Outcomes and complications of extension of previous long fusion to the sacro-pelvis: is an anterior approach necessary?



Patients with previous multilevel spinal fusion may require extension of the fusion to the sacro-pelvis. Our objective was to evaluate the outcomes and complications of these patients, stratified based on whether the revision was performed using a posterior-only spinal fusion (PSF) or combined anterior-posterior spinal fusion (APSF).


A retrospective, multicenter evaluation of adults (>18 years old) with a history of prior spinal fusion for scoliosis (≥4 levels) terminating in the distal lumbar spine requiring extension of fusion to the sacro-pelvis (including iliac fixation in all cases), with minimum 2-year follow-up, was performed. Patients were stratified based on approach (APSF vs. PSF) and inclusion of pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO). The PSF group included patients treated with an anterior interbody fusion done through a posterior approach, whereas patients in the APSF group all had both anterior and posterior surgical approaches. Clinical outcomes were based on the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS-22) questionnaire.


Between 1995 and 2006, 45 patients (mean age = 49 years) met inclusion criteria, with a mean follow-up of 41.9 months (range 24 to 135 months). Demographic, preoperative, operative, and postoperative radiographic, SRS-22, and follow-up results were similar between APSF (n=30) and PSF (n=15) groups. The APSF group had more complications (13 of 30 vs. 3 of 15) and a greater number of pseudarthrosis (4 of 30 vs. 0 of 15) than the PSF group; however, these differences did not reach statistical significance. Patients treated with a PSO (n=13) had greater sagittal vertical axis correction (7.7 cm vs. 2.2 cm; P=.04) compared with patients not treated with a PSO (n=32). There were no differences in complication rates or follow-up SRS-22 scores based on whether a PSO was performed (P>.05).


Among adults with previously treated scoliosis requiring extension to the sacro-pelvis, PSF produced radiographic fusion and clinical outcomes equivalent to APSF, whereas complication rates may be lower. PSO resulted in greater sagittal plane correction, without an increase in overall complication rates.





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Publication Info

Fu, Kai-Ming G, Justin S Smith, Douglas C Burton, Christopher I Shaffrey, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Brandon Carlson, Frank J Schwab, Virginie Lafage, et al. (2013). Outcomes and complications of extension of previous long fusion to the sacro-pelvis: is an anterior approach necessary?. World neurosurgery, 79(1). pp. 177–181. 10.1016/j.wneu.2012.06.016 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28847.

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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