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Open access

Rebecca M. Burke, Thomas J. Buell, Dominic M. Maggio, Ulas Yener, Chun-Po Yen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients treated with spinal fusion may develop adjacent segment disease and curve progression into adulthood. Revision operations can be challenging, especially for adult patients treated with outdated instrumentation such as sublaminar hooks and/or wires. The authors demonstrate revision lumbar spine surgery in a 38-year-old female with scoliosis progression from junctional degeneration below a prior T5–L3 posterior instrumented arthrodesis with a hook-and-rod wire system. They also demonstrate safe application of an ultrasonic bone scalpel for completion of a Smith-Petersen osteotomy. The patient provided written, informed consent for all material presented in this case demonstration.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/3PmaFtNcqKc.

Open access

Alexandria C. Marino, Thomas J. Buell, Rebecca M. Burke, Tony R. Wang, Chun-Po Yen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

Three-column osteotomies (3COs) can achieve significant alignment correction when revising fixed sagittal plane deformities; however, the technique is associated with high complication rates. The authors demonstrate staged anterior-posterior surgery with L5–S1 ALIF (below a prior L3–5 fusion) and multilevel Smith-Petersen osteotomies to circumvent the morbidity associated with 3CO. The patient was a 67-year-old male with three prior lumbar surgeries who presented with back and leg pain. Imaging demonstrated lumbar flat back deformity and sagittal imbalance. The narrated video details key radiological measurements, operative planning and rationale, surgical steps, and outcomes. The patient provided written, informed consent for publication of this illustrative case.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/wv4W9D9fUPc.

Restricted access

James H. Nguyen, Thomas J. Buell, Tony R. Wang, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Marcus D. Mazur, Juanita Garces, Davis G. Taylor, Chun-Po Yen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Recent literature describing complications associated with spinopelvic fixation with iliac screws in adult patients has been limited but has suggested high complication rates. The authors’ objective was to report their experience with iliac screw fixation in a large series of patients with a 2-year minimum follow-up.

METHODS

Of 327 adult patients undergoing spinopelvic fixation with iliac screws at the authors’ institution between 2010 and 2015, 260 met the study inclusion criteria (age ≥ 18 years, first-time iliac screw placement, and 2-year minimum follow-up). Patients with active spinal infection were excluded. All iliac screws were placed via a posterior midline approach using fluoroscopic guidance. Iliac screw heads were deeply recessed into the posterior superior iliac spine. Clinical and radiographic data were obtained and analyzed.

RESULTS

Twenty patients (7.7%) had iliac screw–related complication, which included fracture (12, 4.6%) and/or screw loosening (9, 3.5%). No patients had iliac screw head prominence that required revision surgery or resulted in pain, wound dehiscence, or poor cosmesis. Eleven patients (4.2%) had rod or connector fracture below S1. Overall, 23 patients (8.8%) had L5–S1 pseudarthrosis. Four patients (1.5%) had fracture of the S1 screw. Seven patients (2.7%) had wound dehiscence (unrelated to the iliac screw head) or infection. The rate of reoperation (excluding proximal junctional kyphosis) was 17.7%. On univariate analysis, an iliac screw–related complication rate was significantly associated with revision fusion (70.0% vs 41.2%, p = 0.013), a greater number of instrumented vertebrae (mean 12.6 vs 10.3, p = 0.014), and greater postoperative pelvic tilt (mean 27.7° vs 23.2°, p = 0.04). Lumbosacral junction–related complications were associated with a greater mean number of instrumented vertebrae (12.6 vs 10.3, p = 0.014). Reoperation was associated with a younger mean age at surgery (61.8 vs 65.8 years, p = 0.014), a greater mean number of instrumented vertebrae (12.2 vs 10.2, p = 0.001), and longer clinical and radiological mean follow-up duration (55.8 vs 44.5 months, p < 0.001; 55.8 vs 44.6 months, p < 0.001, respectively). On multivariate analysis, reoperation was associated with longer clinical follow-up (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Previous studies on iliac screw fixation have reported very high rates of complications and reoperation (as high as 53.6%). In this large, single-center series of adult patients, iliac screws were an effective method of spinopelvic fixation that had high rates of lumbosacral fusion and far lower complication rates than previously reported. Collectively, these findings argue that iliac screw fixation should remain a favored technique for spinopelvic fixation.

