Alignment, Classification, Clinical Evaluation, and Surgical Treatment for Adult Cervical Deformity

Neurosurgery 88:864–883, 2021

Adult cervical deformity management is complex and is a growing field with many recent advancements. The cervical spine functions to maintain the position of the head plays a pivotal role in influencing subjacent global spinal alignment and pelvic tilt as compensatory changes occur to maintain horizontal gaze.

There are various types of cervical deformity and a variety of surgical options available. The major advancements in the management of cervical deformity have only been around for a few years and continue to evolve. Therefore, the goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of cervical alignment parameters, deformity classification, clinical evaluation, and surgical treatment of adult cervical deformity.

The information presented here may be used as a guide for proper preoperative evaluation and surgical treatment in the adult cervical deformity patient.

Total uncinectomy of the cervical spine with an osteotome

J Neurosurg Spine 31:831–834, 2019

Total uncinate process resection or uncinectomy is often required in the setting of severe foraminal stenosis or cervical kyphosis correction. The proximity of the uncus to the vertebral artery, nerve root, and spinal cord makes this a challenging undertaking. Use of a high-speed burr or ultrasonic bone dissector can be associated with direct injury to the vertebral artery and thermal injury to the surrounding structures. The use of an osteotome is a safe and efficient method of uncinectomy.

Here the authors describe their technique, which is illustrated with an intraoperative video.

Evolution of Sagittal Imbalance Following Corrective Surgery for Sagittal Plane Deformity

Neurosurgery 81:129–134, 2017

Sagittal balance in adult spinal deformity is a major predictor of quality of life. A temporary loss of paraspinalmuscle force and somatic pain following spine surgery may limit a patient’s ability to maintain posture.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the evolution of sagittal balance and clinical outcomes during recovery from adult spinal deformity surgery.

METHODS: Retrospective review of a prospective observational database identified a consecutive series of patients with sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 40mm undergoing adult deformity surgery. Radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes were measured out to 2 yr after surgery.

RESULTS: A total of 113 consecutive patients met inclusion criteria. Mean preoperative SVA was 90.3 mm, increased to 104.6mm in the first week, then gradually reduced at each follow-up interval to 59.2mm at 6wk, 45.0mm at 3mo, 38.6mm at 6mo, and 34.1mm at 1 yr (all P < .05). SVA did not change between 1 and 2 yr. Pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) corrected immediately from 25.3◦ to 8.5◦ (16.8◦ change; P < .01) and a decreased pelvic tilt from 27.6◦ to 17.6◦ (10◦ change; P < .01). No further change was noted in PILL. Pelvic tilt increased to 20.2◦ (P = .01) at 6wk and held steady through 2 yr. Mean Visual Analog Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form-36 scores all improved; pain rapidly improved, whereas disability measures improved as SVA improved.

CONCLUSION: Radiographic assessment of global sagittal alignment did not fully reflect surgical correction of sagittal balance until 6 months after adult deformity surgery. Sagittal balance initially worsened then steadily improved at each interval over the first year postoperatively. At 1 yr, all clinical and radiographic measures outcomes were significantly improved.

 

Complication Rates Associated With Adult Cervical Deformity Surgery

prospective-multicenter-assessment-of-early-complication-rates-associated-with-adult-cervical-deformity-surgery-in-78-patients

Neurosurgery 79:378–388, 2016

Few reports have focused on treatment of adult cervical deformity (ACD).

OBJECTIVE: To present early complication rates associated with ACD surgery.

METHODS: A prospective multicenter database of consecutive operative ACD patients was reviewed for early (#30 days from surgery) complications. Enrollment required at least 1 of the following: cervical kyphosis .10 degrees, cervical scoliosis .10 degrees, C2-7 sagittal vertical axis .4 cm, or chin-brow vertical angle .25 degrees.

RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients underwent surgical treatment for ACD (mean age, 60.8 years). Surgical approaches included anterior-only (14%), posterior-only (49%), anterior-posterior (35%), and posterior-anterior-posterior (3%). Mean numbers of fused anterior and posterior vertebral levels were 4.7 and 9.4, respectively. A total of 52 early complications were reported, including 26 minor and 26 major. Twenty-two (28.2%) patients had at least 1 minor complication, and 19 (24.4%) had at least 1 major complication. Overall, 34 (43.6%) patients had at least 1 complication. The most common complications included dysphagia (11.5%), deep wound infection (6.4%), new C5 motor deficit (6.4%), and respiratory failure (5.1%). One (1.3%) mortality occurred. Early complication rates differed significantly by surgical approach: anterior-only (27.3%), posterior-only (68.4%), and anterior-posterior/posterior-anterior- posterior (79.3%) (P = .007).

CONCLUSION: This report provides benchmark rates for overall and specific ACD surgery complications. Although the surgical approach(es) used were likely driven by the type and complexity of deformity, there were significantly higher complication rates associated with combined and posterior-only approaches compared with anterior-only approaches. These findings may prove useful in treatment planning, patient counseling, and ongoing efforts to improve safety of care.

A standardized nomenclature for cervical spine soft-tissue release and osteotomy for deformity correction

Standardized nomenclature cervical osteotomies

J Neurosurg Spine 19:269–278, 2013

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors’ objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.

METHODS

A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.

RESULTS

The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.