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Open access

Index-level fusion and adjacent segment disease following dynamic stabilization for lumbar degenerative disc disease: illustrative case

Kathleen R Ran, Tej D Azad, Bhavya Pahwa, Lydia J Bernhardt, and Ali Bydon

BACKGROUND

Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) is an alternative to surgical fusion for the operative management of degenerative lumbar spondylosis. Compared to rigid instrumentation and fusion, DDS is purported to preserve a higher degree of spinal range of motion and reduce the risk of developing adjacent segment disease (ASD).

OBSERVATIONS

A 60-year-old female presented with severe back pain and bilateral leg pain, which had progressed over the prior 4 years. Nine years earlier, she had undergone DDS system implantation at L5–S1 for lumbar stenosis and spondylosis. Repeat imaging revealed an unintended fusion at the index level (L5–S1) and ASD causing severe lateral recess stenosis at L4–5. She underwent DDS system removal, decompression at L4–5, and extension of the fusion to L4.

LESSONS

Although DDS has been marketed as a motion-preserving system that avoids fusion and reduces the risk of ASD, unintended index-level fusion and ASD can still occur after DDS system surgery. These potential complications should be assessed when determining the optimal primary surgical treatment for patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease.

https://thejns.org/doi/10.3171/CASE24179

Open access

Incidental durotomy resulting in a postoperative lumbosacral nerve root with eventration into the adjacent facet joint: illustrative cases

Michael J Kelly, Franziska C. S Altorfer, Marco D Burkhard, Russel C Huang, Frank P Cammisa Jr., and J. Levi Chazen

BACKGROUND

Radicular pain after lumbar decompression surgery can result from epidural hematoma/seroma, recurrent disc herniation, incomplete decompression, or other rare complications. A less recognized complication is postoperative nerve root herniation, resulting from an initially unrecognized intraoperative or, more commonly, a spontaneous postoperative durotomy. Rarely, this nerve root herniation can become entrapped within local structures, including the facet joint. The aim of this study was to illustrate our experience with three cases of lumbosacral nerve root eventration into an adjacent facet joint and to describe our diagnostic and surgical approach to this rare complication.

OBSERVATIONS

Three patients who had undergone lumbar decompression surgery with or without fusion experienced postoperative radiculopathy. Exploratory revision surgery revealed all three had a durotomy with nerve root eventration into the facet joint. Significant symptom improvement was achieved in all patients following liberation of the neural elements from the facet joints.

LESSONS

Entrapment of herniated nerve roots into the facet joint may be a previously underappreciated complication and remains quite challenging to diagnose even with the highest-quality advanced imaging. Thus, clinicians must have a high index of suspicion to diagnose this issue and a low threshold for surgical exploration.

Open access

Successful coil embolization of a ruptured pseudoaneurysm of the superior gluteal artery after a percutaneous awake robot-assisted sacroiliac joint fusion: illustrative case

Samah Morsi, Alyssa M Bartlett, Andrew A Hardigan, Mounica Paturu, Shawn W Adams, Malcolm R DeBaun, Waleska Pabon-Ramos, and Muhammad M Abd-El-Barr

BACKGROUND

Robot-assisted sacroiliac joint (SIJ) fusion has gained popularity, but it carries the risk of complications such as injury to the superior gluteal artery (SGA). The authors present the case of an awake percutaneous robot-assisted SIJ fusion leading to an SGA pseudoaneurysm.

OBSERVATIONS

An 80-year-old male, who had undergone an awake percutaneous robot-assisted SIJ fusion, experienced postoperative left hip pain and bruising. Subsequent arteriography demonstrated an SGA branch pseudoaneurysm requiring coil embolization.

LESSONS

An SGA injury, although uncommon (1.2% incidence), can arise from percutaneous screw placement, aberrant anatomy, or hardware contact. Thorough preoperative imaging, precise robot-assisted screw insertion, and soft tissue protection are crucial to mitigate risks. Immediate angiography aids in prompt diagnosis and effective intervention. Comprehensive knowledge of anatomical variants is essential for managing complications and optimizing preventative measures in robot-assisted SIJ fusion.

Open access

Multiple three-column osteotomies successfully correcting cervicothoracic kyphosis in the setting of ankylosing spondylitis: illustrative case

Luke Mugge, Paul Gorka, Cristie Brewer, and Brian McHugh

BACKGROUND

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune spondylarthritis often associated with rigid kyphoscoliosis. The authors describe a surgical approach that employs multilevel three-column osteotomies for the restoration of normal global alignment.

