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Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Shaleen Vira, Robert Hart, Douglas Burton, Justin S. Smith, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Alexis Shelokov, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Munish Gupta, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Shay Bess and Jean-Pierre Farcy

Object

Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) is a spinal realignment technique that may be used to correct sagittal spinal imbalance. Theoretically, the level and degree of resection via a PSO should impact the degree of sagittal plane correction in the setting of deformity. However, the quantitative effect of PSO level and focal angular change on postoperative spinopelvic parameters has not been well described. The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between the level/degree of PSO and changes in global sagittal balance and spinopelvic parameters.

Methods

In this multicenter retrospective study, 70 patients (54 women and 16 men) underwent lumbar PSO surgery for spinal imbalance. Preoperative and postoperative free-standing sagittal radiographs were obtained and analyzed by regional curves (lumbar, thoracic, and thoracolumbar), pelvic parameters (pelvic incidence and pelvic tilt [PT]) and global balance (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] and T-1 spinopelvic inclination). Correlations between PSO parameters (level and degree of change in angle between the 2 adjacent vertebrae) and spinopelvic measurements were analyzed.

Results

Pedicle subtraction osteotomy distribution by level and degree of correction was as follows: L-1 (6 patients, 24°), L-2 (15 patients, 24°), L-3 (29 patients, 25°), and L-4 (20 patients, 22°). There was no significant difference in the focal correction achieved by PSO by level. All patients demonstrated changes in preoperative to postoperative parameters including increased lumbar lordosis (from 20° to 49°, p < 0.001), increased thoracic kyphosis (from 30° to 38°, p < 0.001), decreased SVA and T-1 spinopelvic inclination (from 122 to 34 mm, p < 0.001 and from +3° to −4°, p < 0.001, respectively), and decreased PT (from 31° to 23°, p < 0.001). More caudal PSO was correlated with greater PT reduction (r = −0.410, p < 0.05). No correlation was found between SVA correction and PSO location. The PSO degree was correlated with change in thoracic kyphosis (r = −0.474, p < 0.001), lumbar lordosis (r = 0.667, p < 0.001), sacral slope (r = 0.426, p < 0.001), and PT (r = −0.358, p < 0.005).

Conclusions

The degree of PSO resection correlates more with spinopelvic parameters (lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, PT, and sacral slope) than PSO level. More importantly, PSO level impacts postoperative PT correction but not SVA.

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Virginie Lafage, Neil J. Bharucha, Frank Schwab, Robert A. Hart, Douglas Burton, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Christopher Shaffrey, Munish Gupta, Behrooz A. Akbarnia and Shay Bess

Object

Sagittal spinopelvic imbalance is a major contributor to pain and disability for patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). Preoperative planning is essential for pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) candidates; however, current methods are often inaccurate because no formula to date predicts both postoperative sagittal balance and pelvic alignment. The authors of this study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of 2 novel formulas in predicting postoperative spinopelvic alignment after PSO.

Methods

This study is a multicenter retrospective consecutive PSO case series. Adults with spinal deformity (> 21 years old) who were treated with a single-level lumbar PSO for sagittal imbalance were evaluated. All patients underwent preoperative and a minimum of 6-month postoperative radiography. Two novel formulas were used to predict the postoperative spinopelvic alignment. The results predicted by the formulas were then compared with the actual postoperative radiographic values, and the formulas' ability to identify successful (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] ≤ 50 mm and pelvic tilt [PT] ≤ 25°) and unsuccessful (SVA > 50 mm or PT > 25°) outcomes was evaluated.

Results

Ninety-nine patients met inclusion criteria. The median absolute error between the predicted and actual PT was 4.1° (interquartile range 2.0°–6.4°). The median absolute error between the predicted and actual SVA was 27 mm (interquartile range 11–47 mm). Forty-one of 54 patients with a formula that predicted a successful outcome had a successful outcome as shown by radiography (positive predictive value = 0.76). Forty-four of 45 patients with a formula that predicted an unsuccessful outcome had an unsuccessful outcome as shown by radiography (negative predictive value = 0.98).

