Risk factors of adjacent-segment disease after short-segment fusion in patients with de novo degenerative lumbar scoliosis

J Neurosurg Spine 40:570–579, 2024

Short-segment fusion (SSF) is an effective surgical option for appropriately selected patients with de novo degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DNDLS). Considering that DNDLS is frequently accompanied by multisegment degeneration and potential instability across the entire lumbar segments, it is inevitable that unhealthy segments remain after SSF, thereby increasing the potential risk of adjacent-segment disease (ASD) occurrence. Therefore, the authors aimed to identify the risk factors for ASD in patients with DNDLS who underwent SSF.

METHODS This retrospective study included 80 patients with DNDLS (Cobb angle > 10°) who underwent SSF (1 or 2 levels) between December 2010 and July 2018 with a minimum follow-up duration of 5 years. The participants were divided into two groups: ASD and non-ASD. ASD was defined as clinical ASD rather than radiographic ASD. Various patient and operative variables were compared between the groups. Global and regional radiographic parameters (preoperatively and postoperatively) were also compared between the two groups using plain radiography and MRI. Consequently, univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify the risk factors for ASD occurrence. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to calculate the cutoff values.

RESULTS The mean ± SD age was 67.7 ± 7.2 years at the time of SSF, and there were 62 women (77.5%) enrolled in the study. Thirty patients (37.5%) were in the ASD group and 50 patients (62.5%) were in the non-ASD group. The mean time from the surgery to ASD diagnosis was 34.9 ± 28.2 months in ASD group. Thirteen patients required revision surgery at a mean time of 8.8 ± 7.0 months after ASD occurrence. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that preoperative disc wedging angle (OR 1.806, 95% CI 1.255–2.598, p = 0.001), presence of facet tropism (defined as ≥ 10° difference between the facet joint angles of the right and left sides) (OR 5.534, 95% CI 1.528–20.040, p = 0.009), and foraminal stenosis ≥ grade 2 (OR 5.935, 95% CI 1.253–28.117, p = 0.025) were significant risk factors for ASD development. The cutoff value of the preoperative disc wedging angle was calculated to be 2.5° using the ROC curve.

CONCLUSIONS Preoperative disc wedging angle ≥ 2.5°, presence of facet tropism, and foraminal stenosis ≥ grade 2 were identified as significant risk factors for ASD development after SSF in patients with DNDLS.

Predictors of pelvic tilt normalization: a multicenter study on the impact of regional and lower-extremity compensation on pelvic alignment after complex adult spinal deformity surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 40:505–512, 2024

OBJECTIVE The objective was to determine the degree of regional decompensation to pelvic tilt (PT) normalization after complex adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS Operative ASD patients with 1 year of PT measurements were included. Patients with normalized PT at baseline were excluded. Predicted PT was compared to actual PT, tested for change from baseline, and then compared against age-adjusted, Scoliosis Research Society–Schwab, and global alignment and proportion (GAP) scores. Lowerextremity (LE) parameters included the cranial-hip-sacrum angle, cranial-knee-sacrum angle, and cranial-ankle-sacrum angle. LE compensation was set as the 1-year upper tertile compared with intraoperative baseline. Univariate analyses were used to compare normalized and nonnormalized data against alignment outcomes. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to develop a model consisting of significant predictors for normalization related to regional compensation.

RESULTS In total, 156 patients met the inclusion criteria (mean ± SD age 64.6 ± 9.1 years, BMI 27.9 ± 5.6 kg/m 2 , Charlson Comorbidity Index 1.9 ± 1.6). Patients with normalized PT were more likely to have overcorrected pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis and sagittal vertical axis at 6 weeks (p < 0.05). GAP score at 6 weeks was greater for patients with nonnormalized PT (0.6 vs 1.3, p = 0.08). At baseline, 58.5% of patients had compensation in the thoracic and cervical regions. Postoperatively, compensation was maintained by 42% with no change after matching in age-adjusted or GAP score. The patients with nonnormalized PT had increased rates of thoracic and cervical compensation (p < 0.05). Compensation in thoracic kyphosis differed between patients with normalized PT at 6 weeks and those with normalized PT at 1 year (69% vs 35%, p < 0.05). Those who compensated had increased rates of implant complications by 1 year (OR [95% CI] 2.08 [1.32–6.56], p < 0.05). Cervical compensation was maintained at 6 weeks and 1 year (56% vs 43%, p = 0.12), with no difference in implant complications (OR 1.31 [95% CI −2.34 to 1.03], p = 0.09). For the lower extremities at baseline, 61% were compensating. Matching age-adjusted alignment did not eliminate compensation at any joint (all p > 0.05). Patients with nonnormalized PT had higher rates of LE compensation across joints (all p < 0.01). Overall, patients with normalized PT at 1 year had the greatest odds of resolving LE compensation (OR 9.6, p < 0.001). Patients with normalized PT at 1 year had lower rates of implant failure (8.9% vs 19.5%, p < 0.05), rod breakage (1.3% vs 13.8%, p < 0.05), and pseudarthrosis (0% vs 4.6%, p < 0.05) compared with patients with nonnormalized PT. The complication rate was significantly lower for patients with normalized PT at 1 year (56.7% vs 66.1%, p = 0.02), despite comparable health-related quality of life scores.

CONCLUSIONS Patients with PT normalization had greater rates of resolution in thoracic and LE compensation, leading to lower rates of complications by 1 year. Thus, consideration of both the lower extremities and thoracic regions in surgical planning is vital to preventing adverse outcomes and maintaining pelvic alignment.

