Despite increasing numbers of patients with adult spinal deformity, it is unclear how to select the optimal upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) in long fusion surgery for these patients. The purpose of this study was to compare the use of vertebrae in the upper thoracic (UT) versus lower thoracic (LT) spine as the upper instrumented vertebra in long fusion surgery for adult spinal deformity.Patients who underwent fusion from the sacrum to the thoracic spine for adult spinal deformity with sagittal imbalance at a single medical center were studied. The patients with a sagittal vertical axis (SVA) = 40 mm who had radiographs and completed the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) preoperatively and at final follow-up (= 2 years postoperatively) were included.Eighty patients (mean age of 61.1 ± 10.9 years; 69 women and 11 men) met the inclusion criteria. There were 31 patients in the UT group and 49 patients in the LT group. The mean follow-up period was 3.6 ± 1.6 years. The physical component summary (PCS) score of the SF-12 significantly improved from the preoperative assessment to final follow-up in each group (UT, 34 to 41; LT, 29 to 37; p = 0.001). This improvement reached the minimum clinically important difference in both groups. There was no significant difference in PCS score improvement between the 2 groups (p = 0.8). The UT group had significantly greater preoperative lumbar lordosis (28° vs 18°, p = 0.03) and greater thoracic kyphosis (36° vs 18°, p = 0.001). After surgery, there was no significant difference in lumbar lordosis or thoracic kyphosis. The UT group had significantly greater postoperative cervicothoracic kyphosis (20° vs 11°, p = 0.009). The UT group tended to maintain a smaller positive SVA (51 vs 73 mm, p = 0.08) and smaller T-1 spinopelvic inclination (-2.6° vs 0.6°, p = 0.06). The LT group tended to have more proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), although the difference did not reach statistical significance. Radiographic PJK was 32% in the UT group and 41% in the LT group (p = 0.4). Surgical PJK was 6.4% in the UT group and 10% in the LT group (p = 0.6).Both the UT and LT groups demonstrated significant improvement in clinical and radiographic outcomes. A significant difference was not observed in improvement of clinical outcomes between the 2 groups.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2014.3.FOCUS13541
View details for PubMedID 24785491