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Panjie Xu, Zhiping Huang, Hang Xiao, Junyu Lin, Qingan Zhu, and Wei Ji

OBJECTIVE

Atlanto-occipital instability is commonly treated with posterior fixation. However, in patients with congenital or acquired factors, posterior fixation may not be possible. For these situations, a novel anterior atlanto-occipital transarticular screw (AATS) fixation technique has been introduced recently. However, biomechanical study of this technique is lacking. This study was designed to evaluate the biomechanical stability of AATS fixation for the atlanto-occipital joint and compare it with conventional posterior occipitocervical fixation (POCF).

METHODS

Six cadaveric specimens (occiput–C4) were tested in four conditions, including intact, injury, injury + AATS, and injury + POCF states. A pure moment of 1.5 Nm was applied to specimens in flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation. The range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone (NZ) were calculated and compared from the occiput to C1.

RESULTS

The AATS fixation constrained ROMs to 0.4° in flexion (p < 0.001), 0.4° in extension (p < 0.001), 1.0° in lateral bending (p < 0.001), and 0.7° in axial rotation (p < 0.001) when compared with the injury state. In all directions, there was no statistically significant difference observed in ROMs and NZs between AATS fixation and POCF (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

This study identified that the novel AATS fixation, as stand-alone anterior fixation, was equivalent to POCF in all directions. The results suggest that anterior transarticular screw fixation is a biomechanically effective salvage technique for posterior atlanto-occipital fixation, and may also serve as supplemental fixation.

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Michael M. Safaee, Jue Lin, Dana L. Smith, Marissa Fury, Justin K. Scheer, John F. Burke, Crystal Bravate, Dennis Lambert, and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Risk stratification is a critical element of surgical planning. Early tools were fairly crude, while newer instruments incorporate disease-specific elements and markers of frailty. It is unknown if discrepancies between chronological and cellular age can guide surgical planning or treatment. Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes that serve an important role in protecting genomic DNA. Their shortening is a consequence of aging and environmental exposures, with well-established associations with diseases of aging and mortality. There are compelling data to suggest that telomere length can provide insight toward overall health. The authors sought to determine potential associations between telomere length and postoperative complications.

METHODS

Adults undergoing elective surgery for spinal deformity were prospectively enrolled. Telomere length was measured from preoperative whole blood using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and expressed as the ratio of telomere (T) to single-copy gene (S) abundance (T/S ratio), with higher T/S ratios indicating longer telomere length. Demographic and patient data included age, BMI, and results for the following rating scales: the Adult Spinal Deformity Frailty Index (ASD-FI), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society-22r (SRS-22r), American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) classification, and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). Operative and postoperative complication data (medical or surgical within 90 days) were also collected.

RESULTS

Forty-three patients were enrolled, including 31 women (53%), with a mean age of 66 years and a mean BMI of 28.5. The mean number of levels fused was 11, with 21 (48.8%) combined anterior-posterior approaches. Twenty-two patients (51.2%) had a medical or surgical complication. Patients with a postoperative complication had a significantly lower T/S ratio (0.712 vs 0.813, p = 0.008), indicating shorter telomere length, despite a mild difference in age compared with patients without a postoperative complication (68 vs 63 years, p = 0.069). Patients with complications also had higher CCI scores than patients without complications (2.3 vs 3.8, p = 0.004). There were no significant differences in sex, BMI, ASD-FI score, ASA class, preoperative ODI and SRS-22r scores, number of levels fused, or use of three-column osteotomies. In a multivariate model including age, frailty, ASA class, use of an anterior-posterior approach, CCI score, and telomere length, the authors found that short telomere length was significantly associated with postoperative complications. Patients whose telomere length fell in the shortest quartile had the highest risk (OR 18.184, p = 0.030).

CONCLUSIONS

Short telomere length was associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications despite only a mild difference in chronological age. Increasing comorbidity scores also trended toward significance. Larger prospective studies are needed; however, these data provide a compelling impetus to investigate the role of biological aging as a component of surgical risk stratification.

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Jeffrey P. Blount and Michael D. Partington

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Min Jeoung Kim, Seung Woo Hong, Dong Joon Kim, Byung Moon Kim, Yong Bae Kim, Won Seok Chang, and Keun Young Park

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is emerging as a treatment option for cavernous sinus dural arteriovenous fistula (CS dAVF); it is less invasive and has a lower complication rate than conventional surgeries. However, little is known regarding the advantages and limitations of SRS compared to those of endovascular treatment (EVT). The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety between EVT and SRS for treatment of CS dAVF.

