Incidence and Risk Factor of Implant Dislocation After Cervical Disk Arthroplasty: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis of 756 Patients

Neurosurgery 93:330–338, 2023

Implant dislocation after cervical disk arthroplasty (CDA) is obviously a critical complication, but no information about the incidence and associated risk factor has been reported.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the incidence and risk factor of implant dislocation after CDA by a retrospective cohort analysis.

METHODS: A retrospective review of a consecutive series of CDA performed between January 2009 and March 2021 at a single institution was conducted. Analyses of chart records and radiological data established the incidence and associated risk factor of implant dislocation after CDA. A Kaplan-Meier survival estimation of implant survival was performed.

RESULTS: A total of 756 consecutive patients were included in this analysis. Five patients (0.7%) had a migration and even dropout of the artificial disk. The overall cumulative survival rate of the implant reached approximately 99.3% of the 756 patients. Preoperative kyphosis was significantly related to implant dislocation (P = .016), with an odds ratio of 15.013.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of implant dislocation after CDA is as low as 0.7% or 5/756 patients. Preoperative kyphosis significantly increases the risk of postoperative implant dislocation by a factor of 15. The migrating implants could be revealed on radiographs as early as 0.9 to 1.4 months postoperatively and were revised to anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion within half a year. No new event of implant dislocation occurred half a year postoperatively. The overall cumulative survival rate of the implant reached 99.3% of the 756 patients. In conclusion, CDA remains a safe and reliable procedure.

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion Versus Posterolateral Fusion Alone in the Treatment of Grade 1 Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

Neurosurgery 93:186–197, 2023

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and posterolateral fusion (PLF) alone are two operations performed to treat degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. To date, it is unclear which operation leads to better outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: To compare TLIF vs PLF alone regarding long-term reoperation rates, complications, and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in patients with degenerative grade 1 spondylolisthesis.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study using prospectively collected data between October 2010 and May 2021 was undertaken. Inclusion criteria were patients aged 18 years or older with grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing elective, single-level, open posterior lumbar decompression and instrumented fusion with ≥1-year follow-up. The primary exposure was presence of TLIF vs PLF without interbody fusion. The primary outcome was reoperation. Secondary outcomes included complications, readmission, discharge disposition, return to work, and PROMs at 3 and 12 months postoperatively, including Numeric Rating Scale-Back/Leg and Oswestry Disability Index. Minimum clinically important difference of PROMs was set at 30% improvement from baseline.

RESULTS: Of 546 patients, 373 (68.3%) underwent TLIF and 173 underwent (31.7%) PLF. Median follow-up was 6.1 years (IQR = 3.6-9.0), with 339 (62.1%) >5-year follow-up. Multivariable logistic regression showed that patients undergoing TLIF had a lower odds of reoperation compared with PLF alone (odds ratio = 0.23, 95% CI = 0.54-0.99, P = .048). Among patients with >5-year follow-up, the same trend was seen (odds ratio = 0.15, 95% CI = 0.03-0.95, P = .045). No differences were observed in 90-day complications (P = .487) and readmission rates (P = .230) or minimum clinically important difference PROMs.

CONCLUSION: In a retrospective cohort study from a prospectively maintained registry, patients with grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing TLIF had significantly lower long-term reoperation rates than those undergoing PLF.

Optimal Timing of Cranioplasty and Predictors of Overall Complications After Cranioplasty: The Impact of Brain Collapse

Neurosurgery 93:84–94, 2023

The optimal timing of cranioplasty (CP) and predictors of overall postoperative complications are still controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the optimal timing of CP.

METHODS: Patients were divided into collapsed group and noncollapsed group based on brain collapse or not, respectively. Brain collapse volume was calculated in a 3-dimensional way. The primary outcomes were overall complications and outcomes at the 12-month follow-up after CP.

RESULTS: Of the 102 patients in this retrospective observation cohort study, 56 were in the collapsed group, and 46 were in the noncollapsed group. Complications were noted in 30.4% (n = 31), 24 (42.9%) patients in the collapsed group and 7 (15.2%) patients in the noncollapsed group, with a significant difference (P = .003). Thirty-three (58.9%) patients had good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale 0-3) in the collapsed group, and 34 (73.9%) patients had good outcomes in the noncollapsed group without a statistically significant difference (P = .113). Brain collapse (P = .005) and Karnofsky Performance Status score at the time of CP (P = .025) were significantly associated with overall postoperative complications. The cut-off value for brain collapse volume was determined as 11.26 cm 3 in the receiver operating characteristic curve. The DC-CP interval was not related to brain collapse volume or postoperative complications.

CONCLUSION: Brain collapse and lower Karnofsky Performance Status score at the time of CP were independent predictors of overall complications after CP. The optimal timing of CP may be determined by tissue window based on brain collapse volume instead of time window based on the decompressive craniectomy-CP interval.


