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Peng-Yuan Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang and Jau-Ching Wu

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Timur M. Urakov, Ken Hsuan-kan Chang, S. Shelby Burks and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery is complex and involves various steps. Current robotic technology is mostly aimed at assisting with pedicle screw insertion. This report evaluates the feasibility of robot-assisted pedicle instrumentation in an academic environment with the involvement of residents and fellows.

METHODS

The Renaissance Guidance System was used to plan and execute pedicle screw placement in open and percutaneous consecutive cases performed in the period of December 2015 to December 2016. The database was reviewed to assess the usability of the robot by neurosurgical trainees. Outcome measures included time per screw, fluoroscopy time, breached screws, and other complications. Screw placement was assessed in patients with postoperative CT studies. The speed of screw placement and fluoroscopy time were collected at the time of surgery by personnel affiliated with the robot’s manufacturer. Complication and imaging data were reviewed retrospectively.

RESULTS

A total of 306 pedicle screws were inserted in 30 patients with robot guidance. The average time for junior residents was 4.4 min/screw and for senior residents and fellows, 4.02 min/screw (p = 0.61). Among the residents dedicated to spine surgery, the average speed was 3.84 min/screw, while nondedicated residents took 4.5 min/screw (p = 0.41). Evaluation of breached screws revealed some of the pitfalls in using the robot.

CONCLUSIONS

No significant difference regarding the speed of pedicle instrumentation was detected between the operators’ years of experience or dedication to spine surgery, although more participants are required to investigate this completely. On the other hand, there was a trend toward improved efficiency with more cases performed. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported academic experience with robot-assisted spine instrumentation.

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Giacomo Pacchiarotti, Michael Y. Wang, John Paul G. Kolcun, Ken Hsuan-kan Chang, Motasem Al Maaieh, Victor S. Reis and Dao M. Nguyen

Solitary paravertebral schwannomas in the thoracic spine and lacking an intraspinal component are uncommon. These benign nerve sheath tumors are typically treated using complete resection with an excellent outcome. Resection of these tumors is achieved by an anterior approach via open thoracotomy or minimally invasive thoracoscopy, by a posterior approach via laminectomy, or by a combination of both approaches. These tumors most commonly occur in the midthoracic region, for which surgical removal is usually straightforward. The authors of this report describe 2 cases of paravertebral schwannoma at extreme locations of the posterior mediastinum, one at the superior sulcus and the other at the inferior sulcus of the thoracic cavity, for which the usual surgical approaches for safe resection can be challenging. The tumors were completely resected with robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. This report suggests that single-stage anterior surgery for this type of tumor in extreme locations is safe and effective with this novel minimally invasive technique.

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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Chih-Chang Chang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Li-Yu Fay, Peng-Yuan Chang, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

Many reports have successfully demonstrated that cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) can preserve range of motion after 1- or 2-level discectomy. However, few studies have addressed the extent of changes in segmental mobility after CDA or their clinical correlations.

METHODS

Data from consecutive patients who underwent 1-level CDA were retrospectively reviewed. Indications for surgery were medically intractable degenerative disc disease and spondylosis. Clinical outcomes, including visual analog scale (VAS)–measured neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index (NDI), and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, were analyzed. Radiographic outcomes, including C2–7 Cobb angle, the difference between pre- and postoperative C2–7 Cobb angle (ΔC2–7 Cobb angle), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), the difference between pre- and postoperative SVA (ΔSVA), segmental range of motion (ROM), and the difference between pre- and postoperative ROM (ΔROM), were assessed for their association with clinical outcomes. All patients underwent CT scanning, by which the presence and severity of heterotopic ossification (HO) were determined during the follow-up.

