Patterns of Lumbar Spine Malalignment Leading to Revision Surgery for Proximal Junctional Kyphosis: A Cluster Analysis of Over- Versus Under-Correction

on behalf of The International Spine Study Group

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Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Objective: Investigate the patterns of fused lumbar alignment in patients requiring revision surgery for proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). Methods: Fifty patients (67.8 yo, 76% female) with existing thoraco-lumbar fusion (T10/12 to pelvis) and indicated for surgical correction for PJK were included. To investigate patterns of radiographic alignment prior to PJK revision, unsupervised 2-step cluster analysis was run on parameters describing the fused lumbar spine (PI-LL) to identify natural independent groups within the cohort. Clusters were compared in terms of demographics, pre-operative alignment, surgical parameters, and post-operative alignment. Associations between pre- and post-revision PJK angles were investigated using a Pearson correlation analysis. Results: Analysis identified 2 distinct patterns: Under-corrected (UC, n = 12, 32%) vs over-corrected (OC, n = 34, 68%) with a silhouette of.5. The comparison demonstrated similar pelvic incidence (PI) and PJK angle but significantly greater deformity for the UC vs OC group in terms of PI-LL, PI-LL offset, pelvic tilt, and sagittal vertebral axis. The surgical strategy for PJK correction did not differ between the 2 groups in terms of approach, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, decompression, use of osteotomy, interbody fusion, or fusion length. The post-revision PJK angle significantly correlated with the amount of PJK correction within the OC group but not within the UC group. Conclusions: This study identified 2 patterns of lumbar malalignment associated with severe PJK: over vs under corrected. Despite the difference in PJK etiology, both patterns underwent the same revision strategy. Future analysis should look at the effect of correcting focal deformity alone vs correcting focal deformity and underlying malalignment simultaneously on recurrent PJK rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • adult spinal deformity
  • age-adjusted alignment
  • over-correction
  • proximal junctional kyphosis
  • under-correction
  • unsupervised cluster analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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