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  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine x
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Eric Lis, Ilya Laufer, Ori Barzilai, Yoshiya Yamada, Sasan Karimi, Lily McLaughlin, George Krol and Mark H. Bilsky

OBJECTIVE

Percutaneous vertebral augmentation procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are often performed in cancer patients to relieve mechanical axial-load pain due to pathological collapse deformities. The collapsed vertebrae in these patients can be associated with varying degrees of spinal canal compromise that can be worsened by kyphoplasty. In this study the authors evaluated changes to the spinal canal, in particular the cross-sectional area of the thecal sac, following balloon kyphoplasty (BKP) prior to stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients with symptomatic vertebral compression fractures caused by metastatic disease who underwent kyphoplasty prior to single-fraction SRS. The pre-BKP cross-sectional image, usually MRI, was compared to the post-BKP CT myelogram required for radiation treatment planning. The cross-sectional area of the thecal sac was calculated pre- and postkyphoplasty, and intraprocedural CT imaging was reviewed for epidural displacement of bone fragments, tumor, or polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) extravasation. The postkyphoplasty imaging was also evaluated for evidence of fracture progression or fracture reduction.

RESULTS

Among 30 consecutive patients, 41 vertebral levels were treated with kyphoplasty, and 24% (10/41) of the augmented levels showed a decreased cross-sectional area of the thecal sac. All 10 of these vertebral levels had preexisting epidural disease and destruction of the posterior vertebral body cortex. No bone fragments were displaced posteriorly. Minor epidural PMMA extravasation occurred in 20% (8/41) of the augmented levels but was present in only 1 of the 10 vertebral segments that showed a decreased cross-sectional area of the thecal sac postkyphoplasty.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with preexisting epidural disease and destruction of the posterior vertebral body cortex who are undergoing BKP for pathological fractures, there is an increased risk of further mass effect upon the thecal sac and the potential to alter the SRS treatment planning.

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Nicolas Dea, Charles G. Fisher, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Joseph H. Schwab, Laurence D. Rhines, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Chetan Bettegowda, Arjun Sahgal, Áron Lazáry, Alessandro Luzzati, Stefano Boriani, Alessandro Gasbarrini, Ilya Laufer, Raphaële Charest-Morin, Feng Wei, William Teixeira, Niccole M. Germscheid, Francis J. Hornicek, Thomas F. DeLaney, John H. Shin and the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the spectrum of current treatment protocols for managing newly diagnosed chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum.

METHODS

A survey on the treatment of spinal chordoma was distributed electronically to members of the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and radiation oncologists from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Survey participants were pre-identified clinicians from centers with expertise in the treatment of spinal tumors. The suvey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS

Thirty-nine of 43 (91%) participants completed the survey. Most (80%) indicated that they favor en bloc resection without preoperative neoadjuvant radiation therapy (RT) when en bloc resection is feasible with acceptable morbidity. The main area of disagreement was with the role of postoperative RT, where 41% preferred giving RT only if positive margins were achieved and 38% preferred giving RT irrespective of margin status. When en bloc resection would result in significant morbidity, 33% preferred planned intralesional resection followed by RT, and 33% preferred giving neoadjuvant RT prior to surgery. In total, 8 treatment protocols were identified: 3 in which en bloc resection is feasible with acceptable morbidity and 5 in which en bloc resection would result in significant morbidity.

CONCLUSIONS

The results confirm that there is treatment variability across centers worldwide for managing newly diagnosed chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum. This information will be used to design an international prospective cohort study to determine the most appropriate treatment strategy for patients with spinal chordoma.

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Chih-Chang Chang, Wen-Cheng Huang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Peng-Yuan Chang, Li-Yu Fay, Jau-Ching Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

To avoid jeopardizing an aberrant vertebral artery, there are three common options in placing a C2 screw, including pedicle, pars, and translaminar screws. Although biomechanical studies have demonstrated similar strength among these C2 screws in vitro, there are limited clinical data to address their differences in vivo. When different screws were placed in each side, few reports have compared the outcomes. The present study aimed to evaluate these multiple combinations of C2 screws.

