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Clay M. Elswick, Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Aditya S. Pandey, and Mark E. Oppenlander

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas are diagnostically challenging lesions, and they are not well described in patients with a history of a spinal deformity correction. The authors present the challenging case of a 74-year-old woman who had previously undergone correction of a spinal deformity with subsequent revision. Several years after the last deformity operation, she developed a progressive myelopathy with urinary incontinence over a 6-month period. After evaluation at the authors’ institution, an angiogram was obtained, demonstrating a fistula at the T12–L1 region. Surgical ligation of the fistula was performed with subsequent improvement of the neurological symptoms. This case is thought to represent the first fistula documented in an area of the spine that had previously been operated on, and to the authors’ knowledge, it is the first case report to be associated with spinal deformity surgery. A brief historical overview and review of the pathophysiology of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas is also included.

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Yamaan S. Saadeh, Clay M. Elswick, Eleanor Smith, Timothy J. Yee, Michael J. Strong, Kevin Swong, Brandon W. Smith, Mark E. Oppenlander, Osama N. Kashlan, and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Age is known to be a risk factor for increased complications due to surgery. However, elderly patients can gain significant quality-of-life benefits from surgery. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a minimally invasive procedure that is commonly used to treat degenerative spine disease. Recently, 3D navigation has been applied to LLIF. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an increased complication risk in the elderly with navigated LLIF.

METHODS

Patients who underwent 3D-navigated LLIF for degenerative disease from 2014 to 2019 were included in the analysis. Patients were divided into elderly and nonelderly groups, with those 65 years and older categorized as elderly. Ninety-day medical and surgical complications were recorded. Patient and surgical characteristics were compared between groups, and multivariate regression analysis was used to determine independent risk factors for complication.

RESULTS

Of the 115 patients included, 56 were elderly and 59 were nonelderly. There were 15 complications (25.4%) in the nonelderly group and 10 (17.9%) in the elderly group, which was not significantly different (p = 0.44). On multivariable analysis, age was not a risk factor for complication (p = 0.52). However, multiple-level LLIF was associated with an increased risk of approach-related complication (OR 3.58, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Elderly patients do not appear to experience higher rates of approach-related complications compared with nonelderly patients undergoing 3D navigated LLIF. Rather, multilevel surgery is a predictor for approach-related complication.

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Timothy J. Yee, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Michael J. Strong, Ayobami L. Ward, Clay M. Elswick, Sudharsan Srinivasan, Paul Park, Mark E. Oppenlander, Daniel E. Spratt, William C. Jackson, and Nicholas J. Szerlip

OBJECTIVE

Decompression with instrumented fusion is commonly employed for spinal metastatic disease. Arthrodesis is typically sought despite limited knowledge of fusion outcomes, high procedural morbidity, and poor prognosis. This study aimed to describe survival, fusion, and hardware failure after decompression and fusion for spinal metastatic disease.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined a prospectively collected, single-institution database of adult patients undergoing decompression and instrumented fusion for spinal metastases. Patients were followed clinically until death or loss to follow-up. Fusion was assessed using CT when performed for oncological surveillance at 6-month intervals through 24 months postoperatively. Estimated cumulative incidences for fusion and hardware failure accounted for the competing risk of death. Potential risk factors were analyzed with univariate Fine and Gray proportional subdistribution hazard models.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty-four patients were identified. The mean age ± SD was 62.2 ± 10.8 years, 61.6% of patients were male, 98.8% received allograft and/or autograft, and 89.6% received postoperative radiotherapy. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of median survival was 11.0 months (IQR 3.5–37.8 months). The estimated cumulative incidences of any fusion and of complete fusion were 28.8% (95% CI 21.3%–36.7%) and 8.2% (95% CI 4.1%–13.9%). Of patients surviving 6 and 12 months, complete fusion was observed in 12.5% and 16.1%, respectively. The estimated cumulative incidence of hardware failure was 4.2% (95% CI 1.5–9.3%). Increasing age predicted hardware failure (HR 1.2, p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS

Low rates of complete fusion and hardware failure were observed due to the high competing risk of death. Further prospective, case-control studies incorporating nonfusion instrumentation techniques may be warranted.

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Michael J. Strong, Julianne Santarosa, Timothy P. Sullivan, Noojan Kazemi, Jacob R. Joseph, Osama N. Kashlan, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nicholas J. Szerlip, Paul Park, and Clay M. Elswick

OBJECTIVE

In the era of modern medicine with an armamentarium full of state-of-the art technologies at our disposal, the incidence of wrong-level spinal surgery remains problematic. In particular, the thoracic spine presents a challenge for accurate localization due partly to body habitus, anatomical variations, and radiographic artifact from the ribs and scapula. The present review aims to assess and describe thoracic spine localization techniques.

METHODS

The authors performed a literature search using the PubMed database from 1990 to 2020, compliant with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). A total of 27 articles were included in this qualitative review.

RESULTS

A number of pre- and intraoperative strategies have been devised and employed to facilitate correct-level localization. Some of the more well-described approaches include fiducial metallic markers (screw or gold), metallic coils, polymethylmethacrylate, methylene blue, marking wire, use of intraoperative neuronavigation, intraoperative localization techniques (including using a needle, temperature probe, fluoroscopy, MRI, and ultrasonography), and skin marking.

CONCLUSIONS

While a number of techniques exist to accurately localize lesions in the thoracic spine, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the localization technique deployed by the spine surgeon will be patient-specific but often based on surgeon preference.