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Michael Y. Wang and Jay Grossman

OBJECTIVE

One of the principal goals of minimally invasive surgery has been to speed postoperative recovery. In this case series, the authors used an endoscopic technique for interbody fusion combined with percutaneous screw fixation to obviate the need for general anesthesia.

METHODS

The first 10 consecutive patients treated with a minimum of 1 year's follow-up were included in this series. The patients were all treated using endoscopic access through Kambin's triangle to allow for neural decompression, discectomy, endplate preparation, and interbody fusion. This was followed by percutaneous pedicle screw and connecting rod placement using liposomal bupivacaine for long-acting analgesia. No narcotics or regional anesthetics were used during surgery.

RESULTS

All patients underwent the procedure successfully without conversion to open surgery. The patients' average age was 62.2 ± 9.0 years (range 52–78 years). All patients had severe disc height collapse, and 60% had a Grade I spondylolisthesis. The mean operative time was 113.5 ± 6.3 minutes (range 105–120 minutes), and blood loss was 65 ± 38 ml (range 30–190 ml). The mean length of hospital stay was 1.4 ± 1.3 nights. There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications. Comparison of preoperative and final clinical metrics demonstrated that the Oswestry Disability Index improved from 42 ± 11.8 to 13.3 ± 15.1; the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) Physical Component Summary improved from 47.6 ± 3.8 to 49.7 ± 5.4; the SF-36 Mental Component Summary decreased from 47 ± 3.9 to 46.7 ± 3.4; and the EQ-5D improved from 10.7 ± 9.5 to 14.2 ± 1.6. There were no cases of nonunion identified radiographically on follow-up imaging.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic fusion under conscious sedation may represent a feasible alternative to traditional lumbar spine fusion in select patients. Larger clinical series are necessary to validate that clinical improvements are sustained and that arthrodesis rates are successful when compared with open surgery. This initial experience demonstrates the possible utility of this procedure.

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Ziya L. Gokaslan, Albert E. Telfeian and Michael Y. Wang

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Karthik Madhavan, Lee Onn Chieng, Christoph P. Hofstetter and Michael Y. Wang

Isthmic spondylolisthesis due to pars defects resulting from trauma or spondylolysis is not uncommon. Symptomatic patients with such pars defects are traditionally treated with a variety of fusion surgeries. The authors present a unique case in which such a patient was successfully treated with endoscopic discectomy without iatrogenic destabilization.

A 31-year-old man presented with a history of left radicular leg pain along the distribution of the sciatic nerve. He had a disc herniation at L5/S1 and bilateral pars defects with a Grade I spondylolisthesis. Dynamic radiographic studies did not show significant movement of L-5 over S-1. The patient did not desire to have a fusion. After induction of local anesthesia, the patient underwent an awake transforaminal endoscopic discectomy via the extraforaminal approach, with decompression of the L-5 and S-1 nerve roots. His preoperative pain resolved immediately, and he was discharged home the same day. His preoperative Oswestry Disability Index score was 74, and postoperatively it was noted to be 8. At 2-year follow-up he continued to be symptom free, and no radiographic progression of the listhesis was noted.

In this case preservation of stabilizing structures, including the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments and the facet capsule, may have reduced the likelihood of iatrogenic instability while at the same time achieving symptom control. This may be a reasonable option for select patient symptoms confined to lumbosacral radiculopathy.

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Michael Y. Wang, Gabriel Widi and Allan D. Levi

OBJECT

The aging of the population will require that surgeons increasingly consider operating on elderly patients. Performing surgery safely in the elderly will require an understanding of the factors that predict successful outcomes and avoid complications.

METHODS

Records of patients 85 years and older undergoing elective lumbar spinal surgery were retrospectively reviewed. Microdiscectomies were excluded. Preexisting medical illnesses measured using the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Physical Status class, age, and surgical parameters were analyzed as factors potentially predictive of complications. Ambulatory function was rated on a 4-point scale.

RESULTS

During the study 26 consecutive patients (mean age 87 years) with a mean ASA class of 2.6 ± 0.65 and CCI of 1.1 ± 1.27 were enrolled. The average number of levels treated was 2.17 ± 1.23, and 73% underwent fusion. The mean follow-up was 41.9 months with a minimum of 24 months, and all patients were alive at last follow-up. Average blood loss was 142 ± 184 ml, and the operative time was 183.3 ± 80.6 minutes. The mean number of levels treated was 2.17 ± 1.13 (range 1–4). Ambulatory function improved significantly by 0.59 ± 1.0 points. Five complications (19.2%) occurred in 4 patients, 2 major and 3 minor. Four complications were temporary and 1 was permanent. Patient age, blood loss, CCI score, ASA class, the number of levels treated, and fusion surgery were not statistically associated with a complication. Operative time of longer than 180 minutes (p = 0.0134) was associated with complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Lumbar spine surgery in patients 85 years and older can be accomplished safely if careful attention is paid to preoperative selection. Prolonged operative times are associated with a higher risk of complications.

