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Coronal imbalance in degenerative lumbar scoliosis

Prevalence and influence on surgical decision-making for spinal osteotomy

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There is a paucity of information on the pre-operative coronal imbalance in patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) and its influence on surgical outcomes.

Patients and Methods

A total of 284 DLS patients were recruited into this study, among whom 69 patients were treated surgically and the remaining 215 patients conservatively Patients were classified based on the coronal balance distance (CBD): Type A, CBD < 3 cm; Type B, CBD > 3 cm and C7 Plumb Line (C7PL) shifted to the concave side of the curve; Type C, CBD > 3 cm and C7PL shifted to the convex side.


A total of 99 of the 284 (34.8%) patient presented with a pre-operative coronal imbalance (mean CBD: 48.5, standard deviation 18.7 mm). More patients with a Type B malalignment were observed than with a Type C malalignment (62 versus 37). A total of 21 pf the 69 (30.4%) surgically treated patients had a post-operative coronal imbalance, which was found to be more prevalent in Type C patients (p < 0.001). At follow-up, less improvement was observed in terms of Short Form-36 Physical Component Score and visual analogue score for back pain (p = 0.034 and 0.025, respectively) in Type C patients.


This study shows that patients with Type C coronal malalignment may be at greater risk of post-operative coronal imbalance following posterior osteotomy.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2016;98-B:1227–33.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr F. Zhu; email:

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