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Sokol Trungu, Luca Ricciardi, Stefano Forcato, Massimo Miscusi, and Antonino Raco

OBJECTIVE

The typical traumatic thoracolumbar (TL) fracture in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a hyperextension injury involving all three spinal columns, which is associated with unfavorable outcomes. Although a consensus on the management of these highly unstable injuries is missing, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has been progressively accepted as a treatment option, since it is related to lower morbidity and mortality rates. This study aimed to evaluate clinical and radiological outcomes after percutaneous instrumentation with cement augmentation for hyperextension TL fractures in patients with AS at a single institution.

METHODS

This cohort study was completed retrospectively. Back pain was assessed at preoperative, postoperative, and final follow-up visits using the visual analog scale (VAS). Patient-reported outcomes via the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the new mobility score (NMS) were obtained to assess disability and mobility during follow-up. Radiological outcomes included the Cobb angle, sagittal index (SI), union rate, and implant failure. Intra- and postoperative complications were recorded.

RESULTS

A total of 22 patients met inclusion criteria. The mean patient age was 74.2 ± 7.3 years with a mean follow-up of 39.2 ± 17.4 months. The VAS score for back pain significantly improved over the follow-up period (from 8.4 ± 1.1 to 2.8 ± 0.8, p < 0.001). At the last follow-up, all patients had minor disability (mean ODI score 24.4 ± 6.1, p = 0.003) and self-sufficiency of mobility (mean NMS 7.5 ± 1.6, p = 0.02). The Cobb angle (5.2° ± 2.9° preoperatively to 4.4° ± 3.3° at follow-up) and SI (7.9° ± 4.2° to 8.8° ± 5.1°) were maintained at follow-up, showing no loss of segmental kyphosis. Bone union was observed in all patients. The overall complication rate was 9.1%, while the reoperation rate for implant failure was 4.5%.

CONCLUSIONS

Percutaneous instrumentation with cement augmentation for traumatic hyperextension TL fractures in AS demonstrated good clinical and radiological outcomes, along with a high bone union level and low reoperation rate. Accordingly, MIS reduced the complication rate in the management of these injuries of the ankylosed spine.

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Nikhil K. Murthy, Kimberly K. Amrami, Stephen M. Broski, Patrick B. Johnston, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

Neurolymphomatosis (NL) is a rare manifestation of lymphoma confined to the peripheral nervous system that is poorly understood. It can be found in the cauda equina, but extraspinal disease can be underappreciated. The authors describe how extraspinal NL progresses to the cauda equina by perineural spread and the implications of this on timely and safe diagnostic options.

METHODS

The authors used the Mayo Clinic medical records database to find cases of cauda equina NL with sufficient imaging to characterize the lumbosacral plexus diagnosed from tissue biopsy. Demographics (sex, age), clinical data (initial symptoms, cerebrospinal fluid, evidence of CNS involvement, biopsy location, primary or secondary disease), and imaging findings were reviewed.

RESULTS

Ten patients met inclusion and exclusion criteria, and only 2 of 10 patients presented with cauda equina symptoms at the time of biopsy, with 1 patient undergoing a cauda equina biopsy. Eight patients were diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 1 with low-grade B-cell lymphoma, and 1 with mantle cell lymphoma. Isolated spinal nerve involvement was identified in 5 of 10 cases, providing compelling evidence regarding the pathophysiology of NL. The conus medullaris was not radiologically involved in any case. Lumbosacral plexus MRI was able to identify extraspinal disease and offered diagnostically useful biopsy targets. FDG PET/CT was relatively insensitive for detecting disease in the cauda equina but was helpful in identifying extraspinal NL.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors propose that perineural spread of extraspinal NL to infiltrate the cauda equina occurs in two phases. 1) There is proximal and distal spread along a peripheral nerve, with eventual spread to anatomically connected nerves via junction and branch points. 2) The tumor cells enter the spinal canal through corresponding neural foramina and propagate along the spinal nerves composing the cauda equina. To diffusely infiltrate the cauda equina, a third phase occurs in which tumor cells can spread circumdurally to the opposite side of the spinal canal and enter contralateral nerve roots extending proximally and distally. This spread of disease can lead to diffuse bilateral spinal nerve disease without diffuse leptomeningeal spread. Recognition of this phasic mechanism can lead to identification of safer extraspinal biopsy targets that could allow for greater functional recovery after appropriate treatment.

