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Open access

Bernhard Meyer, Claudius Thomé, Peter Vajkoczy, Victoria Kehl, Richard Dodel, Florian Ringel, and

OBJECTIVE

Fusion is the standard of treatment for degenerative lumbar symptomatic instabilities. Dynamic stabilization is a potential alternative, with the aim of reducing pathological motion. Potential advantages are a reduction of surgical complexity and morbidity. The aim of this study was to assess whether dynamic stabilization is associated with a higher degree of functional improvement while reducing surgical complexity and thereby surgical duration and perioperative complications in comparison with lumbar fusion.

METHODS

This was a multicenter, double-blind, prospective, randomized, 2-arm superiority trial. Patients with symptomatic mono- or bisegmental lumbar degenerative disease with or without stenosis and instability were randomized 1:1 to instrumented fusion or pedicle-based dynamic stabilization. Patients underwent either rigid internal fixation and interbody fusion or pedicle-based dynamic stabilization. The primary endpoint was the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score, and secondary endpoints were pain, health-related quality of life, and patient satisfaction at 24 months.

RESULTS

Of 293 patients randomized to fusion or dynamic stabilization, 269 were available for analysis. The duration of surgery was significantly shorter for dynamic stabilization versus fusion, and the blood loss was significantly less for dynamic stabilization (380 ml vs 506 ml). Assessment of primary and secondary outcome parameters revealed no significant differences between groups. There were no differences in the incidence of adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS

Dynamic pedicle-based stabilization can achieve similar clinical outcome as fusion in the treatment of lumbar degenerative instabilities. Secondary failures are not different between groups. However, dynamic stabilization is less complex than fusion and is a feasible alternative.

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Maria Wostrack, Florian Ringel, Sven O. Eicker, Max Jägersberg, Karl Schaller, Johannes Kerschbaumer, Claudius Thomé, Ehab Shiban, Michael Stoffel, Benjamin Friedrich, Victoria Kehl, Peter Vajkoczy, Bernhard Meyer, and Julia Onken

OBJECTIVE

Spinal ependymomas are rare glial neoplasms. Because their incidence is low, only a few larger studies have investigated this condition. There are no clear data concerning prognosis and therapy. The aim of the study was to describe the natural history, perioperative clinical course, and local tumor control of adult patients with spinal ependymomas who were surgically treated under modern treatment standards.

METHODS

The authors performed a multicenter retrospective study. They identified 158 adult patients with spinal ependymomas who had received surgical treatment between January 2006 and June 2013. The authors analyzed the clinical and histological aspects of these cases to identify the predictive factors for postoperative morbidity, tumor resectability, and recurrence.

RESULTS

Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 80% of cases. At discharge, 37% of the patients showed a neurological decline. During follow-up the majority recovered, whereas 76% showed at least preoperative status. Permanent functional deterioration remained in 2% of the patients. Transient deficits were more frequent in patients with cervically located ependymomas (p = 0.004) and in older patients (p = 0.002). Permanent deficits were independently predicted only by older age (p = 0.026). Tumor progression was observed in 15 cases. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 80%, and GTR (p = 0.037), WHO grade II (p = 0.009), and low Ki-67 index (p = 0.005) were independent prognostic factors for PFS. Adjuvant radiation therapy was performed in 15 cases. No statistically relevant effects of radiation therapy were observed among patients with incompletely resected ependymomas (p = 0.079).

CONCLUSIONS

Due to its beneficial value for PFS, GTR is important in the treatment of spinal ependymoma. Gross-total resection is feasible in the majority of cases, with acceptable rates of permanent deficits. Also, Ki-67 appears to be an important prognostic factor and should be included in a grading scheme for spinal ependymomas.