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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Yong-Yeon Kim and David G. Kline

Object

The authors present data obtained in 15 surgically treated patients with anterior interosseous nerve (AIN) entrapments and injuries.

Methods

Fifteen patients with AIN entrapments and injuries underwent surgery between 1967 and 1997 at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) or Stanford University Medical Center. Patient charts were reviewed retrospectively. The LSUHSC grading system was used to evaluate the function of muscles supplied by the AIN.

Nontraumatic injuries included seven AIN compressions by bone or soft tissue. Traumatic injury mechanisms consisted of stretch or contusion (six patients), injection (one patient), and burn scar (one patient). Presentations included weakness in the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) muscle to the index finger, FDP muscle to the middle finger, pronator quadratus muscle, and flexion of the distal phalanx of the thumb. Preoperative evaluations included electromyography and nerve conduction studies as well as elbow and forearm plain radiographs.

On surgery, lesions in continuity involved seven compressions, four stretch or contusion injuries, and one injection injury, all of which demonstrated nerve action potentials (NAPs) and were treated with neurolysis. Among the seven compression and four stretch or contusion injury cases, six and three patients, respectively, had LSUHSC Grade 3 or better functional recoveries postoperatively. Two stretch or contusion injuries involved lesions in continuity but demonstrated negative NAPs at surgery. Thus, each was treated using a graft repair after resection of a neuroma. There was one burn scar injury, which was treated via an end-to-end suture anastomosis, leading to a functional recovery better than Grade 3.

Conclusions

Fifteen AIN entrapments or injuries responded favorably to nerve release and/or repair.

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Sung-Min Kim, T. Jesse Lim, Josemaria Paterno, Jon Park and Daniel H. Kim

Object. In bilateral cervical facet dislocation, biomechanical stabilities between anterior locking screw/plate fixation after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDFP) and posterior transpedicular screw/rod fixation after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDFTP) have not been compared using the human cadaver, although ACDFP has been performed frequently. In this study the stability of ACDFP, a posterior wiring procedure after ACDFP (ACDFPW), and ACDFTP for treatment of bilateral cervical facet dislocation were compared.

Methods. Spines (C3—T1) from 10 human cadavers were tested in the intact state, and then after ACDFP, ACDFPW, and ACDFTP were performed. Intervertebral motion was measured using a video-based motion capture system. The range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone (NZ) were compared for each loading mode to a maximum of 2 Nm.

The ROM for spines treated with ACDFP was below that of the intact spine in all loading modes, with statistical significance in flexion and extension, but NZs were decreased in flexion and extension and slightly increased in bending and axial rotation; none of these showed statistical significance. The ACDFPW produced statistically significant additional stability in axial rotation ROM and in flexion NZ than ACDFP. The ACDFTP provided better stability than ACDFP in bending and axial rotation, and better stability than ACDFPW in bending for both ROM and NZ. There was no significant difference in extension with either ROM or NZ for the three fixation methods.

Conclusions. The spines treated with ACDFTP demonstrated the most effective stabilization, followed by those treated with ACDFPW, and then ACDFP. The spines receiving ACDFP also revealed a higher stability than the intact spine in most loading modes; thus ACDFP can also provide a relatively effective stabilization in bilateral cervical facet dislocation, but with the aid of a brace.

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Sang Hyun Park, Yoshua Esquenazi, David G. Kline and Daniel H. Kim

OBJECT

Iatrogenic injuries to the spinal accessory nerve (SAN) are not uncommon during lymph node biopsy of the posterior cervical triangle (PCT). In this study, the authors review the operative techniques and surgical outcomes of 156 surgical repairs of the SAN following iatrogenic injury during lymph node biopsy procedures.

METHODS

This retrospective study examines the authors’ clinical and surgical experience with 156 patients with SAN injury between 1980 and 2012. All patients suffered iatrogenic SAN injuries during lymph node biopsy, with the vast majority (154/156, 98.7%) occurring in Zone I of the PCT. Surgery was performed on the basis of anatomical and electro-physiological findings at the time of the operation. The mean follow-up period was 24 months (range 8–44 months).

RESULTS

Of the 123 patients who underwent graft or suture repair, 107 patients (87%) improved to Grade 3 functionality or higher using the Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) grading system. Neurolysis was performed in 29 patients (19%) when the nerve was found in continuity with recordable nerve action potential (NAP) across the lesion. More than 95% of patients treated by neurolysis with positive NAP recordings recovered to LSUHSC Grade 3 or higher. Forty-one patients (26%) underwent end-to-end repair, while 82 patients (53%) underwent graft repair, and Grade 3 or higher recovery was assessed for 90% and 85% of these patients, respectively. The average graft length used was 3.81 cm. Neurotization was performed in 4 patients, 2 of whom recovered to Grade 2 and 3, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

SAN injuries present challenges for surgical exploration and repair because of the nerve’s size and location in the PCT. However, through proper and timely intervention, patients with diminished or absent function achieved favorable functional outcomes. Surgeons performing lymph node biopsy procedures in Zone I of the PCT should be aware of the potential risk of injury to the SAN.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Robert Tiel and David G. Kline

Object. This is a retrospective analysis of 353 surgically treated sciatic nerve lesions in which injury mechanisms, location, time to surgical repair, surgical techniques, and functional outcomes are reported. Results are presented to provide guidelines for management of these injuries.

Methods. One hundred seventy-five patients with buttock-level and 178 with thigh-level sciatic nerve injury were surgically treated at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center between 1968 and 1999. Buttock-level injury mechanisms included injection in 64 patients, hip fracture/dislocation in 26, contusion in 22, compression in 19, gunshot wound (GSW) in 17, hip arthroplasty in 15, and laceration in 12; at the thigh level, GSW was the cause in 62 patients, femoral fracture in 34, laceration in 32, contusion in 28, compression in 12, and iatrogenic injury in 10. Patients with sciatic nerve divisions in which positive intraoperative nerve action potentials (NAPs) were found underwent neurolysis and attained at least Grade 3 functional outcomes in 108 (87%) of 124 and in 91 (96%) of 95 buttock- and thigh-level tibial divisions, respectively, compared with 84 (71%) of 119 and 75 (79%) of 95, respectively, in the peroneal divisions. For suture repair, recovery to at least Grade 3 occurred in eight (73%) of 11 buttock-level and in 27 (93%) of 29 thigh-level tibial division injuries, and in three (30%) of 10 buttock-level and 20 (69%) of 29 thigh-level peroneal division lesions. For graft repair, good recovery occurred in 21 (62%) of 34 and in 43 (80%) of 54 buttock- and thigh-level tibial divisions, respectively, even in proximal repairs requiring long grafts, and in only nine (24%) of 37 and 22 (45%) of 49 buttock- and thigh-level peroneal division lesions, respectively.

Conclusions. Surgical exploration and neurolysis after positive NAP readings, or repair with sutures or grafts after negative NAP results are worthwhile in selected cases.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Robert L. Tiel and David G. Kline

The authors review 118 operative brachial plexus gunshot wounds (GSWs), causing 293 element injuries that were managed over a 30-year period at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC). Retrospective chart reviews were performed. Using the LSUHSC grading system for motor sensory function, each element's grades were combined and averaged.

Most of the 293 injured elements were found to have gross continuity at operation and of 202 elements with complete neurological loss, only 16 (8%) exhibited total disruption. Of 293 injuries, 128 elements with complete or incomplete loss were not only in continuity when explored but also had positive intraoperative nerve action potentials (NAPs). After neurolysis, 120 of 128 elements in continuity (94%) improved to greater than or equal to Grade 3 function. Elements not regenerating early usually required repair. One hundred fifty-six of 202 completely or incompletely injured elements (77%) required resection and suture or graft repair based on intraoperative NAPs. Neurolysis achieved greater than or equal to Grade 3 results in 42 (91%) of 46 elements with complete loss. Suture repair resulted in good outcomes in 14 (67%) of 21 and in 73 (54%) of 135 undergoing graft repairs (1 to 3.5 cm length) and presenting with complete loss.

Of 91 incomplete elements, intraoperative NAPs were positive in 82 (90%) and 78 of 82 had good results. Nine had negative NAPs and six elements required suture repair. Three required grafts with results of greater than or equal to Grade 3 in five (83%) of six and two (67%) of three, respectively.

