Paul A. Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carl H. Snyderman and Eric W. Wang
Hasan A. Zaidi, Andrew J. Montoure and Curtis A. Dickman
The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) and surgical intervention for treating SIJ pain or dysfunction has been a topic of much debate in recent years. There has been a resurgence in the implication of this joint as the pain generator for many patients experiencing low-back pain, and new surgical methods are gaining popularity within both the orthopedic and neurosurgical fields. There is no universally accepted gold standard for diagnosing or surgically treating SIJ pain. The authors systematically reviewed studies on SIJ fusion in the neurosurgical and orthopedic literature to investigate whether sufficient evidence exists to support its use.
A literature search was performed using MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and OvidSP–Wolters Kluwer Health for all articles regarding SIJ fusion published from 2000 to 2014. Original, peer-reviewed, prospective or retrospective scientific papers with at least 2 patients were included in the study. Exclusion criteria included follow-up shorter than 1-year, nonsurgical treatment, inadequate clinical data as determined by 2 independent reviewers, non-English manuscripts, and nonhuman subjects.
A total of 16 peer-reviewed journal articles met the inclusion criteria: 5 consecutive case series, 8 retrospective studies, and 3 prospective cohort studies. A total of 430 patients were included, of whom 131 underwent open surgery and 299 underwent minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for SIJ fusion. The mean duration of follow-up was 60 months for open surgery and 21 months for MIS. SIJ degeneration/arthrosis was the most common pathology among patients undergoing surgical intervention (present in 257 patients [59.8%]), followed by SIJ dysfunction (79 [18.4%]), postpartum instability (31 [7.2%]), posttraumatic (28 [6.5%]), idiopathic (25 [5.8%]), pathological fractures (6 [1.4%]), and HLA-B27+/rheumatoid arthritis (4 [0.9%]). Radiographically confirmed fusion rates were 20%–90% for open surgery and 13%–100% for MIS. Rates of excellent satisfaction, determined by pain reduction, function, and quality of life, ranged from 18% to 100% with a mean of 54% in open surgical cases. For MIS patients, excellent outcome, judged by patients’ stated satisfaction with the surgery, ranged from 56% to 100% (mean 84%). The reoperation rate after open surgery ranged from 0% to 65% (mean 15%). Reoperation rate after MIS ranged from 0% to 17% (mean 6%). Major complication rates ranged from 5% to 20%, with 1 study that addressed safety reporting a 56% adverse event rate.
Surgical intervention for SIJ pain is beneficial in a subset of patients. However, with the difficulty in accurate diagnosis and evidence for the efficacy of SIJ fusion itself lacking, serious consideration of the cause of pain and alternative treatments should be given before performing the operation.
George A. C. Mendes, Curtis A. Dickman, Nestor G. Rodriguez-Martinez, Samuel Kalb, Neil R. Crawford, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Mark C. Preul and Andrew S. Little
The primary disadvantage of the posterior cervical approach for atlantoaxial stabilization after odontoidectomy is that it is conducted as a second-stage procedure. The goal of the current study is to assess the surgical feasibility and biomechanical performance of an endoscopic endonasal surgical technique for C1–2 fixation that may eliminate the need for posterior fixation after odontoidectomy.
The first step of the study was to perform endoscopic endonasal anatomical dissections of the craniovertebral junction in 10 silicone-injected fixed cadaveric heads to identify relevant anatomical landmarks. The second step was to perform a quantitative analysis using customized software in 10 reconstructed adult cervical spine CT scans to identify the optimal screw entry point and trajectory. The third step was biomechanical flexibility testing of the construct and comparison with the posterior C1–2 transarticular fixation in 14 human cadaveric specimens.
Adequate surgical exposure and identification of the key anatomical landmarks, such as C1–2 lateral masses, the C-1 anterior arch, and the odontoid process, were provided by the endonasal endoscopic approach in all specimens. Radiological analysis of anatomical detail suggested that the optimal screw entry point was on the anterior aspect of the C-1 lateral mass near the midpoint, and the screw trajectory was inferiorly and slightly laterally directed. The custommade angled instrumentation was crucial for screw placement. Biomechanical analysis suggested that anterior C1–2 fixation compared favorably to posterior fixation by limiting flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending (p > 0.3).
