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Kathryn V. Isaac, John G. Meara and Mark R. Proctor

The authors compared the effectiveness of two main surgical techniques used for treating sagittal craniosynostosis (SC): endoscopic suturectomy (ES) and cranial vault remodeling (CVR). The safety, head growth, and aesthetic results following ES and CVR were compared by reviewing the charts of more than 200 patients. By comparing the effectiveness of these two treatments, this study will help guide selection of the optimal surgical treatment for patients with SC.

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Ziad Bakouny, Nour Khalil, Joeffroy Otayek, Aren Joe Bizdikian, Fares Yared, Michel Salameh, Naji Bou Zeid, Ismat Ghanem, Khalil Kharrat, Gaby Kreichati, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage and Ayman Assi

OBJECTIVE

The Ames–International Spine Study Group (ISSG) classification has recently been proposed as a tool for adult cervical deformity evaluation. This classification includes three radiographic cervical sagittal modifiers that have not been evaluated in asymptomatic adults. The aim of this study was to determine whether the sagittal radiographic modifiers described in the Ames-ISSG cervical classification are encountered in asymptomatic adults without alteration of health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

METHODS

The authors conducted a cross-sectional study of subjects with an age ≥ 18 years and no cervical or back-related complaints or history of orthopedic surgery. All subjects underwent full-body biplanar radiographs with the measurement of cervical, segmental, and global alignment and completed the SF-36 HRQOL questionnaire. Subjects were classified according to the sagittal radiographic modifiers (chin-brow vertical angle [CBVA], mismatch between T1 slope and cervical lordosis [TS-CL], and C2–7 sagittal vertical axis [cSVA]) of the Ames–ISSG classification for cervical deformity, which also includes a qualitative descriptor of cervical deformity, the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) myelopathy score, and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–Schwab classification for spinal deformity assessment. Characteristics of the subjects classified by the different modifier grades were compared.

RESULTS

One hundred forty-one asymptomatic subjects (ages 18–59 years, 71 females) were enrolled in the study. Twenty-seven (19.1%) and 61 (43.3%) subjects were classified as grade 1 in terms of the TS-CL and CBVA modifiers, respectively. Ninety-eight (69.5%) and 4 (2.8%) were grade 2 for these same respective modifiers. One hundred thirty-six (96.5%) subjects had at least one modifier at grade 1 or 2. There was a significant relationship between patient age and grades of TS-CL (p < 0.001, Cramer’s V [CV] = 0.32) and CBVA (p = 0.04, CV = 0.22) modifiers. The HRQOL, global alignment, and segmental alignment parameters were similar among the subjects with different modifier grades (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The CBVA and TS-CL radiographic modifiers of the Ames-ISSG classification do not seem to be specific to subjects with cervical deformities and can occur in asymptomatic subjects without alteration in HRQOL.

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Florian Connolly, Stephan J. Schreiber, Christoph Leithner, Georg Bohner, Peter Vajkoczy and José M. Valdueza

OBJECTIVE

Transcranial color-coded duplex sonography (TCCS) is a reliable tool that is used to assess vasospasm in the M1 segment of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). A distinct increase in blood flow velocity (BFV) is the principal criterion for vasospasm. The MCA/internal carotid artery (ICA) index (Lindegaard Index) is also widely used to distinguish between vasospasm and cerebral hyperperfusion. However, extracranial ultrasonography assessment of the neck vessels might be difficult in an intensive care unit. Therefore, the authors evaluated whether the relationship of intracranial arterial to venous BFV might indicate vasospasm with similar or even better accuracy.

