Limitations and ceiling effects with circumferential minimally invasive correction techniques for adult scoliosis: analysis of radiological outcomes over a 7-year experience

Neurosurg Focus. 2014 May;36(5):E14. doi: 10.3171/2014.3.FOCUS13585.


Object: Minimally invasive correction of adult scoliosis is a surgical method increasing in popularity. Limited data exist, however, as to how effective these methodologies are in achieving coronal plane and sagittal plane correction in addition to improving spinopelvic parameters. This study serves to quantify how much correction is possible with present circumferential minimally invasive surgical (cMIS) methods.

Methods: Ninety patients were selected from a database of 187 patients who underwent cMIS scoliosis correction. All patients had a Cobb angle greater than 15°, 3 or more levels fused, and availability of preoperative and postoperative 36-inch standing radiographs. The mean duration of follow-up was 37 months. Preoperative and postoperative Cobb angle, sagittal vertical axis (SVA), coronal balance, lumbar lordosis (LL), and pelvic incidence (PI) were measured. Scatter plots were performed comparing the pre- and postoperative radiological parameters to calculate ceiling effects for SVA correction, Cobb angle correction, and PI-LL mismatch correction.

Results: The mean preoperative SVA value was 60 mm (range 11.5-151 mm); the mean postoperative value was 31 mm (range 0-84 mm). The maximum SVA correction achieved with cMIS techniques in any of the cases was 89 mm. In terms of coronal Cobb angle, a mean correction of 61% was noted, with a mean preoperative value of 35.8° (range 15°-74.7°) and a mean postoperative value of 13.9° (range 0°-32.5°). A ceiling effect for Cobb angle correction was noted at 42°. The ability to correct the PI-LL mismatch to 10° was limited to cases in which the preoperative PI-LL mismatch was 38° or less.

Conclusions: Circumferential MIS techniques as currently used for the treatment of adult scoliosis have limitations in terms of their ability to achieve SVA correction and lumbar lordosis. When the preoperative SVA is greater than 100 mm and a substantial amount of lumbar lordosis is needed, as determined by spinopelvic parameter calculations, surgeons should consider osteotomies or other techniques that may achieve more lordosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lordosis / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures*
  • Scoliosis / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult