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Akira Iwata, Hideki Sudo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Manabu Ito, Katsuhisa Yamada, and Norimasa Iwasaki

OBJECTIVE

Controversy exists regarding the effects of lowest instrumented vertebra (LIV) tilt and rotation on uninstrumented lumbar segments in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) surgery. Because the intraoperative LIV tilt from the inferior endplate of the LIV to the superior sacral endplate is not stable after surgery, the authors measured the LIV angle of the instrumented thoracic spine as the LIV angle of the construct. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of the LIV angle of the construct and the effects of LIV rotation on the postoperative uninstrumented lumbar curve and L4 tilt in patients with thoracic AIS.

METHODS

A retrospective correlation and multivariate analysis of a prospectively collected, consecutive, nonrandomized series of patients at a single institution was undertaken. Eighty consecutive patients with Lenke type 1 or type 2 AIS treated with posterior correction and fusion were included. Preoperative and 2-year postoperative radiographic measurements were the outcome measures for this study. Outcome variables were postoperative uninstrumented lumbar segments (LIV tilt, LIV translation, uninstrumented lumbar curve, thoracolumbar/lumbar [TL/L] apical vertebral translation [AVT], and L4 tilt). The LIV angle of the construct was measured from the orthogonal line drawn from the upper instrumented vertebra to the LIV. Multiple stepwise linear regression analysis was conducted between outcome variables and patient demographics/radiographic measurements. There were no study-specific biases related to conflicts of interest.

RESULTS

Predictor variables for postoperative uninstrumented lumbar curve were the postoperative LIV angle of the construct, number of uninstrumented lumbar segments, and flexibility of TL/L curve. Specifically, a lower postoperative uninstrumented lumbar curve was predicted by a lower absolute value of the postoperative LIV angle of the construct (p < 0.0001). Predictor variables for postoperative L4 tilt were postoperative LIV rotation, preoperative L4 tilt, and preoperative uninstrumented lumbar curve. Specifically, a lower postoperative L4 tilt was predicted by a lower absolute value of postoperative LIV rotation (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

The LIV angle of the construct significantly affected the LIV tilt, uninstrumented lumbar curve, and TL/L AVT. LIV rotation significantly affected the LIV translation and L4 tilt.

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Yuichiro Abe, Shigenobu Sato, Koji Kato, Takahiko Hyakumachi, Yasushi Yanagibashi, Manabu Ito, and Kuniyoshi Abumi

Augmented reality (AR) is an imaging technology by which virtual objects are overlaid onto images of real objects captured in real time by a tracking camera. This study aimed to introduce a novel AR guidance system called virtual protractor with augmented reality (VIPAR) to visualize a needle trajectory in 3D space during percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP).

The AR system used for this study comprised a head-mount display (HMD) with a tracking camera and a marker sheet. An augmented scene was created by overlaying the preoperatively generated needle trajectory path onto a marker detected on the patient using AR software, thereby providing the surgeon with augmented views in real time through the HMD. The accuracy of the system was evaluated by using a computer-generated simulation model in a spine phantom and also evaluated clinically in 5 patients.

In the 40 spine phantom trials, the error of the insertion angle (EIA), defined as the difference between the attempted angle and the insertion angle, was evaluated using 3D CT scanning. Computed tomography analysis of the 40 spine phantom trials showed that the EIA in the axial plane significantly improved when VIPAR was used compared with when it was not used (0.96° ± 0.61° vs 4.34° ± 2.36°, respectively). The same held true for EIA in the sagittal plane (0.61° ± 0.70° vs 2.55° ± 1.93°, respectively).

In the clinical evaluation of the AR system, 5 patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures underwent VIPAR-guided PVP from October 2011 to May 2012. The postoperative EIA was evaluated using CT. The clinical results of the 5 patients showed that the EIA in all 10 needle insertions was 2.09° ± 1.3° in the axial plane and 1.98° ± 1.8° in the sagittal plane. There was no pedicle breach or leakage of polymethylmethacrylate.

VIPAR was successfully used to assist in needle insertion during PVP by providing the surgeon with an ideal insertion point and needle trajectory through the HMD. The findings indicate that AR guidance technology can become a useful assistive device during spine surgeries requiring percutaneous procedures.