METHODS

Between January 2011 and April 2021, a total of 86 consecutive patients diagnosed with CS dAVF were treated with EVT or SRS. Among them, 8 patients with ophthalmological emergency and 8 without follow-up data at ≥ 12 months were excluded. During the same period, no neurological deficit due to intracranial hemorrhage or seizure was noted in any of the patients. Ultimately, 70 patients (EVT 33, SRS 37) were included in this study. Demographic characteristics, initial clinical presentations, clinical outcomes, and radiological findings were retrospectively reviewed and compared. Procedure-related complications were also assessed after the treatments.

RESULTS

The patients’ baseline characteristics (except conjunctival symptoms) and angiographic features of CS dAVF were not significantly different between the EVT and SRS groups. Conjunctival symptoms were more frequently noted in the EVT than in the SRS group (69.7% vs 40.5%, p = 0.015). After EVT, initial complete obliteration was achieved in 20 cases (60.6%). Complete obliteration was achieved at 6 months in 86.4% of cases with EVT and in 77.8% of those treated with SRS (p = 0.507), and at 12 months in 86.4% cases with EVT and in 94.4% of those treated with SRS (p = 0.357). Worsening of symptoms developed at 1 month in 24.2% of cases with EVT and in 5.4% of those treated with SRS (p = 0.038); at 6 months in 22.6% of cases with EVT and in 10.8% of those treated with SRS; and at 12 months in 30.0% of cases with EVT and in 13.5% of those treated with SRS (p = 0.099). The angioarchitecture of CS dAVF did not affect angiographic obliteration after SRS. Procedure-related morbidity and mortality occurred more frequently in the EVT than in the SRS group (27.3% vs 8.1%, p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS

Both EVT and SRS were effective for the treatment of CS dAVF without ophthalmological emergency. However, procedure-related morbidity and mortality was less frequent in SRS than in EVT, and consequently SRS may be more advantageous in terms of safety.

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Karol P. Budohoski, Robert C. Rennert, Steven A. Gordon, Amol Raheja, Cameron Brandon, J. Curran Henson, Mohammed A. Azab, Neil S. Patel, Michael Karsy, Richard K. Gurgel, Clough Shelton, and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

The middle fossa approach is an effective option for the treatment of small (Koos grade I and II) vestibular schwannomas (VSs) when the goal is hearing preservation. The authors evaluated the rates of hearing preservation and examined the factors associated with improved hearing outcomes after the middle fossa approach for VSs.

METHODS

In this retrospective, single-center cohort study evaluating the clinical outcomes after resection of small VSs using the middle fossa approach, consecutive adult patients (> 18 years) who underwent surgery between January 2000 and December 2021 were included. Clinical and imaging characteristics were analyzed, including baseline hearing status, duration of surgery, anesthetic parameters, and imaging characteristics of the surgically treated tumors.

RESULTS

Among the 131 included patients, 102 had valid and discoverable pre- and postoperative audiology assessments. The mean follow-up was 26 months (range 1–180 months). There were 85 patients with serviceable hearing preoperatively, defined as American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) class A or B, of whom 78% retained class A or B hearing at the last follow-up. Binary logistic regression demonstrated that preoperative hearing AAO-HNS class (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.05–0.77; p = 0.02), overlap between fundus and cochlea (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.11–0.96; p = 0.04), and duration of anesthesia (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97–0.99; p = 0.03) were independent predictors of hearing outcomes. Additionally, 75% of patients with high diffusion-weighted imaging signal in the tumor (p = 0.009) and 67% of patients with the tumor originating at the modiolus of the cochlea (p = 0.004) had poor hearing outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

The hearing preservation rates after microsurgical resection of small VSs using the middle fossa approach are high, with 78% of patients maintaining AAO-HNS class A or B hearing. Poor hearing status at baseline, longer duration of anesthesia, and large overlap between the fundus of the internal auditory canal and the cochlea were independently associated with unfavorable hearing outcomes. Imaging characteristics can be used to stratify patients’ risk of hearing loss.

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Jia Xu Lim, Elizabeth Fong, Cheryl Goh, Lee Ping Ng, Khurshid Merchant, David C. Y. Low, Wan Tew Seow, and Sharon Y. Y. Low

OBJECTIVE

The role of prophylactic detethering a fibrofatty filum terminale (FFT) remains equivocal. Furthermore, long-term studies focusing on urological outcomes are sparse. The aims of this study were to present an institutional experience on the perioperative and long-term outcomes of FFT surgery and to assess for factors that contribute to postoperative clean intermittent catheterization (CIC).

