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Ryszard M. Pluta, John A. Butman, Bawarjan Schatlo, Dennis L. Johnson and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Investigators in experimental and clinical studies have used the intrathecal route to deliver drugs to prevent or treat vasospasm. However, a clot near an artery or arteries after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may hamper distribution and limit the effects of intrathecally delivered compounds. In a primate model of right middle cerebral artery (MCA) SAH, the authors examined the distribution of Isovue-M 300 and 3% Evans blue after infusion into the cisterna magna CSF.

Methods

Ten cynomolgus monkeys were assigned to SAH and sham SAH surgery groups (5 in each group). Monkeys received CSF injections as long as 28 days after SAH and were killed 3 hours after the contrast/Evans blue injection. The authors assessed the distribution of contrast material on serial CT within 2 hours after contrast injection and during autopsy within 3 hours after Evans blue staining.

Results

Computed tomography cisternographies showed no contrast in the vicinity of the right MCA (p < 0.05 compared with left); the distribution of contrast surrounding the entire right cerebral hemisphere was substantially reduced. Postmortem analysis demonstrated much less Evans blue staining of the right hemisphere surface compared with the left. Furthermore, the Evans blue dye did not penetrate into the right sylvian fissure, which occurred surrounding the left MCA. The authors observed the same pattern of changes and differences in contrast distribution between SAH and sham SAH animals and between the right and the left hemispheres on Days 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28 after SAH.

Conclusions

Intrathecal drug distribution is substantially limited by SAH. Thus, when using intrathecal drug delivery after SAH, vasoactive drugs are unlikely to reach the arteries that are at the highest risk of delayed cerebral vasospasm.

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Pier Paolo Panciani, Marco Fontanella, Emanuela Crobeddu, Bawarjan Schatlo, Mauro Bergui and Alessandro Ducati

Knowledge of spinal cord arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) has recently been improved by studies on pathophysiology, neuroimaging, and genetic data. Nevertheless, the natural history of these lesions remains poorly understood.

The authors present the case of an angiographic regression of a nidal-type spinal AVM at T-12 to L-1 in a 46-year-old woman with no risk factors. The natural course of untreated lesions is reviewed and discussed. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first study that reports an angiographically proven complete spontaneous occlusion of a spinal AVM.

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Oliver P. Gautschi, Bawarjan Schatlo, Karl Schaller and Enrico Tessitore

Object

The technique of pedicle screw insertion is a mainstay of spinal instrumentation. Some of its potential complications are clinically relevant and may require reoperation or further postoperative care.

Methods

A literature search was performed using MEDLINE (between 1999 and June 2011) for studies on pedicle screw placement in thoracolumbar surgery. The authors included randomized controlled trials, case-control studies, and case series (≥ 20 patients) from the English-, German-, and French-language literature. The authors assessed study type, the number of patients, the anatomical area, the number of pedicle screws, duration of follow-up, type of pedicle screw placement, incidence of complications, and type of complication. The management of specific complications is discussed.

Results

Thirty-nine articles with 46 patient groups were reviewed with a total of 35,630 pedicle screws. One study was a randomized controlled trial, 8 were case-control studies, and the remaining articles were case series. Dural lesions and irritation of nerve roots were reported in a mean of 0.18% and 0.19% per pedicle screws, respectively. Thirty-two patients in 10 studies (of 5654 patients from all 39 studies) required further revision surgeries for misplaced pedicle screws causing neurological problems. None of the analyzed studies reported vascular complications, and only 2 studies reported visceral complications of clinical significance.

Conclusions

Pedicle screw placement in the thoracolumbar region is a safe procedure with an overall high accuracy and a very low rate of clinically relevant complications.

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Bawarjan Schatlo, Granit Molliqaj, Victor Cuvinciuc, Marc Kotowski, Karl Schaller and Enrico Tessitore

Object

Recent years have been marked by efforts to improve the quality and safety of pedicle screw placement in spinal instrumentation. The aim of the present study is to compare the accuracy of the SpineAssist robot system with conventional fluoroscopy-guided pedicle screw placement.

