The sagittal-plane curvatures of the human spine are the consequence of evolution from quadrupedalism to bipedalism and are needed to maintain the center of mass of the body within the base of support in the bipedal position. Lumbar degenerative disorders can lead to a decrease in lumbar lordosis and thereby affect overall alignment of the spine. However, there is not yet enough direct evidence that surgical restoration of spinal malalignment would lead to a better clinical outcome. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the correlation between patient-reported outcomes and actual obtained spinal sagittal alignment in adult patients with lumbar degenerative disorders who underwent surgical treatment.
A comprehensive literature search was conducted through databases (PubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science, and Embase). The last search was in November 2018. Risk of bias was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale. A meta-regression analysis was performed.
Of 2,024 unique articles in the original search, 34 articles with 973 patients were included. All studies were either retrospective or prospective cohort studies; no randomized controlled trials were available. A total of 54 relations between preoperative-to-postoperative improvement in patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and radiographic spinopelvic parameters were found, of which 20 were eligible for meta-regression analysis. Of these, 2 correlations were significant: pelvic tilt (PT) versus Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) (p = 0.009) and PT versus visual analog scale (VAS) pain (p = 0.008).
On the basis of the current literature, lower PT was significantly correlated with improved ODI and VAS pain in patients with sagittal malalignment caused by lumbar degenerative disorders that were treated with surgical correction of the sagittal balance.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.