Few studies have addressed that dynamic sagittal imbalance can develop distal to the spinal fusion and cause sagittal malalignment, unlike proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) in the proximal portion. The purpose of this study was to investigate risk factors between the 2 different types of postoperative sagittal imbalance after long fusion to the sacrum for the treatment of degenerative sagittal imbalance (DSI).
Eighty patients who had undergone surgical correction for DSI were included. Radiographic measurements included spinopelvic parameters on whole-spine plain radiographs and degeneration of paravertebral muscles on MRI. Univariate and multivariate analyses for clinical and radiological factors were conducted for respective risk factors. In subgroup analyses, the 2 different types of postoperative sagittal imbalance were directly compared.
Forty patients (50%) developed postoperative sagittal imbalance; of these patients, 22 (55.0%) developed static proximal kyphosis from PJK, and 18 patients (45.0%) developed dynamic sagittal imbalance without PJK. The independent risk factors in proximal kyphosis were greater postoperative pelvic tilt (HR 1.11) and less change in sacral slope (SS) (HR 1.09), whereas there were more fusion levels (HR 3.11), less change in SS (HR 1.28), and less change in thoracic kyphosis (HR 1.26) in dynamic sagittal imbalance. Directly compared with the proximal kyphosis group, dynamic sagittal imbalance was more commonly found in patients who had less correction of sagittal parameters as well as fatty atrophy of the paravertebral muscles. Clinical outcomes in the dynamic sagittal imbalance group were superior to those in the proximal kyphosis group.
Optimal correction of sagittal alignment should be considered in long instrumented fusion for DSI, because insufficient correction might cause one of 2 different types of postoperative sagittal imbalance at different sites of decompression. Dynamic sagittal imbalance compared with proximal kyphosis was significantly associated with less correction of sagittal alignment, in conjunction with more fusion levels and degeneration of the paravertebral muscles.