Clinical and radiographic outcomes of thoracic and lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy for fixed sagittal imbalance

Benson P. Yang*, Stephen L. Ondra, Larry A. Chen, Soo Jung Hee, Tyler R. Koski, Sean A. Salehi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Object. The authors conducted a study to evaluate the radiographically documented and functional outcomes obtained in patients who underwent pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO). They also compared outcomes after classification of cases into thoracic and lumbar PSO subgroups. Methods. The authors analyzed data obtained in 35 consecutive PSO-treated patients with sagittal imbalance. One surgeon performed all surgeries. The minimal follow-up period was 2 years. Events during the perioperative course and complications were noted. Standing long-film radiographs of the spine were obtained and measurements were made preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at most recent follow-up examination. The modified Prolo Scale and the 22-item Scoliosis Research Society (SRS-22) Outcomes Questionnaire were administered. Early complications after PSO included neurological injury, wound-related problems, and nosocomial infections. Late complications were limited to pseudarthrosis and attendant instrumentation failure. Early and late complication rates ranged from 10 to 30% for both thoracic and lumbar PSO cohorts. Lumbar PSO was associated with improvements in local, segmental, and global measures of sagittal balance, whereas thoracic PSO was only associated with local improvement. Most patients rated their functional status as fair to good according to the modified Prolo Scale and reported, according to the SRS-22 Outcomes Questionnaire, that they were satisfied with the overall treatment of their back condition. Conclusions. The ability to perform a PSO at both lumbar and thoracic levels is a powerful asset for the spine surgeon treating spinal deformity. In the present study radiographic and clinical outcomes were superior when PSO was used to treat lumbar deformity rather than thoracic deformity because of several anatomical and technical obstacles that hindered the thoracic procedure. Nevertheless, the thoracic PSO proved a useful addition with which to produce regional improvement in sagittal balance for patients with a fixed thoracic kyphosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Fixed sagittal imbalance
  • Lumbar spine
  • Pedicle subtraction osteotomy
  • Thoracic spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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