Current concepts in adult cervical spine deformity surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 40:439–452, 2024

Cervical spine deformity surgery has significantly evolved over recent decades. There has been substantial work performed, which has furthered the true understanding of alignment and advancements in surgical technique and instrumentation.

Concomitantly, understanding of cervical spine pathology and the contributing drivers have also improved, which have influenced the development of classification systems for cervical spine deformity and the development of treatment-guiding algorithms.

This article aims to provide a synopsis of the current knowledge surrounding cervical spine deformity to date, with particular focus on preoperative expected alignment targets, perioperative optimization, and the whole operative strategy.

Gravity Line–Hip Axis Offset as a Guide for Global Alignment to Prevent Recurrent Proximal Junctional Kyphosis/Failure

Operative Neurosurgery 26:268–278, 2024

Proximal junctional kyphosis/failure (PJK/F) is a potentially serious complication after adult spinal deformity (ASD) corrective surgery. Recurrent PJK/F is especially troublesome, necessitating fusion extension and occasionally resulting in irreversible neurological deficits. The gravity line (GL) offers valuable insights into global sagittal balance. This study aims to examine the postoperative GL–hip axis (GL-HA) offset as a critical risk factor for recurrent PJK/F.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed patients with ASD who had undergone revision surgery for initial PJK/F at a single academic center. Patients were categorized into 2 groups: nonrecurrent PJK/F group and recurrent PJK/F group. Demographics, surgical characteristics, preoperative and postoperative parameters of spinopelvic and global alignment, and the Scoliosis Research Society-22 scores were assessed. We examined these measures for differences and correlations with recurrent PJK/F.

RESULTS: Our study included 32 patients without recurrent PJK/F and 28 patients with recurrent PJK/F. No significant differences were observed in baseline demographics, operative characteristics, or Scoliosis Research Society-22 scores before and after surgery. Importantly, using a cutoff of À52.6 mm from logistic regression, there were considerable differences and correlations with recurrent PJK/F in the postoperative GL-HA offset, leading to an odds ratio of 7.0 (95% CI: 1.94-25.25, P = .003).

CONCLUSION: Postoperative GL-HA offset serves as a considerable risk factor for recurrent PJK/F in patients with ASD who have undergone revision surgery. Overcorrection, with GL-HA offset less than À5 cm, is associated with recurrent PJK/F. The instrumented spine tends to align the GL near the HA, even at the cost of proximal junction.

Validation of age-adjusted pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis and lordosis distribution index for assessing adjacent-segment disease after short-level lumbar fusion surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 40:143–151, 2024

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of sagittal alignment according to age-adjusted pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) and lordosis distribution index (LDI) on the occurrence of adjacent-segment disease (ASD) after lumbar fusion surgery.

METHODS This study retrospectively reviewed 234 consecutive patients with lumbar degenerative diseases who underwent 1- or 2-level lumbar fusion surgery. Demographic and radiographic (preoperative and 3-month postoperative) data were collected and compared between ASD and non-ASD groups. Binary logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate adjusted associations between potential variables and ASD development. A subanalysis was further conducted to assess their relationships in the range of different PI values.

RESULTS With a mean follow-up duration of 70.6 months (range 60–121 months), 118 patients (50.4%) were diagnosed as having cranial radiological ASD. Univariate analyses showed that older age, 2-level fusion, worse preoperative pelvic tilt and LL, lower pre- and postoperative LDI, and more improvement in sagittal vertical axis were significantly correlated with the occurrence of ASD. No significant differences in the PI-LL and age-adjusted PI-LL (offset) were detected between ASD and non-ASD groups. Multivariate analysis identified postoperative LDI (OR 0.971, 95% CI 0.953–0.989, p = 0.002); 2-level fusion (OR 3.477, 95% CI 1.964–6.157, p < 0.001); and improvement of sagittal vertical axis (OR 0.992, 95% CI 0.985–0.998, p = 0.039) as the independent variables for predicting the occurrence of ASD. When stratified by PI, LDI was identified as an independent risk factor in the groups with low and average PI. Lower segmental lordosis (OR 0.841, 95% CI 0.742–0.954, p = 0.007) could significantly increase the incidence of ASD in the patients with high LDI.

CONCLUSIONS Age-adjusted PI-LL may have limited ability to predict the development of ASD. LDI could exert an important effect on diagnosing the occurrence of ASD in the cases with low and average PI, but segmental lordosis was a more significant risk factor than LDI in individuals with high PI.

Economic burden of nonoperative treatment of adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 39:751–756, 2023

OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to investigate the cost utility of nonoperative treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS Nonoperatively and operatively treated patients who met database criteria for ASD and in whom complete radiographic and health-related quality of life data at baseline and at 2 years were available were included. A cost analysis was completed on the PearlDiver database assessing the average cost of nonoperative treatment prior to surgical intervention based on previously published treatments (NSAIDs, narcotics, muscle relaxants, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, and chiropractor). Utility data were calculated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) converted to SF-6D with published conversion methods. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) used a 3% discount rate to account for residual decline in life expectancy (78.7 years). Minor and major comorbidities and complications were assessed according to the CMS.gov manual’s definitions. Successful nonoperative treatment was defined as a gain in the minimum clinically importance difference (MCID) in both ODI and Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–pain scores, and failure was defined as a loss in MCID or conversion to operative treatment. Patients with baseline ODI ≤ 20 and continued ODI of ≤ 20 at 2 years were considered nonoperative successful maintenance. The average utilization of nonoperative treatment and cost were applied to the ASD cohort.

