To evaluate the effect of preoperative Halo-gravity traction (HGT) in the treatment of severe focal kyphosis in the upper thoracic spine (UTS), and to propose the indications that HGT could serve as an alternative for three-column osteotomy (3CO) among these patients.
Summary of Background Data.
The HGT has been proven to be effective for severe kyphoscoliosis secondary to multiple etiologies. However, the safety and efficacy of HGT in severe focal kyphosis in UTS was still unclear.
Patients with focal kyphosis in UTS undergoing HGT and without 3CO operation were reviewed. The sagittal focal kyphosis was measured at pre-, posttraction, and postoperation. The neurologic function at pretraction, posttraction, and postoperation were assessed according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grading. The complications during HGT, operation, and follow-up were recorded. The comparison between pretraction and posttraction was performed using paired samples t test.
A total of 19 patients were included in this study, with a mean age of 13.2 ± 5.8 years. The average duration of HGT was 62.6 ± 8.4 days, during which the average kyphosis decreased from 95.3 ± 16.4° to 64.1 ± 19.2° (P < 0.001). After HGT, the ASIA grade improved from C to D in three patients and from C to E in three patients, from D to E in seven patients, from B to D in one patient. No deterioration in neurologic function was observed during HGT. The neurological status in one patient improved from ASIA C at pretraction to ASIA E at postoperation, but deteriorated to C at 4 years follow-up.
Preoperative HGT could help to correct deformity and improve neurological deficit. 3CO procedure might be unnecessary in patients with severe focal kyphosis in UTS with the utilization of HGT.
Level of Evidence: 4