Spinal Deformity – Sagittal Imbalance

Above: before and after surgical correction

What is Sagittal Imbalance?

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Proper spinal balance exists when the position of the head is in line with the pelvis, so that the spine is able to bear weight with efficient biomechanics. For a variety of reasons — including trauma, infections, prior surgeries, degenerative arthritis or idiopathic deformity — the spine may lose its proper balance and “pitch forward,” falling into sagittal malalignment. 

Sagittal malalignment — or imbalance — results in overstress of the muscles which keep the spine upright and often leads to debilitating back pain as the body struggles to keep the head positioned above the pelvis.

Why rely on Washington University experts to treat Sagittal Imbalance?

Washington University spinal neurosurgeons provide comprehensive treatment for all spinal deformities, including those affecting the sagittal balance of the spine. We work collaboratively with experienced spinal surgeons in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

This combination of neurosurgical and orthopedic expertise allows for a comprehensive approach to the surgical care of spinal lesions.


Washington University spinal neurosurgeons use the most advanced techniques, ranging from minimally invasive approaches to the most aggressive osteotomies and reconstructions, in order to tailor a treatment plan for each patient. We take a comprehensive approach to the health of the whole patient, ensuring that each individual receives the care he or she needs.