Adil Harroud, Hubert Labelle, Julie Joncas, Jean-Marc Mac-Thiong

April 2013, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 849 - 856 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-012-2591-6

First Online: 27 November 2012


Global sagittal alignment is considered as an important aspect in the management of spinal disorders, but the evidence establishing its clinical impact in lumbosacral spondylolisthesis is still poor. This study evaluated the impact of global sagittal alignment on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with spondylolisthesis.


A retrospective study of 149 consecutive unoperated children and adolescents presenting with lumbosacral spondylolisthesis (117 low-grade and 32 high-grade) was performed. Two global sagittal alignment parameters were measured on standing lateral radiographs: spinal tilt (ST) and C7 plumbline deviation (C7P deviation). All patients completed the SRS-22 questionnaire to assess HRQOL. Pearson’s correlations were calculated between parameters of global sagittal alignment and HRQOL. Multiple regression analyses were also undertaken to account for slip percentage and lumbosacral kyphosis (LSK).


Both global sagittal alignment parameters were correlated with the SRS-22 total score. When analyzed separately, the correlation was absent in patients with a low-grade slip but remained significant for patients with a high-grade slip (r = 0.35 for ST; r = −0.35 for C7P deviation). The relation was strengthened in high-grade spondylolisthesis when considering only patients with a C7P in front of the posterior corner of upper sacral endplate (r = 0.48 for ST; r = –0.48 for C7P deviation) and was also positive for the SRS-22 pain and appearance domains. For these last patients, the relationship with global sagittal alignment remained significant in the multiple regression analysis. HRQOL was particularly worse for high-grade patients with a C7P in front of the hip axis.


In high-grade spondylolisthesis, an increasing positive sagittal alignment was related to a poorer SRS-22 total score, especially when the C7P is in front of the hip axis. Global sagittal alignment should particularly be assessed in patients with high-grade spondylolisthesis.

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