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Zachary J. Tempel, Michael M. McDowell, David M. Panczykowski, Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter


Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a less invasive surgical option commonly used for a variety of spinal conditions, including in high-risk patient populations. LLIF is often performed as a stand-alone procedure, and may be complicated by graft subsidence, the clinical ramifications of which remain unclear. The aim of this study was to characterize further the sequelae of graft subsidence following stand-alone LLIF.


A retrospective review of prospectively collected data was conducted on consecutive patients who underwent stand-alone LLIF between July 2008 and June 2015; 297 patients (623 levels) met inclusion criteria. Imaging studies were examined to grade graft subsidence according to Marchi criteria, and compared between those who required revision surgery and those who did not. Additional variables recorded included levels fused, DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) T-score, body mass index, and routine demographic information. The data were analyzed using the Student t-test, chi-square analysis, and logistic regression analysis to identify potential confounding factors.


Of 297 patients, 34 (11.4%) had radiographic evidence of subsidence and 18 (6.1%) required revision surgery. The median subsidence grade for patients requiring revision surgery was 2.5, compared with 1 for those who did not. Chi-square analysis revealed a significantly higher incidence of revision surgery in patients with high-grade subsidence compared with those with low-grade subsidence. Seven of 18 patients (38.9%) requiring revision surgery suffered a vertebral body fracture. High-grade subsidence was a significant predictor of the need for revision surgery (p < 0.05; OR 12, 95% CI 1.29–13.6), whereas age, body mass index, T-score, and number of levels fused were not. This relationship remained significant despite adjustment for the other variables (OR 14.4; 95% CI 1.30–15.9).


In this series, more than half of the patients who developed graft subsidence following stand-alone LLIF required revision surgery. When evaluating patients for LLIF, supplemental instrumentation should be considered during the index surgery in patients with a significant risk of graft subsidence.

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Brian K. Owler, Geoffrey Parker, G. Michael Halmagyi, Victoria G. Dunne, Verity Grinnell, David McDowell and Michael Besser

Object. Pseudotumor cerebri, or benign intracranial hypertension, is a condition of raised intracranial pressure in the absence of a mass lesion or cerebral edema. It is characterized by headache and visual deterioration that may culminate in blindness. Pseudotumor cerebri is caused by venous sinus obstruction in an unknown percentage of cases. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of cerebral venous sinus disease in pseudotumor cerebri and the potential of endoluminal venous sinus stent placement as a new treatment.

Methods. Nine consecutive patients in whom diagnoses of pseudotumor cerebri had been made underwent examination with direct retrograde cerebral venography (DRCV) and manometry to characterize the morphological features and venous pressures in their cerebral venous sinuses. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure was measured simultaneously in two patients. If patients had an amenable lesion they were treated using an endoluminal venous sinus stent. Five patients demonstrated morphological obstruction of the venous transverse sinuses (TSs). All lesions were associated with a distinct pressure gradient and raised proximal venous sinus pressures. Four patients underwent stent insertion in the venous sinuses and reported that their headaches improved immediately after the procedure and remained so at 6 months. Vision was improved in three patients, whereas it remained poor in one despite normalized CSF pressures.

Conclusions. Patients with pseudotumor cerebri should be evaluated with DRCV and manometry because venous TS obstruction is probably more common than is currently appreciated. In patients with a lesion of the venous sinuses, treatment with an endoluminal venous sinus stent is a viable alternative for amenable lesions.

