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Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames, Mitsuru Yagi, Ahmet Alanay and Yoon Ha

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Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

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Thomas J. Buell, Shay Bess, Ming Xu, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is, in part, due to altered segmental biomechanics at the junction of rigid instrumented spine and relatively hypermobile non-instrumented adjacent segments. Proper application of posteriorly anchored polyethylene tethers (i.e., optimal configuration and tension) may mitigate adjacent-segment stress and help prevent PJK. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of different tether configurations and tensioning (preloading) on junctional range-of-motion (ROM) and other biomechanical indices for PJK in long instrumented spine constructs.

METHODS

Using a validated finite element model of a T7–L5 spine segment, testing was performed on intact spine, a multilevel posterior screw-rod construct (PS construct; T11–L5) without tether, and 15 PS constructs with different tether configurations that varied according to 1) proximal tether fixation of upper instrumented vertebra +1 (UIV+1) and/or UIV+2; 2) distal tether fixation to UIV, to UIV−1, or to rods; and 3) use of a loop (single proximal fixation) or weave (UIV and/or UIV+1 fixation in addition to UIV+1 and/or UIV+2 proximal attachment) of the tether. Segmental ROM, intradiscal pressure (IDP), inter- and supraspinous ligament (ISL/SSL) forces, and screw loads were assessed under variable tether preload.

RESULTS

PS construct junctional ROM increased abruptly from 10% (T11–12) to 99% (T10–11) of baseline. After tethers were grouped by most cranial proximal fixation (UIV+1 vs UIV+2) and use of loop versus weave, UIV+2 Loop and/or Weave most effectively dampened junctional ROM and adjacent-segment stress. Different distal fixation and use of loop versus weave had minimal effect. The mean segmental ROM at T11–12, T10–11, and T9–10, respectively, was 6%, 40%, and 99% for UIV+1 Loop; 6%, 44%, and 99% for UIV+1 Weave; 5%, 23%, and 26% for UIV+2 Loop; and 5%, 24%, and 31% for UIV+2 Weave.

Tethers shared loads with posterior ligaments; consequently, increasing tether preload tension reduced ISL/SSL forces, but screw loads increased. Further attenuation of junctional ROM and IDP reversed above approximately 100 N tether preload, suggesting diminished benefit for biomechanical PJK prophylaxis at higher preload tensioning.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, finite element analysis demonstrated UIV+2 Loop and/or Weave tether configurations most effectively mitigated adjacent-segment stress in long instrumented spine constructs. Tether preload dampened ligament forces at the expense of screw loads, and an inflection point (approximately 100 N) was demonstrated above which junctional ROM and IDP worsened (i.e., avoid over-tightening tethers). Results suggest tether configuration and tension influence PJK biomechanics and further clinical research is warranted.

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James H. Nguyen, Thomas J. Buell, Tony R. Wang, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Marcus D. Mazur, Juanita Garces, Davis G. Taylor, Chun-Po Yen, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Recent literature describing complications associated with spinopelvic fixation with iliac screws in adult patients has been limited but has suggested high complication rates. The authors’ objective was to report their experience with iliac screw fixation in a large series of patients with a 2-year minimum follow-up.

METHODS

Of 327 adult patients undergoing spinopelvic fixation with iliac screws at the authors’ institution between 2010 and 2015, 260 met the study inclusion criteria (age ≥ 18 years, first-time iliac screw placement, and 2-year minimum follow-up). Patients with active spinal infection were excluded. All iliac screws were placed via a posterior midline approach using fluoroscopic guidance. Iliac screw heads were deeply recessed into the posterior superior iliac spine. Clinical and radiographic data were obtained and analyzed.

