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Justin K. Scheer, Jessica Tang, Johnny Eguizabal, Azadeh Farin, Jenni M. Buckley, Vedat Deviren, R. Trigg McClellan and Christopher P. Ames

Object

Primary spine tumors frequently involve the C-2 vertebra. Complete resection of the lesion may require total removal of the C-2 vertebral body, pedicles, and dens process. Authors of this biomechanical study are the first to evaluate a comprehensive set of reconstruction methods after C-2 resection to determine the optimal configuration depending on the degree of excision required.

Methods

Eight human heads (from the skull to C-6) from 4 males and 4 females with a mean age of 68 ± 18 years at death were cleaned of tissue, while leaving ligaments and discs intact. Nondestructive flexion and extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR) tests were conducted using a nonconstraining, pure moment loading apparatus, and relative motion across the fusion site (C1–3) was measured using a 3D motion tracking system. Specimens were tested up to 1.5 Nm at 0.25-Nm intervals for 45 seconds each. The spines were instrumented using 3.5-mm titanium rods with a midline occipitocervical plate (4.0 × 12–mm screws) and lateral mass screws (excluding C-2) at the C-1 (3.0 × 40 mm) and C3–5 levels (3.0 × 16 mm). Testing was repeated for the following configurations: Configuration 1 (CF1), instrumentation only from occiput to C-5; CF2, C-2 corpectomy leaving the dens; CF3, titanium mesh cage (16-mm diameter) from C-3 to C-1 ring and dens; CF4, removal of cage, C-1 ring, and dens; CF5, titanium mesh cage from C-3 to clivus (16-mm diameter); CF6, removal of C-2 posterior elements leaving the C3–clivus cage (spondylectomy); CF7, titanium mesh cage from C-3 to clivus (16-mm diameter) with 2 titanium mesh cages from C-3 to C-1 lateral masses (12-mm diameter); and CF8, removal of all 3 cages. A crosslink was added connecting the posterior rods for CF1, CF6, and CF8. Range-of-motion (ROM) differences between all groups were compared via repeated-measures ANOVA with paired comparisons using the Student t-test with a Tukey post hoc adjustment. A p < 0.05 indicated significance.

Results

The addition of a central cage significantly increased FE rigidity compared with posterior instrumentation alone but had less of an effect in AR and LB. The addition of lateral cages did not significantly improve rigidity in any bending direction (CF6 vs CF7, p > 0.05). With posterior instrumentation alone (CF1 and CF2), C-2 corpectomy reduced bending rigidity in only the FE direction (p < 0.05). The removal of C-2 posterior elements in the presence of a C3–clivus cage did not affect the ROM in any bending mode (CF5 vs CF6, p > 0.05). A crosslink addition in CF1, CF6, and CF8 did not significantly affect primary or off-axis ROM (p > 0.05).

Conclusions

Study results indicated that posterior instrumentation alone with 3.5-mm rods is insufficient for stability restoration after a C-2 corpectomy. Either C3–1 or C3–clivus cages can correct instability introduced by C-2 removal in the presence of posterior instrumentation. The addition of lateral cages to a C3–clivus fusion construct may be unnecessary since it does not significantly improve rigidity in any direction.

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Justin K. Scheer, Taemin Oh, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Alan H. Daniels, Daniel M. Sciubba, D. Kojo Hamilton, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Robert A. Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Eric O. Klineberg, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Pseudarthrosis can occur following adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery and can lead to instrumentation failure, recurrent pain, and ultimately revision surgery. In addition, it is one of the most expensive complications of ASD surgery. Risk factors contributing to pseudarthrosis in ASD have been described; however, a preoperative model predicting the development of pseudarthrosis does not exist. The goal of this study was to create a preoperative predictive model for pseudarthrosis based on demographic, radiographic, and surgical factors.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained, multicenter ASD database was conducted. Study inclusion criteria consisted of adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) with spinal deformity and surgery for the ASD. From among 82 variables assessed, 21 were used for model building after applying collinearity testing, redundancy, and univariable predictor importance ≥ 0.90. Variables included demographic data along with comorbidities, modifiable surgical variables, baseline coronal and sagittal radiographic parameters, and baseline scores for health-related quality of life measures. Patients groups were determined according to their Lenke radiographic fusion type at the 2-year follow-up: bilateral or unilateral fusion (union) or pseudarthrosis (nonunion). A decision tree was constructed, and internal validation was accomplished via bootstrapped training and testing data sets. Accuracy and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) were calculated to evaluate the model.

RESULTS

A total of 336 patients were included in the study (nonunion: 105, union: 231). The model was 91.3% accurate with an AUC of 0.94. From 82 initial variables, the top 21 covered a wide range of areas including preoperative alignment, comorbidities, patient demographics, and surgical use of graft material.

