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Jyi-Feng Chen and Shih-Tseng Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to introduce a method for making a hollow cylindrical polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) strut for perioperative anterior spinal reconstruction after discectomy and/or corpectomy.

Methods

For use after anterior cervical discectomy or corpectomy, the authors created a hollow cylindrical PMMA strut using 10- and 3-ml disposable plastic syringes filled with PMMA containing 10% BaSO4 for anterior spinal reconstruction.

Results

With this method, the authors were able to make a PMMA strut that was approximately 50 mm in length with a 14-mm outer diameter and a 10-mm inner diameter. The PMMA strut could easily be cut with a saw to any desired length and molded with a cutting bur. The PMMA strut was used as a substitute for the cortical bone and was filled with bone graft for cervical spinal reconstruction after discectomy and/or corpectomy. The whole process of making the PMMA strut can be completed within 30 minutes, and it reduces costs by at least $1000 US (in 1-level discectomy), making the procedure cost effective.

Conclusions

It is simple to make a hollow cylindrical PMMA strut with plastic syringes during a discectomy and/or corpectomy. The strut can provide adequate support at less cost than other methods. The hollow cylindrical strut is also of suitable size and length for anterior spinal reconstruction. It serves as an alternative for patients who cannot afford the expense of similar instruments or who cannot or do not want to take the risk of a human graft for anterior spinal reconstruction.

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Shih-Tseng Lee and Jyi-Feng Chen

✓ The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy and feasibility of closed reduction vertebroplasty for the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.

Two hundred consecutive patients (183 women and 17 men) with single-level osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture were included in this study. After induction of general anesthesia, the patient was placed prone on an operating table. Closed reduction of the fractured and kyphotic spine was achieved by extending the table to restore the kyphotic angle and vertebral body (VB) height. Percutaneous vertebroplasty was then performed to treat the fractured vertebra. The results were quantitatively evaluated, according to the concept of estimated VB height. The anterior, middle, and posterior VB heights of the fractured vertebra were measured preoperatively and immediately after surgery by studying plain standing lateral radiographs.

In 162 (81%) of the compression fractures the anterior VB height was restored (57.1 ± 24.8% of lost anterior VB height); in 152 (76%) of the compression fractures the middle VB height was restored (61.4 ± 20.6% of lost middle VB height); and in 52 (26%) of the compression fractures the posterior VB height was restored (51.3 ± 23.1% of lost posterior VB height). In 141 (71.5%) of the compression fractures kyphosis was corrected by 12.5 ± 3.8° [mean 61.6 ± 23.7%]).

Closed reduction vertebroplasty is an efficacious and simple method in the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture and was able to restore the VB height and kyphotic angle in postions of fractured vertebrae. Its associated, long-term effects on treated vertebrae, however, need further evaluation.

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Zihao Chen, Bin Liu, Jianwen Dong, Feng Feng, Ruiqiang Chen, Peigen Xie, Liangming Zhang, and Limin Rong

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness and safety of anterior corpectomy and fusion (ACF) with laminoplasty for the treatment of patients diagnosed with cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL).

METHODS

The authors searched electronic databases for relevant studies that compared the use of ACF with laminoplasty for the treatment of patients with OPLL. Data extraction and quality assessment were conducted, and statistical software was used for data analysis. The random effects model was used if there was heterogeneity between studies; otherwise, the fixed effects model was used.

RESULTS

A total of 10 nonrandomized controlled studies involving 819 patients were included. Postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score (p = 0.02, 95% CI 0.30–2.81) was better in the ACF group than in the laminoplasty group. The recovery rate was superior in the ACF group for patients with an occupying ratio of OPLL of ≥ 60% (p < 0.00001, 95% CI 21.27–34.44) and for patients with kyphotic alignment (p < 0.00001, 95% CI 16.49–27.17). Data analysis also showed that the ACF group was associated with a higher incidence of complications (p = 0.02, 95% CI 1.08–2.59) and reoperations (p = 0.002, 95% CI 1.83–14.79), longer operation time (p = 0.01, 95% CI 17.72 –160.75), and more blood loss (p = 0.0004, 95% CI 42.22–148.45).

CONCLUSIONS

For patients with an occupying ratio ≥ 60% or with kyphotic cervical alignment, ACF appears to be the preferable treatment method. Nevertheless, laminoplasty seems to be effective and safe enough for patients with an occupying ratio < 60% or with adequate cervical lordosis. However, it must be emphasized that a surgical strategy should be made based on the individual patient. Further randomized controlled trials comparing the use of ACF with laminoplasty for the treatment of OPLL should be performed to make a more convincing conclusion.

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Jyi-Feng Chen and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ Antibiotic–polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) cement and beads constitute an effective system of local drug delivery of antibiotic agents in patients with bone and soft-tissue infections. Debridement followed by implantation of antibiotic–PMMA beads and systemic administration of antibiotic agents has achieved a 100% success rate in treating chronic osteomyelitis; however, there have been no reports of an antibiotic–PMMA strut for treating spinal pyogenic spondylitis. In this case report we describe a 57-year-old woman with C5–6 pyogenic spondylitis, progressive kyphotic deformity, and neurological deficits. The patient underwent anterior C-5 and C-6 corpectomy and spinal reconstruction in which we used an antibiotic–PMMA strut. The strut was 14 mm in diameter and contained PMMA and vancomycin powder. The operation was technically successful, and no complication related to anesthesia or the surgical procedure occurred. At the 12-month follow-up examination, dynamic radiographs revealed cervical spine stabilization. The patient’s neck pain subsided and she recovered neurologically with no residual infection. No antibiotic–PMMA strut dislodgment or failure was identified; however, 9.8% subsidence of the strut into the vertebrae was observed. The long-term outcome in this case requires further evaluation.

