Original Article|Articles in Press

Distal junctional failure after corrective surgery without pelvic fixation for thoracolumbar junctional kyphosis due to osteoporotic vertebral fracture

Published:March 15, 2023DOI:



      Thoracolumbar junctional kyphosis (TLJK) due to osteoporotic vertebral fracture (OVF) negatively impacts patients’ quality of life. The necessity of pelvic fixation in corrective surgery for TLJK due to OVF remains controversial. This study aimed to: 1) evaluate the surgical outcomes of major corrective surgery for thoracolumbar junctional kyphosis due to osteoporotic vertebral fracture, and 2) identify the risk factors for distal junctional failure to identify potential candidates for pelvic fixation.


      Patients who underwent surgical correction (fixed TLJK>40°, OVF located at T11–L2, the lowermost instrumented vertebra at or above L5) were included. Sagittal vertical axis, pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence, thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis (L1-S1), local kyphosis, and lower lumbar lordosis (L4-S1) were assessed. Proximal and distal junctional kyphosis (P/DJK) and failures (P/DJF) were evaluated. Pre/postoperative spinopelvic parameters were compared between DJF and non-DJF patients.


      Thirty-one patients (mean age: 72.3 ± 7.9 years) were included. PJK was observed in five patients (16.1%), while DJK in 11 (35.5%). Twelve cases (38.7%) were categorized as failure. Among the patients with PJK, there was only one patient (20%) categorized as PJF and required an additional surgery. Contrary, all of eleven patients with DJK were categorized as DJF, among whom six (54.5%) required additional surgery for pelvic fixation. In comparisons between DJF and non-DJF patients, there was no significant difference in pre/postoperative LK (pre/post, p = 0.725, p = 0.950). However, statistically significant differences were observed in the following preoperative alignment parameters: SVA (p = 0.014), LL (p = 0.001), LLL (p = 0.006), PT (p = 0.003), and PI-LL (p < 0.001).


      Spinopelvic parameters, which represent the compensatory function of lumbar hyperlordosis and pelvic retroversion, have notable impacts on surgical outcomes in correction surgery for TLJK due to OVF. Surgeons should consider each patient's compensatory function when choosing a surgical approach.


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