CONCLUSIONS

A model for predicting the development of pseudarthrosis at the 2-year follow-up was successfully created. This model is the first of its kind for complex predictive analytics in the development of pseudarthrosis for patients with ASD undergoing surgical correction and can aid in clinical decision-making for potential preventative strategies.

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Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Renaud Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Munish Gupta, Barthelemy Liabaud, Justin K. Scheer, Bassel G. Diebo, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Michael P. Kelly, Vedat Deviren, Robert Hart, Doug Burton, Shay Bess and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Although 3-column osteotomy (3CO) can provide powerful alignment correction in adult spinal deformity (ASD), these procedures are complex and associated with high complication rates. The authors' objective was to assess complications associated with ASD surgery that included 3CO based on a prospectively collected multicenter database.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of a prospectively collected multicenter consecutive case registry. ASD patients treated with 3CO and eligible for 2-year follow-up were identified from a prospectively collected multicenter ASD database. Early (≤ 6 weeks after surgery) and delayed (> 6 weeks after surgery) complications were collected using standardized forms and on-site coordinators.

RESULTS

Of 106 ASD patients treated with 3CO, 82 (77%; 68 treated with pedicle subtraction osteotomy [PSO] and 14 treated with vertebral column resection [VCR]) had 2-year follow-up (76% women, mean age 60.7 years, previous spine fusion in 80%). The mean number of posterior fusion levels was 12.9, and 17% also had an anterior fusion. A total of 76 early (44 minor, 32 major) and 66 delayed (13 minor, 53 major) complications were reported, with 41 patients (50.0%) and 45 patients (54.9%) affected, respectively. Overall, 64 patients (78.0%) had at least 1 complication, and 50 (61.0%) had at least 1 major complication. The most common complications were rod breakage (31.7%), dural tear (20.7%), radiculopathy (9.8%), motor deficit (9.8%), proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK, 9.8%), pleural effusion (8.5%), and deep wound infection (7.3%). Compared with patients who did not experience early or delayed complications, those who had these complications did not differ significantly with regard to age, sex, body mass index, Charlson Comorbidity Index, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, smoking status, history of previous spine surgery or spine fusion, or whether the 3CO performed was a PSO or VCR (p ≥ 0.06). Twenty-seven (33%) patients had 1–11 reoperations (total of 44 reoperations). The most common indications for reoperation were rod breakage (n = 14), deep wound infection (n = 15), and PJK (n = 6). The 24 patients who did not achieve 2-year follow-up had a mean of 0.85 years of follow-up, and the types of early and delayed complications encountered in these 24 patients were comparable to those encountered in the patients that achieved 2-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Among 82 ASD patients treated with 3CO, 64 (78.0%) had at least 1 early or delayed complication (57 minor, 85 major). The most common complications were instrumentation failure, dural tear, new neurological deficit, PJK, pleural effusion, and deep wound infection. None of the assessed demographic or surgical parameters were significantly associated with the occurrence of complications. These data may prove useful for surgical planning, patient counseling, and efforts to improve the safety and cost-effectiveness of these procedures.

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Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Richard Hostin, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Han Jo Kim, Vedat Deviren, Alex Soroceanu, Robert A. Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Although recent studies suggest that average clinical outcomes are improved following surgery for selected adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients, these outcomes span a broad range. Few studies have specifically addressed factors that may predict favorable clinical outcomes. The objective of this study was to compare patients with ASD with best versus worst clinical outcomes following surgical treatment to identify distinguishing factors that may prove useful for patient counseling and optimization of clinical outcomes.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospectively collected, multicenter, database of consecutively enrolled patients with ASD who were treated operatively. Inclusion criteria were age > 18 years and ASD. For patients with a minimum of 2-year follow-up, those with best versus worst outcomes were compared separately based on Scoliosis Research Society-22 (SRS-22) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. Only patients with a baseline SRS-22 ≤ 3.5 or ODI ≥ 30 were included to minimize ceiling/floor effects. Best and worst outcomes were defined for SRS-22 (≥ 4.5 and ≤ 2.5, respectively) and ODI (≤ 15 and ≥ 50, respectively).