Methods

Ninety-five patients suffering from degenerative disease and requiring elective lumbar instrumentation were included in the study. The robot cohort (Group I; 55 patients, 244 screws) consisted of an initial open robot-assisted subgroup (Subgroup IA; 17 patients, 83 screws) and a percutaneous cohort (Subgroup IB, 38 patients, 161 screws). In these groups, pedicle screws were placed under robotic guidance and lateral fluoroscopic control. In the fluoroscopy-guided cohort (Group II; 40 patients, 163 screws) screws were inserted using anatomical landmarks and lateral fluoroscopic guidance. The primary outcome measure was accuracy of screw placement on the Gertzbein-Robbins scale (Grade A to E and R [revised]). Secondary parameters were duration of surgery, blood loss, cumulative morphine, and length of stay.

Results

In the robot group (Group I), a perfect trajectory (A) was observed in 204 screws (83.6%). The remaining screws were graded B (n = 19 [7.8%]), C (n = 9 [3.7%]), D (n = 4 [1.6%]), E (n = 2 [0.8%]), and R (n = 6 [2.5%]). In the fluoroscopy-guided group (Group II), a completely intrapedicular course graded A was found in 79.8% (n = 130). The remaining screws were graded B (n = 12 [7.4%]), C (n = 10 [6.1%]), D (n = 6 [3.7%]), and E (n = 5 [3.1%]). The comparison of “clinically acceptable” (that is, A and B screws) was neither different between groups (I vs II [p = 0.19]) nor subgroups (Subgroup IA vs IB [p = 0.81]; Subgroup IA vs Group II [p = 0.53]; Subgroup IB vs Group II [p = 0.20]). Blood loss was lower in the robot-assisted group than in the fluoroscopy-guided group, while duration of surgery, length of stay, and cumulative morphine dose were not statistically different.

Conclusions

Robot-guided pedicle screw placement is a safe and useful tool for assisting spine surgeons in degenerative spine cases. Nonetheless, technical difficulties remain and fluoroscopy backup is advocated.

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Granit Molliqaj, Bawarjan Schatlo, Awad Alaid, Volodymyr Solomiichuk, Veit Rohde, Karl Schaller and Enrico Tessitore

OBJECTIVE

The quest to improve the safety and accuracy and decrease the invasiveness of pedicle screw placement in spine surgery has led to a markedly increased interest in robotic technology. The SpineAssist from Mazor is one of the most widely distributed robotic systems. The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of robot-guided and conventional freehand fluoroscopy-guided pedicle screw placement in thoracolumbar surgery.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective series of 169 patients (83 women [49%]) who underwent placement of pedicle screw instrumentation from 2007 to 2015 in 2 reference centers. Pathological entities included degenerative disorders, tumors, and traumatic cases. In the robot-assisted cohort (98 patients, 439 screws), pedicle screws were inserted with robotic assistance. In the freehand fluoroscopy-guided cohort (71 patients, 441 screws), screws were inserted using anatomical landmarks and lateral fluoroscopic guidance. Patients treated before 2009 were included in the fluoroscopy cohort, whereas those treated since mid-2009 (when the robot was acquired) were included in the robot cohort. Since then, the decision to operate using robotic assistance or conventional freehand technique has been based on surgeon preference and logistics. The accuracy of screw placement was assessed based on the Gertzbein-Robbins scale by a neuroradiologist blinded to treatment group. The radiological slice with the largest visible deviation from the pedicle was chosen for grading. A pedicle breach of 2 mm or less was deemed acceptable (Grades A and B) while deviations greater than 2 mm (Grades C, D, and E) were classified as misplacements.

