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Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

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Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

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Vincent C. Traynelis

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Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames and Lawrence G. Lenke

Care of the patient with adult spinal deformity (ASD) has evolved from being primarily supportive to now having the ability to directly treat and correct the spinal pathology. The focus of this narrative literature review is to briefly summarize the history of ASD treatment, discuss the current state of the art of ASD care with focus on surgical treatment and current challenges, and conclude with a discussion of potential developments related to ASD surgery.

In the past, care for ASD was primarily based on supportive measures, including braces and assistive devices, with few options for surgical treatments that were often deemed high risk and reserved for rare situations. Advances in anesthetic and critical care, surgical techniques, and instrumentation now enable almost routine surgery for many patients with ASD. Despite the advances, there are many remaining challenges currently impacting the care of ASD patients, including increasing numbers of elderly patients with greater comorbidities, high complication and reoperation rates, and high procedure cost without clearly demonstrated cost-effectiveness based on standard criteria. In addition, there remains considerable variability across multiple aspects of ASD surgery. For example, there is currently very limited ability to provide preoperative individualized counseling regarding optimal treatment approaches (e.g., operative vs nonoperative), complication risks with surgery, durability of surgery, and likelihood of achieving individualized patient goals and satisfaction. Despite the challenges associated with the current state-of-the-art ASD treatment, surgery continues to be a primary option, as multiple reports have demonstrated the potential for surgery to significantly improve pain and disability. The future of ASD care will likely include techniques and technologies to markedly reduce complication rates, including greater use of navigation and robotics, and a shift toward individualized medicine that enables improved counseling, preoperative planning, procedure safety, and patient satisfaction.

Advances in the care of ASD patients have been remarkable over the past few decades. The current state of the art enables almost routine surgical treatment for many types of ASD that have the potential to significantly improve pain and disability. However, significant challenges remain, including high complication rates, lack of demonstrated cost-effectiveness, and limited ability to meaningfully counsel patients preoperatively on an individual basis. The future of ASD surgery will require continued improvement of predictability, safety, and sustainability.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Dwight Saulle, Kai-Ming Fu, Justin S. Smith and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

This study was undertaken to evaluate the incidence of and risk factors associated with the development of dysphagia following same-day combined anterior-posterior cervical spine surgeries.

Methods

The records of 30 consecutive patients who underwent same-day combined anterior-posterior cervical spine surgery were reviewed. The presence of dysphagia was assessed by a formalized screening protocol using history/clinical presentation and a bedside swallowing test, followed by formal evaluation by speech and language pathologists and/or fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing/modified barium swallow when necessary. Age, sex, previous cervical surgeries, diagnoses, duration of procedure, specific vertebral levels and number of levels operated on, degree of sagittal curve correction, use of anterior plate, estimated blood loss, use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), and length of hospital stay following procedures were analyzed.

Results

In the immediate postoperative period, 13 patients (43.3%) developed dysphagia. Outpatient follow-up data were available for 11 patients with dysphagia, and within this subset, all cases of dysphagia resolved subjectively within 12 months following surgery. The mean numbers of anterior levels surgically treated in patients with and without dysphagia were 5.1 and 4.0, respectively (p = 0.004). All patients (100%) with dysphagia had an anterior procedure that extended above C-4, compared with 58.8% of patients without dysphagia (p = 0.010). Patients with dysphagia had significantly greater mean correction of C2–7 lordosis than patients without dysphagia (p = 0.020). The postoperative sagittal occiput–C2 angle and the change in this angle were not significantly associated with the occurrence of dysphagia (p = 0.530 and p = 0.711, respectively). Patients with postoperative dysphagia had significantly longer hospital stays than those who did not develop dysphagia (p = 0.004). No other significant difference between the dysphagia and no-dysphagia groups was identified; differences with respect to history of previous anterior cervical surgery (p = 0.141), use of an anterior plate (p = 0.613), and mean length of anterior cervical operative time (p = 0.541) were not significant.

Conclusions

The incidence of dysphagia following combined anterior-posterior cervical surgery in this study was comparable to that of previous reports. The risk factors for dysphagia that were identified in this study were increased number of anterior levels exposed, anterior surgery that extended above C-4, and increased surgical correction of C2–7 lordosis.

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Matthew B. Potts, Justin S. Smith, Annette M. Molinaro and Mitchel S. Berger

Object

Low-grade gliomas (LGGs) are rarely diagnosed as an incidental, asymptomatic finding, and it is not known how the early surgical management of these tumors might affect outcome. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of patients with incidental and symptomatic LGGs and determine any prognostic factors associated with those outcomes.

Methods

All patients treated by the lead author for an LGG incidentally discovered between 1999 and 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. “Incidental” was defined as a finding on imaging that was obtained for a reason not attributable to the glioma, such as trauma or headache. Primary outcomes included overall survival, progression-free survival (PFS), and malignant PFS. Patients with incidental LGGs were compared with a previously reported cohort of patients with symptomatic gliomas.

Results

Thirty-five patients with incidental LGGs were identified. The most common reasons for head imaging were headache not associated with mass effect (31.4%) and trauma (20%). Patients with incidental lesions had significantly lower preoperative tumor volumes than those with symptomatic lesions (20.2 vs 53.9 cm3, p < 0.001), were less likely to have tumors in eloquent locations (14.3% vs 61.9%, p < 0.001), and had a higher prevalence of females (57.1% vs 36%, p = 0.02). In addition, patients with incidental lesions were also more likely to undergo gross-total resection (60% vs 31.5%, p = 0.001) and had improved overall survival on Kaplan-Meier analysis (p = 0.039, Mantel-Cox test). Progression and malignant progression rates did not differ between the 2 groups. Univariate analysis identified pre- and postoperative volumes as well as the use of motor or language mapping as significant prognostic factors for PFS.

