Surgical Outcomes Research

Surgical treatment of Lenke 5 adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Comparison of anterior vs posterior approach

Mark F Abel, Anuj Singla, Mark A Feger, Lindsay D Sauer, Wendy Novicoff


To compare the posterior vs anterior approaches for fusion of Lenke 5 adolescent idiopathic scoliosis curves, matched for curve magnitude and for the distal level of fixation (dLOF) standardized to the third lumbar vertebrae (L3).


A prospectively collected multicenter database was used for this retrospective comparative study. Our dependent variables included sagittal and coronal radiographic measurements, number of fused vertebrae, estimated blood loss, length of hospitalization and SRS total and individual domain scores at the two-year follow-up. Subject demographics were similar for all group comparisons. Independent t-test was used to compare groups for all analyses at P < 0.01.


For all matched cases of Lenke 5 curves, a selective approach was used only 50% of the time in cases undergoing a posterior fusion. When comparing a posterior selective approach to an anterior selective approach, surgeons utilizing a posterior approach fused significantly more levels than surgeons using an anterior approach with no other significant differences in radiographic or SRS outcomes (Ant = 4.8 ± 1.0 levels vs post = 6.1 ± 1.0 levels, P < 0.0001). When the dLOF was standardized to L3, the anterior approached provided significantly greater lumbar Cobb percent correction than the posterior approach (Ant = 69.1% ± 12.6% vs post = 54.6% ± 16.4%, P = 0.004), with no other significant radiographic or SRS score differences between approaches.


Surgeons treating Lenke 5c curves with a posterior instrumentation and fusion vs an anterior approach include more motion segments, even with a selective fusion. When controlled for the distal level of fixation, the anterior approach provides greater correction of the thoracolumbar curve.


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World J Orthop. Sep 18, 2016; 7(9): 553-560