Full access

Thomas J. Buell, James H. Nguyen, Marcus D. Mazur, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Juanita Garces, Davis G. Taylor, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Fixed sagittal spinal malalignment is a common problem in adult spinal deformity (ASD). Various three-column osteotomy techniques, including the extended pedicle subtraction osteotomy (ePSO), may correct global and regional malalignment in this patient population. In contrast to the number of reports on traditional PSO (Schwab grade 3 osteotomy), there is limited literature on the outcomes of ePSO (Schwab grade 4 osteotomy) in ASD surgery. The objective of this retrospective study was to provide focused investigation of radiographic outcomes and complications of single-level lumbar ePSO for ASD patients with fixed sagittal malalignment.

METHODS

Consecutive ASD patients in whom sagittal malalignment had been treated with single-level lumbar ePSO at the authors’ institution between 2010 and 2015 were analyzed, and those with a minimum 2-year follow-up were included in the study. Radiographic analyses included assessments of segmental lordosis through the ePSO site (sagittal Cobb angle measured from the superior endplate of the vertebra above and inferior endplate of the vertebra below the ePSO), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic tilt (PT), pelvic incidence and LL mismatch, thoracic kyphosis (TK), and sagittal vertical axis (SVA) on standing long-cassette radiographs. Complications were analyzed for the entire group.

RESULTS

Among 71 potentially eligible patients, 55 (77%) had a minimum 2-year follow-up and were included in the study. Overall, the average postoperative increases in ePSO segmental lordosis and overall LL were 41° ± 14° (range 7°–69°, p < 0.001) and 38° ± 11° (range 9°–58°, p < 0.001), respectively. The average SVA improvement was 13 ± 7 cm (range of correction: −33.6 to 3.4 cm, p < 0.001). These measurements were maintained when comparing early postoperative to last follow-up values, respectively (mean follow-up 52 months, range 26–97 months): ePSO segmental lordosis, 34° vs 33°, p = 0.270; LL, 47.3° vs 46.7°, p = 0.339; and SVA, 4 vs 5 cm, p = 0.330. Rod fracture (RF) at the ePSO site occurred in 18.2% (10/55) of patients, and pseudarthrosis (PA) at the ePSO site was confirmed by CT imaging or during rod revision surgery in 14.5% (8/55) of patients. Accessory supplemental rods across the ePSO site, a more recently employed technique, significantly reduced the occurrence of RF or PA on univariate (p = 0.004) and multivariable (OR 0.062, 95% CI 0.007–0.553, p = 0.013) analyses; this effect approached statistical significance on Kaplan-Meier analysis (p = 0.053, log-rank test). Interbody cage placement at the ePSO site resulted in greater ePSO segmental lordosis correction (45° vs 35°, p = 0.007) without significant change in RF or PA (p = 0.304). Transient and persistent motor deficits occurred in 14.5% (8/55) and 1.8% (1/55) of patients, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Extended PSO is an effective technique to correct fixed sagittal malalignment for ASD. In comparison to traditional PSO techniques, ePSO may allow greater focal correction with comparable complication rates, especially with interbody cage placement at the ePSO site and the use of accessory supplemental rods.

Free access

Thomas J. Buell, Ulas Yener, Tony R. Wang, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Sacral insufficiency fracture after lumbosacral (LS) arthrodesis is an uncommon complication. The objective of this study was to report the authors’ operative experience managing this complication, review pertinent literature, and propose a treatment algorithm.

METHODS

The authors analyzed consecutive adult patients treated at their institution from 2009 to 2018. Patients who underwent surgery for sacral insufficiency fractures after posterior instrumented LS arthrodesis were included. PubMed was queried to identify relevant articles detailing management of this complication.

