Rod fractures after multi-rod constructs in adult spinal deformity patients fused to the sacrum/pelvis: where do they occur and why?

Hani Chanbour, Fthimnir M. Hassan, Scott L. Zuckerman, Paul J. Park, Cole Morrissette, Meghan Cerpa, Nathan J. Lee, Alex S. Ha, Ronald A. Lehman, Lawrence G. Lenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: (1) To describe the use of multi-rod constructs (MRCs) in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery, (2) to report rod fractures occurring at MRC sites, and (3) to evaluate risk factors for rod fractures. Methods: A single-center, retrospective cohort study was conducted of patients undergoing ASD surgery with these inclusion criteria: minimum 2-year follow-up, MRCs used, ≥ 10-level fusion, and fused to sacrum/pelvis. The primary outcome was rod fracture. Univariate/multivariate logistic regression was performed controlling for age, kickstand rod usage, number of rods across the lumbosacral junction (LSJ), and the amount of coronal/sagittal Cobb correction. Results: Among 57 patients undergoing ASD surgery with MRCs, mean age was 60 ± 11 years. With respect to MRCs, 32 (56%) patients had 3 rods, 18 (32%) had 4, and 7 (12%) had 5. Rods crossing the LSJ were most often three (63%), followed by four (25%) and five (5%) rods. Nine (16%) patients experienced rod fractures with eight (89%) patients having no more than three rods crossing the LSJ. A coronal correction > 30 mm was more often seen in patients with rod fracture (p = 0.030), while an SVA correction > 50 mm was not significantly different (p = 0.608). Multivariate logistic regression revealed that the amount of coronal correction was significantly associated with rod fracture (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.07, p = 0.044), as was achieving a coronal correction > 30 mm (OR 7.72, 95% CI 1.17–51.10, p = 0.034), with no association between the amount of sagittal correction obtained and rod fracture. Conclusion: This study found that greater coronal correction was associated with an increased odds of rod fracture. We suggest adding at least four rods across the LSJ cephalad to the interbody fusions to avoid rod fractures in these high demand areas. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-479
Number of pages9
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Coronal correction
  • Multi-rod construct
  • Rod fracture
  • Sagittal correction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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