Comparison of minimally invasive decompression alone versus minimally invasive short-segment fusion in the setting of adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis:

J Neurosurg Spine 39:394–403, 2023

Patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) and neurogenic pain may be candidates for decompression alone or short-segment fusion. In this study, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) decompression (MIS-D) and MIS short-segment fusion (MIS-SF) in patients with DLS were compared in a propensity score–matched analysis.

METHODS The propensity score was calculated using 13 variables: sex, age, BMI, Charlson Comorbidity Index, smoking status, leg pain, back pain, grade 1 spondylolisthesis, lateral spondylolisthesis, multilevel spondylolisthesis, lumbar Cobb angle, pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis, and pelvic tilt in a logistic regression model. One-to-one matching was performed to compare perioperative morbidity and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for patients was calculated based on cutoffs of percentage change from baseline: 42.4% for Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 25.0% for visual analog scale (VAS) low-back pain, and 55.6% for VAS leg pain.

RESULTS A total of 113 patients were included in the propensity score calculation, resulting in 31 matched pairs. Perioperative morbidity was significantly reduced for the MIS-D group, including shorter operative duration (91 vs 204 minutes, p < 0.0001), decreased blood loss (22 vs 116 mL, p = 0.0005), and reduced length of stay (2.6 vs 5.1 days, p = 0.0004). Discharge status (home vs rehabilitation), complications, and reoperation rates were similar. Preoperative PROMs were similar, but after 3 months, improvement was significantly higher for the MIS-SF group in the VAS back pain score (−3.4 vs −1.2, p = 0.044) and Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) Mental Component Summary (MCS) score (+10.3 vs +1.9, p = 0.009), and after 1 year the MIS-SF group continued to have significantly greater improvement in the VAS back pain score (−3.9 vs −1.2, p = 0.026), ODI score (−23.1 vs −7.4, p = 0.037), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey MCS score (+6.5 vs −6.5, p = 0.0374), and VR-12 MCS score (+7.6 vs −5.1, p = 0.047). MCID did not differ significantly between the matched groups for VAS back pain, VAS leg pain, or ODI scores (p = 0.38, 0.055, and 0.072, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Patients with DLS undergoing surgery had similar rates of significant improvement after both MIS-D and MIS-SF. For matched patients, tradeoffs were seen for reduced perioperative morbidity for MIS-D versus greater magnitudes of improvement in back pain, disability, and mental health for patients 1 year after MIS-SF. However, rates of MCID were similar, and the small sample size among the matched patients may be subject to patient outliers, limiting generalizability of these results.

Outcomes following anterior odontoid screw versus posterior arthrodesis for odontoid fractures

J Neurosurg Spine 39:196–205, 2023

Odontoid fractures can be managed surgically when indicated. The most common approaches are anterior dens screw (ADS) fixation and posterior C1–C2 arthrodesis (PA). Each approach has theoretical advantages, but the optimal surgical approach remains controversial. The goal in this study was to systematically review the literature and synthesize outcomes including fusion rates, technical failures, reoperation, and 30-day mortality associated with ADS versus PA for odontoid fractures.

METHODS A systematic literature review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines by searching the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed and the I 2 statistic was used to assess heterogeneity.

RESULTS In total, 22 studies comprising 963 patients (ADS 527, PA 436) were included. The average age of the patients ranged from 28 to 81.2 years across the included studies. The majority of the odontoid fractures were type II based on the Anderson-D’Alonzo classification. The ADS group was associated with statistically significantly lower odds to achieve bony fusion at last follow-up compared to the PA group (ADS 84.1%; PA 92.3%; OR 0.46; 95% CI 0.23–0.91; I 2 42.6%). The ADS group was associated with statistically significantly higher odds of reoperation compared to the PA group (ADS 12.4%; PA 5.2%; OR 2.56; 95% CI 1.50–4.35; I 2 0%). The rates of technical failure (ADS 2.3%; PA 1.1%; OR 1.11; 95% CI 0.52–2.37; I 2 0%) and all-cause mortality (ADS 6%; PA 4.8%; OR 1.35; 95% CI 0.67–2.74; I 2 0%) were similar between the two groups. In the subgroup analysis of patients > 60 years old, the ADS was associated with statistically significantly lower odds of fusion compared to the PA group (ADS 72.4%; PA 89.9%; OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.06–0.91; I 2 58.7%).

