Few neurosurgeons practicing today have had training in the field of endoscopic spine surgery during residency or fellowship. Nevertheless, over the past 40 years individual spine surgeons from around the world have worked to create a subfield of minimally invasive spine surgery that takes the point of visualization away from the surgeon's eye or the lens of a microscope and puts it directly at the point of spine pathology. What follows is an attempt to describe the story of how endoscopic spine surgery developed and to credit some of those who have been the biggest contributors to its development.
A brief history of endoscopic spine surgery
Albert E. Telfeian, Anand Veeravagu, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, and Ziya L. Gokaslan
A minimally invasive lateral approach with CT navigation for open biopsy and diagnosis of Nocardia nova L4–5 discitis osteomyelitis: illustrative case
Bryan Zheng, Hael Abdulrazeq, Owen P. Leary, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Jared S. Fridley, and Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana
Lumbar spine osteomyelitis can be refractory to conventional techniques for identifying a causal organism. In cases in which a protracted antibiotic regimen is indicated, obtaining a conclusive yield on biopsy is particularly important. Although lateral transpsoas approaches and intraoperative computed tomography (CT) navigation are well documented as techniques used for spinal arthrodesis, their utility in vertebral biopsy has yet to be reported in any capacity.
In a 44-year-old male patient with a history of Nocardia bacteremia, CT-guided biopsy failed to confirm the microbiology of an L4–5 discitis osteomyelitis. The patient underwent a minimally invasive open biopsy in which a lateral approach with intraoperative guidance was used to access the infected disc space retroperitoneally. A thin film was obtained and cultured Nocardia nova, and the patient was treated accordingly with a long course of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.
The combination of a lateral transpsoas approach with intraoperative navigation is a valuable technique for obtaining positive yield in cases of discitis osteomyelitis of the lumbar spine refractory to CT-guided biopsy.
Technical considerations in transforaminal endoscopic spine surgery at the thoracolumbar junction: report of 3 cases
Albert E. Telfeian, Gabriele P. Jasper, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, and Ziya L. Gokaslan
In this study the authors describe the technical considerations and feasibility of transforaminal discectomy and foraminoplasty for the treatment of lumbar radiculopathy in patients who have herniated discs at the thoracolumbar junction.
After institutional review board approval, charts from 3 consecutive patients with lumbar radiculopathy and T12–L1 herniated discs who underwent endoscopic procedures between 2006 and 2014 were reviewed.
Consecutive cases (n = 1316) were reviewed to determine the incidence and success of surgery performed at the T12–L1 level. Only 3 patients (0.23%) treated with endoscopic surgery for their herniated discs had T12–L1 herniated discs; the rest were lumbar or lumbosacral herniations. For patients with T12–L1 disc herniations, the average preoperative visual analog scale score was 8.3 (indicated in the questionnaire as describing severe and constant pain). The average 1-year postoperative visual analog scale score was 1.7 (indicated in the questionnaire as mild and intermittent pain).
Transforaminal endoscopic discectomy and foraminotomy can be used as a safe yet minimally invasive technique for the treatment of lumbar radiculopathy in the setting of a thoracolumbar disc herniation.
Minimally invasive direct lateral, retroperitoneal transforaminal approach for large L1–2 disc herniations with intraoperative CT navigational assistance: technical note and report of 3 cases
Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Jared Fridley, David B. Choi, Albert Telfeian, and Ziya L. Gokaslan
Upper lumbar (L1–2, L2–3) disc herniations are distinct in their diffuse presenting clinical symptomatology and have poorer outcomes with surgical intervention than those following mid and lower lumbar disc herniations and disc surgery. The authors present the cases of 3 patients with L1–2 disc herniations and significant stenosis of the spinal canal. The surgical approach used here combined the principles of transforaminal percutaneous endoscopic discectomy and the extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion procedures with intraoperative CT-guided navigational assistance. The approach provides a safe corridor of direct visualization to the ventral thecal sac with minimal bony resection and could, in principle, reduce neurological injury and biomechanical instability, which likely contribute to poor outcomes at this level.