RESULTS

Twenty patients (7.7%) had iliac screw–related complication, which included fracture (12, 4.6%) and/or screw loosening (9, 3.5%). No patients had iliac screw head prominence that required revision surgery or resulted in pain, wound dehiscence, or poor cosmesis. Eleven patients (4.2%) had rod or connector fracture below S1. Overall, 23 patients (8.8%) had L5–S1 pseudarthrosis. Four patients (1.5%) had fracture of the S1 screw. Seven patients (2.7%) had wound dehiscence (unrelated to the iliac screw head) or infection. The rate of reoperation (excluding proximal junctional kyphosis) was 17.7%. On univariate analysis, an iliac screw–related complication rate was significantly associated with revision fusion (70.0% vs 41.2%, p = 0.013), a greater number of instrumented vertebrae (mean 12.6 vs 10.3, p = 0.014), and greater postoperative pelvic tilt (mean 27.7° vs 23.2°, p = 0.04). Lumbosacral junction–related complications were associated with a greater mean number of instrumented vertebrae (12.6 vs 10.3, p = 0.014). Reoperation was associated with a younger mean age at surgery (61.8 vs 65.8 years, p = 0.014), a greater mean number of instrumented vertebrae (12.2 vs 10.2, p = 0.001), and longer clinical and radiological mean follow-up duration (55.8 vs 44.5 months, p < 0.001; 55.8 vs 44.6 months, p < 0.001, respectively). On multivariate analysis, reoperation was associated with longer clinical follow-up (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Previous studies on iliac screw fixation have reported very high rates of complications and reoperation (as high as 53.6%). In this large, single-center series of adult patients, iliac screws were an effective method of spinopelvic fixation that had high rates of lumbosacral fusion and far lower complication rates than previously reported. Collectively, these findings argue that iliac screw fixation should remain a favored technique for spinopelvic fixation.

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Myles Luszczyk, Justin S. Smith, Jeffrey S. Fischgrund, Steven C. Ludwig, Rick C. Sasso, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Alexander R. Vaccaro

Object

Although smoking has been shown to negatively affect fusion rates in patients undergoing multilevel fusions of the cervical and lumbar spine, the effect of smoking on fusion rates in patients undergoing single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with allograft and plate fixation has yet to be thoroughly investigated. The objective of the present study was to address the effect of smoking on fusion rates in patients undergoing a 1-level ACDF with allograft and a locked anterior cervical plate.

Methods

This study is composed of patients from the control groups of 5 separate studies evaluating the use of an anterior cervical disc replacement to treat cervical radiculopathy. For each of the 5 studies the control group consisted of patients who underwent a 1-level ACDF with allograft and a locked cervical plate. The authors of the present study reviewed data obtained in a total of 573 patients; 156 patients were smokers and 417 were nonsmokers. A minimum follow-up period of 24 months was required for inclusion in this study. Fusion status was assessed by independent observers using lateral, neutral, and flexion/extension radiographs.

Results

An overall fusion rate of 91.4% was achieved in all 573 patients. A solid fusion was shown in 382 patients (91.6%) who were nonsmokers. Among patients who were smokers, 142 (91.0%) had radiographic evidence of a solid fusion. A 2-tailed Fisher exact test revealed a p value of 0.867, indicating no difference in the union rates between smokers and nonsmokers.

Conclusions

The authors found no statistically significant difference in fusion status between smokers and nonsmokers who underwent a single-level ACDF with allograft and a locked anterior cervical plate. Although the authors do not promote tobacco use, it appears that the use of allograft with a locked cervical plate in single-level ACDF among smokers produces similar fusion rates as it does in their nonsmoking counterparts.

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Justin S. Smith, Ian F. Parney, Kathleen R. Lamborn, Michael W. McDermott, Penny K. Sneed and Susan M. Chang

Object

This study was designed to assess the presentation, management, and outcome of cases involving patients who had a supratentorial glioma that subsequently progressed in the posterior fossa (PF).

