The segmental effect of Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation on vertebral rotation, rib hump and the thoracic cage in idiopathic scoliosis

U Willers, E E Transfeldt, R Hedlund
European Spine Journal 1996, 5 (6): 387-93
The segmental effect of Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation (CDI) on the spine and thoracic cage was investigated in 38 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis by preoperative and postoperative postero-anterior and lateral radiographs and computed tomography from T1 to S1. Mean Cobb angle decreased by 67%. The T5-T12 kyphosis in the hypokyphotic patients increased on average by 8.4 degrees (P < 0.001). Average preoperative as well as postoperative maximal vertebral rotation was located at the apex level, and was reduced from 19.0 degrees to 14.3 degrees (P < 0.001). All vertebrae between the upper and lower instrumented vertebrae were significantly derotated. Average derotation for the apical zone was 4.8 degrees (P < 0.001), for the upper instrumented zone it was 2.5 degrees (P < 0.01), and for the lower instrumented zone it was 2.6 degrees (P < 0.01). Vertebral derotation was significantly higher in the apical zone than in the upper and lower instrumented zones. The apical rib hump index (RHi) decreased by 38% (P < 0.001) and the cumulative RHi for the five apical levels decreased by 34% (P < 0.001). The RHi for the two levels above and below the instrumentation each decreased by 20% (n.s.). No significant increase in sagittal or transverse rib cage diameter at any level was observed. The translation in the coronal plane of the apical vertebra of major right thoracic curves improved significantly (P < 0.001). The preoperative flexibility index of the major curve correlated positively (r = 0.47) with derotation at the apex level (P < 0.01). However, no correlation was found between flexibility index and reduction of RHi at the apex level. Vertebral derotation did not correlate with reduction in RHi at any level. The study shows that CDI results in a postoperative three-dimensional improvement of the spine and a limited improvement of the thoracic cage, with no tendency towards a worsened deformity at any level within or outside the instrumentation.

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