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Matthew J. McGirt, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, April Atiba, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Kevin C. Yao and George I. Jallo


Gross-total resection of pediatric intramedullary spinal cord tumor (IMSCT) can be achieved in the majority of cases while preserving long-term neurological function. Nevertheless, postoperative progressive spinal deformity often complicates functional outcome years after surgery. The authors set out to determine whether laminoplasty in comparison with laminectomy has reduced the incidence of subsequent spinal deformity requiring fusion after IMSCT resection at their institution.


The first 144 consecutive patients undergoing resection of IMSCTs at a single institution underwent laminectomy with preservation of facet joints. The next 20 consecutive patients presenting for resection of IMSCTs underwent osteoplastic laminotomy regardless of patient or tumor characteristics. All patients were followed up with telephone interviews corroborated by medical records for the following outcomes: 1) neurological and functional status (modified McCormick Scale [MMS] score and Karnofsky Performance Scale [KPS] score); and 2) development of progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion. The incidence of progressive spinal deformity and the long-term neurological function were compared between the laminectomy and osteoplastic laminotomy cohorts. The means are expressed ± the standard deviation.


Overall, the patients' mean age was 8.6 ± 5 years, and they presented with median MMS scores of 2 (interquartile range [IQR] 2–4). A > 95% resection was achieved in 125 cases (76%). There were no differences (p > 0.10) between patients treated with osteoplastic laminotomy and those treated with laminectomy in terms of the following characteristics: age; sex; duration of symptoms; location of tumor; incidence of preoperative scoliosis (Cobb angle > 10°: 7 [35%] with laminoplasty compared with 49 [34%] with laminectomy); involvement of the cervicothoracic junction (7 [35%] compared with 57 [40%]); thoracolumbar junction (4 [20%] compared with 36 [25%]); tumor size; extent of resection; radiation therapy; histopathological findings; or mean operative spinal levels (7.5 ± 2 compared with 7.5 ± 3). Nevertheless, patients who underwent osteoplastic laminotomy had better median preoperative MMS scores than those treated with laminectomy (2 [IQR 2–2] compared with 2 [IQR 2–4]; p = 0.04). A median of 3.5 years (IQR 1–7 years) after surgery, only 1 patient (5%) in the osteoplastic laminotomy cohort required fusion for progressive spinal deformity, compared with 43 (30%) in the laminectomy cohort (p = 0.027). Adjusting for the inter-cohort difference in preoperative MMS scores, osteoplastic laminotomy was associated with a 7-fold reduction in the odds of subsequent fusion for progressive spinal deformity (odds ratio 0.13, 95% confidence interval 0.02–1.00; p = 0.05). The median MMS and KPS scores were similar between patients who underwent osteoplastic laminotomy and those in whom laminectomy was performed (MMS Score 2 [IQR 2–3] for laminotomy compared with 2 [IQR 2–4] for laminectomy, p = 0.54; KPS Score 90 [IQR 70–100] for laminotomy compared with 90 [IQR 80–90] for laminectomy, p = 0.545) at a median of 3.5 years after surgery.


In the authors' experience, osteoplastic laminotomy for the resection of IMSCT in children was associated with a decreased incidence of progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion but did not affect long-term functional outcome. Laminoplasty used for pediatric IMSCT resection may decrease the incidence of progressive spinal deformity requiring subsequent spinal stabilization in some patients.

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Daniel M. Sciubba, Clarke Nelson, Patrick Hsieh, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Steve Ondra and Ali Bydon

✓ Patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who present with spinal lesions are at an increased risk for developing perioperative complications. Due to the rigid yet brittle nature of the ankylosed spines commonly occurring with severe spinal deformity, patients are more prone to developing neurological deficits. Such risks are potentially increased not only during surgical manipulation or deformity correction, but also during image acquisition, positioning within the operating room, and intubation. In this review the complications of AS are reviewed, and recommendations are provided to avoid problems during each stage of patient management.

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Gary L. Gallia, Daniel M. Sciubba, Ali Bydon, Ian Suk, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Timothy F. Witham

✓The authors describe a technique for total L-5 spondylectomy and reconstruction of the lumbosacral junction. The technique, which involves separately staged posterior and anterior procedures, is reported in two patients harboring neoplasms that involved the L-5 level. The first stage consisted of a posterior approach with removal of all posterior bone elements of L-5 and radical L4–5 and L5–S1 discectomies. Lumbosacral and lumbopelvic instrumentation included pedicle screws as well as iliac screws or a transiliac rod. The second stage consisted of an anterior approach with mobilization of vascular structures, completion of L4–5 and L5–S1 discectomies, and removal of the L-5 vertebral body. Anterior lumbosacral reconstruction included placement of a distractable cage and tension band between L-4 and S-1. Allograft bone was used for fusion in both stages. No significant complications were encountered. At more than 1 year of follow-up, both patients were independently ambulatory, without evidence of recurrent or metastatic disease, and adequate lumbosacral alignment was maintained. The authors conclude that this technique can be safely performed in appropriately selected patients with neoplasms involving L-5.

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Donald Seyfried, Yuxia Han, Dunyue LU, Jieli Chen, Ali Bydon and Michael Chopp

Object. Atorvastatin, a β-hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, improves neurological functional outcome, reduces cerebral cell loss, and promotes regional cellular plasticity when administered after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in rats.

Methods. Autologous blood was stereotactically injected into the right striatum in rats, and atorvastatin was administered orally beginning 24 hours after ICH and continued daily for 1 week. At a dose of 2 mg/kg, atorvastatin significantly reduced the severity of neurological deficit from 2 to 4 weeks after ICH. The area of cell loss in the ipsilateral striatum was also significantly reduced in these animals. Consistent with previous study data, higher doses of atorvastatin (8 mg/kg) did not improve functional outcome or reduce the extent of injury. Histochemical stains for markers of synaptogenesis, immature neurons, and neuronal migration revealed increased labeling in the region of hemorrhage in the atorvastatin-treated rats.

Conclusions. Analysis of the data in this study indicates that atorvastatin improves neurological recovery after experimental ICH and may do so in part by increasing neuronal plasticity.