Outcomes of endoscopic discectomy compared with open microdiscectomy and tubular microdiscectomy for lumbar disc herniations: a meta-analysis
Sean M. Barber, Jonathan Nakhla, Sanjay Konakondla, Jared S. Fridley, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Albert E. Telfeian
Endoscopic discectomy (ED) has been advocated as a less-invasive alternative to open microdiscectomy (OM) and tubular microdiscectomy (TM) for lumbar disc herniations, with the potential to decrease postoperative pain and shorten recovery times. Large-scale, objective comparisons of outcomes between ED, OM, and TM, however, are lacking. The authors’ objective in this study was to conduct a meta-analysis comparing outcomes of ED, OM, and TM.
The PubMed database was searched for articles published as of February 1, 2019, for comparative studies reporting outcomes of some combination of ED, OM, and TM. A meta-analysis of outcome parameters was performed assuming random effects.
Twenty-six studies describing the outcomes of 2577 patients were included. Estimated blood loss was significantly higher with OM than with both TM (p = 0.01) and ED (p < 0.00001). Length of stay was significantly longer with OM than with ED (p < 0.00001). Return to work time was significantly longer in OM than with ED (p = 0.001). Postoperative leg (p = 0.02) and back (p = 0.01) VAS scores, and Oswestry Disability Index scores (p = 0.006) at latest follow-up were significantly higher for OM than for ED. Serum creatine phosphokinase (p = 0.02) and C-reactive protein (p < 0.00001) levels on postoperative day 1 were significantly higher with OM than with ED.
Outcomes of TM and OM for lumbar disc herniations are largely equivalent. While this analysis demonstrated that several clinical variables were significantly improved in patients undergoing ED when compared with OM, the magnitude of many of these differences was small and of uncertain clinical relevance, and several of the included studies were retrospective and subject to a high risk of bias. Further high-quality prospective studies are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the comparative efficacy of the various surgical treatments for lumbar disc herniations.
A transpedicular approach to complex ventrally situated thoracic intradural extramedullary tumors: technique, indications, and multiinstitutional case series
Zachary R. Visco, David D. Liu, Owen P. Leary, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana, and Michael A. Galgano
Ventrally situated thoracic intradural extramedullary tumors are surgically challenging and difficult to access, and they may be complicated by extensive adhesions and calcifications. Selecting an approach for adequate ventral access is key to complete resection and optimization of outcomes. The authors present a case series of patients who underwent resection of ventral thoracic intradural extramedullary tumors and discuss indications and considerations for this technique. Additionally, they describe the use of a posterolateral transpedicular approach for resection of ventral thoracic intradural extramedullary tumors compared with other techniques, and they summarize the literature supporting its application.
From May 2017 to August 2020, 5 patients with ventral thoracic intradural extramedullary tumors underwent resection at one of the two academic institutions.
Patient ages ranged from 47 to 75 (mean 63.4) years. All tumors were diagnosed as meningiomas or schwannomas by histological examination. Three of the 5 patients had evidence of partial or extensive tumor calcification. Four of the 5 patients underwent an initial posterolateral transpedicular approach for resection, with positive radiographic and clinical outcomes from surgery. One patient initially underwent an unsuccessful traditional direct posterior approach and required additional resection 2 years later after interval disease progression. There were no postoperative wound infections, CSF leaks, or other complications related to the transpedicular approach.
Posterolateral transpedicular tumor resection is a safe technique for the treatment of complex ventrally situated thoracic intradural extramedullary tumors compared with the direct posterior approach. Anecdotally, this approach appears to be particularly beneficial in patients with calcified tumors.
