Complications after 147 consecutive vertebral column resections for severe pediatric spinal deformity: A multicenter analysis

Lawrence G. Lenke, Peter O. Newton, Daniel J. Sucato, Harry L. Shufflebarger, John B. Emans, Paul D. Sponseller, Suken A. Shah, Brenda A. Sides, Kathy M. Blanke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: Retrospective multicenter review. OBJECTIVE.: Determine the definition, indications, results, and outcomes, focusing on complications of vertebral column resection (VCR) for severe pediatric spinal deformity. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: The strict definition of the VCR procedure, indications, results, outcomes, and the numerous, potentially serious complications are unknown or controversial, and a large multicenter review has never been performed. METHODS.: A total of 147 patients treated by 7 pediatric spinal deformity surgeons were reviewed - seventy-four females and 73 males, with an average age of 13.7 years, an average of 1.6 (range, 1-5) vertebrae resected, and an average follow-up of 17 months (range, 0.5-64 mo). The strict definition of VCR used was a "3-column circumferential vertebral osteotomy creating a segmental defect with sufficient instability to require provisional instrumentation." RESULTS.: Indications for a VCR were divided into 5 diagnostic categories: kyphoscoliosis (n = 52), severe scoliosis (n = 37), congenital deformity (n = 28), global kyphosis (n = 17), and angular kyphosis (n = 13). Eighty-four primary and 63 revision patients with 174 operative procedures, 127 posterior-only (17 staged), and 20 patients combined anterior-posterior (10 staged) were reviewed. Average preoperative upright, flexibility, and postoperative Cobb measures (% correction or average kyphosis decrease) were kyphoscoliosis: 91 , 65 , 44 (51% coronal), 104 , 81 , and 47 (decrease, 57 sagittal); severe scoliosis: 104 , 78 , and 33 (67%); congenital deformity: 47 , 38 , 22 (46% coronal), 56 , 48 , and 32 (decrease, 24 sagittal); global kyphosis: 101 , 79 , and 47 (decrease, 54 ); and angular kyphosis: 88 , 90 , and 38 (decrease, 50 ), respectively. Operative time averaged 545 minutes (range, 204-1355 min) and estimated blood loss averaged 1610 mL (range, 50-8244 mL) for an average 65% blood volume loss (range, 6%-316%). Eighty-six patients (59%) developed a complication, 39 patients (27%) having an intraoperative neurological event (spinal cord monitoring change or failed wake-up test); however, no patient had complete permanent paraplegia. CONCLUSION.: A total of 147 consecutive pediatric VCRs performed by 7 surgeons demonstrated excellent radiographical correction. However, these complex reconstructions were associated with a 59% complication rate, thus emphasizing the challenging nature of these patients and procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2013


  • multicenter analysis
  • outcomes
  • severe pediatric spinal deformity
  • vertebral column resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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