Partial intervertebral fusion secures successful outcomes after thoracoscopic anterior scoliosis correction: A low-dose computed tomography study

Izatt, Maree T., Carstens, Alan, Adam, Clayton J., Labrom, Robert D., & Askin, Geoffrey N. (2015) Partial intervertebral fusion secures successful outcomes after thoracoscopic anterior scoliosis correction: A low-dose computed tomography study. Spine Deformity, 3(6), pp. 515-527.

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Study Design

Retrospective review of prospectively collected data.


To analyze intervertebral (IV) fusion after thoracoscopic anterior spinal fusion (TASF) and explore the relationship between fusion scores and key clinical variables.

Summary of Background Information

TASF provides comparable correction with some advantages over posterior approaches but reported mechanical complications, and their relationship to non-union and graft material is unclear. Similarly, the optimal combination of graft type and implant stiffness for effecting successful radiologic union remains undetermined.


A subset of patients from a large single-center series who had TASF for progressive scoliosis underwent low-dose computed tomographic scans 2 years after surgery. The IV fusion mass in the disc space was assessed using the 4-point Sucato scale, where 1 indicates <50% and 4 indicates 100% bony fusion of the disc space. The effects of rod diameter, rod material, graft type, fusion level, and mechanical complications on fusion scores were assessed.


Forty-three patients with right thoracic major curves (mean age 14.9 years) participated in the study. Mean fusion scores for patient subgroups ranged from 1.0 (IV levels with rod fractures) to 2.2 (4.5-mm rod with allograft), with scores tending to decrease with increasing rod size and stiffness. Graft type (autograft vs. allograft) did not affect fusion scores. Fusion scores were highest in the middle levels of the rod construct (mean 2.52), dropping off by 20% to 30% toward the upper and lower extremities of the rod. IV levels where a rod fractured had lower overall mean fusion scores compared to levels without a fracture. Mean total Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) questionnaire scores were 98.9 from a possible total of 120, indicating a good level of patient satisfaction.


Results suggest that 100% radiologic fusion of the entire disc space is not necessary for successful clinical outcomes following thoracoscopic anterior selective thoracic fusion.

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ID Code: 90706
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: thoracoscopic scoliosis surgery, intervertebral fusion, computed tomography, rod diameter, fusion grading, interbody fusion, anterior spinal surgery, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, complications
DOI: 10.1016/j.jspd.2015.04.007
ISSN: 2212-134X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Scoliosis Research Society
Copyright Statement: This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Deposited On: 24 Nov 2015 05:54
Last Modified: 05 May 2017 18:02

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