Cervical deformity (CD) is a complex condition with a clear impact on patient quality of life, which can be improved with surgical treatment. Previous study following thoracolumbar surgery demonstrated a spontaneous and maintained improvement in cervical alignment following lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO). In this study the authors aimed to investigate the complementary questions of whether cervical alignment induces a change in global alignment and whether this change stabilizes over time.
To analyze spontaneous changes, this study included only patients with at least 5 levels remaining unfused following surgery. After data were obtained for the entire cohort, repeated-measures analyses were conducted between preoperative baseline and 3-month and 1-year follow-ups with a post hoc analysis and Bonferroni correction. A subanalysis of patients with 2-year follow-up was performed.
One-year follow-up data were available for 121 of 168 patients (72%), and 89 patients had at least 5 levels remaining unfused following surgery. Preoperatively there was a moderate anterior cervical alignment (C2–7, −7.7° [kyphosis]; T1 slope minus cervical lordosis, 37.1°; cervical sagittal vertebral axis [cSVA], 37 mm) combined with a posterior global alignment (SVA, −8 mm) with lumbar hyperextension (pelvic incidence [PI] minus lumbar lordosis [LL] mismatch [PI-LL], −0.6°). Patients underwent a significant correction of the cervical alignment (median ΔC2–7, 13.6°). Simultaneously, PI-LL, T1 pelvic angle (TPA), and SVA increased significantly (all p < 0.05) between baseline and 3-month and 1-year follow-ups. Post hoc analysis demonstrated that all of the changes occurred between baseline and 3 months. Subanalysis of patients with complete 2-year follow-up demonstrated similar results, with stable postoperative thoracolumbar alignment achieved at 3 months.
Correction of cervical malalignment can have a significant impact on thoracolumbar regional and global alignment. Peak relaxation of compensatory mechanisms is achieved by the 3-month follow-up and tends to remain stable. Subanalysis with 2-year data further supports this finding. These findings can help to identify when the results of cervical surgery on global alignment can be best evaluated.