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Jacob R. Joseph, Brandon W. Smith and Hugh J. L. Garton

Blunt prenatal trauma is known to have consequences to the developing brain, and can result in subdural hematoma (SDH) or epidural hematoma (EDH). The authors present a case of blunt prenatal trauma resulting in a fetal SDH, intraparenchymal hematoma, and intraventricular hemorrhage, and perform a systematic review of the literature. This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Relevant studies (up to April 2016) that reported on cases of fetal SDH or EDH after blunt prenatal trauma were identified from the PubMed database. The primary outcome was fetal mortality, and the secondary outcome was neurological outcome. Fourteen studies were included in the analysis, comprising a total of 14 patients including the present case. The average gestational age at discovery of hemorrhage was 30.1 weeks. Nine mothers were in a motor vehicle collision and 3 were assaulted; the mechanism of injury for 2 mothers was not defined. Twelve patients had SDH, 1 had EDH, and 1 had conflicting reports. Three patients had intrauterine fetal demise, and 3 died in the neonatal period after birth. Three patients had persistent neurological deficit, and 5 were neurologically intact. Fetal SDH or EDH after blunt trauma to the mother trauma is rare and is associated with mortality. However, a significant number of patients can have good neurological outcomes.

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Jacob R. Joseph, Brandon W. Smith, Xilin Liu and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Surgical robotics has demonstrated utility across the spectrum of surgery. Robotics in spine surgery, however, remains in its infancy. Here, the authors systematically review the evidence behind robotic applications in spinal instrumentation.

METHODS

This systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant studies (through October 2016) that reported the use of robotics in spinal instrumentation were identified from a search of the PubMed database. Data regarding the accuracy of screw placement, surgeon learning curve, radiation exposure, and reasons for robotic failure were extracted.

RESULTS

Twenty-five studies describing 2 unique robots met inclusion criteria. Of these, 22 studies evaluated accuracy of spinal instrumentation. Although grading of pedicle screw accuracy was variable, the most commonly used method was the Gertzbein and Robbins system of classification. In the studies using the Gertzbein and Robbins system, accuracy (Grades A and B) ranged from 85% to 100%. Ten studies evaluated radiation exposure during the procedure. In studies that detailed fluoroscopy usage, overall fluoroscopy times ranged from 1.3 to 34 seconds per screw. Nine studies examined the learning curve for the surgeon, and 12 studies described causes of robotic failure, which included registration failure, soft-tissue hindrance, and lateral skiving of the drill guide.

CONCLUSIONS

Robotics in spine surgery is an emerging technology that holds promise for future applications. Surgical accuracy in instrumentation implanted using robotics appears to be high. However, the impact of robotics on radiation exposure is not clear and seems to be dependent on technique and robot type.

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Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph and Paul Park

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a state of thrombocytopenia with a paradoxically elevated thrombotic potential after exposure to heparin. Severe cases can present with multiorgan involvement with direct and secondary effects. Although HIT has been reported following other surgeries, to the authors’ knowledge there has not been a report of HIT after spinal surgery. The present case details the course of a patient who underwent elective lumbar surgery followed by delayed presentation of shortness of breath due to multiple pulmonary embolisms and right lower-extremity paralysis due to extensive iliofemoral clot burden with acute compartment syndrome. The patient was treated with intravenous argatroban for extensive thrombosis and also required open thrombectomy and fasciotomies for treatment of compartment syndrome. Although the patient eventually experienced motor recovery, residual sensory deficits persisted at last follow-up. In this report, the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and treatment of HIT are reviewed.

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Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph, Michael Kirsch, Mary Oakley Strasser, Jacob Smith and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Percutaneous pedicle screw insertion (PPSI) is a mainstay of minimally invasive spinal surgery. Traditionally, PPSI is a fluoroscopy-guided, multistep process involving traversing the pedicle with a Jamshidi needle, placement of a Kirschner wire (K-wire), placement of a soft-tissue dilator, pedicle tract tapping, and screw insertion over the K-wire. This study evaluates the accuracy and safety of PPSI with a simplified 2-step process using a navigated awl-tap followed by navigated screw insertion without use of a K-wire or fluoroscopy.

METHODS

Patients undergoing PPSI utilizing the K-wire–less technique were identified. Data were extracted from the electronic medical record. Complications associated with screw placement were recorded. Postoperative radiographs as well as CT were evaluated for accuracy of pedicle screw placement.

RESULTS

Thirty-six patients (18 male and 18 female) were included. The patients’ mean age was 60.4 years (range 23.8–78.4 years), and their mean body mass index was 28.5 kg/m2 (range 20.8–40.1 kg/m2). A total of 238 pedicle screws were placed. A mean of 6.6 pedicle screws (range 4–14) were placed over a mean of 2.61 levels (range 1–7). No pedicle breaches were identified on review of postoperative radiographs. In a subgroup analysis of the 25 cases (69%) in which CT scans were performed, 173 screws were assessed; 170 (98.3%) were found to be completely within the pedicle, and 3 (1.7%) demonstrated medial breaches of less than 2 mm (Grade B). There were no complications related to PPSI in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

This streamlined 2-step K-wire–less, navigated PPSI appears safe and accurate and avoids the need for radiation exposure to surgeon and staff.

