Coronal balance with circumferential minimally invasive spinal deformity surgery for the treatment of degenerative scoliosis: are we leaning in the right direction?

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  • Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona
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OBJECTIVE

Coronal malalignment (CM) in adult spinal deformity is associated with poor outcomes and remains underappreciated in the literature. Recent attempts at classifying CM indicate that some coronal shifts may be more difficult to treat than others. To date, outcomes for circumferential minimally invasive surgery (cMIS) of the spine in the context of these new CM classifications are unreported.

METHODS

A retrospective evaluation of patients with degenerative scoliosis (Cobb angle > 20°) consecutively treated with cMIS at a single institution was performed. Preoperative and 1-year postoperative standing radiographs were used to make the comparisons. Clinical outcome measures were compared. Patients were subgrouped according to the preoperative distance between their C7 plumb line and central sacral vertical line (C7-CSVL) as either coronally aligned (type A, C7-CSVL < 3 cm); shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the concavity (type B); or shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the convexity (type C) of the main lumbar curve.

RESULTS

Forty-two patients were included (mean age 67.7 years). Twenty-six patients (62%) were classified as type A, 5 patients (12%) as type B, and 11 patients (26%) as type C. An average of 4.9 segments were treated. No type A patients developed postoperative CM. All type B patients had CM correction. Six of the 11 type C patients had CM after surgery. Overall, there was an improvement in the C7-CSVL (from 2.4 to 1.8 cm, p = 0.04). Among subgroups, only type B patients improved (from 4.5 to 0.8 cm, p = 0.002); no difference was seen for type A patients (from 1.2 to 1.4 cm, p = 0.32) or type C patients (from 4.3 to 3.1 cm, p = 0.11). Comparing type C patients with postoperative CM versus those without postoperative CM, patients with CM had worse visual analog scale back scores at 1 year (5 vs 1, p = 0.01). Moreover, they had higher postoperative L4 tilt angles (11° vs 5°, p = 0.01), indicating inadequate correction of the lumbosacral fractional curve.

CONCLUSIONS

cMIS improved coronal alignment, curve magnitudes, and clinical outcomes among patients with degenerative scoliosis. It did not result in CM in type A patients and was successful at improving the C7-CSVL in type B patients. Type C patients remain the most difficult to treat coronally, with worse visual analog scale back pain scores in those with postoperative CM. Regional coronal restoration of the lumbosacral fracture curve should be the focus of correction in cMIS for these patients.

ABBREVIATIONS

ACR = anterior column release; ALIF = anterior lumbar interbody fusion; CM = coronal malalignment; cMIS = circumferential minimally invasive surgery; CSVL = central sacral vertical line; C7-CSVL = distance between the C7 plumb line and the CSVL; DS = degenerative scoliosis; LLIF = lateral lumbar interbody fusion; ODI = Oswestry Disability Index; SVA = sagittal vertical axis; VAS = visual analog scale.

Composite figure based on findings from the article by Salas-Vega et al. (pp 864–870), which show that elective lumbar laminectomies occurring later in the workweek are associated with longer hospital stays (in days).

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Juan S. Uribe: c/o Neuroscience Publications, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ. neuropub@barrowneuro.org.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online March 12, 2021; DOI: 10.3171/2020.8.SPINE201147.

Disclosures Dr. Turner is a consultant for NuVasive and SeaSpine. Dr. Uribe is a consultant for NuVasive, SI-BONE, and Misonix, and he receives royalties from NuVasive.

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