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Ali K. Ozturk, Patricia Zadnik Sullivan and Vincent Arlet

The importance of sagittal spinal balance and lumbopelvic parameters is now well understood. The popularization of various osteotomies, including Smith-Peterson, Ponte, and pedicle subtraction osteotomies (PSOs), as well as vertebral column resections, have greatly enhanced the spine surgeon’s ability to recognize and effectively treat sagittal imbalance. Yet rare circumstances remain, most notably in distal kyphotic deformities and patients with extremely elevated pelvic incidences, where these techniques remain inadequate. In this article, the authors describe a patient with severe sagittal imbalance despite multiple prior anterior and posterior reconstructive surgeries in which a sacral PSO was performed with good results. A description of this technique as well as a brief review of the literature is provided.

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Abhijeet Kadam, Nathan Wigner, Philip Saville and Vincent Arlet

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ aim in this study was to evaluate whether sagittal plane correction can be obtained from the front by overpowering previous posterior instrumentation and/or fusion with hyperlordotic anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) cages in patients undergoing revision surgery for degenerative spinal conditions and/or spinal deformities.

METHODS

The authors report their experience with the application of hyperlordotic cages at 36 lumbar levels for ALIFs in a series of 20 patients who underwent revision spinal surgery at a single institution. Included patients underwent staged front-back procedures: ALIFs with hyperlordotic cages (12°, 20°, and 30°) followed by removal of posterior instrumentation and reinstrumentation from the back. Patients were divided into the following 2 groups depending on the extent of posterior instrumentation and fusion during the second stage: long constructs (≥ 6 levels with extension into thoracic spine and/or pelvis) and short constructs (< 6 levels). Preoperative and postoperative standing radiographs were evaluated to measure segmental lordosis (SL) along with standard sagittal parameters. Radiographic signs of pseudarthrosis at previously fused levels were also sought in all patients.

RESULTS

The average patient age was 54 years (range 30–66 years). The mean follow-up was 11.5 months (range 5–26 months). The mean SL achieved with 12°, 20°, and 30° cages was 13.1°, 19°, and 22.4°, respectively. The increase in postoperative SL at the respective surgically treated levels for 12°, 20°, and 30° cages that were used to overpower posterior instrumentation/fusion averaged 6.1° (p < 0.05), 12.5° (p < 0.05), and 17.7° (p < 0.05), respectively. No statistically significant difference was found in SL correction at levels in patients who had pseudarthrosis (n = 18) versus those who did not (n = 18). The mean overall lumbar lordosis increased from 44.3° to 59.8° (p < 0.05). In the long-construct group, the mean improvement in sagittal vertical axis was 85.5 mm (range 19–249.3 mm, p < 0.05). Endplate impaction/collapse was noted in 3 of 36 levels (8.3%). The anterior complication rate was 13.3%. No neurological complications or vascular injuries were observed.

CONCLUSIONS

ALIF in which hyperlordotic cages are used to overpower posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion can be expected to produce an increase in SL of a magnitude that is roughly half of the in-built cage lordotic angle. This technique may be particularly suited for lordosis correction from the front at lumbar levels that have pseudarthrosis from the previous posterior spinal fusion. Meticulous selection of levels for ALIF is crucial for safely and effectively performing this technique.

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Philip A. Saville, Abhijeet B. Kadam, Harvey E. Smith and Vincent Arlet

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the segmental correction obtained from 20° and 30° hyperlordotic cages (HLCs) used for anterior lumbar interbody fusion in staged anterior and posterior fusion in adults with degenerative spinal pathology and/or spinal deformities.

METHODS

The authors report a retrospective case series of 69 HLCs in 41 patients with adult degenerative spine disease and/or deformities who underwent staged anterior, followed by posterior, instrumentation and fusion. There were 29 females and 12 males with a mean age of 55 years (range 23–76 years). The average follow-up was 10 months (range 2–28 months). Radiographic measurements of segmental lordosis and standard sagittal parameters were obtained on pre- and postoperative radiographs. Implant subsidence was measured at the final postoperative follow-up.

RESULTS

For 30° HLCs, the mean segmental lordosis achieved was 29° (range 26°–34°), but in the presence of spondylolisthesis this was reduced to 19° (range 12°–21°) (p < 0.01). For 20° HLCs, the mean segmental lordosis achieved was 19° (range 16°–22°). The overall mean lumbar lordosis increased from 39° to 59° (p < 0.01). The mean sagittal vertical axis (SVA) reduced from 113 mm (range 38–320 mm) to 43 mm (range −13 to 112 mm). Six cages (9%) displayed a loss of segmental lordosis during follow-up. The mean loss of segmental lordosis was 4.5° (range 3°–10°). A total complication rate of 20% with a 4.1% transient neurological complication rate was observed. The mean blood loss per patient was 240 ml (range 50–900 ml).