RESULTS

In the robot-assisted cohort, a perfect trajectory (Grade A) was observed for 366 screws (83.4%). The remaining screws were Grades B (n = 44 [10%]), C (n = 15 [3.4%]), D (n = 8 [1.8%]), and E (n = 6 [1.4%]). In the fluoroscopy-guided group, a completely intrapedicular course graded as A was found in 76% (n = 335). The remaining screws were Grades B (n = 57 [12.9%]), C (n = 29 [6.6%]), D (n = 12 [2.7%]), and E (n = 8 [1.8%]). The proportion of non-misplaced screws (corresponding to Gertzbein-Robbins Grades A and B) was higher in the robot-assisted group (93.4%) than the freehand fluoroscopy group (88.9%) (p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ retrospective case review found that robot-guided pedicle screw placement is a safe, useful, and potentially more accurate alternative to the conventional freehand technique for the placement of thoracolumbar spinal instrumentation.

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Volodymyr Solomiichuk, Julius Fleischhammer, Granit Molliqaj, Jwad Warda, Awad Alaid, Kajetan von Eckardstein, Karl Schaller, Enrico Tessitore, Veit Rohde and Bawarjan Schatlo

OBJECTIVE

Robot-guided pedicle screw placement is an established technique for the placement of pedicle screws. However, most studies have focused on degenerative disease. In this paper, the authors focus on metastatic spinal disease, which is associated with osteolysis. The associated lack of dense bone may potentially affect the automatic recognition accuracy of radiography-based surgical assistance systems. The aim of the present study is to compare the accuracy of the SpineAssist robot system with conventional fluoroscopy-guided pedicle screw placement for thoracolumbar metastatic spinal disease.

METHODS

Seventy patients with metastatic spinal disease who required instrumentation were included in this retrospective matched-cohort study. All 70 patients underwent surgery performed by the same team of experienced surgeons. The decision to use robot-assisted or fluoroscopy-guided pedicle screw placement was based the availability of the robot system. In patients who underwent surgery with robot guidance, pedicle screws were inserted after preoperative planning and intraoperative fluoroscopic matching. In the “conventional” group, anatomical landmarks and anteroposterior and lateral fluoroscopy guided placement of the pedicle screws. The primary outcome measure was the accuracy of screw placement on the Gertzbein-Robbins scale. Grades A and B (< 2-mm pedicle breach) were considered clinically acceptable, and all other grades indicated misplacement. Secondary outcome measures included an intergroup comparison of direction of screw misplacement, surgical site infection, and radiation exposure.

RESULTS

A total of 406 screws were placed at 206 levels. Sixty-one (29.6%) surgically treated levels were in the upper thoracic spine (T1–6), 74 (35.9%) were in the lower thoracic spine, and the remaining 71 (34.4%) were in the lumbosacral region. In the robot-assisted group (Group I; n = 35, 192 screws), trajectories were Grade A or B in 162 (84.4%) of screws. The misplacement rate was 15.6% (30 of 192 screws). In the conventional group (Group II; n = 35, 214 screws), 83.6% (179 of 214) of screw trajectories were acceptable, with a misplacement rate of 16.4% (35 of 214). There was no difference in screw accuracy between the groups (chi-square, 2-tailed Fisher’s exact, p = 0.89). One screw misplacement in the fluoroscopy group required a second surgery (0.5%), but no revisions were required in the robot group. There was no difference in surgical site infections between the 2 groups (Group I, 5 patients [14.3%]; Group II, 8 patients [22.9%]) or in the duration of surgery between the 2 groups (Group I, 226.1 ± 78.8 minutes; Group II, 264.1 ± 124.3 minutes; p = 0.13). There was also no difference in radiation time between the groups (Group I, 138.2 ± 73.0 seconds; Group II, 126.5 ± 95.6 seconds; p = 0.61), but the radiation intensity was higher in the robot group (Group I, 2.8 ± 0.2 mAs; Group II, 2.0 ± 0.6 mAs; p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Pedicle screw placement for metastatic disease in the thoracolumbar spine can be performed effectively and safely using robot-guided assistance. Based on this retrospective analysis, accuracy, radiation time, and postoperative infection rates are comparable to those of the conventional technique.

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Vesna Malinova, Bawarjan Schatlo, Martin Voit, Patricia Suntheim, Veit Rohde and Dorothee Mielke

OBJECTIVE

Clipping of a ruptured intracranial aneurysm requires some degree of vessel manipulation, which in turn is believed to contribute to vasoconstriction. One of the techniques used during surgery is temporary clipping of the parent vessel. Temporary clipping may either be mandatory in cases of premature rupture (rescue) or represent a precautionary or facilitating surgical step (elective). The aim of this study was to study the association between temporary clipping during aneurysm surgery and the incidence of vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) in a large clinical series.

METHODS

Seven hundred seventy-eight patients who underwent surgical aneurysm treatment after aSAH were retrospectively included in the study. In addition to surgical parameters, the authors recorded transcranial Doppler (TCD) sonography–documented vasospasm (TCD-vasospasm, blood flow acceleration > 120 cm/sec), delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DINDs), and delayed cerebral infarction (DCI). Multivariate binary logistic regression analysis was applied to assess the association between temporary clipping, vasospasm, DIND, and DCI.

RESULTS

Temporary clipping was performed in 338 (43.4%) of 778 patients during aneurysm surgery. TCD sonographic flow acceleration developed in 370 (47.6%), DINDs in 123 (15.8%), and DCI in 97 (12.5%). Patients with temporary clipping showed no significant increase in the incidence of TCD-vasospasm compared with patients without temporary clipping (49% vs 48%, respectively; p = 0.60). DINDs developed in 12% of patients with temporary clipping and 18% of those without temporary clipping (p = 0.01). DCI occurred in 9% of patients with temporary clipping and 15% of those without temporary clipping (p = 0.02). The need for rescue temporary clipping was a predictor for DCI; 19.5% of patients in the rescue temporary clipping group but only 11.3% in the elective temporary clipping group had infarcts (p = 0.02). Elective temporary clipping was not associated with TCD-vasospasm (p = 0.31), DIND (p = 0.18), or DCI (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

Temporary clipping did not contribute to a higher rate of TCD-vasospasm, DIND, or DCI in comparison with rates in patients without temporary clipping. In contrast, there was an association between temporary clipping and a lower incidence of DINDs and DCI. There is no reason to be hesitant in using elective temporary clipping if deemed appropriate.

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Bawarjan Schatlo, Oliver P. Gautschi, Christoph M. Friedrich, Christian Ebeling, Max Jägersberg, Zsolt Kulscar, Vitor Mendes Pereira, Karl Schaller and Philippe Bijlenga

OBJECTIVE

Although several studies have suggested that the incidence of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) is higher in smokers, the higher prevalence of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in smokers remains uncertain. It is unclear whether smoking additionally contributes to the formation of multiple aneurysms and the risk of rupture. The aim of this study was to determine whether smoking is associated with IA formation, multiplicity, or rupture.

METHODS

Patients from the prospective multicenter @neurIST database (n = 1410; 985 females [69.9%]) were reviewed for the presence of SAH, multiple aneurysms, and smoking status. The prevalence of smokers in the population of patients diagnosed with at least one IA was compared with that of smokers in the general population.

RESULTS

The proportion of smokers was higher in patients with IAs (56.2%) than in the reference population (51.4%; p < 0.001). A significant association of smoking with the presence of an IA was found throughout group comparisons (p = 0.01). The presence of multiple IAs was also significantly associated with smoking (p = 0.003). A trend was found between duration of smoking and the presence of multiple IAs (p = 0.057). However, the proportion of smokers among patients suffering SAH was similar to that of smokers among patients diagnosed with unruptured IAs (p = 0.48).

CONCLUSIONS

Smoking is strongly associated with IA formation. Once an IA is present, however, smoking does not appear to increase the risk of rupture compared with IAs in the nonsmoking population. The trend toward an association between duration of smoking and the presence of multiple IAs stresses the need for counseling patients with IAs regarding lifestyle modification.