Curve Characteristics and Surgical Outcomes in Scoliosis Associated With Childhood Sternotomy or Thoracotomy

Joanna L. Langner, Teeto Ezeonu, Abdul Lateef Shafau, Nadine Javier, Xochitl Bryson, Japsimran Kaur, Kiley Poppino, Claire Shivers, Sai Chilakapati, Kimberly E. Hall, Meghan N. Imrie, Lawrence Rinsky, Anthony I. Riccio, John S. Vorhies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study is to describe curve characteristics and postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing spinal fusion (SF) to treat thoracogenic scoliosis related to sternotomy and/or thoracotomy as a growing child. Methods: A retrospective review of electronic medical records of all patients with Post-Chest Incision scoliosis treated with SF was performed at 2 tertiary care pediatric institutions over a 19-year period. Curve characteristics, inpatient, and outpatient postoperative outcomes are reported. Results: Thirty-nine patients (62% female) were identified. Eighteen had sternotomy alone, 14 had thoracotomy alone, and 7 had both. Mean age at the time of first chest wall surgery was 2.5 years (range: 1.0 d to 14.2 y). Eighty-five percent of patients had a main thoracic curve (mean major curve angle 72 degrees, range: 40 to 116 degrees) and 15% had a main lumbar curve (mean major curve angle 76 degrees, range: 59 to 83 degrees). Mean thoracic kyphosis was 40 degrees (range: 4 to 84 degrees). Mean age at the time of SF was 14 years (range: 8.2 to 19.9 y). Thirty-six patients had posterior fusions and 3 had combined anterior/posterior. Mean coronal curve correction measured at the first postoperative encounter was 53% (range: 9% to 78%). There were 5 (13%) neuromonitoring alerts and 2 (5%) patients with transient neurological deficits. Mean length of hospital stay was 9±13 days. At an average follow-up time of 3.1±2.4 years, 17 complications (10 medical and 7 surgical) were noted in 9 patients for an overall complication rate of 23%. There was 1 spinal reoperation in the cohort. 2/17 (12%) complications were Clavien-Dindo-Sink class III and 5/17 (29%) were class IV. Conclusion: Kyphotic thoracic curves predominate in patients with Post-Chest Incision scoliosis undergoing SF. Although good coronal and sagittal plane deformity can be expected after a fusion procedure, postoperative complications are not uncommon in medically complex patients, often necessitating longer postoperative stays. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-563
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • post-chest incision scoliosis
  • spinal fusion
  • sternotomy
  • thoracotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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