RESULTS

Of 257 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 227 (88%) had complete baseline and 2-year follow-up SRS-22 and ODI outcomes scores and radiographic imaging and were analyzed in the present study. Of these 227 patients, 187 had baseline SRS-22 scores ≤ 3.5, and 162 had baseline ODI scores ≥ 30. Forthe SRS-22, best and worst outcomes criteria were met at follow-up for 25 and 27 patients, respectively. For the ODI, best and worst outcomes criteria were met at follow-up for 43 and 51 patients, respectively. With respect to the SRS-22, compared with best outcome patients, those with worst outcomes had higher baseline SRS-22 scores (p < 0.0001), higher prevalence of baseline depression (p < 0.001), more comorbidities (p = 0.012), greater prevalence of prior surgery (p = 0.007), a higher complication rate (p = 0.012), and worse baseline deformity (sagittal vertical axis [SVA], p = 0.045; pelvic incidence [PI] and lumbar lordosis [LL] mismatch, p = 0.034). The best-fit multivariate model for SRS-22 included baseline SRS-22 (p = 0.033), baseline depression (p = 0.012), and complications (p = 0.030). With respect to the ODI, compared with best outcome patients, those with worst outcomes had greater baseline ODI scores (p < 0.001), greater baseline body mass index (BMI; p = 0.002), higher prevalence of baseline depression (p < 0.028), greater baseline SVA (p = 0.016), a higher complication rate (p = 0.02), and greater 2-year SVA (p < 0.001) and PI-LL mismatch (p = 0.042). The best-fit multivariate model for ODI included baseline ODI score (p < 0.001), 2-year SVA (p = 0.014) and baseline BMI (p = 0.037). Age did not distinguish best versus worst outcomes for SRS-22 or ODI (p > 0.1).

CONCLUSIONS

Few studies have specifically addressed factors that distinguish between the best versus worst clinical outcomes for ASD surgery. In this study, baseline and perioperative factors distinguishing between the best and worst outcomes for ASD surgery included several patient factors (baseline depression, BMI, comorbidities, and disability), as well as residual deformity (SVA), and occurrence of complications. These findings suggest factors that may warrant greater awareness among clinicians to achieve optimal surgical outcomes for patients with 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.

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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, Eric Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Renaud Lafage, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Thomas J. Errico, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, D. Kojo Hamilton, Justin K. Scheer, Alex Soroceanu, Michael P. Kelly, Breton Line, Munish Gupta, Vedat Deviren, Robert Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Although multiple reports have documented significant benefit from surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD), these procedures can have high complication rates. Previously reported complications rates associated with ASD surgery are limited by retrospective design, single-surgeon or single-center cohorts, lack of rigorous data on complications, and/or limited follow-up. Accurate definition of complications associated with ASD surgery is important and may serve as a resource for patient counseling and efforts to improve the safety of patient care. The authors conducted a study to prospectively assess the rates of complications associated with ASD surgery with a minimum 2-year follow-up based on a multicenter study design that incorporated standardized data-collection forms, on-site study coordinators, and regular auditing of data to help ensure complete and accurate reporting of complications. In addition, they report age stratification of complication rates and provide a general assessment of factors that may be associated with the occurrence of complications.

METHODS

As part of a prospective, multicenter ASD database, standardized forms were used to collect data on surgery-related complications. On-site coordinators and central auditing helped ensure complete capture of complication data. Inclusion criteria were age older than 18 years, ASD, and plan for operative treatment. Complications were classified as perioperative (within 6 weeks of surgery) or delayed (between 6 weeks after surgery and time of last follow-up), and as minor or major. The primary focus for analyses was on patients who reached a minimum follow-up of 2 years.

RESULTS

Of 346 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 291 (84%) had a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean 2.1 years); their mean age was 56.2 years. The vast majority (99%) had treatment including a posterior procedure, 25% had an anterior procedure, and 19% had a 3-column osteotomy. At least 1 revision was required in 82 patients (28.2%). A total of 270 perioperative complications (145 minor; 125 major) were reported, with 152 patients (52.2%) affected, and a total of 199 delayed complications (62 minor; 137 major) were reported, with 124 patients (42.6%) affected. Overall, 469 complications (207 minor; 262 major) were documented, with 203 patients (69.8%) affected. The most common complication categories included implant related, radiographic, neurological, operative, cardiopulmonary, and infection. Higher complication rates were associated with older age (p = 0.009), greater body mass index (p ≤ 0.031), increased comorbidities (p ≤ 0.007), previous spine fusion (p = 0.029), and 3-column osteotomies (p = 0.036). Cases in which 2-year follow-up was not achieved included 2 perioperative mortalities (pulmonary embolus and inferior vena cava injury).

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides an assessment of complications associated with ASD surgery based on a prospective, multicenter design and with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Although the overall complication rates were high, in interpreting these findings, it is important to recognize that not all complications are equally impactful. This study represents one of the most complete and detailed reports of perioperative and delayed complications associated with ASD surgery to date. These findings may prove useful for treatment planning, patient counseling, benchmarking of complication rates, and efforts to improve the safety and cost-effectiveness of patient care.

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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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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.