Construct Levels to Anchored Levels Ratio and Rod Diameter Are Associated With Implant-Related Complications in Traditional Growing Rods

Growing Spine Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: In addition to patient characteristics, consideration of length of construct to number of anchored levels ratio and rod diameter should be a part of preoperative planning to minimize implant-related complications (IRCs). IRCs including rod breakage, anchor dislodgement, and pullout are among the most common adverse events in traditional growing rods (TGRs). The current study hypothesized that anchor type and configuration are associated with IRC. Methods: Patients with (1) age ≤10 years at surgery; (2) spine-based dual TGR; (3) minimum 2-year follow-up; and (4) available imaging. Cephalad and caudal foundations were grouped based on the number of instrumented levels and anchor type. All radiographs were reviewed. Based on the results, a “construct levels / anchored levels” (CL/AL) ratio was calculated, which is the number of levels spanned by instrumentation divided by the number of levels with bone-anchor fixation. Receiver operating characteristic curve was used to define the CL/AL threshold. Results: 274 patients divided into patients with complications (IRC+, n = 140) and without complications (IRC– n = 134) groups. Mean follow-up was 6.3 years (2.1–18.0 years). No significant differences in age, gender, body mass index, ambulatory status, etiology, primary curve size, T1–S1 height, coronal and sagittal balance, and rod material were observed between the two groups. Comparative analysis showed that connector type, presence and location of crosslinks, number of levels instrumented, number and type of anchors, presence of pelvic fixation, and mirroring of cephalad and caudal foundations were not different. However, maximum kyphosis and rod diameter were significantly different. The CL/AL ratio threshold was 3.5. Multivariate analysis of kyphosis, rod diameter, and CL/AL ratio showed a significant association with IRC (p <.05). Discussion and Conclusion: Although patient characteristics like kyphosis have been proven to be associated with instrumentation failure, it is a combination of characteristics that include rod diameter and CL/AL ratio that showed significant correlation with IRC. Validation of the CL/AL ratio is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-326
Number of pages7
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Anchor type and characteristics
  • Dual growing rods
  • Foundation
  • Implant-related complication
  • Traditional growing rods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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