The Influence of Body Mass Index on Achieving Age-Adjusted Alignment Goals in Adult Spinal Deformity Corrective Surgery with Full-Body Analysis at 1 Year

World Neurosurg. 2018 Dec;120:e533-e545. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.08.123. Epub 2018 Aug 27.


Background: The impact of obesity on global spinopelvic alignment is poorly understood. This study investigated the effect of body mass index on achieving alignment targets and compensation mechanisms after corrective surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD).

Methods: Retrospective review of a single-center database. Inclusion: patients ≥18 years with full-body stereographic images (baseline and 1 year) and who met ASD criteria (sagittal vertical axis [SVA] >5 cm, pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis [PI-LL] >10°, coronal curvature >20° or pelvic tilt >20°). Patients were stratified by age (<40, 40-65, and ≥65 years) and body mass index (<25, 25-30, and >30). Postoperative alignment was compared with age-adjusted ideal values. Prevalence of patients who matched ideals and unmatched (undercorrected/overcorrected) was assessed. Health-related quality of life (HRQL) scores, alignment, and compensatory mechanisms were compared across cohorts using analysis of variance and temporally with paired t tests.

Results: A total of 116 patients were included (average age, 62 years; 66% female). After corrective surgery, obese and overweight patients had more residual malalignment (worse PI-LL, T1 pelvic angle, pelvic tilt, and SVA) compared with normal patients (P < 0.05). In addition, obese and overweight patients recruited more pelvic shift (obese, 62.36; overweight, 49.80; normal, 31.50) and had a higher global sagittal angle (obese, 6.51; overweight, 6.35; normal, 3.40) (P < 0.05). Obese and overweight patients showed lower overcorrection rates and higher undercorrection rates (P < 0.05). Obese patients showed worse postoperative HRQL scores (Scoliosis Research Society 22 Questionnaire, Oswestry Disability Index, visual analog scale-leg) than did overweight and normal patients (P < 0.05). Obese and overweight patients who matched age-adjusted alignment targets for SVA or PI-LL showed no HRQL improvements (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: After surgery, obese patients were undercorrected, showed more residual malalignment, recruited more pelvic shift, and had a greater global sagittal angle and worse HRQL scores. The benefits from age-adjusted alignment targets seem to be less substantial for obese and overweight patients.

Keywords: Adult spinal deformity; Age-adjusted alignment; BMI; Sagittal alignment; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Lordosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Lordosis / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Orthopedic Procedures*
  • Overweight / complications
  • Pelvis / abnormalities
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis / surgery
  • Spine / abnormalities*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome