Indexed on: 01 Dec '00Published on: 01 Dec '00Published in: European Spine Journal
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) may lead to a severe fixed thoracolumbar kyphotic deformity (TLKD) of the spine. In a few patients, the TLKD is so extreme that a corrective osteotomy of the spine may be considered. Several authors have reported the results of patients treated by a lumbar osteotomy, but there is no consensus on the level of the osteotomy and on the exact degree of correction required. This can be explained by the lack of quantification of the sagittal plane deformity, since compensation mechanisms of the lower extremities have to be reckoned with for the assessment of spinal sagittal balance in AS. Therefore, there is a need for a method of deformity planning for sagittal plane corrective osteotomies of the spine in AS. In this study, a biomechanical analysis and a newly developed planning procedure are presented and illustrated with two cases of AS. Sagittal balance of the spine was defined in relation to the physiologic sacral end plate angle using trigonometric terms. Nomograms were constructed to show the relationship between the correction angle, horizontal position of the C7 plumb line and the level of the spinal osteotomy. The surgical results of two patients were retrospectively analyzed with our method. It showed that the effect of a spinal osteotomy on the horizontal position of the C7 plumb line depends on the combination of correction angle and the level of osteotomy. In one patient, the achieved correction of the deformity proved to correct the sagittal spinal balance and the pelvic sacral endplate angle. In the other patient, the achieved correction was not sufficient. It is concluded that adequate deformity planning for sagittal plane corrective osteotomies of the spine in AS is essential for reliable prediction of the effect of a lumbar osteotomy on the correction of the spine.