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.

 

Delayed coil migration into oropharynx following endovascular coiling of a traumatic carotid cavernous fistula

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1287–1292

Carotid-cavernous fistulas (CCFs) are abnormal vascular shunts between the carotid artery and the cavernous sinus.

A 37-year-old male presented with a traumatic CCF and basal skull fracture extending through the medial wall of the cavernous sinus and sphenoid sinus. The CCF was treated with endovascular coiling.

Three months after this procedure, he was found to have coil migration through the traumatic sphenoid defect into the pharynx. He underwent urgent endonasal endoscopic surgery to disconnect and remove the extruded coil.

Post-operative coil migration is a rare but serious complication following endovascular treatment of traumatic CCF.

The Richmond Acute Subdural Hematoma Score: A Validated Grading Scale to Predict Postoperative Mortality

Neurosurgery 90:278–286, 2022

Traumatic acute subdural hematomas (aSDHs) are common, life-threatening injuries often requiring emergency surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate the Richmond acute subdural hematoma (RASH) score to stratify patients by risk of mortality after aSDH evacuation.

METHODS: The 2016 National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) was queried to identify adult patients with traumatic aSDHs who underwent craniectomy or craniotomy within 4 h of arrival to an emergency department. Multivariate logistic regression modeling identified risk factors independently associated with mortality. The RASH score was developed based on a factor’s strength and level of association with mortality. The model was validated using the 2017 NTDB and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

RESULTS: A total of 2516 cases met study criteria. The patients were 69.3% male with a mean age of 55.7 yr and overall mortality rate of 36.4%. Factors associated with mortality included age between 61 and 79 yr (odds ratio [OR]=2.3, P<.001),age ≥80 yr (OR =6.3, P < .001), loss of consciousness (OR = 2.3, P < .001), Glasgow Coma Scale score of ≤8 (OR = 2.6, P < .001), unilateral (OR = 2.8, P < .001) or bilateral (OR = 3.9, P < .001) unresponsive pupils, and midline shift >5 mm (OR = 1.7, P < .001). Using these risk factors, the RASH score predicted progressively increasing mortality ranging from 0% to 94% for scores of 0 to 8, respectively (AUC = 0.72). Application of the RASH score to 3091 cases from 2017 resulted in similar accuracy (AUC = 0.74).

CONCLUSION: The RASH score is a simple and validated grading scale that uses easily accessible preoperative factors to predict estimated mortality rates in patients with traumatic aSDHs who undergo surgical evacuation.

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.

Assessment of drainage techniques for evacuation of chronic subdural hematoma

J Neurosurg 133:1113–1119, 2017

Surgery for chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is one of the most common neurosurgical procedures. The benefit of postoperative passive subdural drainage compared with no drains has been established, but other drainage techniques are common, and their effectiveness compared with passive subdural drains remains unknown.

METHODS In Scandinavian population-based cohorts the authors conducted a consecutive, parallel cohort study to compare different drainage techniques. The techniques used were continuous irrigation and drainage (CID cohort, n = 166), passive subdural drainage (PD cohort, n = 330), and active subgaleal drainage (AD cohort, n = 764). The primary end point was recurrence in need of reoperation within 6 months of index surgery. Secondary end points were complications, perioperative mortality, and overall survival. The analyses were based on direct regional comparison (i.e., surgical strategy).

RESULTS Recurrence in need of surgery was observed in 18 patients (10.8%) in the CID cohort, in 66 patients (20.0%) in the PD cohort, and in 85 patients (11.1%) in the AD cohort (p < 0.001). Complications were more common in the CID cohort (14.5%) compared with the PD (7.3%) and AD (8.1%) cohorts (p = 0.019). Perioperative mortality rates were similar between cohorts (p = 0.621). There were some differences in baseline and treatment characteristics possibly interfering with the above-mentioned results. However, after adjusting for differences in baseline and treatment characteristics in a regression model, the drainage techniques were still significantly associated with clinical outcome (p < 0.001 for recurrence, p = 0.017 for complications).

CONCLUSIONS Compared with the AD cohort, more recurrences were observed in the PD cohort and more complications in the CID cohort, also after adjustment for differences at baseline. Although the authors cannot exclude unmeasured confounding factors when comparing centers, AD appears superior to the more common PD.

