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Shenglin Wang, Yinglun Tian, Bassel G. Diebo, Samantha R. Horn, and Peter G. Passias

OBJECTIVE

Most cervical fixations for atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) are bilateral and symmetric; however, in the setting of osseous and vascular deformity at the craniovertebral junction, asymmetrical and hybrid fixations are used as “salvage” techniques. Because of the rarity of these cases, hybrid cervical fixations for AAD have not been fully explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical feasibility and outcomes of posterior hybrid cervical fixations for AAD.

METHODS

Twenty-one AAD cases were retrospectively studied; 18 had cervical myelopathy with Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores ranging from 9 to 16 (mean 13.5). Hybrid fixation techniques included unilateral pedicle screws, transarticular screws, C-2 laminar screws, cervical lateral mass screws, and spinous process screws. During the same period, 82 AAD cases, treated using symmetric traditional fixations, were analyzed as controls.

RESULTS

Atlantoaxial fixation was performed in 11 cases, while occiput-cervical fixation was used in 10 cases. All cases achieved solid osseous fusion. Anatomical reduction was achieved in 20 cases (95.2%). All 18 cases with myelopathy showed postoperative improvement, with JOA scores ranging from 13 to 17 (mean 15.5). Three cases (14.2%) experienced complications, including delayed wound healing, CSF leakage, and fixation loosening. Hybrid fixation techniques showed significantly greater estimated blood loss when compared with controls (208.1 ± 19.30 ml vs 139.63 ± 8.75 ml, p = 0.001). Operative duration (125.38 ± 6.29 min vs 119.41 ± 3.77 min, p = 0.464), complication rates (14.3% vs 4.9%, p = 0.148), and JOA improvement rates (61% ± 7% vs 49% ± 4%, p = 0.161) showed no significant differences.

CONCLUSIONS

For ADD with osseous or vascular deformity, posterior cervical reduction and stabilization can be achieved using hybrid techniques, resulting in comparable clinical results to symmetric traditional fixation.

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Michael Akbar, Haidara Almansour, Renaud Lafage, Bassel G. Diebo, Bernd Wiedenhöfer, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, and Wojciech Pepke

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of thoracic and lumbar alignment on cervical alignment in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

METHODS

Eighty-one patients with AIS who had a Cobb angle > 40° and full-length spine radiographs were included. Radiographs were analyzed using dedicated software to measure pelvic parameters (sacral slope [SS], pelvic incidence [PI], pelvic tilt [PT]); regional parameters (C1 slope, C0–C2 angle, chin-brow vertical angle [CBVA], slope of line of sight [SLS], McRae slope, McGregor slope [MGS], C2–7 [cervical lordosis; CL], C2–7 sagittal vertical axis [SVA], C2–T3, C2–T3 SVA, C2–T1 Harrison measurement [C2–T1 Ha], T1 slope, thoracic kyphosis [TK], lumbar lordosis [LL], and PI-LL mismatch); and global parameters (SVA). Patients were stratified by their lumbar alignment into hyperlordotic (LL > 59.7°) and normolordotic (LL 39.3° to 59.7°) groups and also, based on their thoracic alignment, into hypokyphotic (TK < −33.1°) and normokyphotic (TK −33.1° to −54.9°) groups. Finally, they were grouped based on their global alignment into either an anterior-aligned group or a posterior-aligned group.

RESULTS

The lumbar hyperlordotic group, in comparison to the normolordotic group, had a significantly larger LL, SS, PI (all p < 0.001), and TK (p = 0.014) and a significantly smaller PI-LL mismatch (p = 0.001). Lumbar lordosis had no influence on local cervical parameters.

The thoracic hypokyphotic group had a significantly larger PI-LL mismatch (p < 0.002) and smaller T1 slope (p < 0.001), and was significantly more posteriorly aligned than the normokyphotic group (−15.02 ± 8.04 vs 13.54 ± 6.17 [mean ± SEM], p = 0.006). The patients with hypokyphotic AIS had a kyphotic cervical spine (cervical kyphosis [CK]) (p < 0.001). Furthermore, a posterior-aligned cervical spine in terms of C2–7 SVA (p < 0.006) and C2–T3 SVA (p < 0.001) was observed in the thoracic hypokyphotic group.

