Comparison of Standard 2-Rod Constructs to Multiple-Rod Constructs for Fixation Across 3-Column Spinal Osteotomies

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Study Design.

Retrospective matched-cohort comparative study.


Compare radiographical outcomes after the use of a standard 2-rod construct (2-RC) versus a multiple-rod construct (multi-RC) across 3-column osteotomy sites in a matched cohort with severe kyphosis and/or scoliosis with minimum 2-year follow-up.

Summary of Background Data.

Three-column osteotomies are used for treating severe spinal deformities, typically with a standard 2-RC across the highly unstable osteotomy site.


Between 1996 and 2010, patients undergoing a 3-column osteotomy by a single surgeon were matched for age/diagnosis/vertebra(e) resected/levels fused and curve magnitude. Sixty-six control patients with a 2-RC were identified and appropriately matched to 66 consecutive patients with a multi-RC across the 3-column osteotomy site. Each group included 50 patients with lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy and 16 patients with vertebral column resection. Radiographs were measured using standard adult deformity criteria.


Averages were compared for 2-RC versus multi-RC demonstrating no statistical differences in mean age at surgery, vertebrae resected, levels fused, bone morphogenetic protein used (patients), or average preoperative Cobb magnitude. There were significant differences in the occurrence of rod breakage and revision surgery for pseudarthroses at the 3-column osteotomy site (rod breakage: 2-RC: 11 vs. multi-RC: 2, P = 0.002; and revision: 2-RC: 6 vs. multi-RC: 0, P = 0.011). There was no complete implant failure in the multi-RC group but 2 patients had partial implant failure without symptomatic pseudarthrosis. Eight patients in each group (12%) developed a pseudarthrosis above or below the osteotomy site.


The use of a multi-RC is a safe, simple, and effective method to provide increased stability across 3-column osteotomy sites to significantly prevent implant failure and symptomatic pseudarthrosis versus a standard 2-RC. We strongly recommend using a multi-RC to stabilize 3-column osteotomies of the thoracic and lumbar spine.


Level of Evidence: 3

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