Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Anterior lumbar discectomy and fusion for acute cauda equina syndrome caused by recurrent disc prolapse

J Neurosurg Spine 27:352–356, 2017

There is a lack of information and consensus regarding the optimal treatment for recurrent disc herniation previously treated by posterior discectomy, and no reports have described an anterior approach for recurrent disc herniation causing cauda equina syndrome (CES). Revision posterior decompression, irrespective of the presence of CES, has been reported to be associated with significantly higher rates of dural tears, hematomas, and iatrogenic nerve root damage.

The authors describe treatment and outcomes in 3 consecutive cases of patients who underwent anterior lumbar discectomy and fusion (ALDF) for CES caused by recurrent disc herniations that had been previously treated with posterior discectomy. All 3 patients were operated on within 12 hours of presentation and were treated with an anterior retroperitoneal lumbar approach. Follow-up ranged from 12 to 24 months. Complete retrieval of herniated disc material was achieved without encountering significant epidural scar tissue in all 3 cases. No perioperative infection or neurological injury occurred, and all 3 patients had neurological recovery with restoration of bladder and bowel function and improvement in back and leg pain.

ALDF is one option to treat CES caused by recurrent lumbar disc prolapse previously treated with posterior discectomy. The main advantage is that it avoids dissection around epidural scar tissue, but the procedure is associated with other risks and further evaluation of its safety in larger series is required.

Microendoscopic laminotomy versus conventional laminoplasty for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: 5-year follow-up study

J Neurosurg Spine 27:403–409, 2017

The goal of this study was to characterize the long-term clinical and radiological results of articular segmental decompression surgery using endoscopy (cervical microendoscopic laminotomy [CMEL]) for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and to compare outcomes to conventional expansive laminoplasty (ELAP).

METHODS Consecutive patients with CSM who required surgical treatment were enrolled. All enrolled patients (n = 78) underwent CMEL or ELAP. All patients were followed postoperatively for more than 5 years. The preoperative and 5-year follow-up evaluations included neurological assessment (Japanese Orthopaedic Association [JOA] score), JOA recovery rates, axial neck pain (using a visual analog scale), the SF-36, and cervical sagittal alignment (C2–7 subaxial cervical angle).

RESULTS Sixty-one patients were included for analysis, 31 in the CMEL group and 30 in the ELAP group. The mean preoperative JOA score was 10.1 points in the CMEL group and 10.9 points in the ELAP group (p > 0.05). The JOA recovery rates were similar, 57.6% in the CMEL group and 55.4% in the ELAP group (p > 0.05). The axial neck pain in the CMEL group was significantly lower than that in the ELAP group (p < 0.01). At the 5-year follow-up, cervical alignment was more favorable in the CMEL group, with an average 2.6° gain in lordosis (versus 1.2° loss of lordosis in the ELAP group [p < 0.05]) and lower incidence of postoperative kyphosis.

CONCLUSIONS CMEL is a novel, less invasive technique that allows for multilevel posterior cervical decompression for the treatment of CSM. This 5-year follow-up data demonstrates that after undergoing CMEL, patients have similar neurological outcomes to conventional laminoplasty, with significantly less postoperative axial pain and improved subaxial cervical lordosis when compared with their traditional ELAP counterparts.

A Prospective Study of Interbody Fat Graft ApplicationWith the Anterior Contralateral Cervical Microdiscectomy to Preserve Segmental Mobility

Neurosurgery 81:627–637, 2017

Any surgical procedure aims at protecting mobile segments at the operated level, and the sagittal balance of the columna vertebralis. Interbody fusion has become an often applied technique in anterior cervical discectomy.

OBJECTIVE: To indicate that a minimally invasive technique in which we use interbody fat graft placement showed great results and effectiveness, especially in patients who were suffering from cervical paramedian disc herniation.

METHODS: In this study, 432 patients were observed from 2000 to 2013. All these consecutive patients had paramedian disc herniation. The initial 239 patients (group 1) underwent microdiscectomy without graft placement, whereas the remaining 193 patients (group 2) had a microdiscectomy with interbody fat graft insertion. The Neck Disability Index (NDI) and Short Form-36 (SF-36)were used to evaluate clinical outcomes. Theywere followed up for 5.3 years (range 2-13 years).

RESULTS: Spontaneous radiological fusionwas noticed in 12%of group 1 patients and none of the group 2 patients. It has been observed that the mean overall cervical curvature (C2- 7) angles and segmental lordosis did not change significantly in late follow-up findings. During both early and late follow-ups, all patients indicated a decreasing NDI score, but in late follow-up, an improving SF-36 score.

