Skip to:

Sagittal Balance Correction in Lateral Interbody Fusion for Degenerative Scoliosis

Daniel J. Blizzard, MD, MHS,Michael A. Gallizzi, MD, MS,Charles Sheets, PT,Benjamin T. Smith, DO,Robert E. Isaacs, MD,Megan Eure, MS,Christopher R. Brown, MD1

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA, 2Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA



Sagittal balance restoration has been shown to be an important determinant of outcomes in corrective surgery for degenerative scoliosis. Lateral interbody fusion (LIF) is a less-invasive technique which permits the placement of a high lordosis interbody cage without risks associated with traditional anterior or transforaminal interbody techniques. Studies have shown improvement in lumbar lordosis following LIF, but only one other study has assessed sagittal balance in this population. The objective of this study is to evaluate the ability of LIF to restore sagittal balance in degenerative lumbar scoliosis.


Thirty-five patients who underwent LIF for degenerative thoracolumbar scoliosis from July 2013 to March 2014 by a single surgeon were included. Outcome measures included sagittal balance, lumbar lordosis, Cobb Angle, and segmental lordosis. Measures were evaluated pre-operative, immediately post-operatively, and at their last clinical follow-up. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to assess the differences between pre-operative, first post-operative, and a follow-up visit.


The average sagittal balance correction was not significantly different: 1.06cm from 5.79cm to 4.74cm forward. The average Cobb angle correction was 14.1 degrees from 21.6 to 5.5 degrees. The average change in global lumbar lordosis was found to be significantly different: 6.3 degrees from 28.9 to 35.2 degrees.


This study demonstrates that LIF reliably restores lordosis, but does not significantly improve sagittal balance. Despite this, patients had reliable improvement in pain and functionality suggesting that sagittal balance correction may not be as critical in scoliosis correction as previous studies have indicated.

Clinical Relevance

LIF does not significantly change sagittal balance; however, clinical improvement does not seem to be contingent upon sagittal balance correction in the degenerative scoliosis population.

The DUHS IRB has determined this study meets criteria for an IRB waiver.

lateral interbody fusion, Sagittal Balance, Scoliosis, lumbar lordosis, retroperitoneal approach
Volume 10 Article 29