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Krishn Khanna and Sigurd H. Berven

Vascular complications are an important adverse event that can be associated with spinal reconstructive surgery. Direct injury of vessels, or indirect traction or compression of vessels, can cause both arterial and venous injury. Indirect compression of the mesenteric vessels is a well-recognized complication of bracing and surgical care of children with spinal deformity (superior mesenteric artery syndrome), but the complication is not common or well recognized in the adult population with spinal deformity. The purpose of this case report is to detail the case of postoperative mesenteric ischemia in a 63-year-old man in whom a posterior approach was used to perform spinal deformity correction. Preoperatively, the patient had had significant lumbar hypolordosis. The reconstructive surgery with the use of posterior-based osteotomies resulted in a shortening of the posterior column of the spine but a relative lengthening of structures anterior to the spine. The significant lordosis achieved by the surgery led to an acute worsening of the mesenteric stenosis suffered by the patient. He required a vascular surgery intervention to restore perfusion to the bowel. Recognition of severe vasculopathy is important in anticipating potential postoperative vascular insufficiency. This case report will inform surgeons and clinicians to have a higher index of suspicion for the exacerbation of vascular insufficiency, including mesenteric pathology, in patients undergoing surgery that involves significant realignment of the spine. Preoperative recognition of vascular insufficiency and treatment of symptomatic disease may limit the occurrence of postoperative vascular complications in spinal reconstructive surgery.

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Austin Q. Nguyen, Jackson P. Harvey, Krishn Khanna, Bryce A. Basques, Garrett K. Harada, Frank M. Phillips, Kern Singh, Christopher Dewald, Howard S. An, and Matthew W Colman

OBJECTIVE

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) and lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) are alternative and less invasive techniques to stabilize the spine and indirectly decompress the neural elements compared with open posterior approaches. While reoperation rates have been described for open posterior lumbar surgery, there are sparse data on reoperation rates following these less invasive procedures without direct posterior decompression. This study aimed to evaluate the overall rate, cause, and timing of reoperation procedures following anterior or lateral lumbar interbody fusions without direct posterior decompression.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of all consecutive patients indicated for an ALIF or LLIF for lumbar spine at a single academic institution. Patients who underwent concomitant posterior fusion or direct decompression surgeries were excluded. Rates, causes, and timing of reoperations were analyzed. Patients who underwent a revision decompression were matched with patients who did not require a reoperation, and preoperative imaging characteristics were analyzed to assess for risk factors for the reoperation.

RESULTS

The study cohort consisted of 529 patients with an average follow-up of 2.37 years; 40.3% (213/529) and 67.3% (356/529) of patients had a minimum of 2 years and 1 year of follow-up, respectively. The total revision rate was 5.7% (30/529), with same-level revision in 3.8% (20/529) and adjacent-level revision in 1.9% (10/529) of patients. Same-level revision patients had significantly shorter time to revision (7.14 months) than adjacent-level revision patients (31.91 months) (p < 0.0001). Fifty percent of same-level revisions were for a posterior decompression. After further analysis of decompression revisions, an increased preoperative canal area was significantly associated with a lower risk of further decompression revision compared to the control group (p = 0.015; OR 0.977, 95% CI 0.959–0.995).

CONCLUSIONS

There was a low reoperation rate after anterior or lateral lumbar interbody fusions without direct posterior decompression. The majority of same-level reoperations were due to a need for further decompression. Smaller preoperative canal diameters were associated with the need for revision decompression.