Impact of sagittal spinopelvic alignment on clinical outcomes after decompression surgery for lumbar spinal canal stenosis without coronal imbalance

Tomohiro Hikata, Koota Watanabe, Nobuyuki Fujita, Akio Iwanami, Naobumi Hosogane, Ken Ishii, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama, Morio Matsumoto

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OBJECT: The object of this study was to investigate correlations between sagittal spinopelvic alignment and improvements in clinical and quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes after lumbar decompression surgery for lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LCS) without coronal imbalance.

METHODS: The authors retrospectively reviewed data from consecutive patients treated for LCS with decompression surgery in the period from 2009 through 2011. They examined correlations between preoperative or postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) and radiological parameters, clinical outcomes, and health-related (HR)QOL scores in patients divided according to SVA. Clinical outcomes were assessed according to Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores. Health-related QOL was evaluated using the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) and the JOA Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ).

RESULTS: One hundred nine patients were eligible for inclusion in the study. Compared to patients with normal sagittal alignment prior to surgery (Group A: SVA <50 mm), those with preoperative sagittal imbalance (Group B: SVA ≥ 50 mm) had significantly smaller lumbar lordosis and thoracic kyphosis angles and larger pelvic tilt. In Group B, there was a significant decrease in postoperative SVA compared with the preoperative SVA (76.3 ± 29.7 mm vs. 54.3 ± 39.8 mm, p = 0.004). The patients in Group B with severe preoperative sagittal imbalance (SVA > 80 mm) had residual sagittal imbalance after surgery (82.8 ± 41.6 mm). There were no significant differences in clinical and HRQOL outcomes between Groups A and B. Compared to patients with normal postoperative SVA (Group C: SVA <50 mm), patients with a postoperative SVA ≥ 50 mm (Group D) had significantly lower JOABPEQ scores, both preoperative and postoperative, for walking ability (preop: 36.6 ± 26.3 vs. 22.7 ± 26.0, p = 0.038, respectively; postop: 71.1 ± 30.4 vs. 42.5 ± 29.6, p <0.001) and social functioning (preop: 38.7 ± 18.5 vs. 30.2 ± 16.7, p = 0.045; postop: 67.0 ± 25.8 vs. 49.6 ± 20.0, p = 0.001), as well as significantly higher postoperative RMDQ (4.9 ± 5.2 vs. 7.9 ± 5.7, p = 0.015) and VAS scores for low-back pain (2.68 ± 2.69 vs. 3.94 ± 2.59, p = 0.039).

CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative sagittal balance was not significantly correlated with clinical or HRQOL outcomes after decompression surgery in LCS patients without coronal imbalance. Decompression surgery improved the SVA value in patients with preoperative sagittal imbalance; however, the patients with severe preoperative sagittal imbalance (SVA > 80 mm) had residual imbalance after decompression surgery. Both clinical and HRQOL outcomes were negatively affected by postoperative residual sagittal imbalance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery. Spine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 1



  • C7-CSVL = C-7 plumb line deviation from the central sacral vertical line
  • decompression surgery
  • EBL = estimated blood loss
  • HRQOL = health-related quality of life
  • JOA = Japanese Orthopaedic Association
  • JOABPEQ = JOA Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire
  • LBP = low-back pain
  • LCS = lumbar spinal canal stenosis
  • lumbar spinal canal stenosis
  • MCID = minimum clinically important difference
  • RMDQ = Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire
  • sagittal vertical axis
  • spinopelvic alignment
  • SVA = sagittal vertical axis
  • VAS = visual analog scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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