Psoas weakness following oblique lateral interbody fusion surgery: a prospective observational study with an isokinetic dynamometer

The Spine Journal 22 (2022) 1990−1999

Although the surgical corridor used for oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) protects the intrapsoas nerves by causing minimal compression, transient weakness remains the most commonly reported postoperative complication.

PURPOSE: Using a dynamometer to evaluate how the hip flexor strength changes following OLIF.

STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: A prospective observational study.

PATIENT SAMPLE: Forty-six patients who underwent single or multi-level OLIF for lumbar spondylolisthesis.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Isokinetic dynamometer values (peak torque, total work, average power), visual analogue scale (VAS) scores for leg pain, hypoesthesia, subjective weakness of the left hip flexor muscle, Oswestry disability index, body mass index, bone mineral density, radiologic findings of the psoas muscle (cross-sectional area, Hounsfield unit (HU), fat portion grade), and psoas retraction time.

METHODS: The isokinetic muscle strength of the hip flexor was measured five times (preoperatively and postoperatively at 2 days, 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months) for both legs. The peak torque was defined as the postoperative strength of the left hip flexor muscles, and was compared to the preoperative baseline value. The strength of the left and right hip flexor muscles were also compared at each time point. For logistic regression analysis, when the peak torque was below the median value, it was defined as lower peak torque.

RESULTS: Up to 1 week after surgery, the strength of the left hip flexor muscle decreased significantly (paired difference in peak torque was 22.6%, p<.001). In the results of multivariate logistic regression analysis, diabetes (odds ratio [OR]=8.43, p=.020) and the HU of the psoas muscle (OR=0.916, p=.034) were associated with lower peak torque 1 week after surgery. From 1 month after surgery, postoperative weakness of the psoas muscle was not significant. In the questionnaire survey, subjective left hip flexion weakness was reported in 8.5% (4/47) of patients 1 week after surgery, and it remained in only 2.1% (1/47) of patients after 3 months of operation. The frequency of left anterior thigh pain and hypoesthesia decreased from 85.1% (40/47) at 1 week to 2.1% (1/47) at 3 months after surgery. The mean VAS score for left anterior thigh or groin pain decreased significantly at 1 month after surgery (PO2D: 4.04§1.84, PO1M: 1.67§1.10, p<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Dynamometer measurement showed that psoas strength declined significantly up to 1 week after OLIF surgery. Patients with diabetes or lower HU of the psoas muscle showed delayed recovery from postoperative weakness of the psoas muscle. However, the weakness was insignificant from 1 month after surgery. At 3 months after surgery, the other psoas-related problems (left anterior thigh pain and hypoesthesia) also disappeared.

Complications associated with early cranioplasty for patients with traumatic brain injury

J Neurosurg 137:776–781, 2022

Cranioplasty is a technically simple procedure, although one with potentially high rates of complications. The ideal timing of cranioplasty should minimize the risk of complications, but research investigating cranioplasty timing and risk of complications has generated diverse findings. Previous studies have included mixed populations of patients undergoing cranioplasty following decompression for traumatic, vascular, and other cerebral insults, making results challenging to interpret. The objective of the current study was to examine rates of complications associated with cranioplasty, specifically for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) receiving this procedure at the authors’ high-volume level 1 trauma center over a 25-year time period.

METHODS A single-institution retrospective review was conducted of patients undergoing cranioplasty after decompression for trauma. Patients were identified and clinical and demographic variables obtained from 2 neurotrauma databases. Patients were categorized into 3 groups based on timing of cranioplasty: early (≤ 90 days after craniectomy), intermediate (91–180 days after craniectomy), and late (> 180 days after craniectomy). In addition, a subgroup analysis of complications in patients with TBI associated with ultra-early cranioplasty (< 42 days, or 6 weeks, after craniectomy) was performed.

RESULTS Of 435 patients identified, 141 patients underwent early cranioplasty, 187 patients received intermediate cranioplasty, and 107 patients underwent late cranioplasty. A total of 54 patients underwent ultra-early cranioplasty. Among the total cohort, the mean rate of postoperative hydrocephalus was 2.8%, the rate of seizure was 4.6%, the rate of postoperative hematoma was 3.4%, and the rate of infection was 6.0%. The total complication rate for the entire population was 16.8%. There was no significant difference in complications between any of the 3 groups. No significant differences in postoperative complications were found comparing the ultra-early cranioplasty group with all other patients combined.

CONCLUSIONS In this cohort of patients with TBI, early cranioplasty, including ultra-early procedures, was not associated with higher rates of complications. Early cranioplasty may confer benefits such as shorter or fewer hospitalizations, decreased financial burden, and overall improved recovery, and should be considered based on patient-specific factors.


