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Optimal timing of referral for nerve transfer surgery for postoperative C5 palsy

Presented at the 2022 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Yamaan S. Saadeh, Zoey Chopra, Eric Olsen, Brandon W. Smith, Osama N. Kashlan, Lynda J. S. Yang, and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Cervical nerve 5 palsy can occur following surgery for cervical spine pathology. The prognosis of C5 palsy is generally favorable, and most patients recover useful function. However, some patients do not recover useful strength. Nerve transfers are a potential effective treatment of postoperative severe C5 palsy. This study aimed to further delineate the natural history of recovery from postoperative C5 palsy, determine whether lack of recovery at specific time points predicts poor recovery prognosis, and thereby determine a reasonable time point for referral to a complex peripheral nerve specialist.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 72 patients who underwent surgery for cervical spondylosis and stenosis complicated by C5 palsy. Medical Research Council (MRC) motor strength grades were recorded preoperatively; immediately postoperatively; at discharge; and at 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months postoperatively. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify demographic and clinical risk factors associated with recovery of useful strength after severe C5 palsy.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 62.5 years, and 36.1% of patients were female. Thirty patients (41.7%) experienced severe C5 palsy with less than antigravity strength (MRC grade 2 or less) at discharge. Twenty-one (70%) of these patients recovered useful strength (MRC grade 3 or greater) at 12 months postoperatively, and 9 patients (30%) did not recover useful strength at 12 months. Of those patients with persistent severe C5 palsy at 3 months postoperatively, 50% recovered useful strength at 12 months. Of those patients with persistent severe C5 palsy at 6 months postoperatively, 25% recovered useful strength at 12 months. No patient with MRC grade 0 or 1 strength at 6 months postoperatively recovered useful strength. A history of diabetes was associated with the occurrence of severe C5 palsy. On multivariate analysis, female sex was associated with recovery of useful strength.

CONCLUSIONS

Most patients with severe C5 palsy recover useful strength in their C5 myotome within 12 months of onset. However, at 3 months postoperatively, patients with persistent severe C5 palsy had only a 50% chance of recovering useful strength by 12 months. Lack of recovery of useful strength at 3 months postoperatively is a reasonable time point for referral to a complex peripheral nerve center to establish care and to determine candidacy for nerve transfer surgery if severe C5 palsy persists.

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Optimal timing of referral for nerve transfer surgery for postoperative C5 palsy

Presented at the 2022 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Yamaan S. Saadeh, Zoey Chopra, Eric Olsen, Brandon W. Smith, Osama N. Kashlan, Lynda J. S. Yang, and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Cervical nerve 5 palsy can occur following surgery for cervical spine pathology. The prognosis of C5 palsy is generally favorable, and most patients recover useful function. However, some patients do not recover useful strength. Nerve transfers are a potential effective treatment of postoperative severe C5 palsy. This study aimed to further delineate the natural history of recovery from postoperative C5 palsy, determine whether lack of recovery at specific time points predicts poor recovery prognosis, and thereby determine a reasonable time point for referral to a complex peripheral nerve specialist.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 72 patients who underwent surgery for cervical spondylosis and stenosis complicated by C5 palsy. Medical Research Council (MRC) motor strength grades were recorded preoperatively; immediately postoperatively; at discharge; and at 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months postoperatively. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify demographic and clinical risk factors associated with recovery of useful strength after severe C5 palsy.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 62.5 years, and 36.1% of patients were female. Thirty patients (41.7%) experienced severe C5 palsy with less than antigravity strength (MRC grade 2 or less) at discharge. Twenty-one (70%) of these patients recovered useful strength (MRC grade 3 or greater) at 12 months postoperatively, and 9 patients (30%) did not recover useful strength at 12 months. Of those patients with persistent severe C5 palsy at 3 months postoperatively, 50% recovered useful strength at 12 months. Of those patients with persistent severe C5 palsy at 6 months postoperatively, 25% recovered useful strength at 12 months. No patient with MRC grade 0 or 1 strength at 6 months postoperatively recovered useful strength. A history of diabetes was associated with the occurrence of severe C5 palsy. On multivariate analysis, female sex was associated with recovery of useful strength.

