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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Huang-Chou Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Li-Yu Fay, Peng-Yuan Chang, Ching-Lan Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

OBJECT

The aim of this paper was to investigate the risk of recurrence of lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in patients with scoliosis who underwent microdiscectomy.

METHODS

A series of consecutive patients who underwent microdiscectomy for LDH was retrospectively reviewed. The inclusion criteria were young adults younger than 40 years who received microdiscectomy for symptomatic 1-level LDH. An exclusion criterion was any previous spinal surgery, including fusion or correction of scoliosis. The patients were divided into 2 groups: those with scoliosis and those without scoliosis. The demographic data in the 2 groups were similar. All medical records and clinical and radiological evaluations were reviewed.

RESULTS

A total of 58 patients who underwent 1-level microdiscectomy for LDH were analyzed. During the mean follow-up of 24.6 months, 6 patients (10.3%) experienced a recurrence of LDH with variable symptoms. The recurrence rate was significantly higher among the scoliosis group than the nonscoliosis group (33.3% vs 2.3%, p = 0.001). Furthermore, the recurrence-free interval in the scoliosis group was short.

CONCLUSIONS

Young adults (< 40 years) with uncorrected scoliosis are at higher risk of recurrent LDH after microdiscectomy.

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Peng-Yuan Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Li-Yu Fay, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

Several large-scale clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of 1- and 2-level cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) for degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the subaxial cervical spine, while other studies reveal that during physiological neck flexion, the C4–5 and C5–6 discs account for more motion than the C3–4 level, causing more DDD. This study aimed to compare the results of CDA at different levels.

METHODS

After a review of the medical records, 94 consecutive patients who underwent single-level CDA were divided into the C3–4 and non-C3–4 CDA groups (i.e., those including C4–5, C5–6, and C6–7). Clinical outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale for neck and arm pain and by the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores. Postoperative range of motion (ROM) and heterotopic ossification (HO) were determined by radiography and CT, respectively.

RESULTS

Eighty-eight patients (93.6%; mean age 45.62 ± 10.91 years), including 41 (46.6%) female patients, underwent a mean follow-up of 4.90 ± 1.13 years. There were 11 patients in the C3–4 CDA group and 77 in the non-C3–4 CDA group. Both groups had significantly improved clinical outcomes at each time point after the surgery. The mean preoperative (7.75° vs 7.03°; p = 0.58) and postoperative (8.18° vs 8.45°; p = 0.59) ROMs were similar in both groups. The C3–4 CDA group had significantly greater prevalence (90.9% vs 58.44%; p = 0.02) and higher severity grades (2.27 ± 0.3 vs 0.97 ± 0.99; p = 0.0001) of HO.

CONCLUSIONS

Although CDA at C3–4 was infrequent, the improved clinical outcomes of CDA were similar at C3–4 to that in the other subaxial levels of the cervical spine at the approximately 5-year follow-ups. In this Asian population, who had a propensity to have ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, there was more HO formation in patients who received CDA at the C3–4 level than in other subaxial levels of the cervical spine. While the type of artificial discs could have confounded the issue, future studies with more patients are required to corroborate the phenomenon.

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Chin-Chu Ko, Li-Yu Fay, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECT

Heterotopic ossification (HO) after cervical arthroplasty is not uncommon and may cause immobility of the disc. To prevent HO formation, study protocols of clinical trials for cervical arthroplasty undertaken by the US FDA included perioperative use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, there are few data supporting the use of NSAIDs to prevent HO after cervical arthroplasty. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of NSAIDs in HO formation and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

Consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level cervical arthroplasty with a minimum follow-up of 24 months were retrospectively reviewed. All patients were grouped into 1 of 2 groups, an NSAID group (those patients who had used NSAIDs postoperatively) and a non-NSAID group (those patients who had not used NSAIDs postoperatively). The formation of HO was detected and classified using CT in every patient. The incidence of HO formation, disc mobility, and clinical outcomes, including visual analog scale (VAS) scores of neck and arm pain, neck disability index (NDI) scores, and complications were compared between the two groups. Furthermore, a subgroup analysis of the patients in the NSAID group, comparing the selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 to nonselective COX-2 NSAID users, was also conducted for each of the above-mentioned parameters.