CONCLUSION: This surgical technique provides good direct decompression and preserves mobility at the treated level, while preventing disc collapse.

Cervical Spine Deformity—Part 2: Management Algorithm and Anterior Techniques

Neurosurgery 81:561–567, 2017

A sound operative plan based on solid understanding of the pathology and biomechanics is the most important part of cervical deformity correction.

Many different surgical options exist for operative management of cervical spine deformities. However, selecting the correct approach that ensures the optimal clinical outcome can be challenging and often controversial.

In Part 2 of this three-part review series, we discuss the pre-operative planning, management algorithm, and anterior surgical techniques for cervical deformity correction.


Surgical management of spinal osteoblastomas

J Neurosurg Spine 27:321–327, 2017

Osteoblastoma is a rare primary benign bone tumor with a predilection for the spinal column. Although of benign origin, osteoblastomas tend to behave more aggressively clinically than other benign tumors. Because of the low incidence of osteoblastomas, evidence-based treatment guidelines and high-quality research are lacking, which has resulted in inconsistent treatment. The goal of this study was to determine whether application of the Enneking classification in the management of spinal osteoblastomas influences local recurrence and survival time.

METHODS A multicenter database of patients who underwent surgical intervention for spinal osteoblastoma was developed by the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor. Patient data pertaining to demographics, diagnosis, treatment, crosssectional survival, and local recurrence were collected. Patients in 2 cohorts, based on the Enneking classification of the tumor (Enneking appropriate [EA] and Enneking inappropriate [EI]), were analyzed. If the final pathology margin matched the Enneking-recommended surgical margin, the tumor was classified as EA; if not, it was classified as EI.

RESULTS A total of 102 patients diagnosed with a spinal osteoblastoma were identified between November 1991 and June 2012. Twenty-nine patients were omitted from the analysis because of short follow-up time, incomplete survival data, or invalid staging, which left 73 patients for the final analysis. Thirteen (18%) patients suffered a local recurrence, and 6 (8%) patients died during the study period. Local recurrence was strongly associated with mortality (relative risk 9.2; p = 0.008). When adjusted for Enneking appropriateness, this result was not altered significantly. No significant differences were found between the EA and EI groups in regard to local recurrence and mortality.

CONCLUSIONS In this evaluation of the largest multicenter cohort of spinal osteoblastomas, local recurrence was found to be strongly associated with mortality. Application of the Enneking classification as a treatment guide for preventing local recurrence was not validated.

Spinal navigation for posterior instrumentation of C1–2 instability using a mobile intraoperative CT scanner

J Neurosurg Spine 27:268–275, 2017

Spinal navigation techniques for surgical fixation of unstable C1–2 pathologies are challenged by complex osseous and neurovascular anatomy, instability of the pathology, and unreliable preoperative registration techniques. An intraoperative CT scanner with autoregistration of C-1 and C-2 promises sufficient accuracy of spinal navigation without the need for further registration procedures. The aim of this study was to analyze the accuracy and reliability of posterior C1–2 fixation using intraoperative mobile CT scanner–guided navigation.

METHODS In the period from July 2014 to February 2016, 10 consecutive patients with instability of C1–2 underwent posterior fixation using C-2 pedicle screws and C-1 lateral mass screws, and 2 patients underwent posterior fixation from C-1 to C-3. Spinal navigation was performed using intraoperative mobile CT. Following navigated screw insertion in C-1 and C-2, intraoperative CT was repeated to check for the accuracy of screw placement. In this study, the accuracy of screw positioning was retrospectively analyzed and graded by an independent observer.

RESULTS The authors retrospectively analyzed the records of 10 females and 2 males, with a mean age of 80.7 ± 4.95 years (range 42–90 years). Unstable pathologies, which were verified by fracture dislocation or by flexion/extension radiographs, included 8 Anderson Type II fractures, 1 unstable Anderson Type III fracture, 1 hangman fracture Levine Effendi Ia, 1 complex hangman-Anderson Type III fracture, and 1 destructive rheumatoid arthritis of C1–2. In 4 patients, critical anatomy was observed: high-riding vertebral artery (3 patients) and arthritis-induced partial osseous destruction of the C-1 lateral mass (1 patient). A total of 48 navigated screws were placed. Correct screw positioning was observed in 47 screws (97.9%). Minor pedicle breach was observed in 1 screw (2.1%). No screw displacement occurred (accuracy rate 97.9%).

CONCLUSION Spinal navigation using intraoperative mobile CT scanning was reliable and safe for posterior fixation in unstable C1–2 pathologies with high accuracy in this patient series.