RESULTS A total of 824 patients were included (mean age 58.24 years, 81% female, mean body mass index 27.2 kg/m 2 ). Overall, 75.5% of patients were in the operative and 24.5% were in the nonoperative cohort. At baseline patients in the operative cohort were significantly older, had a greater body mass index, increased pelvic tilt, and increased pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (all p < 0.05). With respect to deformity, patients in the operative group had higher rates of severe (i.e., ++) sagittal deformity according to SRS–Schwab modifiers for pelvic tilt, sagittal vertical axis, and pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (p < 0.05). At 2 years, patients in the operative cohort showed significantly increased rates of a gain in MCID for physical component summary of SF-36, ODI, and SRS-activity, SRS-pain, SRSappearance, and SRS-mental scores. Cost analysis showed the average cost of nonoperative treatment 2 years prior

to surgical intervention to be $2041. Overall, at 2 years patients in the nonoperative cohort had again in ODI of 0.36, did not show a gain in QALYs, and nonoperative treatment was determined to be cost-ineffective. However, a subset of patients in this cohort underwent successful maintenance treatment and had a decrease in ODI of 1.1 and a gain in utility of 0.006 at 2 years. If utility gained for this cohort was sustained to full life expectancy, patients’ cost per QALY was $18,934 compared to a cost per QALY gained of $70,690.79 for posterior-only and $48,273.49 for combined approach in patients in the operative cohort.

CONCLUSIONS Patients with ASD undergoing operative treatment at baseline had greater sagittal deformity and greater improvement in health-related quality of life postoperatively compared to patients treated nonoperatively. Additionally, patients in the nonoperative cohort overall had an increase in ODI and did not show improvement in utility gained. Patients in the nonoperative cohort who had low disability and sagittal deformity underwent successful maintenance and cost-effective treatment.

Anterolateral versus posterior minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion surgery for spondylolisthesis: comparison of outcomes from a global, multicenter study at 12-months follow-up

The Spine Journal 23 (2023) 1494−1505

Several minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion techniques may be used as a treatment for spondylolisthesis to alleviate back and leg pain, improve function and provide stability to the spine. Surgeons may choose an anterolateral or posterior approach for the surgery however, there remains a lack of real-world evidence from comparative, prospective studies on effectiveness and safety with relatively large, geographically diverse samples and involving multiple surgical approaches.

PURPOSE: To test the hypothesis that anterolateral and posterior minimally invasive approaches are equally effective in treating patients with spondylolisthesis affecting one or two segments at 3months follow-up and to report and compare patient reported outcomes and safety profiles between patients at 12-months post-surgery.

DESIGN: Prospective, multicenter, international, observational cohort study.

PATIENT SAMPLE: Patients with degenerative or isthmic spondylolisthesis who underwent 1- or 2-level minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient reported outcomes assessing disability (ODI), back pain (VAS), leg pain (VAS) and quality of life (EuroQol 5D-3L) at 4-weeks, 3-months and 12-months follow-up; adverse events up to 12-months; and fusion status at 12-months post-surgery using X-ray and/or CT-scan. The primary study outcome is improvement in ODI score at 3-months. METHODS: Eligible patients from 26 sites across Europe, Latin America and Asia were consecutively enrolled. Surgeons with experience in minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion procedures used, according to clinical judgement, either an anterolateral (ie, ALIF, DLIF, OLIF) or posterior (MIDLF, PLIF, TLIF) approach. Mean improvement in disability (ODI) was compared between groups using ANCOVA with baseline ODI score used as a covariate. Paired t-tests were used to examine change from baseline in PRO for both surgical approaches at each timepoint after surgery. A secondary ANCOVA using a propensity score as a covariate was used to test the robustness of conclusions drawn from the between group comparison.

RESULTS: Participants receiving an anterolateral approach (n=114) compared to those receiving a posterior approach (n=112) were younger (56.9 vs 62.0 years, p <.001), more likely to be employed (49.1% vs 25.0%, p<.001), have isthmic spondylolisthesis (38.6% vs 16.1%, p<.001) and less likely to only have central or lateral recess stenosis (44.9% vs 68.4%, p=.004). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups for gender, BMI, tobacco use, duration of conservative care, grade of spondylolisthesis, or the presence of stenosis. At 3-months follow-up there was no difference in the amount of improvement in ODI between the anterolateral and posterior groups (23.2 § 21.3 vs 25.8 § 19.5, p=.521). There were no clinically meaningful differences between the groups on mean improvement for back- and leg-pain, disability, or quality of life until the 12-months follow-up. Fusion rates of those assessed (n=158; 70% of the sample), were equivalent between groups (anterolateral, 72/88 [81.8%] fused vs posterior, 61/70 [87.1%] fused; p=.390).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with degenerative lumbar disease and spondylolisthesis who underwent minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion presented statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements from baseline up to 12-months follow-up. There were no clinically relevant differences between patients operated on using an anterolateral or posterior approach.

Comparison of minimally invasive decompression alone versus minimally invasive short-segment fusion in the setting of adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis:

J Neurosurg Spine 39:394–403, 2023

Patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) and neurogenic pain may be candidates for decompression alone or short-segment fusion. In this study, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) decompression (MIS-D) and MIS short-segment fusion (MIS-SF) in patients with DLS were compared in a propensity score–matched analysis.

