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Avery Lee Buchholz, Steven L. Morgan, Leslie C. Robinson and Bruce M. Frankel

OBJECT

Most cases of traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis (hangman's fracture) can be treated nonoperatively with reduction and subsequent immobilization in a rigid cervical collar or halo. However, in some instances, operative management is necessary and can be accomplished by using either anterior or posterior fusion techniques. Because open posterior procedures can result in significant blood loss, pain, and limited cervical range of motion, other less invasive options for posterior fixation are needed. The authors describe a minimally invasive, navigation-guided technique for surgical treatment of Levine-Edwards (L-E) Type II hangman's fractures.

METHODS

For 5 patients with L-E Type II hangman's fracture requiring operative reduction and internal fixation, percutaneous screw fixation directed through the fracture site was performed. This technique was facilitated by use of intraoperative 3D fluoroscopy and neuronavigation.

RESULTS

Of the 5 patients, 2 were women, 3 were men, and age range was 46–67 years. No intraoperative or postoperative complications occurred. All patients wore a rigid cervical collar, and flexion-extension radiographs were obtained at 6 months. For all patients, dynamic imaging demonstrated a stable construct.

CONCLUSIONS

L-E type II hangman's fractures can be safely repaired by using percutaneous minimally invasive surgical techniques. This technique may be appropriate, depending on circumstances, for all L-E Type I and II hangman's fractures; however, the degree of associated ligament injury and disc disruption must be accounted for. Percutaneous fixation is not appropriate for L-E Type III fractures because of significant displacement and ligament and disc disruption. This report is meant to serve as a feasibility study and is not meant to show superiority of this procedure over other surgical options.

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Godard C. W. de Ruiter and Mark P. Arts

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M. Harrison Snyder, Leonel Ampie, Vernon J. Forrester, JoAnne C. Wilson, James H. Nguyen, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Avery L. Buchholz

Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare inflammatory dermatosis that is most often associated with inflammatory bowel disease, but which can occur as a pathergic reaction around surgical incisions. The authors report the case of a patient who developed postoperative PG over the course of several months after undergoing extensive spinal instrumentation between the T4 and iliac levels. This is only the second such case occurring after spine surgery to be reported. The authors additionally review the literature to characterize treatment approaches and outcomes for this condition. The case highlights a potentially severe adverse effect of surgery that can be difficult to recognize and causes delays in effective treatment. It also demonstrates the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in the effective care of patients.

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Joseph Laratta, Leah Y. Carreon, Avery L. Buchholz, Andrew Y. Yew, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni and Steven D. Glassman

OBJECTIVE

Medical comorbidities, particularly preoperatively diagnosed anxiety, depression, and obesity, may influence how patients perceive and measure clinical benefit after a surgical intervention. The current study was performed to define and compare the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) thresholds in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity who underwent spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients who underwent lumbar fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis during the period from January 2014 to August 2017. Collected patient-reported outcomes (PROs) included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), health status (EQ-5D), and numeric rating scale (NRS) scores for back pain (NRS-BP) and leg pain (NRS-LP). Both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for MCID calculation were employed.

RESULTS

Of 462 patients included in the prospective registry who underwent a decompression and fusion procedure, 356 patients (77.1%) had complete baseline and 12-month PRO data and were included in the study. The MCID values for ODI scores did not significantly differ in patients with and those without a preoperative diagnosis of obesity (20.58 and 20.69, respectively). In addition, the MCID values for ODI scores did not differ in patients with and without a preoperative diagnosis of anxiety or depression (24.72 and 22.56, respectively). Similarly, the threshold MCID values for NRS-BP, NRS-LP, and EQ-5D scores were not statistically different between all groups. Based on both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for determination of MCID thresholds, there were no statistically significant differences between all cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

MCID thresholds were similar for ODI, EQ-5D, NRS-BP, and NRS-LP in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity undergoing spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis. Preoperative clinical and shared decision-making may be improved by understanding that preoperative medical comorbidities may not affect the way patients experience and assess important clinical changes postoperatively.

