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Rob J. M. Groen and Berrie Middel

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Kei Ando, Shiro Imagama, Zenya Ito, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Hideki Yagi, Tetsuro Hida, Kenyu Ito, Mikito Tsushima, Yoshimoto Ishikawa, and Naoki Ishiguro

OBJECT

Little is known about the progression of spinal schwannomas. The aim of this study was to determine the natural progression of spinal schwannomas and establish the risk of tumor growth.

METHODS

This study retrospectively analyzed data from 23 patients (12 men and 11 women, 40–89 years old) with schwannomas detected by MRI. The mean follow-up period was 5 years (range 2–10 years). The absolute and relative growth rates of the tumors were calculated.

RESULTS

The average tumor size was 1495 mm3 at the initial visit and 2224 mm3 at the final follow-up. The average absolute growth rate was 139 mm3 per year, and the average relative growth rate was 5.3% per year. Tumors were classified into 3 groups based on enhancement patterns: isointense/hyperintense (iso/high; 11 cases), rim enhancement when enhancement was peripheral (high/rim; 5 cases), and heterogeneous/heterogeneous (hetero/hetero; 7 cases) based on Gd-enhanced T2-weighted MRI. The average absolute growth rates of the 3 lesion groups were 588 mm3, 957 mm3, and 3379 mm3, respectively (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Although the tumors classified as iso/high and high/rim on T2-weighted Gd-enhanced MR images were small and grew very little, most tumors with hetero/hetero classification increased in size. Hetero/hetero-type tumors should be followed closely and may require surgery.

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Kei Ando, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Masaaki Machino, Kyotaro Ota, Satoshi Tanaka, Masayoshi Morozumi, Sadayuki Ito, Shunsuke Kanbara, Taro Inoue, Naoki Ishiguro, and Shiro Imagama

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between morphological changes in thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (T-OPLL) and postoperative neurological recovery after thoracic posterior fusion surgery. Changes of OPLL morphology and postoperative recovery in cases with T-OPLL have not been examined.

METHODS

In this prospective study, the authors evaluated data from 44 patients (23 male and 21 female) who underwent posterior decompression and fusion surgery with instrumentation for the treatment of T-OPLL at our hospital. The patients’ mean age at surgery was 50.7 years (range 38–68 years). The minimum duration of follow-up was 2 years. The location of thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum (T-OLF), T-OLF at the OPLL level, OPLL morphology, fusion range, estimated blood loss, operative time, pre- and postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and JOA recovery rate were investigated. Reconstructed sagittal multislice CT images were obtained before and at 3 and 6 months and 1 and 2 years after surgery. The basic fusion area was 3 vertebrae above and below the OPLL lesion. All parameters were compared between patients with and without continuity across the disc space at the OPLL at 3 and 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

The preoperative morphology of OPLL was discontinuous across the disc space between the rostral and caudal ossification regions on sagittal CT images in all but one of the patients. Postoperatively, these segments became continuous in 42 patients (97.7%; occurring by 6.6 months on average) without progression of OPLL thickness. Patients with continuity at 3 months had significantly lower rates of diabetes mellitus (p < 0.05) and motor palsy in the lower extremities (p < 0.01). The group with continuity also had significantly higher mean postoperative JOA scores at 3 (p < 0.01) and 6 (p < 0.05) months and mean JOA recovery rates at 3 and 6 months (both p < 0.01) after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperatively, discontinuity of rostral and caudal ossified lesions was found on CT in all patients but one of this group of 44 patients who needed surgery for T-OPLL. Rigid fixation with instrumentation may have allowed these segments to connect at the OPLL. Such OPLL continuity at an early stage after surgery may accelerate spinal cord recovery.

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Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Shiro Imagama, Zenya Ito, Kei Ando, Tetsuro Hida, Kenyu Ito, Mikito Tsushima, Yoshimoto Ishikawa, Akiyuki Matsumoto, Yoshihiro Nishida, and Naoki Ishiguro

OBJECTIVE

Corrective surgery for spinal deformities can lead to neurological complications. Several reports have described spinal cord monitoring in surgery for spinal deformity, but only a few have included patients younger than 20 years with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). The goal of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of cases with intraoperative transcranial motor evoked potential (Tc-MEP) waveform deterioration during posterior corrective fusion for AIS.