Based on 118 patient results with 293 injured elements, guidelines for the management of GSWs were established as described in this paper.

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Ung-Kyu Chang, Jesse Lim and Daniel H. Kim

Object

Advances in the design of a smaller-diameter rod system for use in the thoracolumbar region prompted the authors to undertake this biomechanical study of two different thoracolumbar implants.

Methods

In vitro biomechanical testing was performed using human cadaveric spines. All specimens were loaded to a maximum moment of 5 Nm with 300-N axial preload in six modes of motion. Two types of anterior implants with different rod diameters were applied to intact T10–12 specimens in two groups. The loading was repeated and the range of motion (ROM) was measured. A T-11 corpectomy was then performed and a strain gauge–mounted carbon fiber stackable cage was implanted. The ROM and compression force on the cage were measured, and the mean values were compared between these two groups.

With stabilization of the intact spine, ROM decreased least in extension and greatest in bending compared with the intact specimens. After corpectomy and stabilization, ROM increased in extension by 104.89 ± 53.09% in specimens with a 6.35-mm rod insertion and by 83.81 ± 16.96% in those with a 5.5-mm rod, respectively; in flexion, ROM decreased by 26.98 ± 27.43% (6.35 mm) and by 9.59 ± 15.42% (5.5 mm), respectively; and in bending and rotation, both groups each showed a decrease in ROM. The load sharing of the cage was similar between the two groups (the 6.35-mm compared with 5.5-mm rods): 47.44 and 44.73% (neutral), 49.16 and 39.02% (extension), 61.90 and 56.88% (flexion), respectively.

Conclusions

There were no statistical differences in the ROM and load sharing of the cage when either the 6.35-or 5.5-mm-diameter dual-rod was used.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Robert L. Tiel and David G. Kline

Object

The authors report the surgery-related results obtained in 143 patients with stretch-induced infraclavicular brachial plexus injuries (BPIs). The entire series comprised 1019 operative BPIs managed at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center between 1968 and 1998.

Methods

Infraclavicular lesions represented 143 (28%) of the total of 509 stretch injuries involving both the infra-and supraclavicular brachial plexus, of which 366 (72%) were supraclavicular lesions. The operative approach is thoroughly outlined, and common patterns and combinations of involvement of nerves peculiar to the infraclavicular area are presented. Overall, the results of suture and graft repair were favorable for the lateral and posterior cord and their outflows. Repair of medial cord–median nerve also yielded acceptable results. The results of medial cord and medial cord–ulnar nerve, however, were poor. The incidence of associated injuries in the infraclavicular as opposed to the supraclavicular area, including shoulder dislocation and fracture and humeral fractures as well as vascular injuries including axillary artery injury was higher. Results of a literature search supported the finding that vascular injuries were increased due to the juxtaposition of vessels among the brachial plexus elements.

Conclusions

Thus, although less common than their supraclavicular counterpart, infraclavicular stretch injury lesions when they occur are technically more difficult to treat and are associated with a higher incidence of vascular and dislocation/fraction injuries. Favorable results were obtained for lateral and posterior cord lesions and their outflows, with acceptable outcome after medial cord–median nerve stretch injury repair. The results of medial cord and medial cord to ulnar nerve, however, were poor.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Robert L. Tiel and David G. Kline

Object

The authors focus on injury mechanisms involved in 1019 operative brachial plexus injuries (BPIs) managed between 1968 and 1998 at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC).

Methods

Data regarding these mechanisms of injury were obtained via retrospective chart reviews of patients who had undergone operations at LSUHSC.

Five main mechanisms of injury to the brachial plexus occurred in the series. These included 509 stretch/contusion injuries (49%) with four patterns of presentation in 366 patients: 208 C5–T1 nerve injuries; 75 C5–7, 55 C5–6 injuries; and 28 involving the C8–T1 or C7–T1 nerves. Stretch/contusion injury was followed in frequency by gunshot wound (GSW), resulting in 118 injuries (12%). Most of the 293 involved plexus elements had some gross continuity when surgically exposed. Seventy-one lacerations involved the brachial plexus (7%), including 83 sharp lacerations caused by knives or glass; 61 blunt transections due to automobile metal, fan, and motor blades, chain saws, or animal bites.

