The Lumbar Gap Measurement in Lenke 1–4C Curves

Hong Zhang, B. Stephens Richards, Daniel J. Sucato, Chan Hee Jo, Dong Tran, Linfeng Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective review. Objectives: To assess whether the lumbar gap (LG) measurement, which is the distance between the center sacral vertical line and the concave edge of the apical vertebra of the lumbar curve, would be a useful tool to predict the need for lumbar curve fusion in the Lenke 1–4C curves. Summary of Background Data: The current treatment guidelines of selective thoracic fusion in the Lenke 1–4C curves are not routinely accepted. Methods: One hundred three adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients had undergone either selective thoracic fusion (STF) or both thoracic and lumbar curves fusion (TLF) for Lenke 1–4C curves. The correlations between the fusion decision making and preoperative LG, coronal balance, thoracic and lumbar Cobb, apical vertebra translation, and rotation were analyzed. The radiographic outcomes and SRS-30 of a minimum 2-year follow-up were reviewed in each group. Results: A total of 51 patients (49.5%) underwent an STF, and 52 patients (50.5%) underwent a TLF. The mean LG was 22.0 ± 8.8 mm in the TLF, which was 2.3 times greater than the STF (9.6 ± 3.9 mm) (p <.0001). Only 5% of the lumbar curves were fused when the LG was 10 mm or less. Ninety percent of the lumbar curves were fused when the LG was 16 mm or greater, and 100% lumbar curves were fused with an LG of 21 mm or greater. The preoperative coronal imbalance to the left in the TLF was significantly greater than the STF. A mean 47% thoracic correction corresponded to a mean 39% spontaneous correction of the lumbar curve obtained in the SFT, which was significantly different from the TLF (56% and 65%). There were no differences in the SRS-30 scores at 2 years postoperatively between the STF and the TLF. Conclusion: The lumbar curve should not be fused when the LG was 10 mm or less, and very likely should be fused when the LG exceeds 20 mm in the Lenke 1–4C AIS patients. Level of Evidence: Level III

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Lenke lumbar C modifier
  • lumbar gap
  • selective thoracic fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The Lumbar Gap Measurement in Lenke 1–4C Curves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this