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Ali S. Farooqi, Austin J. Borja, Donald K. E. Detchou, Gregory Glauser, Kaitlyn Shultz, Scott D. McClintock, and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

This study assesses how degree of overlap, either before or after the critical operative portion, affects lumbar fusion outcomes.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied 3799 consecutive patients undergoing single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion over 6 years (2013–2019) at a university health system. Outcomes recorded within 30–90 and 0–90 postoperative days included emergency department (ED) visit, readmission, reoperation, overall morbidity, and mortality. Furthermore, morbidity and mortality were recorded for the duration of follow-up. The amount of overlap that occurred before or after the critical portion of surgery was calculated as a percentage of total beginning or end operative time. Subsequent to initial whole-population analysis, coarsened exact-matched cohorts of patients were created with the least and most amounts of either beginning or end overlap. Univariate analysis was performed on both beginning and end overlap exact-matched cohorts, with significance set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

Equivalent outcomes were observed when comparing exact-matched patients. Among the whole population, the degree of beginning overlap was correlated with reduced ED visits within 30–90 and 0–90 days (p = 0.007, p = 0.009; respectively), and less 0–90 day morbidity (p = 0.037). Degree of end overlap was correlated with fewer 30–90 day ED visits (p = 0.015). When comparing only patients with overlap, degree of beginning overlap was correlated with fewer 0–90 day reoperations (p = 0.022), and no outcomes were correlated with degree of end overlap.

CONCLUSIONS

The degree of overlap before or after the critical step of surgery does not lead to worse outcomes after lumbar fusion.

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Jessica R. Lane, Paddy Ssentongo, Mallory R. Peterson, Joshua R. Harper, Edith Mbabazi-Kabachelor, John Mugamba, Peter Ssenyonga, Justin Onen, Ruth Donnelly, Jody Levenbach, Venkateswararao Cherukuri, Vishal Monga, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Benjamin C. Warf, and Steven J. Schiff

OBJECTIVE

This study investigated the incidence of postoperative subdural collections in a cohort of African infants with postinfectious hydrocephalus. The authors sought to identify preoperative factors associated with increased risk of development of subdural collections and to characterize associations between subdural collections and postoperative outcomes.

METHODS

The study was a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial at a single center in Mbale, Uganda, involving infants (age < 180 days) with postinfectious hydrocephalus randomized to receive either an endoscopic third ventriculostomy plus choroid plexus cauterization or a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Patients underwent assessment with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (Bayley-III; sometimes referred to as BSID-III) and CT scans preoperatively and then at 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Volumes of brain, CSF, and subdural fluid were calculated, and z-scores from the median were determined from normative curves for CSF accumulation and brain growth. Linear and logistic regression models were used to characterize the association between preoperative CSF volume and the postoperative presence and size of subdural collection 6 and 12 months after surgery. Linear regression and smoothing spline ANOVA were used to describe the relationship between subdural fluid volume and cognitive scores. Causal mediation analysis distinguished between the direct and indirect effects of the presence of a subdural collection on cognitive scores.

RESULTS

Subdural collections were more common in shunt-treated patients and those with larger preoperative CSF volumes. Subdural fluid volumes were linearly related to preoperative CSF volumes. In terms of outcomes, the Bayley-III cognitive score was linearly related to subdural fluid volume. The distribution of cognitive scores was significantly different for patients with and those without subdural collections from 11 to 24 months of age. The presence of a subdural collection was associated with lower cognitive scores and smaller brain volume 12 months after surgery. Causal mediation analysis demonstrated evidence supporting both a direct (76%) and indirect (24%) effect (through brain volume) of subdural collections on cognitive scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Larger preoperative CSF volume and shunt surgery were found to be risk factors for postoperative subdural collection. The size and presence of a subdural collection were negatively associated with cognitive outcomes and brain volume 12 months after surgery. These results have suggested that preoperative CSF volumes could be used for risk stratification for treatment decision-making and that future clinical trials of alternative shunt technologies to reduce overdrainage should be considered.

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Ferran Pellisé, Miquel Serra-Burriel, Alba Vila-Casademunt, Jeffrey L. Gum, Ibrahim Obeid, Justin S. Smith, Frank S. Kleinstück, Shay Bess, Javier Pizones, Virginie Lafage, Francisco Javier S. Pérez-Grueso, Frank J. Schwab, Douglas C. Burton, Eric O. Klineberg, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Ahmet Alanay, Christopher P. Ames, and on behalf of the International Spine Study Group (ISSG) and European Spine Study Group (ESSG)

OBJECTIVE

The reported rate of complications and cost of adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery, associated with an exponential increase in the number of surgeries, cause alarm among healthcare payers and providers worldwide. The authors conjointly analyzed the largest prospective available ASD data sets to define trends in quality-of-care indicators (complications, reinterventions, and health-related quality of life [HRQOL] outcomes) since 2010.

