Use of supplemental rod constructs in adult spinal deformity surgery


Operative treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD) commonly involves long posterior instrumented fusions with primary rods spanning from the base of the construct to the upper instrumented vertebra. Over the past decade, additional supplemental rods have been increasingly utilized to bolster the primary instrumentation and mitigate risk of primary rod fracture/pseudarthrosis at areas of high biomechanical stress (e.g., 3-column osteotomy [3CO], multiple posterior column osteotomies [PCOs], lumbosacral junction). Supplemental rods for 3CO include satellite rods (4-rod technique with 2 deeply recessed short rods independently attached to pedicle screws across the 3CO), accessory rods (attached to primary rods via side-to-side connectors), and delta rods (accessory rods contoured only at the proximal and distal attachments to primary rods). Utilizing more than 4 rods across a 3CO may increase posterior construct stability; however, diminished load transfer to the anterior vertebral column may increase risk of nonunion and instrumentation failure. Similar supplemental rod constructs can be utilized to support multiple PCOs and/or the lumbosacral junction. We generally recommend using bilateral accessory rods for a total of 4 rods to support the lumbosacral junction (2 accessory rods and 2 primary rods). The novel “kickstand rod” can help facilitate coronal correction and/or function as an accessory rod distally anchored to an independent iliac screw; appropriate nomenclature is “iliac accessory rod” in cases without true kickstand distraction. In this narrative review, we aim to (1) provide a brief historical overview of supplemental rod constructs, (2) describe current indications for supplemental rods, and (3) report our results from a longitudinal analysis (2008–2020) of supplemental rod constructs used by International Spine Study Group (ISSG) surgeons.






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Publication Info

Buell, TJ, JP Sardi, CP Yen, DO Okonkwo, D Kojo Hamilton, JL Gum, LG Lenke, CI Shaffrey, et al. (2023). Use of supplemental rod constructs in adult spinal deformity surgery. Seminars in Spine Surgery. pp. 101062–101062. 10.1016/j.semss.2023.101062 Retrieved from

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