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Matthew J. Grosso, Roy Hwang, Thomas Mroz, Edward Benzel and Michael P. Steinmetz

Object

Reversal of the normal cervical spine curvature, as seen in cervical kyphosis, can lead to mechanical pain, neurological dysfunction, and functional disabilities. Surgical intervention is warranted in patients with sufficiently symptomatic deformities in an attempt to correct the deformed cervical spine. In theory, improved outcomes should accompany a greater degree of correction toward lordosis, although there are few data available to test this relationship. The purpose of this study is to determine if the degree of deformity correction correlates with improvement in neurological symptoms following surgery for cervical kyphotic deformity.

Methods

A retrospective review of 36 patients with myelopathic symptoms who underwent cervical deformity correction surgery between 2001 and 2009 was performed. Preoperative and postoperative radiographic findings related to the degree of kyphosis were collected and compared with functional outcome measures. The minimum follow-up time was 2 years.

Results

A significant relationship was observed between a greater degree of focal kyphosis correction and improved neurological outcomes according to the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score (r = −0.46, p = 0.032). For patients with severe neurological symptoms (mJOA score < 12) a trend toward improved outcomes with greater global kyphosis correction was observed (r = −0.56, p = 0.057). Patients with an mJOA score less than 16 who attained lordosis postoperatively had a significantly greater improvement in total mJOA score than patients who maintained a kyphotic position (achieved lordosis: 2.7 ± 2.0 vs maintained kyphosis: 1.1 ± 2.1, p = 0.044).

Conclusions

The authors' results suggest that the degree of correction of focal kyphosis deformity correlates with improved neurological outcomes. The authors also saw a positive relationship between attainment of global lordosis and improved mJOA scores. With consideration for the risks involved in correction surgery, this information can be used to help guide surgical strategy decision making.

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Robert Cantu, Pat Bishop, Stefan Duma, Tom Gennarelli, Richard M. Greenwald, Kevin Guskiewicz, Frederick O. Mueller, P. Dave Halstead, Thomas Blaine Hoshizaki, Albert I. King and Margot Putukian

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Adam Bartsch, Edward Benzel, Vincent Miele and Vikas Prakash

Object

Concussion is the signature American football injury of the 21st century. Modern varsity helmets, as compared with vintage leather helmets, or “leatherheads,” are widely believed to universally improve protection by reducing head impact doses and head injury risk for the 3 million young football players in the US. The object of this study was to compare the head impact doses and injury risks with 11 widely used 21st century varsity helmets and 2 early 20th century leatherheads and to hypothesize what the results might mean for children wearing similar varsity helmets.

Methods

In an injury biomechanics laboratory, the authors conducted front, oblique front, lateral, oblique rear, and rear head impact tests at 5.0 m/second using helmeted headforms, inducing near- and subconcussive head impact doses on par with approximately the 95th percentile of on-field collision severity. They also calculated impact dose injury risk parameters common to laboratory and on-field traumatic neuromechanics: linear acceleration, angular acceleration, angular velocity, Gadd Severity Index, diffuse axonal injury, acute subdural hematoma, and brain contusion.

Results

In many instances the head impact doses and head injury risks while wearing vintage leatherheads were comparable to or better than those while wearing several widely used 21st century varsity helmets.

Conclusions

The authors do not advocate reverting to leather headgear, but they do strongly recommend, especially for young players, instituting helmet safety designs and testing standards, which encourage the minimization of linear and angular impact doses and injury risks in near- and subconcussive head impacts.

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Samuel T. Chao, Taisei Kobayashi, Edward Benzel, Chandana A. Reddy, Glen H. J. Stevens, Richard A. Prayson, Iain Kalfas, Richard Schlenk, Ajit Krishnaney, Michael P. Steinmetz, William Bingaman, Joseph Hahn and John H. Suh

Object

The goal in this study was to determine the role of radiation therapy (RT) in the treatment of spinal myxopapillary ependymomas (MPEs).

Methods

Thirty-seven patients with histologically verified spinal MPEs were reviewed. Kaplan-Meier analyses and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to determine what patient and treatment factors influenced overall survival (OS) and recurrence.

Results

At the time of initial diagnosis, the median age was 33 years and the Karnofsky Performance Scale score was 80. In 86.5% of cases, the most common presenting symptom was pain. All patients received surgery as their initial treatment. Nine patients also received RT along with surgery, with a median total dose of 50.2 Gy. The mean survival time was 12.2 years; however, only 4 of 37 patients had died at the time of this study. None of the patient or treatment parameters significantly correlated with OS. Sixteen patients (43.2%) were found to have a recurrence, with a median time to recurrence of 7.7 years. None of the patient or treatment parameters correlated with recurrence-free survival for an initial recurrence. The median time to the second recurrence (recurrence following therapy for initial recurrence) was 1.6 years. Use of RT as salvage therapy after initial recurrence significantly correlated with longer times to a second recurrence. The median recurrence-free survival time before the second recurrence was 9.6 years for those who received RT versus 1.1 years for those who did not receive RT (p = 0.0093). None of the other parameters significantly correlated with a second recurrence.

Conclusions

Radiation therapy may have a role as salvage therapy in delaying recurrences of spinal MPEs.

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Lee Kesterson, Edward Benzel, William Orrison and James Coleman

✓ Although several large series of atlas fractures have been reported recently, none has concentrated on the evaluation and treatment of atlas burst fractures (Jefferson fractures). The treatment of this fracture is challenging. Its diagnosis may easily be missed due to concerns about associated trauma and absence of neurological signs. In addition, the open-mouth anteroposterior x-ray study, which is usually pathognomonic for the diagnosis, is often inadequate or not obtained. In order to clarify the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder, 17 cases of Jefferson fracture treated between 1982 and 1989 at the Louisiana State University Affiliated Hospitals are presented.

The diagnosis was delayed in three patients because of a low index of suspicion and inadequate x-ray films. Four patients were noted to have unstable Jefferson fractures; all of these had an associated Type II odontoid fracture and were treated with occiput-C-2 wiring and fusion. The remainder of the patients had stable Jefferson fractures and were managed with Minerva jackets or rigid collar stabilization. No significant complications related to the treatment of the Jefferson fracture occurred in this series. One patient died from associated injuries: however, the remaining patients enjoyed an excellent long-term result with the acquisition of spinal stability and the resolution of subjective complaints.