Conclusions

The spinopelvic alignment formulas were accurate when predicting unsuccessful outcomes but less reliable when predicting successful outcomes. The preoperative surgical plan should be altered if an unsuccessful result is predicted. However, even after obtaining a predicted successful outcome, surgeons should ensure that the predicted values are not too close to unsuccessful values and should identify other variables that may affect alignment. In the near future, it is anticipated that the use of these formulas will lead to better surgical planning and improved outcomes for patients with complex ASD.

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Taemin Oh, Justin K. Scheer, Robert Eastlack, Justin S. Smith, Virginie Lafage, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Peter G. Passias, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Munish Gupta, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECT

Alignment changes in the cervical spine that occur following surgical correction for thoracic deformity remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to evaluate such changes in a cohort of adults with thoracic deformity treated surgically.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis of consecutive patients with thoracic deformity. Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: corrective osteotomy for thoracic deformity, upper-most instrumented vertebra (UIV) between T-1 and T-4, lower-most instrumented vertebra (LIV) at or above L-5 (LIV ≥ L-5) or at the ilium (LIV-ilium), and a minimum radiographic follow-up of 2 years. Sagittal radiographic parameters were assessed preoperatively as well as at 3 months and 2 years postoperatively, including the C-7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), C2–7 cervical lordosis (CL), C2–7 SVA, T-1 slope (T1S), T1S minus CL (T1S-CL), T2–12 thoracic kyphosis (TK), apical TK, lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI), PI-LL, pelvic tilt (PT), and sacral slope (SS).

RESULTS

Fifty-seven patients with a mean age of 49.1 ± 14.6 years met the study inclusion criteria. The preoperative prevalence of increased CL (CL > 15°) was 48.9%. Both 3-month and 2-year apical TK improved from baseline (p < 0.05, statistically significant). At the 2-year follow-up, only the C2–7 SVA increased significantly from baseline (p = 0.01), whereas LL decreased from baseline (p < 0.01). The prevalence of increased CL was 35.3% at 3 months and 47.8% at 2 years, which did not represent a significant change. Postoperative cervical alignment changes were not significantly different from preoperative values regardless of the LIV (LIV ≥ L-5 or LIV-ilium, p > 0.05 for both). In a subset of patients with a maximum TK ≥ 60° (35 patients) and 3-column osteotomy (38 patients), no significant postoperative cervical changes were seen.

CONCLUSION

Increased CL is common in adult spinal deformity patients with thoracic deformities and, unlike after lumbar corrective surgery, does not appear to normalize after thoracic corrective surgery. Cervical sagittal malalignment (C2–7 SVA) also increases postoperatively. Surgeons should be aware that spontaneous cervical alignment normalization might not occur following thoracic deformity correction.

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Kristina Bianco, Robert Norton, Frank Schwab, Justin S. Smith, Eric Klineberg, Ibrahim Obeid, Gregory Mundis Jr., Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khaled Kebaish, Richard Hostin, Robert Hart, Munish C. Gupta, Douglas Burton, Christopher Ames, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis and Virginie Lafage

Object

Three-column resection osteotomies (3COs) are commonly performed for sagittal deformity but have high rates of reported complications. Authors of this study aimed to examine the incidence of and intercenter variability in major intraoperative complications (IOCs), major postoperative complications (POCs) up to 6 weeks postsurgery, and overall complications (that is, both IOCs and POCs). They also aimed to investigate the incidence of and intercenter variability in blood loss during 3CO procedures.

Methods

The incidence of IOCs, POCs, and overall complications associated with 3COs were retrospectively determined for the study population and for each of 8 participating surgical centers. The incidence of major blood loss (MBL) over 4 L and the percentage of total blood volume lost were also determined for the study population and each surgical center. Complication rates and blood loss were compared between patients with one and those with two osteotomies, as well as between patients with one thoracic osteotomy (ThO) and those with one lumbar or sacral osteotomy (LSO). Risk factors for developing complications were determined.

