Lumbopelvic shortening and local host bone-to-host bone reconstruction: a surgical method for lumbopelvic fusion following total sacrectomy

Eur Spine J. 2022 Dec;31(12):3759-3767. doi: 10.1007/s00586-022-07363-z. Epub 2022 Sep 3.


Purpose: Primary sacral tumors are rare, representing fewer than 7% of spinal neoplasms. Following total sacrectomy, lumbopelvic instrumentation and fusion carries a high risk of non-union with no current consensus on fixation techniques to augment bony defects. We aim to describe the outcome of a reconstruction technique following total sacrectomy whereby lumbopelvic shortening is performed and the posterior pelvic ring is compressed to enable contact with the native L5 vertebra.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of 2 patients with 2 and 7 years post-operative follow-up. A review of hospital records including clinical assessments, complications, pathology and imaging reports.

Results: Patient 1 was a 17-years-old male with recurrent sacral chondrosarcoma, who presented with lumbosacral neuropathic pain and radiculopathy after failed intralesional surgery. Patient 2 was a 51-years-old male with chronic low back pain caused by a large low-grade chondroid sacral chordoma. Reconstruction technique involved mobilizing the L5 vertebra into the pelvis and pelvic ring closure to obtain host-bone-to-bone contact, eliminating the need for alternative grafts. Post-operative complications included superficial abdominal wound drainage, lower limb DVT, pulmonary emboli and deep pelvic infection. Serial CT scans demonstrated bony fusion in both patients. Neither patients had evidence of tumor recurrence and were able to ambulate at recent follow-up. Imaging demonstrated changed acetabular version of - 4.6/- 8.1 and - 14.4/- 14.8 (patient 1/2, R/L, respectively).

Conclusion: Primary lumbopelvic shortening represents an alternative local autograft reconstructive technique for management of large sacral defects following total sacrectomy. This technique obviates the additional morbidity and surgical cost associated with the use of previously described techniques.

Keywords: Pelvic reconstruction; Sacral chondrosarcoma primary spinal neoplasm; Sacral chordomas; Spinal shortening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chondrosarcoma* / surgery
  • Chordoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sacrum / diagnostic imaging
  • Sacrum / pathology
  • Sacrum / surgery
  • Spinal Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Spinal Neoplasms* / surgery