CONCLUSIONS ADS fixation is associated with statistically significantly lower odds of fusion at last follow-up and higher odds of reoperation compared to PA. No differences were identified in the rates of technical failure and all-cause mortality. Patients receiving ADS fixation at > 60 years old had significantly higher and lower odds of reoperation and fusion, respectively, compared to the PA group. PA is preferred to ADS fixation for odontoid fractures, with a stronger effect size for patients > 60 years old.

Artificial intelligence in predicting early‑onset adjacent segment degeneration following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

European Spine Journal (2022) 31:2104–2114

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common surgical treatment for degenerative disease in the cervical spine. However, resultant biomechanical alterations may predispose to early-onset adjacent segment degeneration (EO-ASD), which may become symptomatic and require reoperation. This study aimed to develop and validate a machine learning (ML) model to predict EO-ASD following ACDF.

Methods Retrospective review of prospectively collected data of patients undergoing ACDF at a quaternary referral medical center was performed. Patients > 18 years of age with > 6 months of follow-up and complete pre- and postoperative X-ray and MRI imaging were included. An ML-based algorithm was developed to predict EO-ASD based on preoperative demographic, clinical, and radiographic parameters, and model performance was evaluated according to discrimination and overall performance.

Results In total, 366 ACDF patients were included (50.8% male, mean age 51.4 ± 11.1 years). Over 18.7 ± 20.9 months of follow-up, 97 (26.5%) patients developed EO-ASD. The model demonstrated good discrimination and overall performance according to precision (EO-ASD: 0.70, non-ASD: 0.88), recall (EO-ASD: 0.73, non-ASD: 0.87), accuracy (0.82), F1-score (0.79), Brier score (0.203), and AUC (0.794), with C4/C5 posterior disc bulge, C4/C5 anterior disc bulge, C6 posterior superior osteophyte, presence of osteophytes, and C6/C7 anterior disc bulge identified as the most important predictive features.

Conclusions Through an ML approach, the model identified risk factors and predicted development of EO-ASD following ACDF with good discrimination and overall performance. By addressing the shortcomings of traditional statistics, ML techniques can support discovery, clinical decision-making, and precision-based spine care.

Hounsfield Unit as a Predictor of Adjacent-Level Disease in Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery

Neurosurgery 91:146–149, 2022

Bone density has been associated with a successful fusion rate in spine surgery. Hounsfield units (HUs) have more recently been evaluated as an indirect representation of bone density. Low preoperative HUs may be an early indicator of global disease and chronic process and, therefore, indicative of the need for future reoperation.

OBJECTIVE: To assess preoperative HUs and their association with future adjacent segment disease requiring surgical intervention through retrospective study.

METHODS: Patients who underwent lumbar interbody fusion at a single institution between 2007 and 2016 were retrospectively reviewed. Hounsfield unit values were measured from preoperative computed tomography (CT) using sagittal images, encircling cancellous portion of the vertebral body. Patient charts were reviewed for follow-up data and adjacent-level disease development.

RESULTS: A total of 793 patients (age: 56.1 ± 13.7 years, 54.4% female) were included in this study. Twenty-two patients required surgical intervention for adjacent segment disease. Patients who underwent lumbar interbody fusion and did not subsequently require surgical intervention for adjacent-level disease were found to have a higher mean preoperative HU than patients who did require reoperation (180.7 ± 70.0 vs 148.4 ± 8.1, P = .032). Preoperative CT HU was a significant independent predictor for the requirement of adjacent-level surgery after spinal arthrodesis (odds ratio = 0.891 [0.883-0.899], P = .029).

CONCLUSION: Patients who underwent lumbar interbody fusion that did not require reoperation for adjacent-level degeneration were found to have a higher mean preoperative HU than patients who did require surgical intervention. Lower preoperative CT HU was a significant independent predictor for the requirement of adjacent-level surgery after spinal arthrodesis.

Unilateral approach with two‑cage insertion for full endoscopic transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: technical report

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1521–1527

The advantages of performing a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with two cages rather than a single cage include a larger cage-bone contact area and higher interbody stability.