Anterior transpetrosal approach: experiences in 274 cases over 33 years. Technical variations, operated patients, and approach-related complications

J Neurosurg 136:413–421, 2022

The anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) was initially reported in 1985. The authors’ institution has 274 case records of surgery performed with the ATPA during the period from 1984 to 2017. Although many technical advances and modifications in the ATPA have occurred over those 33 years, to the authors’ knowledge no articles to date have reported a detailed analysis of variations and complications of the ATPA. In this study, the authors analyzed their patient series to elucidate improvements over time in ATPA methodology while highlighting unresolved problems and evaluating how to avoid surgical complications.

METHODS All surgical cases (274 patients) using the ATPA at the authors’ institution during the period from 1984 to 2017 were analyzed retrospectively using charts, clinical summaries, operative records, and operative videos. Obtained parameters were patient age and sex, diagnosis, size of tumors, location of disease, operative date, neurological symptoms before and after surgery, radiographically identified brain injury, and other surgical complications. The most common diagnosis was petroclival meningioma (n = 158), followed by trigeminal schwannoma (n = 32), chordoma (n = 25), epidermoid tumor (n = 21), other tumor (n = 27), aneurysm (n = 6), and other (n = 5).

RESULTS The original ATPA was performed in 239 cases. In an additional 35 cases, a modified ATPA was performed. Zygomatic osteotomy with ATPA was a common modification that was used in 19 of the 35 cases to decrease retraction damage to the temporal lobe for high-positioned tumors. Brain injury by temporal lobe retraction without venous hemorrhage still occurred in 8 of the 19 cases (3.1%) with surgical death in 1 of these cases (0.4%) of reoperation with sacrifice of the petrosal vein. Symptomatic CSF leak was the most frequent complication noted and was observed in 35 cases (13.5%). In most of these cases the patients were cured by observation or lumbar drain, but in 6 cases (17.1%) reoperation was needed. Facial nerve damage related to surgical approach decreased from 6.2% to 3.5% after 2010; however, the incidence of CSF leaks (13.5%) has not improved.

CONCLUSIONS There have been several modifications and advancements made in the ATPA to increase tumor removal and decrease surgical complications. However, complications related to surgical approach occurred, such as venous occlusion–related brain injury and facial nerve damage at pyramid resection. CSF leak remained an unsolved problem related to the ATPA procedures. Preoperative assessment of venous variation of the middle fossa, pneumatization of the temporal bone, and intraoperative monitoring of cranial nerves are important procedures to decrease these complications.


Freehand screw insertion technique without image guidance for the cortical bone trajectory screw in posterior lumbar interbody fusion

J Neurosurg Spine 36:1–7, 2022

Cortical bone trajectory (CBT) screw insertion using a freehand technique is considered less feasible than guided techniques, due to the lack of readily identifiable visual landmarks. However, in posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), after resection of the posterior anatomy, the pedicles themselves, into which implantation is performed, are palpable from the spinal canal and neural foramen. With the help of pedicle wall probing, the authors have placed CBT screws using a freehand technique without image guidance in PLIF. This technique has advantages of no radiation exposure and no requirement for expensive devices, but the disadvantage of reduced accuracy in screw placement. To address the problem of symptomatic breaches with this freehand technique, variables related to unacceptable screw positioning and need for revisions were investigated.

METHODS From 2014 to 2020, 182 of 426 patients with single-level PLIF were enrolled according to the combined criteria of L4–5 level, excluding cases of revision and isthmic spondylolisthesis; using screws 5.5 mm in diameter; and operated by right-handed surgeons. We studied the number of misplaced screws found and replaced during initial sur- geries. Using multiplanar reconstruction CT postoperatively, 692 screw positions on images were classified using previ- ously reported grading criteria. Details of pedicle breaches requiring revisions were studied. We conducted a statistical analysis of the relationship between unacceptable (perforations > 2 mm) misplacements and four variables: level, lateral- ity, spinal deformity, and experiences of surgeons.

RESULTS Three screws in L4 and another in L5 were revised during initial surgeries. The total rate of unacceptable screws on CT examinations was 3.3%. Three screws in L4 and another in L5 breached inferomedial pedicle walls in grade 3 and required revisions. The revision rate was 2.2%. The percentage of unacceptable screws was 5.2% in L4 and 1.7% in L5 (p < 0.05), whereas other variables showed no significant differences.

CONCLUSIONS A freehand technique can be feasible for CBT screw insertion in PLIF, balancing the risks of 3.3% unacceptable misplacements and 2.2% revisions with the benefits of no radiation exposure and no need for expensive devices. Pedicle palpation in L4 is the key to safety, even though it requires deeper and more difficult probing. In the initial surgeries and revisions, 75% of revised screws were observed in L4, and unacceptable screw positions were more likely to be found in L4 than in L5.

