The Fate of Patients with Adult Spinal Deformity Incurring Rod Fracture After Thoracolumbar Fusion

World Neurosurg. 2017 Oct:106:905-911. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.07.061. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


Objective: To report the outcome of adult spinal deformity (ASD) in patients with rod fracture (RF) after thoracolumbar fusion.

Methods: Retrospective review of prospective, multicenter database. Operative patients with ASD ≥18 years old with RF after ASD surgery and with a minimum 6-month follow-up after RF were included. Health-related quality of life scores and radiographic alignment were compared with nonparametric paired and independent testing (P < 0.05).

Results: A total of 51 of 343 patients with ASD (14.9%) sustained a RF, of whom 44 (86.3%) had at least 6-month follow up after RF (mean age = 61.2 years, mean body mass index = 29.6 kg/m2). Mean total follow-up was 37.8 months (range 24.5-66.7 months). Interbody fusion was used in 26 cases of RF (59.1%) (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, n = 17 [65.4%], anterior lumbar interbody fusion, n = 5 [19.2%]). RF was symptomatic in 26 of 44 (59.1%) of patients and discovered incidentally in 18 of 44 patients (40.9%). Overall, 28 RFs were revised (63.6%); 12 of 23 (52.2%) unilateral RF and 16 of 21 (76.2%) bilateral RF at last follow-up. Revision patients were significantly more likely to be symptomatic at the time of RF detection (78.6% vs. 25.0%, P = 0.0006), and had significantly worse Oswestry Disability Index and Scoliosis Research Society-22r pain scores.

Conclusions: RFs were detected in 14.9% of patients with ASD and were most common at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels. Approximately 63.6% of patients underwent revision surgery. The decision to perform revision surgery may be based predominantly on symptoms referable to the RF, pain, and perceived disability, as radiographic parameters at the time of RF did not differ significantly between patients who did and did not undergo revision.

Keywords: Adult spinal deformity; Health-related quality of life; Oswestry Disability Index; Pedicle subtraction osteotomy; Revision; Rod fracture.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lordosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Lordosis / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Fusion / instrumentation
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome