J Korean Neurosurg Soc.  2021 Nov;64(6):843-852. 10.3340/jkns.2020.0234.

Systematic Review of Reciprocal Changes after Spinal Reconstruction Surgery : Do Not Miss the Forest for the Trees

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Spine Center, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea


The purpose of this review was to synthesize the research on global spinal alignment and reciprocal changes following cervical or thoracolumbar reconstruction surgery. We carried out a search of PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library for studies through May 2020, and ultimately included 11 articles. The optimal goal of a truly balanced spine is to maintain the head over the femoral heads. When spinal imbalance occurs, the human body reacts through various compensatory mechanisms to maintain the head over the pelvis and to retain a horizontal gaze. Historically, deformity correction has focused on correcting scoliosis and preventing scoliotic curve progression. Following substantial correction of a spinal deformity, reciprocal changes take place in the flexible segments proximal and distal to the area of correction. Restoration of lumbar lordosis following surgery to correct a thoracolumbar deformity induces reciprocal changes in T1 slope, cervical lordosis, pelvic shift, and lower extremity parameters. Patients with cervical kyphosis exhibit different patterns of reciprocal changes depending on whether they have head-balanced or trunk-balanced kyphosis. These reciprocal changes should be considered to in order to prevent secondary spine disorders. We emphasize the importance of evaluating the global spinal alignment to assess postoperative changes.


Cervical vertebrae; Quality of life; Kyphosis; Systematic review
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