RESULTS

Nine patients with a minimum 6-month follow-up were included (mean age 73 ± 6 years, BMI 30 ± 6 kg/m2, 56% women, mean follow-up 35 months, range 8–96 months). Six patients had osteopenia/osteoporosis (mean dual energy x-ray absorptiometry hip T-score −1.6 ± 0.5) and 3 received treatment. Index LS arthrodesis was performed for spinal stenosis (n = 6), proximal junctional kyphosis (n = 2), degenerative scoliosis (n = 1), and high-grade spondylolisthesis (n = 1). Presenting symptoms of back/leg pain (n = 9) or lower extremity weakness (n = 3) most commonly occurred within 4 weeks of index LS arthrodesis, which prompted CT for fracture diagnosis at a mean of 6 weeks postoperatively. All sacral fractures were adjacent or involved S1 screws and traversed the spinal canal (Denis zone III). H-, U-, or T-type sacral fracture morphology was identified in 7 patients. Most fractures (n = 8) were Roy-Camille type II (anterior displacement with kyphosis). All patients underwent lumbopelvic fixation via a posterior-only approach; mean operative duration and blood loss were 3.3 hours and 850 ml, respectively. Bilateral dual iliac screws were utilized in 8 patients. Back/leg pain and weakness improved postoperatively. Mean sacral fracture anterolisthesis and kyphotic angulation improved (from 8 mm/11° to 4 mm/5°, respectively) and all fractures were healed on radiographic follow-up (mean duration 29 months, range 8–90 months). Two patients underwent revision for rod fractures at 1 and 2 years postoperatively. A literature review found 17 studies describing 87 cases; potential risk factors were osteoporosis, longer fusions, high pelvic incidence (PI), and postoperative PI-to–lumbar lordosis (LL) mismatch.

CONCLUSIONS

A high index of suspicion is needed to diagnose sacral insufficiency fracture after LS arthrodesis. A trial of conservative management is reasonable for select patients; potential surgical indications include refractory pain, neurological deficit, fracture nonunion with anterolisthesis or kyphotic angulation, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, and spinopelvic malalignment. Lumbopelvic fixation with iliac screws may be effective salvage treatment to allow fracture healing and symptom improvement. High-risk patients may benefit from prophylactic lumbopelvic fixation at the time of index LS arthrodesis.

Restricted access

Thomas J. Buell, Ching-Jen Chen, James H. Nguyen, Peter A. Christiansen, Saikiran G. Murthy, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Prior reports have demonstrated the efficacy of surgical correction for adult lumbar scoliosis. Many of these reports focused on mild to moderate scoliosis. The authors’ objective was to report their experience and to assess outcomes and complications after deformity correction for severe adult scoliosis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed consecutive adult scoliosis patients with major thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) curves ≥ 75° who underwent deformity correction at their institution. Those eligible with a minimum 2 years of follow-up were included. Demographic, surgical, coronal and sagittal plane radiographic measurements, and health-related quality of life (HRQL) scores were analyzed.

RESULTS

Among 26 potentially eligible patients, 22 (85%) had a minimum 2 years of follow-up (range 24–89 months) and were included in the study (mean age 57 ± 11 years; 91% women). The cohort comprised 16 (73%), 4 (18%), and 2 (9%) patients with adult idiopathic scoliosis, de novo degenerative scoliosis, and iatrogenic scoliosis, respectively. The surgical approach was posterior-only and multistage anterior-posterior in 18 (82%) and 4 (18%) patients, respectively. Three-column osteotomy was performed in 5 (23%) patients. Transforaminal and anterior lumbar interbody fusion were performed in 14 (64%) and 4 (18%) patients, respectively. All patients had sacropelvic fixation with uppermost instrumented vertebra in the lower thoracic spine (46% [10/22]) versus upper thoracic spine (55% [12/22]). The mean fusion length was 14 ± 3 levels. Preoperative major TL/L and lumbosacral fractional (L4–S1) curves were corrected from 83° ± 8° to 28° ± 13° (p < 0.001) and 34° ± 8° to 13° ± 6° (p < 0.001), respectively. Global coronal and sagittal balance significantly improved from 5 ± 4 cm to 1 ± 1 cm (p = 0.001) and 9 ± 8 cm to 2 ± 3 cm (p < 0.001), respectively. Pelvic tilt significantly improved from 33° ± 9° to 23° ± 10° (p < 0.001). Significant improvement in HRQL measures included the following: Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) pain score (p = 0.009), SRS appearance score (p = 0.004), and SF-12/SF-36 physical component summary (PCS) score (p = 0.026). Transient and persistent neurological deficits occurred in 8 (36%) and 2 (9%) patients, respectively. Rod fracture/pseudarthrosis occurred in 6 (27%) patients (supplemental rods were utilized more recently in 23%). Revisions were performed in 7 (32%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS

In this single-center surgical series for severe adult scoliosis (major curves ≥ 75°), a posterior-only or multistage anterior-posterior approach provided major curve correction of 66% and significant improvements in global coronal and sagittal spinopelvic alignment. Significant improvements were also demonstrated in HRQL measures (SRS pain, SRS appearance, and SF-12/SF-36 PCS). Complications and revisions were comparable to those of other reports involving less severe scoliosis. The results of this study warrant future prospective multicenter studies to further delineate outcomes and complication risks for severe adult scoliosis correction.

Free access

Leonel Ampie, M. Harrison Snyder, Jose F. Dominguez, Avery Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Hasan R. Syed, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Primary spinal meningiomas represent a rare indolent neoplasm usually situated in the intradural-extramedullary compartment. They have a predilection for afflicting the thoracic spine and most frequently present with sensory and/or motor symptoms. Resection is the first-line treatment for symptomatic tumors, whereas other clinical factors will determine the need for adjuvant therapy. In this study, the authors aimed to elucidate clinical presentation, functional outcomes, and long-term outcomes in this population in order to better equip clinicians with the tools to counsel their patients.

METHODS

This is a retrospective analysis of patients treated at the authors’ institution between 1998 and 2018. All patients with thoracic meningiomas who underwent resection and completed at least one follow-up appointment were included. Multiple preoperative clinical variables, hospitalization details, and long-term outcomes were collected for the cohort.

RESULTS

Forty-six patients who underwent resection for thoracic meningiomas were included. The average age of the cohort was 59 years, and the median follow-up was 53 months. Persistent sensory and motor symptoms were present in 29 patients (63%). Fifteen lesions were ventrally positioned. There were 43 WHO grade I tumors, 2 WHO grade II tumors, and 1 WHO grade III tumor; the grade III tumor was the only case of recurrence. The median length of hospitalization was 4 days. Seventeen patients (37%) were discharged to rehabilitation facilities. Thirty patients (65.2%) experienced resolution or improvement of symptoms, and there were no deaths within 30 days of surgery. Only 1 patient developed painful kyphosis and was managed medically. Ventral tumor position, new postoperative deficits, and length of stay did not correlate with disposition to a facility. Age, ventral position, blood loss, and increasing WHO grade did not correlate with length of stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Outcomes are overall favorable for patients who undergo resection of thoracic meningiomas. Symptomatic patients often experience improvement, and patients generally do not require significant future operations. Tumors located ventrally, while anatomically challenging, do not necessarily herald a significantly worse prognosis or limit the extent of resection.

Free access

Jesse J. McClure, Bhargav D. Desai, Leah M. Shabo, Thomas J. Buell, Chun-Po Yen, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey, and Avery L. Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a safe and effective intervention to treat cervical spine pathology. Although these were originally performed as single-level procedures, multilevel ACDF has been performed for patients with extensive degenerative disc disease. To date, there is a paucity of data regarding outcomes related to ACDFs of 3 or more levels. The purpose of this study was to compare surgical outcomes of 3- and 4-level ACDF procedures.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent 3- and 4-level ACDF at the University of Virginia Health System between January 2010 and December 2017. In patients meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, demographics, fusion rates, time to fusion, and reoperation rates were evaluated. Fusion was determined by < 1 mm of change in interspinous distance between individual fused vertebrae on lateral flexion/extension radiographs and lack of radiolucency between the grafts and vertebral bodies. Any procedure requiring a surgical revision was considered a failure.