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Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Virginie Lafage, Stacie Nguyen, John Ziewacz, David O. Okonkwo, Juan S. Uribe, Robert K. Eastlack, Neel Anand, Raqeeb Haque, Richard G. Fessler, Adam S. Kanter, Vedat Deviren, Frank La Marca, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory M. Mundis Jr. and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECT

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques are becoming a more common means of treating adult spinal deformity (ASD). The aim of this study was to compare the hybrid (HYB) surgical approach, involving minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion with open posterior instrumented fusion, to the circumferential MIS (cMIS) approach to treat ASD.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective, multicenter study utilizing data collected in 105 patients with ASD who were treated via MIS techniques. Criteria for inclusion were age older than 45 years, coronal Cobb angle greater than 20°, and a minimum of 1 year of follow-up. Patients were stratified into 2 groups: HYB (n = 62) and cMIS (n = 43).

RESULTS

The mean age was 60.7 years in the HYB group and 61.0 years in the cMIS group (p = 0.910). A mean of 3.6 interbody fusions were performed in the HYB group compared with a mean of 4.0 interbody fusions in the cMIS group (p = 0.086). Posterior fusion involved a mean of 6.9 levels in the HYB group and a mean of 5.1 levels in the cMIS group (p = 0.003). The mean follow-up was 31.3 months for the HYB group and 38.3 months for the cMIS group. The mean Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score improved by 30.6 and 25.7, and the mean visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back/leg pain improved by 2.4/2.5 and 3.8/4.2 for the HYB and cMIS groups, respectively. There was no significant difference between groups with regard to ODI or VAS scores. For the HYB group, the lumbar coronal Cobb angle decreased by 13.5°, lumbar lordosis (LL) increased by 8.2°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) decreased by 2.2 mm, and LL–pelvic incidence (LL-PI) mismatch decreased by 8.6°. For the cMIS group, the lumbar coronal Cobb angle decreased by 10.3°, LL improved by 3.0°, SVA increased by 2.1 mm, and LL-PI decreased by 2.2°. There were no significant differences in these radiographic parameters between groups. The complication rate, however, was higher in the HYB group (55%) than in the cMIS group (33%) (p = 0.024).

CONCLUSIONS

Both HYB and cMIS approaches resulted in clinical improvement, as evidenced by decreased ODI and VAS pain scores. While there was no significant difference in degree of radiographic correction between groups, the HYB group had greater absolute improvement in degree of lumbar coronal Cobb angle correction, increased LL, decreased SVA, and decreased LL-PI. The complication rate, however, was higher with the HYB approach than with the cMIS approach.

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Michael Y. Wang, Ram Vasudevan and Stefan A. Mindea

Object

Adjacent-segment degeneration and stenosis are common in patients who have undergone previous lumbar fusion. Treatment typically involves a revision posterior approach, which requires management of postoperative scar tissue and previously implanted instrumentation. A minimally invasive lateral approach allows the surgeon to potentially reduce the risk of these hazards. The technique relies on indirect decompression to treat central and foraminal stenosis and placement of a graft with a large surface area to promote robust fusion and stability in concert with the surrounding tensioned ligaments. The goal in this study was to determine if lateral interbody fusion without supplemental pedicle screws is effective in treating adjacent-segment disease.

Methods

For a 30-month study period at two institutions, the authors obtained all cases of lumbar fusion with new back and leg pain due to adjacent-segment stenosis and spondylosis failing conservative measures. All patients had undergone minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion from the side of greater leg pain without supplemental pedicle screw fixation. Patients were excluded from the study if they had undergone surgery for a nondegenerative etiology such as infection or trauma. They were also excluded if the intervention involved supplemental posterior instrumented fusion with transpedicular screws. Postoperative metrics included numeric pain scale (NPS) scores for leg and back pain. All patients underwent dynamic radiographs and CT scanning to assess stability and fusion after surgery.