METHODS

Consecutive adult patients who underwent posterior atlantoaxial (AA) fixation were retrospectively reviewed. Every patient uniformly had bilateral C1 lateral mass screws in conjunction with 2 C2 screws (1 C2 screw on each side chosen among the three options: pedicle, pars, or translaminar screws, based on individualized anatomical consideration). These patients were then grouped according to the different combinations of C2 screws for comparison of the outcomes.

RESULTS

A total of 63 patients were analyzed, with a mean follow-up of 34.3 months. There were five kinds of construct combinations of the C2 screws: 2 pedicle screws (the Ped-Ped group, n = 24), 2 translaminar screws (the La-La group, n = 7), 2 pars screws (the Pars-Pars group, n = 6), 1 pedicle and 1 pars screw (the Ped-Pars group, n = 7), and 1 pedicle and 1 translaminar screw (the Ped-La group, n = 19). The rate of successful fixation in each of the groups was 100%, 57.1%, 100%, 100%, and 78.9% (Ped-Ped, La-La, Par-Par, Ped-Par, and Ped-La, respectively). The patients who had no translaminar screw had a higher rate of success than those who had 1 or 2 translaminar screws (100% vs 73.1%, p = 0.0009). Among the 5 kinds of construct combinations, 2 C2 pedicle screws (the Ped-Ped group) had higher rates of success than 1 C2 pedicle and 1 C2 translaminar screw (the Ped-La group, p = 0.018). Overall, the rate of successful fixation was 87.3% (55/63). There were 7 patients (4 in the Ped-La group and 3 in the La-La group) who lost fixation/reduction, and they all had at least 1 translaminar screw.

CONCLUSIONS

In AA fixation, C2 pedicle or pars screws or a combination of both provided very high success rates. Involvement of 1 or 2 C2 translaminar screws in the construct significantly lowered success rates. Therefore, a C2 pars screw is recommended over a translaminar screw.

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Hiroki Hongo, Keisuke Takai, Takashi Komori and Makoto Taniguchi

OBJECTIVE

The intraoperative differentiation of ependymomas from astrocytomas is important because neurosurgical strategies differ between these two tumor groups. Previous studies have reported that the diagnostic accuracy of intraoperative frozen sections of intracranial central nervous system (CNS) tumors is higher than 83%–97%, whereas that for spinal intramedullary tumors remains unknown. Herein, authors tested the hypothesis that intraoperative frozen-section diagnosis is the gold standard for a differential diagnosis of intramedullary spinal cord tumors.

METHODS

The clinical characteristics, intraoperative histological diagnosis from frozen sections, extent of tumor resection, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) of 49 cases of intramedullary spinal cord ependymomas (n = 32) and astrocytomas (n = 17) were retrospectively evaluated.

RESULTS

The frozen-section diagnosis and final diagnosis with permanent sections agreed in 23 (72%) of 32 cases of ependymoma. Of the 9 cases of ependymoma in which the frozen-section diagnosis disagreed with the final diagnosis, 4 were incorrectly diagnosed as astrocytoma and the other 5 cases had a nonspecific diagnosis, such as glioma. Nonetheless, gross-total resection was achieved in 6 of these 9 cases given the presence of a dissection plane. The frozen-section diagnosis and final diagnosis agreed in 12 (71%) of 17 cases of astrocytoma. Of the 5 cases of astrocytoma in which the frozen-section diagnosis disagreed with the final diagnosis, 1 was incorrectly diagnosed as ependymoma and the other 4 had a nonspecific diagnosis. Gross-total resection was achieved in only 1 of these 5 cases.

A relationship between the size of tumor specimens and the diagnostic accuracy of frozen sections was not observed. Ependymal rosettes and perivascular pseudorosettes were observed in 30% and 57% of ependymomas, respectively, but were absent in astrocytomas.

Progression-free survival and OS were both significantly longer in cases of ependymoma than in cases of astrocytoma (p < 0.001). Gross-total resection was achieved in 69% of ependymomas and was associated with longer PFS (p = 0.041). In the astrocytoma group, gross-total resection was achieved in only 12% and there was no relationship between extent of resection and OS. Tumor grades tended to correlate with OS in astrocytomas (p = 0.079).