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of adult patients treated between 1997 and 2005 for supratentorial gliomas that progressed in the PF. The 29 patients with PF progression in this study were relatively young (median age of 34 years at original presentation). Twenty of these patients presented with symptoms. The symptoms were typically nonspecific to this population, at times leading to delays in diagnosis. Overall, these symptoms resolved in eight patients (40%) and progressed or remained unchanged in 12 (60%). Patients treated with more than 5000 cGy of radiation administered to the PF were more likely to have symptom resolution than those who received any other form of treatment, including reduced doses of radiation (p = 0.004). The patients treated with higher doses also survived significantly longer after PF progression (univariate analysis, p = 0.01, and after adjusting for tumor grade, p = 0.04).

Conclusions

Patients with PF progression of supratentorial infiltrative gliomas may benefit from treatment, and the authors recommend more than 5000 cGy of radiation to the PF if prior radiotherapy ports and doses allow.

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Thomas J. Buell, Davis G. Taylor, Ching-Jen Chen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith and Shay Bess

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Thomas J. Buell, James H. Nguyen, Marcus D. Mazur, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Juanita Garces, Davis G. Taylor, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Fixed sagittal spinal malalignment is a common problem in adult spinal deformity (ASD). Various three-column osteotomy techniques, including the extended pedicle subtraction osteotomy (ePSO), may correct global and regional malalignment in this patient population. In contrast to the number of reports on traditional PSO (Schwab grade 3 osteotomy), there is limited literature on the outcomes of ePSO (Schwab grade 4 osteotomy) in ASD surgery. The objective of this retrospective study was to provide focused investigation of radiographic outcomes and complications of single-level lumbar ePSO for ASD patients with fixed sagittal malalignment.

METHODS

Consecutive ASD patients in whom sagittal malalignment had been treated with single-level lumbar ePSO at the authors’ institution between 2010 and 2015 were analyzed, and those with a minimum 2-year follow-up were included in the study. Radiographic analyses included assessments of segmental lordosis through the ePSO site (sagittal Cobb angle measured from the superior endplate of the vertebra above and inferior endplate of the vertebra below the ePSO), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic tilt (PT), pelvic incidence and LL mismatch, thoracic kyphosis (TK), and sagittal vertical axis (SVA) on standing long-cassette radiographs. Complications were analyzed for the entire group.

RESULTS

Among 71 potentially eligible patients, 55 (77%) had a minimum 2-year follow-up and were included in the study. Overall, the average postoperative increases in ePSO segmental lordosis and overall LL were 41° ± 14° (range 7°–69°, p < 0.001) and 38° ± 11° (range 9°–58°, p < 0.001), respectively. The average SVA improvement was 13 ± 7 cm (range of correction: −33.6 to 3.4 cm, p < 0.001). These measurements were maintained when comparing early postoperative to last follow-up values, respectively (mean follow-up 52 months, range 26–97 months): ePSO segmental lordosis, 34° vs 33°, p = 0.270; LL, 47.3° vs 46.7°, p = 0.339; and SVA, 4 vs 5 cm, p = 0.330. Rod fracture (RF) at the ePSO site occurred in 18.2% (10/55) of patients, and pseudarthrosis (PA) at the ePSO site was confirmed by CT imaging or during rod revision surgery in 14.5% (8/55) of patients. Accessory supplemental rods across the ePSO site, a more recently employed technique, significantly reduced the occurrence of RF or PA on univariate (p = 0.004) and multivariable (OR 0.062, 95% CI 0.007–0.553, p = 0.013) analyses; this effect approached statistical significance on Kaplan-Meier analysis (p = 0.053, log-rank test). Interbody cage placement at the ePSO site resulted in greater ePSO segmental lordosis correction (45° vs 35°, p = 0.007) without significant change in RF or PA (p = 0.304). Transient and persistent motor deficits occurred in 14.5% (8/55) and 1.8% (1/55) of patients, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Extended PSO is an effective technique to correct fixed sagittal malalignment for ASD. In comparison to traditional PSO techniques, ePSO may allow greater focal correction with comparable complication rates, especially with interbody cage placement at the ePSO site and the use of accessory supplemental rods.