Effect of decompressive craniectomy in the postoperative expansion of traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage: a propensity score–based analysis

J Neurosurg 132:1623–1635, 2020

Traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (TICH) represents approximately 13%–48% of the lesions after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hemorrhagic progression (HP) occurs in 38%–63% of cases. In previous studies, decompressive craniectomy (DC) has been characterized as a risk factor in the HP of TICH; however, few studies have focused exclusively on this relationship. The object of the present study was to analyze the relationship between DC and the growth of TICH and to reveal any correlation with the size of the craniectomy, degree of cerebral parenchymal herniation (CPH), or volumetric expansion of the TICH.

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed the records of 497 adult patients who had been consecutively admitted after suffering a severe or moderate closed TBI. An inclusion criterion was presentation with one or more TICHs on the initial or control CT. Demographic, clinical, radiological, and treatment variables were assessed for associations.

RESULTS Two hundred three patients presenting with 401 individual TICHs met the selection criteria. TICH growth was observed in 281 cases (70.1%). Eighty-two cases (20.4%) underwent craniectomy without TICH evacuation. In the craniectomy group, HP was observed in 71 cases (86.6%); in the noncraniectomy group (319 cases), HP occurred in 210 cases (65.8%). The difference in the incidence of HP between the two groups was statistically significant (OR 3.41, p < 0.01). The mean area of the craniectomy was 104.94 ± 27.5 cm2, and the mean CPH distance through the craniectomy was 17.85 ± 11.1 mm. The mean increase in the TICH volume was greater in the groups with a craniectomy area > 115 cm2 and CPH > 25 mm (16.12 and 14.47 cm3, respectively, p = 0.01 and 0.02). After calculating the propensity score (PS), the authors followed three statistical methods—matching, stratification, and inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW)—thereby obtaining an adequate balance of the covariates. A statistically significant relationship was found between HP and craniectomy (OR 2.77, p = 0.004). This correlation was confirmed with the three methodologies based on the PS with odds greater than 2.

CONCLUSIONS DC is a risk factor for the growth of TICH, and there is also an association between the size of the DC and the magnitude of the volume increase in the TICH.

 

Prospective, randomized, multicenter study with 2-year follow-up to compare the performance of decompression with and without interlaminar stabilization

J Neurosurg Spine 28:406–415, 2018

Surgical decompression is extremely effective in relieving pain and symptoms due to lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Decompression with interlaminar stabilization (D+ILS) is as effective as decompression with posterolateral fusion for stenosis, as shown in a major US FDA pivotal trial. This study reports a multicenter, randomized controlled trial in which D+ILS was compared with decompression alone (DA) for treatment of moderate to severe LSS.

METHODS Under approved institutional ethics review, 230 patients (1:1 ratio) randomized to either DA or D+ILS (coflex, Paradigm Spine) were treated at 7 sites in Germany. Patients had moderate to severe LSS at 1 or 2 adjacent segments from L-3 to L-5. Outcomes were evaluated up to 2 years postoperatively, including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, the presence of secondary surgery or lumbar injections, neurological status, and the presence of device- or procedure-related severe adverse events. The composite clinical success (CCS) was defined as combining all 4 of these outcomes, a success definition validated in a US FDA pivotal trial. Additional secondary end points included visual analog scale (VAS) scores, Zürich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ) scores, narcotic usage, walking tolerance, and radiographs.

RESULTS The overall follow-up rate was 91% at 2 years. There were no significant differences in patient-reported outcomes at 24 months (p > 0.05). The CCS was superior for the D+ILS arm (p = 0.017). The risk of secondary intervention was 1.75 times higher among patients in the DA group than among those in the D+ILS group (p = 0.055). The DA arm had 228% more lumbar injections (4.5% for D+ILS vs 14.8% for DA; p = 0.0065) than the D+ILS one. Patients who underwent DA had a numerically higher rate of narcotic use at every time point postsurgically (16.7% for D+ILS vs 23% for DA at 24 months). Walking Distance Test results were statistically significantly different from baseline; the D+ILS group had > 2 times the improvement of the DA. The patients who underwent D+ILS had > 5 times the improvement from baseline compared with only 2 times the improvement from baseline for the DA group. Foraminal height and disc height were largely maintained in patients who underwent D+ILS, whereas patients treated with DA showed a significant decrease at 24 months postoperatively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS This study showed no significant difference in the individual patient-reported outcomes (e.g., ODI, VAS, ZCQ) between the treatments when viewed in isolation. The CCS (survivorship, ODI success, absence of neurological deterioration or device- or procedure-related severe adverse events) is statistically superior for ILS. Microsurgical D+ILS increases walking distance, decreases compensatory pain management, and maintains radiographic foraminal height, extending the durability and sustainability of a decompression procedure. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01316211 (clinicaltrials.gov)