Removal of instrumentation for postoperative spine infection: systematic review

J Neurosurg Spine 35:376–388, 2021

Currently, no consensus exists as to whether patients who develop infection of the surgical site after undergoing instrumented fusion should have their implants removed at the time of wound debridement. Instrumentation removal may eliminate a potential infection nidus, but removal may also destabilize the patient’s spine. The authors sought to summarize the existing evidence by systematically reviewing published studies that compare outcomes between patients undergoing wound washout and instrumentation removal with outcomes of patients undergoing wound washout alone. The primary objectives were to determine 1) whether instrumentation removal from an infected wound facilitates infection clearance and lowers morbidity, and 2) whether the chronicity of the underlying infection affects the decision to remove instrumentation.

METHODS PRISMA guidelines were used to review the PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, and databases to identify studies that compared patients with implants removed and patients with implants retained. Outcomes of interest included mortality, rate of repeat wound washout, and loss of correction.

RESULTS Fifteen articles were included. Of 878 patients examined in these studies, 292 (33%) had instrumentation removed. Patient populations were highly heterogeneous, and outcome data were limited. Available data suggested that rates of reoperation, pseudarthrosis, and death were higher in patients who underwent instrumentation removal at the time of initial washout. Three studies recommended that instrumentation be uniformly removed at the time of wound washout. Five studies favored retaining the original instrumentation. Six studies favored retention in early infections but removal in late infections.

CONCLUSIONS The data on this topic remain heterogeneous and low in quality. Retention may be preferred in the setting of early infection, when the risk of underlying spine instability is still high and the risk of mature biofilm formation on the implants is low. However, late infections likely favor instrumentation removal. Higher-quality evidence from large, multicenter, prospective studies is needed to reach generalizable conclusions capable of guiding clinical practice.

Intraoperative surveillance of the vertebral artery using indocyanine green angiography and Doppler sonography in craniovertebral junction surgeries

Neurosurg Focus 50 (1):E5, 2021

The authors sought to evaluate the usefulness of indocyanine green (ICG) angiography and Doppler sonography for monitoring the vertebral artery (VA) during craniovertebral junction (CVJ) surgery and compare the incidence of VA injury (VAI) between the groups with and without the monitoring of VA using ICG angiography and Doppler sonography.

METHODS In total, 344 consecutive patients enrolled who underwent CVJ surgery. Surgery was performed without intraoperative VA monitoring tools in 262 cases (control group) and with VA monitoring tools in 82 cases (monitoring group). The authors compared the incidence of VAI between groups. The procedure times of ICG angiography, change of VA flow velocity measured by Doppler sonography, and complication were investigated.

RESULTS There were 4 VAI cases in the control group, and the incidence of VAI was 1.5%. Meanwhile, there were no VAI cases in the monitoring group. The procedure time of ICG angiography was less than 5 minutes (mean [± SD] 4.6 ± 2.1 minutes) and VA flow velocity was 11.2 ± 4.5 cm/sec. There were several cases in which the surgical method had to be changed depending on the VA monitoring. The combined use of ICG angiography and Doppler sonography was useful not only to monitor VA patency but also to assess the quality of blood flow during CVJ surgery, especially in the high-risk group of patients.

CONCLUSIONS The combined use of ICG angiography and Doppler sonography enables real-time intraoperative monitoring of the VA by detecting blood flow and flow velocity. As the arteries get closer, they provide auditory and visual feedback to the surgeon. This real-time image guidance could be a useful tool, especially for high-risk patients and inexperienced surgeons, to avoid iatrogenic VAI during any CVJ surgery.

Neurosurgical Choice for Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia: A Benefit–Harm Assessment of Long-Term Quality of Life

Neurosurgery 88( 1) 2021: 131–139

Microvascular decompression (MVD) and vagoglossopharyngeal rhizotomy (VGR) are effective treatment for glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GN). However, surgical choice is controversial due to the need to maximize pain relief and reduce complications.

OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively compare safety, efficacy, long-term quality of life (QOL), and global impression of change following MVD and VGR for treatment of GN. METHODS: Patient database reviews and telephone surveys were conducted to assess baseline characteristics and long-term outcomes. The effects of pain and complications on QOL were assessed using Brief Pain Inventory-Facial (BPI-Facial) questionnaire. Complication tolerance and surgery satisfaction were sorted using the global impression of change survey.

RESULTS: Of 87 patients with GN, 63 underwentMVD alone, 20 underwent VGR alone, and 4 underwent VGR following a failed MVD. The long-term rate of pain relief was slightly, but not significantly, lower following MVD than VGR (83.6% vs 91.7%, P = .528). However, long-term complications occurred much more frequently following VGR (3.0% vs 50.0%, P < .001). The BPI-Facial, which evaluates pain and complications, showed that MVD had better postoperative QOL than VGR (P < .001). However, 91.7% of patients who underwent VGR experienced no or mild complications. There was no significant difference in the overall satisfaction rates between the groups (83.3% vs 83.6%, P > .99).

CONCLUSION: Although VGR resulted in lower postoperative QOL due to a high complication rate, most of these complications were mild. The overall satisfaction rates for the 2 surgeries were similar.

