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Benjamin D. Elder, Krishanthan Vigneswaran, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou and Daniel H. Kim

Object

Tissue engineering appears to be a promising strategy for articular cartilage regeneration as a treatment for facet joint arthritis. Prior to the commencement of tissue engineering approaches, design criteria must be established to determine the required functional properties of the replacement tissue. As characterization of the functional properties of facet joint cartilage has not been performed previously, the objective of this study was to determine the biomechanical, biochemical, and histological properties of facet joint cartilage.

Methods

The in vitro testing was conducted using 4 lumbar spinal segments obtained from skeletally mature canines. In each specimen, articular cartilage was obtained from the superior surface of the L3–4 and L4–5 facet joints. Creep indentation was used to determine the compressive biomechanical properties, while uniaxial tensile testing yielded the Young modulus and ultimate tensile strength of the tissue. Additionally, biochemical assessments included determinations of cellularity, glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content, and collagen content, as well as enzymelinked immunosorbent assays for collagen I and II production. Finally, histological characterization included H & E staining, as well as staining for collagen and GAG distributions.

Results

The means ± standard deviation values were determined. There were no differences between the 2 spinal levels for any of the assessed properties. Averaged over both levels, the thickness was 0.49 ± 0.10 mm and the hydration was 74.7 ± 1.7%. Additionally, the cells/wet weight (WW) ratio was 6.26 ± 2.66 × 104 cells/mg and the cells/dry weight (DW) ratio was 2.51 ± 1.21 × 105 cells/mg. The GAG/WW was 0.038 ± 0.013 and the GAG/ DW was 0.149 ± 0.049 mg/mg, while the collagen/WW was 0.168 ± 0.026 and collagen/DW was 0.681 ± 0.154 mg/ mg. Finally, the aggregate modulus was 554 ± 133 kPa, the Young modulus was 10.08 ± 8.07 MPa, and the ultimate tensile strength was 4.44 ± 2.40 MPa.

Conclusions

To the best of the authors' knowledge, this study is the first to provide a functional characterization of facet joint articular cartilage, thus providing design criteria for future tissue engineering studies.

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Camilo Molina, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Benjamin D. Elder, Rafael De la Garza Ramos and Daniel M. Sciubba

Surgical interventions for spinal metastasis are commonly performed for mechanical stabilization, pain relief, preservation of neurological function, and local tumor reduction. Although multiple surgical approaches can be used for the treatment of metastatic spinal lesions, posterior approaches are commonly performed. In this study, the role of posterior surgical procedures in the treatment of spinal metastases was reviewed, including posterior laminectomy with and without instrumentation for stabilization, transpedicular corpectomy, and costotransversectomy. A review of the literature from 1980 to 2015 was performed using Medline, as was a review of the bibliographies of articles meeting preset inclusion criteria, to identify studies on the role of these posterior approaches among adults with spinal metastasis. Thirty-four articles were ultimately analyzed, including 1 randomized controlled trial, 6 prospective cohort studies, and 27 retrospective case reports and/or series. Some of the reviewed articles had Level II evidence indicating that laminectomy with stabilization can be recommended for improvement in neurological outcome and reduction of pain in selected patients. However, the use of laminectomy alone should be carefully considered. Additionally, transpedicular corpectomy and costotransversectomy can be recommended with the expectation of improving neurological outcomes and reducing pain in properly selected patients with spinal metastases. With improvements in the treatment paradigms for patients with spinal metastasis, as well as survival, surgical therapy will continue to play an important role in the management of spinal metastasis. While this review presents a window into determining the utility of posterior approaches, future prospective studies will provide essential data to better define the roles of the various options now available to surgeons in treating spinal metastases.

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Adip G. Bhargav, Cody L. Nesvick, Giuseppe Lanzino and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

Although ventricular shunting is an effective therapy for idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), the effect of shunt valve type on the incidence of revision surgery is not well defined. To address this issue, shunt revision rates between patients with iNPH receiving a fixed-setting valve (FSV) versus a programmable valve (PV) were compared.

METHODS

Patients with iNPH treated with ventricular shunting between 2001 and 2017 were included for analysis. The incidence of shunt revision was noted and risk factors for revision were identified using a Cox proportional hazards model. Costs associated with admission for ventricular shunt procedures were obtained from the Vizient national database.

RESULTS

There were 348 patients included for analysis, with 98 patients (28.1%) receiving a PV. Shunt revision occurred in 73 patients (21.0%), with 12 patients (3.4%) undergoing multiple revisions. Overall revision rates were lower in patients receiving a PV (13.3% vs 24.0%; p = 0.027), as was the incidence of multiple revisions (0.0% vs 4.8%; p = 0.023). Patients with initial placement of an FSV were also more likely to undergo valve exchange during follow-up (12.4% vs 2.0%; p = 0.003). Patients with a PV were less likely to undergo revision due to persistent symptoms without obstruction (2.0% vs 8.8%; p = 0.031) and distal obstruction (1.0% vs 6.8%; p = 0.030). In a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, initial placement of a PV was associated with reduced risk of revision due to persistent symptoms without obstruction (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.04–0.93; p = 0.036). PVs were associated with more frequent shunt series (1.3 vs 0.6; p < 0.001) and head CT scans (3.6 vs 2.7; p = 0.038) during follow-up. There was no significant difference in mean total costs between patients receiving an FSV and a PV ($24,282.50 vs $24,396.90; p = 0.937).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results suggest that PVs lead to reduced rates of shunt revision in patients with iNPH, and decreased risk of revision due to persistent symptoms of iNPH, thereby justifying the higher upfront cost of PVs despite similar overall treatment costs between these devices.

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Enrico Giordan, Giorgio Palandri, Giuseppe Lanzino, Mohammad Hassan Murad and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

Different CSF diversion procedures (ventriculoperitoneal, ventriculoatrial, and lumboperitoneal shunting) have been utilized for the treatment of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus. More recently, endoscopic third ventriculostomy has been suggested as a reasonable alternative in some studies. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess overall rates of favorable outcomes and adverse events for each of these treatments. An additional objective was to determine the outcomes and complication rates in relation to the type of valve utilized (fixed vs programmable).

METHODS

Multiple databases (PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus) were searched for studies involving patients with idiopathic ventriculomegaly, no secondary cause of hydrocephalus, opening pressure < 25 mm Hg on high-volume tap or drainage trial, and age > 60 years. Outcomes included the proportion of patients who showed improvement in gait, cognition, and bladder function. Adverse events considered in the analysis included postoperative ischemic/hemorrhagic complications, subdural fluid collections, seizures, need for revision surgery, and infection.

RESULTS

A total of 33 studies, encompassing 2461 patients, were identified. More than 75% of patients experienced improvement after shunting, without significant differences among the different techniques utilized. Overall, gait improvement was observed in 75% of patients, cognitive function improvement in more than 60%, and improvement of incontinence in 55%. Adjustable valves were associated with a reduction in revisions (12% vs 32%) and subdural collections (9% vs 22%) as compared to fixed valves.

CONCLUSIONS

Outcomes did not differ significantly among different CSF diversion techniques, and overall improvement was reported in more than 75% of patients. The use of programmable valves decreased the incidence of revision surgery and of subdural collections after surgery, potentially justifying the higher initial cost associated with these valves.

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Benjamin D. Elder, Wataru Ishida, C. Rory Goodwin, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Timothy F. Witham

OBJECTIVE

With the advent of new adjunctive therapy, the overall survival of patients harboring spinal column tumors has improved. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the optimal bone graft options following resection of spinal column tumors, due to their relative rarity and because fusion outcomes in this cohort are affected by various factors, such as radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy. Furthermore, bone graft options are often limited following tumor resection because the use of local bone grafts and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are usually avoided in light of microscopic infiltration of tumors into local bone and potential carcinogenicity of BMP. The objective of this study was to review and meta-analyze the relevant clinical literature to provide further clinical insight regarding bone graft options.

METHODS

A web-based MEDLINE search was conducted in accordance with preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, which yielded 27 articles with 383 patients. Information on baseline characteristics, tumor histology, adjunctive treatments, reconstruction methods, bone graft options, fusion rates, and time to fusion were collected. Pooled fusion rates (PFRs) and I2 values were calculated in meta-analysis. Meta-regression analyses were also performed if each variable appeared to affect fusion outcomes. Furthermore, data on 272 individual patients were available, which were additionally reviewed and statistically analyzed.

