The impact of the lower instrumented level on outcomes in cervical deformity surgery
Peter Gust Passias1, Haddy Alas1, Katherine E Pierce1, Matthew Galetta2, Oscar Krol1, Lara Passfall1, Nicholas Kummer1, Sara Naessig1, Waleed Ahmad1, Bassel G Diebo3, Renaud Lafage4, Virginie Lafage4
1 Department of Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery, Division of Spinal Surgery, NYU Medical Center, NY Spine Institute, New York, NY, USA
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, New York, NY, USA
3 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, SUNY Downstate, New York, NY, USA
4 Department of Orthopaedics, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA
Peter Gust Passias
Department of Orthopaedic and Neurological Surgery, Division of Spinal Surgery, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York Spine Institute, Orthopaedic Hospital – NYU School of Medicine, 301 East 17th St, New York 10003, NY
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: The lower instrumented vertebrae (LIVs) in cervical deformity (CD) constructs may have varying effects on patient outcomes that are still poorly understood.
Objective: The objective of the study is to compare outcomes in CD patients undergoing instrumented correction according to the relation of LIV with primary driver (PD).
Methods: Patients who met radiographic criteria for CD were included in the study. Patients were stratified by PD of deformity: cervical (C) through AMES classification (TS-CL >20 or cervical sagittal vertical axis >40) and thoracic (T) through hyper/hypokyphosis (TK) from T4-T12 (60 < TK < 40). Patients were further stratified by LIV in relation to curve apex (above/below). Univariate and multivariate analyses identified group differences in postoperative health-related quality-of-life and distal junctional kyphosis (DJK) (>10° LIV and LIV + 2) rate up to 1 year.
Results: Sixty-two patients were analyzed. Twenty-one patients had a C-PD and 41 had a T-PD by definition. 100% of C-PDs had LIVs below CL apex, while 9.2% of T-PDs had LIVs below (caudal) to TK apex and 90.8% had LIVs above TK apex. By 1 year, C patients trended lower Neck Disability Index (NDI) (21.9 vs. 29.0, P = 0.245), lower numeric rating scales neck pain (4.2 vs. 5.1, P = 0.358), and significantly higher EuroQol five-dimensional questionnaire Visual Analog Scale (69.2 vs. 52.4, P = 0.040). When T patients with LIVs below TK apex were excluded, remaining T patients with LIV above apex had significantly higher 1-year NDI than C patients (37.5 vs. 21.9, P = .05). T patients also trended higher rates of postoperative DJK than C (19.5% vs. 4.8%, P = 0.119).
Conclusions: Stopping before apex was more common in patients with a primary thoracic driver (T) and associated with deleterious effects. Primary cervical driver (C) tended to have LIVs inclusive of CL apex with lower rates of DJK.