METHODS

A prospective database was reviewed, comprising 68 patients with AIS who were treated with posterior corrective fusion in a prospective database. A total of 864 muscles in the lower extremities were chosen for monitoring, and acceptable baseline responses were obtained from 819 muscles (95%). Intraoperative Tc-MEP waveform deterioration was defined as a decrease in intraoperative amplitude of ≥ 70% of the control waveform. Age, Cobb angle, flexibility, operative time, estimated blood loss (EBL), intraoperative body temperature, blood pressure, number of levels fused, and correction rate were examined in patients with and without waveform deterioration.

RESULTS

The patients (3 males and 65 females) had an average age of 14.4 years (range 11–19 years). The mean Cobb angles before and after surgery were 52.9° and 11.9°, respectively, giving a correction rate of 77.4%. Fourteen patients (20%) exhibited an intraoperative waveform change, and these occurred during incision (14%), after screw fixation (7%), during the rotation maneuver (64%), during placement of the second rod after the rotation maneuver (7%), and after intervertebral compression (7%). Most waveform changes recovered after decreased correction or rest. No patient had a motor deficit postoperatively. In multivariate analysis, EBL (OR 1.001, p = 0.085) and number of levels fused (OR 1.535, p = 0.045) were associated with waveform deterioration.

CONCLUSIONS

Waveform deterioration commonly occurred during rotation maneuvers and more frequently in patients with a larger preoperative Cobb angle. The significant relationships of EBL and number of levels fused with waveform deterioration suggest that these surgical invasions may be involved in waveform deterioration.

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Masaaki Machino, Kei Ando, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Hiroaki Nakashima, Shunsuke Kanbara, Sadayuki Ito, Taro Inoue, Hidetoshi Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Koshimizu, Keigo Ito, Fumihiko Kato, Naoki Ishiguro, and Shiro Imagama

OBJECTIVE

Although increased signal intensity (ISI) on MRI is observed in patients with cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) without major bone injury, alterations in ISI have not been evaluated. The association between postoperative ISI and surgical outcomes remains unclear. This study elucidated whether or not the postoperative classification and alterations in MRI-based ISI of the spinal cord reflected the postoperative symptom severity and surgical outcomes in patients with SCI without major bone injury.

METHODS

One hundred consecutive patients with SCI without major bone injury (79 male and 21 female) with a mean age of 55 years (range 20–87 years) were included. All patients were treated with laminoplasty and underwent MRI pre- and postoperatively (mean 12.5 ± 0.8 months). ISI was classified into three groups on the basis of sagittal T2-weighted MRI: grade 0, none; grade 1, light (obscure); and grade 2, intense (bright). The neurological statuses were evaluated according to the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system and the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS).

RESULTS

Preoperatively, 8 patients had grade 0 ISI, 49 had grade 1, and 43 had grade 2; and postoperatively, 20 patients had grade 0, 24 had grade 1, and 56 had grade 2. The postoperative JOA scores and recovery rate (RR) decreased significantly with increasing postoperative ISI grade. The postoperative ISI grade tended to increase with the postoperative AIS grade. Postoperative grade 2 ISI was observed in severely paralyzed patients. The postoperative ISI grade improved in 23 patients (23%), worsened in 25 (25%), and remained unchanged in 52 (52%). Patients with an improved ISI grade had a better RR than those with a worsened ISI grade.

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative ISI reflected postoperative symptom severity and surgical outcomes. Alterations in ISI were seen postoperatively in 48 patients (48%) and were associated with surgical outcomes.

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Masaaki Machino, Kei Ando, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Hiroaki Nakashima, Shunsuke Kanbara, Sadayuki Ito, Taro Inoue, Hidetoshi Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Koshimizu, Keigo Ito, Fumihiko Kato, Naoki Ishiguro, and Shiro Imagama

OBJECTIVE

Although increased signal intensity (ISI) on MRI is observed in patients with cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) without major bone injury, alterations in ISI have not been evaluated. The association between postoperative ISI and surgical outcomes remains unclear. This study elucidated whether or not the postoperative classification and alterations in MRI-based ISI of the spinal cord reflected the postoperative symptom severity and surgical outcomes in patients with SCI without major bone injury.

METHODS

One hundred consecutive patients with SCI without major bone injury (79 male and 21 female) with a mean age of 55 years (range 20–87 years) were included. All patients were treated with laminoplasty and underwent MRI pre- and postoperatively (mean 12.5 ± 0.8 months). ISI was classified into three groups on the basis of sagittal T2-weighted MRI: grade 0, none; grade 1, light (obscure); and grade 2, intense (bright). The neurological statuses were evaluated according to the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system and the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS).