CONCLUSIONS

The diagnostic accuracy of intraoperative frozen sections was lower for intramedullary spinal cord ependymomas and astrocytomas in the present study than that for intracranial CNS tumors reported on in the literature. Surgical strategies need to be selected based on multiple factors, such as clinical characteristics, preoperative imaging, frozen-section diagnosis, and intraoperative findings of the tumor plane.

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Bang-ping Qian, Ji-chen Huang, Yong Qiu, Bin Wang, Yang Yu, Ze-zhang Zhu, Sai-hu Mao and Jun Jiang

OBJECTIVE

To describe the incidence of complications in spinal osteotomy for thoracolumbar kyphosis caused by ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and to investigate the risk factors for these complications.

METHODS

From April 2000 to July 2017, 342 consecutive AS patients with a mean age (± SD) of 35.4 ± 9.8 years (range 17–71 years) undergoing spinal osteotomy were enrolled. Patients with complications within the 1st postoperative year were identified. Demographic, radiological, and surgical data were compared between patients with and without complications. The complications were classified into intraoperative and postoperative complications.

RESULTS

A total of 310 consecutive pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and 37 multiple Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO) procedures were performed in 342 patients. Overall, 47 complications were identified in 47 patients (13.7%), including 31 intraoperative complications and 16 postoperative complications. Patients with complications were older than those without (p = 0.006). A significant difference was observed in preoperative global kyphosis (GK), lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), and the correction of these radiographic parameters between patients with and without complications (p < 0.05). Two-level PSO (p = 0.022) and an increased number of instrumented vertebrae (p = 0.019) were significantly associated with an increased risk of complications.

CONCLUSIONS

The overall incidence of complications was 13.7%. Age; preoperative GK, LL, and SVA; the correction of GK, LL, and SVA; 2-level PSO; and number of instrumented vertebrae were risk factors. Therefore, the potential risk of extensive surgeries with large correction and long fusion in older AS patients with severe GK should be seriously considered in surgical decision-making.

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The effect of C2–3 disc angle on postoperative adverse events in cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Presented at the 2018 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Bryan S. Lee, Kevin M. Walsh, Daniel Lubelski, Konrad D. Knusel, Michael P. Steinmetz, Thomas E. Mroz, Richard P. Schlenk, Iain H. Kalfas and Edward C. Benzel

OBJECTIVE

Complete radiographic and clinical evaluations are essential in the surgical treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). Prior studies have correlated cervical sagittal imbalance and kyphosis with disability and worse health-related quality of life. However, little is known about C2–3 disc angle and its correlation with postoperative outcomes. The present study is the first to consider C2–3 disc angle as an additional radiographic predictor of postoperative adverse events.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed to identify patients with CSM who underwent surgeries from 2010 to 2014. Data collected included demographics, baseline presenting factors, and postoperative outcomes. Cervical sagittal alignment variables were measured using the preoperative and postoperative radiographs. Univariable logistic regression analyses were used to explore the association between dependent and independent variables, and a multivariable logistic regression model was created using stepwise variable selection.

RESULTS

The authors identified 171 patients who had complete preoperative and postoperative radiographic and outcomes data. The overall rate of postoperative adverse events was 33% (57/171), and postoperative C2–3 disc angle, C2–7 sagittal vertical axis, and C2–7 Cobb angle were found to be significantly associated with adverse events. Inclusion of postoperative C2–3 disc angle in the analysis led to the best prediction of adverse events. The mean postoperative C2–3 disc angle for patients with any postoperative adverse event was 32.3° ± 17.2°, and the mean for those without any adverse event was 22.4° ± 11.1° (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

In the present retrospective analysis of postoperative adverse events in patients with CSM, the authors found a significant association between C2–3 disc angle and postoperative adverse events. They propose that C2–3 disc angle be used as an additional parameter of cervical spinal sagittal alignment and predictor for operative outcomes.

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Michael Brendan Cloney, Jack Goergen, Benjamin S. Hopkins, Ekamjeet Singh Dhillon and Nader S. Dahdaleh

OBJECTIVE

Venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) are a common cause of morbidity and mortality after spine surgery. Patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) following spine surgery exhibit high-risk clinical characteristics.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed 1269 ICU patients who had undergone spine surgery between January 1, 2009, and May 31, 2015. Relevant demographic, procedural, and outcome variables were collected.