Correction of severe spinopelvic mismatch: decreased blood loss with lateral hyperlordotic interbody grafts as compared with pedicle subtraction osteotomy

Neurosurg Focus 43 (2):E15, 2017

Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) provides extensive correction in patients with fixed sagittal plane imbalance but is associated with high estimated blood loss (EBL). Anterior column realignment (ACR) with lateral graft placement and sectioning of the anterior longitudinal ligament allows restoration of lumbar lordosis (LL). The authors compare peri- and postoperative measures in 2 groups of patients undergoing correction of a sagittal plane imbalance, either through PSO or the use of lateral lumbar fusion and ACR with hyperlordotic (20°–30°) interbody cages, with stabilization through standard posterior instrumentation in all cases.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective chart review of cases involving a lumbar PSO or lateral lumbar interbody fusion and ACR (LLIF-ACR) between 2010 and 2015 at the authors’ institution. Patients who had a PSO in the setting of a preexisting fusion that spanned more than 4 levels were excluded. Demographic characteristics, spinopelvic parameters, EBL, operative time, and LOS were analyzed and compared between patients treated with PSO and those treated with LLIF-ACR.

RESULTS The PSO group included 14 patients and the LLIF-ACR group included 13 patients. The mean follow-up was 13 months in the LLIF-ACR group and 26 months in the PSO group. The mean EBL was significantly lower in the LLIF-ACR group, measuring approximately 50% of the mean EBL in the PSO group (1466 vs 2910 ml, p < 0.01). Total LL correction was equivalent between the 2 groups (35° in the PSO group, 31° in the LLIF-ACR group, p > 0.05), as was the preoperative PI-LL mismatch (33° in each group, p > 0.05) and the postoperative PI-LL mismatch (< 1° in each group, p = 0.05). The fusion rate as assessed by the need for reoperation due to pseudarthrosis was lower in the LLIF-ACR group but not significantly so (3 revisions in the PSO group due to pseudarthrosis vs 0 in the LLIF-ACR group, p > 0.5). The total operative time and LOS were not significantly different in the 2 groups.

CONCLUSIONS This is the first direct comparison of the LLIF-ACR technique with the PSO in adult spinal deformity correction. The study demonstrates that the LLIF-ACR provides equivalent deformity correction with significantly reduced blood loss in patients with a previously unfused spine compared with the PSO. This technique provides a powerful means to avoid PSO in selected patients who require spinal deformity correction.

Open versus percutaneous instrumentation in thoracolumbar fractures

J Neurosurg Spine 27:235–241, 2017

Percutaneous instrumentation in thoracolumbar fractures is intended to decrease paravertebral muscle damage by avoiding dissection. The aim of this study was to compare muscles at instrumented levels in patients who were treated by open or percutaneous surgery.

METHODS Twenty-seven patients underwent open instrumentation, and 65 were treated percutaneously. A standardized MRI protocol using axial T1-weighted sequences was performed at a minimum 1-year follow-up after implant removal. Two independent observers measured cross-sectional areas (CSAs, in cm2) and region of interest (ROI) signal intensity (in pixels) of paravertebral muscles by using OsiriX at the fracture level, and at cranial and caudal instrumented pedicle levels. An interobserver comparison was made using the Bland-Altman method. Reference ROI muscle was assessed in the psoas and ROI fat subcutaneously. The ratio ROI-CSA/ROI-fat was compared for patients treated with open versus percutaneous procedures by using a linear mixed model. A linear regression analyzed additional factors: age, sex, body mass index (BMI), Pfirrmann grade of adjacent discs, and duration of instrumentation in situ.

RESULTS The interobserver agreement was good for all CSAs. The average CSA for the entire spine was 15.7 cm2 in the open surgery group and 18.5 cm2 in the percutaneous group (p = 0.0234). The average ROI-fat and ROI-muscle signal intensities were comparable: 497.1 versus 483.9 pixels for ROI-fat and 120.4 versus 111.7 pixels for ROI-muscle in open versus percutaneous groups. The ROI-CSA varied between 154 and 226 for open, and between 154 and 195 for percutaneous procedures, depending on instrumented levels. A significant difference of the ROI-CSA/ROI-fat ratio (0.4 vs 0.3) was present at fracture levels T12–L1 (p = 0.0329) and at adjacent cranial (p = 0.0139) and caudal (p = 0.0100) instrumented levels. Differences were not significant at thoracic levels. When adjusting based on age, BMI, and Pfirrmann grade, a significant difference between open and percutaneous procedures regarding the ROI-CSA/ROI-fat ratio was present in the lumbar spine (p < 0.01). Sex and duration of instrumentation had no significant influence.