METHODS

This is an observational prospective longitudinal cohort study. Patients underwent surgery between January 2010 and December 2016, with > 2 years of follow-up data. Demographic, surgical, radiological, and HRQOL (i.e., Oswestry Disability Index, SF-36, Scoliosis Research Society-22r) data obtained preoperatively and at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery were evaluated. Trends and changes in indicators were analyzed using local regression (i.e., locally estimated scatterplot smoothing [LOESS]) and adjusted odds ratio (OR).

RESULTS

Of the 2286 patients included in the 2 registries, 1520 underwent surgery between 2010 and 2016. A total of 1151 (75.7%) patients who were treated surgically at 23 centers in 5 countries met inclusion criteria. Patient recruitment increased progressively (2010–2011 vs 2015–2016: OR 1.64, p < 0.01), whereas baseline clinical characteristics (age, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, HRQOL scores, sagittal deformity) did not change. Since 2010 there has been a sustained reduction in major and minor postoperative complications observed at 90 days (major: OR 0.59; minor: OR 0.65; p < 0.01); at 1 year (major: OR 0.52; minor: 0.75; p < 0.01); and at 2 years of follow-up (major: OR 0.4; minor: 0.80; p < 0.01) as well as in the 2-year reintervention rate (OR 0.41, p < 0.01). Simultaneously, there has been a slight improvement in the correction of sagittal deformity (i.e., pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch: OR 1.11, p = 0.19) and a greater gain in quality of life (i.e., Oswestry Disability Index 26% vs 40%, p = 0.02; Scoliosis Research Society-22r, self-image domain OR 1.16, p = 0.13), and these are associated with a progressive reduction of surgical aggressiveness (number of fused segments: OR 0.81, p < 0.01; percent pelvic fixation: OR 0.66, p < 0.01; percent 3-column osteotomies: OR 0.63, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The best available data show a robust global improvement in quality metrics in ASD surgery over the last decade. Surgical complications and reoperations have been reduced by half, while improvement in disability increased and correction rates were maintained, in patients with similar baseline characteristics.

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Chih-Ying Huang, Syu-Jyun Peng, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Huai-Che Yang, Ching-Jen Chen, Mao-Che Wang, Yong-Sin Hu, Yu-Wei Chen, Chung-Jung Lin, Wan-Yuo Guo, David Hung-Chi Pan, Wen-Yuh Chung, and Cheng-Chia Lee

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is a common treatment modality for vestibular schwannoma (VS). The ability to predict treatment response is important in patient counseling and decision-making. The authors developed an algorithm that can automatically segment and differentiate cystic and solid tumor components of VS. They also investigated associations between the quantified radiological features of each component and tumor response after GKRS.

METHODS

This is a retrospective study comprising 323 patients with VS treated with GKRS. After preprocessing and generation of pretreatment T2-weighted (T2W)/T1-weighted with contrast (T1WC) images, the authors segmented VSs into cystic and solid components by using fuzzy C-means clustering. Quantitative radiological features of the entire tumor and its cystic and solid components were extracted. Linear regression models were implemented to correlate clinical variables and radiological features with the specific growth rate (SGR) of VS after GKRS.

RESULTS

A multivariable linear regression model of radiological features of the entire tumor demonstrated that a higher tumor mean signal intensity (SI) on T2W/T1WC images (p < 0.001) was associated with a lower SGR after GKRS. Similarly, a multivariable linear regression model using radiological features of cystic and solid tumor components demonstrated that a higher solid component mean SI (p = 0.039) and a higher cystic component mean SI (p = 0.004) on T2W/T1WC images were associated with a lower SGR after GKRS. A larger cystic component proportion (p = 0.085) was associated with a trend toward a lower SGR after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Radiological features of VSs on pretreatment MRI that were quantified using fuzzy C-means were associated with tumor response after GKRS. Tumors with a higher tumor mean SI, a higher solid component mean SI, and a higher cystic component mean SI on T2W/T1WC images were more likely to regress in volume after GKRS. Those with a larger cystic component proportion also trended toward regression after GKRS. Further refinement of the algorithm may allow direct prediction of tumor response.

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Nathan K. Leclair, William A. Lambert, Joshua Knopf, Petronella Stoltz, David S. Hersh, Jonathan E. Martin, and Markus J. Bookland

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis is a congenital disorder resulting from the premature fusion of cranial sutures in the infant skull. This condition results in significant cosmetic deformity and can impede neurodevelopment, if left untreated. Currently, rates of craniometric change following minimally invasive surgery have only been examined for sagittal craniosynostosis. A better understanding of postoperative skull adaptations in other craniosynostosis subtypes is needed to objectively categorize surgical outcomes and guide length of cranial orthosis therapy.

