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John H. Chi, Sanjay S. Dhall, Adam S. Kanter and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Thoracic disc herniations can be surgically treated with a number of different techniques and approaches. However, surgical outcomes comparing the various techniques are rarely reported in the literature. The authors describe a minimally invasive technique to approach thoracic disc herniations via a transpedicular route with the use of tubular retractors and microscope visualization. This technique provides a safe method to identify the thoracic disc space and perform a decompression with minimal paraspinal soft tissue disruption. The authors compare the results of this approach with clinical results after open transpedicular discectomy.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective cohort study comparing results in 11 patients with symptomatic thoracic disc herniations treated with either open posterolateral (4 patients) or mini-open transpedicular discectomy (7 patients). Hospital stay, blood loss, modified Prolo score, and Frankel score were used as outcome variables.

Results

Patients who underwent mini-open transpedicular discectomy had less blood loss and showed greater improvement in modified Prolo scores (p = 0.024 and p = 0.05, respectively) than those who underwent open transpedicular discectomy at the time of early follow-up within 1 year of surgery. However, at an average of 18 months of follow-up, the Prolo score difference between the 2 surgical groups was not statistically significant. There were no major or minor surgical complications in the patients who received the minimally invasive technique.

Conclusions

The mini-open transpedicular discectomy for thoracic disc herniations results in better modified Prolo scores at early postoperative intervals and less blood loss during surgery than open posterolateral discectomy. The authors' technique is described in detail and an intraoperative video is provided.

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Stephen M. Pirris, Sanjay Dhall, Praveen V. Mummaneni and Adam S. Kanter

Surgical access to extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations is complicated due to the unique anatomical constraints of the region. Minimizing complications during microdiscectomies at the level of L5–S1 in particular remains a challenge. The authors report on a small series of patients and provide a video presentation of a minimally invasive approach to L5–S1 extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations utilizing a tubular retractor with microscopic visualization.

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Rishi Wadhwa, Michael Y. Wang, Alexandra Tien-Smith and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Minimally invasive spinal (MIS) surgery techniques have been used sporadically in thoracolumbar junction trauma cases in the past 5 years. A review of the literature on the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma treated with MIS surgery revealed no unifying algorithm to assist with treatment planning. Therefore, the authors formulated a treatment algorithm.

Methods

The authors reviewed the current literature on MIS treatment of thoracolumbar trauma. Based on the literature review, they then created an algorithm for the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma utilizing MIS techniques. This MIS trauma treatment algorithm incorporates concepts form the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System (TLICS).

Results

The authors provide representative cases of patients with thoracolumbar trauma who underwent MIS surgery utilizing the MIS trauma treatment algorithm. The cases involve the use of mini-open lateral approaches and/or minimally invasive posterior decompression with or without fusion.

Conclusions

Cases involving thoracolumbar trauma can safely be treated with MIS surgery in select cases of burst fractures. The role of percutaneous nonfusion techniques remains very limited (primarily to treat thoracolumbar trauma in patients with a propensity for autofusion [for example, those with ankylosing spondylitis]).

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Rishi Wadhwa, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Darryl Lau, Hai Le, Dean Chou and Sanjay S. Dhall

Object

The most common indications for circumferential cervical decompression and fusion are cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and cervical osteomyelitis (COM). Currently, the informed consent process prior to circumferential cervical fusion surgery is not different for these two groups of patients, as details of their diagnosis-specific risk profiles have not been quantified. The authors compared two patient cohorts with either CSM or COM treated using circumferential fusion. They sought to quantify perioperative morbidity and postoperative mortality in these two groups to assist with a diagnosis-specific informed consent process for future patients undergoing this type of surgery.

Methods

Perioperative and follow-up data from two cohorts of patients who had undergone circumferential cervical decompression and fusion were analyzed. Estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay (LOS), perioperative complications, hospital readmission, 30-day reoperation rates, change in Nurick grade, and mortality were compared between the two groups.