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Jyi-Feng Chen, Chieh-Tsai Wu, and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a useful procedure for patients with vertebral osteoporotic compression fractures; however, there has been no mention in the literature of the use of percutaneous vertebroplasty for the treatment of traumatic spinal fractures. The authors report the case of a 33-year-old man who harbored L-1, L-2, and L-5 burst fractures sustained in a work-related accident. The patient was successfully treated by percutaneous vertebroplasty with polymethylmethacrylate. The authors propose this procedure as a useful intervention in selected patients with lumbar burst fractures. The complications associated with major surgical procedures are absent.

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Sanjeev Ariyandath Sreenivasan, Manoj Phalak, Sachin Anil Borkar, and Shashank Sharad Kale

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Zhi Chen, Jingyu Chen, Hongpin Miao, Fei Li, Hua Feng, and Gang Zhu

Hemorrhagic events associated with cerebral paragonimiasis are not rare, especially in children and adolescents; however, angiographic evidence of cerebrovascular involvement has not been reported. The authors describe angiographic abnormalities of the cerebral arteries seen in 2 children in whom cerebral paragonimiasis was associated with hemorrhagic stroke. The patients presented with acute intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Angiography revealed a beaded appearance and long segmental narrowing of arteries, consistent with arteritis. In both patients, involved vessels were seen in the area of the hemorrhage. The vascular changes and the hemorrhage, together with new lesions that developed close to the hemorrhage and improved after praziquantel treatment, were attributed to paragonimiasis. Further study of the frequency and mechanism of hemorrhagic cerebrovascular complications associated with cerebral paragonimiasis is needed.

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Yang Lin, Feng Li, Wenjian Chen, Heng Zeng, Anmin Chen, and Wei Xiong

OBJECT

This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of mini-open anterior debridement and lumbar interbody fusion in combination with posterior percutaneous fixation for single-level lumbar pyogenic spondylodiscitis.

METHODS

This is a retrospective study. Twenty-two patients with single-level lumbar pyogenic spondylodiscitis underwent mini-open anterior debridement and lumbar interbody fusion in combination with posterior percutaneous fixation via a modified anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) approach. Patients underwent follow-up for 24 to 38 months. Clinical data, etiological examinations, operative time, intraoperative blood loss, American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grade, Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) lumbar function score, visual analog scale (VAS) score, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), postoperative complications, and the bony fusion rate were recorded.

RESULTS

The mean operative time was 181.1 ± 22.6 minutes (range 155–240 minutes). The mean intraoperative blood loss was 173.2 ± 70.1 ml (range 100–400 ml). Infection was found in lumbar vertebrae L2–3, L3–4, and L4–5 in 2, 6, and 14 patients, respectively. Bacterial cultures were positive in 15 patients, including 4 with Staphylococcus aureus, 6 with Staphylococcus epidermidis, 4 with Streptococcus, and 1 with Escherichia coli. Postoperative complications included urinary retention, constipation, and numbness in the thigh in 5, 3, and 2 patients, respectively. Compared with before surgery, the VAS scores and ODI were significantly lower at the final follow-up, the JOA scores were significantly higher, and the ASIA grades had improved. All patients achieved good intervertebral bony fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

Mini-open anterior debridement and lumbar interbody fusion in combination with posterior percutaneous fixation via a modified ALIF approach results in little surgical trauma and intraoperative blood loss, acceptable postoperative complications, and is effective and safe for the treatment of single-level lumbar pyogenic spondylodiscitis. This approach could be an alternative to the conventional open surgery.

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Jyi-Feng Chen, Chieh-Tsai Wu, Sai-Cheung Lee, and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ The authors describe a modified posterior atlantoaxial fixation technique for the treatment of reducible atlantoaxial instability, which can be performed simply and easily, and can decrease the risk of vessel and/or neural damage.

During an 18-month period, this technique was undertaken in 11 patients with atlantoaxial instability. There was no procedure-related morbidity. The follow-up period ranged from 8 to 18 months (mean 13.2 months). Fusion was documented in all 11 patients, and there was no progression of spinal deformity.

This technique can be considered an effective alternative in the treatment of atlantoaxial subluxation.

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Jyi-Feng Chen, Chieh-Tsai Wu, Sai-Cheung Lee, and Shih-Tseng Lee

Object. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) bone cement has been used as a spacer in the treatment of patients with cervical disc disease with good long-term outcomes, but solid bone fusion has not been demonstrated in all cases. To achieve cervical interbody fusion, the authors designed a modified PMMA cervical cage that they filled with spongy bone for the treatment of single-level cervical disc herniation.

Methods. Sixty-three patients underwent anterior cervical microdiscectomy and implantation of a PMMA cervical cage filled with autograft cancellous bone and were followed for a minimum of 2 years. The fusion rates were 90.5 and 100% at the 6- and 12-month follow-up examinations, respectively. The mean intervertebral disc height gain was 3.4 ± 1.9 mm when preoperative and 24-month postoperative values were compared. Neck pain, measured using the Huskissan visual analog scale (0 mm, no pain; 100 mm, worst possible pain), decreased from 71 ± 13 mm at preoperative baseline to 28 ± 17 at 6, 23 ± 19 at 12, and 31 ± 19 mm at 24 months. Based on the same scale, radicular pain decreased from 83 ± 15 mm at preoperative baseline to 24 ± 11 at 6, 27 ± 13 at 12, and 22 ± 11 mm at 24 months. The self-rated clinical outcome was excellent in 45 (71.4%) and good in 18 (28.6%) of the 63 patients.

Conclusions. The autograft cancellous bone—filled PMMA cage is safe and effective for cervical interbody fusion in the treatment of single-level cervical disc herniation and monoradiculopathy.