Comparing patients in terms of global alignment, the posterior-aligned group had a significantly smaller T1 slope (p < 0.001), without any difference in terms of pelvic, lumbar, and thoracic parameters when compared to the anterior-aligned group. The posterior-aligned group also had a CK (−9.20 ± 1.91 vs 5.21 ± 2.95 [mean ± SEM], p < 0.001) and a more posterior-aligned cervical spine, as measured by C2–7 SVA (p = 0.003) and C2–T3 SVA (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Alignment of the cervical spine is closely related to thoracic curvature and global alignment. In patients with AIS, a hypokyphotic thoracic alignment or posterior global alignment was associated with a global cervical kyphosis. Interestingly, upper cervical and cranial parameters were not statistically different in all investigated groups, meaning that the upper cervical spine was not recruited for compensation in order to maintain a horizontal gaze.

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Peter G. Passias, Bassel G. Diebo, Bryan J. Marascalchi, Cyrus M. Jalai, Samantha R. Horn, Peter L. Zhou, Karen Paltoo, Olivia J. Bono, Nancy Worley, Gregory W. Poorman, Vincent Challier, Anant Dixit, Carl Paulino, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

It is becoming increasingly necessary for surgeons to provide evidence supporting cost-effectiveness of surgical treatment for cervical spine pathology. Anticipating surgical risk is critical in accurately evaluating the risk/benefit balance of such treatment. Determining the risk and cost-effectiveness of surgery, complications, revision procedures, and mortality rates are the most significant limitations. The purpose of this study was to determine independent risk factors for medical complications (MCs), surgical complications (SCs), revisions, and mortality rates following surgery for patients with cervical spine pathology. The most relevant risk factors were used to structure an index that will help quantify risk and anticipate failure for such procedures.

METHODS

The authors of this study performed a retrospective review of the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for patients treated surgically for cervical spine pathology between 2001 and 2010. Multivariate models were performed to calculate the odds ratio (OR) of the independent risk factors that led to MCs and repeated for SCs, revisions, and mortality. The models controlled for age (< and > 65 years old), sex, race, revision status (except for revision analysis), surgical approach, number of levels fused/re-fused (2–3, 4–8, ≥ 9), and osteotomy utilization. ORs were weighted based on their predictive category: 2 times for revision surgery predictors and 4 times for mortality predictors. Fifty points were distributed among the predictors based on their cumulative OR to establish a risk index.

RESULTS

Discharges for 362,989 patients with cervical spine pathology were identified. The mean age was 52.65 years, and 49.47% of patients were women. Independent risk factors included medical comorbidities, surgical parameters, and demographic factors. Medical comorbidities included the following: pulmonary circulation disorder, coagulopathy, metastatic cancer, renal failure, congestive heart failure, alcohol abuse, neurological disorder, nonmetastatic cancer, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis/collagen vascular diseases, and chronic blood loss/anemia. Surgical parameters included posterior approach to fusion/re-fusion, ≥ 9 levels fused/re-fused, corpectomy, 4–8 levels fused/re-fused, and osteotomy; demographic variables included age ≥ 65 years. These factors increased the risk of at least 1 of MC, SC, revision, or mortality (risk of death). A total of 50 points were distributed among the factors based on the cumulative risk ratio of every factor in proportion to the total risk ratios.

CONCLUSIONS

This study proposed an index to quantify the potential risk of morbidity and mortality prior to surgical intervention for patients with cervical spine pathology. This index may be useful for surgeons in patient counseling efforts as well as for health insurance companies and future socioeconomics studies in assessing surgical risks and benefits for patients undergoing surgical treatment of the cervical spine.

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Emmanuelle Ferrero, Barthelemy Liabaud, Vincent Challier, Renaud Lafage, Bassel G. Diebo, Shaleen Vira, Shian Liu, Jean Marc Vital, Brice Ilharreborde, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Thomas J. Errico, Frank J. Schwab, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECT

Previous forceplate studies analyzing the impact of sagittal-plane spinal deformity on pelvic parameters have demonstrated the compensatory mechanisms of pelvis translation in addition to rotation. However, the mechanisms recruited for this pelvic rotation were not assessed. This study aims to analyze the relationship between spinopelvic and lower-extremity parameters and clarify the role of pelvic translation.

METHODS

This is a retrospective study of patients with spinal deformity and full-body EOS images. Patients with only stenosis or low-back pain were excluded. Patients were grouped according to T-1 spinopelvic inclination (T1SPi): sagittal forward (forward, > 0.5°), neutral (−6.3° to 0.5°), or backward (< −6.3°). Pelvic translation was quantified by pelvic shift (sagittal offset between the posterosuperior corner of the sacrum and anterior cortex of the distal tibia), hip extension was measured using the sacrofemoral angle (SFA; the angle formed by the middle of the sacral endplate and the bicoxofemoral axis and the line between the bicoxofemoral axis and the femoral axis), and chin-brow vertical angle (CBVA). Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to compare the parameters and correlation with the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).

