Idiopathic scoliosis is a pathological process influencing the spinal column in 3 dimensions. Initial surgical treatment focused primarily on correction in the coronal plane, and with improved instrumentation, increasing attention has targeted balancing the sagittal profile. Newer surgical techniques now permit operative corrective forces to also directly address axial rotation. Although several technical variations of direct vertebral body derotation (DVBD) have been devised, no studies have compared outcomes from the differing techniques. The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the differences between segmental and en bloc DVBD.
A large prospectively collected database was queried for patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) who underwent posterior spinal fusion and for whom there was a minimum of 2 years of follow-up. In all patients some type of DVBD maneuver was performed (segmental, en bloc, or both). Any patients with concurrent thoracoplasties were excluded.
The authors identified 188 patients, of whom 120 underwent segmental derotation, 17 en bloc derotation, and 51 both. No significant radiographic or clinical differences existed among the groups preoperatively. The mean preoperative thoracic curve in the entire cohort was 53.1° ± 14.1° and the mean thoracic rib prominence was 14.0° ± 5.5°, whereas the respective postoperative values were 19.3° ± 8.3° and 7.2° ± 4.0°. No significant difference was identified between the various techniques postoperatively, either. However, when comparing intraoperative variables, significant differences were found for operative duration (p = 0.0001), estimated blood loss (p = 0.0081), and volume of blood transfusions (p = 0.041).
Although each surgical technique of DBVD may have theoretical benefits and risks, no apparent difference in outcomes was observed between techniques. The concurrent use of both techniques was associated with increased blood loss and operative duration without any appreciable benefit. The surgeon should adopt the derotation technique with which he or she is most comfortable, but concurrent use of both does not appear to improve results.