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

The Relationship Between Preoperative Clinical Presentation and Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Features in Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery 80:121–128, 2017

Degenerative cervical myelopathy encompasses a group of conditions resulting in progressive spinal cord injury through static and dynamic compression. Although a constellation of changes can present on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the clinical significance of these findings remains a subject of controversy and discussion.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between clinical presentation and quantitative MRI features in patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy.

METHODS: A secondary analysis of MRI and clinical data from 114 patients enrolled in a prospective, multicenter study was conducted. MRIs were assessed for maximum spinal cord compression (MSCC), maximum canal compromise (MCC), signal changes, and a signal change ratio (SCR). MRI features were compared between patients with and those without myelopathy symptoms with the use of t tests. Correlations between MRI features and duration of symptoms were assessed with the Spearman ρ.

RESULTS: Numb hands and Hoffmann sign were associated with greater MSCC (P < .05); broad-based, unstable gait, impairment of gait, and Hoffmann sign were associated with greaterMCC (P<.05); andnumbhands,Hoffmann sign, Babinski sign, lower limb spasticity, hyperreflexia, and T1 hypointensitywere associated with greater SCR (P<.05). Patientswith a T2 signal hyperintensity had greater MSCC and MCC (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: MSCC was associated with upper limb manifestations, and SCR was associated with upper limb, lower limb, and general neurological deficits. Hoffmann sign occurred more commonly in patients with a greater MSCC,MCC and SCR. The Lhermitte phenomenon presented more commonly in patientswith a lower SCR and may be an early indicator of mild spinal cord involvement. Research to validate these findings is required.

Abnormal Findings on Magnetic Resonance Images of the Cervical Spines in 1211 Asymptomatic Subjects

Abnormal Findings on Magnetic Resonance Images of the Cervical Spines in 1211 Asymptomatic Subjects-1

Spine 2015;40:392–398

Study Design. Cross-sectional study.

Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and distribution of abnormal fi ndings on cervical spine magnetic resonance image (MRI).

Summary of Background Data. Neurological symptoms and abnormal findings on MR images are keys to diagnose the spinal diseases. To determine the significance of MRI abnormalities, we must take into account the (1) frequency and (2) spectrum of structural abnormalities, which may be asymptomatic. However, no large-scale study has documented abnormal fi ndings of the cervical spine on MR image in asymptomatic subjects.

Methods. MR images were analyzed for the anteroposterior spinal cord diameter, disc bulging diameter, and axial cross-sectional area of the spinal cord in 1211 healthy volunteers. The age of healthy volunteers prospectively enrolled in this study ranged from 20 to 70 years, with approximately 100 individuals per decade, per sex. These data were used to determine the spectrum and degree of disc bulging, spinal cord compression (SCC), and increased signal intensity changes in the spinal cord.

Results. Most subjects presented with disc bulging (87.6%), which signifi cantly increased with age in terms of frequency, severity,and number of levels. Even most subjects in their 20s had bulging discs, with 73.3% and 78.0% of males and females, respectively. In contrast, few asymptomatic subjects were diagnosed with SCC (5.3%) or increased signal intensity (2.3%). These numbers increased with age, particularly after age 50 years. SCC mainly involved 1 level (58%) or 2 levels (38%), and predominantly occurred at C5– C6 (41%) and C6–C7 (27%).

Conclusion. Disc bulging was frequently observed in asymptomatic subjects, even including those in their 20s. The number of patients with minor disc bulging increased from age 20 to 50 years. In contrast, the frequency of SCC and increased signal intensity increased after age 50 years, and this was accompanied by increased severity of disc bulging.

Level of Evidence: 2

Separation surgery and postoperative SRS for spinal metastases

Local disease control for spinal metastases following “separation surgery” and adjuvant hypofractionated or high-dose single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery

J Neurosurg Spine 18:207–214, 2013

Decompression surgery followed by adjuvant radiotherapy is an effective therapy for preservation or recovery of neurological function and achieving durable local disease control in patients suffering from metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC). The authors examine the outcomes of postoperative image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy delivered as single-fraction or hypofractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for achieving long-term local tumor control.

Methods. A retrospective chart review identified 186 patients with ESCC from spinal metastases who were treated with surgical decompression, instrumentation, and postoperative radiation delivered as either single-fraction SRS (24 Gy) in 40 patients (21.5%), high-dose hypofractionated SRS (24–30 Gy in 3 fractions) in 37 patients (19.9%), or low-dose hypofractionated SRS (18–36 Gy in 5 or 6 fractions) in 109 patients (58.6%). The relationships between postoperative adjuvant SRS dosing and fractionation, patient characteristics, tumor histology–specific radiosensitivity, grade of ESCC, extent of surgical decompression, response to preoperative radiotherapy, and local tumor control were evaluated by competing risks analysis.

Results. The total cumulative incidence of local progression was 16.4% 1 year after SRS. Multivariate Gray competing risks analysis revealed a significant improvement in local control with high-dose hypofractionated SRS (4.1% cumulative incidence of local progression at 1 year, HR 0.12, p = 0.04) as compared with low-dose hypofractionated SRS (22.6% local progression at 1 year, HR 1). Although univariate analysis demonstrated a trend toward greater risk of local progression for patients in whom preoperative conventional external beam radiation therapy failed (22.2% local progression at 1 year, HR 1.96, p = 0.07) compared with patients who did not receive any preoperative radiotherapy (11.2% local progression at 1 year, HR 1), this association was not confirmed with multivariate analysis. No other variable significantly correlated with progression-free survival, including radiation sensitivity of tumor histology, grade of ESCC, extent of surgical decompression, or patient sex.

Conclusions. Postoperative adjuvant SRS following epidural spinal cord decompression and instrumentation is a safe and effective strategy for establishing durable local tumor control regardless of tumor histology–specific radiosensitivity. Patients who received high-dose hypofractionated SRS demonstrated 1-year local progression rates of less than 5% (95% CI 0%–12.2%), which were superior to the results of low-dose hypofractionated SRS. The local progression rate after singlefraction SRS was less than 10% (95% CI 0%–19.0%).

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

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