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  • Author or Editor: Ethan Winkler x
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Andrew K. Chan, Ethan A. Winkler and Line Jacques

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spinal cord stimulation (cSCS) is used to treat pain of the cervical region and upper extremities. Case reports and small series have shown a relatively low risk of complication after cSCS, with only a single reported case of perioperative spinal cord injury in the literature. Catastrophic cSCS-associated spinal cord injury remains a concern as a result of underreporting. To aid in preoperative counseling, it is necessary to establish a minimum rate of spinal cord injury and surgical complication following cSCS.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) is a stratified sample of 20% of all patient discharges from nonfederal hospitals in the United States. The authors identified discharges with a primary procedure code for spinal cord stimulation (ICD-9 03.93) associated with a primary diagnosis of cervical pathology from 2002 to 2011. They then analyzed short-term safety outcomes including the presence of spinal cord injury and neurological, medical, and general perioperative complications and compared outcomes using univariate analysis.

RESULTS

Between 2002 and 2011, there were 2053 discharges for cSCS. The spinal cord injury rate was 0.5%. The rates of any neurological, medical, and general perioperative complications were 1.1%, 1.4%, and 11.7%, respectively. There were no deaths.

CONCLUSIONS

In the largest series of cSCS, the risk of spinal cord injury was higher than previously reported (0.5%). Nonetheless, this procedure remains relatively safe, and physicians may use these data to corroborate the safety of cSCS in an appropriately selected patient population. This may become a key treatment option in an increasingly opioid-dependent, aging population.

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Darryl Lau, Ethan A. Winkler, Khoi D. Than, Dean Chou and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Cervical curvature is an important factor when deciding between laminoplasty and laminectomy with posterior spinal fusion (LPSF) for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). This study compares outcomes following laminoplasty and LPSF in patients with matched postoperative cervical lordosis.

METHODS

Adults undergoing laminoplasty or LPSF for cervical CSM from 2011 to 2014 were identified. Matched cohorts were obtained by excluding LPSF patients with postoperative cervical Cobb angles outside the range of laminoplasty patients. Clinical outcomes and radiographic results were compared. A subgroup analysis of patients with and without preoperative pain was performed, and the effects of cervical curvature on pain outcomes were examined.

RESULTS

A total of 145 patients were included: 101 who underwent laminoplasty and 44 who underwent LPSF. Preoperative Nurick scale score, pain incidence, and visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain scores were similar between the two groups. Patients who underwent LPSF had significantly less preoperative cervical lordosis (5.8° vs 10.9°, p = 0.018). Preoperative and postoperative C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) and T-1 slope were similar between the two groups. Laminoplasty cases were associated with less blood loss (196.6 vs 325.0 ml, p < 0.001) and trended toward shorter hospital stays (3.5 vs 4.3 days, p = 0.054). The perioperative complication rate was 8.3%; there was no significant difference between the groups. LPSF was associated with a higher long-term complication rate (11.6% vs 2.2%, p = 0.036), with pseudarthrosis accounting for 3 of 5 complications in the LPSF group. Follow-up cervical Cobb angle was similar between the groups (8.8° vs 7.1°, p = 0.454). At final follow-up, LPSF had a significantly lower mean Nurick score (0.9 vs 1.4, p = 0.014). Among patients with preoperative neck pain, pain incidence (36.4% vs 31.3%, p = 0.629) and VAS neck pain (2.1 vs 1.8, p = 0.731) were similar between the groups. Similarly, in patients without preoperative pain, there was no significant difference in pain incidence (19.4% vs 18.2%, p = 0.926) and VAS neck pain (1.0 vs 1.1, p = 0.908). For laminoplasty, there was a significant trend for lower pain incidence (p = 0.010) and VAS neck pain (p = 0.004) with greater cervical lordosis, especially when greater than 20° (p = 0.011 and p = 0.018). Mean follow-up was 17.3 months.

CONCLUSIONS

For patients with CSM, LPSF was associated with slightly greater blood loss and a higher long-term complication rate, but offered greater neurological improvement than laminoplasty. In cohorts of matched follow-up cervical sagittal alignment, pain outcomes were similar between laminoplasty and LPSF patients. However, among laminoplasty patients, greater cervical lordosis was associated with better pain outcomes, especially for lordosis greater than 20°. Cervical curvature (lordosis) should be considered as an important factor in pain outcomes following posterior decompression for multilevel CSM.