European Spine Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 698–704 | Cite as

Sagittal spino-pelvic alignment failures following three column thoracic osteotomy for adult spinal deformity

  • Virginie Lafage
  • Justin S. Smith
  • Shay Bess
  • Frank J. Schwab
  • Christopher P. Ames
  • Eric Klineberg
  • Vincent Arlet
  • Richard Hostin
  • Douglas C. Burton
  • Christopher I. Shaffrey
  • The International Spine Study Group
Original Article



Three column thoracic osteotomy (TCTO) is effective to correct rigid thoracic deformities, however, reasons for residual postoperative spinal deformity are poorly defined. Our objective was to evaluate risk factors for poor spino-pelvic alignment (SPA) following TCTO for adult spinal deformity (ASD).


Multicenter, retrospective radiographic analysis of ASD patients treated with TCTO. Radiographic measures included: correction at the osteotomy site, thoracic kyphosis (TK), lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), pelvic tilt (PT), and pelvic incidence (PI). Final SVA and PT were assessed to determine if ideal SPA (SVA < 4 cm, PT < 25°) was achieved. Differences between the ideal (IDEAL) and failed (FAIL) SPA groups were evaluated.


A total of 41 consecutive ASD patients treated with TCTO were evaluated. TCTO significantly decreased TK, maximum coronal Cobb angle, SVA and PT (P < 0.05). Ideal SPA was achieved in 32 (78%) and failed in 9 (22%) patients. The IDEAL and FAIL groups had similar total fusion levels and similar focal, SVA and PT correction (P > 0.05). FAIL group had larger pre- and post-operative SVA, PT and PI and a smaller LL than IDEAL (P < 0.05).


Poor SPA occurred in 22% of TCTO patients despite similar operative procedures and deformity correction as patients in the IDEAL group. Greater pre-operative PT and SVA predicted failed post-operative SPA. Alternative or additional correction procedures should be considered when planning TCTO for patients with large sagittal global malalignment, otherwise patients are at risk for suboptimal correction and poor outcomes.


Spinopelvic alignment Sagittal vertical axis Osteotomy Pedicle subtraction osteotomy Thoracic Vertebral column resection 



Study group support provided by Depuy Spine.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginie Lafage
    • 1
  • Justin S. Smith
    • 2
  • Shay Bess
    • 3
  • Frank J. Schwab
    • 1
  • Christopher P. Ames
    • 4
  • Eric Klineberg
    • 5
  • Vincent Arlet
    • 6
  • Richard Hostin
    • 7
  • Douglas C. Burton
    • 8
  • Christopher I. Shaffrey
    • 2
  • The International Spine Study Group
  1. 1.New York University Hospital for Joint DiseasesNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurological SurgeryUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryRocky Mountain Hospital for ChildrenDenverUSA
  4. 4.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of California, DavisSacramentoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  7. 7.Baylor Scoliosis CenterPlanoUSA
  8. 8.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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