Nontraumatic BPIs included 160 cases of thoracic outlet syndrome or 16% of the total of 1019 BPIs. There were 161 tumors (16%) of neural sheath origin including 55 solitary neurofibromas (34%), 32 neurofibromas associated with von Recklinghausen disease (20%), 54 schwannomas (34%), and 20 malignant nerve sheath tumors (20%) removed. Obstetrical BPI was not included in the original series; however, the current literature is reviewed in this paper.

Conclusions

The conclusion of this study is that the brachial plexus can be injured by multiple mechanisms of which stretch/contusion injury is the most frequently encountered, followed by GSWs.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Robert L. Tiel and David G. Kline

Object. The authors present a retrospective analysis of 119 surgically treated femoral nerve lesions at intrapelvic and thigh levels seen at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

Methods. Femoral nerve lesions treated between 1967 and 2000, (89 traumatic injuries and 30 tumors and cystic lesions) were evaluated for injury mechanisms, resulting lesions, surgical management, and postoperative functional outcomes by using retrospective chart reviews.

The most common injury mechanism was iatrogenic (52 cases), which occurred after hernia and hip operations (10 each), followed by arterial bypass and gynecological procedures (eight each), angiography (seven), abdominal surgery (five), appendectomy (two), a laparoscopy, and a lumbar sympathectomy. Other injury mechanisms included hip or pelvic fractures (19), gunshot wounds (10), and lacerations (eight). The 30 femoral nerve tumors and cystic lesions consisted of neurofibromas (16), schwannomas (nine), ganglionic cysts (two), neurogenic sarcomas (two), and a leiomyosarcoma.

Forty-four patients underwent neurolysis. Some had recordable nerve action potentials (NAPs) across their lesions in continuity, despite severe distal loss. Others with recordable NAPs had mild loss, but also experienced a pain problem, which was helped in some by neurolysis. In 36 patients, in whom repairs were performed using long sural grafts for mostly proximal pelvic-level injuries, recovery of useful function occurred. Eight of nine thigh-level suture repairs led to improvement to good functional levels. Most of the tumors and cystic lesions were resected, with preservation of preoperative function.

Conclusions. The majority of femoral nerve injuries resulted in lesions in continuity, and intraoperative NAP recordings were essential in evaluating axonal regeneration across these lesions. Despite severe and frequently proximal injury levels requiring repairs with long grafts, femoral nerve lesion repairs resulted in good functional recovery.

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Issada Thongtrangan, Hoang Le, Jon Park and Daniel H. Kim

The concept of minimally invasive spinal surgery embodies the goal of achieving clinical outcomes comparable to those of conventional open surgery, while minimizing the risk of iatrogenic injury that may be incurred during the exposure process. The development of microscopy, laser technology, endoscopy, and video and image guidance systems provided the foundation on which minimally invasive spinal surgery is based. Minimally invasive treatments have been undertaken in all areas of the spinal axis since the 20th century. Lumbar disc disease has been treated using chemonucleolysis, percutaneous discectomy, laser discectomy, intradiscal thermoablation, and minimally invasive microdiscectomy techniques. The initial use of thoracoscopy for thoracic discs and tumor biopsies has expanded to include deformity correction, sympathectomy, vertebrectomy with reconstruction and instrumentation, and resection of paraspinal neurogenic tumors. Laparoscopic techniques, such as those used for appendectomy or cholecystectomy by general surgeons, have evolved into procedures performed by spinal surgeons for anterior lumbar discectomy and fusion. Image-guided systems have been adapted to facilitate pedicle screw placement with increased accuracy. Over the past decade, minimally invasive treatment of cervical spinal disorders has become feasible by applying technologies similar to those developed for the thoracic and lumbar spine. Endoscope-assisted transoral surgery, cervical lam-inectomy, discectomy, and foraminotomy all represent the continual evolution of minimally invasive spinal surgery. Further improvement in optics and imaging resources, development of biological agents, and introduction of instrumentation systems designed for minimally invasive procedures will inevitably lead to further applications in minimally invasive spine surgery.