RESULTS

Overall, fusion rates varied widely from 36.0% to 100.0% due to both inter- and intrastudy heterogeneity, with a PFR of 85.7% (I2 = 36.4). The studies in which cages were filled with morselized iliac crest autogenic bone graft (ICABG) and/or other bone graft options were used for anterior fusion showed a significantly higher PFR of 92.8, compared with the other studies (83.3%, p = 0.04). In per-patient analysis, anterior plus posterior fusion resulted in a higher fusion rate than anterior fusion only (98.8% vs 86.4%, p < 0.001). Although unmodifiable, RT (90.3% vs 98.6%, p = 0.03) and lumbosacral tumors (74.6% vs 97.9%, p < 0.001) were associated with lower fusion rates in univariate analysis. The mean time to fusion was 5.4 ± 1.4 months (range 3–9 months), whereas 16 of 272 patients died before the confirmation of solid fusion with a mean survival of 3.1 ± 2.1 months (range 0.5–6 months). The average time to fusion of patients who received RT and chemotherapy were significantly longer than those who did not receive these adjunctive treatments (RT: 6.1 months vs 4.3 months, p < 0.001; chemotherapy: 6.0 months vs 4.3 months, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Due to inter- and intrastudy heterogeneity in patient, disease, fusion criteria, and treatment characteristics, the optimal surgical techniques and factors predictive of fusion remain unclear. Clearly, future prospective, randomized studies will be necessary to better understand the issues surrounding bone graft selection following resection of spinal column tumors.

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Sharif Vakili, Dane Moran, Alice Hung, Benjamin D. Elder, Lee Jeon, Hugo Fialho, Eric W. Sankey, Ignacio Jusué-Torres, C. Rory Goodwin, Jennifer Lu, Jamie Robison and Daniele Rigamonti

OBJECTIVE

A growing body of evidence suggests that longer durations of preoperative symptoms may correlate with worse postoperative outcomes following cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion for treatment of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH). The aim of this study is to determine whether the duration of preoperative symptoms alters postoperative outcomes in patients treated for iNPH.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 393 cases of iNPH involving patients treated with ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting. The duration of symptoms prior to the operative intervention was recorded. The following outcome variables were assessed at baseline, 6 months postoperatively, and at last follow-up: gait performance, urinary continence, and cognition.

RESULTS

The patients' median age at shunt placement was 74 years. Increased symptom duration was significantly associated with worse gait outcomes (relative risk (RR) 1.055 per year of symptoms, p = 0.037), and an overall absence of improvement in any of the classic triad symptomology (RR 1.053 per year of symptoms, p = 0.033) at 6 months postoperatively. Additionally, there were trends toward significance for symptom duration increasing the risk of having no 6-month postoperative improvement in urinary incontinence (RR 1.049 per year of symptoms, p = 0.069) or cognitive symptoms (RR 1.051 per year of symptoms, p = 0.069). However, no statistically significant differences were noted in these outcomes at last follow-up (median 31 months). Age stratification by decade revealed that prolonging symptom duration was significantly associated with lower Mini-Mental Status Examination scores in patients aged 60–70 years, and lack of cognitive improvement in patients aged 70–80 years.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with iNPH with longer duration of preoperative symptoms may not receive the same short-term benefits of surgical intervention as patients with shorter duration of preoperative symptoms. However, with longer follow-up, the patients generally reached the same end point. Therefore, when managing patients with iNPH, it may take longer to see the benefits of CSF shunting when patients present with a longer duration of preoperative symptoms.

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Ann Liu, Eric W. Sankey, C. Rory Goodwin, Thomas A. Kosztowski, Benjamin D. Elder, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECT

Spinal metastases from gynecological cancers are rare, with few cases reported in the literature. In this study, the authors examine a series of patients with spinal metastases from gynecological cancer and review the literature.