Conclusions

In this retrospective cohort of surgically managed LGGs, incidentally discovered lesions were associated with improved patient survival as compared with symptomatic LGGs, with acceptable surgical risks.

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Justin S. Smith, Anita Lal, Miranda Harmon-Smith, Andrew W. Bollen and Michael W. McDermott

Object

The clinical behavior of meningiomas is variable. Because multiple growth factor receptors have been identified in these tumors, the authors sought to assess the capacity of the expression patterns of a subset of these receptors to stratify meningioma cases.

Methods

Eighty-four meningiomas were analyzed, including 36 benign, 29 atypical, and 19 malignant lesions. Immunohistochemical staining was performed for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)–β, basic fibroblast growth factor receptor (BFGFR), and MIB-1. Survival analyses were performed using follow-up data obtained in patients with newly diagnosed tumors.

Immunoreactivity for EGFR was observed in 47% of benign, 48% of atypical, and 42% of malignant tumors. Staining for BFGFR was identified in 89% of benign, 97% of atypical, and 95% of malignant lesions. Immunostaining for PDGFR-β was evident in all the lesions assessed. Mean MIB-1 indices for benign, atypical, and malignant cases were 3.6 (range 0.5–15.3), 8.2 (range 1.5–23.1) and 18.3 (range 1.0–55.8), respectively. Overall mean follow-up duration was 9.0 years (range 5.1–18.8 years). Lack of EGFR immunoreactivity was identified as a strong predictor of shorter overall survival in patients with atypical meningioma (p = 0.003, log-rank test). This association was not evident in cases of benign or malignant meningiomas.

Conclusions

There is a significant association between EGFR immunoreactivity and prolonged survival in patients with atypical meningioma. Given the variable behavior of atypical meningiomas, EGFR assessment could improve existing strategies for patient stratification and treatment.

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Alejandro J. Lopez, Justin K. Scheer, Kayla E. Leibl, Zachary A. Smith, Brian J. Dlouhy and Nader S. Dahdaleh

The craniovertebral junction (CVJ) has unique anatomical structures that separate it from the subaxial cervical spine. In addition to housing vital neural and vascular structures, the majority of cranial flexion, extension, and axial rotation is accomplished at the CVJ. A complex combination of osseous and ligamentous supports allow for stability despite a large degree of motion. An understanding of anatomy and biomechanics is essential to effectively evaluate and address the various pathological processes that may affect this region. Therefore, the authors present an up-to-date narrative review of CVJ anatomy, normal and pathological biomechanics, and fixation techniques.

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Justin C. Clark and Curtis A. Dickman

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D. Kojo Hamilton, Justin S. Smith, Charles A. Sansur, Aaron S. Dumont and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

The originally described technique of atlantoaxial stabilization using C-1 lateral mass and C-2 pars screws includes a C-2 neurectomy to provide adequate hemostasis and visualization for screw placement, enable adequate joint decortication and arthrodesis, and prevent new-onset postoperative C-2 neuralgia. However, inclusion of a C-2 neurectomy for this procedure remains controversial, likely due in part to a lack of studies that have specifically addressed whether it affects patient outcome. The authors' objective was to assess the surgical and clinical impact of routine C-2 neurectomy performed with C1–2 segmental instrumented arthrodesis in a consecutive series of elderly patients with C1–2 instability.

Methods

Forty-four consecutive patients (mean age 71 years) underwent C1–2 instrumented fusion, including C-1 lateral mass screw insertion. Bilateral C-2 neurectomies were performed. Standardized clinical assessments were performed both pre- and postoperatively. Numbness or discomfort in a C-2 distribution was documented at follow-up. Fusion was assessed using the Lenke fusion grade.

Results

Among all 44 patients, mean blood loss was 200 ml (range 100–350 ml) and mean operative time was 129 minutes (range 87–240 minutes). There were no intraoperative complications, and no patients reported new postoperative onset or worsening of C-2 neuralgia postoperatively. Outcomes for the 30 patients with a minimum 13-month follow-up (range 13–72 months) were assessed. At a mean follow-up of 36 months, Nurick grade and pain numeric rating scale scores improved from 3.7 to 1.0 (p < 0.001) and 9.4 to 0.6 (p < 0.001), respectively. The mean postoperative Neck Disability Index score was 7.3%. The fusion rate was 97%, and the patient satisfaction rate was 93%. All 24 patients with preoperative occipital neuralgia reported relief. Seventeen patients noticed C-2 distribution numbness only during examination in the clinic, and 2 patients reported C-2 numbness, but it did not affect their daily function.

Conclusions

In this series of C1–2 instrumented arthrodesis in elderly patients, excellent fusion rates were achieved, and patient satisfaction was not negatively affected by C-2 neurectomy. In the authors' experience, C-2 neurectomy enhanced surgical exposure of the C1–2 joint, thereby facilitating hemostasis, placement of instrumentation, and decortication of the joint space for arthrodesis. Importantly, with C-2 neurectomy in the present series, no cases of new onset postoperative C-2 neuralgia occurred, in contrast to a growing number of reports in the literature documenting new-onset C-2 neuralgia without C-2 neurectomy. On the contrary, 80% of patients in the present series had preoperative occipital neuralgia and in all of these patients this neuralgia was relieved following C1–2 instrumented arthrodesis with C-2 neurectomy.