METHODS The propensity score was calculated using 13 variables: sex, age, BMI, Charlson Comorbidity Index, smoking status, leg pain, back pain, grade 1 spondylolisthesis, lateral spondylolisthesis, multilevel spondylolisthesis, lumbar Cobb angle, pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis, and pelvic tilt in a logistic regression model. One-to-one matching was performed to compare perioperative morbidity and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for patients was calculated based on cutoffs of percentage change from baseline: 42.4% for Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 25.0% for visual analog scale (VAS) low-back pain, and 55.6% for VAS leg pain.

RESULTS A total of 113 patients were included in the propensity score calculation, resulting in 31 matched pairs. Perioperative morbidity was significantly reduced for the MIS-D group, including shorter operative duration (91 vs 204 minutes, p < 0.0001), decreased blood loss (22 vs 116 mL, p = 0.0005), and reduced length of stay (2.6 vs 5.1 days, p = 0.0004). Discharge status (home vs rehabilitation), complications, and reoperation rates were similar. Preoperative PROMs were similar, but after 3 months, improvement was significantly higher for the MIS-SF group in the VAS back pain score (−3.4 vs −1.2, p = 0.044) and Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) Mental Component Summary (MCS) score (+10.3 vs +1.9, p = 0.009), and after 1 year the MIS-SF group continued to have significantly greater improvement in the VAS back pain score (−3.9 vs −1.2, p = 0.026), ODI score (−23.1 vs −7.4, p = 0.037), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey MCS score (+6.5 vs −6.5, p = 0.0374), and VR-12 MCS score (+7.6 vs −5.1, p = 0.047). MCID did not differ significantly between the matched groups for VAS back pain, VAS leg pain, or ODI scores (p = 0.38, 0.055, and 0.072, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Patients with DLS undergoing surgery had similar rates of significant improvement after both MIS-D and MIS-SF. For matched patients, tradeoffs were seen for reduced perioperative morbidity for MIS-D versus greater magnitudes of improvement in back pain, disability, and mental health for patients 1 year after MIS-SF. However, rates of MCID were similar, and the small sample size among the matched patients may be subject to patient outliers, limiting generalizability of these results.

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.

Mechanical complications and patient-reported outcome measures associated with high pelvic incidence and persistent pelvic retroversion: the Roussouly “false type 2” profile

J Neurosurg Spine May 12, 2023

OBJECTIVE The objective of this paper was to report mechanical complications and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) for adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients with a Roussouly “false type 2” (FT2) profile.

METHODS ASD patients treated from 2004 to 2014 at a single center were identified. Inclusion criteria were pelvic incidence ≥ 60° and a minimum 2-year follow-up. FT2 was defined as a high postoperative pelvic tilt (PT), as defined by the Global Alignment and Proportion target, and thoracic kyphosis < 30°. Mechanical complications, defined as proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) and/or instrumentation failure, were determined and compared. Scoliosis Research Society22r (SRS-22r) scores were compared between groups.

RESULTS Ninety-five patients (normal PT [NPT] group 49, FT2 group 46) who met the inclusion criteria were identified and studied. Most surgeries were revisions (NPT group 30 [61%], FT2 group 30 [65%]), and most were performed via a posterior-only approach (86%) (mean ± SD 9.6 ± 5 levels). Proximal junctional angles increased after surgery in both groups, without differences between groups. Neither rates of radiographic PJK (p = 0.10), revision for PJK (p = 0.45), nor revision for pseudarthrosis (p = 0.66) were different between groups. There were no differences between groups for SRS-22r domain scores or subscores.

CONCLUSIONS In this single-center experience, patients with high pelvic incidence fixed with persistent lumbopelvic parameter mismatch and engaged compensatory mechanisms (Roussouly FT2) had mechanical complications and PROMs not different from those with normalized alignment parameters. Compensatory PT may be acceptable in some cases of ASD surgery.

Correlation between the spinopelvic type and morphological characteristics of lumbar facet joints in degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis

J Neurosurg Spine 38:425–435, 2023

The correlation between the spinopelvic type and morphological characteristics of lumbar facet joints in patients with degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS) was investigated.

METHODS One hundred forty-two patients with L4 DLS were enrolled (DLS group), and 100 patients with lumbar disc herniation without DLS were selected as the control group (i.e., non–lumbar spondylolisthesis [NL] group). Morphological parameters of L4–5 facet joints and L4–5 disc height and angle were measured on 3D reconstructed CT images; namely, the facet joint angle (FJA), pedicle–facet joint angle (PFA), facet joint tropism, and facet joint osteoarthritis (OA). The L4 slip percentage, sacral slope, and lumbar lordosis were measured on radiographs. Patients in the DLS and NL groups were divided into 4 subgroups according to Roussouly classification (types I, II, III, and IV).

RESULTS In the DLS and NL groups, as the spinopelvic type changed from type II to type IV, the facet joint morphology showed a gradual sagittal orientation in the FJA, a gradual horizontal orientation in the PFA, a gradual severity in OA, and a gradual increase in the slip percentage, but changes were completely opposite from type I to type II. Additionally, compared with the NL group, the facet joint morphology in the DLS group had more horizontal orientation in PFA, more sagittal orientation in the FJA, and the facet joint tropism and OA were more severe.

CONCLUSIONS Facet joint morphology was correlated with spinopelvic type in the slip segment of DLS. Facet joint morphology was part of the joint configuration in different spinopelvic types, not just the result of joint remodeling after DLS. Moreover, morphological changes of the facet joints and DLS interacted with each other. Additionally, morphological remodeling of the facet joints in DLS played an important role in spinal balance and should be taken into consideration when designing a surgical approach.

