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Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Risheng Xu, Seba Ramhmdani, Thomas Kosztowski, Mohamad Bydon, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Timothy F. Witham, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Ali Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to report the long-term clinical outcomes following 3- and 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

METHODS

A retrospective review of all adult neurosurgical patients undergoing elective ACDF for degenerative disease at a single institution between 1996 and 2013 was performed. Patients who underwent first-time 3- or 4-level ACDF were included; patients with previous cervical spine surgery, those undergoing anterior/posterior approaches, and those with corpectomy were excluded. Outcome measures included perioperative complication rates, fusion rates, need for revision surgery, Nurick Scores, Odom's criteria, symptom resolution, neck visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, and persistent narcotics usage.

RESULTS

Seventy-one patients who underwent 3-level ACDF and 26 patients who underwent 4-level ACDF were identified and followed for an average of 7.6 ± 4.2 years. There was 1 case (3.9%) of deep wound infection in the 4-level group and 1 case in the 3-level group (1.4%; p = 0.454). Postoperatively, 31% of patients in the 4-level group complained of dysphagia, compared with 12.7% in the 3-level group (p = 0.038). The fusion rate was 84.6% after 4-level ACDF and 94.4% after 3-level ACDF (p = 0.122). At last follow-up, a significantly higher proportion of patients in the 4-level group continued to have axial neck pain (53.8%) than in the 3-level group (31%; p = 0.039); the daily oral morphine equivalent dose was significantly higher in the 4-level group (143 ± 97 mg/day) than in the 3-level group (25 ± 10 mg/day; p = 0.030). Outcomes based on Odom's criteria were also different between cohorts (p = 0.044), with a significantly lower proportion of patients in the 4-level ACDF group experiencing an excellent/good outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, patients who underwent 4-level ACDF had significantly higher rates of dysphagia, postoperative neck pain, and postoperative narcotic usage when compared with patients who underwent 3-level ACDF. Pseudarthrosis and deep wound infection rates were also higher in the 4-level group, although this did not reach statistical significance. Additionally, a smaller proportion of patients achieved a good/excellent outcome in the 4-level group than in the 3-level group. These findings suggest a significant increase of perioperative morbidity and worsened outcomes for patients who undergo 4- versus 3-level ACDF.

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Daniel M. Sciubba, Mohamed Macki, Mohamad Bydon, Niccole M. Germscheid, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Stefano Boriani, Chetan Bettegowda, Dean Chou, Alessandro Luzzati, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Zsolt Szövérfi, Patti Zadnik, Laurence D. Rhines, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Charles G. Fisher and Peter Paul Varga

OBJECT

Clinical outcomes in patients with primary spinal osteochondromas are limited to small series and sporadic case reports. The authors present data on the first long-term investigation of spinal osteochondroma cases.

METHODS

An international, multicenter ambispective study on primary spinal osteochondroma was performed. Patients were included if they were diagnosed with an osteochondroma of the spine and received surgical treatment between October 1996 and June 2012 with at least 1 follow-up. Perioperative prognostic variables, including patient age, tumor size, spinal level, and resection, were analyzed in reference to long-term local recurrence and survival. Tumor resections were compared using Enneking appropriate (EA) or Enneking inappropriate surgical margins.

RESULTS

Osteochondromas were diagnosed in 27 patients at an average age of 37 years. Twenty-two lesions were found in the mobile spine (cervical, thoracic, or lumbar) and 5 in the fixed spine (sacrum). Twenty-three cases (88%) were benign tumors (Enneking tumor Stages 1–3), whereas 3 (12%) exhibited malignant changes (Enneking tumor Stages IA–IIB). Sixteen patients (62%) underwent en bloc treatment—that is, wide or marginal resection—and 10 (38%) underwent intralesional resection. Twenty-four operations (92%) followed EA margins. No one received adjuvant therapy. Two patients (8%) experienced recurrences: one in the fixed spine and one in the mobile spine. Both recurrences occurred in latent Stage 1 tumors following en bloc resection. No osteochondroma-related deaths were observed.

CONCLUSIONS

In the present study, most patients underwent en bloc resection and were treated as EA cases. Both recurrences occurred in the Stage 1 tumor cohort. Therefore, although benign in character, osteochondromas still require careful management and thorough follow-up.

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Mohamad Bydon, Mohamed Macki, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Timothy F. Witham and Ali Bydon

OBJECT

This study aimed to identify the factors predicting an increased risk for reoperation in patients who had undergone a lumbar laminectomy.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of all patients who had undergone firsttime, bilateral laminectomy at 1, 2, or 3 levels for lumbar spondylosis at the authors' institution. Patients who underwent fusion, laminotomy, discectomy, or complete facetectomy were excluded. The patients' preoperative symptoms and comorbidities were also obtained from their medical records.

