Sagittal realignment failures following pedicle subtraction osteotomy surgery: Are we doing enough? Clinical article

Frank J. Schwab, Ashish Patel, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Jean Pierre Farcy, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Richard A. Hostin, Robert A. Hart, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Virginie Lafage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Object. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) is a surgical procedure that is frequently performed on patients with sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. Although it allows for substantial spinopelvic realignment, suboptimal realignment outcomes have been reported in up to 33% of patients. The authors' objective in the present study was to identify differences in radiographic profiles and surgical procedures between patients achieving successful versus failed spinopelvic realignment following PSO. Methods. This study is a multicenter retrospective consecutive PSO case series. The authors evaluated 99 cases involving patients who underwent PSO for sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. Because precise cutoffs of acceptable residual postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) values have not been well defined, comparisons were focused between patient groups with a postoperative SVA that could be clearly considered either a success or a failure. Only cases in which the patients had a postoperative SVA of less than 50 mm (successful PSO realignment) or more than 100 mm (failed PSO realignment) were included in the analysis. Radiographic measures and PSO parameters were compared between successful and failed PSO realignments. Results. Seventy-nine patients met the inclusion criteria. Successful realignment was achieved in 61 patients (77%), while realignment failed in 18 (23%). Patients with failed realignment had larger preoperative SVA (mean 217.9 vs 106.7 mm, p < 0.01), larger pelvic tilt (mean 36.9° vs 30.7°, p < 0.01), larger pelvic incidence (mean 64.2° vs 53.7°, p < 0.01), and greater lumbar lordosis-pelvic incidence mismatch (-47.1° vs -30.9°, p < 0.01) compared with those in whom realignment was successful. Failed and successful realignments were similar regarding the vertebral level of the PSO, the median size of wedge resection 22.0° (interquartile range 16.5° -28.5° ), and the numerical changes in pre- and postoperative spinopelvic parameters (p > 0.05). Conclusions. Patients with failed PSO realignments had significantly larger preoperative spinopelvic deformity than patients in whom realignment was successful. Despite their apparent need for greater correction, the patients in the failed realignment group only received the same amount of correction as those in the successfully realigned patients. A single-level standard PSO may not achieve optimal outcome in patients with high preoperative spinopelvic sagittal malalignment. Patients with large spinopelvic deformities should receive larger osteotomies or additional corrective procedures beyond PSOs to avoid undercorrection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Degenerative spinal disease
  • Pedicle subtraction osteotomy
  • Sagittal balance
  • Sagittal realignment
  • Sagittal vertical axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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