 

Patterns of C-2 fracture in the elderly: comparison of etiology, treatment, and mortality among speci c fracture types

J Neurosurg Spine 27:494–500, 2017

Previous studies have focused on Type II odontoid fractures and have failed to report on the effect of other C-2 fracture types on treatment and outcome. The purpose of this study was to compare patient characteristics, cause of injury, predisposing factors to fracture, treatments, and mortality rates among C-2 fracture types in a cohort of elderly patients 70 years of age and older.

METHODS A retrospective cohort study design was used. Patients who sustained a C-2 fracture between 2002 and 2011 and who were admitted to the authors’ Level 1 trauma center were identified using the Discharge Abstract Database and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) code S12.1. Fractures were classified as odontoid Type I, II, or III; hangman’s; C-2 complex (hangman’s appearance on sagittal images, Type III odontoid on coronal cuts); and other (miscellaneous). Age, sex, predisposing factors to falls, cause of injury, treatment, presence of autofusion in the subaxial cervical spine, and mortality rates were compared between fracture patterns.

RESULTS One hundred forty-one patients were included; their mean age was 82 years. Fractures included Type II odontoid (57%), complex (19%), Type III odontoid (11%), hangman’s (8%), and other (5%). Falls from a standing height accounted for 47% of injuries, and 65% of patients had ≥ 3 risk factors for falls. Subaxial autofusion was more common in odontoid fractures (p = 0.002). Treatment was mainly nonoperative (p < 0.0001). The 1-year mortality rate was 27%. Four patients died of spinal cord injury.

CONCLUSIONS Although not as common as Type II odontoid fractures, other C-2 fractures including hangman’s, complex, and Type III odontoid fractures accounted for close to half of the injuries in the study cohort. There were few differences between the fracture types with respect to cause of injury, predisposing factors, or mortality rate. However, surgical treatment was more common for Type II odontoid fractures.

Predictive factors for recurrence and clinical outcomes in patients with chronic subdural hematoma

J Neurosurg 127:1117–1125, 2017

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is a common type of intracranial hemorrhage in elderly patients. Many studies have suggested various factors that may be associated with the recurrence of CSDH. However, the results are inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to determine the associations among patient factors, recurrence, and clinical outcomes of CSDH after burr hole surgery performed during an 11-year period at twin hospitals.

METHODS Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to evaluate the risk factors for CSDH recurrence. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to calculate hazard ratios with 95% CIs for CSDH recurrence based on many variables. One-way repeated-measures ANOVA was used to assess the differences in the mean modified Rankin Scale score between categories for each risk factor during each admission and at the last follow-up.

RESULTS This study was a retrospective analysis of 756 consecutive patients with CSDH who underwent burr hole surgery at the Hanyang University Medical Center (Seoul and Guri) between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2014. During the 6-month follow-up, 104 patients (13.8%) with recurrence after surgery for CSDH were identified. Independent risk factors for recurrence were as follows: age > 75 years (HR 1.72, 95% CI 1.03–2.88; p = 0.039), obesity (body mass index ≥ 25.0 kg/m2), and a bilateral operation.

CONCLUSIONS This study determined the risk factors for recurrence of CSDH and their effects on outcomes. Further studies are needed to account for these observations and to determine their underlying mechanisms.

Open versus percutaneous instrumentation in thoracolumbar fractures

J Neurosurg Spine 27:235–241, 2017

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

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

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

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

 

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

J Neurosurg Spine 27:198–208, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Neurosurgery 80:854–862, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Hematoma growth after unilateral drainage of bilateral CSDH

J Neurosurg 126:755–759, 2017

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is a common form of intracranial hemorrhage with a recurrence rate of 9.2%–26.5% after bur hole surgery. Occasionally patients with bilateral CSDH undergo unilateral surgery because the contralateral hematoma is deemed to be asymptomatic, and in some of these patients the contralateral hematoma may subsequently enlarge, requiring additional surgery. The authors investigated the factors related to the growth of these hematomas.

