Fixed lumbar apical vertebral rotation predicts spinal decompensation in Lenke type 3C adolescent idiopathic scoliosis after selective posterior thoracic correction and fusion

Hannes Behensky, Ashley A Cole, Brian J C Freeman, Michael P Grevitt, Hossein S Mehdian, John K Webb
European Spine Journal 2007, 16 (10): 1570-8
Retrospective radiographic review of surgically treated double major curves (Lenke type 3C) in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. To evaluate the role of selective posterior thoracic correction and fusion in double major curves with third generation instrumentation and to identify preoperative radiographic parameters that predict postoperative coronal spinal decompensation. Traditionally the surgical treatment of double major curves consists of fusion of both the thoracic and the lumbar curve. Few attempt to perform selective thoracic fusion in this curve pattern because of the potential to create spinal imbalance. Thirty-six patients with Lenke type 3C curves underwent a selective posterior thoracic correction and fusion with either Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation or the Universal Spine System. Radiographs were evaluated to assess coronal and sagittal balance, curve flexibility, and curve correction at a minimum follow up of 2 years. Postoperative coronal spinal decompensation was investigated with respect to preoperative radiographic parameters on standing anteroposterior (AP), standing lateral radiographs, thoracic and lumbar supine side-bending radiographs. Coronal spinal decompensation was defined as plumbline deviation of C7 of more than 2 cm with respect to the centre sacral vertical line (CSVL) within 2 years of surgery. Twenty-six patients (72%) showed satisfactory frontal plane alignment patients (28%) showed coronal spinal decompensation. Significant group differences, however, were identified for lumbar apical vertebral rotation, measured according to Perdriolle (La scoliose. Son êtude tridimensionnelle. Maloine, Paris, pp 179, 1979) (A 16 degrees , B 22 degrees , P = 0.02), percentage correction (derotation) of lumbar apical vertebrae in lumbar supine side-bending films in comparison to standing AP radiographs (A 49%, B 27%, P = 0.002) and thoracic curve flexibility (A 43%, B 25%, P = 0.03). High correlation was noted between postoperative decompensation and derotation of lumbar apical vertebrae in pre-operative lumbar supine side-bending films with a critical value of 40% (Pearson correlation coefficient; P = 0.62, P < 0.001). Ten of 36 patients (28%) with Lenke type 3C adolescent idiopathic scoliosis showed coronal spinal decompensation of more than 2 cm after selective posterior thoracic correction and fusion. Lumbar apical vertebral derotation of less than 40% provided the radiographic prediction of postoperative coronal spinal imbalance. We advise close scrutiny of the transverse plane in the lumbar supine bending film when planning surgical strategy.

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