OBSERVATIONS

A 48-year-old male with a past medical history of AS presented to the clinic with a stooped-over posture: his chin-brow vertical angle (CBVA) was 58.0°; T1 slope (T1S), 97.8°; thoracic kyphosis (TK; T1–12), 94.2°; proximal TK (T1–5), 50.8°; distal TK (T5–12), 43.5°; and sagittal vertical axis (SVA), 22.6 cm. A two-stage procedure was planned. During stage 1, instrumentation was placed from C5 to T10, followed by a T3 vertebral column resection. During stage 2, bilateral pedicle screws were placed from T11 to the pelvis. An L3 pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) was completed and was followed by a T7 PSO. Postoperatively, the patient had significant postural improvement: CBVA was 29.3°; T1S, 57.8°; TK, 77.3°; proximal TK, 33.5°; distal TK, 43.8°; and SVA, 15 cm. At 6 years postoperatively, the patient continued to do well and was without evidence of construct breakdown.

LESSONS

The authors propose that multilevel three-column osteotomies, if optimally located, successfully correct spinal malalignment associated with AS.

Open access

Oblique anterior column realignment with a mini-open posterior column osteotomy for minimally invasive adult spinal deformity correction: illustrative case

Zach Pennington, Nolan J Brown, Seyedamirhossein Pishva, Hernán F. J González, and Martin H Pham

BACKGROUND

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) occurs from progressive anterior column collapse due to disc space desiccation, compression fractures, and autofusion across disc spaces. Anterior column realignment (ACR) is increasingly recognized as a powerful tool to address ASD by progressively lengthening the anterior column through the release of the anterior longitudinal ligament during lateral interbody approaches. Here, we describe the application of minimally invasive ACR through an oblique antepsoas corridor for deformity correction in a patient with adult degenerative scoliosis and significant sagittal imbalance.

OBSERVATIONS

A 65-year-old female with a prior history of L4–5 transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and morbid obesity presented with refractory, severe low-back and lower-extremity pain. Preoperative radiographs showed significant sagittal imbalance. Computed tomography showed a healed L4–5 fusion and a vacuum disc at L3–4 and L5–S1, whereas magnetic resonance imaging was notable for central canal stenosis at L3–4. The patient was treated with a first-stage L5–S1 lateral anterior lumbar interbody fusion with oblique L2–4 ACR. The second-stage posterior approach consisted of a robot-guided minimally invasive T10–ilium posterior instrumented fusion with a mini-open L2–4 posterior column osteotomy (PCO). Postoperative radiographs showed the restoration of her sagittal balance. There were no complications.

LESSONS

Oblique ACR is a powerful minimally invasive tool for sagittal plane correction. When combined with a mini-open PCO, substantial segmental lordosis can be achieved while eliminating the need for multilevel PCO or invasive three-column osteotomies.

Open access

Two-year results of single-level fixation with lateral mass screws for cervical degenerative spondylolisthesis: patient series

Hiroyasu Kodama, Naohiro Kawamura, Junichi Ohya, Yuki Onishi, Chiaki Horii, Mitsuhiro Nishizawa, Masaya Sekimizu, Yuji Ishino, and Junichi Kunogi

BACKGROUND

In surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) with spondylolisthesis, there is no consensus on the correction and fixation for spondylolisthesis. The authors retrospectively studied whether the correction of single-level fixation with lateral mass screws (LMSs) could be maintained.

OBSERVATIONS

The records of patients with CSM with spondylolisthesis who had been treated with posterior decompression and single-level fusion with LMSs from 2017 to 2021 were retrospectively reviewed. Radiographic measurements included cervical parameters such as C2–7 lordosis, T1 slope, and the degree of spondylolisthesis (percent slippage) before surgery, immediately after surgery, and at the final observation.

Ten cases (mean age 72.8 ± 7.8 years) were included in the final analysis, and four cases (40%) were on hemodialysis. The median observation period was 26.5 months (interquartile range, 12–35.75). The mean percent slippage was 16.8% ± 4.7% before surgery, 5.3% ± 4.0% immediately after surgery, and 6.5% ± 4.7% at the final observation. Spearman’s rank correlation showed a moderate correlation between preoperative slippage magnitude and correction loss (r = 0.659; p = 0.038). Other parameters showed no correlation with correction loss.

LESSONS

For CSM with spondylolisthesis, single-level fixation with LMSs achieved and maintained successful correction in the 2-year observation.

