Correlation analysis of sagittal alignment and skeletal muscle mass in patients with spinal degenerative disease

Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 19;8(1):15492. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-33867-0.


We investigated how skeletal muscle mass (SMM) affects spinal sagittal balance (radiographic parameters) in symptomatic spinal patients. The first purpose of this study was to evaluate the body composition and the spinal sagittal alignment in symptomatic spinal patients. The second purpose of this study was to compare whether the body composition and the spinal sagittal alignment is different in patients with cervical spine disease and lumbar spine disease. We retrospectively evaluated 313 patients who were hospitalized for surgery to treat spinal degenerative disease, who were divided into cervical and lumbar spine disease groups. All patients underwent full-length standing whole-spine radiography and bioimpedance analysis (BIA) before surgery. We used standard measurements to assess the sagittal vertical axis (SVA), cervical lordosis (CL; C2-C7), lumbar lordosis (LL; T12-S1), thoracic kyphosis (TK; T5-12), pelvic incidence (PI), pelvic tilt (PT), and sacral slope (SS). We also analyzed radiological and body composition parameters, patient characteristics, and the correlation between SMM and each sagittal parameters. In the overall cohort, the mean age at the time of operation was 66.5 ± 15.3 years and 59.2% of the patients were men. The correlation coefficients (r) between SMM and PT were negative weak correlation (r = -0.343, P < 0.001). The correlation with SMM for other LL, PI, SS, and SVA was statistically significant, but the correlation was none. In addition, our results also suggested strong correlations (r > 0.5) between LL and SS (r = 0.744), between LL and SVA (r = -0.589), between PT and SS (r = -0.580), and LL and PT (r = -0.506). Fifty-seven patients (18.2%, cervical group) had cervical spine disease and 256 patients (81.8%, lumbar group) had lumbar spine disease. No significant differences in age, height, body weight, and body mass index were observed between the two groups. The SMM of patients with cervical and lumbar spine disease also did not differ significantly. In the lumbar group, correlations were found between SMM and PT (r = -0.288, P < 0.001), between SMM and LL (r = 0.179, P < 0.01), and between SMM and SS (r = 0.170, P < 0.01), while only PT (r = -0.480, P < 0.001) was negatively correlated with SMM in the cervical group. This analysis indicated that PT is the sagittal parameter most closely related to SMM in patients with the spinal degenerative disease. The SMM might be one of the important factors that influenced the posterior inclination of the pelvis in symptomatic spinal patients, especially in cervical spine disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Body Water
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Organ Size
  • Spinal Diseases / complications
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / pathology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric