Spinal deformity after surgery for intramedullary tumors is a potentially serious complication that may require subsequent fusion. The aim of this study was to determine whether there were risk factors that could be used to predict postoperative sagittal deformity.
The authors conducted a retrospective study of patients harboring an intramedullary tumor who had undergone surgery at a single center between 1985 and 2011. The main outcome of interest was the difference, at the last follow-up, between post- and preoperative measures of the Cobb angle formed by the superior and inferior limits of the laminectomy (ΔCobb).
Sixty-three patients were eligible for inclusion in the study. The mean sagittal deformity, measured as described above, was 15.9° (range 0°–77°) at a mean follow-up of 85.4 months (range 4–240 months). Univariate analysis showed increased sagittal deformity in patients 30 years old or younger (21.9° vs 13.7°, p = 0.04), undergoing a laminectomy involving 4 or more levels (19.3° vs 12.1°, p = 0.04), and undergoing a laminectomy that included a spinal junction (20.8° vs 12.4°, p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis showed that only age (p = 0.01) and the number of spinal levels involved in the laminectomy (p = 0.014) were significant and independent predictors of postoperative sagittal deformity. The linear regression equation drawn from this model allows one to quantitatively predict sagittal deformity for any follow-up time point after surgery.
Authors of this study developed a statistical tool that could be used to plan surgery and follow-up as regards the risk of sagittal spinal deformity in patients undergoing surgery for intramedullary tumors.