The case for T2 pedicle subtraction osteotomy in the surgical treatment of rigid cervicothoracic deformity.


Rigid cervicothoracic kyphotic deformity (CTKD) remains a difficult pathology to treat, especially in the setting of prior cervical instrumentation and fusion. CTKD may result in chronic neck pain, difficulty maintaining horizontal gaze, and myelopathy. Prior studies have advocated for the use of C7 or T1 pedicle subtraction osteotomies (PSOs). However, these surgeries are fraught with danger and, most significantly, place the C7, C8, and/or T1 nerve roots at risk.


The authors retrospectively reviewed their experience with performing T2 PSO for the correction of rigid CTKD. Demographics collected included age, sex, details of prior cervical surgery, and coexisting conditions. Perioperative variables included levels decompressed, levels instrumented, estimated blood loss, length of surgery, length of stay, complications from surgery, and length of follow-up. Radiographic measurements included C2-7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) correction, and changes in the cervicothoracic Cobb angle, lumbar lordosis, and C2-S1 SVA.


Four male patients were identified (age range 55-72 years). Three patients had undergone prior posterior cervical laminectomy and instrumented fusion and developed postsurgical kyphosis. All patients underwent T2 PSO: 2 patients received instrumentation at C2-T4, and 2 patients received instrumentation at C2-T5. The median C2-7 SVA correction was 3.85 cm (range 2.9-5.3 cm). The sagittal Cobb angle correction ranged from 27.8° to 37.6°. Notably, there were no neurological complications.


T2 PSO is a powerful correction technique for the treatment of rigid CTKD. Compared with C7 or T1 PSO, there is decreased risk of injury to intrinsic hand muscle innervators, and there is virtually no risk of vertebral artery injury. Laminectomy may also be safer, as there is less (or no) scar tissue from prior surgeries. Correction at this distal level may allow for a greater sagittal correction. The authors are optimistic that these findings will be corroborated in larger cohorts examining this challenging clinical entity.

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