Choosing an optimal distal fusion level for adult spinal deformity (ASD) is still controversial. To compare the radiographic and clinical outcomes of distal fusion to L5 versus the sacrum in ASD, we conducted a meta-analysis.
Relevant studies on long fusion terminating at L5 or the sacrum in ASD were retrieved from the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, and Google Scholar databases. Then, studies were manually selected for inclusion based on predefined criteria. The meta-analysis was performed by RevMan 5.3.
Eleven retrospective studies with 1211 patients were included in meta-analysis. No significant difference was found in overall complication rate (95% CI 0.60 to 1.30) and revision rate (95% CI 0.59 to 1.99) between fusion to L5 group (L group) and fusion to the sacrum group (S group). Significant lower rate of pseudarthrosis and implant-related complications (95% CI 0.29 to 0.64) as well as proximal adjacent segment disease (95% CI 0.35 to 0.92) was found in L group. Patients in S group obtained a better correction of lumbar lordosis (95% CI - 7.85 to - 0.38) and less loss of sagittal balance (95% CI - 1.80 to - 0.50).
Our meta-analysis suggested that long fusion terminating at L5 or the sacrum was similar in scoliosis correction, overall complication rate, revision rate, and improvement in pain and disability. However, fusion to L5 had advantages in lower rate of pseudarthrosis, implant-related complications, and proximal adjacent segment disease, while fusion to the sacrum had advantages in the restoration of lumbar lordosis, maintenance of sagittal balance, and absence of distal adjacent segment disease. These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.