Methods A customized cage guide is docked in the disc space created after a total facet resection. The first cage is inserted deeply into the contralateral disc space. The second cage is then inserted using the cage guide device while protecting the exiting and traversing nerve roots.

Conclusion We successfully inserted two cages from unilateral side during full endoscopic TLIF. This technique is recommended for L4–L5 and L5–S1 levels.

PEEK versus titanium‑coated PEEK cervical cages: fusion rate

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1501–1507

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is one of the most commonly performed procedures for degenerative cervical disease. The evaluation of fusion status is still not fully standardized, and a variety of measurement methods are used. This study presents our own evaluation of fusion by comparing two types of implants.

Methods A total of 170 disc spaces were operated on in 104 patients using PEEK (polyetheretherketone) cages and titaniumcoated (TC) PEEK cages. Patients were assigned to a specific implant using a randomisation table. Fusion status was evaluated based on functional radiographs and CT scans obtained at 12 months post-surgery. Multivariate mixed-effects logistic regression models were performed to assess the association of type of implant with different fusion rates.

Results At 12 months post-surgery, CT scans were performed in 86 patients (a total of 144 disc spaces) and conventional radiographs were obtained in 102 (a total of 166 disc spaces). Complete fusion was demonstrated in 101 cases (71.1%), partial fusion in 43 cases (29.9%). There were no cases of absence of fusion. A total of 85 PEEK cages (59%) and 59 TCPEEK cages (41%) were implanted. For PEEK cages, complete fusion was seen in 75 (88.2%) disc spaces, compared to 26 (44.1%) achieved with TC-PEEK cages. A significantly higher proportion of complete fusions (B = 15.58; P < 0.0001) after 12 months was observed with PEEK implants compared to TC-PEEK implants.

Conclusion Complete fusion was noted at 12 months post-surgery significantly more frequently with PEEK implants compared to TC-PEEK implants.

Decompression alone versus decompression and instrumented fusion for the treatment of isthmic spondylolisthesis: a randomized controlled trial

J Neurosurg Spine 35:687–697, 2021

The most advocated surgical technique to treat symptoms of isthmic spondylolisthesis is decompression with instrumented fusion. A less-invasive classical approach has also been reported, which consists of decompression only. In this study the authors compared the clinical outcomes of decompression only with those of decompression with instrumented fusion in patients with isthmic spondylolisthesis.

METHODS Eighty-four patients with lumbar radiculopathy or neurogenic claudication secondary to low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis were randomly assigned to decompression only (n = 43) or decompression with instrumented fusion (n = 41). Primary outcome parameters were scores on the Roland Disability Questionnaire (RDQ), separate visual analog scales (VASs) for back pain and leg pain, and patient report of perceived recovery at 12-week and 2-year follow-ups. The proportion of reoperations was scored as a secondary outcome measure. Repeated measures ANOVA according to the intention-to-treat principle was performed.

RESULTS Decompression alone did not show superiority in terms of disability scores at 12-week follow-up (p = 0.32, 95% CI −4.02 to 1.34), nor in any other outcome measure. At 2-year follow-up, RDQ disability scores improved more in the fusion group (10.3, 95% CI 3.9–8.2, vs 6.0, 95% CI 8.2–12.4; p = 0.006, 95% CI −7.3 to −1.3). Likewise, back pain decreased more in the fusion group (difference: −18.3 mm, CI −32.1 to −4.4, p = 0.01) on a 100-mm VAS scale, and a higher proportion of patients perceived recovery as showing “good results” (44% vs 74%, p = 0.01). Cumulative probabilities for reoperation were 47% in the decompression and 13% in the fusion group (p < 0.001) at the 2-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS In patients with isthmic spondylolisthesis, decompression with instrumented fusion resulted in comparable short-term results, significantly better long-term outcomes, and fewer reoperations than decompression alone. Decompression with instrumented fusion is a superior surgical technique that should in general be offered as a first treatment option for isthmic spondylolisthesis, but not for degenerative spondylolisthesis, which has a different etiology. Clinical trial registration number: NTR1300 (Netherlands Trial Register)

Posterior fusion for fragility type 2 odontoid fractures

J Neurosurg Spine 35:644–650, 2021

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of elderly patients with type 2 odontoid fractures treated with an instrumented posterior fusion.