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Thomas J. Buell, Ching-Jen Chen, James H. Nguyen, Peter A. Christiansen, Saikiran G. Murthy, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Prior reports have demonstrated the efficacy of surgical correction for adult lumbar scoliosis. Many of these reports focused on mild to moderate scoliosis. The authors’ objective was to report their experience and to assess outcomes and complications after deformity correction for severe adult scoliosis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed consecutive adult scoliosis patients with major thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) curves ≥ 75° who underwent deformity correction at their institution. Those eligible with a minimum 2 years of follow-up were included. Demographic, surgical, coronal and sagittal plane radiographic measurements, and health-related quality of life (HRQL) scores were analyzed.

RESULTS

Among 26 potentially eligible patients, 22 (85%) had a minimum 2 years of follow-up (range 24–89 months) and were included in the study (mean age 57 ± 11 years; 91% women). The cohort comprised 16 (73%), 4 (18%), and 2 (9%) patients with adult idiopathic scoliosis, de novo degenerative scoliosis, and iatrogenic scoliosis, respectively. The surgical approach was posterior-only and multistage anterior-posterior in 18 (82%) and 4 (18%) patients, respectively. Three-column osteotomy was performed in 5 (23%) patients. Transforaminal and anterior lumbar interbody fusion were performed in 14 (64%) and 4 (18%) patients, respectively. All patients had sacropelvic fixation with uppermost instrumented vertebra in the lower thoracic spine (46% [10/22]) versus upper thoracic spine (55% [12/22]). The mean fusion length was 14 ± 3 levels. Preoperative major TL/L and lumbosacral fractional (L4–S1) curves were corrected from 83° ± 8° to 28° ± 13° (p < 0.001) and 34° ± 8° to 13° ± 6° (p < 0.001), respectively. Global coronal and sagittal balance significantly improved from 5 ± 4 cm to 1 ± 1 cm (p = 0.001) and 9 ± 8 cm to 2 ± 3 cm (p < 0.001), respectively. Pelvic tilt significantly improved from 33° ± 9° to 23° ± 10° (p < 0.001). Significant improvement in HRQL measures included the following: Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) pain score (p = 0.009), SRS appearance score (p = 0.004), and SF-12/SF-36 physical component summary (PCS) score (p = 0.026). Transient and persistent neurological deficits occurred in 8 (36%) and 2 (9%) patients, respectively. Rod fracture/pseudarthrosis occurred in 6 (27%) patients (supplemental rods were utilized more recently in 23%). Revisions were performed in 7 (32%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS

In this single-center surgical series for severe adult scoliosis (major curves ≥ 75°), a posterior-only or multistage anterior-posterior approach provided major curve correction of 66% and significant improvements in global coronal and sagittal spinopelvic alignment. Significant improvements were also demonstrated in HRQL measures (SRS pain, SRS appearance, and SF-12/SF-36 PCS). Complications and revisions were comparable to those of other reports involving less severe scoliosis. The results of this study warrant future prospective multicenter studies to further delineate outcomes and complication risks for severe adult scoliosis correction.

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Thomas J. Buell, Ulas Yener, Tony R. Wang, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Sacral insufficiency fracture after lumbosacral (LS) arthrodesis is an uncommon complication. The objective of this study was to report the authors’ operative experience managing this complication, review pertinent literature, and propose a treatment algorithm.

METHODS

The authors analyzed consecutive adult patients treated at their institution from 2009 to 2018. Patients who underwent surgery for sacral insufficiency fractures after posterior instrumented LS arthrodesis were included. PubMed was queried to identify relevant articles detailing management of this complication.