METHODS Ninety-three patients with bilateral CSDH who underwent unilateral bur hole surgery at Aizu Chuo Hospital were included in a retrospective analysis. Findings on preoperative MRI, preoperative thickness of the drained hema-toma, and the influence of antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs were considered and evaluated in univariate and multivari-ate analyses.

RESULTS The overall growth rate was 19% (18 of 93 hematomas), and a significantly greater percentage of the hematomas that were iso- or hypointense on preoperative T1-weighted imaging showed growth compared with other hematomas (35.4% vs 2.3%, p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that findings on preoperative T1-weighted MRI were the sole significant predictor of hematoma growth, and other factors such as antiplatelet or anti-coagulant drug use, patient age, patient sex, thickness of the treated hematoma, and T2-weighted MRI findings were not significantly related to hematoma growth. The adjusted odds ratio for hematoma growth in the T1 isointense/hypointense group relative to the T1 hyperintense group was 25.12 (95% CI 3.89–51.58, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS The findings of preoperative MRI, namely T1-weighted sequences, may be useful in predicting the growth of hematomas that did not undergo bur hole surgery in patients with bilateral CSDH.

 

Cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy: is there a rationale for an initial artificial bone-substitute implant?

Cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy

J Neurosurg 124:710–715, 2016

The complication rate for cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy is higher than that after other neurosurgical procedures; aseptic bone resorption is the major long-term problem. Patients frequently need additional operations to remove necrotic bone and replace it with an artificial bone substitute. Initial implantation of a bone substitute may be an option for selected patients who are at risk for bone resorption, but this cohort has not yet been clearly defined. The authors’ goals were to identify risk factors for aseptic bone flap necrosis and define which patients may benefit more from an initial bone-substitute implant than from autograft after craniectomy.

Methods The authors retrospectively analyzed 631 cranioplasty procedures (503 with autograft, 128 with bone substitute) by using a stepwise multivariable logistic regression model and discrimination analysis.

Results There was a significantly higher risk for reoperation after placement of autograft than after placement of bone substitute; aseptic bone necrosis (n = 108) was the major problem (OR 2.48 [95% CI 1.11–5.51]). Fragmentation of the flap into 2 or more fragments, younger age (OR 0.97 [95% CI 0.95–0.98]; p < 0.001), and shunt-dependent hydrocephalus (OR 1.73 [95% CI 1.02–2.92]; p = 0.04) were independent risk factors for bone necrosis. According to discrimination analysis, patients younger than 30 years old and older patients with a fragmented flap had the highest risk of developing bone necrosis.

Conclusions Development of bone flap necrosis is the main concern in long-term follow-up after cranioplasty with autograft. Patients younger than 30 years old and older patients with a fragmented flap may be candidates for an initial artificial bone substitute rather than autograft.

Treatment of isolated cervical facet fractures

cervical facet fracture

J Neurosurg Spine 24:347–354, 2016

In this clinically based systematic review of cervical facet fractures, the authors’ aim was to determine the optimal clinical care for patients with isolated fractures of the cervical facets through a systematic review.

Methods A systematic review of nonoperative and operative treatment methods of cervical facet fractures was performed. Reduction and stabilization treatments were compared, and analysis of postoperative outcomes was performed. MEDLINE and Scopus databases were used. This work was supported through support received from the Association for Collaborative Spine Research and AOSpine North America.

Results Eleven studies with 368 patients met the inclusion criteria. Forty-six patients had bilateral isolated cervical facet fractures and 322 had unilateral isolated cervical facet fractures. Closed reduction was successful in 56.4% (39 patients) and 63.8% (94 patients) of patients using a halo vest and Gardner-Wells tongs, respectively. Comparatively, open reduction was successful in 94.9% of patients (successful reduction of open to closed reduction OR 12.8 [95% CI 6.1–26.9], p < 0.0001); 183 patients underwent internal fixation, with an 87.2% success rate in maintaining anatomical alignment. When comparing the success of patients who underwent anterior versus posterior procedures, anterior approaches showed a 90.5% rate of maintenance of reduction, compared with a 75.6% rate for the posterior approach (anterior vs posterior OR 3.1 [95% CI 1.0–9.4], p = 0.05).

