Complication rates associated with 3-column osteotomy in 82 adult spinal deformity patients: Retrospective review of a prospectively collected multicenter consecutive series with 2-year follow-up

Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Renaud Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis, Munish Gupta, Barthelemy Liabaud, Justin K. Scheer, Bassel G. Diebo, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Michael P. Kelly, Vedat Deviren, Robert Hart, Doug Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Although 3-column osteotomy (3CO) can provide powerful alignment correction in adult spinal deformity (ASD), these procedures are complex and associated with high complication rates. The authors' objective was to assess complications associated with ASD surgery that included 3CO based on a prospectively collected multicenter database. METHODS This study is a retrospective review of a prospectively collected multicenter consecutive case registry. ASD patients treated with 3CO and eligible for 2-year follow-up were identifed from a prospectively collected multicenter ASD database. Early (= 6 weeks after surgery) and delayed (> 6 weeks after surgery) complications were collected using standardized forms and on-site coordinators. RESULTS Of 106 ASD patients treated with 3CO, 82 (77%; 68 treated with pedicle subtraction osteotomy [PSO] and 14 treated with vertebral column resection [VCR]) had 2-year follow-up (76% women, mean age 60.7 years, previous spine fusion in 80%). The mean number of posterior fusion levels was 12.9, and 17% also had an anterior fusion. A total of 76 early (44 minor, 32 major) and 66 delayed (13 minor, 53 major) complications were reported, with 41 patients (50.0%) and 45 patients (54.9%) affected, respectively. Overall, 64 patients (78.0%) had at least 1 complication, and 50 (61.0%) had at least 1 major complication. The most common complications were rod breakage (31.7%), dural tear (20.7%), radiculopathy (9.8%), motor defcit (9.8%), proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK, 9.8%), pleural effusion (8.5%), and deep wound infection (7.3%). Compared with patients who did not experience early or delayed complications, those who had these complications did not differ signifcantly with regard to age, sex, body mass index, Charlson Comorbidity Index, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, smoking status, history of previous spine surgery or spine fusion, or whether the 3CO performed was a PSO or VCR (p = 0.06). Twenty-seven (33%) patients had 1-11 reoperations (total of 44 reoperations). The most common indications for reoperation were rod breakage (n = 14), deep wound infection (n = 15), and PJK (n = 6). The 24 patients who did not achieve 2-year follow-up had a mean of 0.85 years of follow-up, and the types of early and delayed complications encountered in these 24 patients were comparable to those encountered in the patients that achieved 2-year follow-up. CONCLUSIONS Among 82 ASD patients treated with 3CO, 64 (78.0%) had at least 1 early or delayed complication (57 minor, 85 major). The most common complications were instrumentation failure, dural tear, new neurological defcit, PJK, pleural effusion, and deep wound infection. None of the assessed demographic or surgical parameters were signifcantly associated with the occurrence of complications. These data may prove useful for surgical planning, patient counseling, and efforts to improve the safety and cost-effectiveness of these procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-457
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Complications
  • Osteotomy
  • Pedicle subtraction osteotomy
  • Prospective
  • Vertebral column resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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