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Yuichiro Abe, Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Yoshihisa Kotani, Hideki Sudo, and Akio Minami

Object

Use of computer-assisted spine surgery (CASS) technologies, such as navigation systems, to improve the accuracy of pedicle screw (PS) placement is increasingly popular. Despite of their benefits, previous CASS systems are too expensive to be ubiquitously employed, and more affordable and portable systems are desirable. The aim of this study was to introduce a novel and affordable computer-assisted technique that 3-dimensionally visualizes anatomical features of the pedicles and assists in PS insertion. The authors have termed this the 3D-visual guidance technique for inserting pedicle screws (3D-VG TIPS).

Methods

The 3D-VG technique for placing PSs requires only a consumer-class computer with an inexpensive 3D DICOM viewer; other special equipment is unnecessary. Preoperative CT data of the spine were collected for each patient using the 3D-VG TIPS. In this technique, the anatomical axis of each pedicle can be analyzed by volume-rendered 3D models, as with existing navigation systems, and both the ideal entry point and the trajectory of each PS can be visualized on the surface of 3D-rendered images. Intraoperative guidance slides are made from these images and displayed on a TV monitor in the operating room. The surgeon can insert PSs according to these guidance slides. The authors enrolled 30 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) who underwent posterior fusion with segmental screw fixation for validation of this technique.

Results

The novel technique allowed surgeons, from office or home, to evaluate the precise anatomy of each pedicle and the risks of screw misplacement, and to perform 3D preoperative planning for screw placement on their own computer. Looking at both 3D guidance images on a TV monitor and the bony structures of the posterior elements in each patient in the operating theater, surgeons were able to determine the best entry point for each PS with ease and confidence. Using the current technique, the screw malposition rate was 4.5% in the thoracic region in corrective surgery for AIS.

Conclusions

The authors found that 3D-VG TIPS worked on a consumer-class computer and easily visualized the ideal entry point and trajectory of PSs in any operating theater without costly special equipment. This new technique is suitable for preoperative planning and intraoperative guidance when performing reconstructive surgery with PSs.

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Morio Matsumoto, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Tsuyoshi Kato, Shigeo Shindo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Masahiko Takahata, Yutaka Nohara, Hiroshi Taneichi, Katsuro Tomita, Norio Kawahara, Shiro Imagama, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Masashi Yamazaki, and Akihiko Okawa

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of fusion surgery in patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament in the thoracic spine (T-OPLL) and to identify factors significantly related to surgical outcomes.

Methods

The study included 76 patients (34 men and 42 women with a mean age of 56.3 years) who underwent fusion surgery for T-OPLL at 7 spine centers during the 5-year period from 2003 to 2007. The authors evaluated the patient demographic data, underlying disease, preoperative comorbidities, history of spinal surgery, radiological findings, surgical methods, surgical outcomes, and complications. Surgical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score for thoracic myelopathy (11 points) and the recovery rate.

Results

The mean JOA scale score was 4.6 ± 2.1 points preoperatively and 7.7 ± 2.5 points at the time of the final follow-up examination, yielding a mean recovery rate of 45.4% ± 39.1%. The recovery rates by surgical method were 38.5% ± 37.8% for posterior decompression and fusion, 65.0% ± 35.6% for anterior decompression and fusion via an anterior approach, 28.8% ± 41.2% for anterior decompression via a posterior approach, and 57.5% ± 41.1% for circumferential decompression and fusion. The recovery rate was significantly higher in patients without diabetes mellitus (DM) than in those with DM. One or more complications were experienced by 31 patients (40.8%), including 20 patients with postoperative neurological deterioration, 7 with dural tears, 5 with epidural hematomas, 4 with respiratory complications, and 10 with other complications.

Conclusions

The outcomes of fusion surgery for T-OPLL were favorable. The absence of DM correlated with better outcomes. However, a high rate of complications was associated with the fusion surgery.

