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Sameer Kitab, Ghaith Habboub, Salam B. Abdulkareem, Muthanna B. Alimidhatti and Edward Benzel

OBJECTIVE

Age is commonly thought to be a risk factor in defining lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) degenerative or developmental subtypes. This article is a follow-up to a previous article (“Redefining Lumbar Spinal Stenosis as a Developmental Syndrome: An MRI-Based Multivariate Analysis of Findings in 709 Patients Throughout the 16- to 82-Year Age Spectrum”) that describes the radiological differences between developmental and degenerative types of LSS. MRI-based analysis of “degeneration” variables and spinal canal morphometric characteristics of LSS segments have been thought to correlate with age at presentation.

METHODS

The authors performed a re-analysis of data from their previously reported prospective MRI-based study, stratifying data from the 709 cases into 3 age categories of equal size (instead of the original < 60 vs ≥ 60 years). Relative spinal canal dimensions, as well as radiological degenerative variables from L1 to S1, were analyzed across age groups in a multivariate mode. The total degenerative scale score (TDSS) for each lumbar segment from L1 to S1 was calculated for each patient. The relationships between age and qualitative stenosis grades, TDSS, disc degeneration, and facet degeneration were analyzed using Pearson’s product-moment correlation and multiple regression.

RESULTS

Multivariate analysis of TDSS and spinal canal dimensions revealed highly significant differences across the 3 age groups at L2–3 and L3–4 and a weaker, but still significant, association with changes at L5–S1. Age helped to explain only 9.6% and 12.2% of the variance in TDSS at L1–2 and L2–3, respectively, with a moderate positive correlation, and 7.8%, 1.2%, and 1.9% of the variance in TDSS at L3–4, L4–5, and L5–S1, respectively, with weak positive correlation. Age explained 24%, 26%, and 18.4% of the variance in lumbar intervertebral disc (LID) degeneration at L1–2, L2–3, and L3–4, respectively, while it explained only 6.2% and 7.2% of the variance of LID degeneration at L4–5 and L5–S1, respectively. Age explained only 2.5%, 4.0%, 1.2%, 0.8%, and 0.8% of the variance in facet degeneration at L1–2, L2–3, L3–4, L4–5, and L5–S1, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Age at presentation correlated weakly with degeneration variables and spinal canal morphometries in LSS segments. Age correlated with upper lumbar segment (L1–4) degeneration more than with lower segment (L4–S1) degeneration. The actual chronological age of the patients did not significantly correlate with the extent of degenerative pathology of the lumbar stenosis segments. These study results lend support for a developmental contribution to LSS.

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Sina Pourtaheri, Akshay Sharma, Jason Savage, Iain Kalfas, Thomas E. Mroz, Edward Benzel and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

The flexed posture of the proximal (L1–3) or distal (L4–S1) lumbar spine increases the diameter of the spinal canal and neuroforamina and can relieve symptoms of neurogenic claudication. Distal lumbar flexion can result in pelvic retroversion; therefore, in cases of flexible sagittal imbalance, pelvic retroversion may be compensatory for lumbar stenosis and not solely compensatory for the sagittal imbalance as previously thought. The authors investigate underlying causes for pelvic retroversion in patients with flexible sagittal imbalance.

METHODS

One hundred thirty-eight patients with sagittal imbalance who underwent a total of 148 fusion procedures of the thoracolumbar spine were identified from a prospective clinical database. Radiographic parameters were obtained from images preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at 6-month and 2-year follow-up. A cohort of 24 patients with flexible sagittal imbalance was identified and individually matched with a control cohort of 23 patients with fixed deformities. Flexible deformities were defined as a 10° change in lumbar lordosis between weight-bearing and non–weight-bearing images. Pelvic retroversion was quantified as the ratio of pelvic tilt (PT) to pelvic incidence (PI).

RESULTS

The average difference between lumbar lordosis on supine MR images and standing radiographs was 15° in the flexible cohort. Sixty-eight percent of the patients in the flexible cohort were diagnosed preoperatively with lumbar stenosis compared with only 22% in the fixed sagittal imbalance cohort (p = 0.0032). There was no difference between the flexible and fixed cohorts with regard to C-2 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) (p = 0.95) or C-7 SVA (p = 0.43). When assessing for postural compensation by pelvic retroversion in the stenotic patients and nonstenotic patients, the PT/PI ratio was found to be significantly greater in the patients with stenosis (p = 0.019).

CONCLUSIONS

For flexible sagittal imbalance, preoperative attention should be given to the root cause of the sagittal misalignment, which could be compensation for lumbar stenosis. Pelvic retroversion can be compensatory for both the lumbar stenosis as well as for sagittal imbalance.

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Jeffrey P. Mullin, Breanna Perlmutter, Eric Schmidt, Edward Benzel and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

In 2009, Santoni and colleagues described a novel technique of posterior instrumentation; the cortical bone trajectory (CBT) was described as a caudocephalad and medial-to-lateral trajectory. Reported indications for CBT fixation include patients with osteoporosis, single-level degenerative disease, or adjacent-segment disease (ASD). In cases of revision surgery, it is technically possible and beneficial to place a traditional pedicle screw and a CBT screw at the same spinal level and side. It remains unclear as to the feasibility of placing both a traditional and a CBT screw at all levels of the lumbar spine and with varying trajectories of the preexisting traditional pedicle screws. Therefore, the authors conducted a study to radiographically assess the feasibility of using CBT and traditional pedicle screws at the same level in a large patient population.

METHODS

Using a 3D Spine Navigation WorkStation, the authors assessed 47 lumbar spine CT scans. These images were obtained from 2 disparate groups of patients: those who had previously undergone traditional pedicle instrumentation (prior surgery group) and those who had not (no prior surgery group). The authors virtually placed traditional pedicle and CBT screws at each lumbar level bilaterally. It was then determined if the dual trajectories were feasible, as defined by the presence or absence of a collision of the screw trajectories based on 3D imaging.

RESULTS

Overall, the authors evaluated 47 patients and were able to successfully plan dual trajectories in 50% of the pedicles. The no prior surgery group, compared with the prior surgery group, had a significantly greater success rate for dual trajectories. This difference was most significant in the lower lumbar levels (L3–5) where the prior instrumented group had success rates lower than 40% compared with the no prior surgery group's success rate, which was greater than 70%. There was a significant difference between each lumbar level in the lower spine.

CONCLUSIONS

There is a significant difference in the feasibility of planning CBT screws in patients who have undergone prior pedicle instrumentation compared with placing CBT and traditional pedicle screws simultaneously, but dual trajectory pedicle screws are a feasible option for posterior lumbar spinal instrumentation, especially as a de novo option in osteoporotic patients or in patients with ASD who underwent previous pedicle instrumentation. Ultimately, the practical clinical utility and biomechanical effects on the spine and instrumentation construct would require additional study.

Free access

Adam Bartsch, Edward Benzel, Vincent Miele and Vikas Prakash