Open access

Single-level ossified ligamentum flavum causing a holocord syrinx: illustrative case

Prashant Punia, Ashish Chugh, Sarang Gotecha, and Apurva Lachake

BACKGROUND

Syringomyelia is a neurological disorder that is caused by abnormal cerebrospinal fluid flow or circulation. It is an incidental finding in most cases, predominantly presenting with sensory symptoms of insensitivity to pain and temperature. Spinal ossified ligamentum flavum (OLF) leading to syringomyelia is one of the rare causes. The authors report an unusual case of syringomyelia due to a thoracic OLF.

OBSERVATIONS

A 54-year-old female presented with backache, difficulty walking, spasticity in the bilateral lower limbs, tingling sensation in the bilateral lower limbs, and paraparesis for 5 years. Her radiological investigations were suggestive of an OLF causing a syrinx. She underwent laminectomy, and her syrinx resolved on subsequent follow-up.

LESSONS

A syrinx due to a single-level OLF is rare, and this uncommon cause should be kept in mind while formulating treatment plans.

Open access

Extradural lumbar arteriovenous fistula imitating a synovial cyst: illustrative case

Leonidas Trakolis, Georgios Moutsianos, Viktoras Gourvas, and Athanasios Petridis

BACKGROUND

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula is the most common spinal vascular malformation. It usually presents with neurological deficits due to venous congestive myelopathy. Sometimes, however, the symptoms are radicular and can imitate those of a disc hernia or synovial cyst.

OBSERVATIONS

In this illustrated case, a 34-year-old male patient presented with radicular pain due to nerve root compression. In the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination of the spine, a synovial cyst was suspected, so the patient underwent no further examination before surgery. Intraoperatively, the authors were surprised to see a vascular malformation, which was shown to be an extradural arteriovenous fistula according to the histopathological examination.

LESSONS

In atypical MRI findings of the spine, vascular malformations should be considered. In cases with a spinal dural arteriovenous fistula, the thrombosis risk can be high and lead to a need for prolonged anticoagulation.

Open access

Bilateral L5 pedicle fracture with L5–S1 spondylolisthesis after single-level L4–5 posterior lumbar interbody fusion: illustrative case

Toshiyuki Kitaori, Masato Ota, and Jiro Tamura

BACKGROUND

Single-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a commonly performed surgical procedure for L4–5 isthmic spondylolisthesis. Postoperative L5 pedicle fracture with rapidly progressive spondylolisthesis at L5–S1 segment after L4–5 PLIF/TLIF is quite rare, and the etiology remains unclear. This report describes this rare complication and proposes a possible etiology focusing on the lumbosacral sagittal imbalance characterized by an anteriorly shifted lumbar loading axis.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case complicated by L5 bilateral pedicle fractures and rapidly progressive spondylolisthesis at the L5–S1 segment very early after a single-level PLIF for L4–5 isthmic spondylolisthesis. Meyerding grade III anterolisthesis was observed at L5–S1 segment by 3 months after the initial surgery. Additional surgery was performed, and the fixation was extended to L4–ilium. Fracture healing was observed at 6 months postoperatively.

LESSONS

This complication may have been caused by abnormal local shear forces on the posterior neural arch of L5 vertebra and L5–S1 intervertebral disc, which were triggered by the fusion surgery for L4 shear-type spondylolisthesis. L4 sagittal vertical axis is considered a reasonable parameter representing lumbosacral sagittal imbalance with an anteriorly shifted loading axis and may be a candidate for the predictive parameters of this rare complication.

Open access

Traumatic bilateral lumbosacral facet dislocation without fracture: illustrative case

Jose Castillo, Khadija Soufi, Freddie Rodriguez, and Julius O. Ebinu

BACKGROUND

Traumatic bilateral lumbosacral facet dislocations without fractures are extremely rare. Only 7 cases have been documented since the first description by Watson-Jones in 1974. Although various treatment strategies have been reported, no consensus has been reached regarding the best surgical approach.

OBSERVATIONS

A 35-year-old female presented for medical attention following a high-speed motor vehicle collision. She sustained multiple injuries, including an abdominal aortic injury requiring emergent thoracic endovascular aortic repair. She was found to have bilateral lumbosacral dislocation without fracture (L5–S1) and was noted to be neurologically intact. Once medically stabilized, the patient was taken to the operating room for minimally invasive reduction and stabilization of her lumbosacral spine. Postoperatively, the patient was neurologically intact and remained stable with no deficits and appropriate lumbosacral alignment throughout her 2-year follow-up.

LESSONS

The authors report a minimally invasive approach to the management of bilateral lumbosacral facet dislocation without fracture. Although conventional open approaches have been described previously, consideration should be given to minimally invasive strategies in select patients to facilitate their rehabilitative postoperative course.