RESULTS

Preoperatively, 8 patients had grade 0 ISI, 49 had grade 1, and 43 had grade 2; and postoperatively, 20 patients had grade 0, 24 had grade 1, and 56 had grade 2. The postoperative JOA scores and recovery rate (RR) decreased significantly with increasing postoperative ISI grade. The postoperative ISI grade tended to increase with the postoperative AIS grade. Postoperative grade 2 ISI was observed in severely paralyzed patients. The postoperative ISI grade improved in 23 patients (23%), worsened in 25 (25%), and remained unchanged in 52 (52%). Patients with an improved ISI grade had a better RR than those with a worsened ISI grade.

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative ISI reflected postoperative symptom severity and surgical outcomes. Alterations in ISI were seen postoperatively in 48 patients (48%) and were associated with surgical outcomes.

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Zenya Ito, Shiro Imagama, Yoshihito Sakai, Yoshito Katayama, Norimitsu Wakao, Kei Ando, Kenichi Hirano, Ryoji Tauchi, Akio Muramoto, Hany El Zahlawy, Yukihiro Matsuyama, and Naoki Ishiguro

Object

The purpose of this study was to review the present criteria for the compound muscle action potential (CMAP) alert and for safe spinal surgery.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 295 patients in whom spinal cord monitoring had been performed during spinal surgery. The waveforms observed during spinal surgery were divided into the following 4 grades: Grade 0, normal; Grade 1, amplitude decrease of 50% or more and latency delay of 10% or more; Grade 2, multiphase pattern; and Grade 3, loss of amplitude. Waveform grading, its relationship with postoperative motor deficit, and CMAP sensitivity and specificity were analyzed. Whenever any wave abnormality occurred, the surgeon was notified and the surgical procedures were temporarily suspended. If no improvements were seen, the surgery was terminated.

Results

Compound muscle action potential wave changes occurred in 38.6% of cases. With Grade 1 or 2 changes, no paresis was detected. Postoperative motor deficits were seen in 8 patients, all with Grade 3 waveform changes. Among the 287 patients without postoperative motor deficits, CMAP changes were not seen in 181, with a specificity of 63%. The false-positive rate was 37% (106 of 287). However, when a Grade 2 change was set as the alarm point, sensitivity was 100% and specificity was 79.4%. The false-positive rate was 20% (59 of 295).

Conclusions

Neither the Grade 1 nor the Grade 2 groups included patients who demonstrated a motor deficit. All pareses occurred in cases showing a Grade 3 change. Therefore, the authors propose a Grade 2 change (multiphasic waveform) as a new alarm point. With the application of this criterion, the false-positive rate can be reduced to 20%.

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Morio Matsumoto, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Tsuyoshi Kato, Shigeo Shindo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Masahiko Takahata, Yutaka Nohara, Hiroshi Taneichi, Katsuro Tomita, Norio Kawahara, Shiro Imagama, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Masashi Yamazaki, and Akihiko Okawa

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of fusion surgery in patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament in the thoracic spine (T-OPLL) and to identify factors significantly related to surgical outcomes.

Methods

The study included 76 patients (34 men and 42 women with a mean age of 56.3 years) who underwent fusion surgery for T-OPLL at 7 spine centers during the 5-year period from 2003 to 2007. The authors evaluated the patient demographic data, underlying disease, preoperative comorbidities, history of spinal surgery, radiological findings, surgical methods, surgical outcomes, and complications. Surgical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score for thoracic myelopathy (11 points) and the recovery rate.

Results

The mean JOA scale score was 4.6 ± 2.1 points preoperatively and 7.7 ± 2.5 points at the time of the final follow-up examination, yielding a mean recovery rate of 45.4% ± 39.1%. The recovery rates by surgical method were 38.5% ± 37.8% for posterior decompression and fusion, 65.0% ± 35.6% for anterior decompression and fusion via an anterior approach, 28.8% ± 41.2% for anterior decompression via a posterior approach, and 57.5% ± 41.1% for circumferential decompression and fusion. The recovery rate was significantly higher in patients without diabetes mellitus (DM) than in those with DM. One or more complications were experienced by 31 patients (40.8%), including 20 patients with postoperative neurological deterioration, 7 with dural tears, 5 with epidural hematomas, 4 with respiratory complications, and 10 with other complications.