This is the first study that demonstrates the feasibility of an endoscopic endonasal technique for C1–2 fusion. This novel technique may have clinical utility by eliminating the need for a second-stage posterior fixation operation in certain patients undergoing odontoidectomy.
Mark E. Oppenlander, Justin C. Clark, James Kalyvas and Curtis A. Dickman
Symptomatic herniated thoracic discs (HTDs) are rare, and patients infrequently require treatment of 2 or more disc levels. The authors assess the surgical management and outcomes of patients with multiple-level symptomatic HTDs.
A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was performed of 220 consecutive patients treated surgically for symptomatic HTDs. Clinical and surgical results were compared between patients with single-level disease and patients with multiple-level disease and also among the different approaches used for surgical decompression.
Between 1992 and 2012, 56 patients (mean age 48 years; 26 male, 30 female) underwent 62 procedures for 130 HTDs. Forty-six patients (82%) had myelopathy, and 36 (64%) had thoracic radiculopathy; 24 patients had both conditions in varying degree. Symptom duration averaged 28 months. The surgical approach was dictated by disc size, consistency, and location. Twenty-three thoracotomy, 26 thoracoscopy, and 13 posterolateral procedures were performed. Five patients required a combination of approaches. Patients underwent 2-level (n = 44), 3-level (n = 7), 4-level (n = 4), or 5-level (n = 1) discectomies. Instrumented fusion was performed in 36 patients (64%). Thirteen patients harbored 19 additional discs, which were deemed asymptomatic/nonoperative.
The mean hospital stay was 6.5 days. Complete disc resection was verified with postoperative imaging in every patient. The procedural complication rate was 23%, and the nature of complications differed based on approach. No patients had surgery-related spinal cord injury or new myelopathy.
At a mean follow-up of 48 months, myelopathy and radiculopathy had resolved or improved at a rate of 85% and 92%, respectively. Using a general linear model, preoperative symptom duration (p = 0.037) and perioperative hospital length of stay (p = 0.004) emerged as negative predictors of myelopathy improvement. Most patients (96%) were satisfied with the surgical results.
Compared with 164 patients who underwent single-level HTD decompression, patients requiring surgery for multiple-level HTDs were more often myelopathic (p = 0.012). Surgery for multiple-level HTDs was more likely to require a thoracotomy approach (p = 0.00055) and instrumented fusion (p < 0.0001) and resulted in greater blood loss (p = 0.0036) and higher complication rates (p = 0.0069). The rates of resolution for myelopathy (p = 0.24) and radiculopathy (p = 1.0), however, were similar between the 2 patient groups.
The management of multiple-level symptomatic HTDs is complex, requiring individualized clinical decision making. The surgical approaches must be selected to minimize manipulation of the compressed thoracic spinal cord, and a patient may require a combination of approaches. Excellent surgical results can be achieved in this unique and challenging patient population.
Justin C. Clark and Curtis A. Dickman
Mark E. Oppenlander, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Curtis A. Dickman
Cavernous malformations (CMs) are found throughout the CNS but are relatively uncommon in the spine. In this report, the authors describe a giant CM with the imaging appearance of an aggressive, invasive, expansive tumor in the cervical spine. The intradural extramedullary portion of the tumor originated from a cervical nerve root; histologically, the lesion was identified as an intraneural CM. Most of the tumor extended into the paraspinal tissues. The tumor was also epidural, intraosseous, and osteolytic and had completely encased cervical nerve roots, peripheral nerves, branches of the brachial plexus, and the vertebral artery on the right side. It became symptomatic during the puerperal period. Gross-total resection was achieved using staged operative procedures, complex dural reconstruction, spinal fixation, and fusion. Clinical, radiographic, and histological details, as well as a discussion of the relevant literature, are provided.
Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Ketan Verma, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Randall W. Porter, Nicholas Theodore, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Curtis A. Dickman and Robert F. Spetzler
Schwannomas occupying the craniocervical junction (CCJ) are rare and usually originate from the jugular foramen, hypoglossal nerves, and C-1 and C-2 nerves. Although they may have different origins, they may share the same symptoms, surgical approaches, and complications. An extension of these lesions along the posterior fossa cisterns, foramina, and spinal canal—usually involving various cranial nerves (CNs) and the vertebral and cerebellar arteries—poses a surgical challenge. The primary goals of both surgical and radiosurgical management of schwannomas in the CCJ are the preservation and restoration of function of the lower CNs, and of hearing and facial nerve function. The origins of schwannomas in the CCJ and their clinical presentation, surgical management, adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery, and outcomes in 36 patients treated at Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) are presented.
Between 1989 and 2009, 36 patients (mean age 43.6 years, range 17–68 years) with craniocervical schwannomas underwent surgical resection at BNI. The records were reviewed retrospectively regarding clinical presentation, radiographic assessment, surgical approaches, adjuvant therapies, and follow-up outcomes.
Headache or neck pain was present in 72.2% of patients. Cranial nerve impairments, mainly involving the vagus nerve, were present in 14 patients (38.9%). Motor deficits were found in 27.8% of the patients. Sixteen tumors were intra- and extradural, 15 were intradural, and 5 were extradural. Gross-total resection was achieved in 25 patients (69.4%). Adjunctive radiosurgery was used in the management of residual tumor in 8 patients; tumor control was ultimately obtained in all cases.
Surgical removal, which is the treatment of choice, is curative when schwannomas in the CCJ are excised completely. The far-lateral approach and its variations are our preferred approaches for managing these lesions. Most common complications involve deficits of the lower CNs, and their early recognition and rehabilitation are needed. Stereotactic radiosurgery, an important tool for the management of these tumors as adjuvant therapy, can help decrease morbidity rates.
Francisco A. Ponce, Brendan D. Killory, Scott D. Wait, Nicholas Theodore and Curtis A. Dickman
Thoracoscopy may be used in place of thoracotomy to resect intrathoracic neoplasms such as paraspinal neurogenic tumors. Although these tumors are rare, they account for the majority of tumors arising in the posterior mediastinum.
A database was maintained of all patients undergoing thoracoscopic surgery for tumors. The authors analyzed the presenting symptoms, pathological diagnoses, and outcomes of 26 patients (7 males and 19 females, mean age 37.2 years) who were treated for intrathoracic tumors via thoracoscopy between January 1995 and May 2009. Fourteen patients were diagnosed incidentally (54%). Five patients (19%) presented with dyspnea or shortness of breath, 4 (15%) with pain, 1 (4%) with pneumonia, 1 (4%) with hoarseness, and 1 (4%) with Horner syndrome.
Pathology demonstrated schwannomas in 20 patients (77%). Other diagnoses included ganglioneurofibroma, paraganglioma, epithelioid angiosarcoma, benign hemangioma, benign granular cell tumor, and infectious granuloma. One patient required conversion to open thoracotomy due to pleural scarring to the tumor. One underwent initial laminectomy due to intraspinal extension of the tumor. Gross-total resection was obtained in 25 cases (96%). The remaining patient underwent biopsy followed by radiation therapy. The mean surgical time was 2.5 hours, and the mean blood loss was 243 ml. The mean duration of chest tube insertion was 1.3 days, and the mean length of hospital stay was 3.0 days. Cases that were treated in the second half of the cohort were more often diagnosed incidentally, performed in less time, and had less blood loss than those in the first half of the cohort. There was 1 case of permanent treatment-related morbidity (mild Horner syndrome). All previously employed patients were able to return to work (mean clinical follow-up 43 months). There were no recurrences (mean imaging follow-up 54 months).
Endoscopic transthoracic approaches can reduce approach-related soft-tissue morbidity and facilitate recovery by preserving the normal tissues of the chest wall, by avoiding rib retraction and muscle transection, and by reducing postoperative pain. This less invasive approach thus shortens hospital stay and recovery time.