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Open access

Matthew H. MacLennan, Dana El-Mughayyar, and Najmedden Attabib

BACKGROUND

Chance fractures are unstable due to horizontal extension of the injury, disrupting all three columns of the vertebra. Since being first described in 1948, Chance fractures have been commonly found at a single level near the thoracolumbar junction. Noncontiguous double-level Chance fractures that result from a single traumatic event are rarely reported in the literature.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case of an 18-year-old male who presented to the emergency department after a rollover motor vehicle accident. The patient complained of severe back pain when at rest and had no neurological deficits. Computed tomography revealed two unstable Chance fractures of bony subtype located at T6 and T11. The patient underwent percutaneous stabilization from T4 to T12. The postoperative assessment revealed continued 5/5 power bilaterally in all extremities, back pain, and the ability to ambulate with a walker. At 3 months after the operation, clinical assessment revealed no significant back pain and the ability to walk independently. Imaging confirmed stable fixation of the spine with no acute osseous or hardware complications.

LESSONS

This report complements previous studies demonstrating support for more extensive stabilization for such unique fractures. Additionally, rapid radiological imaging is needed to identify the full injury and lead patients to appropriate treatment.

Open access

Mosaab Alsuwaihel, Dana El-Mughayyar, Matthew MacLennan, and Najmedden Attabib

BACKGROUND

Unilateral agenesis of a cervical pedicle is a known rare entity that has been well described over the past 70 years. It is usually an incidental or minimally symptomatic presentation with no significant clinical repercussion. No previous report has described concurrent non-osseous developmental abnormalities alongside this unique pathology.

OBSERVATIONS

This case reported a cervical hemangioma with associated unilateral pedicle agenesis and an incidental finding of callosal dysgenesis and lipoma. The initial presentation consisted solely of persistent neck pain, with cervical radiography illustrating significant kyphotic deformity secondary to apparent anterolisthesis of C3-C4. The patient underwent a combined approach: anterior cervical corpectomy at C4-C5 with supplemental posterior fusion. The authors provided a review of the literature concerning developmental pedicle abnormalities and vertebral hemangioma. Pedicle agenesis is known to be associated with multiple pathologies, but the authors have not found evidence of a clinical paradigm consisting of a vertebral hemangioma in the presence of cervical pedicle agenesis, callosal dysgenesis, or callosal lipoma.

LESSONS

Careful evaluation of radiographs with appropriate subsequent multimodal imaging is key to identifying unique pathologies in the spine that complement a patient’s history and clinical findings. If multiple abnormalities are noted, a novel clinical etiology or syndrome must be considered.

Open access

Jeffrey J. Hébert, Tyler Adams, Erin Cunningham, Dana El-Mughayyar, Neil Manson, Edward Abraham, Niels Wedderkopp, Erin Bigney, Eden Richardson, Amanda Vandewint, Chris Small, George Kolyvas, Andre le Roux, Aaron Robichaud, Michael H. Weber, Charles Fisher, Nicolas Dea, Stephan du Plessis, Raphaele Charest-Morin, Sean D. Christie, Christopher S. Bailey, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Michael G. Johnson, Jerome Paquet, Andrew Nataraj, Bernard LaRue, Hamilton Hall, and Najmedden Attabib

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is often described as the gold standard surgical technique for cervical spondylotic radiculopathy. Although outcomes are considered favorable, there is little prognostic evidence to guide patient selection for ACDF. This study aimed to 1) describe the 24-month postoperative trajectories of arm pain, neck pain, and pain-related disability; and 2) identify perioperative prognostic factors that predict trajectories representing poor clinical outcomes.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, patients with cervical spondylotic radiculopathy who underwent ACDF at 1 of 12 orthopedic or neurological surgery centers were recruited. Potential outcome predictors included demographic, health, clinical, and surgery-related prognostic factors. Surgical outcomes were classified by trajectories of arm pain intensity, neck pain intensity (numeric pain rating scales), and pain-related disability (Neck Disability Index) from before surgery to 24 months postsurgery. Trajectories of postoperative pain and disability were estimated with latent class growth analysis, and prognostic factors associated with poor outcome trajectory were identified with robust Poisson models.

RESULTS

The authors included data from 352 patients (mean age 50.9 [SD 9.5] years; 43.8% female). The models estimated that 15.5%–23.5% of patients followed a trajectory consistent with a poor clinical outcome. Lower physical and mental health–related quality of life, moderate to severe risk of depression, and longer surgical wait time and procedure time predicted poor postoperative trajectories for all outcomes. Receiving compensation and smoking additionally predicted a poor neck pain outcome. Regular exercise, physiotherapy, and spinal injections before surgery were associated with a lower risk of poor disability outcome. Patients who used daily opioids, those with worse general health, or those who reported predominant neck pain or a history of depression were at greater risk of poor disability outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who undergo ACDF for cervical spondylotic radiculopathy experience heterogeneous postoperative trajectories of pain and disability, with 15.5%–23.5% of patients experiencing poor outcomes. Demographic, health, clinical, and surgery-related prognostic factors can predict ACDF outcomes. This information may further assist surgeons with patient selection and with setting realistic expectations. Future studies are needed to replicate and validate these findings prior to confident clinical implementation.