Effect of the upper instrumented vertebral level (upper vs. lower thoracic spine) on gait ability after corrective surgery for adult spinal deformity

Mitsuru Yagi, Nobuyuki Fujita, Osahiko Tsuji, Narihito Nagoshi, Yoshiyuki Yato, Takashi Asazuma, Ken Ishii, Masaya Nakamura, Morio Matsumoto, Kota Watanabe

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background Context The relationship between gait pattern and the level of upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) in surgically treated patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) has not been fully documented. Purpose This study aimed to assess the effect of UIV level for the gait pattern in ASD. Study Design/Setting A prospective case series was carried out. Patient Sample Thirty surgically treated consecutive female ASD with lumbosacral fusion (age 67.0±8.4 years; body mass index 22.7±2.4 kg/m2; Cobb angle 49.9°±21.3°; coronal vertical axis 1.5±3.6 cm; C7 sagittal vertical axis [C7SVA] 9.3±5.3 cm; pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis 35.4°±25.8°; and lean volume of the lower leg 5.5±0.9 kg) were categorized into upper thoracic [UT] group or lower thoracic [LT] group based on the level of UIV (UT; UIV T2–T5, LT; UIV T9–T11), and the gait pattern were compared before and after corrective spine surgery. Outcome Measures Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire, Oswestry Disability Index, and force plate analysis were the outcome measures. Methods All subjects underwent gait analysis on a custom-built force plate. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Subjects were followed-up for at least 2 years postoperation. Results The UT group had larger baseline Cobb angle, whereas the LT group had larger C7SVA (UT vs. LT; Cobb angle: 59.2±22.9 vs. 44.6±17.4° p=.03, C7SVA: 10.9±8.7 vs. 12.0±7.1 cm, p=.03). Preoperatively, no difference was found in gait velocity and stride between UT and LT group, whereas the right and left difference of step length was significantly large in UT group (velocity: 55.0±12.5 vs. 53.6±9.0 m/min, stride: 99.7±13.0 vs. 97.8±13.6 cm, step length; 10.4±4.9 vs. 5.6%±3.3%). Coronal and sagittal alignments were significantly improved in both groups (total; Cobb angle: 19.4°±10.6° C7SVA: 5.3±2.9 cm, PI–LL: 12.1°±5.1°). Gait pattern, stride, and velocity all improved significantly after surgery (total; velocity: 62.3±8.9m/min, stride: 106.8±12.3 cm, p=.01). The knee angle at the heel contact phase and hip range of motion (ROM) were also significantly improved at postoperation (total; hip ROM: preoperation: 29.2°±9.1° postoperation: 36.2°±4.8° knee angle; preoperation: 10.6°±6.6° postoperation: 4.4°±2.8°). No difference was observed for the pelvis and shoulder rotation on the horizontal plane at postoperation in both groups (total; pelvis rotation; preoperation: 7.4°±3.4° postoperation: 7.9°±2.4° shoulder rotation; preoperation: 7.4°±2.9° postoperation: 8.7°±3.6°). The head vertical deviation was also not changed postoperatively in both groups (preoperation: 3.1±0.9 cm, postoperation: 3.1±0.8 cm). Conclusions Both UT and LT groups achieved similar improvement of gait ability and pattern after surgery. Additional studies will be needed to further define the effect of UIV for the activity of daily living such as fast walking, stepping the stairs, or standing from the chair in ASDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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