Ramchandran, S., Smith, J.S., Ailon, T., Klineberg, E., Shaffrey, C., Lafage, V., Schwab, F., Bess, S., Daniels, A., Scheer, J.K., Protopsaltis, T.S., Arnold, P., Haid, R.W., Chapman, J., Fehlings, M.G., Ames, C.P., AOSpine North America, International Spine Study Group, 2015. Assessment of Impact of Long-Cassette Standing X-Rays on Surgical Planning for Cervical Pathology: An International Survey of Spine Surgeons. Neurosurgery. doi:10.1227/NEU.0000000000001128
Understanding the role of regional segments of the spine in maintaining global balance has garnered significant attention recently. Long-cassette radiographs (LCR) are necessary to evaluate global spinopelvic alignment. However, it is unclear how LCRs impact operative decision-making for cervical spine pathology.
To evaluate whether the addition of LCRs results in changes to respondents' operative plans compared to standard imaging of the involved cervical spine in an international survey of spine surgeons.
Fifteen cases (5 control cases with normal and 10 test cases with abnormal global alignment) of cervical pathology were presented online with a vignette and cervical imaging. Surgeons were asked to select a surgical plan from 6 options, ranging from the least (1 point) to most (6 points) extensive. Cases were then reordered and presented again with LCRs and the same surgical plan question.
One hundred fifty-seven surgeons completed the survey, of which 79% were spine fellowship trained. The mean response scores for surgical plan increased from 3.28 to 4.0 (P = .003) for test cases with the addition of LCRs. However, no significant changes (P = .10) were identified for the control cases. In 4 of the test cases with significant mid thoracic kyphosis, 29% of participants opted for the more extensive surgical options of extension to the mid and lower thoracic spine when they were provided with cervical imaging only, which significantly increased to 58.3% upon addition of LCRs.
In planning for cervical spine surgery, surgeons should maintain a low threshold for obtaining LCRs to assess global spinopelvic alignment.