METHODS Ninety-three consecutive patients older than 65 years of age in whom a type 2 odontoid fracture had been treated with a variety of C1–2 posterior screw fixation techniques were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS The average age was 78 years (range 65–95 years). Thirty-seven patients had an additional fracture, 30 of which involved C1. Three patients had cervical spinal cord dysfunction due to their injury. All patients had comorbidities. The average total hospitalization was 9.6 days (range 2–37 days). There were 3 deaths and 19 major complications, the most common of which was pneumonia. No patient suffered a vertebral artery injury. Imaging studies were obtained in 64 patients at least 12 months postsurgery (mean 19 months). Fusion was assessed by dynamic radiographs in all cases and with a CT scan in 80% of the cases. Four of the 64 patients did not achieve fusion (6.25% overall). All patients in whom fusion failed had undergone C1 lateral mass fixation and C2 pars (1/29, 3.4%) or laminar (3/9, 33.3%) fixation.

CONCLUSIONS Instrumented posterior cervical fusions may be performed in elderly patients with acceptable morbidity and mortality. The fusion rate is excellent except when bilateral C2 translaminar screws are used for axis fixation.

Intrawound vancomycin application after spinal surgery: a propensity score–matched cohort analysis

J Neurosurg Spine 34:788–798, 2021

Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery is associated with increased morbidity and healthcare costs. In an effort to reduce SSI rates, the application of intrawound vancomycin powder has gained popularity. However, there is limited high-quality evidence to support the safety and efficacy of this practice. The authors sought to determine if intrawound application of vancomycin powder improves 90-day overall SSI rates.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective, vancomycin exposure–matched cohort study at a single tertiary care hospital over 21 months. They included all patients undergoing elective spinal surgery and stratified the patients into two groups: those who received intrawound vancomycin powder application and those who received no application of vancomycin powder. The primary outcome of interest was the 90-day overall SSI rate. Secondary outcomes included rates of superficial SSI, deep SSI, wound disruption, and a post hoc analysis of the microbiology and minimum inhibitory concentrations. Baseline patient demographics, clinical presentation, comorbidities, perioperative factors, and 90-day postoperative outcomes were manually abstracted from patient charts. To mitigate bias, we performed 1:1 matching after calculating propensity scores and identified 1 patient from the no-vancomycin cohort for each patient in the vancomycin cohort.

RESULTS A total of 997 patients met our inclusion criteria (473 patients receiving vancomycin and 524 patients not receiving vancomycin). Propensity score matching produced 221 matched pairs. Risk-adjusted analysis demonstrated similar overall SSI rates between the groups (OR 1.9, p = 0.329). On unadjusted analysis, the overall 90-day SSI rate was greater in the vancomycin group (n = 10 [4.5%]) than in the no-vancomycin group (n = 5 [2.3%]) (p < 0.001), as were the superficial SSI rate (7 [3.2%] vs 4 [1.8%], p < 0.001), deep SSI rate (3 [1.4%] vs 1 [0.5%], p < 0.001), and wound disruption rate (5 [2.3%] vs 1 [0.5%], p < 0.001). No cultured isolate demonstrated vancomycin resistance.

CONCLUSIONS The authors observed no difference in SSI rates after the intrawound application of vancomycin powder during spine surgery. Vancomycin use did not contribute to antimicrobial resistance; however, it may select out gram negative bacteria and increase rates of wound disruption.

Modified far lateral endoscopic transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion using a biportal endoscopic approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1205–1209

Endoscopic transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has the disadvantage of the small cage size and by consequence risk for cage subsidence. We succeeded to insert a large oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF) cage during biportal endoscopic TLIF.

Methods Unilateral total facetectomy was performed to expose the exiting and traversing nerve roots. The distance between the exiting and traversing nerve roots was measured before OLIF cage insertion. We inserted an OLIF cage instead of a TLIF cage.

Conclusion We successfully performed modified far lateral biportal endoscopic TLIF using large OLIF cages. Modified far lateral biportal endoscopic TLIF is usually suitable for the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels.

Odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II odontoid fractures: how do duration from injury to surgery and clinical and radiological factors influence the union rate? A multicenter retrospective study

J Neurosurg Spine 34:27–31, 2021

Anderson type II odontoid fractures are severe conditions, mostly affecting elderly people (≥ 70 years old). Surgery can be performed as a primary treatment or in cases of failed conservative management. This study aimed to investigate how duration from injury to surgery, as well as clinical, radiological, and surgical risk factors, may influence the union rate after anterior odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II odontoid fractures.

METHODS The authors conducted a retrospective multicenter study. Demographic, clinical, surgical, and radiological data of patients who underwent anterior odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II fractures were retrieved from institutional databases. Study exclusion criteria were prolonged corticosteroid drug therapy (> 4 weeks), polytraumatic injuries, oncological diagnosis, and prior cervical spine trauma.

RESULTS Eighty-five patients were included in the present investigation. The union rate was 76.5%, and 73 patients (85.9%) did not report residual instability. Age ≥ 70 years (p < 0.001, OR 6), female gender (p = 0.016, OR 3.61), osteoporosis (p = 0.009, OR 4.02), diabetes (p = 0.056, OR 3.35), fracture diastasis > 1 mm (p < 0.001, OR 8.5), and duration from injury to surgery > 7 days (p = 0.002, OR 48) independently influenced union rate, whereas smoking status (p = 0.677, OR 1.24) and odontoid process angulation > 10° (p = 0.885, OR 0.92) did not.

CONCLUSIONS Although many factors have been reported as influencing the union rate after anterior odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II fractures, duration from injury to surgery > 7 days appears to be the most relevant, resulting in a 48 times higher risk for nonunion. Early surgery appears to be associated with better radiological outcomes, as reported by orthopedic surgeons in other districts. Prospective comparative clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.

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.

Outcome of unilateral versus standard open midline approach for bilateral decompression in lumbar spinal stenosis: is “over the top” really better?

J Neurosurg Spine 31:236–245, 2019

In this retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter cohort study, the authors assessed which surgical approach, 1) the unilateral laminotomy with bilateral spinal canal decompression (ULBD; also called “over the top”) or 2) the standard open bilateral decompression (SOBD), achieves better clinical outcomes in the long-term follow-up. The optimal surgical approach (ULBD vs SOBD) to treat lumbar spinal stenosis remains controversial.

METHODS The main outcomes of this study were changes in a spinal stenosis measure (SSM) symptoms score, SSM function score, and quality of life (sum score of the 3-level version of the EQ-5D tool [EQ-5D-3L]) over time. These outcome parameters were measured at baseline and at 12-, 24-, and 36-month follow-ups. To obtain an unbiased result on the effect of ULBD compared to SOBD the authors used matching techniques relying on propensity scores. The latter were calculated based on a logistic regression model including relevant confounders. Additional outcomes of interest were raw changes in main outcomes and in the Roland and Morris Disability Questionnaire from baseline to 12, 24, and 36 months.

RESULTS For this study, 277 patients met the inclusion criteria. One hundred forty-nine patients were treated by ULBD, and 128 were treated by SOBD. After propensity score matching, 128 patients were left in each group. In the matched cohort, the mean (95% CI) estimated differences between ULBD and SOBD for change in SSM symptoms score from baseline to 12 months were -0.04 (-0.25 to 0.17), to 24 months -0.07 (-0.29 to 0.15), and to 36 months -0.04 (-0.28 to 0.21). For change in SSM function score, the estimated differences from baseline to 12 months were 0.06 (-0.08 to 0.21), to 24 months 0.08 (-0.07 to 0.22), and to 36 months 0.01 (-0.16 to 0.17). Differences in changes between groups in EQ-5D-3L sum scores were estimated to be -0.32 (-4.04 to 3.40), -0.89 (-4.76 to 2.98), and -2.71 (-7.16 to 1.74) from baseline to 12, 24, and 36 months, respectively. None of the group differences between ULBD and SOBD were statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS Both surgical techniques, ULBD and SOBD, may provide effective treatment options for DLSS patients. The authors further determined that the patient outcome results for the technically more challenging ULBD seem not to be superior to those for the SOBD even after 3 years of follow-up.