Results

Retrospective review of prospectively acquired data for 423 consecutive patients who had undergone 3CO at 8 surgical centers was performed. The incidence of major IOCs, POCs, and overall complications was 7%, 39%, and 42%, respectively, for the study population overall. The most common IOC was spinal cord deficit (2.6%) and the most common POC was unplanned return to the operating room (19.4%). Patients with two osteotomies had more POCs (56% vs 38%, p = 0.04) than the patients with one osteotomy. Those with ThO had more IOCs (16% vs 6%, p = 0.03), POCs (58% vs 34%, p < 0.01), and overall complications (67% vs 37%, p < 0.01) than the patients with LSO. There was significant variation in the incidence of IOCs, POCs, and overall complications among the 8 sites (p < 0.01). The incidence of MBL was 24% for the study population, which varied significantly between sites (p < 0.01). Patients with MBL had a higher risk of IOCs, POCs, and overall complications (OR 2.15, 1.76, and 2.01, respectively). The average percentage of total blood volume lost was 55% for the study population, which also varied among sites (p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Given the complexity of 3COs for spinal deformity, it is important for spine surgeons to understand the risk factors and complication rates associated with these procedures. In this study, the overall incidence of major complications following 3CO procedures was 42%. Risks for developing complications included an older age (> 60 years), two osteotomies, ThO, and MBL.

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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 K. Scheer, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Ian M. McCarthy, Gregory M. Mundis, Douglas C. Burton, Eric Klineberg, Munish C. Gupta, Khaled M. Kebaish, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

Object

Spinal osteotomies for adult spinal deformity correction may include resection of all 3 spinal columns (pedicle subtraction osteotomy [PSO] and vertebral column resection [VCR]). The relationship between patient age and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes for patients undergoing major spinal deformity correction via PSO or VCR has not been well characterized. The goal of this study was to characterize that relationship.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of 374 patients who had undergone a 3-column osteotomy (299 PSOs and 75 VCRs) and were part of a prospectively collected, multicenter adult spinal deformity database. The consecutively enrolled patients were drawn from 11 sites across the United States. Health-related QOL outcomes, according to the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36, physical component score [PCS] and mental component score), and Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS), were evaluated preoperatively and 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Differences and correlations between patient age and HRQOL outcomes were investigated. Age groupings included young (age ≤ 45 years), middle aged (age 46–64 years), and elderly (age ≥ 65 years).

Results

In patients who had undergone PSO, age significantly correlated (Spearman's correlation coefficient) with the 2-year ODI (ρ = 0.24, p = 0.0450), 2-year SRS function score (ρ = 0.30, p = 0.0123), and 2-year SRS total score (ρ = 0.30, p = 0.0133). Among all patients (PSO+VCR), the preoperative PCS and ODI in the young group were significantly higher and lower, respectively, than those in the elderly. Among the PSO patients, the elderly group had much greater improvement than the young group in the 1- and 2-year PCS, 2-year ODI, and 2-year SRS function and total scores. Among the VCR patients, the young age group had much greater improvement than the elderly in the 1-year SRS pain score, 1-year PCS, 2-year PCS, and 2-year ODI. There was no significant difference among all the age groups as regards the likelihood of reaching a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) within each of the HRQOL outcomes (p > 0.05 for all). Among the PSO patients, the elderly group was significantly more likely than the young to reach an MCID for the 1-year PCS (61% vs 21%, p = 0.0077) and the 2-year PCS (67% vs 17%, p = 0.0054), SRS pain score (57% vs 20%, p = 0.0457), and SRS function score (62% vs 20%, p = 0.0250). Among the VCR patients, the young group was significantly more likely than the elderly patients to reach an MCID for the 1-year (100% vs 20%, p = 0.0036) and 2-year (100% vs 0%, p = 0.0027) PCS scores and 1-year (60% vs 0%, p = 0.0173) and 2-year (70% vs 0%, p = 0.0433) SRS pain scores.

Conclusions

The PSO and VCR are not equivalent surgeries in terms of HRQOL outcomes and patient age. Among patients who underwent PSO, the elderly group started with more preoperative disability than the younger patients but had greater improvements in HRQOL outcomes and was more likely to reach an MCID at 1 and 2 years after treatment. Among those who underwent VCR, all had similar preoperative disabilities, but the younger patients had greater improvements in HRQOL outcomes and were more likely to reach an MCID at 1 and 2 years after treatment.

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Justin S. Smith, Manish Singh, Eric Klineberg, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Themistocles Protopsaltis, David Ibrahimi, Justin K. Scheer, Gregory Mundis Jr., Munish C. Gupta, Richard Hostin, Vedat Deviren, Khaled Kebaish, Robert Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess and Christopher P. Ames

Object

Increased sagittal vertical axis (SVA) correlates strongly with pain and disability for adults with spinal deformity. A subset of patients with sagittal spinopelvic malalignment (SSM) have flatback deformity (pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis [PI-LL] mismatch > 10°) but remain sagittally compensated with normal SVA. Few data exist for SSM patients with flatback deformity and normal SVA. The authors' objective was to compare baseline disability and treatment outcomes for patients with compensated (SVA < 5 cm and PI-LL mismatch > 10°) and decompensated (SVA > 5 cm) SSM.

