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Corey T. Walker, Jakub Godzik, Santiago Angel, Juan Pedro Giraldo, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Coronal malalignment (CM) in adult spinal deformity is associated with poor outcomes and remains underappreciated in the literature. Recent attempts at classifying CM indicate that some coronal shifts may be more difficult to treat than others. To date, outcomes for circumferential minimally invasive surgery (cMIS) of the spine in the context of these new CM classifications are unreported.

METHODS

A retrospective evaluation of patients with degenerative scoliosis (Cobb angle > 20°) consecutively treated with cMIS at a single institution was performed. Preoperative and 1-year postoperative standing radiographs were used to make the comparisons. Clinical outcome measures were compared. Patients were subgrouped according to the preoperative distance between their C7 plumb line and central sacral vertical line (C7-CSVL) as either coronally aligned (type A, C7-CSVL < 3 cm); shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the concavity (type B); or shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the convexity (type C) of the main lumbar curve.

RESULTS

Forty-two patients were included (mean age 67.7 years). Twenty-six patients (62%) were classified as type A, 5 patients (12%) as type B, and 11 patients (26%) as type C. An average of 4.9 segments were treated. No type A patients developed postoperative CM. All type B patients had CM correction. Six of the 11 type C patients had CM after surgery. Overall, there was an improvement in the C7-CSVL (from 2.4 to 1.8 cm, p = 0.04). Among subgroups, only type B patients improved (from 4.5 to 0.8 cm, p = 0.002); no difference was seen for type A patients (from 1.2 to 1.4 cm, p = 0.32) or type C patients (from 4.3 to 3.1 cm, p = 0.11). Comparing type C patients with postoperative CM versus those without postoperative CM, patients with CM had worse visual analog scale back scores at 1 year (5 vs 1, p = 0.01). Moreover, they had higher postoperative L4 tilt angles (11° vs 5°, p = 0.01), indicating inadequate correction of the lumbosacral fractional curve.

CONCLUSIONS

cMIS improved coronal alignment, curve magnitudes, and clinical outcomes among patients with degenerative scoliosis. It did not result in CM in type A patients and was successful at improving the C7-CSVL in type B patients. Type C patients remain the most difficult to treat coronally, with worse visual analog scale back pain scores in those with postoperative CM. Regional coronal restoration of the lumbosacral fracture curve should be the focus of correction in cMIS for these patients.

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Corey T. Walker, David S. Xu, Tyler S. Cole, Lea M. Alhilali, Jakub Godzik, Santiago Angel Estrada, Juan Pedro Giraldo, Joshua T. Wewel, Clinton D. Morgan, James J. Zhou, Alexander C. Whiting, S. Harrison Farber, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

An advantage of lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) surgery is the indirect decompression of the neural elements that occurs because of the resulting disc height restoration, spinal realignment, and ligamentotaxis. The degree to which indirect decompression occurs varies; no method exists for effectively predicting which patients will respond. In this study, the authors identify preoperative predictive factors of indirect decompression of the central canal.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective evaluation of prospectively collected consecutive patients at a single institution who were treated with LLIF without direct decompression. Preoperative and postoperative MRI was used to grade central canal stenosis, and 3D volumetric reconstructions were used to measure changes in the central canal area (CCA). Multivariate regression was used to identify predictive variables correlated with radiographic increases in the CCA and clinically successful improvement in visual analog scale (VAS) leg pain scores.

RESULTS

One hundred seven levels were treated in 73 patients (mean age 68 years). The CCA increased 54% from a mean of 0.96 cm2 to a mean of 1.49 cm2 (p < 0.001). Increases in anterior disc height (74%), posterior disc height (81%), right (25%) and left (22%) foraminal heights, and right (12%) and left (15%) foraminal widths, and reduction of spondylolisthesis (67%) (all p < 0.001) were noted. Multivariate evaluation of predictive variables identified that preoperative spondylolisthesis (p < 0.001), reduced posterior disc height (p = 0.004), and lower body mass index (p = 0.042) were independently associated with radiographic increase in the CCA. Thirty-two patients were treated at a single level and had moderate or severe central stenosis preoperatively. Significant improvements in Oswestry Disability Index and VAS back and leg pain scores were seen in these patients (all p < 0.05). Twenty-five (78%) patients achieved the minimum clinically important difference in VAS leg pain scores, with only 2 (6%) patients requiring direct decompression postoperatively due to persistent symptoms and stenosis. Only increased anterior disc height was predictive of clinical failure to achieve the minimum clinically important difference.

CONCLUSIONS

LLIF successfully achieves indirect decompression of the CCA, even in patients with substantial central stenosis. Low body mass index, preoperative spondylolisthesis, and disc height collapse appear to be most predictive of successful indirect decompression. Patients with preserved disc height but severe preoperative stenosis are at higher risk of failure to improve clinically.