Asymmetrical pedicle subtraction osteotomy for correction of concurrent sagittal-coronal imbalance in adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 33:822–829, 2020

Rigid multiplanar thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) cases are challenging and many require a 3-column osteotomy (3CO), specifically asymmetrical pedicle subtraction osteotomy (APSO). The outcomes and additional risks of performing APSO for the correction of concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity have yet to be adequately studied.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective review of all ASD patients who underwent 3CO during the period from 2006 to 2019. All cases involved either isolated sagittal deformity (patients underwent standard PSO) or concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity (coronal vertical axis [CVA] ≥ 4.0 cm; patients underwent APSO). Perioperative and 2-year follow-up outcomes were compared between patients with isolated sagittal imbalance who underwent PSO and those with concurrent sagittal-coronal imbalance who underwent APSO.

RESULTS A total of 390 patients were included: 338 who underwent PSO and 52 who underwent APSO. The mean patient age was 64.6 years, and 65.1% of patients were female. APSO patients required significantly more fusions with upper instrumented vertebrae (UIV) in the upper thoracic spine (63.5% vs 43.3%, p = 0.007). Radiographically, APSO patients had greater deformity with more severe preoperative sagittal and coronal imbalance: sagittal vertical axis (SVA) 13.0 versus 10.7 cm (p = 0.042) and CVA 6.1 versus 1.2 cm (p < 0.001). In APSO cases, significant correction and normalization were achieved (SVA 13.0–3.1 cm, CVA 6.1–2.0 cm, lumbar lordosis [LL] 26.3°–49.4°, pelvic tilt [PT] 38.0°–20.4°, and scoliosis 25.0°–10.4°, p < 0.001). The overall perioperative complication rate was 34.9%. There were no significant differences between PSO and APSO patients in rates of complications (overall 33.7% vs 42.3%, p = 0.227; neurological 5.9% vs 3.9%, p = 0.547; medical 20.7% vs 25.0%, p = 0.482; and surgical 6.5% vs 11.5%, p = 0.191, respectively). However, the APSO group required significantly longer stays in the ICU (3.1 vs 2.3 days, p = 0.047) and hospital (10.8 vs 8.3 days, p = 0.002). At the 2-year follow-up, there were no significant differences in mechanical complications, including proximal junctional kyphosis (p = 0.352), pseudarthrosis (p = 0.980), rod fracture (p = 0.852), and reoperation (p = 0.600).

CONCLUSIONS ASD patients with significant coronal imbalance often have severe concurrent sagittal deformity. APSO is a powerful and effective technique to achieve multiplanar correction without higher risk of morbidity and complications compared with PSO for sagittal imbalance. However, APSO is associated with slightly longer ICU and hospital stays.

Endoscopic Transnasal Trans-Sphenoidal Approach for Pituitary Adenomas: A Comparison to the Microscopic Approach Cohort by Propensity Score Analysis

Neurosurgery DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyz201

Despite some evidence for the adoption of endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal surgery (ETSS) for pituitary adenomas, the advantages of this technique over the traditional approach have not been robustly confirmed.

OBJECTIVE: To compare ETSS with the microscopic sublabial trans-septal transsphenoidal surgery (MTSS) for pituitary adenomas.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 2 cohorts of ETSS and MTSS performed at our institution from 1995 to 2017. Patient characteristics, surgical data, and outcomes were recorded prospectively. We performed a univariate and multivariable analysis to determine the best surgical approach. To improve the quality of the results, we matched the distribution of patient characteristics between groups by propensity score (PS) method.

RESULTS: A total of 187 procedures (90 MTSS, 97 ETSS) were reviewed. We found better results in the ETSS group in terms of gross total resection (P = .002) and hormone-excess secretion control (P=.014). There was also a lower incidence of cerebrospinal fluid leakage (P = .039), transitory diabetes insipidus (P = .028), and postoperative hypopituitarism (P = .045), as well as a shorter hospital length of stay (P < .001). After PS matching, we confirmed by multivariable logistic regression analysis an increased odds ratio of gross total resection for the ETSS (3.910; 95% CI 1.720-8.889; P= .001).

CONCLUSION: By PS method, our results suggest that the ETSS provides advantages over the traditional MTSS approach for tumor resection. Better control of secreting tumors and a lower rate of most complications also support the selection of the ETSS approach for the treatment of pituitary adenomas.

Embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations with intent to cure: a systematic review

J Neurosurg 132:388–399, 2020

Endovascular embolization has been established as an adjuvant treatment strategy for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). A growing body of literature has discussed curative embolization for select lesions. The transition of endovascular embolization from an adjunctive to a definitive treatment modality remains controversial. Here, the authors reviewed the literature to assess the lesional characteristics, technical factors, and angiographic and clinical outcomes of endovascular embolization of AVMs with intent to cure.

METHODS Electronic databases—Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, and PubMed—were searched for studies in which there was evidence of AVMs treated using endovascular embolization with intent to cure. The primary outcomes of interest were angiographic obliteration immediately postembolization and at follow-up. The secondary outcomes of interest were complication rates. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates and means.

