Is Anterior Release Obsolete or Does It Play a Role in Contemporary Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Surgery? A Matched Pair Analysis

Baron S. Lonner, Lawrence Haber, Courtney Toombs, Stefan Parent, Suken A. Shah, Lawrence Lenke, Daniel Sucato, David Clements, Peter O. Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Study Design:A retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database was performed.Objective:The purpose of this study is to compare 3-dimensional correction associated with the anterior release (AR) and contemporary posterior instrumentation versus posterior-only surgery.Summary of Background Data:The role of AR as a tool in the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) has seen a decline with the popularization of thoracic pedicle screw instrumentation.Methods:Five surgeons were queried for all surgical thoracic AIS cases from 2003 to 2010 treated with thoracoscopic AR/fusion and contemporary posterior instrumentation and fusion and thoracic pedicle screw instrumentation (>80% screws) with 2-year follow-up. These cases were then matched with posterior spinal fusion only cases from a multicenter prospective database. The 2 groups were matched on the basis of major curve magnitude within 5 degrees, T5-T12 kyphosis within 9 degrees, and angle of trunk rotation within 9 degrees. Radiographic and clinical parameters were compared for the 2 groups. Continuous variables were analyzed with analysis of variance and categorical dependent variables with the χ2 test.Results:A total of 47 cases of AR were matched to 47 (1:1 match) posterior spinal fusion cases. Preoperative parameters were similar between groups (P>0.05). Postoperatively, AR cases had a lower major curve (20 vs. 25 degrees, P=0.034; 72% vs. 66% correction, P=0.037). T5-T12 kyphosis was greater in the AR cases (26 vs. 20 degrees; P=0.005). The angle of trunk rotation was similar for the groups. Anchor density was lower in the AR group (1.6 vs. 1.9; P<0.0001). There were 3 complications associated with the AR: 1 pneumothorax and 2 conversions to minithoracotomies for failure to maintain single lung ventilation.Conclusions:AR improves coronal and sagittal plane correction in contemporary AIS surgery with a satisfactory complication profile with less pedicle screw density required for clinically similar corrections. A further prospective study on the benefits of AR may help define specific indications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E161-E165
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • 3-dimensional correction
  • adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS)
  • anterior release
  • contemporary posterior instrumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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