Compensation from mild and severe cases of early proximal junctional kyphosis may manifest as progressive cervical deformity at two year follow-up.



Postoperative reciprocal changes (RC) in the cervical spine associated with varying factors of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) following fusions of the thoracopelvic spine are poorly understood.


Explore reciprocal changes in the cervical spine associated with varying factors (severity, progression, patient age) of PJK in patients undergoing adult spinal deformity (ASD) correction.

Patients and methods

Retrospective review of a multicenter ASD database.


ASD patients > 18 y/o, undergoing fusions from the thoracic spine (UIV: T6-T12) to the pelvis with two-year radiographic data. ASD was defined as: Coronal Cobb angle ≥ 20°, Sagittal Vertical Axis ≥ 5 cm, Pelvic Tilt ≥ 25°, and/or Thoracic Kyphosis ≥ 60°. PJK was defined as a ≥ 10° measure of the sagittal Cobb angle between the inferior endplate of the UIV and the superior endplate of the UIV + 2. Patients were grouped by mild (M; 10°-20°) and severe (S; > 20°) PJK at one year. Propensity Score Matching (PSM) controlled for CCI, age, PI and UIV. Unpaired and paired t test analyses determined difference between RC parameters and change between time points. Pearson bi-variate correlations analyzed associations between RC parameters (T4-T12, TS-CL, cSVA, C2-Slope, and T1-Slope) and PJK descriptors.


284 ASD patients (UIV: T6: 1.1%; T7: 0.7%; T8: 4.6%; T9: 9.9%; T10: 58.8%; T11: 19.4%; T12: 5.6%) were studied. PJK analysis consisted of 182 patients (Mild = 91 and Severe = 91). Significant difference between M and S groups were observed in T4-T12 Δ1Y(- 16.8 v - 22.8, P = 0.001), TS-CLΔ1Y(- 0.6 v 2.8, P = 0.037), cSVAΔ1Y(- 1.8 v 1.9, P = 0.032), and C2 slopeΔ1Y(- 1.6 v 2.3, P = 0.022). By two years post-op, all changes in cervical alignment parameters were similar between mild and severe groups. Correlation between age and cSVAΔ1Y(R = 0.153, P = 0.034) was found. Incidence of severe PJK was found to correlate with TS-CLΔ1Y(R = 0.142, P = 0.049), cSVAΔ1Y(R = 0.171, P = 0.018), C2SΔ1Y(R = 0.148, P = 0.040), and T1SΔ2Y(R = 0.256, P = 0.003).


Compensation within the cervical spine differed between individuals with mild and severe PJK at one year postoperatively. However, similar levels of pathologic change in cervical alignment parameters were seen by two years, highlighting the progression of cervical compensation due to mild PJK over time. These findings provide greater evidence for the development of cervical deformity in individuals presenting with proximal junctional kyphosis.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Passias, Peter G, Sara Naessig, Tyler K Williamson, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Justin S Smith, Munish C Gupta, Eric Klineberg, et al. (2023). Compensation from mild and severe cases of early proximal junctional kyphosis may manifest as progressive cervical deformity at two year follow-up. Spine deformity. 10.1007/s43390-023-00763-1 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.


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.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.