RESULTS

Sixty-six patients (47 with 3-level and 19 with 4-level ACDFs) met the inclusion/exclusion criteria of having at least one lateral flexion/extension radiograph series ≥ 12 months after surgery. Seventy percent of 3-level patients and 68% of 4-level patients had ≥ 24 months of follow-up. Ninety-four percent of 3-level patients and 100% of 4-level patients achieved radiographic fusion for at least 1 surgical level. Eighty-eight percent and 82% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C3–4; 85% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C4–5; 68% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C5–6; 44% and 42% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C6–7; and no patients achieved fusion at C7–T1. Time to fusion was not significantly different between levels. Revision was required in 6.4% of patients with 3-level and in 16% of patients with 4-level ACDF. The mean time to revision was 46.2 and 45.4 months for 3- and 4-level ACDF, respectively. The most common reason for revision was worsening of initial symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experience with long-segment anterior cervical fusions shows their fusion rates exceeding most of the reported fusion rates for similar procedures in the literature, with rates similar to those reported for short-segment ACDFs. Three-level and 4-level ACDF procedures are viable options for cervical spine pathology, and the authors’ analysis demonstrates an equivalent rate of fusion and time to fusion between 3- and 4-level surgeries.

Free access

Thomas J. Buell, Davis G. Taylor, Ching-Jen Chen, Lauren K. Dunn, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Marcus D. Mazur, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, and Bhiken I. Naik

OBJECTIVE

Significant blood loss and coagulopathy are often encountered during adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery, and the optimal intraoperative transfusion algorithm is debatable. Rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM), a functional viscoelastometric method for real-time hemostasis testing, may allow early identification of coagulopathy and improve transfusion practices. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of ROTEM-guided blood product management on perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements in ASD patients undergoing correction with pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed patients with ASD who underwent single-level lumbar PSO at the University of Virginia Health System. All patients who received ROTEM-guided blood product transfusion between 2015 and 2017 were matched in a 1:1 ratio to a historical cohort treated using conventional laboratory testing (control group). Co-primary outcomes were intraoperative estimated blood loss (EBL) and total blood product transfusion volume. Secondary outcomes were perioperative transfusion requirements and postoperative subfascial drain output.

RESULTS

The matched groups (ROTEM and control) comprised 17 patients each. Comparison of matched group baseline characteristics demonstrated differences in female sex and total intraoperative dose of intravenous tranexamic acid (TXA). Although EBL was comparable between ROTEM versus control (3200.00 ± 2106.24 ml vs 3874.12 ± 2224.22 ml, p = 0.36), there was a small to medium effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.31) on EBL reduction with ROTEM. The ROTEM group had less total blood product transfusion volume (1624.18 ± 1774.79 ml vs 2810.88 ± 1847.46 ml, p = 0.02), and the effect size was medium to large (Cohen’s d = 0.66). This difference was no longer significant after adjusting for TXA (β = −0.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1995.78 to 671.64, p = 0.32). More cryoprecipitate and less fresh frozen plasma (FFP) were transfused in the ROTEM group patients (cryoprecipitate units: 1.24 ± 1.20 vs 0.53 ± 1.01, p = 0.03; FFP volume: 119.76 ± 230.82 ml vs 673.06 ± 627.08 ml, p < 0.01), and this remained significant after adjusting for TXA (cryoprecipitate units: β = 0.39, 95% CI 0.05 to 1.73, p = 0.04; FFP volume: β = −0.41, 95% CI −772.55 to −76.30, p = 0.02). Drain output was lower in the ROTEM group and remained significant after adjusting for TXA.

CONCLUSIONS

For ASD patients treated using lumbar PSO, more cryoprecipitate and less FFP were transfused in the ROTEM group compared to the control group. These preliminary findings suggest ROTEM-guided therapy may allow early identification of hypofibrinogenemia, and aggressive management of this may reduce blood loss and total blood product transfusion volume. Additional prospective studies of larger cohorts are warranted to identify the appropriate subset of ASD patients who may benefit from intraoperative ROTEM analysis.