CONCLUSIONS Percutaneous instrumentation decreased muscle atrophy compared with open surgery. The MRI signal differences for T-12 and L-1 fractures indicated less fat infiltration within CSAs in patients who received percutaneous treatment. Differences were not evidenced at thoracic levels, where CSAs were smaller. Fat infiltration was not significantly different at lumbar levels with either procedure in elderly patients with associated discopathy and higher BMI. In younger patients, there was less fat infiltration of lumbar paravertebral muscles with percutaneous procedures.


Spinal epidural hematomas: personal experience and literature review of more than 1000 cases

J Neurosurg Spine 27:198–208, 2017

The goal of this study was to identify factors that contribute to the formation of acute spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) by correlating etiology, age, site, clinical status, and treatment with immediate results and long-term outcomes.

METHODS The authors reviewed their series of 15 patients who had been treated for SEH between 1996 and 2012. In addition, the authors reviewed the relevant international literature from 1869 (when SEH was first described) to 2012, collecting a total of 1010 cases. Statistical analysis was performed in 959 (95%) cases that were considered valid for assessing the incidence of age, sex, site, and clinical status at admission, correlating each of these parameters with the treatment results. Statistical analysis was also performed in 720 (71.3%) cases to study the incidence of etiological factors that favor SEH formation: coagulopathy, trauma, spinal puncture, pregnancy, and multifactorial disorders. The clinical status at admission and long-term outcome were studied for each group. Clinical status was assessed using the Neuro-Grade (NG) scale.

RESULTS The mean patient age was 47.97 years (range 0–91 years), and a significant proportion of patients were male (60%, p < 0.001). A bimodal distribution has been reported for age at onset with peaks in the 2nd and 6th decades of life. The cause of the SEH was not reported in 42% of cases. The etiology concerned mainly iatrogenic factors (18%), such as coagulopathy or spinal puncture, rather than noniatrogenic factors (29%), such as genetic or metabolic coagulopathy, trauma, and pregnancy. The etiology was multifactorial in 11.1% of cases. The most common sites for SEH were C-6 (n = 293, 31%) and T-12 (n = 208, 22%), with maximum extension of 6 vertebral bodies in 720 cases (75%). At admission, 806 (84%) cases had moderate neurological impairment (NG 2 or 3), and only lumbar hematoma was associated with a good initial clinical neurological status (NG 0 or 1). Surgery was performed in 767 (80%) cases. Mortality was greater in patients older than 40 years of age (9%; p < 0.01). Sex did not influence any of these data (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS Factors that contribute to the formation of acute SEH are iatrogenic, not iatrogenic, or multifactorial. The treatment of choice is surgery, and the results of treatment are influenced by the patient’s clinical and neurological status at admission, age, and the craniocaudal site.

Stabilization of Tumor-Associated Craniovertebral Junction Instability

Neurosurgery 81:251–258, 2017

Whether primary or metastatic, tumors of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) are rare and challenging.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the surgical indications, operative variables, and outcomes in patients with tumors of the CVJ undergoing occipitocervical (OC) stabilization.

METHODS: A single-institution, retrospective case series was performed from a prospectively maintained spine database. Patients with primary or metastatic tumors of the CVJ who underwent OC stabilization were identified. Out of 46 patients who underwent OC fusion, 39 were for tumor. Paired t-tests and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were performed to assess for postoperative changes.

RESULTS: Ten patients (26%) harbored primary tumors, and the remaining 29 (74%) had metastatic disease. Of the metastatic patients, 14 had a neurological deficit, 10 had severe neck pain, and 5 were deemed mechanically unstable. Postoperative visual analog pain scoreswere significantly reduced at all 3 follow-up times (P<.001, 95% confidence interval [CI; 3.2, 6.0]; P = .001, 95% CI [2.6, 7.7]; P = .020, 95% CI [0.6, 5.5]). The percentage of patients who were ambulatory and neurologically improved or intact remained stable postoperatively with no significant declines. There were 2 perioperative mortalities (5%), and 13 patients (33%) experienced a major complication.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with primary or metastatic tumor of the CVJ, OC stabilization using a cervical screw-rod system affixed to a midline-keel buttress plate, with or without posterior decompression, is a reliable method for CVJ stabilization in the oncologic setting. Improvement in pain and preservation of neurological function was seen.


A New Classification for Pathologies of Spinal Meninges—Part 2: Primary and Secondary Intradural Arachnoid Cysts

Neurosurgery 81:217–229, 2017

Spinal intradural arachnoid cysts are rare causes of radiculopathy or myelopathy. Treatment options include resection, fenestration, or cyst drainage.

