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Ajit Jada, Charles E. Mackel, Steven W. Hwang, Amer F. Samdani, James H. Stephen, James T. Bennett and Ali A. Baaj

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a 3D spinal deformity affecting children between the ages of 11 and 18, without an identifiable etiology. The authors here reviewed the available literature to provide spine surgeons with a summary and update on current management options.

Smaller thoracic and thoracolumbar curves can be managed conservatively with observation or bracing, but corrective surgery may be indicated for rapidly growing or larger curves. The authors summarize the atypical features to look for in patients who may warrant further investigation with MRI during diagnosis and review the fundamental principles of the surgical management of AIS.

Patients with AIS can be managed very well with a combination of conservative and surgical options. Outcomes for these children are excellent with sustained longer-term results.

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Ali A. Baaj, Douglas Brockmeyer, Andrew Jea and Amer F. Samdani

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Ziev B. Moses, Rory R. Mayer, Benjamin A. Strickland, Ryan M. Kretzer, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Ali A. Baaj

Object

Parallel advancements in image guidance technology and minimal access techniques continue to push the frontiers of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). While traditional intraoperative imaging remains widely used, newer platforms, such as 3D-fluoroscopy, cone-beam CT, and intraoperative CT/MRI, have enabled safer, more accurate instrumentation placement with less radiation exposure to the surgeon. The goal of this work is to provide a review of the current uses of advanced image guidance in MISS.

Methods

The authors searched PubMed for relevant articles concerning MISS, with particular attention to the use of image-guidance platforms. Pertinent studies published in English were further compiled and characterized into relevant analyses of MISS of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral regions.

Results

Fifty-two studies were included for review. These describe the use of the iso-C system for 3D navigation during C1–2 transarticular screw placement, the use of endoscopic techniques in the cervical spine, and the role of navigation guidance at the occipital-cervical junction. The authors discuss the evolving literature concerning neuronavigation during pedicle screw placement in the thoracic and lumbar spine in the setting of infection, trauma, and deformity surgery and review the use of image guidance in transsacral approaches.

Conclusions

Refinements in image-guidance technologies and minimal access techniques have converged on spinal pathology, affording patients the ability to undergo safe, accurate operations without the associated morbidities of conventional approaches. While percutaneous transpedicular screw placement is among the most common procedures to benefit from navigation, other areas of spine surgery can benefit from advances in neuronavigation and further growth in the field of image-guided MISS is anticipated.

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Andrew C. Vivas, Ali A. Baaj, Selim R. Benbadis and Fernando L. Vale

Object

The aim of this study was to analyze the national health care burden of patients diagnosed with epilepsy in the US and to analyze any changes in the length of stay, mean charges, in-hospital deaths (mortality), and disposition at discharge.

Methods

A retrospective review of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for epilepsy admissions was completed for the years from 1993 to 2008. The NIS is maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and represents a 20% random stratified sample of all discharges from nonfederal hospitals within the US. Patients with epilepsy were identified using ICD-9 codes beginning with 345.XX. Approximately 1.1 million hospital admissions were identified over a span of 15 years.

Results

Over this 15-year period (between 1993 and 2008), the average hospital charge per admission for patients with epilepsy has increased significantly (p < 0.001) from $10,050 to $23,909, an increase of 137.9%. This is in spite of a 33% decrease in average length of stay from 5.9 days to 3.9 days. There has been a decrease in the percentage of in-hospital deaths by 57.9% and an increase in discharge to outside medical institutions.

Conclusions

The total national charges associated with epilepsy in 2008 were in excess of $2.7 billion (US dollars, normalized). During the studied period, the cost per day for patients rose from $1703.39 to $6130.51. In spite of this drastic increase in health care cost to the patient, medical and surgical treatment for epilepsy has not changed significantly, and epilepsy remains a major source of morbidity.

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Elias Dakwar, Tien V. Le, Ali A. Baaj, Anh X. Le, William D. Smith, Behrooz A. Akbarnia and Juan S. Uribe

Object

The minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach for interbody fusion has been increasingly employed to treat various spinal pathological entities. Gaining access to the retroperitoneal space and traversing the abdominal wall poses a risk of injury to the major nervous structures. Nerve injury of the abdominal wall can potentially lead to paresis of the abdominal musculature and bulging of the abdominal wall. Abdominal wall nerve injury resulting from the minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach has not been previously reported. The authors describe a case series of patients presenting with paresis and bulging of the abdominal wall after undergoing a minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal approach.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent a minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach for interbody fusion and in whom development of abdominal paresis developed; the patients were treated at 4 institutions between 2006 and 2010. All data were recorded including demographics, diagnosis, operative procedure, positioning, hospital course, follow-up, and complications. The onset, as well as resolution of the abdominal paresis, was reviewed.

Results

The authors identified 10 consecutive patients in whom abdominal paresis developed after minimally invasive lateral transpsoas spine surgery out of a total of 568 patients. Twenty-nine interbody levels were fused (range 1–4 levels/patient). There were 4 men and 6 women whose mean age was 54.1 years (range 37–66 years). All patients presented with abdominal paresis 2–6 weeks postoperatively. In 8 of the 10 patients, abdominal wall paresis had resolved by the 6-month follow-up visit. Two patients only had 1 and 4 months of follow-up. No long-term sequelae were identified.

Conclusions

Abdominal wall paresis is a rare but known potential complication of abdominal surgery. The authors report the first case series associated with the minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach.

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Ali A. Baaj, Juan S. Uribe, Fernando L. Vale, Mark C. Preul and Neil R. Crawford

Enthusiasm for cervical disc arthroplasty is based on the premise that motion-preserving devices attenuate the progression of adjacent-segment disease (ASD) in the cervical spine. Arthrodesis, on the other hand, results in abnormal load transfer on adjacent segments, leading to the acceleration of ASD. It has taken several decades of pioneering work to produce clinically relevant devices that mimic the kinematics of the intervertebral disc. The goal of this work is to trace the origins of cervical arthroplasty technology and highlight the attributes of devices currently available in the market.