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Christina Sayama, Matthew Willsey, Murali Chintagumpala, Alison Brayton, Valentina Briceño, Sheila L. Ryan, Thomas G. Luerssen, Steven W. Hwang and Andrew Jea


The aim of this study was to determine the safety of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) use in posterior instrumented fusions in the pediatric population, focusing on cancer risk. In a previous study, the authors reported the short-term (mean follow-up of 11 months) safety and efficacy of rhBMP-2 in the pediatric age group. The present study reports their results with a minimum of 24 months' follow-up.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 57 consecutive cases involving pediatric patients who underwent posterior occiptocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or lumbosacral spine fusion from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2011, at Texas Children's Hospital. Seven cases were excluded from further analysis because of loss to follow-up. Three patients died during the follow-up period and were placed in a separate cohort.


The patients' average age at the time of surgery was 11 years, 4 months (range 9 months to 20 years). The mean duration of follow-up was 48.4 months (range 24–70 months). Cancer status was determined at the most recent encounter with the patient and/or caretaker(s) in person, or in telephone follow-up. Twenty-four or more months after administration of rhBMP-2, there were no cases of new malignancy, degeneration, or metastasis of existing tumors. The cause of death of the patients who died during the study period was not related to BMP or to the development, degeneration, or metastasis of cancer.


Despite the large number of adult studies reporting increased cancer risk associated with BMP use, the authors' outcomes with rhBMP-2 in the pediatric population suggest that it is a safe adjunct to posterior spine fusions of the occipitocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and lumbosacral spine. There were no new cases of cancer, or degeneration or metastasis of existing malignancies in this series.

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Loyola V. Gressot, Sudhakar Vadivelu, Steven W. Hwang, Daniel H. Fulkerson, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea


Cervical spondylolysis is a rare condition that results from a pars interarticularis defect. The C-6 level is the most frequently involved site in the cervical spine. Its clinical presentations range from incidental radiographic findings to neck pain and, rarely, neurological deficits. Although 150 patients with subaxial cervical spondylolysis have been reported, a mere 24 adult and pediatric patients with C-2 spondylolysis have been described. The long-term outcomes of very young children with bilateral C-2 spondylolysis are of great interest, yet only a few longitudinal studies exist.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 5 cases of bilateral C-2 spondylolysis at Texas Children's Hospital and Riley Children's Hospital; these were combined with 5 other cases in the literature, yielding a total of 10 patients. Data regarding the patients' age, sex, C2–3 angulation and displacement, associated spine anomalies, neurological deficits, treatment, and most recent follow-up were recorded.


The patients' ages ranged from 3 to 36 months (mean 12.9 months). There were 6 boys and 4 girls. The C2–3 angulation, displacement, and width of pars defect were measured when available. The mean C2–3 angulation was 9.5° (range 1–34°), the mean C2–3 displacement was 4.78 mm (range 1.1–10.8 mm), and the mean width of the pars defect was 4.16 mm (range 0.9–7 mm). One patient developed myelopathy and spinal cord injury. All 10 of the patients were treated initially with conservative therapy: 3 with close observation alone, 1 with a rigid cervical collar, 4 with a Minerva jacket, 1 with a sternal-occipital-mandibular immobilizer, and 1 with a halo vest. Three patients ultimately underwent surgery for internal fixation due to progressive instability or development of neurological symptoms. All patients were neurologically intact at the last follow-up (mean 44.3 months, range 14–120 months).


Based on the literature and the authors' own experience, they conclude that most very young children with C-2 spondylolysis remain neurologically intact and maintain stability in long-term follow-up despite the bony defect. This defect is often an asymptomatic incidental finding and may be managed conservatively. More aggressive therapy including surgery is indicated for those patients with a neurological deficit from spinal cord compromise secondary to stenosis and local C-2 kyphosis, progressive deformity, or worsening C2–3 instability.