RESULTS

A total of 50 patients (mean age 45.6 ± 9.33 years) underwent a 1-level CDA (Prestige LP disc) and were followed up for a mean duration of 27.7 ± 8.76 months. All clinical outcomes, including VAS, NDI, and JOA scores, improved significantly after surgery. Preoperative and postoperative ROM values were similar (mean 9.5° vs 9.0°, p > 0.05) at each indexed level. The mean changes in segmental mobility (ΔROM) were −0.5° ± 6.13°. Patients with increased segmental mobility after surgery (ΔROM > 0°) had a lower incidence of HO and HO that was less severe (p = 0.048) than those whose ΔROM was < 0°. Segmental mobility (ROM) was significantly lower in patients with higher HO grade (p = 0.012), but it did not affect the clinical outcomes. The preoperative and postoperative C2–7 Cobb angles and SVA remained similar. The postoperative C2–7 Cobb angles, SVA, ΔC2–7 Cobb angles, and ΔSVA were not correlated to clinical outcomes after CDA.

CONCLUSIONS

Segmental mobility (as reflected by the mean ROM) and overall cervical alignment (i.e., mean SVA and C2–7 Cobb angle) had no significant impact on clinical outcomes after 1-level CDA. Patients with increased segmental mobility (ΔROM > 0°) had significantly less HO and similarly improved clinical outcomes than those with decreased segmental mobility (ΔROM < 0°).

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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Huang-Chou Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Li-Yu Fay, Peng-Yuan Chang, Ching-Lan Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

OBJECT

The aim of this paper was to investigate the risk of recurrence of lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in patients with scoliosis who underwent microdiscectomy.

METHODS

A series of consecutive patients who underwent microdiscectomy for LDH was retrospectively reviewed. The inclusion criteria were young adults younger than 40 years who received microdiscectomy for symptomatic 1-level LDH. An exclusion criterion was any previous spinal surgery, including fusion or correction of scoliosis. The patients were divided into 2 groups: those with scoliosis and those without scoliosis. The demographic data in the 2 groups were similar. All medical records and clinical and radiological evaluations were reviewed.

RESULTS

A total of 58 patients who underwent 1-level microdiscectomy for LDH were analyzed. During the mean follow-up of 24.6 months, 6 patients (10.3%) experienced a recurrence of LDH with variable symptoms. The recurrence rate was significantly higher among the scoliosis group than the nonscoliosis group (33.3% vs 2.3%, p = 0.001). Furthermore, the recurrence-free interval in the scoliosis group was short.

CONCLUSIONS

Young adults (< 40 years) with uncorrected scoliosis are at higher risk of recurrent LDH after microdiscectomy.

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Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang, Chih-Chang Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Tzu-Yun Tsai, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu, Henrich Cheng and Jau-Ching Wu

OBJECTIVE

The pedicle screw–based Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) has reportedly become a surgical option for lumbar spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. However, it is still unclear whether the dynamic construct remains mobile or eventually fuses. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of unintended facet arthrodesis after DDS and its association with spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

This retrospective study was designed to review 105 consecutive patients with 1- or 2-level lumbar spondylosis who were treated with DDS surgery. The patients were then divided into 2 groups according to preexisting spondylolisthesis or not. All patients underwent laminectomies, foraminotomies, and DDS. The clinical outcomes were measured using visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain, Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. All medical records, including pre- and postoperative radiographs, CT scans, and MR images, were also reviewed and compared.

RESULTS

A total of 96 patients who completed the postoperative follow-up for more than 30 months were analyzed. The mean age was 64.1 ± 12.9 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 46.3 ± 12.0 months. There were 45 patients in the spondylolisthesis group and 51 patients in the nonspondylolisthesis group. The overall prevalence rate of unintended facet fusion was 52.1% in the series of DDS. Patients with spondylolisthesis were older (67.8 vs 60.8 years, p = 0.007) and had a higher incidence rate of facet arthrodesis (75.6% vs 31.4%, p < 0.001) than patients without spondylolisthesis. Patients who had spondylolisthesis or were older than 65 years were more likely to have facet arthrodesis (OR 6.76 and 4.82, respectively). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes, including VAS back and leg pain, ODI, and JOA scores between the 2 groups. Furthermore, regardless of whether or not unintended facet arthrodesis occurred, all patients experienced significant improvement (all p < 0.05) in the clinical evaluations.

CONCLUSIONS

During the mean follow-up of almost 4 years, the prevalence of unintended facet arthrodesis was 52.1% in patients who underwent DDS. Although the clinical outcomes were not affected, elderly patients with spondylolisthesis might have a greater chance of facet fusion. This could be a cause of the limited range of motion at the index levels long after DDS.

