severe (NRS scores of 7–10) preoperative back or leg pain, 21.0% and 32.8% were free of back and leg pain, respectively. Decompression resulted in more patients having an improvement in leg pain and their pain scores reaching MCID. Although osteotomies improved back pain, they were associated with a higher incidence of leg pain. Patients whose spine had an SRS-Schwab coronal curve Type N deformity (sagittal malalignment only) were least likely to report improvements in back pain. Patients with a Type L deformity were most likely to report improved back or leg pain and to have reductions in pain severity scores reaching MCID and SCB. Patients with a Type D deformity were least likely to report improved leg pain and were more likely to experience a worsening of leg pain. Preoperative pain severity affected pain improvement over 2 years because patients who had higher preoperative pain severity experienced larger improvements, and their changes in pain severity were more likely to reach MCID/SCB than for those reporting lower preoperative pain. Reductions in back pain contributed to improvements in ODI and PCS scores and to patient satisfaction more than reductions in leg pain did.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' results provide a valuable reference for counseling patients preoperatively about what improvements or worsening in back or leg pain they may experience after surgical intervention for ASD.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Robert Eastlack, Donald J. Blaskiewicz, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Han Jo Kim, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Michael O’Brien, Richard Hostin, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Robert Hart, Todd J. Albert, K. Daniel Riew, Michael G. Fehlings, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Despite the complexity of cervical spine deformity (CSD) and its significant impact on patient quality of life, there exists no comprehensive classification system. The objective of this study was to develop a novel classification system based on a modified Delphi approach and to characterize the intra- and interobserver reliability of this classification.

METHODS

Based on an extensive literature review and a modified Delphi approach with an expert panel, a CSD classification system was generated. The classification system included a deformity descriptor and 5 modifiers that incorporated sagittal, regional, and global spinopelvic alignment and neurological status. The descriptors included: “C,” “CT,” and “T” for primary cervical kyphotic deformities with an apex in the cervical spine, cervicothoracic junction, or thoracic spine, respectively; “S” for primary coronal deformity with a coronal Cobb angle ≥ 15°; and “CVJ” for primary craniovertebral junction deformity. The modifiers included C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), horizontal gaze (chin-brow to vertical angle [CBVA]), T1 slope (TS) minus C2–7 lordosis (TS–CL), myelopathy (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] scale score), and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-Schwab classification for thoracolumbar deformity. Application of the classification system requires the following: 1) full-length standing posteroanterior (PA) and lateral spine radiographs that include the cervical spine and femoral heads; 2) standing PA and lateral cervical spine radiographs; 3) completed and scored mJOA questionnaire; and 4) a clinical photograph or radiograph that includes the skull for measurement of the CBVA. A series of 10 CSD cases, broadly representative of the classification system, were selected and sufficient radiographic and clinical history to enable classification were assembled. A panel of spinal deformity surgeons was queried to classify each case twice, with a minimum of 1 intervening week. Inter- and intrarater reliability measures were based on calculations of Fleiss k coefficient values.

RESULTS

Twenty spinal deformity surgeons participated in this study. Interrater reliability (Fleiss k coefficients) for the deformity descriptor rounds 1 and 2 were 0.489 and 0.280, respectively, and mean intrarater reliability was 0.584. For the modifiers, including the SRS-Schwab components, the interrater (round 1/round 2) and intrarater reliabilities (Fleiss k coefficients) were: C2–7 SVA (0.338/0.412, 0.584), horizontal gaze (0.779/0.430, 0.768), TS-CL (0.721/0.567, 0.720), myelopathy (0.602/0.477, 0.746), SRS-Schwab curve type (0.590/0.433, 0.564), pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (0.554/0.386, 0.826), pelvic tilt (0.714/0.627, 0.633), and C7-S1 SVA (0.071/0.064, 0.233), respectively. The parameter with the poorest reliability was the C7–S1 SVA, which may have resulted from differences in interpretation of positive and negative measurements.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed classification provides a mechanism to assess CSD within the framework of global spinopelvic malalignment and clinically relevant parameters. The intra- and interobserver reliabilities suggest moderate agreement and serve as the basis for subsequent improvement and study of the proposed classification.