No reports have investigated how cervical reconstructive surgery affects global sagittal alignment (GSA), including the lower extremities, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The study was aimed at elucidating the effects of cervical reconstruction on GSA and HRQOL.
Twenty-three patients who underwent reconstructive surgery for cervical kyphosis were divided into a head-balanced group (n = 13) and a trunk-balanced group (n = 10) according to the values of the C7 plumb line, T1 slope (T1S), and pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL). Head-balanced patients are those with a negative C7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), a larger LL than PI, and a low T1S. Trunk-balanced patients are those with a positive SVAC7, a normal PI-LL, and a normal to high T1S. Various sagittal Cobb angles, SVA, and lower-extremity alignment parameters were measured before and after surgery using whole-body stereoradiography.
Cervical malalignment was corrected to achieve cervical sagittal balance and occiput-trunk (OT) concordance (center of gravity [COG]–C7 SVA < 30 mm). Significant changes in the upper cervical spine and thoracolumbar spine were observed in the head-balanced group, but no significant change in lumbopelvic alignment was observed in the trunk-balanced group. Lower-extremity alignment did not change substantially in either group. HRQOL scores improved significantly after surgery in both groups. SVACOG–C7 and SVAC2–7 were negatively and positively correlated with the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey physical component score and Neck Disability Index, respectively. The visual analog scale for back pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and PI-LL mismatch improved significantly in the head-balanced group after cervical reconstruction surgery.
Patients with cervical kyphosis exhibited compensatory changes in the upper cervical spine and thoracolumbar spine, instead of in the lower extremities. These compensatory mechanisms resolved reciprocally in a different fashion in the head- and trunk-balanced groups. HRQOL scores improved significantly with GSA restoration and OT concordance following cervical reconstruction.