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George M. Ghobrial, Thana Theofanis, Bruce V. Darden, Paul Arnold, Michael G. Fehlings and James S. Harrop

OBJECT

Unintended durotomy is a common occurrence during lumbar spinal surgery, particularly in surgery for degenerative spinal conditions, with the reported incidence rate ranging from 0.3% to 35%. The authors performed a systematic literature review on unintended lumbar spine durotomy, specifically aiming to identify the incidence of durotomy during spinal surgery for lumbar degenerative conditions. In addition, the authors analyzed the incidence of durotomy when minimally invasive surgical approaches were used as compared with that following a traditional midline open approach.

METHODS

A MEDLINE search using the term “lumbar durotomy” (under the 2015 medical subject heading [MeSH] “cerebrospinal fluid leak”) was conducted on May 13, 2015, for English-language medical literature published in the period from January 1, 2005, to May 13, 2015. The resulting papers were categorized into 3 groups: 1) those that evaluated unintended durotomy rates during open-approach lumbar spinal surgery, 2) those that evaluated unintended durotomy rates during minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), and 3) those that evaluated durotomy rates in comparable cohorts undergoing MISS versus open-approach lumbar procedures for similar lumbar pathology.

RESULTS

The MEDLINE search yielded 116 results. A review of titles produced 22 potentially relevant studies that described open surgical procedures. After a thorough review of individual papers, 19 studies (comprising 15,965 patients) pertaining to durotomy rates during open-approach lumbar surgery were included for analysis. Using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) ranking criteria, there were 7 Level 3 prospective studies and 12 Level 4 retrospective studies. In addition, the authors also included 6 studies (with a total of 1334 patients) that detailed rates of durotomy during minimally invasive surgery for lumbar degenerative disease. In the MISS analysis, there were 2 prospective and 4 retrospective studies. Finally, the authors included 5 studies (with a total of 1364 patients) that directly compared durotomy rates during open-approach versus minimally invasive procedures. Studies of open-approach surgery for lumbar degenerative disease reported a total of 1031 durotomies across all procedures, for an overall durotomy rate of 8.11% (range 2%–20%). Prospectively designed studies reported a higher rate of durotomy than retrospective studies (9.57% vs 4.32%, p = 0.05). Selected MISS studies reported a total of 93 durotomies for a combined durotomy rate of 6.78%. In studies of matched cohorts comparing open-approach surgery with MISS, the durotomy rates were 7.20% (34 durotomies) and 7.02% (68), respectively, which were not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal surgery for lumbar degenerative disease carries a significant rate of unintended durotomy, regardless of the surgical approach selected by the surgeon. Interpretation of unintended durotomy rates for lumbar surgery is limited by a lack of prospective and cohort-matched controlled studies.

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Julio C. Furlan and Michael G. Fehlings

Cardiovascular complications in the acute stage following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) require prompt medical attention to avoid neurological compromise, morbidity, and death. In this review, the authors summarize the neural regulation of the cardiovascular system as well as the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of major cardiovascular complications that can occur following acute (up to 30 days) traumatic SCI. Hypotension (both supine and orthostatic), autonomic dysreflexia, and cardiac arrhythmias (including persistent bradycardia) are attributed to the loss of supraspinal control of the sympathetic nervous system that commonly occurs in patients with severe spinal cord lesions at T-6 or higher. Current evidence-based guidelines recommend: 1) monitoring of cardiac and hemodynamic parameters in the acute phase of SCI; 2) maintenance of a minimum mean arterial blood pressure of 85 mm Hg during the hyperacute phase (1 week after SCI); 3) timely detection and appropriate treatment of neurogenic shock and cardiac arrhythmias; and 4) immediate and adequate treatment of episodes of acute autonomic dysreflexia. In addition to these forms of cardiovascular dysfunction, individuals with acute SCIs are at high risk for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism due to loss of mobility and, potentially, altered fibrinolytic activity, abnormal platelet function, and impaired circadian variations of hemostatic and fibrinolytic parameters. Current evidence supports a recommendation for thromboprophylaxis using mechanical methods and anticoagulants during the acute stage up to 3 months following SCI, depending on the severity and level of injury. Low-molecular-weight heparin is the first choice for anticoagulant prophylaxis in patients with acute SCI. Although there is insufficient evidence to recommend (or refute) the use of screening tests for DVT in asymptomatic adults with acute SCI, this strategy may detect asymptomatic DVT in at least 9.4% of individuals who undergo thromboprophylaxis using lowmolecular- weight heparin. Indications and treatment of DVT and acute pulmonary embolism are well established and are summarized in this review. Recognition of cardiovascular complications after acute SCI is essential to minimize adverse outcomes and to optimize recovery.

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Editorial

Spinal deformity

Michael G. Fehlings and George M. Ibrahim

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Michael G. Fehlings and Julio C. Furlan

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Editorial

Importance of sagittal balance in determining the outcome of anterior versus posterior surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Michael G. Fehlings and Randolph Gray

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David W. Cadotte, Patrick W. Stroman, David Mikulis and Michael G. Fehlings

Object

Since the first published report of spinal functional MRI (fMRI) in humans in 1996, this body of literature has grown substantially. In the present article, the authors systematically review all spinal fMRI studies conducted in healthy individuals with a focus on the different motor and sensory paradigms used and the results acquired.

Methods

The authors conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE for literature published from 1990 through November 2011 reporting on stimulation paradigms used to assess spinal fMRI scans in healthy individuals.

Results

They identified 19 peer-reviewed studies from 1996 to the present in which a combination of different spinal fMRI methods were used to investigate the spinal cord in healthy individuals. Eight of the studies used a motor stimulation paradigm, 10 used a sensory stimulation paradigm, and 1 compared motor and sensory stimulation paradigms.

Conclusions

Despite differences in the results of various studies, even when similar stimulation paradigms were used, this body of literature underscores that spinal fMRI signals can be obtained from the human spinal cord. The authors intend this review to serve as an introduction to spinal fMRI research and what it may offer the field of spinal cord injury research.

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Michael G. Fehlings and Babak Arvin

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Preneshlin V. Govender, Yoga R. Rampersaud, Lynda Rickards and Michael G. Fehlings

Object

The safety and effectiveness of osteogenic protein (OP)–1 putty (recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–7) in promoting fusion in complex spinal cases was studied in nine cases.

Methods

The authors prospectively evaluated nine patients requiring spinal fusion in whom there were medical risk factors that would inhibit osseous fusion. Intraoperatively the OP-1 putty mixed with autologous bone was placed at the fusion site. Outcome measurement instruments were used to provide information on patient demographics, comorbidities, and pain. The Short Form (SF)–36 questionnaire and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were administered pre- and postoperatively. All patients underwent routine radiography of the surgery site during follow-up examination.

The age of the five women and four men ranged from 21 to 74 years (mean height 1.6 m, mean weight 76.7 kg). Risk factors included mucopolysaccharide syndrome, adrenal insufficiency, rheumatoid arthritis with chronic corticosteroid use, morbid obesity, and heavy smoking. Surgery, which consisted of five cervical and four lumbar procedures, including intradural surgery in three patients, was uneventful in all cases without perioperative complication. The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 15 months (mean 5.22 months). The ODI score changed from severe disability (mean 46.89) pre-operatively to minimal and moderate disability (mean 34.56) postoperatively. The SF-36 survey showed overall improved mental and physical health scores. Fusion was present in all patients with greater than 3 months follow up.

Conclusions

The OP-1 putty appears to be safe and effective in promoting spinal arthrodesis in patients in whom adverse medical risk factors exist.

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Michael G. Fehlings and Neilank K. Jha

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