Results

During the 30-month study period, 21 patients (43% female) were successfully treated using minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion without the need for subsequent posterior transpedicular fixation. The mean patient age was 61 years (range 37–87 years). Four patients had two adjacent levels fused, while the remainder had single-level surgery. All patients underwent surgery without conversion to a traditional open technique, and recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 was used in the interbody space in all cases. The mean follow-up was 23.6 months. The mean operative time was 86 minutes, and the mean blood loss was 93 ml. There were no major intraoperative complications, but one patient underwent subsequent direct decompression in a delayed fashion. The leg pain NPS score improved from a mean of 6.3 to 1.9 (p < 0.01), and the back pain NPS score improved from a mean of 7.5 to 2.9 (p < 0.01). Intervertebral settling averaged 1.7 mm. All patients had bridging bone on CT scanning at the last follow-up, indicating solid bony fusion.

Conclusions

Adjacent-segment stenosis and spondylosis can be treated with a number of different operative techniques. Lateral interbody fusion provides an attractive alternative with reduced blood loss and complications, as there is no need to re-explore a previous laminectomy site. In this limited series a minimally invasive lateral approach provided high fusion rates when performed with osteobiological adjuvants.

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Faiz U. Ahmad and Michael Y. Wang

Object

Over the past decade percutaneous pedicle screws have become popular for the minimally invasive treatment of spinal disorders. However, until the last 5 years the presence of a significant spinal deformity was regarded as a relative contraindication for percutaneous instrumentation. Recent advances in surgical technique and intraoperative technology have made percutaneous fixation in complex spinal pathologies more commonplace. The authors report their experience using a parsimonious method for uniplanar fluoroscopic targeting of pedicles in challenging cases.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients with adult spinal deformity who underwent percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation from 2008 to 2013. Cases were included if a spiral slice postoperative CT scan was obtained. All cases had a minimum of 10° of axial rotation and typically had additional accompanying anatomical abnormalities. Screws were assessed for any pedicle violations as well as any impingement of the surrounding facet joints.

Results

A total of 410 pedicle screws were placed in 36 patients with an average 6.4 levels of instrumentation per patient. The mean age was 67 years (range 44–86 years) and there were 25 females. Of the 410 screws, 29 (7.1%) had some medial or lateral pedicle violation. Of these, 15 (3.7%) were Grade 1, 6 (1.4%) were Grade 2, and 8 (2.0%) were Grade 3 violations. Of the Grade 3 violations, 2 each were at the L-4, L-5, and S-1 levels, and 1 each was at the T-10 and L-1 levels. Two of the patients had symptoms and both underwent screw repositioning, one during the same admission and the other in a delayed fashion. Both were at the L-5 and S-1 levels with anatomically highly medialized pedicles. There were no motor deficits, and both removals were for numbness. Of the 72 screws at the proximal end of the construct, there were 6 facet violations (8.3%). Four (5.6%) of these were Grade 1, 1 (1.4%) was Grade 2, and 1 (1.4%) was Grade 3.

Conclusions

The anteroposterior fluoroscopic technique can be effectively used by spinal surgeons to cannulate the pedicles in patients with rotational deformities. The complication rate in this challenging population is acceptable and is in accordance with the existing literature. However, caution should be used at L-5 and S-1 when the pedicle is narrow and highly medialized, rendering an indistinct medial wall on anteroposterior imaging.

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Patrick C. Hsieh, John C. Liu and Michael Y. Wang

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Rishi Wadhwa, Michael Y. Wang, Alexandra Tien-Smith and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Minimally invasive spinal (MIS) surgery techniques have been used sporadically in thoracolumbar junction trauma cases in the past 5 years. A review of the literature on the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma treated with MIS surgery revealed no unifying algorithm to assist with treatment planning. Therefore, the authors formulated a treatment algorithm.

Methods

The authors reviewed the current literature on MIS treatment of thoracolumbar trauma. Based on the literature review, they then created an algorithm for the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma utilizing MIS techniques. This MIS trauma treatment algorithm incorporates concepts form the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System (TLICS).

Results

The authors provide representative cases of patients with thoracolumbar trauma who underwent MIS surgery utilizing the MIS trauma treatment algorithm. The cases involve the use of mini-open lateral approaches and/or minimally invasive posterior decompression with or without fusion.

Conclusions

Cases involving thoracolumbar trauma can safely be treated with MIS surgery in select cases of burst fractures. The role of percutaneous nonfusion techniques remains very limited (primarily to treat thoracolumbar trauma in patients with a propensity for autofusion [for example, those with ankylosing spondylitis]).