METHODS

The cases of 6 consecutive patients who underwent spine surgery for metastatic gynecological cancer between 2007 and 2012 at a single institution were retrospectively reviewed. The recorded demographic, operative, and postoperative factors were reviewed, and the functional outcomes were determined by change in Karnofsky Performance Scale and the American Spine Injury Association (ASIA) score during follow-up. A systematic review of the literature was also performed to evaluate outcomes for patients with similar gynecological metastases to the spine.

RESULTS

In this series, details regarding metastatic gynecological cancers to the spine are as follows: 2 patients with cervical cancer (both presented at age 46 years, mean postoperative survival of 32 months), 2 patients with endometrial cancer (mean age of 40 years, mean postoperative survival of 26 months), and 2 patients with leiomyosarcoma (mean age of 44 years, mean postoperative survival of 20 months). All patients presented with pain, and no complications were noted following surgery. All patients with known follow-up had stable or improved neurological outcomes, performance status, and improved pain, without local recurrence of tumor. Overall median survival after diagnosis of metastatic spine lesions for all cases in the literature as well as those treated by the authors was 15 months. When categorized by type, median survival of patients with cervical cancer (n = 2), endometrial cancer (n = 26), and leiomyosarcoma (n = 16) was 32, 10, and 22.5 months, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Gynecological cancers metastasizing to the spine are rare. In this series, overall survival following diagnosis of spinal metastasis and surgery was 27 months, with cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, and leiomyosarcoma survival being 32, 26, and 20 months, respectively. Combined with literature cases, survival differs depending on primary histology, with decreasing survival from cervical cancer (32 months) to leiomyosarcoma (22.5 months) to endometrial cancer (10 months). Integrating such information with other patient factors may more accurately guide decision making regarding management of such spinal lesions.

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Eric W. Sankey, C. Rory Goodwin, Ignacio Jusué-Torres, Benjamin D. Elder, Jamie Hoffberger, Jennifer Lu, Ari M. Blitz and Daniele Rigamonti

OBJECT

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the treatment of choice for obstructive hydrocephalus; however, the success of ETV in patients who have previously undergone shunt placement remains unclear. The present study analyzed 103 adult patients with aqueductal stenosis who underwent ETV for obstructive hydrocephalus and evaluated the effect of previous shunt placement on post-ETV outcomes.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of 151 consecutive patients who were treated between 2007 and 2013 with ETV for hydrocephalus. One hundred three (68.2%) patients with aqueductal stenosis causing obstructive hydrocephalus were included in the analysis. Postoperative ETV patency and aqueductal and cisternal flow were assessed by high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI. Post-ETV Mini-Mental State Examination, Timed Up and Go, and Tinetti scores were compared with preoperative values. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed comparing the post-ETV outcomes in patients who underwent a primary (no previous shunt) ETV (n = 64) versus secondary (previous shunt) ETV (n = 39).

RESULTS

The majority of patients showed significant improvement in symptoms after ETV; however, no significant differences were seen in any of the quantitative tests performed during follow-up. Symptom recurrence occurred in 29 (28.2%) patients after ETV, after a median of 3.0 (interquartile range 0.8–8.0) months post-ETV failure. Twenty-seven (26.2%) patients required surgical revision after their initial ETV. Patients who received a secondary ETV had higher rates of symptom recurrence (p = 0.003) and surgical revision (p = 0.003), particularly in regard to additional shunt placement/revision post-ETV (p = 0.005). These differences remained significant after multivariate analysis for both symptom recurrence (p = 0.030) and surgical revision (p = 0.043).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with obstructive hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis exhibit symptomatic improvement after ETV, with a relatively low failure rate. Patients with a primary history of shunt placement who undergo ETV as a secondary intervention are at increased risk of symptom recurrence and need for surgical revision post-ETV.

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Eric W. Sankey, Benjamin D. Elder, Ann Liu, Kathryn A. Carson, C. Rory Goodwin, Ignacio Jusué-Torres and Daniele Rigamonti

OBJECTIVE

Factors associated with emergency department admission and/or shunt revision for idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) are unclear. In this study, the associations of several factors with emergency department admission and shunt revision for IIH were explored.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of 31 patients (169 total emergency department visits) who presented to the emergency department for IIH-related symptoms between 2003 and 2015. Demographics, comorbidities, symptoms, IIH diagnosis and treatment history, ophthalmological examination, diagnostic lumbar puncture (LP), imaging findings, and data regarding admission and management decisions were collected. Multivariable general linear models regression analysis was performed to assess the predictive factors associated with admission and shunt revision.