Classification system for cervical spine deformity morphology: a validation study

J Neurosurg Spine 37:865–873, 2022

OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to initially validate a recent morphological classification of cervical spine deformity pathology.

METHODS The records of 10 patients for each of the 3 classification subgroups (flat neck, focal deformity, and cervicothoracic), as well as for 8 patients with coronal deformity only, were extracted from a prospective multicenter database of patients with cervical deformity (CD). A panel of 15 physicians of various training and professional levels (i.e., residents, fellows, and surgeons) categorized each patient into one of the 4 groups. The Fleiss kappa coefficient was utilized to evaluate intra- and interrater reliability. Accuracy, defined as properly selecting the main driver of deformity, was reported overall, by morphotype, and by reviewer experience.

RESULTS The overall classification demonstrated a moderate to substantial agreement (round 1: interrater Fleiss kappa = 0.563, 95% CI 0.559–0.568; round 2: interrater Fleiss kappa = 0.612, 95% CI 0.606–0.619). Stratification by level of training demonstrated similar mean interrater coefficients (residents 0.547, fellows 0.600, surgeons 0.524). The mean intrarater score was 0.686 (range 0.531–0.823). A substantial agreement between rounds 1 and 2 was demonstrated in 81.8% of the raters, with a kappa score > 0.61. Stratification by level of training demonstrated similar mean intrarater coefficients (residents 0.715, fellows 0.640, surgeons 0.682). Of 570 possible questions, reviewers provided 419 correct answers (73.5%). When considering the true answer as being selected by at least one of the two main drivers of deformity, the overall accuracy increased to 86.0%.

CONCLUSIONS This initial validation of a CD morphological classification system reiterates the importance of dynamic plain radiographs for the evaluation of patients with CD. The overall reliability of this CD morphological classification has been demonstrated. The overall accuracy of the classification system was not impacted by rater experience, demonstrating its simplicity.

Radiographic and MRI evidence of indirect neural decompression after the anterior column realignment procedure for adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 37:703–712, 2022

The anterior column realignment (ACR) procedure, which consists of sectioning the anterior longitudinal ligament/annulus and placing a hyperlordotic interbody cage, has emerged as a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for achieving aggressive segmental lordosis enhancement to address adult spinal deformity (ASD). Although accumulated evidence has revealed indirect neural decompression after lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF), whether ACR serves equally well for neural decompression remains to be proven. The current study intended to clarify this ambiguous issue.

METHODS A series of 36 ASD patients with spinopelvic mismatch, defined as pelvic incidence (PI) minus lumbar lordosis (LL) > 10°, underwent a combination of ACR, LLIF, and percutaneous pedicle screw (PPS) fixation. This “MIS triad” procedure was applied over short segments with mean fusion length of 3.3 levels, and most patients underwent single-level ACR. The authors analyzed full-length standing radiographs, CT and MRI scans, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores in patients with minimum 1 year of follow-up (mean [range] 20.3 [12–39] months).

RESULTS Compared with the preoperative values, the radiographic and MRI measurements of the latest postoperative studies changed as follows. Segmental disc angle more than quadrupled at the ACR level and LL nearly doubled. MRI examinations at the ACR level revealed a significant (p < 0.0001) increase in the area of the dural sac that was accompanied by significant (p < 0.0001) decreases in area and thickness of the ligamentum flavum and in thickness of the disc bulge. The corresponding CT scans demonstrated significant (all p < 0.0001) increases in disc height to 280% of the preoperative value at the anterior edge, 224% at the middle edge, and 209% at the posterior edge, as well as in pedicleto-pedicle distance to 122%. Mean ODI significantly (p < 0.0001) decreased from 46.3 to 26.0.

CONCLUSIONS The CT-based data showing vertebral column lengthening across the entire ACR segment with an increasingly greater degree anteriorly suggest that the corrective action of ACR relies on a lever mechanism, with the intact facet joints acting as the fulcrum. Whole-segment spine lengthening at the ACR level reduced the disc bulge anteriorly and the ligamentum flavum posteriorly, with eventual enlargement of the dural sac. ACR plays an important role in not only LL restoration but also stenotic spinal canal enlargement for ASD surgery.

Characteristics of patients undergoing revision surgery for proximal junctional failure after adult spinal deformity surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 37:402–409, 2022

Score on the proximal junctional kyphosis severity scale (PJKSS) has been validated to show good correlations with likelihood of revision surgery for proximal junctional failure (PJF) after surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD). However, if the patient has progressive neurological deterioration, revision surgery should be considered regardless of severity based on PJKSS score. This study aimed to revalidate the correlation of PJKSS score with likelihood of revision surgery in patients with PJF but without neurological deficit. In addition, the authors provide the cutoff score on PJKSS that indicates need for revision surgery.

METHODS A retrospective study was performed. Among 360 patients who underwent fusion of more than 4 segments including the sacrum, 83 patients who developed PJF without acute neurological deficit were included. Thirty patients underwent revision surgery (R group) and 53 patients did not undergo revision surgery (NR group). All components of PJKSS and variables other than those included in PJKSS were compared between groups. The cutoff score on PJKSS that indicated need for revision surgery was calculated with receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Multivariate analysis with logistic regression was performed to identify which variables were most predictive of revision surgery.