Results

Twenty-two patients were in the COM cohort, and 24 were in the CSM cohort. Complications, hospital readmission, 30-day reoperation rates, EBL, and mortality were not statistically different, although patients with COM trended higher in each of these categories. There was a significantly greater LOS (p < 0.001) in the COM group and greater improvement in Nurick grade in the CSM group (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

When advising patients undergoing circumferential fusion about perioperative risk factors, it is important for those with COM to know that they are likely to have a higher rate of complications and mortality than those with CSM who are undergoing similar surgery. Furthermore, COM patients have less neurological improvement than CSM patients after surgery. This information may be useful to surgeons and patients in providing appropriate informed consent during preoperative planning.

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Ethan A. Winkler, John K. Yue, Harjus Birk, Caitlin K. Robinson, Geoffrey T. Manley, Sanjay S. Dhall and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECT

Traumatic fractures of the thoracolumbar spine are common injuries, accounting for approximately 90% of all spinal trauma. Lumbar spine trauma in the elderly is a growing public health problem with relatively little evidence to guide clinical management. The authors sought to characterize the complications, morbidity, and mortality associated with surgical and nonsurgical management in elderly patients with traumatic fractures of the lumbar spine.

METHODS

Using the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank, the authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients ≥ 55 years of age who had traumatic fracture to the lumbar spine. This group was divided into middle-aged (55–69 years) and elderly (≥ 70 years) cohorts. Cohorts were subdivided into nonoperative, vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, noninstrumented surgery, and instrumented surgery. Univariate and multivariable analyses were used to characterize and identify predictors of medical and surgical complications, mortality, hospital length of stay, ICU length of stay, number of days on ventilator, and hospital discharge in each subgroup. Adjusted odds ratios, mean differences, and associated 95% CIs were reported. Statistical significance was assessed at p < 0.05, and the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons was applied for each outcome analysis.

RESULTS

Between 2003 and 2012, 22,835 people met the inclusion criteria, which represents 94,103 incidents nationally. Analyses revealed a similar medical and surgical complication profile between age groups. The most prevalent medical complications were pneumonia (7.0%), acute respiratory distress syndrome (3.6%), and deep venous thrombosis (3%). Surgical site infections occurred in 6.3% of cases. Instrumented surgery was associated with the highest odds of each complication (p < 0.001). The inpatient mortality rate was 6.8% for all subjects. Multivariable analyses demonstrated that age ≥ 70 years was an independent predictor of mortality (OR 3.16, 95% CI 2.77–3.60), whereas instrumented surgery (multivariable OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.28–0.52) and vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.17–0.45) were associated with decreased odds of death. In surviving patients, both older age (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.30–0.34) and instrumented fusion (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.33–0.41) were associated with decreased odds of discharge to home.

CONCLUSIONS

The present study confirms that lumbar surgery in the elderly is associated with increased morbidity. In particular, instrumented fusion is associated with periprocedural complications, prolonged hospitalization, and a decreased likelihood of being discharged home. However, fusion surgery is also associated with reduced mortality. Age alone should not be an exclusionary factor in identifying surgical candidates for instrumented lumbar spinal fusion. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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Ethan A. Winkler, John K. Yue, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Sanjay S. Dhall, Mitchel S. Berger, Geoffrey T. Manley and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important public health concern estimated to affect 300,000 to 3.8 million people annually in the United States. Although injuries to professional athletes dominate the media, this group represents only a small proportion of the overall population. Here, the authors characterize the demographics of sports-related TBI in adults from a community-based trauma population and identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization and increased morbidity and mortality rates.

METHODS

Utilizing the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), the authors retrospectively analyzed sports-related TBI data from adults (age ≥ 18 years) across 5 sporting categories—fall or interpersonal contact (FIC), roller sports, skiing/snowboarding, equestrian sports, and aquatic sports. Multivariable regression analysis was used to identify predictors of prolonged hospital length of stay (LOS), medical complications, inpatient mortality rates, and hospital discharge disposition. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.05, and the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons was applied for each outcome analysis.