RESULTS

A total of 75 patients (mean age [± SD] 46.71 ± 9.94 years) with 107 operated levels were analyzed. The mean follow-up duration was 38.71 ± 9.55 months. There were no significant differences in age, sex, and levels of arthroplasty between the NSAID and non-NSAID groups. There was a nonsignificantly lower rate of HO formation in the NSAID group than the non-NSAID group (47.2% vs. 68.2%, respectively; p = 0.129). During follow-up, most of the arthroplasty levels remained mobile, with similar rates of immobile discs in the NSAID and non-NSAID groups (13.2% and 22.7%, respectively; p = 0.318). Furthermore, there was a nonsignificantly lower rate of HO formation in the selective COX-2 group than the nonselective COX-2 group (30.8% vs 52.5%, respectively; p = 0.213). The clinical outcomes, including VAS neck, VAS arm, and NDI scores at 24 months postoperatively, were all similar in the NSAID and non-NSAID groups, as well as the selective and nonselective COX-2 groups (all p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study there was a trend toward less HO formation and fewer immobile discs in patients who used postoperative NSAIDs after cervical arthroplasty than those who did not, but this trend did not reach statistical significance. Patients who used selective COX-2 NSAIDs had nonsignificantly less HO than those who used nonselective COX-2 NSAIDs. The clinical outcomes were not affected by the use of NSAIDs or the kinds of NSAIDs used (selective vs nonselective COX-2). However, the study was limited by the number of patients included, and the efficacy of NSAIDs in the prevention of HO after cervical arthroplasty may need further investigation to confirm these results.

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Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Hsiao-Wen Tsai, Chin-Chu Ko, Ching-Lan Wu, Tsung-Hsi Tu and Henrich Cheng

Object

The long-term outcome of lumbar dynamic stabilization is uncertain. This study aimed to investigate the incidence, risk factors, and outcomes associated with screw loosening in a dynamic stabilization system.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of medical records, radiological studies, and clinical evaluations obtained in consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level lumbar dynamic stabilization and were followed up for more than 24 months. Loosening of screws was determined on radiography and CT scanning. Radiographic and standardized clinical outcomes, including the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, were analyzed with a focus on cases in which screw loosening occurred.

Results

The authors analyzed 658 screws in 126 patients, including 54 women (42.9%) and 72 men (57.1%) (mean age 60.4 ± 11.8 years). During the mean clinical follow-up period of 37.0 ± 7.1 months, 31 screws (4.7%) in 25 patients (19.8%) were shown to have loosened. The mean age of patients with screw loosening was significantly higher than those without loosening (64.8 ± 8.8 vs 59.3 ± 12.2, respectively; p = 0.036). Patients with diabetes mellitus had a significantly higher rate of screw loosening compared with those without diabetes (36.0% vs 15.8%, respectively; p = 0.024). Diabetic patients with well-controlled serum glucose (HbA1c ≤ 8.0%) had a significantly lower chance of screw loosening than those without well-controlled serum glucose (28.6% vs 71.4%, respectively; p = 0.021). Of the 25 patients with screw loosening, 22 cases (88%) were identified within 6.6 months of surgery; 18 patients (72%) had the loosened screws in the inferior portion of the spinal construct, whereas 7 (28%) had screw loosening in the superior portion of the construct. The overall clinical outcomes at 3, 12, and 24 months, measured by VAS for back pain, VAS for leg pain, and ODI scores, were significantly improved after surgery compared with before surgery (all p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the patients with and without screw loosening at all evaluation time points (all p > 0.05). All 25 patients with screw loosening were asymptomatic, and in 6 (24%) osseous integration was demonstrated on later follow-up. Also, there were 3 broken screws (2.38% in 126 patients or 0.46% in 658 screws). To date, none of these loosened or broken screws have required revision surgery.

Conclusions

Screw loosening in dynamic stabilization systems is not uncommon (4.7% screws in 19.8% patients). Patients of older age or those with diabetes have higher rates of screw loosening. Screw loosening can be asymptomatic and presents opportunity for osseous integration on later follow-up. Although adverse effects on clinical outcomes are rare, longer-term follow-up is required in cases in which screws become loose.

