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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

The complex treatment paradigms for concomitant tethered cord and scoliosis: illustrative case

Rose Fluss, Riana Lo Bu, Andrew J Kobets, and Jaime A Gomez

BACKGROUND

Scoliosis associated with tethered cord syndrome is one of the most challenging spinal deformities to manage. Multiple surgical approaches have been developed, including traditional staged and concomitant procedures, spine-shortening osteotomies, and individual vertebral column resections.

OBSERVATIONS

A 10-year-old female presented with congenital kyphoscoliosis with worsening curve progression, tethered spinal cord, and a history of enuresis. The scoliosis had progressed to a 26° coronal curve and 55° thoracolumbar kyphosis. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging of the spine revealed a tethered cord between the levels of L3–4 and a large kyphotic deformity at L1. The patient underwent laminectomy, during which intraoperative motor signals were lost. A planned hemivertebrectomy at L1 was performed prior to an L4 laminectomy, untethering of the filum terminale, and posterior spinal fusion from T11 to L2. After surgery, the patient experienced transient lower-extremity weakness, with her neurological function improving from baseline over the next 2 months. Ultimately, the goal of this surgery was to halt the progressive decline in motor function, which was successfully achieved.

LESSONS

Much remains to be learned about the treatment of this complicated disease, especially in the setting of concomitant scoliosis. This case serves to exemplify the complex treatment paradigms that exist when attempting to manage this clinical syndrome and that more remains to be learned.

Open access

A new surgical method to treat intracanal lumbar disc herniation using the unilateral biportal endoscopic transforaminal approach: patient series

Tomohide Segawa, Hiroki Iwai, Hirohiko Inanami, Yuichi Takano, Yohei Yuzawa, Takeshi Kaneko, Kenta Taniguchi, Kazuyoshi Yanagisawa, Junichi Yokosuka, Ryoji Tominaga, Hideki Nakamoto, Katsuyuki Sasaki, and Hisashi Koga

BACKGROUND

Unilateral biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy (UBELD) is a new minimally invasive spine surgery. The purpose of this study is to describe a new surgical method to treat intracanal lumbar disc herniation (LDH) using the unilateral biportal endoscopic transforaminal approach (UBE-TFA). The first 15 patients who had undergone UBELD for single-level LDH were included in this study. Operative time, intraoperative blood loss, postoperative stay, and intraoperative complications were recorded. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) score for leg pain, and modified MacNab criteria were assessed at 3 months postoperatively.

OBSERVATIONS

The mean operative time was 52.0 ± 13.8 minutes. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 10.5 ± 10.2 mL. The mean postoperative stay was 1.1 ± 0.3 days. There were no complications. The postoperative mean ODI was significantly improved from 44.9 ± 14.4 to 7.7 ± 11.2 at the final follow-up (p < 0.001). There was a significant decrease in the postoperative mean NRS score for leg pain, from 6.1 ± 1.9 to 0.8 ± 1.3 at the final follow-up (p < 0.001). Based on the modified MacNab criteria, good to excellent results were obtained in 86.7% of the patients.

LESSONS

We considered UBELD-TFA as not only one of the promising surgical methods for UBELD, but also a new surgical implementation of the TFA.

Open access

Long-term survival after cordectomy in a case of spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered: illustrative case

Daisuke Sato, Hirokazu Takami, Shota Tanaka, Shunsaku Takayanagi, Masako Ikemura, and Nobuhito Saito

BACKGROUND

Spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered, is an extremely rare entity with a poor prognosis. However, its optimal treatment remains poorly defined. Although cordectomy was introduced in the early 20th century, its efficacy has been questioned and shrouded behind the scenes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male with recent-onset paraparesis of the lower extremities and paresthesia presented to our outpatient clinic. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an intra-axial spinal cord tumor extending from T12 to L2. The patient underwent laminectomy and partial tumor resection, and the surgical specimen was histologically diagnosed as a diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered. Although standard chemoradiotherapy was implemented, the patient experienced local tumor recurrence 2 years later and underwent cordectomy at T9. The patient was alive at the 4-year follow-up after cordectomy without tumor recurrence. According to the literature, patients with lesions in the lower thoracic cord below T8 achieved a longer survival than those with lesions in the upper thoracic cord above T5.

LESSONS

Cordectomy benefits selected cases of high-grade spinal cord gliomas. Maximal prevention of cerebrospinal fluid dissemination by tumor cells is indisputably important, and tumors located below the lower thoracic spine may be the key to success in establishing a long-term prognosis after cordectomy.

Open access

Techniques for restoring optimal spinal biomechanics to alleviate symptoms in Bertolotti syndrome: illustrative case

Nolan J Brown, Zach Pennington, Hania Shahin, Oanh T Nguyen, and Martin H Pham

BACKGROUND

Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTVs) are congenital anomalies that occur in the spinal segments of L5–S1. These vertebrae result from sacralization of the lowermost lumbar segment or lumbarization of the uppermost sacral segment. When the lowest lumbar vertebra fuses or forms a false joint with the sacrum (pseudoarticulation), it can cause pain and manifest clinically as Bertolotti syndrome.

OBSERVATIONS

A 36-year-old female presented with severe right-sided low-back pain. Computed tomography was unremarkable except for a right-sided Castellvi type IIA LSTV. The pain proved refractory to physical therapy and lumbar epidural spinal injections, but targeted steroid and bupivacaine injection of the pseudoarticulation led to 2 weeks of complete pain relief. She subsequently underwent minimally invasive resection of the pseudoarticulation, with immediate improvement in her low-back pain. The patient continued to be pain free at the 3-year follow-up.