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Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Yoshihisa Kotani, Masahiko Takahata, Hideki Sudo, Yoshihiro Hojo, and Akio Minami

The authors present a new posterior correction technique consisting of simultaneous double-rod rotation using 2 contoured rods and polyaxial pedicle screws with or without Nesplon tapes. The purpose of this study is to introduce the basic principles and surgical procedures of this new posterior surgery for correction of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Through gradual rotation of the concave-side rod by 2 rod holders, the convex-side rod simultaneously rotates with the the concave-side rod. This procedure does not involve any force pushing down the spinal column around the apex. Since this procedure consists of upward pushing and lateral translation of the spinal column with simultaneous double-rod rotation maneuvers, it is simple and can obtain thoracic kyphosis as well as favorable scoliosis correction. This technique is applicable not only to a thoracic single curve but also to double major curves in cases of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

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Yoshihisa Kotani, Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Keigo Yasui, and Akio Minami

The authors describe a case of a 52-year-old woman in whom tetraplegia developed with neurological respiratory failure due to POEMS syndrome associated with a solitary sacral plasmacytoma. Resection was finally performed after her condition proved resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. The patient showed a dramatic recovery and was ambulatory without tumor recurrence after 5 years and 6 months of follow-up. To the authors' knowledge, there are only 3 reported cases in the literature of bilateral phrenic nerve palsy leading to respiratory failure treated by chemotherapy. This is the first report describing neurological recovery after surgery for pentaplegia due to POEMS syndrome associated with solitary sacral plasmacytoma.

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Manabu Ito, Yoshihisa Kotani, Yoshihiro Hojo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Tsuyoshi Kadosawa, and Akio Minami

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the degree of bone ingrowth and bonding stiffness at the surface of hydroxyapatite ceramic (HAC) spacers with different porosities in an animal model and to discuss the ideal porous characteristics of these spacers for anterior spinal reconstruction.

Methods

Twenty-one adult sheep (age 1–2 years, mean weight 70 kg) were used in this experiment. Surgery consisted of anterior lumbar interbody fusion at L2–3 and L4–5, insertion of an HAC spacer (10 × 13 × 24 mm) with three different porosities (0, 3, and 15%), and single-rod anterior instrumentation. At 4 and 6 months postoperatively, the lumbar spines were harvested. Bonding conditions at the bone–HAC spacer interface were evaluated using neuroimages and biomechanically. A histological evaluation was also conducted to examine the state of bone ingrowth at the surface of the HAC spacer.

Biomechanical testing showed that the bonding strength of HAC at 6 months postoperatively was 0.047 MPa in 0% porosity spacers, 0.39 MPa in 3%, and 0.49 MPa in 15% porosity spacers. The histological study showed that there was a soft-tissue layer at the surface of the HAC spacer with 0% porosity. Direct bonding was observed between bone and spacers with 3 or 15% porosity. Micro–computed tomography scans showed direct bonding between the bone and HAC with 3 or 15% porosity. No direct bonding was observed in HAC with 0% porosity.

Conclusions

Dense (0%) HAC anterior vertebral spacers did not achieve direct bonding to the bone in the sheep model. The HAC vertebral spacers with 3 or 15% porosity showed proof of direct bonding to the bone at 6 months postoperatively. The higher porosity HAC spacer showed better bonding stiffness to the bone.

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Hideki Sudo, Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Yoshihisa Kotani, Tatsuto Takeuchi, Keigo Yasui, and Akio Minami

Object

As increasing numbers of patients receive long-term hemodialysis, the number of reports regarding hemodialysis-related cervical spine disorders has also increased. However, there have been few reports summarizing the surgical results in patients with these disorders. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term follow up and clinical results after surgical treatment of cervical disorders in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

Methods

Seventeen patients in whom surgery was performed for cervical spine disorders while they received long-term hemodialysis therapy were enrolled in this study. Of these, 15 underwent follow-up review for more than 3 years after surgery, and these represent the study population. The remaining two patients died of postoperative sepsis. The average follow-up period was 120 months. Five patients without spinal instability underwent spinal cord decompression in which bilateral open-door laminoplasty was performed. Ten patients with destructive spondyloarthropathy (DSA) underwent reconstructive surgery involving pedicle screw (PS) fixation. In eight patients in whom posterior instrumentation was placed, anterior strut bone grafting was performed with autologous iliac bone to treat anterior-column destruction. Marked neurological recovery was obtained in all patients after the initial surgery. In the mobile segments adjacent to the site of previous spinal fusion, the authors observed progressive destructive changes with significant instability in four patients (40%) who underwent circumferential spinal fusion. No patients required a second surgery after laminoplasty for spinal canal stenosis without DSA changes.