OBJECTIVE: To classify intradural spinal arachnoid cysts and present results of their treatment.

METHODS: Among 1519 patientswith spinal space occupying lesions, 130 patients demonstrated intradural arachnoid cysts. Neuroradiological and surgical features were reviewed and clinical data analyzed.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients presented arachnoid cysts as a result of an inflammatory leptomeningeal reaction related to meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intrathecal injections, intradural surgery, or trauma, ie, secondary cysts. For the remaining 109 patients, no such history could be elucidated, ie, primary cysts. Forty-six percent of primary and 86% of secondary cysts were associated with syringomyelia. Patients presented after an average history of 53±88 months. Therewere 122 thoracic and 7 lumbar cysts plus 1 cervical cyst. Fifty-nine patients with primary and 15 patients with secondary cysts underwent laminotomies with complete or partial cyst resection and duraplasty. Mean follow-up was 57 ± 52 months. In the first postoperative year, profound improvements for primary cysts were noted, in contrast to marginal changes for secondary cysts. Progression-free survival for 10 years following surgery was determined as 83% for primary compared to 15% for secondary cysts. Despite differences in clinical presentation, progression-free survival was almost identical for patients with or without syringomyelia.

CONCLUSIONS: Complete or partial resection leads to favorable short- and long-term results for primary arachnoid cysts. For secondary cysts, surgery can only provide clinical stabilization for a limited time due to the often extensive arachnoiditis.


Long-term clinical and radiographic outcomes of the Prestige LP artificial cervical disc replacement at 2 levels

J Neurosurg Spine 27:7–19, 2017

The aim of this study was to assess long-term clinical safety and effectiveness in patients undergoing anterior cervical surgery using the Prestige LP artificial disc replacement (ADR) prosthesis to treat degenerative cervical spine disease at 2 adjacent levels compared with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

METHODS A prospective, randomized, controlled, multicenter FDA-approved clinical trial was conducted at 30 US centers, comparing the low-profile titanium ceramic composite-based Prestige LP ADR (n = 209) at 2 levels with ACDF (n = 188). Clinical and radiographic evaluations were completed preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at regular postoperative intervals to 84 months. The primary end point was overall success, a composite variable that included key safety and efficacy considerations.

RESULTS At 84 months, the Prestige LP ADR demonstrated statistical superiority over fusion for overall success (observed rate 78.6% vs 62.7%; posterior probability of superiority [PPS] = 99.8%), Neck Disability Index success (87.0% vs 75.6%; PPS = 99.3%), and neurological success (91.6% vs 82.1%; PPS = 99.0%). All other study effectiveness measures were at least noninferior for ADR compared with ACDF. There was no statistically significant difference in the overall rate of implant-related or implant/surgical procedure–related adverse events up to 84 months (26.6% and 27.7%, respectively). However, the Prestige LP group had fewer serious (Grade 3 or 4) implant- or implant/surgical procedure–related adverse events (3.2% vs 7.2%, log hazard ratio [LHR] and 95% Bayesian credible interval [95% BCI] -1.19 [-2.29 to -0.15]). Patients in the Prestige LP group also underwent statistically significantly fewer second surgical procedures at the index levels (4.2%) than the fusion group (14.7%) (LHR -1.29 [95% BCI -2.12 to -0.46]). Angular range of motion at superior- and inferior-treated levels on average was maintained in the Prestige LP ADR group to 84 months.

CONCLUSIONS The low-profile artificial cervical disc in this study, Prestige LP, implanted at 2 adjacent levels, maintains improved clinical outcomes and segmental motion 84 months after surgery and is a safe and effective alternative to fusion.

Surgical treatment of intraforaminal/extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1273–1281

Several disc disease nomenclatures and approaches for LDH exist. The traditional midline bonedestructive procedures together with approaches requiring extreme muscular retraction are being replaced by muscle sparing, targeted, stability-preserving surgical routes. The increasing speculation on LDHs and the innovative corridors described to treat them have lead to an extensive production of papers frequently treating the same topic but adopting different terminologies and reporting contradictory results.

Methods The review of such literature somehow confounding gave us the chance to regroup by surgical corridors the vast amount of approaches for LDH differently renamed over time. Likewise, LDHs were simplified in intra-foraminal (ILDH), extra-foraminal (ELDH), and intra−/extra-foraminal (IELDH) in relation to precise anatomical boundaries and extent of bulging disc.