Spinal dural resection for oncological purposes: a systematic analysis of risks and outcomes in patients with malignant spinal tumors
Sean M. Barber, Sanjay Konakondla, Jonathan Nakhla, Jared S. Fridley, Jimmy Xia, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Albert E. Telfeian, and Ziya L. Gokaslan
Oncological outcomes for many malignant primary spinal tumors and isolated spinal metastases have been shown to correlate with extent of resection. For tumors with dural involvement, some authors have described spinal dural resection at the time of tumor resection in the interest of improving oncological outcomes. The complication profile associated with resection of the spinal dura for oncological purposes, however, and the relative influence of resecting tumor-involved dura on progression-free survival are not well defined. The authors performed a systematic review of the literature and identified cases in which the spinal dura was resected for oncological purposes in the interest of better understanding the associated risks and outcomes of this technique.
Electronic databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus) were systematically searched to identify studies that reported clinical and/or oncological outcomes of patients with malignant spinal neoplasms undergoing resection of tumor-involved dura at the time of surgical intervention.
Ten articles describing 15 patients were included in the analysis. The most common tumor histologies were chordoma (3/15, 20%), giant cell tumor (3/15, 20%), epithelioid sarcoma (2/15, 13.3%), osteosarcoma (2/15, 13.3%), and metastasis (2/15, 13.3%). Procedure-related complications were reported in 40% of patients. A trend was seen toward an increased complication rate in redo (66.7%) versus index (16.7%) operations, but this trend did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.24). New, unexpected postoperative neurological deficits were seen in 3 patients (of 14 reporting, 21.4%). A single patient experienced a profound, unexpected neurological deterioration (paraparesis/paraplegia) after surgery, which reportedly improved considerably at latest follow-up. Tumor recurrence was seen in 3 cases (of 12 reporting, 25%) at a mean of 28.34 ± 21.1 months postoperatively. The overall mean radiographic follow-up period was 49.6 ± 36.5 months.
Resection of the spinal dura for oncological purposes is rarely performed, although a limited number of reports and small series have demonstrated that it is feasible. Spinal dural resection is primarily performed in patients with isolated, primary spinal neoplasms with an intent to cure. The risk associated with spinal dura resection is nontrivial and the complication profile is significant. The influence of dural resection on oncological outcomes is not well defined, and further study is needed before definitive conclusions may be drawn regarding the oncological benefit of dural resection for any particular patient or pathology.
Oncologic benefits of dural resection in spinal meningiomas: a meta-analysis of Simpson grades and recurrence rates
Sean M. Barber, Sanjay Konakondla, Jonathan Nakhla, Jared S. Fridley, Jimmy Xia, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Albert E. Telfeian, and Ziya L. Gokaslan
While resection of the dural attachment has been shown by Simpson and others to reduce recurrence rates for intracranial meningiomas, the oncological benefit of dural resection for spinal meningiomas is less clear. The authors performed a systematic analysis of the literature, comparing recurrence rates for patients undergoing various Simpson grade resections of spinal meningiomas to better understand the role of dural resection on outcomes after resection of spinal meningiomas.
The PubMed/Medline database was systematically searched to identify studies describing oncological and clinical outcomes after Simpson grade I, II, III, or IV resections of spinal meningiomas.
Thirty-two studies describing the outcomes of 896 patients were included in the analysis. Simpson grade I, grade II, and grade III/IV resections were performed in 27.5%, 64.6%, and 7.9% of cases, respectively. The risk of procedure-related complications (OR 4.75, 95% CI 1.27–17.8, p = 0.021) and new, unexpected postoperative neurological deficits (OR ∞, 95% CI NaN–∞, p = 0.009) were both significantly greater for patients undergoing Simpson grade I resections when compared with those undergoing Simpson grade II resections. Tumor recurrence was seen in 2.8%, 4.1%, and 39.4% of patients undergoing Simpson grade I, grade II, and grade III/IV resections over a mean radiographic follow-up period of 99.3 ± 46.4 months, 95.4 ± 57.1 months, and 82.4 ± 49.3 months, respectively. No significant difference was detected between the recurrence rates for Simpson grade I versus Simpson grade II resections (OR 1.43, 95% CI 0.61–3.39, p = 0.43). A meta-analysis of 7 studies directly comparing recurrence rates for Simpson grade I and II resections demonstrated a trend toward a decreased likelihood of recurrence after Simpson grade I resection when compared with Simpson grade II resection, although this trend did not reach statistical significance (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.23–1.36, p = 0.20).