CONCLUSIONS

Most patients with severe C5 palsy recover useful strength in their C5 myotome within 12 months of onset. However, at 3 months postoperatively, patients with persistent severe C5 palsy had only a 50% chance of recovering useful strength by 12 months. Lack of recovery of useful strength at 3 months postoperatively is a reasonable time point for referral to a complex peripheral nerve center to establish care and to determine candidacy for nerve transfer surgery if severe C5 palsy persists.

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Michael J. Strong, Timothy J. Yee, Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Kevin N. Swong, Osama N. Kashlan, Nicholas J. Szerlip, Paul Park, and Mark E. Oppenlander

OBJECTIVE

The lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) technique is used to treat many common spinal degenerative pathologies including kyphoscoliosis. The use of spinal navigation for LLIF has not been broadly adopted, especially in adult spinal deformity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility as well as the intraoperative and navigation-related complications of computer-assisted 3D navigation (CaN) during multiple-level LLIF for spinal deformity.

METHODS

Retrospective analysis of clinical and operative characteristics was performed for all patients > 18 years of age who underwent multiple-level CaN LLIF combined with posterior instrumentation for adult spinal deformity at the University of Michigan between 2014 and 2020. Intraoperative CaN-related complications, LLIF approach–related postoperative complications, and medical postoperative complications were assessed.

RESULTS

Fifty-nine patients were identified. The mean age was 66.3 years (range 42–83 years) and body mass index was 27.6 kg/m2 (range 18–43 kg/m2). The average coronal Cobb angle was 26.8° (range 3.6°–67.0°) and sagittal vertical axis was 6.3 cm (range −2.3 to 14.7 cm). The average number of LLIF and posterior instrumentation levels were 2.97 cages (range 2–5 cages) and 5.78 levels (range 3–14 levels), respectively. A total of 6 intraoperative complications related to the LLIF stage occurred in 5 patients. Three of these were CaN-related and occurred in 2 patients (3.4%), including 1 misplaced lateral interbody cage (0.6% of 175 total lateral cages placed) requiring intraoperative revision. No patient required a return to the operating room for a misplaced interbody cage. A total of 12 intraoperative complications related to the posterior stage occurred in 11 patients, with 5 being CaN-related and occurring in 4 patients (6.8%). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed no statistically significant risk factors for intraoperative and CaN-related complications. Transient hip weakness and numbness were found to be in 20.3% and 22.0% of patients, respectively. At the 1-month follow-up, weakness was observed in 3.4% and numbness in 11.9% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of CaN in multiple-level LLIF in the treatment of adult spinal deformity appears to be a safe and effective technique. The incidence of approach-related complications with CaN was 3.4% and cage placement accuracy was high.

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Yamaan S. Saadeh, Clay M. Elswick, Eleanor Smith, Timothy J. Yee, Michael J. Strong, Kevin Swong, Brandon W. Smith, Mark E. Oppenlander, Osama N. Kashlan, and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Age is known to be a risk factor for increased complications due to surgery. However, elderly patients can gain significant quality-of-life benefits from surgery. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a minimally invasive procedure that is commonly used to treat degenerative spine disease. Recently, 3D navigation has been applied to LLIF. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an increased complication risk in the elderly with navigated LLIF.

METHODS

Patients who underwent 3D-navigated LLIF for degenerative disease from 2014 to 2019 were included in the analysis. Patients were divided into elderly and nonelderly groups, with those 65 years and older categorized as elderly. Ninety-day medical and surgical complications were recorded. Patient and surgical characteristics were compared between groups, and multivariate regression analysis was used to determine independent risk factors for complication.

RESULTS

Of the 115 patients included, 56 were elderly and 59 were nonelderly. There were 15 complications (25.4%) in the nonelderly group and 10 (17.9%) in the elderly group, which was not significantly different (p = 0.44). On multivariable analysis, age was not a risk factor for complication (p = 0.52). However, multiple-level LLIF was associated with an increased risk of approach-related complication (OR 3.58, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Elderly patients do not appear to experience higher rates of approach-related complications compared with nonelderly patients undergoing 3D navigated LLIF. Rather, multilevel surgery is a predictor for approach-related complication.