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D. Kojo Hamilton, Justin S. Smith, Tanya Nguyen, Vincent Arlet, Manish K. Kasliwal and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Sexual function is an often-overlooked aspect of health-related quality of life among older adults treated for spinal deformity. The authors' objective was to assess sexual function among older adults following thoracolumbar fusion with pelvic fixation for spinal deformity.

Methods

This was a retrospective review of consecutive older adults (≥50 years) treated with posterior thoracolumbar instrumentation (including pelvic fixation) for spinal deformity and with a minimum 18-month follow-up. Patients completed the Changes in Sexual Function Questionnaire-14 (CSFQ-14), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12).

Results

Sixty-two patients (45 women and 17 men) with a mean age of 70 years (range 50–83 years) met the inclusion criteria. Eight women did not complete all questionnaires and were excluded from the subanalysis. The mean number of instrumented levels was 9.8 (range 6–18), and the mean follow-up was 36 months (range 19–69 months). Based on the CSFQ-14, 13 patients (24%) had normal sexual function, and 8 (15%), 10 (19%), and 23 (42%) had mild, moderate, and severe dysfunction, respectively. Thirty-nine percent of patients reporting severe sexual dysfunction did not have available partners—23% because of a partner's death and 16% because of a partner's illness)—or had significant medical comorbidities of their own (48%). Thirty-nine percent of assessed patients had either no or only mild sexual dysfunction. Patients with minimal or mild disability tended to have no or mild sexual dysfunction.

Conclusions

The authors of this study assessed sexual function in older adults following surgical correction of spinal deformity that included posterior instrumented fusion and iliac bolts. Nearly 40% of assessed patients had either no or only mild sexual dysfunction, suggesting that despite an older age and extensive spinopelvic instrumentation, it remains very possible to maintain or achieve satisfactory sexual function.

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Darryl Lau, Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Patrick Reid, Michael M. Safaee, Vedat Deviren, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

The benefits and utility of routine neuromonitoring with motor and somatosensory evoked potentials during lumbar spine surgery remain unclear. This study assesses measures of performance and utility of transcranial motor evoked potentials (MEPs) during lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO).

METHODS

This is a retrospective study of a single-surgeon cohort of consecutive adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients who underwent lumbar PSO from 2006 to 2016. A blinded neurophysiologist reviewed individual cases for MEP changes. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine whether changes correlated with neurological deficits. Measures of performance were calculated.

RESULTS

A total of 242 lumbar PSO cases were included. MEP changes occurred in 38 (15.7%) cases; the changes were transient in 21 cases (55.3%) and permanent in 17 (44.7%). Of the patients with permanent changes, 9 (52.9%) had no recovery and 8 (47.1%) had partial recovery of MEP signals. Changes occurred at a mean time of 8.8 minutes following PSO closure (range: during closure to 55 minutes after closure). The mean percentage of MEP signal loss was 72.9%. The overall complication rate was 25.2%, and the incidence of new neurological deficits was 4.1%. On multivariate analysis, MEP signal loss of at least 50% was not associated with complication (p = 0.495) or able to predict postoperative neurological deficits (p = 0.429). Of the 38 cases in which MEP changes were observed, the observation represented a true-positive finding in only 3 cases. Postoperative neurological deficits without MEP changes occurred in 7 cases. Calculated measures of performance were as follows: sensitivity 30.0%, specificity 84.9%, positive predictive value 7.9%, and negative predictive value 96.6%. Regarding the specific characteristics of the MEP changes, only a signal loss of 80% or greater was significantly associated with a higher rate of neurological deficit (23.0% vs 0.0% for loss of less than 80%, p = 0.021); changes of less than 80% were not associated with postoperative deficits.

CONCLUSIONS

Neuromonitoring has a low positive predictive value and low sensitivity for detecting new neurological deficits. Even when neuromonitoring is unchanged, patients can still have new neurological deficits. The utility of transcranial MEP monitoring for lumbar PSO remains unclear but there may be advantages to its use.