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Paul Gigante, Michael M. McDowell, Samuel S. Bruce, Genevieve Chirelstein, Claudia A. Chiriboga, Joseph Dutkowsky, Elizabeth Fontana, Joshua Hyman, Heakyung Kim, Dean Morgan, Toni S. Pearson, Benjamin D. Roye, David P. Roye Jr., Patricia Ryan, Michael Vitale and Richard C. E. Anderson


Randomized clinical trials have established that lumbar selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) reduces lower-extremity tone and improves functional outcome in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Significant data exist to support a secondary effect on upper-extremity function in patients with upper-extremity spasticity. The effects of SDR on upper-extremity tone, however, are not well characterized. In this report, the authors sought to assess changes in upper-extremity tone in individual muscle groups after SDR and tried to determine if these changes could be predicted preoperatively.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 42 children who underwent SDR at Columbia University Medical Center/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian between 2005 and 2011. Twenty-five had upper-extremity spasticity. All underwent pre- and postoperative examination for measuring tone (Modified Ashworth Scale) and assessing functional outcome. Follow-up examinations with therapists were performed at least once at a minimum of 2 months postoperatively (mean 15 months).


In the upper extremities, 23 (92%) of 25 patients had improvements of at least 1 Ashworth point in 2 or more independent motor groups on the Modified Ashworth Scale, and 12 (71%) of 17 families surveyed reported increases in motor control or spontaneous movement. The mean Modified Ashworth Scale scores for all upper-extremity muscle groups demonstrated an improvement from 1.34 to 1.22 (p < 0.001). Patients with a mean preoperative upper-extremity tone of 1.25–1.75 were most likely to benefit from reduction in tone (p = 0.0019). Proximal and pronator muscle groups were most likely to demonstrate reduced tone.


In addition to improvements in lower-extremity tone and function, SDR has demonstrable effects on upper extremities. Greater than 90% of our patients with elevated upper-extremity tone demonstrated reduction in tone in at least 2 muscle groups postoperatively. Patients with a mean Modified Ashworth Scale upper-extremity score of 1.25–1.75 may encounter the greatest reduction in upper-extremity tone.

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Benjamin C. Kennedy, Randy S. D’Amico, Brett E. Youngerman, Michael M. McDowell, Kristopher G. Hooten, Daniel Couture, Andrew Jea, Jeffrey Leonard, Sean M. Lew, David W. Pincus, Luis Rodriguez, Gerald F. Tuite, Michael L. Diluna, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Richard C. E. Anderson and Pediatric Craniocervical Society


The long-term consequences of atlantoaxial (AA) and occipitocervical (OC) fusion and instrumentation in young children are unknown. Anecdotal reports have raised concerns regarding altered growth and alignment of the cervical spine after surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term effects of these surgeries on the growth and alignment of the maturing spine.


A multiinstitutional retrospective chart review was conducted for patients less than or equal to 6 years of age who underwent OC or AA fusion with rigid instrumentation at 9 participating centers. All patients had at least 3 years of clinical and radiographic follow-up data and radiographically confirmed fusion. Preoperative, immediate postoperative, and most recent follow-up radiographs and/or CT scans were evaluated to assess changes in spinal growth and alignment.


Forty children (9 who underwent AA fusion and 31 who underwent OC fusion) were included in the study (mean follow-up duration 56 months). The mean vertical growth over the fused levels in the AA fusion patients represented 30% of the growth of the cervical spine (range 10%–50%). Three different vertical growth patterns of the fusion construct developed among the 31 OC fusion patients during the follow-up period: 1) 16 patients had substantial growth (13%–46% of the total growth of the cervical spine); 2) 9 patients had no meaningful growth; and 3) 6 patients, most of whom presented with a distracted atlantooccipital dislocation, had a decrease in the height of the fused levels (range 7–23 mm). Regarding spinal alignment, 85% (34/40) of the patients had good alignment at follow-up, with straight or mildly lordotic cervical curvatures. In 1 AA fusion patient (11%) and 5 OC fusion patients (16%), we observed new hyperlordosis (range 43°–62°). There were no cases of new kyphosis or swan-neck deformity, evidence of subaxial instability, or unintended subaxial fusion. No preoperative predictors of these growth patterns or alignment were evident.


These results demonstrate that most young children undergoing AA and OC fusion with rigid internal fixation continue to have good cervical alignment and continued growth within the fused levels during a prolonged follow-up period. However, some variability in vertical growth and alignment exists, highlighting the need to continue close long-term follow-up.