Cervical alignment in the obese population following posterior cervical fusion for cervical myelopathy

Eli A. Perez, Royce W. Woodroffe, Brian Park, Colin Gold, Logan C. Helland, Scott C. Seaman, Patrick W. Hitchon

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STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of body mass index (BMI) on the reoperation rate and cervical sagittal alignment of patients who underwent posterior cervical decompression and fusion for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Cervical sagittal balance has been correlated with postoperative clinical outcomes. Previous studies have shown worse postoperative sagittal alignment and higher reoperation rates in patients with high BMI undergoing anterior decompression and fusion. Similar evidence for the impact of obesity in postoperative sagittal alignment for patients with (CSM) undergoing posterior cervical decompression and fusion (PCF) is lacking.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 198 patients who underwent PCF for cervical myelopathy due to degenerative spine disease was performed. Demographics, need for reoperation, and perioperative radiographic parameters were collected. Cervical lordosis (CL), C2-7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), and T1 slope (T1S) was measured on standing lateral radiographs. Comparative analysis of the patient cohort was performed by stratifying the sample population into three BMI categories (<25, 25-30, ≥30).

RESULT: Of the 198 patients that met inclusion criteria, 53 had BMI normal (<25), 65 were overweight (25-30), and 80 were obese (≥30). Mean SVA increased postoperatively in all groups, 4 mm in the normal group, 13 mm in the overweight group, and 13 mm in the obese group (p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in the postoperative change of cervical lordosis or T1 slope between the groups. Multivariate analysis demonstrated fusions involving the cervicothoracic junction and those involving 5 or more levels significantly affected alignment parameters. There were 27 complications requiring reoperation (14%) with no significant differences among the groups stratified by BMI (p = 0.386).

CONCLUSIONS: Overweight patients (BMI>25) with CSM undergoing PCF had a greater increase in SVA than normal weight patients while reoperation rates were similar. In addition, preoperative CL increased with increasing BMI, although this trend was not Powered by Editorial Manager® and ProduXion Manager® from Aries Systems Corporation significant and there was not found to be a significant difference between the change in CL from baseline to post-fusion between BMI cohorts. This study further highlights the importance of considering BMI when attempting to optimize sagittal alignment in patients undergoing PCF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107059
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 2022

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© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

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