LESSONS

LSTVs alter the biomechanics of the lumbosacral spine, which can lead to medically refractory mechanical pain requiring surgical intervention. Select patients with Bertolotti syndrome can benefit from operative management, including resection, fusion, or decompression of the pathologic joint.

Open access

Spinal metastases of pineal region glioblastoma with primitive neuroectodermal features highlighting the importance of molecular diagnoses: illustrative case

Aaryan Shah, Neelan J Marianayagam, Aroosa Zamarud, David J Park, Amit R Persad, Scott G Soltys, Steven D Chang, and Anand Veeravagu

BACKGROUND

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor with poor patient prognosis. Spinal leptomeningeal metastasis has been rarely reported, with long intervals between the initial discovery of the primary tumor in the brain and eventual spine metastasis.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors present the case of a 51-year-old male presenting with 7 days of severe headache, nausea, and vomiting. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spine demonstrated a contrast-enhancing mass in the pineal region, along with spinal metastases to T8, T12, and L5. Initial frozen-section diagnosis led to the treatment strategy for medulloblastoma, but further molecular analysis revealed characteristics of isocitrate dehydrogenase–wild type, grade 4 GBM.

LESSONS

Glioblastoma has the potential to show metastatic spread at the time of diagnosis. Spinal imaging should be considered in patients with clinical suspicion of leptomeningeal spread. Furthermore, molecular analysis should be confirmed following pathological diagnosis to fine-tune treatment strategies.

Open access

Combined endoscopic and microsurgical approach for the drainage of a multisegmental thoracolumbar epidural abscess: illustrative case

Vincent Hagel, Felix Dymel, Stephan Werle, Vera Barrera, and Mazda Farshad

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural abscess is a rare but serious infectious disease that can rapidly develop into a life-threatening condition. Therefore, the appropriate treatment is indispensable. Although conservative treatment is justifiable in certain cases, surgical treatment needs to be considered as an alternative early on because of complications such as (progressive) neurological deficits or sepsis. However, traditional surgical techniques usually include destructive approaches up to (multilevel) laminectomies. Such excessive approaches do have biomechanical effects potentially affecting the long-term outcomes. Therefore, minimally invasive approaches have been described as alternative strategies, including endoscopic approaches.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a surgical technique involving a combination of two minimally invasive approaches (endoscopic and microsurgical) to drain a multisegmental (thoracolumbar) abscess using the physical phenomenon of continuous pressure difference to minimize collateral tissue damage.

LESSONS

The combination of minimally invasive approaches, including the endoscopic technique, may be an alternative in draining selected epidural abscesses while achieving a similar amount of abscess removal and causing less collateral approach damage in comparison with more traditional techniques.

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

Open surgical ligation of a thoracic spinal epidural arteriovenous fistula causing thoracic myelopathy: illustrative case

Brandon R. W. Laing, Benjamin Best, John D. Nerva, and Aditya Vedantam

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural arteriovenous fistulas (eAVFs) are rare spinal vascular malformations characterized by an abnormal connection from the paraspinal and paravertebral system to the epidural venous plexus. This contrasts with the more frequently seen spinal dural AVF, where the fistula is entirely intradural. Although endovascular repair is commonly performed for spinal eAVF, few cases require open surgical ligation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a 74-year-old male with progressive thoracic myelopathy secondary to a spinal eAVF. Thoracic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed intramedullary T2 signal hyperintensity from T8 to T12. Spinal angiography revealed a primary arterial supply from the right T11 segmental artery and minor supply from the left T11 branches with drainage into the ventral epidural space. The patient underwent T11–12 laminectomy and complete right T11–12 facetectomy for ligation of the fistula with T11–L1 fusion. A postoperative spinal angiogram showed resolution of the fistula. Postoperatively, the patient’s myelopathy improved, and MRI showed a decrease in T2 cord intensity.

LESSONS

Spinal eAVFs are rare lesions that differ from the more commonly seen intradural dural AVF in that the abnormal connection is in the epidural space, and they are often associated with a dilated epidural venous pouch. Treatment involves endovascular, open surgical, or combined approaches.

Open access

Percutaneous lumbopelvic fixation for pathologic sacral fractures and spinopelvic dissociation: patient series

Nikolas Baksh, Caleb Yeung, and Max Vaynrub

BACKGROUND

Because patients with advanced cancer live longer, the number of patients with the sequelae of metastatic spine disease has increased. Pathologic instability of the mobile spine has been classified, and minimally invasive surgery has been well described. However, pathologic sacral instability is uncommon and often underdiagnosed. Although most sacral fractures are stable, patients with unstable U- or H-type fractures have spinopelvic dissociation and can experience progressive pain, sacral kyphosis, and neurological injury. Open lumbopelvic fusion carries a high perioperative risk for this patient population, which has often been previously radiated and is medically frail. The authors investigated the utility and safety of percutaneous lumbopelvic fixation, as previously described for traumatic spinopelvic dissociation, in the oncological setting. The authors retrospectively reviewed five consecutive patients with unstable pathologic sacral fractures who had undergone percutaneous lumbopelvic fixation after conservative management failed.

OBSERVATIONS

Patients experienced significant improvement between pre- and postoperative visual analog scale scores (9.2 and 1.6, respectively) and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group grades (median 3 and 1, respectively). All patients were independently ambulatory at the final follow-up. Sagittal alignment remained stable in four patients and worsened in one. There were no major medical or surgical complications.

LESSONS

Percutaneous lumbopelvic fixation shows promising results for palliation, durability, and safety for pathologic sacropelvic instability.