Conclusions

Cervical PS-assisted reconstruction provided an excellent fusion rate and good spinal alignment. During the long-term follow-up period, however, some cases required extension of the spinal fusion due to the destructive changes in the adjacent vertebral levels. Guidelines or recommendations to overcome these problems should be produced to further increase the survival rates of patients undergoing hemodialysis.

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Hideki Sudo, Itaru Oda, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Manabu Ito, Yoshihisa Kotani, and Akio Minami

Object

The objectives of this study were to compare the biomechanical effects of five lumbar reconstruction models on the adjacent segment and to analyze the effects of three factors: construct stiffness, sagittal alignment, and the number of fused segments.

Methods

Nondestructive flexion–extension tests were performed by applying pure moments to 10 calf spinal (L3–S1) specimens. One-segment (L5–6) or two-segment (L5–S1) posterior fusion methods were simulated: 1) one-segment posterolateral fusion (PLF); 2) one-segment PLF with interbody fusion cages (one-segment PLIF/PLF); 3) two-segment PLF; 4) two-segment PLIF/PLF; and 5) two-segment PLF in kyphosis (two-segment kyphotic PLF). The range of motion (ROM) of the reconstructed segments, intradiscal pressure (IDP), and lamina strain in the upper (L4–5) adjacent segment were analyzed.

The ROM was significantly decreased in the PLIF/PLF models compared with that in the PLF alone models after both the one- and two-segment fusions. If the number of fused segments was increased, the pressure and strains were also increased in specimens subjected to the PLIF/PLF procedure, more so than the PLF-alone procedure. In the one-segment PLIF/PLF model the authors observed a reduced IDP and lamina strain compared with those in the kyphotic two-segment PLF model despite the latter’s higher levels of initial stiffness.

Conclusions

If the number of fused levels can be reduced by using PLIF to correct local kyphosis, then this procedure may be valuable for reducing adjacent-segment degenerative changes.

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Yoshihisa Kotani, Bryan W. Cunningham, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Anton E. Dmitriev, Manabu Ito, Niabin Hu, Yasuo Shikinami, Paul C. McAfee, and Akio Minami

Object. This in vitro experimental study was conducted to investigate the initial biomechanical effect of artificial intervertebral disc replacement in the cervical spine. The multidirectional flexibility of replaced and adjacent spinal segments were analyzed using a cadaveric cervical spine model.

Methods. The following three cervical reconstructions were sequentially performed at the C5–6 level after anterior discectomy in seven human cadaveric occipitocervical spines: anterior artificial disc replacement with a bioactive three-dimensional (3D) fabric disc (FD); anterior iliac bone graft; and anterior plate fixation with iliac bone graft. Six unconstrained pure moments were applied with a 6-df spine simulator, and 3D segmental motions at the operative and adjacent segments were measured with an optoelectronic motion measurement system. The 3D FD group demonstrated statistically equivalent ranges of motion (ROMs) when compared with intact values in axial rotation and lateral bending. The 45% increase in flexion—extension ROM was demonstrated in 3D FD group; however, neutral zone analysis did not reach statistical significance between the intact spine and 3D FD. The anterior iliac bone graft and iliac bone graft reconstructions demonstrated statistically lower ROMs when compared with 3D FD in all loading modes (p < 0.05). The adjacent-level ROMs of the 3D FD group demonstrated nearly physiological characteristics at upper and lower adjacent levels. Excellent stability at the interface was maintained during the whole testing without any device displacement and dislodgment.

Conclusions. The stand-alone cervical 3D FD demonstrated nearly physiological biomechanical characteristics at both operative and adjacent spinal segments in vitro, indicating an excellent clinical potential for cervical artificial disc replacement.