 

Need for arthrodesis following facetectomy for spinal peripheral nerve sheath tumors

J Neurosurg Spine 31:112–122, 2019

Spinal peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNSTs) are a group of rare tumors originating from the nerve and its supporting structures. Standard surgical management typically entails laminectomy with or without facetectomy to gain adequate tumor exposure. Arthrodesis is occasionally performed to maintain spinal stability and mitigate the risk of postoperative deformity, pain, or neurological deficit. However, the factors associated with the need for instrumentation in addition to PNST resection in the same setting remain unclear.

METHODS An institutional tumor registry at a tertiary care center was queried for patients treated surgically for a primary diagnosis of spinal PNST between 2002 and 2016. An analysis focused on patients in whom a facetectomy was performed during the resection. The addition of arthrodesis at the index procedure comprised the primary outcome. The authors also recorded baseline demographics, tumor characteristics, and surgery-related variables. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with increased risk of fusion surgery.

RESULTS A total of 163 patients were identified, of which 56 (32 had facetectomy with fusion, 24 had facetectomy alone) were analyzed. The median age was 48 years, and 50% of the cohort was female. Age, sex, and race, as well as tumor histology and size, were evenly distributed between patients who received facetectomy alone and those who had facetectomy and fusion. On univariate analysis, total versus subtotal facetectomy (OR 9.0, 95% CI 2.01–64.2; p = 0.009) and cervicothoracic versus other spinal region (OR 9.0, 95% CI 1.51–172.9; p = 0.048) were significantly associated with increased odds of performing immediate fusion. On multivariable analysis, only the effect of total facetectomy remained statistically significant (OR 6.75, 95% CI 1.47–48.8; p = 0.025).

CONCLUSIONS The authors found that total facetectomy and cervicothoracic involvement may be highly associated with the need for concomitant arthrodesis at the time of index surgery. These findings may help surgeons to determine the best surgical planning for patients with PNST.

Incidence and clinical relevance of cage subsidence in anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:873–880

The placement of intervertebral cages in anterior cervical discectomy (ACDF) supposedly maintains foraminal height. The most commonly reported cage-related complication is subsidence, although it is unknown whether a correlation between subsidence and clinical outcome exists. Aim To assess the incidence and relevance of subsidence.

Methods Literature searches were performed in PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase,Web of Science, COCHRANE, and CENTRAL. The inclusion criteria were as follows: ≥ 20 patients, ADCF with cage, subsidence assessed, and primary data. Risk of bias was assessed using adjusted Cochrane checklists.

Results Seventy-one studies, comprising 4784 patients, were included. Subsidence was generally defined as ≥ 3-mm loss of height comparing postoperative intervertebral heights with heights at last follow-up. Mean incidence of subsidence was 21% (range 0–83%). Of all patients, 46% of patients received polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK) cages, 31% received titanium cages, 18% received cage-screw-combinations, and 5% received polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) cages. Patients treated with cagescrew- combinations had significantly less subsidence than patients treated with PEEK, titanium, or PMMA cages (15.1% vs. 23.5% vs. 24.9% vs. 30.2%; p < 0.001). Thirteen studies assessed clinical outcome in relation to subsidence; the majority did not find a significant correlation. Only four studies correlated subsidence to cage size and/or height; no correlation was established.

Conclusions Subsidence in ACDF with cages occurs in 21% of patients. The risk for subsidence seems lower using PEEK or titanium cages or adding screws.Whether subsidence affects clinical outcome is not satisfactorily evaluated in the available literature. Future studies on this correlation are warranted in order to establish the additional value of the interposition of a cage in ACDF.

Lumbar Fusion for Degenerative Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Neurosurgery 80:701–715, 2017

Due to uncertain evidence, lumbar fusion for degenerative indications is associated with the greatest measured practice variation of any surgical procedure.

OBJECTIVE: To summarize the current evidence on the comparative safety and efficacy of lumbar fusion, decompression-alone, or nonoperative care for degenerative indications.

METHODS: A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (up to June 30, 2016). Comparative studies reporting validated measures of safety or efficacy were included. Treatment effects were calculated through DerSimonian and Laird random effects models.