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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Diego Shih-Chieh Lin, Chih-Chang Chang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

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Chao-Hung Kuo, Peng-Yuan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Li-Yu Fay, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Henrich Cheng and Wen-Cheng Huang

OBJECTIVE

In the past decade, dynamic stabilization has been an emerging option of surgical treatment for lumbar spondylosis. However, the application of this dynamic construct for mild spondylolisthesis and its clinical outcomes remain uncertain. This study aimed to compare the outcomes of Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for the management of single-level spondylolisthesis at L4–5.

METHODS

This study retrospectively reviewed 91 consecutive patients with Meyerding Grade I spondylolisthesis at L4–5 who were managed with surgery. Patients were divided into 2 groups: DDS and MI-TLIF. The DDS group was composed of patients who underwent standard laminectomy and the DDS system. The MI-TLIF group was composed of patients who underwent MI-TLIF. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by visual analog scale for back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores at each time point of evaluation. Evaluations included radiographs and CT scans for every patient for 2 years after surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 86 patients with L4–5 spondylolisthesis completed the follow-up of more than 2 years and were included in the analysis (follow-up rate of 94.5%). There were 64 patients in the DDS group and 22 patients in the MI-TLIF group, and the overall mean follow-up was 32.7 months. Between the 2 groups, there were no differences in demographic data (e.g., age, sex, and body mass index) or preoperative clinical evaluations (e.g., visual analog scale back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores). The mean estimated blood loss of the MI-TLIF group was lower, whereas the operation time was longer compared with the DDS group (both p < 0.001). For both groups, clinical outcomes were significantly improved at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery compared with preoperative clinical status. Moreover, there were no differences between the 2 groups in clinical outcomes at each evaluation time point. Radiological evaluations were also similar and the complication rates were equally low in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

At 32.7 months postoperation, the clinical and radiological outcomes of DDS were similar to those of MI-TLIF for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis at L4–5. DDS might be an alternative to standard arthrodesis in mild lumbar spondylolisthesis. However, unlike fusion, dynamic implants have issues of wearing and loosening in the long term. Thus, the comparable results between the 2 groups in this study require longer follow-up to corroborate.

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Peng-Yuan Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Li-Yu Fay, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

Several large-scale clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of 1- and 2-level cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) for degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the subaxial cervical spine, while other studies reveal that during physiological neck flexion, the C4–5 and C5–6 discs account for more motion than the C3–4 level, causing more DDD. This study aimed to compare the results of CDA at different levels.

METHODS

After a review of the medical records, 94 consecutive patients who underwent single-level CDA were divided into the C3–4 and non-C3–4 CDA groups (i.e., those including C4–5, C5–6, and C6–7). Clinical outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale for neck and arm pain and by the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores. Postoperative range of motion (ROM) and heterotopic ossification (HO) were determined by radiography and CT, respectively.

RESULTS

Eighty-eight patients (93.6%; mean age 45.62 ± 10.91 years), including 41 (46.6%) female patients, underwent a mean follow-up of 4.90 ± 1.13 years. There were 11 patients in the C3–4 CDA group and 77 in the non-C3–4 CDA group. Both groups had significantly improved clinical outcomes at each time point after the surgery. The mean preoperative (7.75° vs 7.03°; p = 0.58) and postoperative (8.18° vs 8.45°; p = 0.59) ROMs were similar in both groups. The C3–4 CDA group had significantly greater prevalence (90.9% vs 58.44%; p = 0.02) and higher severity grades (2.27 ± 0.3 vs 0.97 ± 0.99; p = 0.0001) of HO.

CONCLUSIONS

Although CDA at C3–4 was infrequent, the improved clinical outcomes of CDA were similar at C3–4 to that in the other subaxial levels of the cervical spine at the approximately 5-year follow-ups. In this Asian population, who had a propensity to have ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, there was more HO formation in patients who received CDA at the C3–4 level than in other subaxial levels of the cervical spine. While the type of artificial discs could have confounded the issue, future studies with more patients are required to corroborate the phenomenon.

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Chun-Hao Wang, Peng-Yuan Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Li-Yu Fay, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng