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Ki Young Lee, Jung-Hee Lee, Kyung-Chung Kang, Sang-Kyu Im, Hae Seong Lim, and Sun Whan Choi


Restoring the proper sagittal alignment in adult spinal deformity (ASD) can improve radiological and clinical outcomes, but pseudarthrosis including rod fracture (RF) is a common problematic complication. The purpose of this study was to analyze the methods for reducing the incidence of RF in deformity correction of ASD.


The authors retrospectively selected 178 consecutive patients (mean age 70.8 years) with lumbar degenerative kyphosis (LDK) who underwent deformity correction with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Patients were classified into the non-RF group (n = 131) and the RF group (n = 47). For predicting the crucial factors of RF, patient factors, radiographic parameters, and surgical factors were analyzed.


The overall incidence of RF was 26% (47/178 cases), occurring in 42% (42/100 cases) of pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO), 7% (5/67 cases) of lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) with posterior column osteotomy, 18% (23/129 cases) of cobalt chrome rods, 49% (24/49 cases) of titanium alloy rods, 6% (2/36 cases) placed with the accessory rod technique, and 32% (45/142 cases) placed with the 2-rod technique. There were no significant differences in the incidence of RF regarding patient factors between two groups. While both groups showed severe sagittal imbalance before operation, lumbar lordosis (LL) was more kyphotic and pelvic incidence (PI) minus LL (PI-LL) mismatch was greater in the RF group (p < 0.05). Postoperatively, while LL and PI-LL did not show significant differences between the two groups, LL and sagittal vertical axis correction were greater in the RF group (p < 0.05). Nonetheless, at the last follow-up, the two groups did not show significant differences in radiographic parameters except thoracolumbar junctional angles. As for surgical factors, use of the cobalt chrome rod and the accessory rod technique was significantly greater in the non-RF group (p < 0.05). As for the correction method, PSO was associated with more RFs than the other correction methods, including LLIF (p < 0.05). By logistic regression analysis, PSO, preoperative PI-LL mismatch, and the accessory rod technique were crucial factors for RF.


Greater preoperative sagittal spinopelvic malalignment including preoperative PI-LL mismatch was the crucial risk factor for RF in LDK patients 65 years or older. For restoring and maintaining sagittal alignment, use of the cobalt chrome rod, accessory rod technique, or LLIF was shown to be effective for reducing RF in ASD surgery.