RESULTS

In total, 336 patients (71% female; mean age 57 years; mean body mass index 27 kg/m2) had mean T1SPi values of −8.8°, −3.5°, and 5.9° in the backward, neutral, and forward groups, respectively. There were significant differences in the lower-extremity and spinopelvic parameters between T1SPi groups. The backward group had a normal lumbar lordosis (LL), negative SVA and pelvic shift, and the largest hip extension. Forward patients had a small LL and an increased SVA, with a large pelvic shift creating compensatory knee flexion. Significant correlations existed between lower-limb parameter and pelvic shift, pelvic tilt, T-1 pelvic angle, T1SPi, and sagittal vertical axis (0.3 < r < 0.8; p < 0.001). ODI was significantly correlated with knee flexion and pelvic shift.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to describe full-body alignment in a large population of patients with spinal pathologies. Furthermore, patients categorized based on T1SPi were found to have significant differences in the pelvic shift and lower-limb compensatory mechanisms. Correlations between lower-limb angles, pelvic shift, and ODI were identified. These differences in compensatory mechanisms should be considered when evaluating and planning surgical intervention for adult patients with spinal deformity.

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Bassel G. Diebo, Jonathan H. Oren, Vincent Challier, Renaud Lafage, Emmanuelle Ferrero, Shian Liu, Shaleen Vira, Matthew Adam Spiegel, Bradley Yates Harris, Barthelemy Liabaud, Jensen K. Henry, Thomas J. Errico, Frank J. Schwab, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

Sagittal malalignment requires higher energy expenditure to maintain an erect posture. Because the clinical impact of sagittal alignment is affected by both the severity of the deformity and recruitment of compensatory mechanisms, it is important to investigate new parameters that reflect both disability level and compensatory mechanisms for all patients. This study investigated the clinical relevance of the global sagittal axis (GSA), a novel measure to evaluate the standing axis of the human body.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of patients who underwent full-body radiographs and completed health-related quality of life (HRQOL) questionnaires: Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society–22, EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D), and the visual analog scale for back and leg pain. The GSA was defined as the angle formed by a line from the midpoint of the femoral condyles to the center of C-7, and a line from the midpoint between the femoral condyles to the posterior superior corner of the S-1 sacral endplate. After evaluating the correlation of GSA/HRQOL with sagittal parameters, linear regression models were generated to investigate how ODI and GSA related to radiographic parameters (T-1 pelvic angle, pelvic retroversion, knee flexion, and pelvic posterior translation).

RESULTS

One hundred forty-three patients (mean age 44 years) were included. The GSA correlated significantly with all HRQOL (up to r = 0.6 with EQ-5D) and radiographic parameters (up to r = 0.962 with sagittal vertical axis). Regression between ODI and sagittal radiographic parameters identified the GSA as an independent predictor (r = 0.517, r2 = 0.267; p < 0.001). Analysis of standardized coefficients revealed that when controlling for deformity, the GSA increased with a concurrent decrease in pelvic retroversion (−0.837) and increases in knee flexion (+0.287) and pelvic posterior translation (+0.193).

CONCLUSIONS

The GSA is a simple, novel measure to assess the standing axis of the human body in the sagittal plane. The GSA correlated highly with spinopelvic and lower-extremities sagittal parameters and exhibited remarkable correlations with HRQOL, which exceeded other commonly used parameters.

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Alex Soroceanu, Douglas C. Burton, Bassel Georges Diebo, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Christopher Ames, Thomas J. Errico, Shay Bess, Munish C. Gupta, Robert A. Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery is known for its high complication rate. This study examined the impact of obesity on complication rates, infection, and patient-reported outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for ASD.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of a multicenter prospective database of patients with ASD who were treated surgically. Patients with available 2-year follow-up data were included. Obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2. Data collected included complications (total, minor, major, implant-related, radiographic, infection, revision surgery, and neurological injury), estimated blood loss (EBL), operating room (OR) time, length of stay (LOS), and patient-reported questionnaires (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], Short Form-36 [SF-36], and Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]) at baseline and at 6 weeks, 1 year, and 2 years postoperatively. The impact of obesity was studied using multivariate modeling, accounting for confounders.

