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Dong Hyun Lee, Dong-Geun Lee, Jin Sub Hwang, Jae-Won Jang, Dae Hyeon Maeng, and Choon Keun Park

OBJECTIVE

Whereas the benefits of indirect decompression after lateral lumbar interbody fusion are well known, the effects of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) have not yet been verified. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and radiological effects of indirect decompression after ALIF for central spinal canal stenosis. In this report, along with the many advantages of the anterior approach, the authors share cases with good outcomes that they have encountered.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 64 consecutive patients who underwent ALIF for central spinal canal stenosis with instability and mixed foraminal stenosis between January 2015 and December 2018 at their hospital. Clinical assessments were performed using the visual analog scale score, the Oswestry Disability Index, and the modified Macnab criteria. The radiographic parameters were determined from pre- and postoperative cross-sectional MRI scans of the spinal canal and were compared to evaluate neural decompression after ALIF. The average follow-up period was 23.3 ± 1.3 months.

RESULTS

All clinical parameters, including the visual analog scale score, Oswestry Disability Index, and modified Macnab criteria, improved significantly. The mean operative duration was 254.8 ± 60.8 minutes, and the intraoperative bleeding volume was 179.8 ± 119.3 ml. In the radiological evaluation, radiological parameters of the cross-sections of the spinal canal showed substantial development. The spinal canal size improved by an average of 43.3% (p < 0.001) after surgery. No major complications occurred; however, aspiration guided by ultrasonography was performed in 2 patients because of a pseudocyst and fluid collection.

CONCLUSIONS

ALIF can serve as a suitable alternative to extensive posterior approaches. The authors suggest that ALIF can be used for decompression in central spinal canal stenosis as well as restoration of the foraminal dimensions, thus allowing decompression of the nerve roots.

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Jee-Soo Jang, Sang-Ho Lee, Jun-Hong Min, and Dae Hyeon Maeng

Object

The authors investigate the correlation between thoracic and lumbar curves in patients with degenerative flat back syndrome, and demonstrate the predictability of spontaneous correction of the thoracic curve and sacral angle after surgical restoration of lower lumbar lordosis.

Methods

The cases of 28 patients treated with combined anterior and posterior spinal arthrodesis were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria included loss of lower lumbar lordosis resulting in sagittal imbalance. Total lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, sacral slope, and C-7 plumb line length were measured on pre- and postoperative lateral views of the whole spine. Postoperative changes in thoracic kyphosis, sacral slope, and length of the C-7 plumb line were measured and evaluated according to extent of lumbar lordosis restoration.

Results

The mean (± standard deviation) preoperative sagittal imbalance was 64.6 ± 63.2 mm, which improved to 15.8 ± 20.7 mm after surgery (p < 0.0001). The preoperative mean lumbar lordosis was 15.6 ± 14.1°, which increased to 40.3 ± 14.5° at follow-up (p < 0.0001). The preoperative mean thoracic kyphosis was 1.6 ± 10.5° and increased to 17.2 ± 12.5° at follow-up (p < 0.0001). Significant preoperative correlations existed between kyphosis and lordosis (r = 0.628, p = 0.0003), and between lordosis and sacral slope (r = 0.647, p = 0.0002). Postoperative correlations also existed between kyphosis and lordosis (r = 0.718, p < 0.0001 and r = 0.690, p < 0.0001, respectively).

Conclusions

Lower lumbar lordosis plays an important role in sagittal alignment and balance. Surgical restoration of lumbar lordosis results in predictable spontaneous correction of the thoracic curve and sacral slope in patients with degenerative flat back syndrome.

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Kyeong Hwan Kim, Sang-Ho Lee, Dong Yeob Lee, Chan Shik Shim, and Dae Hyeon Maeng

Object

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of anterior polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) cement augmentation in instrumented anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) for patients with osteoporosis.

Methods

Sixty-two patients with osteoporosis who had undergone single-level instrumented ALIF for spondylolisthesis and were followed for more than 2 years were included in the study. The patients were divided into 2 groups: instrumented ALIF alone (Group I) and instrumented ALIF with anterior PMMA augmentation (Group II). Sixty-one patients were interviewed to evaluate the clinical results, and plain radiographs and 3D CT scans were obtained at the last follow-up in 46 patients.

Results

The mean degree of cage subsidence was significantly higher in Group I (19.6%) than in Group II (5.2%) (p = 0.001). The mean decrease of vertebral body height at the index level was also significantly higher in Group I (10.7%) than in Group II (3.9%) (p = 0.001). No significant intergroup differences were observed in the incidence of radiographic adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) or in terms of pain and functional improvement. The incidences of clinical ASD (23% in Group I and 10% in Group II) were not significantly different. There was 1 case of nonunion and 3 cases of screw migration in Group I, but none resulted in implant failure.

Conclusions

Anterior PMMA augmentation during instrumented ALIF in patients with osteoporosis was useful to prevent cage subsidence and vertebral body collapse. In addition, PMMA augmentation did not increase the nonunion rate and incidence of ASD.