METHODS

This was a single-institution, retrospective study conducted over a 20-year period. Patients younger than 19 years of age who underwent surgery for FFT were included. Variables of interest included patient demographics, clinical presentation, radiological findings, postoperative complications, and long-term need for CIC. Outcomes were measured using the Necker functional score and modified Hoffer Functional Ambulation scale score at 3, 6, and 12 months postdischarge.

RESULTS

A total of 164 surgeries were performed for FFT from 2000 to 2020. The median age at surgery was 1.1 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 8.3 years. There were 115 patients (70.1%) who underwent prophylactic-intent surgery and 49 patients (29.9%) who underwent therapeutic-intent surgery. The proportion of therapeutic-intent surgeries increased significantly with age percentiles (0–20th, 21.9%; 20th–40th, 9.1%; 40th–60th, 18.2%; 60th–80th, 36.4%; and 80th–100th, 63.6% [p < 0.001]). Thirty patients (18.3%) had an associated syndrome, the most common (n = 19, 11.6%) being VACTERL (vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities). Forty-eight patients (29.3%) had an associated malformation (anorectal anomaly = 37, urogenital anomaly = 16, and sacral anomaly = 3). Cutaneous manifestation was the most common presentation (n = 96, 58.5%), followed by lower-limb neurological deficits (n = 21, 12.8%). A low-lying conus was present in 36.0% of patients (n = 59), and 16.5% had an associated syrinx (n = 27). There were 26 patients (18.8%) with an abnormal preoperative urodynamic study. Three patients (1.8%) had postoperative complications that required repeat surgery. There were no cases of CSF leakage. One patient (0.6%) developed retethering requiring another surgery. Postoperative CIC was required in 11 patients (6.7%). Multivariable analyses showed that an abnormal preoperative urodynamic study (adjusted OR 5.5 [95% CI 1.27–23.9], p = 0.023) and having an intraspinal syrinx (adjusted OR 5.29 [95% CI 1.06–26.4], p = 0.042) were associated with the need for CIC.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results demonstrate that detethering surgery for FFT is a relatively safe procedure and can be performed prophylactically. Nonetheless, the risks of postoperative CIC should be emphasized during the preoperative counseling process.

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Yoshinori Higuchi, Shigeki Nakano, Kyoko Aoyagi, Shinichi Origuchi, Kentaro Horiguchi, Toru Serizawa, Iwao Yamakami, and Yasuo Iwadate

OBJECTIVE

Due to the heterogeneous definitions of tumor regrowth and various tumor volume distributions, the nature of small remnants after vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery and the appropriate timing of adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery for these remnants remain unclear. In this study, the growth potential of small remnants (< 1 cm3) after VS surgery was compared with that of treatment-naïve (TN) small VSs.

METHODS

This retrospective single-center study included 44 patients with VS remnants following subtotal resection (STR) of a large VS (remnant group) and 75 patients with TN VS (< 1 cm3; TN group). A 20% change in tumor volume over the imaging interval indicated radiographic progression or regression. Tumor progression-free survival (TPFS) rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

RESULTS

In the remnant group, the mean preoperative tumor volume was 13.8 ± 9.0 cm3 and the mean tumor resection rate was 95% ± 5%. The mean tumor volume at the start of the observation period did not differ significantly between the two groups (remnant vs TN: 0.41 ± 0.29 vs 0.34 ± 0.28 cm3, p = 0.171). The median periods until tumor progression was detected were 15.1 (range 4.9–76.2) months and 44.7 (range 12.6–93.2) months in the TN and remnant groups, respectively. In the remnant group, the TPFS rates were 74% and 70% at 3 and 5 years after the surgery, respectively, compared with 59% and 47% in the TN group. The log-rank test demonstrated a significant difference (p = 0.008) in the TPFS rates between the two groups. Furthermore, 42 patients each from the remnant and TN groups were matched based on tumor volume. TPFS was significantly longer in the remnant group than in the TN group (3-year rates, 77% vs 62%; 5-year rates, 73% vs 51%; p = 0.02). In the remnant group, 18% of the tumor remnants demonstrated regression during follow-up, compared with 9% in the TN group, but this intergroup difference was not significant (p = 0.25).

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrated that the growth potential of small VS remnants was lower than that of TN tumors. Observing for small remnants may be appropriate after STR of a large VS. Given the risk of tumor regrowth, careful observation using MRI should be mandatory during follow-up.

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Kevin T. Nead, Allen Haas, LiJin Joo, and Mackenzie R. Wehner

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Summaiyya H. Ahamed and Phua Hwee Tang

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Romain Carron, Francesca Pizzo, Agnès Trébuchon, and Fabrice Bartolomei