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Peter A. Christiansen, Shengbin Huang, Justin S. Smith, Mark E. Shaffrey, Juan S. Uribe, and Chun-Po Yen

OBJECTIVE

Advancements in less invasive lateral retropleural/retroperitoneal approaches aim to address the limitation of posterolateral approaches and avoid complications associated with anterior open thoracotomy or thoracoabdominal approaches.

METHODS

Consecutive patients treated with a mini-open lateral approach for thoracic or thoracolumbar anterior column pathologies were analyzed in a retrospective case series including clinical and radiographic outcomes. Special attention is given to operative techniques and surgical nuances.

RESULTS

Eleven patients underwent a mini-open lateral retropleural or combined retropleural/retroperitoneal approach for thoracic or thoracolumbar junction lesions. Surgical indications included chronic fracture/deformity (n = 5), acute fracture (n = 2), neoplasm (n = 2), and osteomyelitis (n = 2). The mean length of postoperative hospital stay was 7.2 days (range 2–19 days). All patients ultimately had successful decompression and reconstruction with a mean follow-up of 16.7 months (range 6–29 months). Axial back pain assessed by the visual analog scale improved from a mean score of 8.2 to 2.2. Complications included 1 patient with deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and 1 with pneumonia. One patient developed increased leg weakness, which subsequently improved. One patient undergoing corpectomy with only lateral plate fixation developed cage subsidence requiring posterior stabilization.

CONCLUSIONS

Mini-open lateral retropleural and retroperitoneal corpectomies can safely achieve anterior column reconstruction and spinal deformity correction for various thoracic and thoracolumbar vertebral pathologies.

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Ching-Hsiao Cheng, R. Webster Crowley, Chun-Po Yen, David Schlesinger, Mark E. Shaffrey, and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) has emerged as the treatment of choice for small- to medium-sized cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in deep locations. The present study aims to investigate the outcomes of GKS for AVMs in the basal ganglia and thalamus.

Methods

Between 1989 and 2007, 85 patients with AVMs in the basal ganglia and 97 in the thalamus underwent GKS and were followed up for more than 2 years. The nidus volumes ranged from 0.1 to 29.4 cm3 (mean 3.4 cm3). The mean margin dose at the initial GKS was 21.3 Gy (range 10–28 Gy). Thirty-six patients underwent repeat GKS for residual AVMs at a median 4 years after initial GKS. The mean margin dose at repeat GKS was 21.1 Gy (range 7.5–27 Gy).

Results

Following a single GKS, total obliteration of the nidus was confirmed on angiograms in 91 patients (50%). In 12 patients (6.6%) a subtotal obliteration was achieved. No flow voids were observed on MR imaging in 14 patients (7.7%). Following single or repeat GKS, total obliteration was angiographically confirmed in 106 patients (58.2%) and subtotal obliteration in 8 patients (4.4%). No flow voids on MR imaging were observed in 18 patients (9.9%). The overall obliteration rates following one or multiple GKSs based on MR imaging or angiography was 68%. A small nidus volume, high margin dose, low number of isocenters, and no history of embolization were significantly associated with an increased rate of obliteration. Twenty-one patients experienced 25 episodes of hemorrhage in 850 risk-years following GKS, yielding an annual hemorrhage rate of 2.9%. Four patients died in this series: 2 due to complications of hemorrhage and 2 due to unrelated diseases. Permanent neurological deficits caused by radiation were noted in 9 patients (4.9%).

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery offers a reasonable chance of obliterating basal ganglia and thalamic AVMs and does so with a low risk of complications. It is an optimal treatment option in patients for whom the anticipated risk of microsurgery is too high.

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E. Sander Connolly Jr.

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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.