RESULTS Fifteen studies with 597 patients and 598 AVMs treated with intent-to-cure embolization were included in this analysis. Thirty-four percent of AVMs were Spetzler-Martin grade III. Complete obliteration immediately postembolization was reported in 58.3% of AVMs that had complete treatment and in 45.8% of AVMs in the entire patient cohort. The overall clinical complication rate was 24.1%. The most common complication was hemorrhage, occurring in 9.7% of patients. Procedure-related mortality was 1.5%.

CONCLUSIONS While endovascular embolization with intent to cure can be an option for select AVMs, the reported complication rates appear to be increased compared with those in studies in which adjunctive embolization was the goal. Given the high complication rate related to a primary embolization approach, the risks and benefits of such a treatment strategy should be discussed among a multidisciplinary team. Curative embolization of AVMs should be considered an unanticipated benefit of such therapy rather than a goal.


Perioperative complications with multilevel anterior and posterior cervical decompression and fusion

J Neurosurg Spine 32:9–14, 2020

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a progressive degenerative pathology that frequently affects older individuals and causes spinal cord compression with symptoms of neck pain, radiculopathy, and weakness. Anterior decompression and fusion is the primary intervention to prevent neurological deterioration; however, in severe cases, circumferential decompression and fusion is necessary. Published data regarding perioperative morbidity associated with these complex operations are scarce. In this study, the authors sought to add to this important body of literature by documenting a large single-surgeon experience of single-session circumferential cervical decompression and fusion.

METHODS A retrospective analysis was performed to identify intended single-stage anterior-posterior or posterioranterior- posterior cervical spine decompression and fusion surgeries performed by the primary surgeon (V.C.T.) at Rush University Medical Center between 2009 and 2016. Cases in which true anterior-posterior cervical decompression and fusion was not performed (i.e., those involving anterior-only, posterior-only, or delayed circumferential fusion) were excluded from analysis. Data including standard patient demographic information, comorbidities, previous surgeries, and intraoperative course, along with postoperative outcomes and complications, were collected and analyzed. Perioperative morbidity was recorded during the 90 days following surgery.

RESULTS Seventy-two patients (29 male and 43 female, mean age 57.6 years) were included in the study. Fourteen patients (19.4%) were active smokers, and 56.9% had hypertension, the most common comorbidity. The most common clinical presentation was neck pain in 57 patients (79.2%). Twenty-three patients (31.9%) had myelopathy, and 32 patients (44.4%) had undergone prior cervical spine surgery. Average blood loss was 613 ml. Injury to the vertebral artery was encountered in 1 patient (1.4%). Recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy was observed in 2 patients (2.8%). Two patients (2.8%) had transient unilateral hand grip weakness. There were no permanent neurological deficits. Dysphagia was encountered in 45 patients (62.5%) postoperatively, with 23 (32%) requiring nasogastric parenteral nutrition and 9 (12.5%) patients ultimately undergoing percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) placement. Nine of the 72 patients required a tracheostomy. The incidence of pneumonia was 6.9% (5 patients) overall, and 2 of these patients were in the tracheostomy group. Superficial wound infections occurred in 4 patients (5.6%). Perioperative death occurred in 1 patient. Reoperation was necessary in 10 patients (13.9%). Major perioperative complications (permanent neurological deficit, vascular injury, tracheostomy, PEG tube, stroke, or death) occurred in 30.6% of patients. The risk of minor perioperative complications (temporary deficit, dysphagia, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or wound infection) was 80.6%.

CONCLUSIONS Single-session anterior-posterior cervical decompression and fusion is an inherently morbid operation required in select patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy. In this large single-surgeon series, there was a major perioperative complication risk of 30.6% and minor perioperative complication risk of 80.6%. This overall elevated risk for postoperative complications must be carefully considered and discussed with the patient preoperatively. In some situations, shared decision making may lead to the conclusion that a procedure of lesser magnitude may be more appropriate.

Prognosis of Symptoms and Complications After Microvascular Decompression for Hemifacial Spasm

World Neurosurg. (2018) 118:e557-e561

The aim of this study was to identify potential prognostic factors of hemifacial spasm (HFS) after microvascular decompression (MVD), to establish the appropriate way to tackle postprocedure symptoms and complications (PPSCs), and to find the incidence and duration of PPSCs.

METHODS: Two hundred and forty-eight patients with HFS were monitored between December 2009 and December 2014. The mean follow-up duration was 24 months (range, 6e67 months). We divided patients based on their PPSC status and investigated the following factors: age, sex, spasm side, facial nerve block before MVD (botulinum toxin treatment), acupuncture before MVD, duration of HFS, hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection status, herpes simplex virus infection status, smoking status and alcohol use, offending vessels, Chiari malformation, electrophysiologic monitoring results, and postoperative HFS. Univariable analysis and multivariate logistic regression were used to find potential risk factors. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to show the duration of postprocedure facial palsy.