Methods

The study was a multicenter, prospective analysis of adults with spinal deformity who consecutively underwent surgical treatment for SSM. Inclusion criteria included age older than 18 years, presence of adult spinal deformity with SSM, plan for surgical treatment, and minimum 1-year follow-up data. Patients with SSM were divided into 2 groups: those with compensated SSM (SVA < 5 cm and PI-LL mismatch > 10°) and those with decompensated SSM (SVA ≥ 5 cm). Baseline and 1-year follow-up radiographic and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes included Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form–36 scores, and Scoliosis Research Society–22 scores. Percentages of patients achieving minimal clinically important difference (MCID) were also assessed.

Results

A total of 125 patients (27 compensated and 98 decompensated) met inclusion criteria. Compared with patients in the compensated group, patients in the decompensated group were older (62.9 vs 55.1 years; p = 0.004) and had less scoliosis (43° vs 54°; p = 0.002), greater SVA (12.0 cm vs 1.7 cm; p < 0.001), greater PI-LL mismatch (26° vs 20°; p = 0.013), and poorer HRQOL scores (Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form-36 physical component score, Scoliosis Research Society-22 total; p ≤ 0.016). Although these baseline HRQOL differences between the groups reached statistical significance, only the mean difference in Short Form–36 physical component score reached threshold for MCID. Compared with baseline assessment, at 1 year after surgery improvement was noted for patients in both groups for mean SVA (compensated –1.1 cm, decompensated +4.8 cm; p ≤ 0.009), mean PI-LL mismatch (compensated 6°, decompensated 5°; p < 0.001), and all HRQOL measures assessed (p ≤ 0.005). No significant differences were found between the compensated and decompensated groups in the magnitude of HRQOL score improvement or in the percentages of patients achieving MCID for each of the outcome measures assessed.

Conclusions

Decompensated SSM patients with elevated SVA experience significant disability; however, the amount of disability in compensated SSM patients with flatback deformity caused by PI-LL mismatch but normal SVA is underappreciated. Surgical correction of SSM demonstrated similar radiographic and HRQOL score improvements for patients in both groups. Evaluation of SSM should extend beyond measuring SVA. Among patients with concordant pain and disability, PI-LL mismatch must be evaluated for SSM patients and can be considered a primary indication for surgery.

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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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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Robert Eastlack, Donald J. Blaskiewicz, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Han Jo Kim, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Michael O’Brien, Richard Hostin, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Robert Hart, Todd J. Albert, K. Daniel Riew, Michael G. Fehlings, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Despite the complexity of cervical spine deformity (CSD) and its significant impact on patient quality of life, there exists no comprehensive classification system. The objective of this study was to develop a novel classification system based on a modified Delphi approach and to characterize the intra- and interobserver reliability of this classification.

METHODS

Based on an extensive literature review and a modified Delphi approach with an expert panel, a CSD classification system was generated. The classification system included a deformity descriptor and 5 modifiers that incorporated sagittal, regional, and global spinopelvic alignment and neurological status. The descriptors included: “C,” “CT,” and “T” for primary cervical kyphotic deformities with an apex in the cervical spine, cervicothoracic junction, or thoracic spine, respectively; “S” for primary coronal deformity with a coronal Cobb angle ≥ 15°; and “CVJ” for primary craniovertebral junction deformity. The modifiers included C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), horizontal gaze (chin-brow to vertical angle [CBVA]), T1 slope (TS) minus C2–7 lordosis (TS–CL), myelopathy (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] scale score), and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-Schwab classification for thoracolumbar deformity. Application of the classification system requires the following: 1) full-length standing posteroanterior (PA) and lateral spine radiographs that include the cervical spine and femoral heads; 2) standing PA and lateral cervical spine radiographs; 3) completed and scored mJOA questionnaire; and 4) a clinical photograph or radiograph that includes the skull for measurement of the CBVA. A series of 10 CSD cases, broadly representative of the classification system, were selected and sufficient radiographic and clinical history to enable classification were assembled. A panel of spinal deformity surgeons was queried to classify each case twice, with a minimum of 1 intervening week. Inter- and intrarater reliability measures were based on calculations of Fleiss k coefficient values.

