A Novel Weave Tether Technique for Proximal Junctional Kyphosis Prevention in 71 Adult Spinal Deformity Patients: A Preliminary Case Series Assessing Early Complications and Efficacy.



Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) rates may be as high as 69.4% after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. PJK is one of the greatest unsolved challenges in long-segment fusions for ASD and remains a common indication for costly and impactful revision surgery. Junctional tethers may help to reduce the occurrence of PJK by attenuating adjacent-segment stress.


To report our experience and assess early safety associated with a novel "weave-tether technique" (WTT) for PJK prophylaxis in a large series of patients.


This single-center retrospective study evaluated consecutive patients who underwent ASD surgery including WTT between 2017 and 2018. Patient demographics, operative details, standard radiographic measurements, and complications were analyzed.


A total of 71 patients (mean age 66 ± 12 yr, 65% women) were identified. WTT included application to the upper-most instrumented vertebrae (UIV) + 1 and UIV + 2 in 38(53.5%) and 33(46.5%) patients, respectively. No complications directly attributed to WTT usage were identified. For patients with radiographic follow-up (96%; mean duration 14 ± 12 mo), PJK occurred in 15% (mean 1.8 ± 1.0 mo postoperatively). Proximal junctional angle increased an average 4° (10° to 14°, P = .004). Rates of symptomatic PJK and revision for PJK were 8.8% and 2.9%, respectively.


Preliminary results support the safety of the WTT for PJK prophylaxis. Approximately 15% of patients developed radiographic PJK, no complications were directly attributed to WTT usage, and the revision rate for PJK was low. These early results warrant future research to assess longer-term efficacy of the WTT for PJK prophylaxis in ASD surgery.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Rabinovich, Emily P, Thomas J Buell, Juan P Sardi, Bruno CR Lazaro, Christopher I Shaffrey and Justin S Smith (2021). A Novel Weave Tether Technique for Proximal Junctional Kyphosis Prevention in 71 Adult Spinal Deformity Patients: A Preliminary Case Series Assessing Early Complications and Efficacy. Operative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.), 21(6). pp. 393–399. 10.1093/ons/opab305 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28063.

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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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