RESULTS The mean patient age at the time of index surgery was 69.4 years, and the mean fusion length was 6.1 segments. All components of PJKSS, such as focal pain, instrumentation problem, change in kyphosis, fracture at the uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV)/UIV+1, and level of UIV, were significantly different between groups. The average total PJKSS score was significantly greater in the R group than in the NR group (6.0 vs 3.9, p < 0.001). The calculated cutoff score was 4.5, with 70% sensitivity and specificity. There were no significant between-group differences in patient, surgical, and radiographic factors (other than the PJKSS components). Three factors were significantly associated with revision surgery on multivariate analysis: instrumentation problem (OR 8.160, p = 0.004), change in kyphosis (OR 4.809, p = 0.026), and UIV/UIV+1 fracture (OR 6.462, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS PJKSS score positively predicted need for revision surgery in patients with PJF who were neurologically intact. The calculated cutoff score on PJKSS that indicated need for revision surgery was 4.5, with 70% sensitivity and specificity. The factor most responsible for revision surgery was bony failure with > 20° focal kyphotic deformity. Therefore, early revision surgery should be considered for these patients even in the absence of neurological deficit.

Do the newly proposed realignment targets for C2 and T1 slope bridge the gap between radiographic and clinical success in corrective surgery for adult cervical deformity?

J Neurosurg Spine 37:368–375, 2022

Surgical correction of cervical deformity (CD) has been associated with superior alignment and functional outcomes. It has not yet been determined whether baseline or postoperative T1 slope (T1S) and C2 slope (C2S) correlate with health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) metrics and radiographic complications, such as distal junctional kyphosis (DJK) and distal junctional failure (DJF). The objective of this study was to determine the impact of T1S and C2S deformity severity on HRQoL metrics and DJF development in patients with CD who underwent a cervical fusion procedure.

METHODS All operative CD patients with upper instrumented vertebra above C7 and preoperative (baseline) and up to 2-year postoperative radiographic and HRQoL data were included. CD was defined as meeting at least one of the following radiographic parameters: C2–7 lordosis < −15°, TS1–cervical lordosis mismatch > 35°, segmental cervical kyphosis > 15° across any 3 vertebrae between C2 and T1, C2–7 sagittal vertical axis > 4 cm, McGregor’s slope > 20°, or chin-brow vertical angle > 25°. Spearman’s rank-order correlation and linear regression analysis assessed the impact of T1S and C2S on HRQoL metrics (Neck Disability Index [NDI], modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] scale, EuroQOL 5-Dimension Questionnaire [EQ-5D] visual analog scale [VAS] score, and numeric rating scale [NRS]–neck) and complications (DJK, DJF, reoperation). Logistic regression and a conditional inference tree (CIT) were used to determine radiographic thresholds for achieving optimal clinical outcome, defined as meeting good clinical outcome criteria (≥ 2 of the following: NDI < 20 or meeting minimal clinically important difference, mild myelopathy [mJOA score ≥ 14], and NRS-neck ≤ 5 or improved by ≥ 2 points), not undergoing reoperation, or developing DJF or mechanical complication by 2 years.

RESULTS One hundred five patients with CD met inclusion criteria. By surgical approach, 14.7% underwent an anterioronly approach, 46.1% a posterior-only approach, and 39.2% combined anterior and posterior approaches. The mean baseline radiographic parameters were T1S 28.3° ± 14.5° and C2S 25.9° ± 17.5°. Significant associations were found between 3-month C2S and mJOA score (r = −0.248, p = 0.034), NDI (r = 0.399, p = 0.001), EQ-5D VAS (r = −0.532, p < 0.001), NRS-neck (r = 0.239, p = 0.040), and NRS-back (r = 0.264, p = 0.021), while significant correlation was also found between 3-month T1S and mJOA score (r = −0.314, p = 0.026), NDI (r = 0.445, p = 0.001), EQ-5D VAS (r = −0.347, p = 0.018), and NRS-neck (r = 0.269, p = 0.049). A significant correlation was also found between development of DJF and 3-month C2S (odds ratio [OR] 1.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–1.1, p = 0.015) as well as for T1S (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.01–1.1, p = 0.023). Logistic regression with CIT identified thresholds for optimal outcome by 2 years: optimal 3-month T1S < 26° (OR 5.6) and C2S < 10° (OR 10.4), severe 3-month T1S < 45.5° (OR 0.2) and C2S < 38.0° (no patient above this threshold achieved optimal outcome; all p < 0.05). Patients below both optimal thresholds achieved rates of 0% for DJK and DJF, and 100% met optimal outcome.

CONCLUSIONS The severity of CD, defined by T1S and C2S at baseline and especially at 3 months, can be predictive of postoperative functional improvement and occurrence of worrisome complications in patients with CD, necessitating the use of thresholds in surgical planning to achieve optimal outcomes.

Understanding the role of pelvic obliquity and leg length discrepancy in adult spinal deformity patients with coronal malalignment

J Neurosurg Spine 37:64–72, 2022

This study had 3 objectives: 1) to describe pelvic obliquity (PO) and leg-length discrepancy (LLD) and their relationship with coronal malalignment (CM); 2) to report rates of isolated PO and PO secondary to LLD; and 3) to assess the importance of preoperative PO and LLD in postoperative complications, readmission, reoperation, and patient-reported outcomes.

METHODS Patients undergoing surgery (≥ 6-level fusions) for adult spinal deformity at a single institution were reviewed. Variables evaluated were as follows: 1) PO, angle between the horizontal plane and a line touching bilateral iliac crests; and 2) LLD, distance from the head to the tibial plafond. Coronal vertical axis (CVA) and sagittal vertical axis measurements were collected, both from C7. The cutoff for CM was CVA > 3 cm. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was collected preoperatively and at 2 years.

