Sagittal spinopelvic changes after posterior spinal fusion in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Denver A. Burton, Alexa J. Karkenny, Jacob F. Schulz, Regina Hanstein, Jaime A. Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article examines if longer posterior spinal fusions with instrumentation (PSFI) into the lumbar spine (L3/4) alter spinopelvic parameters compared with selective fusions to T12/L1/L2 in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients. Methods: We analysed radiographs of 84 AIS patients, 58 (69%) females and 26 (31%) males, who underwent PSFI at an mean age of 15 years ± 2.5 years, range 10 years to 21 years, between 1st January 2007 and 31st December 2014. Radiographic parameters were measured pre-and post-oper-atively at most recent follow-up (range 2 years to 8.2 years): pelvic incidence (PI), lumbar lordosis (LL, L1–S1 and L4–S1), sagittal vertical alignment (SVA), scoliosis angle and proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). PI–LL was calculated. Data was analysed using t-tests or Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. Results: In total, 32 patients underwent a selective fusion with lowest instrumented vertebra (LIV) T12–L2, and 52 patients underwent a fusion with LIV L3–L4. In both groups, scoliosis angle was significantly corrected at follow-up (p < 0.005). Pre-operatively, both groups had similar LL (L1–S1) and PI– LL. Post-operatively, LL increased in the L3–4 fusion group (p < 0.005) but did not change in the selective fusion group (p = 0.116). This change in LL in the L3–4 fusion group affected the post-operative PI–LL (T12–L2 fusion-4.9° versus L3–4 fusion-13.6°, p = 0.002). No differences were seen in PI, SVA or LL L4–S1 between groups. Radiographic PJK occurred in seven of the L3–4 patients with and without PJK (noPJK –8.8° versus PJK –25.8°, p = 0.026). Conclusions: In patients who underwent a fusion ending at L3 or L4, LL was increased. This altered the PI–LL relationship, and appeared to increase the risk of PJK. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-553
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Children's Orthopaedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Distal fusion
  • Lumbar fusion
  • PI–LL
  • Sagittal balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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