Degenerative cervical myelopathy encompasses a spectrum of age-related structural changes of the cervical spine that result in static and dynamic injury to the spinal cord and collectively represent the most common cause of myelopathy in adults. Although cervical myelopathy is determined clinically, the diagnosis requires confirmation via imaging, and MRI is the preferred modality. Because of the heterogeneity of the condition and evolution of MRI technology, multiple techniques have been developed over the years in an attempt to quantify the degree of baseline severity and potential for neurological recovery. In this review, these techniques are categorized anatomically into those that focus on bone, ligaments, discs, and the spinal cord. In addition, measurements for the cervical spine canal size and sagittal alignment are also described briefly. These tools have resulted collectively in the identification of numerous useful parameters. However, the development of multiple techniques for assessing the same feature, such as cord compression, has also resulted in a number of challenges, including introducing ambiguity in terms of which methods to use and hindering effective comparisons of analysis in the literature. In addition, newer techniques that use advanced MRI are emerging and providing exciting new tools for assessing the spinal cord in patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy.
Aria Nouri, Allan R. Martin, David Mikulis and Michael G. Fehlings
Nisha Giridharan, Smruti K. Patel, Amanda Ojugbeli, Aria Nouri, Peyman Shirani, Aaron W. Grossman, Joseph Cheng, Mario Zuccarello and Charles J. Prestigiacomo
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a disease defined by elevated intracranial pressure without established etiology. Although there is now consensus on the definition of the disorder, its complex pathophysiology remains elusive. The most common clinical symptoms of IIH include headache and visual complaints. Many current theories regarding the etiology of IIH focus on increased secretion or decreased absorption of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and on cerebral venous outflow obstruction due to venous sinus stenosis. In addition, it has been postulated that obesity plays a role, given its prevalence in this population of patients. Several treatments, including optic nerve sheath fenestration, CSF diversion with ventriculoperitoneal or lumboperitoneal shunts, and more recently venous sinus stenting, have been described for medically refractory IIH. Despite the availability of these treatments, no guidelines or standard management algorithms exist for the treatment of this disorder. In this paper, the authors provide a review of the literature on IIH, its clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and evidence supporting treatment strategies, with a specific focus on the role of venous sinus stenting.
Lindsay Tetreault, Jefferson R. Wilson, Mark R. N. Kotter, Aria Nouri, Pierre Côté, Branko Kopjar, Paul M. Arnold and Michael G. Fehlings
The minimum clinically important difference (MCID) is defined as the minimum change in a measurement that a patient would identify as beneficial. Before undergoing surgery, patients are likely to inquire about the ultimate goals of the operation and of their chances of experiencing meaningful improvements. The objective of this study was to define significant predictors of achieving an MCID on the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale at 2 years following surgery for the treatment of degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM).
Seven hundred fifty-seven patients were prospectively enrolled in either the AOSpine North America or International study at 26 global sites. Fourteen patients had a perfect preoperative mJOA score of 18 and were excluded from this analysis (n = 743). Data were collected for each participating subject, including demographic information, symptomatology, medical history, causative pathology, and functional impairment. Univariate log-binominal regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the association between preoperative clinical factors and achieving an MCID on the mJOA scale. Modified Poisson regression using robust error variances was used to create the final multivariate model and compute the relative risk for each predictor.
The sample consisted of 463 men (62.31%) and 280 women (37.69%), with an average age of 56.48 ± 11.85 years. At 2 years following surgery, patients exhibited a mean change in functional status of 2.71 ± 2.89 points on the mJOA scale. Of the 687 patients with available follow-up data, 481 (70.01%) exhibited meaningful gains on the mJOA scale, whereas 206 (29.98%) failed to achieve an MCID. Based on univariate analysis, significant predictors of achieving the MCID on the mJOA scale were younger age; female sex; shorter duration of symptoms; nonsmoking status; a lower comorbidity score and absence of cardiovascular disease; and absence of upgoing plantar responses, lower-limb spasticity, and broad-based unstable gait. The final model included age (relative risk [RR] 0.924, p < 0.0001), smoking status (RR 0.837, p = 0.0043), broad-based unstable gait (RR 0.869, p = 0.0036), and duration of symptoms (RR 0.943, p = 0.0003).
In this large multinational prospective cohort, 70% of patients treated surgically for DCM exhibited a meaningful functional gain on the mJOA scale. The key predictors of achieving an MCID on the mJOA scale were younger age, shorter duration of symptoms, nonsmoking status, and lack of significant gait impairment.