Establishment of an Individualized Distal Junctional Kyphosis Risk Index following the Surgical Treatment of Adult Cervical Deformities.


Study design

A retrospective review of a multicenter comprehensive cervical deformity (CD) database.


To develop a novel risk index specific to each patient to aid in patient counseling and surgical planning to minimize postop distal junctional kyphosis (DJK) occurrence.


DJK is a radiographic finding identified after patients undergo instrumented spinal fusions which can result in sagittal spinal deformity, pain and disability, and potentially neurological compromise. DJK is considered multifactorial in nature and there is a lack of consensus on the true etiology of DJK.

Materials and methods

CD patients with baseline (BL) and at least one-year postoperative radiographic follow-up were included. A patient-specific DJK score was created through use of unstandardized Beta weights of a multivariate regression model predicting DJK (end of fusion construct to the second distal vertebra change in this angle by <-10° from BL to postop).


A total of 110 CD patients included (61 yr, 66.4% females, 28.8 kg/m 2 ). In all, 31.8% of these patients developed DJK (16.1% three males, 11.4% six males, 62.9% one-year). At BL, DJK patients were more frail and underwent combined approach more (both P <0.05). Multivariate model regression analysis identified individualized scores through creation of a DJK equation: -0.55+0.009 (BL inclination)-0.078 (preinflection)+5.9×10 -5 (BL lowest instrumented vertebra angle) + 0.43 (combine approach)-0.002 (BL TS-CL)-0.002 (BL pelvic tilt)-0.031 (BL C2 - C7) + 0.02 (∆T4-T12)+ 0.63 (osteoporosis)-0.03 (anterior approach)-0.036 (frail)-0.032 (3 column osteotomy). This equation has a 77.8% accuracy of predicting DJK. A score ≥81 predicted DJK with an accuracy of 89.3%. The BL reference equation correlated with two year outcomes of Numeric Rating Scales of Back percentage ( P =0.003), reoperation ( P =0.04), and minimal clinically importance differences for 5-dimension EuroQol questionnaire ( P =0.04).


This study proposes a novel risk index of DJK development that focuses on potentially modifiable surgical factors as well as established patient-related and radiographic determinants. The reference model created demonstrated strong correlations with relevant two-year outcome measures, including axial pain-related symptoms, occurrence of related reoperations, and the achievement of minimal clinically importance differences for 5-dimension EuroQol questionnaire.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Passias, Peter G, Sara Naessig, Navraj Sagoo, Lara Passfall, Waleed Ahmad, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Shaleen Vira, et al. (2023). Establishment of an Individualized Distal Junctional Kyphosis Risk Index following the Surgical Treatment of Adult Cervical Deformities. Spine, 48(1). pp. 49–55. 10.1097/brs.0000000000004372 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.