Results Through the analysis of the papers, it was possible to identify ideal surgical corridors for ILDHs, ELDHs, and IELDHs, distinguishing for each approach the exposure provided and the technical advantages/disadvantages in terms of muscle trauma, biomechanical stability, and nerve root preservation. A significant disproportion was noted between studies discussing traditional midline approaches or variants of the posterolateral route and those investigating pros and cons of simple or combined alternative corridors. Although rarely discussed, these latter represent valuable strategies particularly for the challenging IELDHs, thanks to the optimal compromise between herniation exposure and bone-muscle preservation.

Conclusions The integration of adequate mastery of traditional approaches together with a greater confidence through unfamiliar surgical corridors can improve the development of combined mini-invasive procedures, which seem promising for future targeted LDH excisions.

A New Classification for Pathologies of Spinal Meninges, Part 1: Dural Cysts, Dissections, and Ectasias

Neurosurgery 81:29–44, 2017

The clinical significance of pathologies of the spinal dura is often unclear and their management controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To classify spinal dural pathologies analogous to vascular aneurysms, present their symptoms and surgical results.

METHODS: Among 1519 patients with spinal space-occupying lesions, 66 patients demonstrated dural pathologies. Neuroradiological and surgical features were reviewed and clinical data analyzed.

RESULTS: Saccular dural diverticula (type I, n = 28) caused by defects of both dural layers, dissections between dural layers (type II, n = 29) due to defects of the inner layer, and dural ectasias (type III, n = 9) related to structural changes of the dura were distinguished. For all types, symptoms consisted of local pain followed by signs of radiculopathy or myelopathy, while one patient with dural ectasia presented a low-pressure syndrome and 10 patients with dural dissections additional spinal cord herniation. Type I and type II pathologies required occlusion of their dural defects via extradural (type I) or intradural (type II) approaches. For type III pathologies of the dural sac no surgerywas recommended. Favorable results were obtained in all 14 patients with type I and 13 of 15 patients with type II pathologies undergoing surgery.

CONCLUSION: The majority of dural pathologies involving root sleeves remain asymptomatic, while those of the dural sac commonly lead to pain and neurological symptoms. Type I and type II pathologies were treated with good long-term results occluding their dural defects, while ectasias of the dural sac (type III) were managed conservatively.


Evolution of Sagittal Imbalance Following Corrective Surgery for Sagittal Plane Deformity

Neurosurgery 81:129–134, 2017

Sagittal balance in adult spinal deformity is a major predictor of quality of life. A temporary loss of paraspinalmuscle force and somatic pain following spine surgery may limit a patient’s ability to maintain posture.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the evolution of sagittal balance and clinical outcomes during recovery from adult spinal deformity surgery.

METHODS: Retrospective review of a prospective observational database identified a consecutive series of patients with sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 40mm undergoing adult deformity surgery. Radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes were measured out to 2 yr after surgery.

RESULTS: A total of 113 consecutive patients met inclusion criteria. Mean preoperative SVA was 90.3 mm, increased to 104.6mm in the first week, then gradually reduced at each follow-up interval to 59.2mm at 6wk, 45.0mm at 3mo, 38.6mm at 6mo, and 34.1mm at 1 yr (all P < .05). SVA did not change between 1 and 2 yr. Pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) corrected immediately from 25.3◦ to 8.5◦ (16.8◦ change; P < .01) and a decreased pelvic tilt from 27.6◦ to 17.6◦ (10◦ change; P < .01). No further change was noted in PILL. Pelvic tilt increased to 20.2◦ (P = .01) at 6wk and held steady through 2 yr. Mean Visual Analog Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form-36 scores all improved; pain rapidly improved, whereas disability measures improved as SVA improved.

CONCLUSION: Radiographic assessment of global sagittal alignment did not fully reflect surgical correction of sagittal balance until 6 months after adult deformity surgery. Sagittal balance initially worsened then steadily improved at each interval over the first year postoperatively. At 1 yr, all clinical and radiographic measures outcomes were significantly improved.


Expandable vs Static Cages in Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Neurosurgery 81:69–74, 2017

One criticism of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is the inability to increase segmental lordosis (SL). Expandable interbody cages are a relatively new innovation theorized to allow improvement in SL.

OBJECTIVE: To compare changes in SL and lumbar lordosis (LL) after TLIF with nonexpandable vs expandable cages. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients who were ≥18 years old and underwent single-level TLIF between 2011 and 2014. Patients were categorized by cage type (static vs expandable). Primary outcome of interestwas change in SL and LL from preoperative values to those at 1 month and 1 year postoperatively.