The results of this analysis suggest with a low level of confidence that the rates of complications and new, unexpected neurological deficits after Simpson grade I resection of spinal meningiomas are greater than those seen with Simpson grade II resections, and that the recurrence rates for Simpson grade I and grade II resections are equivalent, although additional, long-term studies are needed before reliable conclusions may be drawn.
A modern multidisciplinary approach to a large cervicothoracic chordoma using staged en bloc resection with intraoperative image-guided navigation and 3D-printed modeling: illustrative case
Nathan J. Pertsch, Owen P. Leary, Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana, David D. Liu, Tianyi Niu, Albert S. Woo, Thomas T. Ng, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Jared S. Fridley, and Ziya L. Gokaslan
Cervicothoracic junction chordomas are uncommon primary spinal tumors optimally treated with en bloc resection. Although en bloc resection is the gold standard for treatment of mobile spinal chordoma, tumor location, size, and extent of involvement frequently complicate the achievement of negative margins. In particular, chordoma involving the thoracic region can require a challenging anterior access, and en bloc resection can lead to a highly destabilized spine.
Modern technological advances make en bloc resection more technically feasible than ever before. In this case, the successful en bloc resection of a particularly complex cervicothoracic junction chordoma was facilitated by a multidisciplinary surgical approach that maximized the use of intraoperative computed tomography–guided spinal navigation and patient-specific three-dimensional–printed modeling.
The authors review the surgical planning and specific techniques that facilitated the successful en bloc resection of this right-sided chordoma via image-guided parasagittal osteotomy across 2 stages. The integration of emerging visualization technologies into complex spinal column tumor management may help to provide optimal oncological care for patients with challenging primary tumors of the mobile spine.
Toward more accurate documentation in neurosurgical care
Rohaid Ali, Sohail Syed, Rahul A. Sastry, Hael Abdulrazeq, Belinda Shao, G. Dean Roye, Curtis E. Doberstein, Adetokunbo Oyelese, Tianyi Niu, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Albert Telfeian
Accurate clinical documentation is foundational to any quality improvement endeavor as it is ultimately the medical record that is measured in assessing change. Literature on high-yield interventions to improve the accuracy and completeness of clinical documentation by neurosurgical providers is limited. Therefore, the authors sought to share a single-institution experience of a two-part intervention to enhance clinical documentation by a neurosurgery inpatient service.
At an urban, level I trauma, academic teaching hospital, a two-part intervention was implemented to enhance the accuracy of clinical documentation of neurosurgery inpatients by residents and advanced practice providers (APPs). Residents and APPs were instructed on the most common neurosurgical complications or comorbidities (CCs) and major complications or comorbidities (MCCs), as defined by Medicare. Additionally, a “system-based” progress note template was changed to a “problem-based” progress note template. Prepost analysis was performed to compare the CC/MCC capture rates for the 12 months prior to the intervention with those for the 3 months after the intervention.
The CC/MCC capture rate for the neurosurgery service line rose from 62% in the 12 months preintervention to 74% in the 3 months after intervention, representing a significant change (p = 0.00002).
Existing clinical documentation habits by neurosurgical residents and APPs may fail to capture the extent of neurosurgical inpatients with CC/MCCs. An intervention that focuses on the most common CC/MCCs and utilizes a problem-based progress note template may lead to more accurate appraisals of neurosurgical patient acuity.