Rod fractures in thoracolumbar fusions to the sacrum/pelvis for adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis

J Neurosurg Spine 38:217–229, 2023

Previous reports of rod fracture (RF) in adult spinal deformity are limited by heterogeneous cohorts, low follow-up rates, and relatively short follow-up durations. Since the majority of RFs present > 2 years after surgery, true occurrence and revision rates remain unclear. The objectives of this study were to better understand the risk factors for RF and assess its occurrence and revision rates following primary thoracolumbar fusions to the sacrum/pelvis for adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) in a prospective series with long-term follow-up.

METHODS Patient records were obtained from the Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1 (ASLS-1) database, an NIH-sponsored multicenter, prospective study. Inclusion criteria were as follows: patients aged 40–80 years undergoing primary surgeries for ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society-22r ≤ 4.0 in pain, function, and/or self-image) with instrumented fusion of ≥ 7 levels that included the sacrum/pelvis. Patients with and without RF were compared to assess risk factors for RF and revision surgery.

RESULTS Inclusion criteria were met by 160 patients (median age 62 years, IQR 55.7–67.9 years). At a median followup of 5.1 years (IQR 3.8–6.6 years), there were 92 RFs in 62 patients (38.8%). The median time to RF was 3.0 years (IQR 1.9–4.54 years), and 73% occurred > 2 years following surgery. Based on Kaplan-Meier analyses, estimated RF rates at 2, 4, 5, and 8 years after surgery were 11%, 24%, 35%, and 49%, respectively. Baseline radiographic, clinical, and demographic characteristics were similar between patients with and without RF. In Cox regression models, greater postoperative pelvic tilt (HR 1.895, 95% CI 1.196–3.002, p = 0.0065) and greater estimated blood loss (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.005–1.036, p = 0.0088) were associated with increased risk of RF. Thirty-eight patients (61% of all RFs) underwent revision surgery. Bilateral RF was predictive of revision surgery (HR 3.52, 95% CI 1.8–6.9, p = 0.0002), while patients with unilateral nondisplaced RFs were less likely to require revision (HR 0.39, 95% CI 0.18–0.84, p = 0.016).

CONCLUSIONS This study provides what is to the authors’ knowledge the highest-quality data to date on RF rates following ASLS surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 38.8% of patients had at least one RF. Estimated RF rates at 2, 4, 5, and 8 years after surgery were 11%, 24%, 35%, and 49%, respectively. Greater estimated blood loss and postoperative pelvic tilt were significant risk factors for RF. These findings emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up to realize the true prevalence and cumulative incidence of RF.

Radiographic alignment outcomes after the single-position prone transpsoas approach: a multi-institutional retrospective review of 363 cases

Neurosurg Focus 54(1):E3, 2023

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the changes in radiographic spinopelvic parameters in a large cohort of patients undergoing the prone transpsoas approach to the lumbar spine.

METHODS A multicenter retrospective observational cohort study was performed for all patients who underwent lateral lumber interbody fusion via the single-position prone transpsoas (PTP) approach. Spinopelvic parameters from preoperative and first upright postoperative radiographs were collected, including lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI), and pelvic tilt (PT). Functional indices (visual analog scale score), and patient-reported outcomes (Oswestry Disability Index) were also recorded from pre- and postoperative appointments.

RESULTS Of the 363 patients who successfully underwent the procedure, LL after fusion was 50.0° compared with 45.6° preoperatively (p < 0.001). The pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (PI-LL) was 10.5° preoperatively versus 2.9° postoperatively (p < 0.001). PT did not significantly change (0.2° ± 10.7°, p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS The PTP approach allows significant gain in lordotic augmentation, which was associated with good functional results at follow-up.

Endplate defects, not the severity of spinal stenosis, contribute to low back pain in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis

The Spine Journal 22 (2022) 370−378

It is controversial whether lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) itself contributes to low back pain (LBP). Lower truncal skeletal muscle mass, spinopelvic malalignment, intervertebral disc degeneration, and endplate abnormalities are thought to be related to LBP. However, whether these factors cause LBP in patients with LSS is unclear.PURPOSE: To identify factors associated with LBP in patients with LSS.

STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: Cross-sectional design.

PATIENT SAMPLE: A total of 260 patients (119 men and 141 women, average age 72.8 years) with neurogenic claudication caused by LSS, as confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

OUTCOME MEASURES: Ratings of LBP, buttock and leg pain, and numbness on a numerical rating scale (NRS), 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) scores, muscle mass measured by bioelectrical impedance analysis, and radiographic measurements including slippage and lumbopelvic alignment. The severity of LSS, endplate defects, Modic endplate changes, intervertebral disc degeneration, and facet joint osteoarthritis were assessed on MRI.

METHODS: The presence of LBP was defined as an NRS score ≥3. The demographic data, patient-reported outcomes, and radiological and MRI findings were compared between patients with and without LBP. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify the factors that were independently associated with the presence of LBP.

RESULTS: There were significant differences between patients with and without LBP for buttock and leg pain and numbness on the NRS, general health on the SF-36, presence of endplate defects, presence of Modic changes, disc degeneration grading, and disc height grading (all p < .05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed significant associations between LBP and diabetes (OR 2.43; 95% CI 1.07−5.53), buttock and leg numbness on the NRS (OR 1.34; 95% CI 1.17−1.52), general health on the SF-36 (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.95−0.99), and the presence of erosive endplate defects (OR 3.04; 95% CI 1.51−6.11) (all p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that LBP in patients with LSS should be carefully assessed not only for spinal stenosis but also clinical factors and endplate defects.

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

Neurosurgery 81:627–637, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of Impact of Long-Cassette Standing X-Rays on Surgical Planning for Cervical Pathology

ssessment of Impact of Long-Cassette Standing X-Rays on Surgical Planning for Cervical Pathology

Neurosurgery 78:717–724, 2016

Understanding the role of regional segments of the spine in maintaining global balance has garnered significant attention recently. Long-cassette radiographs (LCR) are necessary to evaluate global spinopelvic alignment. However, it is unclear how LCRs impact operative decision-making for cervical spine pathology.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether the addition of LCRs results in changes to respondents’ operative plans compared to standard imaging of the involved cervical spine in an international survey of spine surgeons.

METHODS: Fifteen cases (5 control cases with normal and 10 test cases with abnormal global alignment) of cervical pathology were presented online with a vignette and cervical imaging. Surgeons were asked to select a surgical plan from 6 options, ranging from the least (1 point) to most (6 points) extensive. Cases were then reordered and presented again with LCRs and the same surgical plan question.

RESULTS: One hundred fifty-seven surgeons completed the survey, of which 79% were spine fellowship trained. The mean response scores for surgical plan increased from 3.28 to 4.0 (P = .003) for test cases with the addition of LCRs. However, no significant changes (P = .10) were identified for the control cases. In 4 of the test cases with significant mid thoracic kyphosis, 29% of participants opted for the more extensive surgical options of extension to the mid and lower thoracic spine when they were provided with cervical imaging only, which significantly increased to 58.3% upon addition of LCRs.

CONCLUSION: In planning for cervical spine surgery, surgeons should maintain a low threshold for obtaining LCRs to assess global spinopelvic alignment.

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