RESULTS: Age (odds ratio [OR], 1.037; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.004e1.072; P [ 0.03) and HBV status (OR, 18.256; 95% CI, 2.723e122.415; P [ 0.03) were positive predictors of PPSCs. Postoperative HFS (OR, 0.249; 95% CI, 0.084e0.0739; P [ 0.012) may be a protective factor for postprocedure facial palsy. Most PPSCs related to cranial nerves recovered spontaneously in 3 months. Infections and cerebrospinal fluid leakages were controlled by medical intervention in 1e2 weeks. The permanent complication rate was only 4.8%.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the incidence of PPSCs after MVD is very high, most PPSCs related to cranial nerves recovered spontaneously in several days. Permanent complications after MVD for HFS are rare. Age may relate to the occurrence of PPSCs, and postoperative HFS may be a protective factor for patients with facial palsy after MVD.

Autologous Cranioplasty is Associated with Increased Reoperation Rate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Consensus regarding selection of synthetic versus autologous flap reimplantation for cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy has not been reached and the multiple factors considered for each patient make comparative analysis challenging. This study examines the association between choice of material and related complications.

METHODS: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed using PubMed for articles reporting delayed cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy using a cohort design comparing autologous bone and synthetic implants. Extracted data included implant material and incidence of infection, reoperations related to implant, wound complications, and resorption. –

RESULTS: One randomized controlled trial and 11 cohort studies were included for a total of 1586 implants (950 bone, 636 synthetic). Autologous implants had significantly more reoperations than did synthetic implants (n [1586 implants; odds ratio [OR], 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40e2.61). Reoperations were most often because of resorption (54%, n [ 159/295) followed by infection (41%, n [ 121/295). The pooled incidence of resorption in autologous implants was 20% (n [ 159/791). Among the other outcomes, there was no significant difference for infections (n [ 1586; OR, 1.24; CI, 0.82e1.88) or wound complications (n [ 678; OR, 0.56; CI, 0.22e1.45). For the trauma subpopulation, there was no significant difference in infection rate with either material (n [ 197; OR, 1.89; CI; 0.59e6.09).

CONCLUSIONS: Autologous implants had significantly more reoperations primarily because of the intrinsic risk of resorption (level of evidence 3b).

What Is the Fate of Pseudarthrosis Detected 1 Year After Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

Spine 2018;43:E23–E28

Objective. To investigate the consequences and appropriate management of pseudarthrosis after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary of Background Data. Pseudarthrosis is a frequent complication of ACDF and causes unsatisfactory results. Little is known about long-term prognosis of detecting pseudarthrosis 1 year after ACDF.

Methods. Eighty-nine patients with a minimum 2-year followup were included. ACDF surgery using allograft and plating was performed: single-level in 51 patients, two-level in 26 patients, and three-level in 12 patients. Presence of pseudarthrosis was evaluated 1 year postoperatively and then the nonunion segments were re-evaluated 2 years postoperatively. Demographic data were assessed to identify the risk factors associated with pseudarthrosis. A visual analogue scale for neck/arm pain and the Neck Disability Index were analyzed preoperatively and at 1 and 2 years postoperatively.

Results. Pseudarthrosis was detected in 29 patients (32.6%) 1 year postoperatively: 15of 51 patients after single-level surgery, 9 of 26 patients after two-level surgery, and 5 of 12 patients after three-level surgery. Only eight patients showed persistent nonunion at 2 years: 3 of 15 patients after single-level surgery, 3 of 9 after two-level surgery, and 2 of 5 after three-level surgery. The remaining 21 patients (72.4%) achieved bony fusion 2 years postoperatively without any intervention. Patients who underwent two-level or three-level ACDF had a significantly higher pseudarthrosis rate than those who underwent single-level ACDF, with odds ratios of 1.844 and 3.147, respectively. The improvements in visual analogue scale for neck pain and Neck Disability Index scores in the persistent nonunion group were significantly lower than those in the final union group at 2 years.

Conclusion. Patients with pseudarthrosis detected 1 year postoperatively may be observed without any intervention because approximately 70% of them will eventually fuse by the 2-year point. Early revision could, however, be considered if the pseudarthrosis is associated with considerable neck pain after multilevel ACDF.

Level of Evidence: 3

Risk Factors to Predict Neurologic Complications After Endovascular Treatment of Unruptured Paraclinoid Aneurysms


Unruptured paraclinoid aneurysms are often asymptomatic, and endovascular coiling is the main treatment. However, endovascular treatment of these lesions still leads to neurologic complications. We aimed to identify predictors of neurologic complications in these lesions.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed patients with unruptured paraclinoid aneurysms who were treated with endovascular coiling between January 2014 and December 2015. A neurologic complication was defined as any transient or permanent increase in the modified Rankin Scale score after aneurysm embolization. Univariate and mulitivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the risk factors of neurologic complications.

