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Christina Sayama, Sudhakar Vadivelu, Andrew Livingston, Allen Ho, Shayan A. Izaddoost, Valentina Briceño, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

Wound-related complications following complex posterior spine procedures in children may result in the need for serial debridements and may place spinal instrumentation at risk. In this study, the authors review their experience with the management of soft-tissue defects from spinal instrumentation in 5 high-risk pediatric patients. The use of various rotational and transpositional flaps in the management of these complicated cases is discussed, as well as their outcomes.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 5 patients who returned to the Neuro-Spine service at Texas Children's Hospital for erosion of spinal instrumentation through the skin between September 1, 2007, and October 31, 2012. Patient demographics and clinical and operative data were recorded.

Results

Risk factors such as young age (1 case), poor nutritional status (1 case), multiple previous surgeries (3 cases), severe neurological deficits (2 cases), and history of radiation therapy for malignancy (2 cases) were noted in the 5 patients. The paraspinous flap (4 cases) was the mainstay of the treatment. Follow-up ranged from 7.5 to 17.5 months (mean 11 ± 4.2 months). One of the patients required more than 1 procedure for revision of the wound. Cultures were positive in 2 of the 5 cases. Spinal instrumentation was removed in 3 of the 5 cases; however, in all 3 of the cases there was evidence of delayed instability that developed after the removal of spinal instrumentation.

Conclusions

The use of local tissue flaps is safe and efficacious for treatment of posterior wound complications due to spinal instrumentation in children. Removal of spinal instrumentation should be avoided due to the development of delayed instability. Highly vascularized tissue is used to speed healing, clear bacteria, and eliminate dead space, obviating the need to remove contaminated spinal instrumentation.

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

Object

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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.