The Natural History of Progression in Adult Spinal Deformity: A Radiographic Analysis

Global Spine J. 2020 May;10(3):272-279. doi: 10.1177/2192568219845659. Epub 2019 May 1.

Abstract

Study design: Historical cohort study.

Objective: To evaluate progression in the coronal and sagittal planes in nonsurgical patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD).

Methods: A retrospective analysis of nonsurgical ASD patients between 2005 and 2017 was performed. Magnitude of the coronal and sagittal planes were compared on the day of presentation and at most recent follow-up. Previous reported prognostic factors for progression in the coronal plane, including the direction of scoliosis, curve magnitude, and the position of the intercrest line (passing through L4 or L5 vertebra), were studied.

Results: Fifty-eight patients were included with a mean follow-up of 59.8 ± 34.5 months. Progression in the coronal plane was seen in 72% of patients. Mean Cobb angle on the day of presentation and most recent follow-up was 37.2 ± 14.6° and 40.8° ± 16.5°, respectively. No significant differences were found in curve progression in left- versus right-sided scoliosis (3.3 ± 7.1 vs 3.7 ± 5.4, P = .81), Cobb angle <30° versus ≥30° (2.6 ± 5.0 vs 4.3 ± 6.5, P = .30), or when the intercrest line passed through L4 rather than L5 vertebra (3.4 ± 5.0° vs 3.8 ± 7.1°, P = .79). No significant differences were found in the sagittal plane between presentation and most recent follow-up.

Conclusions: This is the first study that describes progression in the coronal and sagittal planes in nonsurgical patients with ASD. Previous reported prognostic factors were not confirmed as truly relevant. Although progression appears to occur, large variation exists and these results may not be directly applicable to the individual patient.

Keywords: adult spinal deformity; natural history; progression; scoliosis.