RESULTS: Of the 443 unruptured paraclinoid aneurysms that were included in this study, the incidence of neurologic complications was 5.2%. Neurologic complications were highly correlated with hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 3.147; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.217e8.138; P [ 0.018), cerebral ischemic comorbidities (OR, 3.396; 95% CI, 1.378e 8.374; P [ 0.008), and aneurysm size (OR, 7.714; 95% CI, 1.784e31.635; P < 0.001), and irregular shape (OR, 3.157; 95% CI, 1.239e8.043; P [ 0.016) in the univariate analysis. Cerebral ischemic comorbidities (OR, 2.837, 95% CI, 1.070e 7.523; P [ 0.036) and aneurysm size as dichotomous variables (OR, 7.557; 95% CI, 2.975e19.198; P < 0.001) were strongly correlated with neurologic complications in the final adjusted multivariate logistic analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Unruptured paraclinoid aneurysms after endovascular treatments had 5.2% of neurologic complications. Cerebral ischemic comorbidities and aneurysm size were predictors of neurologic complications.


Complications of ventricular entry during craniotomy for brain tumor resection

J Neurosurg 127:426–432, 2017

Recent studies have demonstrated that periventricular tumor location is associated with poorer survival and that tumor location near the ventricle limits the extent of resection. This finding may relate to the perception that ventricular entry leads to further complications and thus surgeons may choose to perform less aggressive resection in these areas. However, there is little support for this view in the literature. This study seeks to determine whether ventricular entry is associated with more complications during craniotomy for brain tumor resection.

METHODS A retrospective analysis of patients who underwent craniotomy for tumor resection at Henry Ford Hospital between January 2010 and November 2012 was conducted. A total of 183 cases were reviewed with attention to operative entry into the ventricular system, postoperative use of an external ventricular drain (EVD), subdural hematoma, hydrocephalus, and symptomatic intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).

RESULTS Patients in whom the ventricles were entered had significantly higher rates of any complication (46% vs 21%). Complications included development of subdural hygroma, subdural hematoma, intraventricular hemorrhage, subgaleal collection, wound infection, urinary tract infection/deep venous thrombosis, hydrocephalus, and ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement. Specifically, these patients had significantly higher rates of EVD placement (23% vs 1%, p < 0.001), hydrocephalus (6% vs 0%, p = 0.03), IVH (14% vs 0%, p < 0.001), infection (15% vs 5%, p = 0.04), and subgaleal collection (20% vs 4%, p < 0.001). It was also observed that VP shunt placement was only seen in cases of ventricular entry (11% vs 0%, p = 0.001) with 3 of 4 of these patients having a large ventricular entry (defined here as entry greater than a pinhole [< 3 mm] entry). Furthermore, in a subset of glioblastoma patients with and without ventricular entry, Kaplan- Meier estimates for survival demonstrated a median survival time of 329 days for ventricular entry compared with 522 days for patients with no ventricular entry (HR 1.13, 95% CI 0.65–1.96; p = 0.67).

CONCLUSIONS There are more complications associated with ventricular entry during brain tumor resection than in nonviolated ventricular systems. Better strategies for management of periventricular tumor resection should be actively sought to improve resection and survival for these patients.


Volume-Staged Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations

Neurosurgery 80:543–550, 2017

Radiation-based treatment options of large intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM) must balance the likelihood of obliteration with the risk of adverse radiation effects (ARE).
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the efficacy and risks of volume-staged stereotactic radiosurgery (VS-SRS) for AVM.

METHODS: Retrospective study of 34 AVM patients having VS-SRS between 1997 and 2012. A median of 2 stages (range, 2-4) was used to treat a median AVM volume of 22.2 cm3 (range, 7.4-56.7). The median AVM margin dose was 16 Gy (range, 14-18); the median radiosurgery- based AVM score was 2.81 (range, 1.54-6.45). The median follow-up after VS-SRS was 8.2 years (range, 3-13.3).

RESULTS: Nidus obliteration was noted in 18 patients (53%) after VS-SRS. The rate of obliteration was 14% at 3 years, 54% at 5 years, and 75% at 7 years. Six patients (18%) had 11 bleeds after VS-SRS. Two patients (6%) remained neurologically stable, 2 (6%) patients had significant deficits, and 2 patients (6%) died. The actuarial risk of a first bleed after VS-SRS was 6% at 1 year, 12% at 3 years, and 19% at 7 years. Six patients (18%) underwent repeat SRS; all achieved nidus obliteration for an overall cure rate of 71%. Two patients (6%) had a permanent ARE after VS-SRS or repeat SRS.

CONCLUSION: VS-SRS permitted large volume intracranial AVM to be treated with a low rate of ARE. Further study is needed on dose escalation and decreasing the treatment volume per stage to determine if this will increase the rate of obliteration with this technique.

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