There is an increased recognition of disproportional lumbar lordosis (LL) and artificially high pelvic incidence (PI) as a cause for positive sagittal imbalance and spinal pelvic mismatch. For such cases, a sacral pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) may be indicated, although its morbidity is not well described. In this study, the authors evaluate the specific complication risks associated with S1 PSO.
A retrospective review of all adult spinal deformity patients who underwent a 3-column osteotomy (3CO) for thoracolumbar deformity from 2006 to 2019 was performed. Demographic, clinical baseline, and radiographic parameters were recorded. The primary outcome of interest was perioperative complications (surgical, neurological, and medical). Secondary outcomes of interest included case length, blood loss, and length of stay. Multivariate analysis was used to assess the risk of S1 PSO compared with 3CO at other levels.
A total of 405 patients underwent 3CO in the following locations: thoracic (n = 55), L1 (n = 25), L2 (n = 29), L3 (n = 141), L4 (n = 129), L5 (n = 17), and S1 (n = 9). After S1 PSO, there were significant improvements in the sagittal vertical axis (14.8 cm vs 6.7 cm, p = 0.004) and PI-LL mismatch (31.7° vs 9.6°, p = 0.025) due to decreased PI (80.3° vs 65.9°, p = 0.006). LL remained unchanged (48.7° vs 57.8°, p = 0.360). The overall complication rate was 27.4%; the surgical, neurological, and medical complication rates were 7.7%, 6.2%, and 20.0%, respectively. S1 PSO was associated with significantly higher rates of overall complications: thoracic (29.1%), L1 (32.0%), L2 (31.0%), L3 (19.9%), L4 (32.6%), L5 (11.8%), and S1 (66.7%) (p = 0.018). Similarly, an S1 PSO was associated with significantly higher rates of surgical (thoracic [9.1%], L1 [4.0%], L2 [6.9%], L3 [5.7%], L4 [10.9%], L5 [5.9%], and S1 [44.4%], p = 0.006) and neurological (thoracic [9.1%], L1 [0.0%], L2 [6.9%], L3 [2.8%], L4 [7.0%], L5 [5.9%], and S1 [44.4%], p < 0.001) complications. On multivariate analysis, S1 PSO was independently associated with higher odds of overall (OR 7.93, p = 0.013), surgical (OR 20.66, p = 0.010), and neurological (OR 14.75, p = 0.007) complications.
S1 PSO is a powerful technique for correction of rigid sagittal imbalance due to an artificially elevated PI in patients with rigid high-grade spondylolisthesis and chronic sacral fractures. However, the technique and intraoperative corrective maneuvers are challenging and associated with high surgical and neurological complications. Additional investigations into the learning curve associated with S1 PSO and complication prevention are needed.