RESULTS

Twenty spinal deformity surgeons participated in this study. Interrater reliability (Fleiss k coefficients) for the deformity descriptor rounds 1 and 2 were 0.489 and 0.280, respectively, and mean intrarater reliability was 0.584. For the modifiers, including the SRS-Schwab components, the interrater (round 1/round 2) and intrarater reliabilities (Fleiss k coefficients) were: C2–7 SVA (0.338/0.412, 0.584), horizontal gaze (0.779/0.430, 0.768), TS-CL (0.721/0.567, 0.720), myelopathy (0.602/0.477, 0.746), SRS-Schwab curve type (0.590/0.433, 0.564), pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (0.554/0.386, 0.826), pelvic tilt (0.714/0.627, 0.633), and C7-S1 SVA (0.071/0.064, 0.233), respectively. The parameter with the poorest reliability was the C7–S1 SVA, which may have resulted from differences in interpretation of positive and negative measurements.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed classification provides a mechanism to assess CSD within the framework of global spinopelvic malalignment and clinically relevant parameters. The intra- and interobserver reliabilities suggest moderate agreement and serve as the basis for subsequent improvement and study of the proposed classification.

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Justin K. Scheer, Peter G. Passias, Alexandra M. Sorocean, Anthony J. Boniello, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Munish Gupta, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

A high prevalence of cervical deformity (CD) has been identified among adult patients with thoracolumbar spinal deformity undergoing surgical treatment. The clinical impact of this is uncertain. This study aimed to quantify the differences in patient-reported outcomes among patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) based on presence of CD prior to treatment.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of a multicenter prospective database of patients with ASD who underwent surgical treatment with 2-year follow-up. Patients were grouped by the presence of preoperative CD: 1) cervical positive sagittal malalignment (CPSM) C2–7 sagittal vertical axis ≥ 4 cm; 2) cervical kyphosis (CK) C2–7 angle > 0; 3) CPSM and CK (BOTH); and 4) no baseline CD (NONE). Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores included the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary (PCS and MCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22), and minimum clinically important difference (MCID) of these scores at 2 years. Standard radiographic measurements were conducted for cervical, thoracic, and thoracolumbar parameters.

RESULTS

One hundred eighty-two patients were included in this study: CPSM, 45; CK, 37; BOTH, 16; and NONE, 84. Patients with preoperative CD and those without had similar baseline thoracolumbar radiographic measurements and similar correction rates at 2 years. Patients with and without preoperative CD had similar baseline HRQOL and on average both groups experienced some HRQOL improvement. However, those with preoperative CPSM had significantly worse postoperative ODI, PCS, SRS-22 Activity, SRS-22 Appearance, SRS-22 Pain, SRS-22 Satisfaction, and SRS-22 Total score, and were less likely to meet MCID for ODI, PCS, SRS-22 Activity, and SRS-22 Pain scores with the following ORs and 95% CIs: ODI 0.19 (0.07–0.58), PCS 0.17 (0.06–0.47), SRS-22 Activity 0.23 (0.09–0.62), SRS-22 Pain 0.20 (0.08–0.53), and SRS-22 Appearance 0.34 (0.12–0.94). Preoperative CK did not have an effect on outcomes. Interestingly, despite correction of the thoracolumbar deformity, 53.3% and 51.4% of patients had persistent CPSM and persistent CK, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with thoracolumbar deformity without preoperative CD are likely to have greater improvements in HRQOL after surgery than patients with concomitant preoperative CD. Cervical positive sagittal alignment in adult patients with thoracolumbar deformity is strongly associated with inferior outcomes and failure to reach MCID at 2-year follow-up despite having similar baseline HRQOL to patients without CD. This was the first study to assess the impact of concomitant preoperative cervical malalignment in adult patients with thoracolumbar deformity. These results can help surgeons educate patients at risk for inferior outcomes and direct future research to identify an etiology and improve patient outcomes. Investigation into the etiology of the baseline cervical malalignment may be warranted in patients who present with thoracolumbar deformity.