Long fusions to the sacrum in elderly patients with spinal deformity

Charles H. Crawford, Leah Y. Carreon, Keith H. Bridwell, Steven D. Glassman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose Long spinal deformity fusions in elderly patients continue to be controversial. However, there is a growing population of elderly patients with spinal deformities that may be optimally treated by reconstructive surgery requiring a long fusion to the sacrum. This study evaluated clinical outcomes in elderly ([65) adult deformity patients who underwent posterior instrumented reconstruction consisting of fusion from the thoracic spine to the sacrum with iliac fixation. Methods Patients in a prospective database for adult spinal deformity who had a posterior reconstruction with an instrumented fusion from the thoracic spine to the sacrum that included iliac fixation with minimum 2-year follow-up were identified. Two cohorts were compared: patients 65 years and older and patients 55 years and younger. Student's t test for independent groups was used to determine any significant differences between continuous variables. Chi-square was used to compare categorical demographic variables between the two groups. Results The 65 and older group consisted of 15 patients with an average age of 71 years (range 65-78 years). The 55 and younger group consisted of 25 patients with an average age of 45 years (range 30-55 years). The older group had a worse mean co-morbidity score (4.6 vs. 2.1). Baseline SRS scores were similar between groups. Baseline SF-12 data showed worse PCS (22.1 vs. 32.0, p = 0.009) yet betterMCS (63.6 vs. 48.4, p\0.0001) in the older group. Although major curve magnitude was similar (47.1 vs. 42.6), the older group had more positive sagittal imbalance at baseline (115.7 vs. 54.2 mm, p = 0.02). Number of levels fused, operative time, blood loss, and incidence of complications were similar between groups. Two-year improvements in SRS subscores, SF-12 PCS, and MCS were not significantly different between groups. Conclusions Properly selected patients 65 years of age and older who have substantial sagittal imbalance, a considerable disease burden, and a lesser degree of mental distress can obtain as much clinical benefit as their younger counterparts (B55 years of age) 2 years following spinal deformity surgery that requires fusion from the thoracic spine to the sacrum with segmental instrumentation and iliac fixation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2165-2169
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Pelvic fixation
  • SRS-22


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