Conclusions In comparison with nonoperative treatments, operative treatments provided a more successful outcome in terms of failure of treatment to maintain reduction for patients with cervical facet fractures. Operative treatment appears to provide superior results to the nonoperative treatments assessed.

Atlantoaxial instability in acute odontoid fractures is associated with nonunion and mortality

Atlantoaxial-instability-in-acute-odontoid-fractures-is-associated-with-nonunion-and-mortality_2015_The-Spine-Journal

The Spine Journal 15 (2015) 910–917

Odontoid fractures are the most common geriatric cervical spine fractures. Nonunion rates have been reported to be up to 40% and mortality up to 35%, and poor functional outcomes are common. Atlantoaxial instability (AAI) is a plausible prognostic factor, but its role has not been previously examined.

PURPOSE: To determine the effect of severe AAI on the outcomes of nonunion and mortality in patients with acute odontoid fractures.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort/single institution.

PATIENT SAMPLE: One hundred twenty-four consecutive patients with acute odontoid fractures.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Rates of nonunion and mortality.

METHODS: Two independent blinded reviewers measured AAI using postinjury computed tomography scans. Patients were classified as having ‘‘severe’’ or ‘‘minimal’’ AAI on the basis of greater versus less than or equal to 50% mean subluxation across each C1–C2 facet joint. Rates of nonunion and mortality were compared using independent samples t tests and adjusted for age, displacement, and subtype using binary logistic regression.

RESULTS: One hundred seven patients had minimal AAI and 17 had severe AAI. Mean follow-up was 4.4 months (standard deviation54.6). Patients with severe AAI were more likely to experience nonunion (29% vs. 10%, respectively; p5.03) and mortality (35% vs. 14%, respectively; p5.03) regardless of treatment modality. Fracture displacement correlated with AAI (r250.65). When adjusted for patient age, the odds ratio of nonunion with severe AAI approached significance at 3.3 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.9–11.7). Mortality prediction with AAI approached a twofold increased risk (odds ratio52.1; 95% CI: 0.6–6.8). In patients with Type-II fractures, the odds of mortality with severe AAI approached a threefold higher risk (odds ratio53.3; 95% CI: 0.9–12.3).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with acute odontoid fractures and severe AAI may be more likely to experience nonunion and mortality, suggesting the possibility that aggressive management could be warranted. Further investigation with a large prospective study including patient-important functional outcomes is justified. 

Evidence-based management of traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures

Thoracolumbar burst fracture

Neurosurg Focus 37 (1):E1, 2014

The overall evidence for nonoperative management of patients with traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures is unknown. There is no agreement on the optimal method of conservative treatment. Recent randomized controlled trials that have compared nonoperative to operative treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures without neurological deficits yielded conflicting results. By assessing the level of evidence on conservative management through validated methodologies, clinicians can assess the availability of critically appraised literature. The purpose of this study was to examine the level of evidence for the use of conservative management in traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures.

Methods. A comprehensive search of the English literature over the past 20 years was conducted using PubMed (MEDLINE). The inclusion criteria consisted of burst fractures resulting from a traumatic mechanism, and fractures of the thoracic or lumbar spine. The exclusion criteria consisted of osteoporotic burst fractures, pathological burst fractures, and fractures located in the cervical spine. Of the studies meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, any study in which nonoperative treatment was used was included in this review.

Results. One thousand ninety-eight abstracts were reviewed and 447 papers met inclusion/exclusion criteria, of which 45 were included in this review. In total, there were 2 Level-I, 7 Level-II, 9 Level-III, 25 Level-IV, and 2 Level- V studies. Of the 45 studies, 16 investigated conservative management techniques, 20 studies compared operative to nonoperative treatments, and 9 papers investigated the prognosis of conservative management.

Conclusions. There are 9 high-level studies (Levels I–II) that have investigated the conservative management of traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures. In neurologically intact patients, there is no superior conservative management technique over another as supported by a high level of evidence. The conservative technique can be based on patient and surgeon preference, comfort, and access to resources. A high level of evidence demonstrated similar functional outcomes with conservative management when compared with open surgical operative management in patients who were neurologically intact. The presence of a neurological deficit is not an absolute contraindication for conservative treatment as supported by a high level of evidence. However, the majority of the literature excluded patients with neurological deficits. More evidence is needed to further classify the appropriate burst fractures for conservative management to decrease variables that may impact the prognosis.