CONCLUSIONS

HLCs provide a reliable and stable degree of segmental lordosis correction. A 30° HLC will produce correction of a similar magnitude to a pedicle subtraction osteotomy, but with a lower complication rate and less blood loss.

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Woojin Cho, Jonathan R. Mason, Justin S. Smith, Adam L. Shimer, Adam S. Wilson, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Francis H. Shen, Wendy M. Novicoff, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Joshua E. Heller and Vincent Arlet

Object

Lumbopelvic fixation provides biomechanical support to the base of the long constructs used for adult spinal deformity. However, the failure rate of the lumbopelvic fixation and its risk factors are not well known. The authors' objective was to report the failure rate and risk factors for lumbopelvic fixation in long instrumented spinal fusion constructs performed for adult spinal deformity.

Methods

This retrospective review included 190 patients with adult spinal deformity who had long construct instrumentation (> 6 levels) with iliac screws. Patients' clinical and radiographic data were analyzed. The patients were divided into 2 groups: a failure group and a nonfailure group. A minimum 2-year follow-up was required for inclusion in the nonfailure group. In the failure group, all patients were included in the study regardless of whether the failure occurred before or after 2 years. In both groups, the patients who needed a revision for causes other than lumbopelvic fixation (for example, proximal junctional kyphosis) were also excluded. Failures were defined as major and minor. Major failures included rod breakage between L-4 and S-1, failure of S-1 screws (breakage, halo formation, or pullout), and prominent iliac screws requiring removal. Minor failures included rod breakage between S-1 and iliac screws and failure of iliac screws. Minor failures did not require revision surgery. Multiple clinical and radiographic values were compared between major failures and nonfailures.

Results

Of 190 patients, 67 patients met inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. The overall failure rate was 34.3%; 8 patients had major failure (11.9%) and 15 had minor failure (22.4%). Major failure occurred at a statistically significant greater rate in patients who had undergone previous lumbar surgery, had greater pelvic incidence, and had poor restoration of lumbar lordosis and/or sagittal balance (that is, undercorrection). Patients with a greater number of comorbidities and preoperative coronal imbalance showed trends toward an increase in major failures, although these trends did not reach statistical significance. Age, sex, body mass index, smoking history, number of fusion segments, fusion grade, and several other radiographic values were not shown to be associated with an increased risk of major failure. Seventy percent of patients in the major failure group had anterior column support (anterior lumbar interbody fusion or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) while 80% of the nonfailure group had anterior column support.

Conclusions

The incidence of overall failure was 34.3%, and the incidence of clinically significant major failure of lumbopelvic fixation after long construct fusion for adult spinal deformity was 11.9%. Risk factors for major failures are a large pelvic incidence, revision surgery, and failure to restore lumbar lordosis and sagittal balance. Surgeons treating adult spinal deformity who use lumbopelvic fixation should pay special attention to restoring optimal sagittal alignment to prevent lumbopelvic fixation failure.

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D. Kojo Hamilton, Justin S. Smith, Tanya Nguyen, Vincent Arlet, Manish K. Kasliwal and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Sexual function is an often-overlooked aspect of health-related quality of life among older adults treated for spinal deformity. The authors' objective was to assess sexual function among older adults following thoracolumbar fusion with pelvic fixation for spinal deformity.

Methods

This was a retrospective review of consecutive older adults (≥50 years) treated with posterior thoracolumbar instrumentation (including pelvic fixation) for spinal deformity and with a minimum 18-month follow-up. Patients completed the Changes in Sexual Function Questionnaire-14 (CSFQ-14), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12).

Results

Sixty-two patients (45 women and 17 men) with a mean age of 70 years (range 50–83 years) met the inclusion criteria. Eight women did not complete all questionnaires and were excluded from the subanalysis. The mean number of instrumented levels was 9.8 (range 6–18), and the mean follow-up was 36 months (range 19–69 months). Based on the CSFQ-14, 13 patients (24%) had normal sexual function, and 8 (15%), 10 (19%), and 23 (42%) had mild, moderate, and severe dysfunction, respectively. Thirty-nine percent of patients reporting severe sexual dysfunction did not have available partners—23% because of a partner's death and 16% because of a partner's illness)—or had significant medical comorbidities of their own (48%). Thirty-nine percent of assessed patients had either no or only mild sexual dysfunction. Patients with minimal or mild disability tended to have no or mild sexual dysfunction.