RESULTS

Patients admitted to the ICU postoperatively had a postoperative VTE rate of 10.2%, compared to 2.5% among all spine surgery patients during the study period. ICU patients had a higher comorbid disease burden (odds ratio [OR] 1.45, p < 0.001), and were more likely to have a history of a bleeding disorder (2.60% vs 0.46%, OR 2.85, p = 0.028), receive a transfusion (OR 4.81, p < 0.001), have a fracture repaired (OR 4.30, p < 0.001), have an estimated blood loss > 500 ml (OR 1.95, p = 0.009), have an osteotomy (OR 20.47, p = 0.006), or have a corpectomy (OR 3.48, p = 0.007) than patients not admitted to the ICU. There was a significant difference in time to VTE between patients undergoing osteotomy and patients undergoing scoliosis corrections without osteotomy (p = 0.0431), patients with fractures (p = 0.0113), and patients undergoing fusions for indications other than scoliosis or fracture (p = 0.0056). Patients who developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during their ICU stay were more likely to have received a prophylactic inferior vena cava filter placement (OR 8.98, p < 0.001), have undergone an interbody fusion procedure (OR 2.38, p = 0.037), have a history of DVT (OR 3.25, p < 0.001), and have shorter surgery times (OR 0.30, p = 0.002). Patients who developed a pulmonary embolism (PE) during the ICU stay were more likely to have a history of PE (OR 12.68 p = 0.015), history of DVT (OR 5.11, p = 0.042), fracture diagnosis (OR 7.02, p = 0.040), and diagnosis of scoliosis (OR 7.78, p = 0.024). Patients with higher BMIs (OR 0.85, p = 0.036) and those who received anticoagulation treatment (OR 0.16, p = 0.031) were less likely to develop a PE during their ICU stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients admitted to the ICU following spine surgery have a higher rate of VTE than non-ICU patients. Time to VTE varied by pathology. Factors independently associated with VTE in the ICU are distinct from factors otherwise associated with VTE. Some factors are independently associated with VTE throughout the 30-day postoperative period, while others are associated with VTE specifically during the initial ICU stay or after leaving the ICU.

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Nazi Derakhshanrad, Hooshang Saberi, Mir Saeed Yekaninejad and Mohammad Taghi Joghataei

OBJECTIVE

Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a major cytokine that has already been clinically verified for chronic traumatic spinal cord injuries (TSCIs). In this study, the authors set out to determine the safety and efficacy of G-CSF administration for neurological and functional improvement in subacute, incomplete TSCI.

METHODS

This phase II/III, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel randomized clinical trial was performed in 60 eligible patients (30 treatment, 30 placebo). Patients with incomplete subacute TSCIs with American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grades B, C, and D were enrolled. Patients were assessed using the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) scale, Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM-III) and International Association of Neurorestoratology Spinal Cord Injury Functional Rating Scale (IANR-SCIFRS), just before intervention and at 1, 3, and 6 months, after 7 daily subcutaneous administrations of 300 μg/day of G-CSF in the treatment group and placebo in the control group.

RESULTS

Among 60 participants, 28 patients (93.3%) in the G-CSF group and 26 patients (86.6%) in the placebo group completed the study protocol. After 6 months of follow-up, the AIS grade remained unchanged in the placebo group, while in the G-CSF group 5 patients (45.5%) improved from AIS grade B to C, 5 (45.5%) improved from AIS grade C to grade D, and 1 patient (16.7%) improved from AIS grade D to E. The mean ± SEM change in ISNCSCI motor score in the G-CSF group was 14.9 ± 2.6 points, which was significantly greater than in the placebo group (1.4 ± 0.34 points, p < 0.001). The mean ± SEM light-touch and pinprick sensory scores improved by 8.8 ± 1.9 and 10.7 ± 2.6 points in the G-CSF group, while those in the placebo group improved by 2.5 ± 0.60 and 1.2 ± 0.40 points, (p = 0.005 and 0.002, respectively). Evaluation of functional improvement according to the IANR-SCIFRS instrument revealed significantly more functional improvement in the G-CSF group (10.3 ± 1.3 points than in the placebo group (3.0 ± 0.81 points; p < 0.001). A significant difference was also observed between the 2 groups as measured by the SCIM-III instrument (29.6 ± 4.1 vs 10.3 ± 2.2, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Incomplete subacute TSCI is associated with significant motor, sensory, and functional improvement after administration of G-CSF.

Clinical trial registration no.: IRCT201407177441N3 (www.irct.ir)

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Carlo Brembilla, Luigi Andrea Lanterna, Virginio Bonito, Margherita Gardinetti, Gianluigi Dorelli, Angela Dele Rampini, Paolo Gritti and Claudio Bernucci

Superficial siderosis of the central nervous system (SSCNS) is an uncommon and often unrecognized disorder that results from recurrent and persistent bleeding into the subarachnoid space. Currently, there is no effective treatment for SSCNS. The identification and surgical resolution of the cause of bleeding remains the most reliable method of treatment, but the cause of bleeding is often not apparent. The identified sources of recurrent bleeding have typically included neoplasms, vascular malformations, brachial plexus or nerve root injury or avulsion, and previous head and spinal surgery. An association between recurrent bleeding in the CNS and dural abnormalities in the spine has recently been suggested. Dural tears have been identified in relation to a protruding disc or osteophyte. Also in these patients, the exact mechanism of bleeding remains unknown because of a lack of objective surgical data, even in patients who undergo neurosurgical procedures.

The present case concerns a 48-year-old man who presented with longstanding symptoms of mild hearing loss and mild gait ataxia. A diagnosis of SSCNS was made in light of the patient’s history and the findings on physical examination, imaging, and laboratory testing. MRI and CT detected a small calcific osteophyte in the anterior epidural space of T8–9. The patient underwent surgical removal of the bone spur and dural tear repair. During the surgery, the authors detected a perforating artery, which was on the osteophyte, that was bleeding into the subarachnoid space. This case shows a possible mechanism of chronic bleeding from an osteophyte into the subarachnoid space. In the literature currently available, a perforating artery on an osteophyte bleeding into the subarachnoid space has never been described in SSCNS.

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Blake N. Staub, Renaud Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Douglas Burton, Lawrence Lenke, Munish C. Gupta, Christopher Ames, Eric Klineberg, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Numerous studies have attempted to delineate the normative value for T1S−CL (T1 slope minus cervical lordosis) as a marker for both cervical deformity and a goal for correction similar to how PI-LL (pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis) mismatch informs decision making in thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD). The goal of this study was to define the relationship between T1 slope (T1S) and cervical lordosis (CL).

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospective database. Surgical ASD cases were initially analyzed. Analysis across the sagittal parameters was performed. Linear regression analysis based on T1S was used to provide a clinically applicable equation to predict CL. Findings were validated using the postoperative alignment of the ASD patients. Further validation was then performed using a second, normative database. The range of normal alignment associated with horizontal gaze was derived from a multilinear regression on data from asymptomatic patients.

RESULTS

A total of 103 patients (mean age 54.7 years) were included. Analysis revealed a strong correlation between T1S and C0–7 lordosis (r = 0.886), C2–7 lordosis (r = 0.815), and C0–2 lordosis (r = 0.732). There was no significant correlation between T1S and T1S−CL. Linear regression analysis revealed that T1S−CL assumed a constant value of 16.5° (R2 = 0.664, standard error 2°). These findings were validated on the postoperative imaging (mean absolute error [MAE] 5.9°). The equation was then applied to the normative database (MAE 6.7° controlling for McGregor slope [MGS] between −5° and 15°). A multilinear regression between C2–7, T1S, and MGS demonstrated a range of T1S−CL between 14.5° and 26.5° was necessary to maintain horizontal gaze.

CONCLUSIONS

Normative CL can be predicted via the formula CL = T1S − 16.5° ± 2°. This implies a threshold of deformity and aids in providing a goal for surgical correction. Just as pelvic incidence (PI) can be used to determine the ideal LL, T1S can be used to predict ideal CL. This formula also implies that a kyphotic cervical alignment is to be expected for individuals with a T1S < 16.5°.