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Randall B. Graham, Mathew Cotton, Antoun Koht and Tyler R. Koski

Various complications of prone positioning in spine surgery have been described in the literature. Patients in the prone position for extended periods are subject to neurological deficits and/or loss of intraoperative signals due to compression neuropathies, but positioning-related spinal deficits are rare in the thoracolumbar deformity population. The authors present a case of severe kyphoscoliotic deformity with critical thoracolumbar stenosis in which, during the use of a hinged open frame in the prone position, complete loss of intraoperative neural monitoring signals occurred while the frame was flexed into kyphosis to facilitate exposure and instrumentation placement. When the frame was reset to a neutral position, evoked potentials returned to baseline and the operation proceeded without complications. This case represents, to the authors’ knowledge, the first report of loss of evoked potentials due to an alteration of prone positioning on a hinged open frame. When positioning patients in such a manner, careful attention should be directed to intraoperative signals in patients with critical stenosis and kyphotic deformity.

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Ekamjeet S. Dhillon, Ryan Khanna, Michael Cloney, Helena Roberts, George R. Cybulski, Tyler R. Koski, Zachary A. Smith and Nader S. Dahdaleh

OBJECTIVE

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) after spinal surgery is a major cause of morbidity, but chemoprophylactic anticoagulation can prevent it. However, there is variability in the timing and use of chemoprophylactic anticoagulation after spine surgery, particularly given surgeons’ concerns for spinal epidural hematomas. The goal of this study was to provide insight into the safety, efficacy, and timing of anticoagulation therapy after spinal surgery.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined records from 6869 consecutive spinal surgeries performed in their departments at Northwestern University. Data on patient demographics, surgery, hospital course, timing of chemoprophylaxis, and complications, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and spinal epidural hematomas requiring evacuation, were collected. Data from the patients who received chemoprophylaxis (n = 1904) were compared with those of patients who did not (n = 4965). The timing of chemoprophylaxis, the rate of VTEs, and the incidence of spinal epidural hematomas were analyzed.

RESULTS

The chemoprophylaxis group had more risk factors, including greater age (59.70 vs 51.86 years, respectively; p < 0.001), longer surgery (278.59 vs 145.66 minutes, respectively; p < 0.001), higher estimated blood loss (995 vs 448 ml, respectively; p < 0.001), more comorbid diagnoses (2.69 vs 1.89, respectively; p < 0.001), history of VTE (5.8% vs 2.1%, respectively; p < 0.001), and a higher number were undergoing fusion surgery (46.1% vs 24.7%, respectively; p < 0.001). The prevalence of VTE was higher in the chemoprophylaxis group (3.62% vs 2.03%, respectively; p < 0.001). The median time to VTE occurrence was shorter in the nonchemoprophylaxis group (3.6 vs 6.8 days, respectively; p = 0.0003, log-rank test; hazard ratio 0.685 [0.505–0.926]), and the peak prevalence of VTE occurred in the first 3 postoperative days in the nonchemoprophylaxis group. The average time of initiation of chemoprophylaxis was 1.46 days after surgery. The rates of epidural hematoma were 0.20% (n = 4) in the chemoprophylaxis group and 0.18% (n = 9) in the nonchemoprophylaxis group (p = 0.622).

CONCLUSIONS

The risks of spinal epidural hematoma among patients who receive chemoprophylaxis and those who do not are low and equivalent. Administering anticoagulation therapy from 1 day before to 3 days after surgery is safe for patients at high risk for VTE.

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Albert P. Wong, Rishi R. Lall, Nader S. Dahdaleh, Cort D. Lawton, Zachary A. Smith, Ricky H. Wong, Michael J. Harvey, Sandi Lam, Tyler R. Koski and Richard G. Fessler

OBJECT

Patients with symptomatic intradural-extramedullary (ID-EM) tumors may be successfully treated with resection of the lesion and decompression of associated neural structures. Studies of patients undergoing open resection of these tumors have reported high rates of gross-total resection (GTR) with minimal long-term neurological deficit. Case reports and small case series have suggested that these patients may be successfully treated with minimally invasive surgery (MIS). These studies have been limited by small patient populations. Moreover, there are no studies directly comparing perioperative outcomes between patients treated with open resection and MIS. The objective of this study was to compare perioperative outcomes in patients with ID-EM tumors treated using open resection or MIS.

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed using data collected from 45 consecutive patients treated by open resection or MIS for ID-EM spine tumors. These patients were treated over a 9-year period between April 2003 and October 2012 at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Statistical analysis was performed to compare perioperative outcomes between the two groups.

RESULTS

Of the 45 patients in the study, 27 were treated with the MIS approach and 18 were treated with the open approach. Operative time was similar between the two groups: 256.3 minutes in the MIS group versus 241.1 minutes in the open group (p = 0.55). Estimated blood loss was significantly lower in the MIS group (133.7 ml) compared with the open group (558.8 ml) (p < 0.01). A GTR was achieved in 94.4% of the open cases and 92.6% of the MIS cases (p = 0.81).