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Li-Yu Fay, Peng-Yuan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Chun-Hao Wang, Tzu-Yun Tsai, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

Dynamic stabilization devices are designed to stabilize the spine while preserving some motion. However, there have been reports demonstrating limited motion at the instrumented level of the lumbar spine after Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS). The causes of this limited motion and its actual effects on outcomes after DDS remain elusive. In this study, the authors investigate the incidence of unintended facet arthrodesis after DDS and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

This retrospective study included 80 consecutive patients with 1- or 2-level lumbar spinal stenosis who underwent laminectomy and DDS. All medical records, radiological data, and clinical evaluations were analyzed. Imaging studies included pre- and postoperative radiographs, MR images, and CT scans. Clinical outcomes were measured by a visual analog scale (VAS) for back and leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores. Furthermore, all patients had undergone postoperative CT for the detection of unintended arthrodesis of the facets at the indexed level, and range of motion was measured on standing dynamic radiographs.

RESULTS

A total of 70 patients (87.5%) with a mean age of 64.0 years completed the minimum 24-month postoperative follow-up (mean duration 29.9 months). Unintended facet arthrodesis at the DDS instrumented level was demonstrated by CT in 38 (54.3%) of the 70 patients. The mean age of patients who had facet arthrodesis was 9.8 years greater than that of the patients who did not (68.3 vs 58.5 years, p = 0.009). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes, including VAS back and leg pain, ODI, and JOA scores between patients with and without the unintended facet arthrodesis. Furthermore, those patients older than 60 years were more likely to have unintended facet arthrodesis (OR 12.42) and immobile spinal segments (OR 2.96) after DDS. Regardless of whether unintended facet arthrodesis was present or not, clinical evaluations demonstrated improvement in all patients (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

During the follow-up of more than 2 years, unintended facet arthrodesis was demonstrated in 54.3% of the patients who underwent 1- or 2-level DDS. Older patients (age > 60 years) were more likely to have unintended facet arthrodesis and subsequent immobile spinal segments. However, unintended facet arthrodesis did not affect the clinical outcomes during the study period. Further evaluations are needed to clarify the actual significance of this phenomenon.

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Zhiming Tu, Yawei Li, Lei Li, Guohua Lv and Bing Wang

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Chih-Chang Chang, Ching-Lan Wu, Jau-Ching Wu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Li-Yu Fay, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

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Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang, Chih-Chang Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Tzu-Yun Tsai, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu, Henrich Cheng and Jau-Ching Wu

OBJECTIVE

The pedicle screw–based Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) has reportedly become a surgical option for lumbar spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. However, it is still unclear whether the dynamic construct remains mobile or eventually fuses. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of unintended facet arthrodesis after DDS and its association with spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

This retrospective study was designed to review 105 consecutive patients with 1- or 2-level lumbar spondylosis who were treated with DDS surgery. The patients were then divided into 2 groups according to preexisting spondylolisthesis or not. All patients underwent laminectomies, foraminotomies, and DDS. The clinical outcomes were measured using visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain, Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. All medical records, including pre- and postoperative radiographs, CT scans, and MR images, were also reviewed and compared.

RESULTS

A total of 96 patients who completed the postoperative follow-up for more than 30 months were analyzed. The mean age was 64.1 ± 12.9 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 46.3 ± 12.0 months. There were 45 patients in the spondylolisthesis group and 51 patients in the nonspondylolisthesis group. The overall prevalence rate of unintended facet fusion was 52.1% in the series of DDS. Patients with spondylolisthesis were older (67.8 vs 60.8 years, p = 0.007) and had a higher incidence rate of facet arthrodesis (75.6% vs 31.4%, p < 0.001) than patients without spondylolisthesis. Patients who had spondylolisthesis or were older than 65 years were more likely to have facet arthrodesis (OR 6.76 and 4.82, respectively). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes, including VAS back and leg pain, ODI, and JOA scores between the 2 groups. Furthermore, regardless of whether or not unintended facet arthrodesis occurred, all patients experienced significant improvement (all p < 0.05) in the clinical evaluations.

CONCLUSIONS

During the mean follow-up of almost 4 years, the prevalence of unintended facet arthrodesis was 52.1% in patients who underwent DDS. Although the clinical outcomes were not affected, elderly patients with spondylolisthesis might have a greater chance of facet fusion. This could be a cause of the limited range of motion at the index levels long after DDS.