Conclusions

The authors of this study assessed sexual function in older adults following surgical correction of spinal deformity that included posterior instrumented fusion and iliac bolts. Nearly 40% of assessed patients had either no or only mild sexual dysfunction, suggesting that despite an older age and extensive spinopelvic instrumentation, it remains very possible to maintain or achieve satisfactory sexual function.

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Sean M. Jones-Quaidoo, Scott Yang and Vincent Arlet

Cerebral palsy (CP) spinal deformities encompass a spectrum of deformities that are often initially treated nonoperatively, only to result in progression of scoliotic curves and further morbidity. Various surgical interventions have been devised to address the progressive curvature of the spine. This endeavor cannot be taken lightly and at times can be encumbered by prior treatments such as the use of baclofen pumps or dorsal rhizotomies. Care of these patients requires a multidisciplinary approach and comprehensive preoperative and postoperative management, including nutritional status, orthopedic assessment of functional level with specific emphasis on the hips and pelvic obliquity, and wheelchair modifications. The surgical techniques in CP scoliosis have progressively evolved from the classic Luque-Galveston fixation methods, the use of unit rods, and lately the use of pedicle screws, to modern sacropelvic fixation. With the latter method, the spinal deformity in patients with CP can usually be almost completely corrected.

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Jay Jagannathan, Ekawut Chankaew, Peter Urban, Aaron S. Dumont, Charles A. Sansur, John Kern, Benjamin Peeler, W. Jeffrey Elias, Francis Shen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Richard Whitehill, Vincent Arlet and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

In this paper, the authors review the functional and cosmetic outcomes and complications in 300 patients who underwent treatment for lumbar spine disease via either an anterior paramedian or conventional anterolateral retroperitoneal approach.

Methods

Seven surgeons performed anterior lumbar surgeries in 300 patients between August 2004 and December 2006. One hundred and eighty patients were treated with an anterior paramedian approach, and 120 patients with an anterolateral retroperitoneal approach. An access surgeon was used in 220 cases (74%). Postoperative evaluation in all patients consisted of clinic visits, assessment with the modified Scoliosis Research Society–30 instrument, as well as a specific questionnaire relating to wound appearance and patient satisfaction with the wound.

Results

At a mean follow-up of 31 months (range 12–47 months), the mean Scoliosis Research Society–30 score (out of 25) was 21.2 in the patients who had undergone the anterior paramedian approach and 19.4 in those who had undergone the anterolateral retroperitoneal approach (p = 0.005). The largest differences in quality of life measures were observed in the areas of pain control (p = 0.001), self-image (p = 0.004), and functional activity (p = 0.003), with the anterior paramedian group having higher scores in all 3 categories. Abdominal bulging in the vicinity of the surgical site was the most common wound complication observed and was reported by 22 patients in the anterolateral retroperitoneal group (18%), and 2 patients (1.1%) in the anterior paramedian group. Exposures of ≥ 3 levels with the anterolateral approach were associated with abdominal bulging (p = 0.04), while 1- or 2-level exposures were not (p > 0.05). Overall satisfaction with incisional appearance was higher in patients with an anterior paramedian incision (p = 0.001) and with approaches performed by an access surgeon (p = 0.004).

Conclusions

Patients who undergo an anterior paramedian approach to the lumbar spine have a higher quality of life and better cosmetic outcomes than patients undergoing an anterolateral retroperitoneal approach.

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Sean M. Jones-Quaidoo, Travis Hunt, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Vincent Arlet

✓ The authors report on the return of neurological and urological function in an adolescent after revision surgery for spondyloptosis 5 years after the index procedure for high-grade spondylolisthesis. This 16-year-old girl with Grade 3 spondylolisthesis was initially treated with a posterolateral reduction and fusion. Following surgery, cauda equina syndrome symptoms developed and did not resolve despite subsequent surgical decompression. Five years later, because of worsening radicular pain, an inability to walk for significant distances, and no resolution of persistent bladder dysfunction, the patient presented with spondyloptosis.

Posterior decompression, sacral dome osteotomy, and posterior reduction were performed and followed 3 days later with the placement of an anterior fibula autograft. Her bladder function recovered within 6 months, and at the 18-month follow up the patient reported a normal ability to ambulate.