RESULTS

Thirty-one adult patients with a history of shunt placement for IIH visited the emergency department a total of 169 times for IIH-related symptoms, with a median of 3 visits (interquartile range 2–7 visits) per patient. Five patients had more than 10 emergency department visits. Baseline factors associated with admission included male sex (OR 10.47, 95% CI 2.13–51.56; p = 0.004) and performance of an LP (OR 3.10, 95% CI 1.31–7.31; p = 0.01). Contrastingly, older age at presentation (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.90–0.99; p = 0.01), and a greater number of prior emergency department visits (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89–0.99; p = 0.02) were slightly protective against admission. The presence of papilledema (OR 11.62, 95% CI 3.20–42.16; p < 0.001), Caucasian race (OR 40.53, 95% CI 2.49–660.09 p = 0.009), and systemic hypertension (OR 7.73, 95% CI 1.11–53.62; p = 0.03) were independent risk factors for shunt revision. In addition, a greater number of prior emergency department visits (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.77–0.96; p = 0.009) and older age at presentation (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.87–0.99; p = 0.02) were slightly protective against shunt revision, while there was suggestive evidence that presence of a programmable shunt (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.05–1.14; p = 0.07) was a protective factor against shunt revision. Of note, location of the proximal catheter in the ventricle or lumbar subarachnoid space was not significantly associated with admission or shunt revision in the multivariable analyses.

CONCLUSIONS

The decision to admit a shunt-treated patient from the emergency department for symptoms related to IIH is challenging. Knowledge of factors associated with the need for admission and/or shunt revision is required. In this study, factors such as male sex, younger age at presentation, lower number of prior emergency department visits, and performance of a diagnostic LP were independent predictors of admission. In addition, papilledema was strongly predictive of the need for shunt revision, highlighting the importance of an ophthalmological examination for shunt-treated adults with IIH who present to the emergency department.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Dima Suki, Viraat Harsh, Benjamin D. Elder, Daniel K. Fahim, Ian E. McCutcheon, Ganesh Rao, Laurence D. Rhines and Claudio E. Tatsui

OBJECT

Spinal metastases account for the majority of bone metastases from thyroid cancer. The objective of the current study was to analyze a series of consecutive patients undergoing spinal surgery for thyroid cancer metastases in order to identify factors that influence overall survival.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients who underwent surgery for spinal metastases from thyroid cancer between 1993 and 2010 at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

RESULTS

Forty-three patients met the study criteria. Median overall survival was 15.4 months (95% CI 2.8–27.9 months) based on the Kaplan-Meier method. The median follow-up duration for the 4 patients who were alive at the end of the study was 39.4 months (range 1.7–62.6 months). On the multivariate Cox analysis, progressive systemic disease at spine surgery and postoperative complications were associated with worse overall survival (HR 8.98 [95% CI 3.46–23.30], p < 0.001; and HR 2.86 [95% CI 1.30–6.31], p = 0.009, respectively). Additionally, preoperative neurological deficit was significantly associated with worse overall survival on the multivariate analysis (HR 3.01 [95% CI 1.34–6.79], p = 0.008). Conversely, preoperative embolization was significantly associated with improved overall survival on the multivariate analysis (HR 0.43 [95% CI 0.20–0.94], p = 0.04). Preoperative embolization and longer posterior construct length were significantly associated with fewer and greater complications, respectively, on the univariate analysis (OR 0.24 [95% CI 0.06–0.93] p = 0.04; and OR 1.24 [95% CI 1.02–1.52], p = 0.03), but not the multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Progressive systemic disease, postoperative complications, and preoperative neurological deficits were significantly associated with worse overall survival, while preoperative spinal embolization was associated with improved overall survival. These factors should be taken into consideration when considering such patients for surgery. Preoperative embolization and posterior construct length significantly influenced the incidence of postoperative complications only on the univariate analysis.