RESULTS

Of 241 patients who satisfied inclusion criteria, 175 patients were nonobese and 66 were obese. Regression models showed that obese patients had a higher overall incidence of major complications (IRR 1.54, p = 0.02) and wound infections (odds ratio 4.88, p = 0.02). Obesity did not increase the number of minor complications (p = 0.62), radiographic complications (p = 0.62), neurological complications (p = 0.861), or need for revision surgery (p = 0.846). Obesity was not significantly correlated with OR time (p = 0.23), LOS (p = 0.9), or EBL (p = 0.98). Both groups experienced significant improvement overtime, as measured on the ODI (p = 0.0001), SF-36 (p = 0.0001), and SRS (p = 0.0001) questionnaires. However, the overall magnitude of improvement was less for obese patients (ODI, p = 0.0035; SF-36, p = 0.0012; SRS, p = 0.022). Obese patients also had a lower rate of improvement over time (SRS, p = 0.0085; ODI, p = 0.0001; SF-36, p = 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that obese patients have an increased risk of complications following ASD correction. Despite these increased complications, obese patients do benefit from surgical intervention; however, their improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQL) is less than that of nonobese patients.

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Alexander A. Theologis, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Stacie Nguyen, David O. Okonkwo, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Richard Fessler, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Bassel G. Diebo, Douglas Burton, Robert Hart, Vedat Deviren, and Christopher Ames

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of supplementing long thoracolumbar posterior instrumented fusion (posterior spinal fusion, PSF) with lateral interbody fusion (LIF) of the lumbar/thoracolumbar coronal curve apex in adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

Two multicenter databases were evaluated. Adults who had undergone multilevel LIF of the coronal curve apex in addition to PSF with L5–S1 interbody fusion (LS+Apex group) were matched by number of posterior levels fused with patients who had undergone PSF with L5–S1 interbody fusion without LIF (LS-Only group). All patients had at least 2 years of follow-up. Percutaneous PSF and 3-column osteotomy (3CO) were excluded. Demographics, perioperative details, radiographic spinal deformity measurements, and HRQoL data were analyzed.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients were matched (LS+Apex: 16; LS: 16) (6 men, 26 women; mean age 63 ± 10 years). Overall, the average values for measures of deformity were as follows: Cobb angle > 40°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 6 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) > 25°, and mismatch between pelvic incidence (PI) and lumbar lordosis (LL) > 15°. There were no significant intergroup differences in preoperative radiographic parameters, although patients in the LS+Apex group had greater Cobb angles and less LL. Patients in the LS+Apex group had significantly more anterior levels fused (4.6 vs 1), longer operative times (859 vs 379 minutes), and longer length of stay (12 vs 7.5 days) (all p < 0.01). For patients in the LS+Apex group, Cobb angle, pelvic tilt (PT), lumbar lordosis (LL), PI-LL (lumbopelvic mismatch), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain improved significantly (p < 0.05). For patients in the LS-Only group, there were significant improvements in Cobb angle, ODI score, and VAS scores for back and leg pain. The LS+Apex group had better correction of Cobb angles (56% vs 33%, p = 0.02), SVA (43% vs 5%, p = 0.46), LL (62% vs 13%, p = 0.35), and PI-LL (68% vs 33%, p = 0.32). Despite more LS+Apex patients having major complications (56% vs 13%; p = 0.02) and postoperative leg weakness (31% vs 6%, p = 0.07), there were no intergroup differences in 2-year outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Long open posterior instrumented fusion with or without multilevel LIF is used to treat a variety of coronal and sagittal adult thoracolumbar deformities. The addition of multilevel LIF to open PSF with L5–S1 interbody support in this small cohort was often used in more severe coronal and/or lumbopelvic sagittal deformities and offered better correction of major Cobb angles, lumbopelvic parameters, and SVA than posterior-only operations. As these advantages came at the expense of more major complications, more leg weakness, greater blood loss, and longer operative times and hospital stays without an improvement in 2-year outcomes, future investigations should aim to more clearly define deformities that warrant the addition of multilevel LIF to open PSF and L5–S1 interbody fusion.

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Emmanuelle Ferrero, Barthelemy Liabaud, Jensen K. Henry, Christopher P. Ames, Khaled Kebaish, Gregory M. Mundis, Richard Hostin, Munish C. Gupta, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Justin S. Smith, Robert A. Hart, Ibrahim Obeid, Bassel G. Diebo, Frank J. Schwab, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

Three-column osteotomy (3CO) is a demanding technique that is performed to correct sagittal spinal malalignment. However, the impact of the 3CO level on pelvic or truncal sagittal correction remains unclear. In this study, the authors assessed the impact of 3CO level and postoperative apex of lumbar lordosis on sagittal alignment correction, complications, and revisions.

