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Kevin Hines, Zachary T. Wilt, Daniel Franco, Aria Mahtabfar, Nicholas Elmer, Glenn A. Gonzalez, Thiago S. Montenegro, Lohit Velagapudi, Parthik D. Patel, Maxwell Detweiler, Umma Fatema, Gregory D. Schroeder, and James Harrop

OBJECTIVE

Posterior cervical decompression and fusion (PCDF) is a commonly performed procedure to address cervical myelopathy. A significant number of these patients require revision surgery for adjacent-segment disease (ASD) or pseudarthrosis. Currently, there is no consensus among spine surgeons on the inclusion of proximal thoracic spine instrumentation. This study investigates the benefits of thoracic extension in long-segment cervical fusions and the potential drawbacks. The authors compare outcomes in long-segment subaxial cervical fusion for degenerative cervical myelopathy with caudal vertebral levels of C6, C7, and T1.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis identified 369 patients who underwent PCDF. Patients were grouped by caudal fusion level. Reoperation rates for ASD and pseudarthrosis, infection, and blood loss were examined. Data were analyzed with chi-square, 1-way ANOVA, and logistic regression.

RESULTS

The total reoperation rate for symptomatic pseudarthrosis or ASD was 4.8%. Reoperation rates, although not significant, were lower in the C3–6 group (2.6%, vs 8.3% for C3–7 and 3.8% for C3–T1; p = 0.129). Similarly, rates of infection were lower in the shorter-segment fusion without achieving statistical significance (2.6% for C3–6, vs 5.6% for C3–7 and 5.5% for C3–T1; p = 0.573). The mean blood loss was documented as 104, 125, and 224 mL for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Given the lack of statistical difference in reoperation rates for long-segment cervical fusions ending at C6, C7, or T1, shorter fusions in high-risk surgical candidates or elderly patients may be performed without higher rates of reoperation.

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Michel Lacroix, Dima Abi-Said, Daryl R. Fourney, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Weiming Shi, Franco DeMonte, Frederick F. Lang, Ian E. McCutcheon, Samuel J. Hassenbusch, Eric Holland, Kenneth Hess, Christopher Michael, Daniel Miller, and Raymond Sawaya

Object. The extent of tumor resection that should be undertaken in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to identify significant independent predictors of survival in these patients and to determine whether the extent of resection was associated with increased survival time.

Methods. The authors retrospectively analyzed 416 consecutive patients with histologically proven GBM who underwent tumor resection at the authors' institution between June 1993 and June 1999. Volumetric data and other tumor characteristics identified on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging were collected prospectively.

Conclusions. Five independent predictors of survival were identified: age, Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, extent of resection, and the degree of necrosis and enhancement on preoperative MR imaging studies. A significant survival advantage was associated with resection of 98% or more of the tumor volume (median survival 13 months, 95% confidence interval [CI] 11.4–14.6 months), compared with 8.8 months (95% CI 7.4–10.2 months; p < 0.0001) for resections of less than 98%. Using an outcome scale ranging from 0 to 5 based on age, KPS score, and tumor necrosis on MR imaging, we observed significantly longer survival in patients with lower scores (1–3) who underwent aggressive resections, and a trend toward slightly longer survival was found in patients with higher scores (4–5). Gross-total tumor resection is associated with longer survival in patients with GBM, especially when other predictive variables are favorable.