RESULTS: A total of 89 patients were studied (48 nonexpandable group, 41 expandable group). Groups had similar baseline characteristics. For SL, median (interquartile range) improvement was 3◦ for nonexpandable and 2◦ for expandable (unadjusted, P = .09; adjusted, P = .68) at 1 month postoperatively, and 3◦ for nonexpandable and 1◦ for expandable (unadjusted, P=.41; adjusted, P=.28) at 1 year postoperatively. For LL, median improvement was 1◦ for nonexpandable and 2◦ for expandable (unadjusted, P = .20; adjusted, P = .21), and 2◦ for nonexpandable and 5◦ for expandable (unadjusted, P = .15; adjusted, P=.51) at 1 year postoperatively. After excluding parallel expandable cages, there was still no difference in SL or LL improvement at 1month or 1 year postoperatively between static and expandable cages (both unadjusted and adjusted, P > .05).

CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing single-level TLIF experienced similar improvements in SL and LL regardless of whether nonexpandable or expandable cages were placed.

Morbidity and Mortality Associated with Surgery of Traumatic C2 Fractures in Octogenarians

Neurosurgery 80:854–862, 2017

Management of axis fractures in the elderly remains controversial. As the US population increasingly lives past 80 years, published C2 fracture morbidity/mortality profiles in younger cohorts (55+) have become less applicable to octogenarians.

OBJECTIVE: To report associations between surgery and mortality, hospital length of stay and discharge disposition in octogenarians with traumatic C2 fractures.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of 3847 patients age ≥ 80 years representing 17 702 incidents nationwide, divided into surgery/nonsurgery cohorts, using the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank from 2003 to 2012. Inpatient complications, mortality, length of stay, and discharge disposition are characterized; multivariable regression was utilized to determine associations between surgery and outcomes. Institutional Review Board (IRB): The National Sample Program dataset from the National Trauma Data Bank is fully deidentified and does not contain Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act identifiers; therefore, this study is exempt from IRB review at the University of California, San Francisco.

RESULTS: Incidence of surgery was 10.3%. Surgery was associated with increased pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and decubitus ulcer risks (P < .001). Inpatient mortality was 12.8% (nonsurgery—13.0%; surgery—10.3%; P = .120). Length of stay was 8.31±9.32 days (nonsurgery 7.78±9.21; surgery 12.86±9.07; P<.001) and showed an adjusted mean increase of 5.68 days with surgery (95% confidence interval [4.74-6.61]). Of patients surviving to discharge, 26% returned home (nonsurgery—26.8%; surgery— 18.8%; P=.001); surgery patientswere less likely to returnhome(odds ratio 0.59 [0.44-0.78]).

CONCLUSION: The present study confirms that surgery of traumatic C2 fractures in octogenarians does not significantly affect inpatient mortality and increases discharge to institutionalized care. Patients undergoing surgery are more likely to require longer hospitalization and suffer increased medical complications during their stay. Given the retrospective nature of this study, it is unclear whether these conclusions reflect differences in injury severity between surgery cohorts. This question may be considered in a future prospective study.

Clinical Outcomes of Cervical Laminoplasty

Neurosurgery 80:934–941, 2017

Laminoplasty is an established treatment for cervical myelopathy. Multiple variations have emerged, many advocating the use of allograft, but controversy persists.

OBJECTIVE: To assess medium-term clinical outcomes in patientswho underwent laminoplasty with autograft at our institution.

METHODS: Thirty-two consecutive patients (19 male, 13 female, average age 66 yr) from our prospective outcome registry that underwent cervical laminoplasty between 2009 and 2013 were reviewed. Computed tomography (CT) scan was performed immediately postoperatively and at 6-mo follow-up. Parameters included patient perception of outcome, Nurick score, Neck Disability Index (NDI), visual analog scale for neck pain, and SF-36.

RESULTS: On retrospective analysis, all patients felt improved at 3 mo postoperatively; at 2 yr, this rate was 91%. Improvements were seen in Nurick scores, from 3.16 ± 0.9 preoperatively to 1.94 ± 0.8 at 2 yr; NDI score from 28.7% ± 9% preoperatively to 20.8% ± 9.6% at 2 yr; visual analog scale from2.8 ± 1.2 preoperatively to 1.7 ± 0.9 at 2 yr; and SF-36 physical component summary from 27.9±10 preoperatively to 37.8±11.9 at 2 yr. All values reached significance at all follow-up points (P < .05) with the exception of 6-mo NDI values (P = .062). No C5 palsy, graft complications, or reclosure was observed in any patient during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSION: Laminoplasty with autograft is a safe and effective method to treat cervical myelopathy,with good medium-term clinical outcome. No reclosures were observed. Bony fusion was seen in all cases on CT scan. Our study found good outcomes in the performance of open-door laminoplasty without hardware, in the treatment of cervical stenosis.