RESULTS

Nine patients with a minimum 6-month follow-up were included (mean age 73 ± 6 years, BMI 30 ± 6 kg/m2, 56% women, mean follow-up 35 months, range 8–96 months). Six patients had osteopenia/osteoporosis (mean dual energy x-ray absorptiometry hip T-score −1.6 ± 0.5) and 3 received treatment. Index LS arthrodesis was performed for spinal stenosis (n = 6), proximal junctional kyphosis (n = 2), degenerative scoliosis (n = 1), and high-grade spondylolisthesis (n = 1). Presenting symptoms of back/leg pain (n = 9) or lower extremity weakness (n = 3) most commonly occurred within 4 weeks of index LS arthrodesis, which prompted CT for fracture diagnosis at a mean of 6 weeks postoperatively. All sacral fractures were adjacent or involved S1 screws and traversed the spinal canal (Denis zone III). H-, U-, or T-type sacral fracture morphology was identified in 7 patients. Most fractures (n = 8) were Roy-Camille type II (anterior displacement with kyphosis). All patients underwent lumbopelvic fixation via a posterior-only approach; mean operative duration and blood loss were 3.3 hours and 850 ml, respectively. Bilateral dual iliac screws were utilized in 8 patients. Back/leg pain and weakness improved postoperatively. Mean sacral fracture anterolisthesis and kyphotic angulation improved (from 8 mm/11° to 4 mm/5°, respectively) and all fractures were healed on radiographic follow-up (mean duration 29 months, range 8–90 months). Two patients underwent revision for rod fractures at 1 and 2 years postoperatively. A literature review found 17 studies describing 87 cases; potential risk factors were osteoporosis, longer fusions, high pelvic incidence (PI), and postoperative PI-to–lumbar lordosis (LL) mismatch.

CONCLUSIONS

A high index of suspicion is needed to diagnose sacral insufficiency fracture after LS arthrodesis. A trial of conservative management is reasonable for select patients; potential surgical indications include refractory pain, neurological deficit, fracture nonunion with anterolisthesis or kyphotic angulation, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, and spinopelvic malalignment. Lumbopelvic fixation with iliac screws may be effective salvage treatment to allow fracture healing and symptom improvement. High-risk patients may benefit from prophylactic lumbopelvic fixation at the time of index LS arthrodesis.

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Jesse J. McClure, Bhargav D. Desai, Leah M. Shabo, Thomas J. Buell, Chun-Po Yen, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey and Avery L. Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a safe and effective intervention to treat cervical spine pathology. Although these were originally performed as single-level procedures, multilevel ACDF has been performed for patients with extensive degenerative disc disease. To date, there is a paucity of data regarding outcomes related to ACDFs of 3 or more levels. The purpose of this study was to compare surgical outcomes of 3- and 4-level ACDF procedures.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent 3- and 4-level ACDF at the University of Virginia Health System between January 2010 and December 2017. In patients meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, demographics, fusion rates, time to fusion, and reoperation rates were evaluated. Fusion was determined by < 1 mm of change in interspinous distance between individual fused vertebrae on lateral flexion/extension radiographs and lack of radiolucency between the grafts and vertebral bodies. Any procedure requiring a surgical revision was considered a failure.

RESULTS

Sixty-six patients (47 with 3-level and 19 with 4-level ACDFs) met the inclusion/exclusion criteria of having at least one lateral flexion/extension radiograph series ≥ 12 months after surgery. Seventy percent of 3-level patients and 68% of 4-level patients had ≥ 24 months of follow-up. Ninety-four percent of 3-level patients and 100% of 4-level patients achieved radiographic fusion for at least 1 surgical level. Eighty-eight percent and 82% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C3–4; 85% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C4–5; 68% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C5–6; 44% and 42% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C6–7; and no patients achieved fusion at C7–T1. Time to fusion was not significantly different between levels. Revision was required in 6.4% of patients with 3-level and in 16% of patients with 4-level ACDF. The mean time to revision was 46.2 and 45.4 months for 3- and 4-level ACDF, respectively. The most common reason for revision was worsening of initial symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experience with long-segment anterior cervical fusions shows their fusion rates exceeding most of the reported fusion rates for similar procedures in the literature, with rates similar to those reported for short-segment ACDFs. Three-level and 4-level ACDF procedures are viable options for cervical spine pathology, and the authors’ analysis demonstrates an equivalent rate of fusion and time to fusion between 3- and 4-level surgeries.