RESULTS: The literature search yielded 65 studies (19 randomized controlled trials, 16 prospective cohort studies, 15 retrospective cohort studies, and 15 registries) enrolling a total of 302 620 patients. Disability, pain, and patient satisfaction following fusion, decompression-alone, or nonoperative care were dependent on surgical indications and study methodology. Relative to decompression-alone, the risk of reoperation following fusion was increased for spinal stenosis (relative risk [RR] 1.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.28) and decreased for spondylolisthesis (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.68-0.83). Among patients with spinal stenosis, complications were more frequent following fusion (RR 1.87, 95% CI 1.18-2.96). Mortality was not significantly associated with any treatment modality.

CONCLUSION: Positive clinical change was greatest in patients undergoing fusion for spondylolisthesis while complications and the risk of reoperation limited the benefit of fusion for spinal stenosis. The relative safety and efficacy of fusion for chronic low back pain suggests careful patient selection is required (PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews number, CRD42015020153).

 

Contribution of Lordotic Correction on C5 Palsy Following Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion

Neurosurgery 79:816–822, 2016

C5 palsy is a well-reported complication of cervical spine surgery. The implication of sagittal cervical alignment parameters and their changes after surgery on the incidence of C5 palsy remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: We review cervical alignment changes in our cases of C5 palsy after cervical laminectomy and fusion.

METHODS: Cases of C5 palsy were retrospectively compared with a control group. Preoperative and postoperative upright plain film radiographs were analyzed in blinded fashion.

RESULTS: Spine registry analysis identified 148 patients who underwent cervical laminectomy and fusion by the senior author over 5 years. There were 18 (12%) cases complicated by postoperative C5 palsy. Nine of these 18 patients had prerequisite upright films and were compared with a randomly constructed case control group of 20 patients. There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups in age, proportion of males, and preoperative Nurick score. Measures of sagittal alignment did not differ significantly between the 2 groups on preoperative and postoperative imaging. When comparing the amount of alignment change between preoperative and postoperative upright imaging, however, patients with C5 palsy had a statistically higher amount of average C4-C5 Cobb angle change (22.53 vs 0.78; P = .01). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that lordotic change in both C4-C5 and C2-C7 Cobb angles were associated with development of palsy.

CONCLUSION: Lordotic cervical correction, as measured on upright imaging, was statistically larger in patients who had C5 palsy. The role of deformity correction in C5 palsy deserves further study and may inform intraoperative decision making.

Occipitocervical Fixation: A Single Surgeon’s Experience With 120 Patients

occipitocervical-fixation-a-single-surgeons-experience-with-120-patients

Neurosurgery 79:549–560, 2016

Occipitocervical junction instability can lead to serious neurological injury or death. Open surgical fixation is often necessary to provide definitive stabilization. However, long-term results are limited to small case series.

OBJECTIVE: To review the causes of occipitocervical instability, discuss the indications for surgical intervention, and evaluate long-term surgical outcomes after occipitocervical fixation.

METHODS: The charts of all patients undergoing posterior surgical fixation of the occipitocervical junction by the senior author were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 120 consecutive patients were identified for analysis. Patient demographic characteristics, occipitocervical junction pathology, surgical indications, and clinical and radiographic outcomes are reported.

RESULTS: The study population consisted of 64 male and 56 female patients with a mean age of 39.9 years (range, 7 months to 88 years). Trauma was the most common cause of instability, occurring in 56 patients (47%). Ninety patients (75%) were treated with screw/rod constructs; wiring was used in 30 patients (25%). The median number of fixated segments was 5 (O-C4). Structural bone grafts were implanted in all patients (100%). Preoperative neurological deficits were present in 83 patients (69%); 91% of those patients improved with surgery. Mean follow-up was 35.1 6 27.4 months (range, 0-123 months). Two patients died, and 10 were lost to follow-up before the end of the 6-month follow-up period. Fusion was confirmed in 107 patients (89.1%). The overall complication rate was 10%, including 3 patients with vertebral artery injuries and 2 patients who required revision surgery.

CONCLUSION: Occipitocervical fixation is a durable treatment option with acceptable morbidity for patients with occipitocervical instability.