RESULTS Of 242 patients undergoing surgery for adult spinal deformity, 90 (37.0%) had preoperative CM. Patients with preoperative CM had a higher PO (2.8° ± 3.2° vs 2.0° ± 1.7°, p = 0.013), a higher percentage of patients with PO > 3° (35.6% vs 23.5%, p = 0.044), and higher a percentage of patients with LLD > 1 cm (21.1% vs 9.8%, p = 0.014). Whereas preoperative PO was significantly positively correlated with CVA (r = 0.26, p < 0.001) and maximum Cobb angle (r = 0.30, p < 0.001), preoperative LLD was only significantly correlated with CVA (r = 0.14, p = 0.035). A total of 12.2% of patients with CM had significant PO and LLD, defined as follows: PO ≥ 3°; LLD ≥ 1 cm. Postoperatively, preoperative PO was significantly associated with both postoperative CM (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.05–1.40, p = 0.008) and postoperative CVA (β = 0.14, 95% CI 0.06–0.22, p < 0.001). A higher preoperative PO was independently associated with postoperative complications after multivariate logistic regression (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.05–1.45, p = 0.010); however, 2-year ODI scores were not. Preoperative LLD had no significant relationship with postoperative CM, CVA, ODI, or complications.

CONCLUSIONS A PO ≥ 3° or LLD ≥ 1 cm was seen in 44.1% of patients with preoperative CM and in 23.5% of patients with normal coronal alignment. Preoperative PO was significantly associated with preoperative CVA and maximum Cobb angle, whereas preoperative LLD was only associated with preoperative CVA. The direction of PO and LLD showed no consistent pattern with CVA. Preoperative PO was independently associated with complications but not with 2-year ODI scores.

Surgical versus Nonsurgical Treatment for Adult Spinal Deformity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

World Neurosurg. (2022) 159:1-11

OBJECTIVE: To systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of surgical and nonsurgical methods for the treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS: The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for relevant controlled studies of surgical and nonsurgical approaches for the treatment of ASD; all studies reported from database creation to October 2021 were eligible for inclusion. Stata 11.0 software was used for the metaanalysis. Publication bias was assessed using a Begg test. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test, and fixed-effects or random-effects models were used, as appropriate. Meta-regression was used to determine the cause of heterogeneity. Subgroup analyses were performed to assess the effects of age on the outcomes. –

RESULTS: Eleven articles comprising 1880 participants met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis showed that surgical treatment was associated with a better improvement in function than was nonsurgical treatment (Scoliosis Research Society 22 questionnaire score change value: weighted mean difference [ 0.696; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.686e0.705; P < 0.0001; Oswestry Dysfunction Index change value: WMD [ 11.222; 95% CI, 10.801e11.642; P < 0.0001). Surgical treatment was more effective in relieving pain and correcting the deformity (numeric rating scale pain score: WMD[3.341; 95% CI, 2.832e3.85; P < 0.0001; Cobb angle change value: WMD [ 15.036 ; 95% CI, 13.325e16.747; P < 0.0001). The complication rate in the surgical group was 17.6%e80.3%.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical treatment is better than nonsurgical methods for improving the function of patients with ASD and achieving good pain improvement and deformity correction. Elderly patients with ASD can also obtain good symptomatic improvement through surgery

Usefulness of anterior column release for segmental lordosis restoration in degenerative lumbar kyphosis

J Neurosurg Spine 36:422–428, 2022

Three-column osteotomies (3COs) for surgical correction of lumbar kyphosis show a strong correction capacity, but this procedure carries high morbidity rates. The anterior column release (ACR) technique was developed as a less invasive procedure. In this study the authors aimed to evaluate sagittal alignment restoration using ACR and to determine factors that affect the degree of correction.

METHODS This study included 36 patients (68 cases) who underwent ACR of more than one level for adult spinal deformity. Parameters for regional sagittal alignment included segmental lordosis (SL). The parameters for global sagittal alignment included pelvic incidence, lumbar lordosis, sacral slope, pelvic tilt, and sagittal vertical axis (SVA). In addition, the interdiscal height (IDH) and difference of interdiscal angle (DIDA) were measured to evaluate the stiffness of the vertebra segment. The changes in SL were evaluated after ACR and the change of global sagittal alignment was also determined. Factors such as the location of the ACR level, IDH, DIDA, cage height, and additional posterior column osteotomy (PCO) were analyzed for correlation with the degree of SL correction.

RESULTS Thirty-six patients were included in this study. A total of 68 levels were operated with the ACR (8 levels at L2–3, 27 levels at L3–4, and 33 levels at L4–5). ACR was performed for 1 level in 10 patients, 2 levels in 20, and 3 levels in 6 patients (mean 1.9   0.7 levels per patient). Mean follow-up duration was 27.1   4.2 months. The mean SL of the total segment was 0.4    7.2  preoperatively and increased by 15.3    5.5  at the last follow-up (p < 0.001); thus, the mean increase of SL was 14.9    8.1  per one ACR. Global sagittal alignment was also improved following SL restoration with SVA from 101.9 mm to 31.4 mm. The degree of SL correction was correlated with the location of ACR level (p = 0.041) and was not correlated with IDH, DIDA, cage height and additional PCO.

CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrated that the mean correction angle of SL was 14.9 per one ACR. The degree of disc space collapse and stiffness of segment did not affect the degree of correction by ACR.


