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Difficulties in Treating Postirradiation Kyphosis in Adults: A Series of Five Cases. – Back Pain Doctor Harley Street

Difficulties in Treating Postirradiation Kyphosis in Adults: A Series of Five Cases.

STUDY DESIGN:

Clinical case series.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess objective outcomes of surgical correction of post-external beam radiation therapy (ERBT) kyphosis in a series of five adults.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

EBRT is a well-established treatment for many cancers in children and adults. One complication associated with EBRT is postirradiation spine deformity. Scoliosis is the most common deformity, but kyphosis also occurs frequently. Differences in deformity patterns are likely related to the location and intensity of radiation. To our knowledge, no studies have addressed treatment of these deformities in adults, and the most recent case series (of children) was published in 2005.

METHODS:

We present a series of five adults who underwent surgery for postirradiation kyphosis, with a mean follow-up of 3.8 years (range, 2.5-6.2 years).

RESULTS:

Surgery improved the kyphotic deformity in all patients. Overall mean kyphotic deformity correction was 56° and was larger for cervical/cervicothoracic deformities (mean, 76°) than for lumbar deformities (mean, 42°) at midterm follow-up. Patients reported significant improvements in pain and self-image. Consistent with prior case series of children, we observed a high rate of complications (mean, 1.4 complications per patient) in adults. Three patients each underwent an unplanned surgical procedure because of a complication.

CONCLUSION:

The surgical treatment of postirradiation kyphotic spinal deformity is challenging, with common postoperative complications such as infection, instrumentation failure, and pseudarthrosis. However, with modern surgical techniques and spinal instrumentation, excellent deformity correction can be achieved and maintained. We recommend performing a two-stage procedure for cervicothoracic deformity, with anterior release followed by posterior fusion and instrumentation. In thoracolumbar deformities, correction can be achieved through single-stage posterior fusion. Rigid spinopelvic fixation with sacral-alar-iliac screws and second-stage anterior lumbar interbody fusion at L5-S1 is recommended to reduce nonunion risk. Cement augmentation of proximal and distal anchors can help prevent junctional failure.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level IV.

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