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  • Author or Editor: Howard B. Levene x
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Howard B. Levene, Melanie B. Elliott, John P. Gaughan, Christopher M. Loftus, Ronald F. Tuma and Jack I. Jallo

Object

Spinal cord injury (SCI) continues to be a problem without a definitive cure. Research based on improved understanding of the immunological aspects of SCI has revealed targets for treating and ameliorating the extent of secondary injury. Hypertonic saline (HTS), a substance both easy to create and to transport, has been investigated as an immunologically active material that can be used in a clinically relevant interval after injury. In this pilot study, HTS was investigated in a murine model for its abilities to ameliorate secondary injury after a severe spinal cord contusion.

Methods

Female C57Bl/6 mice with severe T8–10 contusion injuries were used as the model subjects. A group of 41 mice were studied in a blinded fashion. Mice received treatments with HTS (HTS, 7.5%) or normal saline solution (NSS, 0.9%) at 2 discreet time points (3 and 24 hours after injury.) A separate group of 9 untreated animals were also used as controls. Animals were assessed for autonomic outcome (bladder function). In a group of 33 mice, histological assessment (cellular infiltration) was also measured.

Results

Bladder function was found to be improved significantly in those treated with HTS compared with those who received NSS and also at later treatment times (24 hours) than at earlier treatment times (3 hours). Decreased cellular infiltration in each group correlated with bladder recovery.

Conclusions

The increased effectiveness of later administration time of the more osmotically active and immunomodulatory substance (HTS) suggests that interaction with events occurring around 24 hours after injury is critical. These events may be related to the invasion of leukocytes peaking at 8–24 hours postinjury and/or the peak benefit time of subject rehydration.

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Eli M. Baron, Howard B. Levene, Joshua E. Heller, Jack I. Jallo, Christopher M. Loftus and Devanand A. Dominique

Neuroendoscopy has grown rapidly in the last 20 years as a therapeutic modality for treating a variety of spinal disorders. Spinal endoscopy has been widely used to treat patients with cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral disorders safely and effectively. Although it is most commonly used with minimally invasive lumbar spine surgery, endoscopy has gained widespread acceptance for the treatment of thoracic disc herniations and for anterior release and rod implantation in the correction of thoracic spinal deformity. The authors review the use of endoscopy in spine surgery and in the treatment of spinal disorders as well as in the treatment of intrathoracic nonspinal lesions. Endoscopy has some significant advantages over open or other minimally invasive techniques in that it can allow for better visualization of the lesion, smaller incision sizes with reduced morbidity and mortality, reduced hospital stays, and ultimately lower cost. In addition, spinal endoscopy allows observers and operating room staff to be more involved in each case and fosters education. Spinal endoscopy, like any novel modality, carries with it additional risks and the surgeon must always be prepared to convert to an open procedure. The learning curve for spinal endoscopy is steep and the procedure should not be attempted alone by a novice surgeon. Nevertheless, with training and experience, the spine surgeon can achieve better outcomes, reduced morbidity, and better cosmesis with spinal endoscopy, and the operating times are comparable to open procedures. As technology evolves and more experience is obtained, neuroendoscopy will likely achieve further roles as a mainstay in spine surgery.