This study aimed to describe the changes in spinopelvic sagittal alignment in the sitting position after posterior lumbar fusion, and to identify the factors influencing unfused adjacent segment lordosis.
Consecutive patients with lumbar degenerative disease who underwent posterior lumbar interbody fusion between December 2010 and April 2012 were recruited. Lateral full spine radiographs were obtained in the standing, erect sitting, and natural sitting positions. Spinopelvic parameters were measured preoperatively and at the final follow-up.
The data of 63 patients were analyzed in this study. The average age was 61.6 ± 11.0 years. When changing from standing to sitting at the final follow-up, all spinopelvic sagittal parameters with the exceptions of pelvic incidence and thoracic kyphosis were significantly altered. The most noticeable changes occurred in the natural sitting position, with the spine slumped toward achieving a C-shaped sagittal profile. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that when changing to a natural sitting position, age and fusion levels reflected the changes in lumbar lordosis (ΔLL), age and lumbosacral fusion reflected the changes in upper residual lordosis (ΔURL).
The most noticeable changes in spinopelvic sagittal alignment occurred in the natural sitting position after lumbar fusion. Age, fusion levels, and lumbosacral fusion significantly influenced the differences in LL and URL between the standing and natural sitting position. These characteristics should be fully considered when planning spinal realignment surgery and investigating the etiological factors of junctional complications.
Lumbar lordosis; Sagittal alignment; Sitting; Standing; Unfused adjacent segment lordosis.