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Chun-Po Yen, Julie A. Matsumoto, Max Wintermark, Lucia Schwyzer, Avery J. Evans, Mary E. Jensen, Mark E. Shaffrey, and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

The objective of this study was to evaluate the incidence, severity, clinical manifestations, and risk factors of radiation-induced imaging changes (RIICs) following Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Methods

A total of 1426 GKS procedures performed for AVMs with imaging follow-up available were analyzed. Radiation-induced imaging changes were defined as newly developed increased T2 signal surrounding the treated AVM nidi. A grading system was developed to categorize the severity of RIICs. Grade I RIICs were mild imaging changes imposing no mass effect on the surrounding brain. Grade II RIICs were moderate changes causing effacement of the sulci or compression of the ventricles. Grade III RIICs were severe changes causing midline shift of the brain. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were applied to test factors potentially affecting the occurrence, severity, and associated symptoms of RIICs.

Results

A total of 482 nidi (33.8%) developed RIICs following GKS, with 281 classified as Grade I, 164 as Grade II, and 37 as Grade III. The median duration from GKS to the development of RIICs was 13 months (range 2–124 months). The imaging changes disappeared completely within 2–128 months (median 22 months) following the development of RIICs. The RIICs were symptomatic in 122 patients, yielding an overall incidence of symptomatic RIICs of 8.6%. Twenty-six patients (1.8%) with RIICs had permanent deficits. A negative history of prior surgery, no prior hemorrhage, large nidus, and a single draining vein were associated with a higher risk of RIICs.

Conclusions

Radiation-induced imaging changes are the most common adverse effects following GKS. Fortunately, few of the RIICs are symptomatic and most of the symptoms are reversible. Patients with a relatively healthy brain and nidi that are large, or with a single draining vein, are more likely to develop RIICs.

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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.

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Jay Jagannathan, Chun-Po Yen, Dibyendu Kumar Ray, David Schlesinger, Rod J. Oskouian, Nader Pouratian, Mark E. Shaffrey, James Larner, and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

This study evaluated the efficacy of postoperative Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) to the tumor cavity following gross-total resection of a brain metastasis.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted of 700 patients who were treated for brain metastases using GKS. Forty-seven patients with pathologically confirmed metastatic disease underwent GKS to the postoperative resection cavity following gross-total resection of the tumor. Patients who underwent subtotal resection or who had visible tumor in the resection cavity on the postresection neuroimaging study (either CT or MR imaging with and without contrast administration) were excluded. Radiographic and clinical follow-up was assessed using clinic visits and MR imaging. The radiographic end point was defined as tumor growth control (no tumor growth regarding the resection cavity, and stable or decreasing tumor size for the other metastatic targets). Clinical end points were defined as functional status (assessed prospectively using the Karnofsky Performance Scale) and survival. Primary tumor pathology was consistent with lung cancer in 19 cases (40%), melanoma in 10 cases (21%), renal cell carcinoma in 7 cases (15%), breast cancer in 7 cases (15%), and gastrointestinal malignancies in 4 cases (9%). The mean duration between resection and radiosurgery was 15 days (range 2–115 days). The mean volume of the treated cavity was 10.5 cm3 (range 1.75–35.45 cm3), and the mean dose to the cavity margin was 19 Gy. In addition to the resection cavity, 34 patients (72%) underwent GKS for 116 synchronous metastases observed at the time of the initial radiosurgery.

Results

The mean radiographic follow-up duration was 14 months (median 10 months, range 4–37 months). Local tumor control at the site of the surgical cavity was achieved in 44 patients (94%), and tumor recurrence at the surgical site was statistically related to the volume of the surgical cavity (p = 0.04). During follow-up, 34 patients (72%) underwent additional radiosurgery for 140 new (metachronous) metastases. At the most recent follow-up evaluation, 11 patients (23%) were alive, whereas 36 patients had died (mean duration until death 12 months, median 10 months). Patients who showed good systemic control of their primary tumor tended to have longer survival durations than those who did not (p = 0.004). At the last clinical follow-up evaluation, the mean Karnofsky Performance Scale score for the overall group was 78 (median 80, range 40–100).

Conclusion:

Radiosurgery appears to be effective in terms of providing local tumor control at the resection cavity following resection of a brain metastasis, and in the treatment of synchronous and metachronous tumors. These data suggest that radiosurgery can be used to prevent recurrence following gross-total resection of a brain metastasis.

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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.

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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.

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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.