Risk factors for and assessment of symptomatic pseudarthrosis after lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy in adult spinal deformity

Douglas D. Dickson, Lawrence G. Lenke, Keith H. Bridwell, Linda A. Koester

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71 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective review of prospectively collected data. Objective. To assess the prevalence, risk factors, and clinical outcomes for pseudarthrosis after a lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO). Summary of Background Data: There exists no large series that examines pseudarthrosis rates of PSOs. Methods: Data of 171 consecutive patients with adult deformity who underwent a lumbar PSO by 2 surgeons at a single institution with a minimum 2-year follow-up were analyzed. Pseudarthrosis diagnosed through sagittal malalignment and instrumentation failure noted on radiograph was confirmed intraoperatively. Results: Eighteen (10.5%) of 171 patients developed pseudarthrosis after a PSO. Eleven of the 18 patients (6.4% of all patients, 61.1% of the 18 patients with pseudarthrosis) had pseudarthrosis at the PSO site, L3 being the most common; other locations included the lumbosacral junction (4/18), thoracolumbar junction (2/18), and upper thoracic spine (1/18). Preoperative pseudarthrosis level was a predictor of the postoperative level of pseudarthrosis (93%). Fifteen of the 18 patients (83%) had no interbody fusion directly above or below the PSO site, 16 (88%) had a history of pseudarthrosis at the time of PSO surgery and 2 of 3 patients who had prior radiation to the lumbar region developed pseudarthrosis. Most pseudarthroses occurred within the first 2 years (n = 13/18), between 2 and 5 years (n = 3/18), and more than 5 years (n = 2/18) postoperatively. Prior pseudarthrosis (P < 0.0001), pseudarthrosis at the PSO site (P < 0.0001), prior decompression in the lumbar region (P = 0.0037), prior radiation to the lumbar region (P < 0.0001), and presence of inflammatory/neurological disorders (P < 0.0036) were identified as risk factors. All 18 patients with pseudarthroses required revision surgery (posterior-only surgery, n = 12; anteroposterior surgery, n = 6) due to loss of sagittal alignment and pain. The mean prerevision Scoliosis Research Society score was 85, post-revision score was 95 (P = 0.0166), and the mean pre-revision Oswestry Disability Index score was 42.5, post-revision score was 34.5 (P = 0.0203). Conclusion: The overall prevalence of pseudarthrosis was 10.5% of which 61% occurred at the actual PSO site and Scoliosis Research Society and Oswestry Disability Index scores improved significantly after pseudarthrosis repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1190-1195
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy
  • Outcomes
  • Pseudarthrosis


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