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Brandon W. Smith, Kate W. C. Chang, Lynda J. S. Yang and Mary Catherine Spires

OBJECTIVE

The incorporation of ancillary testing in the preoperative setting for patients with neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) remains controversial, but the recommendation for early nerve reconstruction when a baby has a preganglionic lesion at the lower nerve roots is generally accepted. At some specialty centers, nerve surgeons use preoperative electrodiagnostic testing (EDX) and imaging to aid in lesion localization and the preoperative planning of the nerve reconstruction. EDX and imaging have been evaluated for their abilities to detect pre- and postganglionic lesions, but their accuracies have never been compared directly in the same set of patients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the accuracy of imaging and EDX in an NBPP population.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of 54 patients with operative NBPP seen between 2007 and 2017. The patients underwent EDX and imaging: EDX was performed, and the results were reviewed by board-certified electrodiagnosticians, and imaging was reviewed by board-certified neuroradiologists. The gold standard was considered to be the findings at surgical exploration. Descriptive and analytical statistics were utilized to compare the accuracies of imaging and EDX.

RESULTS

The mean age at surgery was 6.94 mos (± 4 mos). Fifteen patients (28%) were Narakas grade I–II, and 39 (72%) were Narakas grade III–IV. For all nerve roots, the overall accuracy of detecting preganglionic lesions was 74% for EDX and 69% for imaging. The overall sensitivity of detecting preganglionic lesions by EDX was 31%, but the specificity was 90%. The overall sensitivity of detecting preganglionic lesions by imaging was 66%, and the overall specificity was 70%. However, at C8, EDX was 37.5% sensitive and 87.5% specific, whereas imaging was 67.7% sensitive but only 29.4% specific.

CONCLUSIONS

EDX outperformed imaging with regard to specificity and accuracy of identifying preganglionic injuries. This finding is especially relevant in the lower nerve roots, given that lower plexus preganglionic lesions are an accepted indication for early intervention.

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Jacob R. Joseph, Brandon W. Smith, Rakesh D. Patel and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is an increasingly popular technique used to treat degenerative lumbar disease. The technique of using an intraoperative cone-beam CT (iCBCT) and an image-guided navigation system (IGNS) for LLIF cage placement has been previously described. However, other than a small feasibility study, there has been no clinical study evaluating its accuracy or safety. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy and safety of image-guided spinal navigation in LLIF.

METHODS

An analysis of a prospectively acquired database was performed. Thirty-one consecutive patients were identified. Accuracy was initially determined by comparison of the planned trajectory of the IGNS with post–cage placement intraoperative fluoroscopy. Accuracy was subsequently confirmed by postprocedural CT and/or radiography. Cage placement was graded based on a previously described system separating the disc space into quarters.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 63.9 years. A total of 66 spinal levels were treated, with a mean of 2.1 levels (range 1–4) treated per patient. Cage placement was noted to be accurate using IGNS in each case, as confirmed with intraoperative fluoroscopy and postoperative imaging. Sixty-four (97%) cages were placed within Quarters 1 to 2 or 2 to 3, indicating placement of the cage in the anterior or middle portions of the disc space. There were no instances of misguidance by IGNS. There was 1 significant approach-related complication (psoas muscle abscess) that required intervention, and 8 patients with transient, mild thigh paresthesias or weakness.

CONCLUSIONS

LLIF can be safely and accurately performed utilizing iCBCT and IGNS. Accuracy is acceptable for multilevel procedures.

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Todd Hollon, Vincent Nguyen, Brandon W. Smith, Spencer Lewis, Larry Junck and Daniel A. Orringer

OBJECTIVE

Survival rates and prognostic factors for supratentorial hemispheric ependymomas have not been determined. The authors therefore designed a retrospective study to determine progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and prognostic factors for hemispheric ependymomas.

METHODS

The study population consisted of 8 patients from our institution and 101 patients from the literature with disaggregated survival information (n = 109). Patient age, sex, tumor side, tumor location, extent of resection (EOR), tumor grade, postoperative chemotherapy, radiation, time to recurrence, and survival were recorded. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional hazard models were completed to determine survival rates and prognostic factors.

RESULTS

Anaplastic histology/WHO Grade III tumors were identified in 62% of cases and correlated with older age. Three-, 5-, and 10-year PFS rates were 57%, 51%, and 42%, respectively. Three-, 5-, and 10-year OS rates were 77%, 71%, and 58%, respectively. EOR and tumor grade were identified on both Kaplan-Meier log-rank testing and univariate Cox proportional hazard models as prognostic for PFS and OS. Both EOR and tumor grade remained prognostic on multivariate analysis. Subtotal resection (STR) predicted a worse PFS (hazard ratio [HR] 4.764, p = 0.001) and OS (HR 4.216, p = 0.008). Subgroup survival analysis of patients with STR demonstrated a 5- and 10-year OS of 28% and 0%, respectively. WHO Grade III tumors also had worse PFS (HR 10.2, p = 0.004) and OS (HR 9.1, p = 0.035). Patients with WHO Grade III tumors demonstrated 5- and 10-year OS of 61% and 46%, respectively. Postoperative radiation was not prognostic for PFS or OS.