The Influence of Pelvic Incidence and Lumbar Lordosis Mismatch on Development of Symptomatic Adjacent Level Disease Following Single-Level Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Neurosurgery 80:880–886, 2017

Annual incidence of symptomatic adjacent level disease (ALD) following lumbar fusion surgery ranges from 0.6% to 3.9% per year. Sagittal malalignment may contribute to the development of ALD.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the relationship between pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch and the development of symptomatic ALD requiring revision surgery following single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for degenerative lumbar spondylosis and/or low-grade spondylolisthesis.

METHODS: All patients who underwent a single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion at either L4/5 or L5/S1 between July 2006 and December 2012 were analyzed for pre- and postoperative spinopelvic parameters. Using univariate and logistic regression analysis,we compared the spinopelvic parameters of those patients who required revision surgery against those patients who did not develop symptomatic ALD. We calculated the predictive value of PI-LL mismatch.

RESULTS: One hundred fifty-nine patients met the inclusion criteria. The results noted that, for a 1◦ increase in PI-LL mismatch (preop and postop), the odds of developing ALD requiring surgery increased by 1.3 and 1.4 fold, respectively, which were statistically significant increases. Based on our analysis, a PI-LL mismatch of >11◦ had a positive predictive value of 75% for the development of symptomatic ALD requiring revision surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: A high PI-LL mismatch is strongly associated with the development of symptomatic ALD requiring revision lumbar spine surgery. The development of ALD may represent a global disease process as opposed to a focal condition. Spine surgeons may wish to consider assessment of spinopelvic parameters in the evaluation of degenerative lumbar spine pathology.


Cervical disc arthroplasty with the Prestige LP disc versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, at 2 levels: results of a prospective, multicenter randomized controlled clinical trial at 24 months

J Neurosurg Spine 26:653–667, 2017

The authors compared the efficacy and safety of arthroplasty using the Prestige LP cervical disc with those of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (DDD) at 2 adjacent levels.

METHODS Patients from 30 investigational sites were randomized to 1 of 2 groups: investigational patients (209) underwent arthroplasty using a Prestige LP artificial disc, and control patients (188) underwent ACDF with a cortical ring allograft and anterior cervical plate. Patients were evaluated preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Efficacy and safety outcomes were measured according to the Neck Disability Index (NDI), Numeric Rating Scales for neck and arm pain, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), gait abnormality, disc height, range of motion (investigational) or fusion (control), adverse events (AEs), additional surgeries, and neurological status. Treatment was considered an overall success when all 4 of the following criteria were met: 1) NDI score improvement of ≥ 15 points over the preoperative score, 2) maintenance or improvement in neurological status compared with preoperatively, 3) no serious AE caused by the implant or by the implant and surgical procedure, and 4) no additional surgery (supplemental fixation, revision, or nonelective implant removal). Independent statisticians performed Bayesian statistical analyses.

RESULTS The 24-month rates of overall success were 81.4% for the investigational group and 69.4% for the control group. The posterior mean for overall success in the investigational group exceeded that in the control group by 0.112 (95% highest posterior density interval = 0.023 to 0.201) with a posterior probability of 1 for noninferiority and 0.993 for superiority, demonstrating the superiority of the investigational group for overall success. Noninferiority of the investigational group was demonstrated for all individual components of overall success and individual effectiveness end points, except for the SF-36 Mental Component Summary. The investigational group was superior to the control group for NDI success. The proportion of patients experiencing any AE was 93.3% (195/209) in the investigational group and 92.0% (173/188) in the control group, which were not statistically different. The rate of patients who reported any serious AE (Grade 3 or 4) was significantly higher in the control group (90 [47.9%] of 188) than in the investigational group (72 [34.4%] of 209) with a posterior probability of superiority of 0.996. Radiographic success was achieved in 51.0% (100/196) of the investigational patients (maintenance of motion without evidence of bridging bone) and 82.1% (119/145) of the control patients (fusion). At 24 months, heterotopic ossification was identified in 27.8% (55/198) of the superior levels and 36.4% (72/198) of the inferior levels of investigational patients.

CONCLUSIONS Arthroplasty with the Prestige LP cervical disc is as effective and safe as ACDF for the treatment of cervical DDD at 2 contiguous levels and is an alternative treatment for intractable radiculopathy or myelopathy at 2 adjacent levels.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00637156 (


Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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