RESULTS

From 2003 to 2012, in total, 4788 adult sports-related TBIs were documented in the NTDB, which represented 18,310 incidents nationally. Equestrian sports were the greatest contributors to sports-related TBI (45.2%). Mild TBI represented nearly 86% of injuries overall. Mean (± SEM) LOSs in the hospital or intensive care unit (ICU) were 4.25 ± 0.09 days and 1.60 ± 0.06 days, respectively. The mortality rate was 3.0% across all patients, but was statistically higher in TBI from roller sports (4.1%) and aquatic sports (7.7%). Age, hypotension on admission to the emergency department (ED), and the severity of head and extracranial injuries were statistically significant predictors of prolonged hospital and ICU LOSs, medical complications, failure to discharge to home, and death. Traumatic brain injury during aquatic sports was similarly associated with prolonged ICU and hospital LOSs, medical complications, and failure to be discharged to home.

CONCLUSIONS

Age, hypotension on ED admission, severity of head and extracranial injuries, and sports mechanism of injury are important prognostic variables in adult sports-related TBI. Increasing TBI awareness and helmet use—particularly in equestrian and roller sports—are critical elements for decreasing sports-related TBI events in adults.

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John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Sanjay S. Dhall, Mitchel S. Berger, Geoffrey T. Manley and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children is a significant public health concern estimated to result in over 500,000 emergency department (ED) visits and more than 60,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. Sports activities are one important mechanism leading to pediatric TBI. In this study, the authors characterize the demographics of sports-related TBI in the pediatric population and identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization and of increased morbidity and mortality rates.

METHODS

Utilizing the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), the authors retrospectively analyzed sports-related TBI data from children (age 0–17 years) across 5 sports categories: fall or interpersonal contact (FIC), roller sports, skiing/snowboarding, equestrian sports, and aquatic sports. Multivariable regression analysis was used to identify predictors of prolonged length of stay (LOS) in the hospital or intensive care unit (ICU), medical complications, inpatient mortality rates, and hospital discharge disposition. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.05, and the Bonferroni correction (set at significance threshold p = 0.01) for multiple comparisons was applied in each outcome analysis.

RESULTS

From 2003 to 2012, in total 3046 pediatric sports-related TBIs were recorded in the NTDB, and these injuries represented 11,614 incidents nationally after sample weighting. Fall or interpersonal contact events were the greatest contributors to sports-related TBI (47.4%). Mild TBI represented 87.1% of the injuries overall. Mean (± SEM) LOSs in the hospital and ICU were 2.68 ± 0.07 days and 2.73 ± 0.12 days, respectively. The overall mortality rate was 0.8%, and the prevalence of medical complications was 2.1% across all patients. Severities of head and extracranial injuries were significant predictors of prolonged hospital and ICU LOSs, medical complications, failure to discharge to home, and death. Hypotension on admission to the ED was a significant predictor of failure to discharge to home (OR 0.05, 95% CI 0.03–0.07, p < 0.001). Traumatic brain injury incurred during roller sports was independently associated with prolonged hospital LOS compared with FIC events (mean increase 0.54 ± 0.15 days, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In pediatric sports-related TBI, the severities of head and extracranial traumas are important predictors of patients developing acute medical complications, prolonged hospital and ICU LOSs, in-hospital mortality rates, and failure to discharge to home. Acute hypotension after a TBI event decreases the probability of successful discharge to home. Increasing TBI awareness and use of head-protective gear, particularly in high-velocity sports in older age groups, is necessary to prevent pediatric sports-related TBI or to improve outcomes after a TBI.

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Junichi Ohya, Todd D. Vogel, Sanjay S. Dhall, Sigurd Berven and Praveen V. Mummaneni

S-2 alar iliac (S2AI) screw fixation has recently been recognized as a useful technique for pelvic fixation. The authors demonstrate two cases where S2AI fixation was indicated: one case was a sacral insufficiency fracture following a long-segment fusion in a patient with a transitional S-1 vertebra; the other case involved pseudarthrosis following lumbosacral fixation. S2AI screws offer rigid fixation, low profile, and allow easy connection to the lumbosacral rod. The authors describe and demonstrate the surgical technique and nuances for the S2AI screw in a case with transitional S-1 anatomy and in a case with normal S-1 anatomy.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/Sj21lk13_aw.