METHODS

Patients who presented between 2008 and 2015 with aneurysmal SAH were prospectively enrolled in the study. Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and TCCS were performed within 24 hours of each other to assess vasospasm 8–10 days after SAH. The following different TCCS parameters were analyzed to assess vasospasm in the MCA and were compared with the gold-standard DSA parameters: 1) mean time-averaged maximum BFV (Vmean) of the MCA, 2) peak systolic velocity (PSV) of the MCA, 3) the Lindegaard Index using Vmean as well as PSV, and 4) a new arteriovenous index (AVI) between the MCA and the basal vein of Rosenthal using Vmean and PSV. The best cutoff values for these parameters to distinguish vasospasm from normal perfusion or hyperperfusion were calculated using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value as well as the overall accuracy for each cutoff value were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 102 patients (mean age 52 ± 12 years) were evaluated. Bilateral MCA assessment by TCCS was successful in all patients. In 6 cases (3%), the BFV of the basal vein of Rosenthal could not be analyzed. The AVI could not be calculated in 50 of 204 cases (25%) because the insonation quality was very low in one of the ICAs. An AVI > 10 for Vmean and an AVI > 12 for systolic velocity provided the highest accuracies of 87% and 86%, respectively. Regarding the Lindegaard Index, the accuracy was highest using a threshold of > 3 for the mean BFV (84%) as well as systolic BFV (80%). BFVs in the MCA of ≥ 120 cm/sec (Vmean) and ≥ 200 cm/sec (PSV) predicted vasospasm with accuracies of 84% and 83%, respectively. A combined analysis of the MCA BFV and the AVI led to a slight increase in specificity (Vmean, 94%; PSV, 93%) and positive predictive value (Vmean, 88%; PSV 86%) without further improvement in accuracy (Vmean, 88%; PSV, 84%).

CONCLUSIONS

The intracranial AVI is a reliable parameter that can be used to assess vasospasm after SAH. Its reliability for differentiating vasospasm and hyperperfusion is slightly higher than that for the established Lindegaard Index, and this method has the additional advantage of a remarkably lower failure rate.

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Holger Joswig, John P. Girvin, Warren T. Blume, Jorge G. Burneo and David A. Steven

With the patient awake during surgery, the authors used a simple technique to determine which part of a patient's brain was essential for vision. This technique allows the surgeon to remove as much as the seizure-producing brain as possible by avoiding the areas that are critical for vision.

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Michael D. Staudt, Doron Rabin, Ali A. Baaj, Neil R. Crawford and Neil Duggal

OBJECTIVE

There are limited data regarding the implications of revision posterior surgery in the setting of previous cervical arthroplasty (CA). The purpose of this study was to analyze segmental biomechanics in human cadaveric specimens with and without CA, in the context of graded posterior resection.

METHODS

Fourteen human cadaveric cervical spines (C3–T1 or C2–7) were divided into arthroplasty (ProDisc-C, n = 7) and control (intact disc, n = 7) groups. Both groups underwent sequential posterior element resections: unilateral foraminotomy, laminoplasty, and finally laminectomy. Specimens were studied sequentially in two different loading apparatuses during the induction of flexion-extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation.

RESULTS

Range of motion (ROM) after artificial disc insertion was reduced relative to that in the control group during axial rotation and lateral bending (13% and 28%, respectively; p < 0.05) but was similar during flexion and extension. With sequential resections, ROM increased by a similar magnitude following foraminotomy and laminoplasty in both groups. Laminectomy had a much greater effect: mean (aggregate) ROM during flexion-extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation was increased by a magnitude of 52% following laminectomy in the setting of CA, compared to an 8% increase without arthroplasty. In particular, laminectomy in the setting of CA introduced significant instability in flexion-extension, characterized by a 90% increase in ROM from laminoplasty to laminectomy, compared to a 16% increase in ROM from laminoplasty to laminectomy without arthroplasty (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Foraminotomy and laminoplasty did not result in significant instability in the setting of CA, compared to controls. Laminectomy alone, however, resulted in a significant change in biomechanics, allowing for significantly increased flexion and extension. Laminectomy alone should be used with caution in the setting of previous CA.

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Joseph A. Carnevale, David J. Segar, Andrew Y. Powers, Meghal Shah, Cody Doberstein, Benjamin Drapcho, John F. Morrison, John R. Williams, Scott Collins, Kristina Monteiro and Wael F. Asaad

Here, the authors examined the factors involved in the volumetric progression of traumatic brain contusions. The variables significant in this progression are identified, and the expansion rate of a brain bleed can now effectively be predicted given the presenting characteristics of the patient.

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Joshua D. Burks, Andrew K. Conner, Robert G. Briggs, Phillip A. Bonney, Adam D. Smitherman, Cordell M. Baker, Chad A. Glenn, Cameron A. Ghafil, Dillon P. Pryor, Kyle P. O’Connor and Bradley N. Bohnstedt

OBJECTIVE

A shifting emphasis on efficient utilization of hospital resources has been seen in recent years. However, reduced screening for blunt vertebral artery injury (BVAI) may result in missed diagnoses if risk factors are not fully understood. The authors examined the records of blunt trauma patients with fractures near the craniocervical junction who underwent CTA at a single institution to better understand the risk of BVAI imposed by occipital condyle fractures (OCFs).

METHODS

The authors began with a query of their prospectively collected trauma registry to identify patients who had been screened for BVAI using ICD-9-CM diagnostic codes. Grade and segment were recorded in instances of BVAI. Locations of fractures were classified into 3 groups: 1) OCFs, 2) C1 (atlas) fractures, and 3) fractures of the C2–6 vertebrae. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify any fracture types associated with BVAI.

RESULTS

During a 6-year period, 719 patients underwent head and neck CTA following blunt trauma. Of these patients, 147 (20%) had OCF. BVAI occurred in 2 of 43 patients with type I OCF, 1 of 42 with type II OCF, and in 9 of 62 with type III OCF (p = 0.12). Type III OCF was an independent risk factor for BVAI in multivariate modeling (OR 2.29 [95% CI 1.04–5.04]), as were fractures of C1–6 (OR 5.51 [95% CI 2.57–11.83]). Injury to the V4 segment was associated with type III OCF (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors found an association between type III OCF and BVAI. While further study may be necessary to elucidate the mechanism of injury in these cases, this association suggests that thorough cerebrovascular evaluation is warranted in patients with type III OCF.

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Gentian Toshkezi, Michele Kyle, Sharon L. Longo, Lawrence S. Chin and Li-Ru Zhao

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of long-term disability and death in young adults. The lack of pharmaceutical therapy for post–acute TBI recovery remains a crucial medical challenge. Stem cell factor (SCF) and granulocyte colony–stimulating factor (G-CSF), which are 2 key hematopoietic growth factors, have shown neuroprotective and neurorestorative effects in experimental stroke. The objective of this study was to determine the therapeutic efficacy of combined treatment (SCF + G-CSF) in subacute TBI.

METHODS

Young-adult male C57BL mice were subject to TBI in the cortex of the right hemisphere. After TBI induction, mice were randomly divided into 2 groups: a vehicle control group and an SCF + G-CSF treatment group. Mice without TBI served as sham operative controls. Treatment was initiated 2 weeks after TBI induction. SCF (200 μg/kg) and G-CSF (50 μg/kg) or an equal volume of vehicle solution was subcutaneously injected daily for 7 days. A battery of neurobehavioral tests for evaluation of memory and cognitive function (water maze and novel object recognition tests), anxiety (elevated plus maze test), and motor function (Rota-Rod test) was performed during the period of 2–9 weeks after treatment. Neurodegeneration and dendritic density in both hemispheres were determined through histochemistry and immunohistochemistry at 11 weeks posttreatment.

RESULTS

Water maze testing showed that TBI-impaired spatial learning and memory was restored by SCF + G-CSF treatment. The findings from the elevated plus maze tests revealed that SCF + G-CSF treatment recovered TBI-caused anxiety and risk-taking behavior. There were no significant differences between the treated and nontreated TBI mice in both the Rota-Rod test and novel object recognition test. In the brain sections, the authors observed that widespread degenerating neurons were significantly increased in both hemispheres in the TBI-vehicle control mice. TBI-induced increases in neurodegeneration were significantly reduced by SCF + G-CSF treatment in the contralateral hemisphere, making it no different from that of the sham controls. Dendritic density in the frontal cortex of the contralateral hemisphere was significantly reduced in the TBI-vehicle control mice, whereas SCF + G-CSF–treated TBI mice showed significant increases of the dendritic density in the same brain region. SCF + G-CSF–treated TBI mice also showed a trend toward increasing dendritic density in the contralateral hippocampus.

CONCLUSIONS

SCF + G-CSF treatment in the subacute phase of TBI restored TBI-impaired spatial learning and memory, prevented posttraumatic anxiety and risk-taking behavior, inhibited TBI-induced neurodegeneration, and enhanced neural network remodeling. These findings suggest the therapeutic potential of hematopoietic growth factors for brain repair in the subacute phase of TBI.

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Zane Schnurman, John G. Golfinos, David Epstein, David R. Friedmann, J. Thomas Roland Jr. and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECTIVE

Given rising scrutiny of healthcare expenditures, understanding intervention costs is increasingly important. This study aimed to compare and characterize costs for vestibular schwannoma (VS) management with microsurgery and radiosurgery to inform practice decisions and appraise cost reduction strategies.

METHODS

In conjunction with medical records, internal hospital financial data were used to evaluate costs. Total cost was divided into index costs (costs from arrival through discharge for initial intervention) and follow-up costs (through 36 months) for 317 patients with unilateral VSs undergoing initial management between June 2011 and December 2015. A retrospective matched cohort based on tumor size with 176 patients (88 undergoing each intervention) was created to objectively compare costs between microsurgery and radiosurgery. The full sample of 203 patients treated with resection and 114 patients who underwent radiosurgery was used to evaluate a broad range of outcomes and identify cost contributors within each intervention group.

RESULTS

Within the matched cohort, average index costs were significantly higher for microsurgery (100% by definition, because costs are presented as a percentage of the average index cost for the matched microsurgery group; 95% CI 93–107) compared to radiosurgery (38%, 95% CI 38–39). Microsurgery had higher average follow-up costs (1.6% per month, 95% CI 0.8%–2.4%) compared to radiosurgery (0.5% per month, 95% CI 0.4%–0.7%), largely due to costs incurred in the initial months after resection. A major contributor to total cost and cost variability for both resection and radiosurgery was the need for additional interventions in the follow-up period, which were necessary due to complications or persistent functional deficits. Although tumor size was not associated with increased total costs for radiosurgery, linear regression analysis demonstrated that, for patients who underwent microsurgery, each centimeter increase in tumor maximum diameter resulted in an estimated increase in total cost of 50.2% of the average index cost of microsurgery (95% CI 34.6%–65.7%) (p < 0.001, R2 = 0.17). There were no cost differences associated with the proportion of inpatient days in the ICU or with specific surgical approach for patients who underwent resection.

CONCLUSIONS

This study is the largest assessment to date based on internal cost data comparing VS management with microsurgery and radiosurgery. Both index and follow-up costs are significantly higher when tumors were managed with resection compared to radiosurgery. Larger tumors were associated with increased resection costs, highlighting the incremental costs associated with observation as the initial management.

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The comprehensive anatomical spinal osteotomy and anterior column realignment classification

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

Juan S. Uribe, Frank Schwab, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., David S. Xu, Jacob Januszewski, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Serena S. Hu, Deviren Vedat, Robert Eastlack, Pedro Berjano and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Spinal osteotomies and anterior column realignment (ACR) are procedures that allow preservation or restoration of spine lordosis. Variations of these techniques enable different degrees of segmental, regional, and global sagittal realignment. The authors propose a comprehensive anatomical classification system for ACR and its variants based on the level of technical complexity and invasiveness. This serves as a common language and platform to standardize clinical and radiographic outcomes for the utilization of ACR.

METHODS

The proposed classification is based on 6 anatomical grades of ACR, including anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) release, with varying degrees of posterior column release or osteotomies. Additionally, a surgical approach (anterior, lateral, or posterior) was added. Reliability of the classification was evaluated by an analysis of 16 clinical cases, rated twice by 14 different spine surgeons, and calculation of Fleiss kappa coefficients.

RESULTS

The 6 grades of ACR are as follows: grade A, ALL release with hyperlordotic cage, intact posterior elements; grade 1 (ACR + Schwab grade 1), additional resection of the inferior facet and joint capsule; grade 2 (ACR + Schwab grade 2), additional resection of both superior and inferior facets, interspinous ligament, ligamentum flavum, lamina, and spinous process; grade 3 (ACR + Schwab grade 3), additional adjacent-level 3-column osteotomy including pedicle subtraction osteotomy; grade 4 (ACR + Schwab grade 4), 2-level distal 3-column osteotomy including pedicle subtraction osteotomy and disc space resection; and grade 5 (ACR + Schwab grade 5), complete or partial removal of a vertebral body and both adjacent discs with or without posterior element resection. Intraobserver and interobserver reliability were 97% and 98%, respectively, across the 14-reviewer cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed anatomical realignment classification provides a consistent description of the various posterior and anterior column release/osteotomies. This reliability study confirmed that the classification is consistent and reproducible across a diverse group of spine surgeons.