RESULTS

Over an average follow-up period of 46.8 months, of 500 patients who had undergone laminectomy at 1, 2, or 3 levels, 81 patients (16.2%) developed subsequent spinal disorders that required a reoperation. A multiple logistic regression analysis identified smoking as an independent predictor of reoperation (OR 2.15, p = 0.01). Smoking was also an independent predictor of reoperation after a single-level laminectomy (OR 11.3, p = 0.02) and after a multilevel (that is, involving 2 or 3 levels) laminectomy (OR 1.98, p = 0.05). For 72 patients undergoing reoperation only for spinal degeneration, smoking remained an independent, statistically significant predictor of reoperation (OR 2.06, p = 0.04). Nine patients underwent reoperation for nondegenerative conditions (hematoma, wound infection, or wound dehiscence), and in these patients, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was the only statistically significant predictor of reoperation (OR 8.92, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Smoking was the strongest predictor of reoperation in patients who had undergone single-level laminectomy, multilevel laminectomy, or reoperation for progression of spinal degeneration. These findings suggest that smokers have worse outcomes of lumbar decompression than nonsmokers.

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Mohamad Bydon, Dimitrios Mathios, Mohamed Macki, Rafael de la Garza-Ramos, Daniel M. Sciubba, Timothy F. Witham, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Ali Bydon

Object

The authors conducted a study to investigate the rate and timing of reoperation due to symptom recurrence after unilateral posterior cervical foraminotomy (PCF).

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed demographic, surgical, and clinical data from 151 patients who underwent unilateral PCF at their institution with an average follow-up of 4.15 years. The main outcome variables were reoperation rate, time to reoperation, and short- and long-term radiculopathy improvement rates. Kaplan-Meier analyses were conducted to assess risk of reoperation and recurrence of radiculopathy over time.

Results

After index PCF in 151 patients, the overall reoperation rate was 9.9% (15 patients). The average time until reoperation was 2.4 years, and the average last follow-up examination was 4.15 years after the first surgery. Patients who presented with preoperative neck pain in addition to radiculopathy had a higher risk for reoperation and a shorter time to reoperation. The majority of patients who underwent a reoperation had an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (80%). A smaller number of patients had reoperation that included a repeat PCF (6.7%) or laminectomy with posterior cervical fusion (13.3%). The rate of same-level reoperation (6.6%, 10 patients) was significantly higher (p = 0.05) when compared with adjacent-segment (1.3%, 2 patients) or distant-segment (1.9%, 3 patients) reoperation. At last follow-up, the overall rate of improvement in radiculopathy was 85%, with the majority of patients (91.4%) experiencing resolution as early as 1 month after index surgery. Following the subgroup that experienced initial symptom improvement, 16.1% of these patients experienced radiculopathy recurrence an average of 7.3 years after the initial operation. While the reoperation rate for the overall cohort in this series was 9.9%, patients with follow-up periods longer than 2 years had a reoperation rate of 18.3%. Moreover, patients with more than 10 years of follow-up had a reoperation rate of 24.3%.

Conclusions

PCF is a procedure performed to address nerve root compression in the cervical spine. The authors evaluated 151 patients who underwent unilateral PCF and found a reoperation rate of 9.9% at an average of 2.4 years after the initial surgery (6.6% at same level, 3.3% elsewhere). The reoperation rates reached 18.3% and 24.3% in patients with follow-up periods longer than 2 and 10 years, respectively. The authors' analysis revealed that patients with no preoperative neck pain had the lowest rates of revision surgery after PCF.

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Mohamad Bydon, Risheng Xu, Anubhav G. Amin, Mohamed Macki, Paul Kaloostian, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Timothy F. Witham

Object

A number of imaging techniques have been introduced to minimize the risk of pedicle screw placement. Intraoperative CT has been recently introduced to assist in spinal instrumentation. The aim of this study was to study the effectiveness of intraoperative CT in enhancing the safety and accuracy of pedicle screw placement.

Methods

The authors included all cases from December 2009 through July 2012 in which intraoperative CT scanning was used to confirm pedicle screw placement.

Results

A total of 203 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of 1148 screws, 103 screws (8.97%) were revised intraoperatively in 72 patients (35.5%): 14 (18.42%) were revised in the cervical spine (C-2 or C-7), 25 (7.25%) in the thoracic spine, and 64 (8.80%) in the lumbar spine. Compared with screws in the thoracic and lumbar regions, pedicle screws placed in the cervical region were statistically more likely to be revised (p = 0.0061). Two patients (0.99%) required reoperations due to undetected misplacement of pedicle screws.

Conclusions

The authors describe one of the first North American experiences using intraoperative CT scanning to confirm the placement of pedicle screws. Compared with a similar cohort of patients from their institution who had pedicle screws inserted via the free-hand technique with postoperative CT, the authors found that the intraoperative CT lowers the threshold for pedicle screw revision, resulting in a statistically higher rate of screw revision in the thoracic and lumbar spine (p < 0.0001). During their 2.5-year experience with the intraoperative CT, the authors did not find a reduction in rates of reoperation for misplaced pedicle screws.