Patient outcomes after circumferential minimally invasive surgery compared with those of open correction for adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 36:203–214, 2022

Circumferential minimally invasive spine surgery (cMIS) for adult scoliosis has become more advanced and powerful, but direct comparison with traditional open correction using prospectively collected data is limited. The authors performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected, multicenter adult spinal deformity data. The authors directly compared cMIS for adult scoliosis with open correction in propensity-matched cohorts using health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) measures and surgical parameters.

METHODS Data from a prospective, multicenter adult spinal deformity database were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria were age > 18 years, minimum 1-year follow-up, and one of the following characteristics: pelvic tilt (PT) > 25 , pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) > 10 , Cobb angle > 20 , or sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm. Patients were categorized as undergoing cMIS (percutaneous screws with minimally invasive anterior interbody fusion) or open correction (traditional open deformity correction). Propensity matching was used to create two equal groups and to control for age, BMI, preoperative PI-LL, pelvic incidence (PI), T1 pelvic angle (T1PA), SVA, PT, and number of posterior levels fused.

RESULTS A total of 154 patients (77 underwent open procedures and 77 underwent cMIS) were included after matching for age, BMI, PI-LL (mean 15  vs 17 , respectively), PI (54  vs 54 ), T1PA (21  vs 22 ), and mean number of levels fused (6.3 vs 6). Patients who underwent three-column osteotomy were excluded. Follow-up was 1 year for all patients. Postoperative Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) (p = 0.50), Scoliosis Research Society–total (p = 0.45), and EQ-5D (p = 0.33) scores were not different between cMIS and open patients. Maximum Cobb angles were similar for open and cMIS basepatients at baseline (25.9  vs 26.3 , p = 0.85) and at 1 year postoperation (15.0  vs 17.5 , p = 0.17). In total, 58.3% of open patients and 64.4% of cMIS patients (p = 0.31) reached the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in ODI at 1 year. At 1 year, no differences were observed in terms of PI-LL (p = 0.71), SVA (p = 0.46), PT (p = 0.9), or Cobb angle (p = 0.20). Open patients had greater estimated blood loss compared with cMIS patients (1.36 L vs 0.524 L, p < 0.05) and fewer levels of interbody fusion (1.87 vs 3.46, p < 0.05), but shorter operative times (356 minutes vs 452 minutes, p = 0.003). Revision surgery rates between the two cohorts were similar (p = 0.97).

CONCLUSIONS When cMIS was compared with open adult scoliosis correction with propensity matching, HRQOL improvement, spinopelvic parameters, revision surgery rates, and proportions of patients who reached MCID were similar between cohorts. However, well-selected cMIS patients had less blood loss, comparable results, and longer operative times in comparison with open patients.



Impact of an intraoperative coronal spinal alignment measurement technique using a navigational tool for a 3D spinal rod bending system in adult spinal deformity cases

J Neurosurg Spine 36:62–70, 2022

In corrective spinal surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD), the focus has been on achieving optimal spinopelvic alignment. However, the correction of coronal spinal alignment is equally important. The conventional intraoperative measurement methods currently used for coronal alignment are not ideal. Here, the authors have developed a new intraoperative coronal alignment measurement technique using a navigational tool for a 3D spinal rod bending system (CAMNBS). The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of using the CAMNBS for coronal spinal alignment and to evaluate its usefulness in corrective spinal surgery for ASD.

METHODS In this retrospective cohort study, patients with degenerative lumbar kyphoscoliosis, a Cobb angle ≥ 20°, and lumbar lordosis ≤ 20° who had undergone corrective surgery (n = 67) were included. The pelvic teardrops on both sides, the S1 spinous process, the central point of the apex, a point on the 30-mm cranial (or caudal) side of the apex, and the central point of the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) and C7 vertebra were registered using the CAMNBS. The positional information of all registered points was displayed as 2D figures on a monitor. Deviation of the UIV plumb line from the central sacral vertical line (UIV-CSVL) and deviation of the C7 plumb line from the CSVL (C7-CSVL) were measured using the 2D figures. Nineteen patients evaluated using the CAMNBS (BS group) were compared with 48 patients evaluated using conventional intraoperative radiography (XR group). The UIV-CSVL measured intraoperatively using the CAMNBS was compared with that measured using postoperative radiography. The prevalence of postoperative coronal malalignment (CM) and the absolute value of postoperative C7-CSVL were compared between the groups on radiographs obtained in the standing position within 4 weeks after surgery. Postoperative CM was defined as the absolute value of C7-CSVL ≥ 30 mm. Further, the measurement time and amount of radiation exposure were measured.

RESULTS No significant differences in demographic, sagittal, and coronal parameters were observed between the two groups. UIV-CSVL was 2.3 ± 9.5 mm with the CAMNBS and 1.8 ± 16.6 mm with the radiographs, showing no significant difference between the two methods (p = 0.92). The prevalence of CM was 2/19 (10.5%) in the BS group and 18/48 (37.5%) in the XR group, and absolute values of C7-CSVL were 15.2 ± 13.1 mm in the BS group and 25.0 ± 18.0 mm in the XR group, showing statistically significant differences in both comparisons (p = 0.04 and 0.03, respectively). The CAMNBS method required 3.5 ± 0.9 minutes, while the conventional radiograph method required 13.3 ± 1.5 minutes; radiation exposure was 2.1 ± 1.1 mGy in the BS group and 2.9 ± 0.6 mGy in the XR group. Statistically significant differences were demonstrated in both comparisons (p = 0.0002 and 0.03, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS From this study, it was evident that the CAMNBS did not increase postoperative CM compared with that seen using the conventional radiographic method, and hence can be used in clinical practice.