Short-Term Risk Factors for Distal Junctional Kyphosis after Spinal Reconstruction Surgery in Patients with Osteoporotic Vertebrae

Asian Spine J. 2024 Feb;18(1):101-109. doi: 10.31616/asj.2023.0174. Epub 2024 Feb 21.


Study design: Level 3 retrospective cohort case-control study.

Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the risk factors for distal junctional kyphosis (DJK) caused by osteoporotic vertebral fractures following spinal reconstruction surgery, with a focus on the sagittal stable vertebra.

Overview of literature: Despite the rarity of reports on DJK in this setting, DJK was reported to reduce when the lower instrumented vertebra (LIV) was extended to the sagittal stable vertebra in the posterior corrective fixation for Scheuermann's disease.

Methods: This study included 46 patients who underwent spinal reconstruction surgery for thoracolumbar osteoporotic vertebral fractures and kyphosis and were followed up for 1 year postoperatively. DJK was defined as an advanced kyphosis angle >10° between the LIV and one lower vertebra. The patients were divided into groups with and without DJK. The risk factors of the two groups, such as patient background, surgery-related factors, radiographic parameters, and clinical outcomes, were analyzed.

Results: The DJK and non-DJK groups included 14 and 32 patients, respectively, without significant differences in patient background. Those with instability in the distal adjacent LIV disc had a significantly higher risk of DJK occurrence (28.6% vs. 3.2%, p=0.027). DJK occurrence significantly increased in those with the sagittal stable vertebra not included in the fixation range (57.1% vs. 18.8%, p=0.020). Other preoperative radiographic parameters were not significantly different. Instability in the distal adjacent LIV disc (adjusted odds ratio, 14.50; p=0.029) and the exclusion of the sagittal stable vertebra from the fixation range (adjusted odds ratio, 5.29; p=0.020) were significant risk factors for DJK occurrence.

Conclusions: Regarding spinal reconstruction surgery in patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures, instability in the distal adjacent LIV disc and the exclusion of the sagittal stable vertebra from the fixation range were risk factors for DJK occurrence in the short term.

Keywords: Distal junctional kyphosis; Osteoporotic vertebral fractures; Risk factors; Spinal reconstruction surgery.