Anterior lumbar interbody fusions combined with posterior column osteotomy in patients who had sagittal imbalance associated with degenerative lumbar flat-back deformity

Neurosurgical Review (2020) 43:1117–1125

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) combined with posterior column osteotomy (PCO) may be effective to achieve ideal lumbar curve correction in lumbar flat-back deformity (LFD).

We aimed to investigate the radiographic and clinical outcomes of patients with primary degenerative LFD treated with multi-level ALIFs combined with PCOs. Seventy patients with primary degenerative LFD who underwent corrective surgery were divided into three groups according to the 1-month postoperative pelvic incidence/lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) angles ( ≤ − 10°, from − 9°to 9°, and ≥ 10°). The spinopelvic parameters, including thoracic kyphosis, LL, pelvic tilt, T1 pelvic angle, and sagittal vertical axis, were analyzed at the preoperative, postoperative follow-up periods. The clinical outcomes, including the Oswestry disability index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS), and Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-22r, were also evaluated. Further, the paraspinal muscles were qualitatively and quantitatively examined, preoperatively.

All spinopelvic parameters were corrected as close to the normal values at the 1-month postoperative period. The spinopelvic parameters in the PI-LL ≤ − 10°group were better corrected and maintained than those in the other groups. The ODI, VAS, and SRS-22r scores improved at the final follow-up in all groups. The PI-LL ≤ − 10°group showed better clinical outcomes than the other groups. In the paraspinal muscle examination, the mean lumbar muscularity value and fatty degeneration ratio were 236.7% and 20.7%, respectively.

Multi-level ALIFs with PCOs in patients with LFD are effective in restoring sagittal balance and improving clinical symptoms. In addition, the postoperative LL angles should be larger than PI + 10°to achieve good overall outcomes in patients with severe degenerative back muscle.