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Byung-Uk Kang, Sang-Ho Lee, Sang-Hyeop Jeon, Jong Dae Park, Dae Hyeon Maeng, Young Geun Choi, and Yi-Sheng Tsang

Object

The complexity of the vascular anatomy pertinent to the L4–5 intervertebral disc space has led to difficulties when performing the anterior approach to the lumbar spine. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the variations of the great vessels to match the imaging-documented axial anatomy with the surgical exposure.

Methods

The authors analyzed data obtained in 223 patients who had undergone mini–open anterior lumbar surgery involving the L4–5 disc. The preoperative magnetic resonance images or computed tomography scans were evaluated by examiners blinded to the surgical approach to determine the vascular configuration. All complications of the procedures were described.

Two major variations of the vascular configuration were delineated according to the location of the bifurcation of the inferior vena cava. On images showing the lower margin of the L-4 vertebra, the anatomy in 182 patients (81%) was classified as Type A because the inferior vena cava (IVC) was not bifurcated; in 38 patients (17%) it was classified as Type B because the IVC was bifurcated. Type A could be subdivided into Types A1 and A2 according to whether the aorta was bifurcated (A2) or not (A1) on the same image. The surgical exposure used was above the bifurcations (in Type A) and below the bifurcations (in Type B). The major complications were three venous injuries, and the leading complication was sympathetic dysfunction in 14 patients, which in most cases resolved spontaneously.

Conclusions

Careful preoperative evaluation of the vascular anatomy is essential to conducting successful anterior lumbar surgery. The determination of an appropriate approach can contribute to a reduction of unnecessary vascular retraction and a consequent decrease in vascular complications.

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Byung-Uk Kang, Won-Chul Choi, Sang-Ho Lee, Sang Hyeop Jeon, Jong Dae Park, Dae Hyeon Maeng, and Young-Geun Choi

Object

Anterior lumbar surgery is associated with certain perioperative visceral and vascular complications. The aim of this study was to document all general surgery–related adverse events and complications following minilaparotomic retroperitoneal lumbar procedures and to discuss strategies for their management or prevention.

Methods

The authors analyzed data obtained in 412 patients who underwent anterior lumbosacral surgery between 2003 and 2005. The series comprised 114 men and 298 women whose mean age was 56 years (range 34–79 years). Preoperative diagnoses were as follows: isthmic spondylolisthesis (32%), degenerative spondylolisthesis (24%), instability/stenosis (15%), degenerative disc disease (15%), failed–back surgery syndrome (7%), and lumbar degenerative kyphosis or scoliosis (7%). A single level was exposed in 264 patients (64%), 2 in 118 (29%), and 3 or 4 in 30 (7%). The average follow-up period was 16 months.

Results

Overall, 52 instances of complications and adverse events occurred in 50 patients (12.1%), including sympathetic dysfunction in 25 (6.06%), vascular injury repaired with/without direct suture in 12 (2.9%), ileus lasting > 3 days in 5 (1.2%), pleural effusion in 4 (0.97%), wound dehiscence in 2 (0.49%), symptomatic retroperitoneal hematoma in 2 (0.49%), angina in 1 (0.24%), and bowel laceration in 1 patient (0.24%). There was no instance of retrograde ejaculation in male patients, and most complications had no long-term sequelae.

Conclusions

This report presents a detailed analysis of complications related to anterior lumbar surgery. Although the incidence of complications appears low considering the magnitude of the procedure, surgeons should be aware of these potential complications and their management.

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Sang-Ho Lee, Byung-Uk Kang, Sang Hyeop Jeon, Jong Dae Park, Dae Hyeon Maeng, Young-Geun Choi, and Won-Chul Choi

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) augmented by percutaneous pedicle screw fixation (PSF) for revision surgery in the lumbar spine and to determine the prognostic factors affecting surgical outcomes.

Methods

The population included 54 consecutively treated patients in whom revision surgery involving ALIF with PSF was performed between 2001 and 2004. There were 22 men and 32 women, whose mean age was 59.5 years (range 25–78 years). The diagnoses prior to revision ALIF were as follows: degenerative disc disease in 25 patients, instability/spondylolisthesis in 15, recurrent disc herniation in seven, and pseudarthrosis in seven. The mean follow-up period was 24 months (range 12–52 months). The mean visual analog scale score for back and leg pain decreased, respectively, from 7.8 to 2.3 and 8.0 to 2.3 (p < 0.001). The mean Oswestry Disability Index score improved from 70 to 25% (p < 0.001). Radiological evidence of fusion was noted in 52 of 54 patients. The mean preoperative segmental lordosis, whole lumbar lordosis, and sacral tilt were 15.2, 35.5, and 28.3°, respectively; these values were significantly increased to 20.4, 40.7, and 31.4°, respectively, after revision surgery (p < 0.001). The increase in sacral tilt was positively correlated with improvement in back pain (p = 0.028) and functional status (p = 0.025).

Conclusions

The results demonstrate that ALIF followed by PSF can be an effective alternative in revision surgery of the lumbosacral spine in selected cases. Not only can solid fusion be achieved, sagittal alignment can also be restored in the majority of patients.