DOI: 10.1111/os.13854 ISSN:

Selecting the Vertebra above Sagittal Stable Vertebra as the Distal Fusion Level in Scheuermann's Kyphosis: A Prospective Study with a Minimum of 2‐Year Follow‐Up

Yanjie Xu, Chen Ling, Hui Xu, Abdukahar Kiram, Jie Li, Zongshan Hu, Zezhang Zhu, Yong Qiu, Zhen Liu
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


The proper selection of the lower instrumented vertebra (LIV) remains controversial in the surgical treatment of Scheuermann's disease and there is a paucity of studies investigating the clinical outcomes of fusion surgery when selecting the vertebra one level proximal to the sagittal stable vertebra (SSV‐1) as LIV. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether SSV‐1 could be a valid LIV for Scheuermann kyphosis (SK) patients with different curve patterns.


This was a prospective study on consecutive SK patients treated with posterior surgery between January 2018 and September 2020, in which the distal fusion level ended at SSV‐1. The LIV was selected at SSV‐1 only in patients with Risser >2 and with LIV translation less than 40 mm. All of the patients had a minimum of 2‐year follow‐up. Patients were further grouped based on the sagittal curve pattern as thoracic kyphosis (TK, n = 23) and thoracolumbar kyphosis (TLK, n = 13). Radiographic parameters including global kyphosis (GK), lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), LIV translation, pelvic incidence (PI), pelvic tilt (PT), and sacral slope (SS) were measured preoperatively, postoperatively, and at the latest follow‐up. The intraoperative and postoperative complications were recorded. The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)‐22 scores were performed to evaluate clinical outcomes.


A total of 36 patients were recruited in this study, with 23 in the TK group and 13 in the TLK group. In TK group, the GK was significantly decreased from 80.8° ± 10.1° to 45.4° ± 7.7° after surgery, and was maintained at 45.3° ± 8.6° at the final follow‐up. While in the TLK group, GK was significantly decreased from 70.7° ± 9.2° to 39.1° ± 5.4° after surgery (p < 0.001) and to 39.3° ± 4.5° at the final follow‐up. Meanwhile, despite presenting with different sagittal alignment, significant improvement was observed in LL, SVA, and LIV translation for both TK and TLK groups (p < 0.05). Self‐reported scores of pain and self‐image in TK group and scores of self‐image and function in TLK group showed significant improvement at the final follow‐up (all p < 0.05). Distal junctional kyphosis (DJK) was observed in two patients (8.7%) in TK group, and one patient (7.7%) in TLK group. No revision surgery was performed.


Selecting SSV‐1 as LIV can achieve satisfactory radiographic and clinical outcomes for SK patients with different curve patterns without increasing the risk of DJK. This selection strategy could be a favorable option for SK patients with Risser sign >2 and LIV translation less than 40 mm.

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