CONCLUSIONS

A high incidence of anaplastic histology was found in hemispheric ependymomas and was associated with older age. EOR and tumor grade were prognostic factors for PFS and OS on multivariate analysis. STR or WHO Grade III pathology, or both, predicted worse overall prognosis in patients with hemispheric ependymoma.

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Jacob R. Joseph, Brandon W. Smith, Frank La Marca and Paul Park

OBJECT

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) and lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) are 2 currently popular techniques for lumbar arthrodesis. The authors compare the total risk of each procedure, along with other important complication outcomes.

METHODS

This systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant studies (up to May 2015) that reported complications of either MI-TLIF or LLIF were identified from a search in the PubMed database. The primary outcome was overall risk of complication per patient. Secondary outcomes included risks of sensory deficits, temporary neurological deficit, permanent neurological deficit, intraoperative complications, medical complications, wound complications, hardware failure, subsidence, and reoperation.

RESULTS

Fifty-four studies were included for analysis of MI-TLIF, and 42 studies were included for analysis of LLIF. Overall, there were 9714 patients (5454 in the MI-TLIF group and 4260 in the LLIF group) with 13,230 levels fused (6040 in the MI-TLIF group and 7190 in the LLIF group). A total of 1045 complications in the MI-TLIF group and 1339 complications in the LLIF group were reported. The total complication rate per patient was 19.2% in the MI-TLIF group and 31.4% in the LLIF group (p < 0.0001). The rate of sensory deficits and temporary neurological deficits, and permanent neurological deficits was 20.16%, 2.22%, and 1.01% for MI-TLIF versus 27.08%, 9.40%, and 2.46% for LLIF, respectively (p < 0.0001, p < 0.0001, p = 0.002, respectively). Rates of intraoperative and wound complications were 3.57% and 1.63% for MI-TLIF compared with 1.93% and 0.80% for LLIF, respectively (p = 0.0003 and p = 0.034, respectively). No significant differences were noted for medical complications or reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS

While there was a higher overall complication rate with LLIF, MI-TLIF and LLIF both have acceptable complication profiles. LLIF had higher rates of sensory as well as temporary and permanent neurological symptoms, although rates of intraoperative and wound complications were less than MI-TLIF. Larger, prospective comparative studies are needed to confirm these findings as the current literature is of relative poor quality.

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Kanwaljeet Garg, Ankita Aggarwal and Rishab Gupta

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Brandon W. Smith, Nicholas J. Chulski, Ann A. Little, Kate W. C. Chang and Lynda J. S. Yang

OBJECTIVE

Neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) continues to be a problematic occurrence impacting approximately 1.5 per 1000 live births in the United States, with 10%–40% of these infants experiencing permanent disability. These children lose elbow flexion, and one surgical option for recovering it is the Oberlin transfer. Published data support the use of the ulnar nerve fascicle that innervates the flexor carpi ulnaris as the donor nerve in adults, but no analogous published data exist for infants. This study investigated the association of ulnar nerve fascicle choice with functional elbow flexion outcome in NBPP.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 13 cases in which infants underwent ulnar to musculocutaneous nerve transfer for NBPP at a single institution. They collected data on patient demographics, clinical characteristics, active range of motion (AROM), and intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) (using 4 ulnar nerve index muscles). Standard statistical analysis compared pre- and postoperative motor function improvement between specific fascicle transfer (1–2 muscles for either wrist flexion or hand intrinsics) and nonspecific fascicle transfer (> 2 muscles for wrist flexion and hand intrinsics) groups.

RESULTS

The patients’ average age at initial clinic visit was 2.9 months, and their average age at surgical intervention was 7.4 months. All NBPPs were unilateral; the majority of patients were female (61%), were Caucasian (69%), had right-sided NBPP (61%), and had Narakas grade I or II injuries (54%). IONM recordings for the fascicular dissection revealed a donor fascicle with nonspecific innervation in 6 (46%) infants and specific innervation in the remaining 7 (54%) patients. At 6-month follow-up, the AROM improvement in elbow flexion in adduction was 38° in the specific fascicle transfer group versus 36° in the nonspecific fascicle transfer group, with no statistically significant difference (p = 0.93).

CONCLUSIONS

Both specific and nonspecific fascicle transfers led to functional recovery, but that the composition of the donor fascicle had no impact on early outcomes. In young infants, ulnar nerve fascicular dissection places the ulnar nerve at risk for iatrogenic damage. The data from this study suggest that the use of any motor fascicle, specific or nonspecific, produces similar results and that the Oberlin transfer can be performed with less intrafascicular dissection, less time of surgical exposure, and less potential for donor site morbidity.