Esophageal perforation after anterior cervical spine surgery

esophageal-perforation-after-anterior-cervical-spine-surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 25:285–291, 2016

Esophageal perforation is a rare but well-known complication of anterior cervical spine surgery. The authors performed a systematic review of the literature to evaluate symptomatology, direct causes, repair methods, and associated complications of esophageal injury.

Methods A PubMed search that adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines included relevant clinical studies and case reports (articles written in the English language that included humans as subjects) that reported patients who underwent anterior spinal surgery and sustained some form of esophageal perforation. Available data on clinical presentation, the surgical procedure performed, outcome measures, and other individual variables were abstracted from 1980 through 2015.

Results The PubMed search yielded 65 articles with 153 patients (mean age 44.7 years; range 14–85 years) who underwent anterior spinal surgery and sustained esophageal perforation, either during surgery or in a delayed fashion. The most common indications for initial anterior cervical spine surgery in these cases were vertebral fracture/dislocation (n = 77), spondylotic myelopathy (n = 15), and nucleus pulposus herniation (n = 10). The most commonly involved spinal levels were C5–6 (n = 51) and C6–7 (n = 39). The most common presenting symptoms included dysphagia (n = 63), fever (n = 24), neck swelling (n = 23), and wound leakage (n = 18). The etiology of esophageal perforation included hardware failure (n = 31), hardware erosion (n = 23), and intraoperative injury (n = 14). The imaging modalities used to identify the esophageal perforations included modified contrast dye swallow studies, CT, endoscopy, plain radiography, and MRI. Esophageal repair was most commonly achieved using a modified muscle flap, as well as with primary closure. Outcomes measured in the literature were often defined by the time to oral intake following esophageal repair. Complications included pneumonia (n = 6), mediastinitis (n = 4), osteomyelitis (n = 3), sepsis (n = 3), acute respiratory distress syndrome (n = 2), and recurrent laryngeal nerve damage (n = 1). The mortality rate of esophageal perforation in the analysis was 3.92% (6 of 153 reported patients).

Conclusions Esophageal perforation after anterior cervical spine surgery is a rare complication. This systematic review demonstrates that these perforations can be stratified into 3 categories based on the timing of symptomatic onset: intraoperative, early postoperative (within 30 days of anterior spinal surgery), and delayed. The most common source of esophageal injury is hardware erosion or migration, each of which may vary in their time to symptomatic manifestation.

Complication Rates Associated With Adult Cervical Deformity Surgery

prospective-multicenter-assessment-of-early-complication-rates-associated-with-adult-cervical-deformity-surgery-in-78-patients

Neurosurgery 79:378–388, 2016

Few reports have focused on treatment of adult cervical deformity (ACD).

OBJECTIVE: To present early complication rates associated with ACD surgery.

METHODS: A prospective multicenter database of consecutive operative ACD patients was reviewed for early (#30 days from surgery) complications. Enrollment required at least 1 of the following: cervical kyphosis .10 degrees, cervical scoliosis .10 degrees, C2-7 sagittal vertical axis .4 cm, or chin-brow vertical angle .25 degrees.

RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients underwent surgical treatment for ACD (mean age, 60.8 years). Surgical approaches included anterior-only (14%), posterior-only (49%), anterior-posterior (35%), and posterior-anterior-posterior (3%). Mean numbers of fused anterior and posterior vertebral levels were 4.7 and 9.4, respectively. A total of 52 early complications were reported, including 26 minor and 26 major. Twenty-two (28.2%) patients had at least 1 minor complication, and 19 (24.4%) had at least 1 major complication. Overall, 34 (43.6%) patients had at least 1 complication. The most common complications included dysphagia (11.5%), deep wound infection (6.4%), new C5 motor deficit (6.4%), and respiratory failure (5.1%). One (1.3%) mortality occurred. Early complication rates differed significantly by surgical approach: anterior-only (27.3%), posterior-only (68.4%), and anterior-posterior/posterior-anterior- posterior (79.3%) (P = .007).

CONCLUSION: This report provides benchmark rates for overall and specific ACD surgery complications. Although the surgical approach(es) used were likely driven by the type and complexity of deformity, there were significantly higher complication rates associated with combined and posterior-only approaches compared with anterior-only approaches. These findings may prove useful in treatment planning, patient counseling, and ongoing efforts to improve safety of care.