METHODS

Eleven patients with sagittal and 8 with metopic craniosynostosis treated using endoscopic strip craniectomy and postoperative helmet orthoses were retrospectively reviewed. Using semiautomated image analysis of top-down orthogonal 2D photographs, the following craniometrics were recorded before surgery and at postoperative visits: cephalic index (CI), cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI), anterior arc angle (AAA), posterior arc angle (PAA), anterior-middle width ratio (AMWR), anterior-posterior width ratio (APWR), left-right height ratio (LRHR), sagittal Hu moment (Sag-Hu), and brachycephaly Hu moment (Brachy-Hu). These craniometrics were then normalized to photograph-based measurements of normocephalic patients and the rates of change between metopic and sagittal craniosynostoses were compared.

RESULTS

Patients with sagittal craniosynostosis exhibited significantly lower CI, lower PAA, higher AMWR, higher APWR, lower Sag-Hu, and higher Brachy-Hu preoperatively compared to patients with normocephalic craniosynostosis. Patients with metopic craniosynostosis exhibited lower AAA and AMWR preoperatively compared to normocephalic subjects. Sagittal and metopic patients had a rapid initial change in normalized CI or AAA, respectively. Craniometric rates of change that significantly differed between metopic and sagittal patients were found in AAA (p < 0.001), AMWR (p < 0.001), and APWR (p < 0.0001). Metopic patients had a prolonged AAA change with a significantly different rate of change up to 6 months postoperatively (median at 3 months = 0.027 normalized units/day, median at 6 months = 0.017 normalized units/day, and median at > 6 months = 0.007 normalized units/day), while sagittal CI rate of change at these time points was not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with metopic craniosynostosis have a prolonged rate of change compared to patients with sagittal craniosynostosis and may benefit from longer helmet use and extended postoperative follow-up. Categorizing craniometric changes for other craniosynostosis subtypes will be important for evaluating current treatment guidelines.

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Basem Ishak, Sven Frieler, Tarush Rustagi, Alexander von Glinski, Ronen Blecher, Daniel C. Norvell, Andreas Unterberg, Sarah Strot, Jeffrey Roh, Robert A. Hart, Rod Oskouian, and Jens R. Chapman

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to analyze the early complications and mortality associated with multilevel spine surgery for unstable fractures in patients older than 80 years of age with ankylosing spondylitis and to compare the results with an age- and sex-matched cohort of patients with unstable osteoporotic fractures.

METHODS

A retrospective review of the electronic medical records at a single institution was conducted between January 2014 and December 2019. Patient demographics, surgical characteristics, complications, hospital course, and 90-day mortality were collected. Comorbidities were stratified using the age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI).

RESULTS

Among 11,361 surgically treated patients, 22 patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS group) and 24 patients with osteoporosis (OS group) were identified. The mean ages were 83.1 ± 3.1 years and 83.2 ± 2.6 years, respectively. A significant difference in the mean CCI score was found (7.6 vs 5.6; p < 0.001). Multilevel posterior fusion procedures were conducted in all patients, with 6.7 ± 1.4 fused levels in the AS group and 7.1 ± 1.1 levels fused in the OS group (p > 0.05). Major complications developed in 10 patients (45%) in the AS group compared with 4 patients (17%) in the OS group (p < 0.05). The 90-day mortality was 36% in the AS group compared with 0% in the OS group (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients older than 80 years of age with AS bear a high risk of adverse events after multilevel spinal fusion procedures. The high morbidity and 90-day mortality should be clearly discussed and carefully weighed against surgical treatment.

Open access

Maria Rosaria Scala, Pietro Spennato, Antonio Della Volpe, Claudia Santoro, Stefania Picariello, Alfonso Maria Varricchio, Claudio Ruggiero, Serena dé Santi, and Giuseppe Cinalli

The authors present the case of removal of a Koos grade IV right acoustic neuroma in a neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) patient, already operated on for left cerebellopontine angle meningioma at 7 years of age and a left acoustic neuroma at 16 years of age. A transpetrosal approach allowed cochlear sensor implantation to detect residual hearing. An enlarged retrosigmoid approach then allowed subtotal microsurgical removal of the lesion; consequently, the authors illustrate the technical nuances of an auditory brainstem implant (ABI). One month after surgery, the ABI was successfully switched on, giving back hearing perception to the patient.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2021.7.FOCVID2188

Open access

Nickalus R. Khan, Clifford S. Brown, Simon Angeli, and Jacques J. Morcos

The authors present the case of a 34-year-old patient with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF-2) who underwent a left translabyrinthine approach for resection a meningioma, vestibular schwannoma, and placement of an auditory brainstem implant (ABI). They review the preoperative workup, technical nuances of the surgery, and cadaveric dissections with anatomical diagrams, and provide a review on ABIs. The patient remained neurologically intact and had improvement in lip reading when using the ABI device in the postoperative period.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2021.7.FOCVID2163