METHODS

In this retrospective study of a multicenter spinal deformity database, radiographic data were analyzed at baseline and at 1- and 2-year follow-up to quantify spinopelvic alignment, apex of lordosis, and resection angle. The impact of 3CO level and apex level of lumbar lordosis on the sagittal correction was assessed. Logistic regression analyses were performed, controlling for cofounders, to investigate the effects of 3CO level and apex level on intraoperative and postoperative complications as well as on the need for subsequent revision surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 468 patients were included (mean age 60.8 years, mean body mass index 28.1 kg/m2); 70% of patients were female. The average 3CO resection angle was 25.1° and did not significantly differ with regard to 3CO level. There were no significant correlations between the 3CO level and amount of sagittal vertical axis or pelvic tilt correction. The postoperative apex level significantly correlated with greater correction of pelvic tilt (2° per more caudal level, R = −0.2, p = 0.006). Lower-level 3CO significantly correlated with revisions for pseudarthrosis (OR = 3.88, p = 0.001) and postoperative motor deficits (OR = 2.02, p = 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, a more caudal lumbar 3CO level did not lead to greater sagittal vertical axis correction. The postoperative apex of lumbar lordosis significantly impacted pelvic tilt. 3CO levels that were more caudal were associated with more postoperative motor deficits and revisions.

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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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Peter G. Passias, Haddy Alas, Sara Naessig, Han Jo Kim, Renaud Lafage, Christopher Ames, Eric Klineberg, Katherine Pierce, Waleed Ahmad, Douglas Burton, Bassel Diebo, Shay Bess, D. Kojo Hamilton, Munish Gupta, Paul Park, Breton Line, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to assess the conversion rate from baseline cervical alignment to postoperative cervical deformity (CD) and the corresponding proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) rate in patients undergoing thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

The operative records of patients with ASD with complete radiographic data beginning at baseline up to 3 years were included. Patients with no baseline CD were postoperatively stratified by Ames CD criteria (T1 slope–cervical lordosis mismatch [TS-CL] > 20°, cervical sagittal vertical axis [cSVA] > 40 mm), where CD was defined as fulfilling one or more of the Ames criteria. Severe CD was defined as TS-CL > 30° or cSVA > 60 mm. Follow-up intervals were established after ASD surgery, with 6 weeks postoperatively defined as early; 6 weeks–1 year as intermediate; 1–2 years as late; and 2–3 years as long-term. Descriptive analyses and McNemar tests identified the CD conversion rate, PJK rate (< −10° change in uppermost instrumented vertebra and the superior endplate of the vertebra 2 levels superior to the uppermost instrumented vertebra), and specific alignment parameters that converted.

RESULTS

Two hundred sixty-six patients who underwent ASD surgery (mean age 59.7 years, 77.4% female) met the inclusion criteria; 103 of these converted postoperatively, and the remaining 163 did not meet conversion criteria. Thirty-eight patients converted to CD early, 26 converted at the intermediate time point, 29 converted late, and 10 converted in the long-term. At conversion, the early group had the highest mean TS-CL at 25.4° ± 8.5° and the highest mean cSVA at 33.6 mm—both higher than any other conversion group. The long-term group had the highest mean C2–7 angle at 19.7° and the highest rate of PJK compared to other groups (p = 0.180). The early group had the highest rate of conversion to severe CD, with 9 of 38 patients having severe TS-CL and only 1 patient per group converting to severe cSVA. Seven patients progressed from having only malaligned TS-CL at baseline (with normal cSVA) to CD with both malaligned TS-CL and cSVA by 6 weeks. Conversely, only 2 patients progressed from malaligned cSVA to both malaligned cSVA and TS-CL. By 1 year, the former number increased from 7 to 26 patients, and the latter increased from 2 to 20 patients. The revision rate was highest in the intermediate group at 48.0%, versus the early group at 19.2%, late group at 27.3%, and long-term group at 20% (p = 0.128). A higher pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, lower thoracic kyphosis, and a higher thoracic kyphosis apex immediately postoperatively significantly predicted earlier rather than later conversion (all p < 0.05). Baseline lumbar lordosis, pelvic tilt, and sacral slope were not significant predictors.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with ASD with normative cervical alignment who converted to CD after thoracolumbar surgery had varying radiographic findings based on timing of conversion. Although the highest number of patients converted within 6 weeks postoperatively, patients who converted in the late or long-term follow-up intervals had higher rates of concurrent PJK and greater radiographic progression.