Improvement in some Ames-ISSG cervical deformity classification modifier grades may correlate with clinical improvement.


This retrospective cohort study describes adult cervical deformity(ACD) patients with Ames-ACD classification at baseline(BL) and 1-year post-operatively and assesses the relationship of improvement in Ames modifiers with clinical outcomes. Patients ≥ 18yrs with BL and post-op(1-year) radiographs were included. Patients were categorized with Ames classification by primary deformity descriptors (C = cervical; CT = cervicothoracic junction; T = thoracic; S = coronal) and alignment/myelopathy modifiers(C2-C7 Sagittal Vertical Axis[cSVA], T1 Slope-Cervical Lordosis[TS-CL], Horizontal Gaze[Horiz], mJOA). Univariate analysis evaluated demographics, clinical intervention, and Ames deformity descriptor. Patients were evaluated for radiographic improvement by Ames classification and reaching Minimal Clinically Important Differences(MCID) for mJOA, Neck Disability Index(NDI), and EuroQuol-5D(EQ5D). A total of 73 patients were categorized: C = 41(56.2%), CT = 18(24.7%), T = 9(12.3%), S = 5(6.8%). By Ames modifier 1-year improvement, 13(17.8%) improved in mJOA, 26(35.6%) in cSVA grade, 19(26.0%) in Horiz, and 15(20.5%) in TS-CL. The overall proportion of patients without severe Ames modifier grades at 1-year was as follows: 100% cSVA, 27.4% TS-CL, 67.1% Horiz, 69.9% mJOA. 1-year post-operatively, severe myelopathy(mJOA = 3) prevalence differed between Ames-ACD descriptors (C = 26.3%, CT = 15.4%, T = 0.0%, S = 0.0%, p = 0.033). Improvement in mJOA modifier correlated with reaching 1-year NDI MCID in the overall cohort (r = 0.354,p = 0.002). For C descriptors, cSVA improvement correlated with reaching 1-year NDI MCID (r = 0.387,p = 0.016). Improvement in more than one radiographic Ames modifier correlated with reaching 1-year mJOA MCID (r = 0.344,p = 0.003) and with reaching more than one MCID for mJOA, NDI, and EQ-5D (r = 0.272,p = 0.020). In conclusion, improvements in radiographic Ames modifier grades correlated with improvement in 1-year postoperative clinical outcomes. Although limited in scope, this analysis suggests the Ames-ACD classification may describe cervical deformity patients' alignment and outcomes at 1-year.





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Publication Info

Horn, Samantha R, Peter G Passias, Lara Passfall, Renaud Lafage, Justin S Smith, Gregory W Poorman, Leah M Steinmetz, Cole A Bortz, et al. (2021). Improvement in some Ames-ISSG cervical deformity classification modifier grades may correlate with clinical improvement. Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia, 89. pp. 297–304. 10.1016/j.jocn.2021.05.007 Retrieved from

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Peter Passias

Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

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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