Minimally invasive spine surgery in the treatment of thoracolumbar and lumbar spine trauma

Minimally invasive spine surgery in the treatment of thoracolumbar and lumbar spine trauma

Neurosurg Focus 37 (1):E11, 2014

Thoracolumbar and lumbar trauma account for the majority of traumatic spinal injuries. The mainstay of current treatments is still nonoperative therapy with bracing. Classic treatment algorithms reserved absolute surgical intervention for spinal trauma patients with neurological compromise or instability. Relative indications included incapacitating pain and obesity/body habitus making brace therapy ineffective.

In the past decade, minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques for spine surgery have been increasingly used for degenerative conditions. These same minimally invasive techniques have seen increased use in trauma patients. The goal of minimally invasive surgery is to decrease surgical morbidity through decreased soft-tissue dissection while providing the same structural stability afforded by classic open techniques.

These minimally invasive techniques involve percutaneous posterior pedicle fixation, vertebral body augmentation, and utilization of endoscopic and thoracoscopic techniques.

While MIS techniques are somewhat in their infancy, an increasing number of studies are reporting good clinical and radiographic outcomes with these MIS techniques. However, the literature is still lacking high-quality evidence comparing these newer techniques to classic open treatments. This article reviews the relevant literature regarding minimally invasive spine surgery in the treatment of thoracolumbar and lumbar trauma.

Traumatic injuries to the craniovertebral junction: a review of rare events

Traumatic injuries CVJ

Neurosurg Rev (2014) 37:203–216

The craniovertebral junction is a specific region of the spine with unique anatomical and biomechanical properties that yields a wide variety of injury patterns.

Junctional traumatic fractures and/or dislocations are widely reported in clinical practice, but we could identify only a subgroup of upper cervical spine traumatic injuries with very few cases reported in the literature, and for this reason may be considered rare.

In some of these cases, the absence of spinal biomechanical instability, in association with moderate clinical symptoms (neck stiffness and pain) and the difficulty in fracture identification through standard cervical radiographs, leads to a high percentage of missed injuries.

In other cases, traumatic events have been commonly described only in autopsy series due to the high degree of spinal biomechanical instability.

Herein, we have summarized all the relevant literature concerning this issue and also included our cases, with the aim of emphasizing prompt diagnosis and correct management.

We provide a guide for correctly identifying “rare” craniovertebral junction traumatic injuries.

Risk Factors for Pediatric Arachnoid Cyst Rupture/Hemorrhage: A Case-Control Study

Risk_Factors_for_Pediatric_Arachnoid_Cyst

As the availability of imaging modalities has increased, the finding of arachnoid cysts has become common. Accurate patient counseling regarding physical activity or risk factors for cyst rupture or hemorrhage has been hampered by the lack of definitive association studies.

OBJECTIVE: This case-control study evaluated factors that are associated with arachnoid cyst rupture (intracystic hemorrhage, adjacent subdural hematoma, or adjacent subdural hygroma) in pediatric patients with previously asymptomatic arachnoid cysts.

METHODS: Patients with arachnoid cysts and intracystic hemorrhage, adjacent subdural hygroma, or adjacent subdural hematoma treated at a single institution from 2005 to 2010 were retrospectively identified. Two unruptured/nonhemorrhagic controls were matched to each case based on patient age, sex, anatomical cyst location, and side. Risk factors evaluated included arachnoid cyst size, recent history of head trauma, and altitude at residence.

RESULTS: The proportion of imaged arachnoid cysts that presented either originally or subsequently with a rupture or hemorrhage was 6.0%. Larger cyst size, as defined by maximal cyst diameter, was significantly associated with cyst rupture/hemorrhage (P < .001). When dichotomized with a 5-cm cutoff, 9/13 larger cysts ruptured and/or hemorrhaged, whereas only 5/29 smaller cysts ruptured/hemorrhaged (odds ratio = 16.5 (confidence interval [2.5, N]). A recent history of head trauma was also significantly associated with the outcome (P < .001; odds ratio = 25.1 (confidence interval [4.0, N]). Altitude was not associated with arachnoid cyst rupture or hemorrhage.

CONCLUSION: This case-control study suggests that larger arachnoid cyst size and recent head trauma are risk factors for symptomatic arachnoid cyst rupture/hemorrhage.