Cervicothoracic junction kyphosis: surgical reconstruction with pedicle subtraction osteotomy and Smith-Petersen osteotomy

Presented at the 2009 Joint Spine Section Meeting 

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Object

Sagittal plane deformities can be subdivided into kyphotic and lordotic forms and further characterized according to their global or regional (focal) presentation. Regional deformities of a significant magnitude constitute a gibbous deformity. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and interlaminar Smith-Petersen osteotomies have been used to correct sagittal plane deformities in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. By resecting a portion of the vertebral body and closing in the gap of this vertebra, the spine is placed in local lordosis and kyphosis is corrected. These osteotomies have generally been carried out in the lumbar or less frequently in the thoracic area. While PSO has been performed in the mid and lower thoracic spine, there have been no case series of patients undergoing PSO at the CTJ. Specifically, a PSO approach that addresses the challenges of the CTJ is needed. Here, the authors review their case series of PSOs performed in the CTJ. Their goal in the treatment of these patients was to correct the regional CTJ kyphosis, restore forward gaze, and reduce the pain associated with the deformity.

Methods

Eight patients (5 males and 3 females, mean age 63 years) underwent PSO for the correction of CTJ kyphosis. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy was performed at C-7 or the upper thoracic vertebrae and was facilitated by a computer-guided intraoperative monitoring system. Surgical indications included postlaminectomy kyphosis, spinal cord tumor resection, posttraumatic kyphosis, and degenerative cervical spondylosis.

Results

The mean follow-up was 15.3 months (range 12–20 months), and the mean preoperative CTJ kyphosis was 38.67° (range 25°–60°). Clinically satisfactory correction of the regional deformity was accomplished in all patients, achieving a mean correction of 35.63° (range 15°–66°) at the CTJ, with restoration of forward gaze and significant reduction in pain.

Conclusions

A CTJ deformity is a distinctive form of kyphosis that presents as a variable local deformity and requires complex spinal reconstructive techniques to restore sagittal balance and forward gaze. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy allows for significant correction through one spinal segment, and it can be used safely to correct the regional sagittal alignment of the cervical spine and head in relation to the pelvis. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy can be used alone or in combination with other techniques as some patients may require multistage procedures with anterior and posterior spinal reconstruction to obtain stable sagittal correction. All deformities in these patients were kyphotic in nature with only mild elements of scoliosis or coronal plane deformity. This is unlike lumbar and thoracic curves where the kyphosis is frequently associated with scoliosis.

Abbreviations used in this paper: CBVA = chin-to-brow vertical angle; CTJ = cervicothoracic junction; NF = neurofibromatosis; PSO = pedicle subtraction osteotomy; VA = vertebral artery; VB = vertebral body.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: J. Patrick Johnson, M.D., Cedars-Sinai Institute for Spinal Disorders, 444 South San Vicente Boulevard, Suite 800, Los Angeles, California 90048. email: johnsonjp@cshs.org.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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