Spinopelvic sagittal compensation in adult cervical deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 39:1–10, 2023

The objective of this study was to evaluate spinopelvic sagittal alignment and spinal compensatory changes in adult cervical kyphotic deformity.

METHODS A database composed of 13 US spine centers was retrospectively reviewed for adult patients who underwent cervical reconstruction with radiographic evidence of cervical kyphotic deformity: C2–7 sagittal vertical axis > 4 cm, chin-brow vertical angle > 25°, or cervical kyphosis (T1 slope [T1S] cervical lordosis [CL] > 15°) (n = 129). Sagittal parameters were evaluated preoperatively and in the early postoperative window (6 weeks to 6 months postoperatively) and compared with asymptomatic control patients. Adult cervical deformity patients were further stratified by degree of cervical kyphosis (severe kyphosis, C2–T3 Cobb angle ≤ −30°; moderate kyphosis, ≤ 0°; and minimal kyphosis, > 0°) and severity of sagittal malalignment (severe malalignment, sagittal vertical axis T3–S1 ≤ −60 mm; moderate malalignment, ≤ 20 mm; and minimal malalignment > 20 mm).

RESULTS Compared with asymptomatic control patients, cervical deformity was associated with increased C0–2 lordosis (32.9° vs 23.6°), T1S (33.5° vs 28.0°), thoracolumbar junction kyphosis (T10–L2 Cobb angle −7.0° vs −1.7°), and pelvic tilt (PT) (19.7° vs 15.9°) (p < 0.01). Cervicothoracic kyphosis was correlated with C0–2 lordosis (R = −0.57, p < 0.01) and lumbar lordosis (LL) (R = −0.20, p = 0.03). Cervical reconstruction resulted in decreased C0–2 lordosis, increased T1S, and increased thoracic and thoracolumbar junction kyphosis (p < 0.01). Patients with severe cervical kyphosis (n = 34) had greater C0–2 lordosis (p < 0.01) and postoperative reduction of C0–2 lordosis (p = 0.02) but no difference in PT. Severe cervical kyphosis was also associated with a greater increase in thoracic and thoracolumbar junction kyphosis postoperatively (p = 0.01). Patients with severe sagittal malalignment (n = 52) had decreased PT (p = 0.01) and increased LL (p < 0.01), as well as a greater postoperative reduction in LL (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS Adult cervical deformity is associated with upper cervical hyperlordotic compensation and thoracic hypokyphosis. In the setting of increased kyphotic deformity and sagittal malalignment, thoracolumbar junction kyphosis and lumbar hyperlordosis develop to restore normal center of gravity. There was no consistent compensatory pelvic retroversion or anteversion among the adult cervical deformity patients in this cohort.