The mean hospital stay was significantly shorter in the MIS group (3.9 days) compared with the open group (6.1 days) (p < 0.01). There was no significant difference between the complication rates (p = 0.32) and reoperation rates (p = 0.33) between the two groups. Multivariate analysis demonstrated an increased rate of complications in cervical spine tumors (OR 15, p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Thoracolumbar ID-EM tumors may be safely and effectively treated with either the open approach or an MIS approach, with an equivalent rate of GTR, perioperative complication rate, and operative time. Patients treated with an MIS approach may benefit from a decrease in operative blood loss and shorter hospital stays.

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Albert P. Wong, Zachary A. Smith, Alexander T. Nixon, Cort D. Lawton, Nader S. Dahdaleh, Ricky H. Wong, Brenda Auffinger, Sandi Lam, John K. Song, John C. Liu, Tyler R. Koski and Richard G. Fessler

OBJECT

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has become one of the preferred procedures for circumferential fusion in the lumbar spine. Over the last decade, advances in surgical techniques have enabled surgeons to perform the TLIF procedure through a minimally invasive approach (MI-TLIF). There are a few studies reported in the medical literature in which perioperative complication rates of MI-TLIF were evaluated; here, the authors present the largest cohort series to date. They analyzed intraoperative and perioperative complications in 513 consecutive MI-TLIF–treated patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data on 513 consecutive patients treated over a 10-year period for lumbar degenerative disc disease using MI-TLIF. All patients undergoing either a first-time or revision 1- or 2-level MI-TLIF procedure were included in the study. Demographic, intraoperative, and perioperative data were collected and analyzed using bivariate analyses (Student t-test, analysis of variance, odds ratio, chi-square test) and multivariate analyses (logistic regression).

RESULTS

A total of 513 patients underwent an MI-TLIF procedure, and the perioperative complication rate was 15.6%. The incidence of durotomy was 5.1%, and the medical and surgical infection rates were 1.4% and 0.2%, respectively. A statistically significant increase in the infection rate was seen in revision MI-TLIF cases, and the same was found for the perioperative complication rate in multilevel MI-TLIF cases. Instrumentation failure occurred in 2.3% of the cases. After analysis, no statistically significant difference was seen in the rates of durotomy during revision and multilevel surgeries. There was no significant difference between the complication rates when stratified according to presenting diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS

To the authors' knowledge, this is the largest study of perioperative complications in MI-TLIF in the literature. A total of 513 patients underwent MI-TLIF (perioperative complication rate 15.6%). The most common complication was a durotomy (5.1%), and there was only 1 surgical wound infection (0.2%). There were significantly more perioperative infections in revision MI-TLIF cases and more perioperative complications in multilevel MI-TLIF cases. The results of this study suggest that MI-TLIF has a similar or better perioperative complication profile than those documented in the literature for open-TLIF treatment of degenerative lumbar spine disease.

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Aaron J. Clark, Roxanna M. Garcia, Malla K. Keefe, Tyler R. Koski, Michael K. Rosner, Justin S. Smith, Joseph S. Cheng, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Paul C. McCormick and Christopher P. Ames

Object

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery is increasing in the spinal neurosurgeon's practice.

Methods

A survey of neurosurgeon AANS membership assessed the deformity knowledge base and impact of current training, education, and practice experience to identify opportunities for improved education. Eleven questions developed and agreed upon by experienced spinal deformity surgeons tested ASD knowledge and were subgrouped into 5 categories: 1) radiology/spinopelvic alignment, 2) health-related quality of life, 3) surgical indications, 4) operative technique, and 5) clinical evaluation. Chi-square analysis was used to compare differences based on participant demographic characteristics (years of practice, spinal surgery fellowship training, percentage of practice comprising spinal surgery).

Results

Responses were received from 1456 neurosurgeons. Of these respondents, 57% had practiced less than 10 years, 20% had completed a spine fellowship, and 32% devoted more than 75% of their practice to spine. The overall correct answer percentage was 42%. Radiology/spinal pelvic alignment questions had the lowest percentage of correct answers (38%), while clinical evaluation and surgical indications questions had the highest percentage (44%). More than 10 years in practice, completion of a spine fellowship, and more than 75% spine practice were associated with greater overall percentage correct (p < 0.001). More than 10 years in practice was significantly associated with increased percentage of correct answers in 4 of 5 categories. Spine fellowship and more than 75% spine practice were significantly associated with increased percentage correct in all categories. Interestingly, the highest error was seen in risk for postoperative coronal imbalance, with a very low rate of correct responses (15%) and not significantly improved with fellowship (18%, p = 0.08).

Conclusions

The results of this survey suggest that ASD knowledge could be improved in neurosurgery. Knowledge may be augmented with neurosurgical experience, spinal surgery fellowships, and spinal specialization. Neurosurgical education should particularly focus on radiology/spinal pelvic alignment, especially pelvic obliquity and coronal imbalance and operative techniques for ASD.

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Dueng-Yuan Hueng, Ming-Ying Liu and Hsin-I Ma