Early outcomes and complications of posterior vertebral column resection

Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background context: Hyperkyphosis confers a significant risk for neurologic deterioration as well as compromised cardiopulmonary function. Posterior vertebral column resection (PVCR) is a challenging but effective technique for spinal cord decompression and deformity correction that even under the setting of limited resources can be performed to reduce the technical difficulties, the operating time, and possibly the complications of the traditional two-staged vertebral column resection (VCR). Purpose: To report on the results of VCR performed through a single posterior approach (PVCR) in the treatment of severe rigid kyphosis in a series of patients treated and followed at a Scoliosis Research Society Global Outreach Program site in West Africa. Study design: Retrospective case series. Patient sample: Forty-five consecutive patients treated with PVCR for correction of severe rigid kyphosis. Outcome measures: Clinical and radiographic outcomes and complications; Scoliosis Research Society outcome instrument (SRS-22). Methods: From 2002 to 2009, 45 patients (20 male and 25 female) underwent PVCR for kyphosis from congenital deformity (nine) or secondary to tuberculosis of the spine (36). Preoperative demographics, preop and postop neurologic status, SRS-22 scores and complications were recorded; upright full spine X-rays were available in all patients. Mean age was 14 years (6-47 years); mean follow-up 27 months (2-79 months). Mean preoperative kyphosis measured 108°. The deformity apex was resected via a costotransverse (thoracic) or posterolateral (lumbar) approach; neurosurveillance with sensory (somatosensory-evoked potentials) and motor (motor-evoked potentials) potential was used in all cases. Posterior instrumentation was used in all patients, and anterior structural cage was used in 32 patients. Results: Intraoperative monitoring changes occurred in 10 patients (22%), and one patient progressed to complete spinal cord injury. Average preoperative local kyphosis was 108° and corrected to 600 postoperatively. Postoperatively, no additional patient showed neurologic deterioration; of the 11 patients with preoperative gait disturbances, 4 improved to normal gait, 5 remained the same, and 2 showed deterioration of their walking ability to nonambulating level. Total SRS-22 scores improved from 3.18 to 3.54 (p=.01), primarily self-image domain. Conclusions: Posterior vertebral column resection was successfully undertaken for the management of thoracic and thoracolumbar hyperkyphosis, demonstrating improvements in overall kyphosis and clinical outcome. Neuromonitoring provided the required safety to perform these challenging complex spine deformity procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-991
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Congenital
  • Kyphosis
  • PVCR
  • Posterior vertebral column resection
  • Postinfectious


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