Conclusions

The outcomes of fusion surgery for T-OPLL were favorable. The absence of DM correlated with better outcomes. However, a high rate of complications was associated with the fusion surgery.

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Kei Ando, Shiro Imagama, Norimitsu Wakao, Kenichi Hirano, Ryoji Tauchi, Akio Muramoto, Fumihiko Kato, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Noriaki Kawakami, Koji Sato, Yuji Matsubara, Tokumi Kanemura, Yukihiro Matsuyama, and Naoki Ishiguro

Object

The purpose of this study was to provide the first evidence for the influence of an ossified anterior longitudinal ligament (OALL) on the clinical features and surgical outcomes in an ossified ligamentum flavum (OLF) in the thoracic region.

Methods

Sixty-three patients who underwent surgery for a 1-level thoracic OLF were identified, and preoperative symptoms, severity of symptoms and myelopathy, disease duration, MR imaging and CT findings, surgical procedure, intraoperative findings, complications, and postoperative recovery were investigated in these patients. Entities of OALLs were found on sagittal CT images to be adjacent to or at the same vertebral level as the OLF were classified into 4 types: no discernible type (Type N), one-sided (Type O), discontinuous (Type D), and continuous (Type C).

Results

The duration of symptoms was especially long for Types D and C OALLs. Patients with Type D OALLs had a significantly worse percentage of recovery, as well as worse preoperative JOA scores.

Conclusions

The authors' results showed that a Type D OALL had strong associations with preoperative severity of symptoms and surgical outcomes. These findings may allow surgeons to determine the severity of preoperative symptoms and the probable surgical outcomes from the OALL classifications. Moreover, surgery with instrumentation for Type D OALLs may produce better surgical outcomes.

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Hiroaki Nakashima, Shiro Imagama, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Tokumi Kanemura, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Makoto Yanase, Keigo Ito, Masaaki Machino, Go Yoshida, Yoshimoto Ishikawa, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Nobuyuki Hamajima, Naoki Ishiguro, and Fumihiko Kato

Object

Postoperative C-5 palsy is a significant complication resulting from cervical decompression procedures. Moreover, when cervical degenerative diseases are treated with a combination of decompression and posterior instrumented fusion, patients are at increased risk for C-5 palsy. However, the clinical and radiological features of this condition remain unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to clarify the risk factors for developing postoperative C-5 palsy.

Methods

Eighty-four patients (mean age 60.1 years) who had undergone posterior instrumented fusion using cervical pedicle screws to treat nontraumatic lesions were independently reviewed. The authors analyzed the medical records of some of these patients who developed postoperative C-5 palsy, paying particular attention to their plain radiographs, MRI studies, and CT scans. Risk factors for postoperative C-5 palsy were assessed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. The cutoff values for the pre- and postoperative width of the intervertebral foramen (C4–5) were determined by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.

Results

Ten (11.9%) of 84 patients developed postoperative C-5 palsy. Seven patients recovered fully from the neurological complications. The pre- and postoperative C4–5 angles showed significant kyphosis in the C-5 palsy group. The pre- and postoperative diameters of the C4–5 foramen on the palsy side were significantly smaller than those on the opposite side in the C-5 palsy group and those bilaterally in the non–C5 palsy group. Risk factors identified by multivariate logistic regression analysis were as follows: 1) ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (relative risk [RR] 7.22 [95% CI 1.03–50.55]); 2) posterior shift of the spinal cord (C4–5) (RR 1.73 [95% CI 1.00–2.98]); and 3) postoperative width of the C-5 intervertebral foramen (RR 0.33 [95% CI 0.14–0.79]). The cutoff values of the pre- and postoperative widths of the C-5 intervertebral foramen for C-5 palsy were 2.2 and 2.3 mm, respectively.

Conclusions

Patients with preoperative foraminal stenosis, posterior shift of the spinal cord, and additional iatrogenic foraminal stenosis due to cervical alignment correction were more likely to develop postoperative C-5 palsy after posterior instrumentation with fusion. Prophylactic foraminotomy at C4–5 might be useful when preoperative foraminal stenosis is present on CT. Furthermore, it might be useful for treating postoperative C-5 palsy. To prevent excessive posterior shift of the spinal cord, the authors recommend that appropriate kyphosis reduction should be considered carefully.