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Dong Ah Shin and Dong Kyu Chin

Originally founded in 1885, Gwanghyewon later became the Severance Hospital (named after philanthropist Louis Severance, who supported and funded the construction of a modern hospital) and Yonsei University College of Medicine. The Department of Neurosurgery at Severance Hospital was established in 1957, and its residency program began in 1961. Currently, the Department of Neurosurgery has 34 professors and 17 fellows; specialties include vascular, functional, pediatric, tumor, skull base, and spine neurosurgery. With its state-of-the-art neurosurgical facilities and services, the Department of Neurosurgery has developed into a department of excellence within the Yonsei University Health System. In this vignette, the authors present a historic overview of the Department of Neurosurgery.

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Jeong Yoon Park, Yong Eun Cho, Sung Uk Kuh, Jun Hyung Cho, Dong Kyu Chin, Byung Ho Jin, and Keun Su Kim


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the correlation between adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) and pelvic parameters in the patients with spondylolytic spondylolisthesis. Sagittal balance is the most important risk and prognostic factor in the development of ASD. The pelvic incidence angle (PIA) is an important anatomical parameter in determining the sagittal curvature of the spine and in the individual variability of the sacral slope and the lordotic curve. Thus, the authors evaluated the relationship between the pelvic parameters and the ASD.


Among 132 patients with spondylolytic spondylolisthesis who underwent surgery at their institution, the authors selected patients in whom a one-stage, single-level, 360° fixation procedure was performed for Grade I spondylolisthesis and who underwent follow-up for more than 1 year. Parameters in 34 patients satisfied these conditions. Of the 34 patients, seven had ASD (Group 1) and 27 patients did not have ASD (Group 2). The investigators measured degree of spondylolisthesis, lordotic angle, sacral slope angle (SSA), pelvic tilt angle (PTA), PIA, and additional parameters pre-and postoperatively. The radiographic data were reviewed retrospectively.


The population consisted of nine men and 25 women whose mean age was 48.9 ± 9 years (± standard deviation) (range 28–65 years). Seven patients developed ASD after undergoing fusion. Of all the parameters, pre-and postoperative degree of spondylolisthesis, segmental lordosis, lordotic angle, SSA, preoperative PTA, and pre-operative PIA did not differ significantly between the two groups; only postoperative PTA and PIA were significantly different.


The development of ASD is closely related to postoperative PIA and PTA, not preoperative PIA and PTA. The measurement of postoperative PIA can be used as a new indirect method to predict the ASD.

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Jun Hyung Cho, Jung Yong Ahn, Sung Uk Kuh, Dong Kyu Chin, and Young Sul Yoon

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Un Yong Choi, Jeong Yoon Park, Kyung Hyun Kim, Sung Uk Kuh, Dong Kyu Chin, Keun Su Kim, and Yong Eun Cho


Clinical results for unilateral pedicle screw fixation after lumbar interbody fusion have been reported to be as good as those for bilateral instrumentation. However, no studies have directly compared unilateral and bilateral percutaneous pedicle screw fixation after minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). The purpose of this study was to determine whether unilateral percutaneous pedicle screw fixation is comparable with bilateral percutaneous pedicle screw fixation in 1-segment MIS TLIF.


This was a prospective randomized study of 53 patients who underwent unilateral or bilateral percutaneous pedicle screw fixation after MIS TLIF for 1-segment lumbar degenerative disc disease. Twenty-six patients were assigned to a unilateral percutaneous pedicle screw fixation group and 27 patients were assigned to a bilateral percutaneous pedicle screw fixation group. Operative time, blood loss, clinical outcomes (that is, Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] and visual analog scale [VAS] scores), complication rates, and fusion rates were assessed using CT scanning 2 years after surgical treatment.


The 2 groups were similar in age, sex, preoperative diagnosis, and operated level, and they did not differ significantly in the length of follow-up (27.5 [Group 1] vs 28.9 [Group 2] months) or clinical results. Both groups showed substantial improvements in VAS and ODI scores 2 years after surgical treatment. The groups differed significantly in operative time (unilateral 84.2 minutes; bilateral 137.6 minutes), blood loss (unilateral 92.7 ml; bilateral, 232.0 ml), fusion rate (unilateral 84.6%; bilateral 96.3%), and postoperative scoliotic change (unilateral 23.1%; bilateral 3.7%).


Unilateral and bilateral screw fixation after MIS TLIF produced similar clinical results. Although perioperative results were better with unilateral screw fixation, the long-term results were better with bilateral screw fixation, suggesting bilateral screw fixation is a better choice after MIS TLIF.

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Min Ho Kong, Henry J. Hymanson, Kwan Young Song, Dong Kyu Chin, Yong Eun Cho, Do Heum Yoon, and Jeffrey C. Wang


The authors conducted a retrospective observational study using kinetic MR imaging to investigate the relationship between instability, abnormal sagittal segmental motion, and radiographic variables consisting of intervertebral disc degeneration, facet joint osteoarthritis (FJO), degeneration of the interspinous ligaments, ligamentum flavum hypertrophy (LFH), and the status of the paraspinal muscles.


Abnormal segmental motion, defined as > 10° angulation and > 3 mm of translation in the sagittal plane, was investigated in 1575 functional spine units (315 patients) in flexion, neutral, and extension postures using kinetic MR imaging. Each segment was assessed based on the extent of disc degeneration (Grades I–V), FJO (Grades 1–4), interspinous ligament degeneration (Grades 1–4), presence of LFH, and paraspinal muscle fatty infiltration observed on kinetic MR imaging. These factors are often noted in patients with degenerative disease, and there are grading systems to describe these changes. For the first time, the authors attempted to address the relationship between these radiographic observations and the effects on the motion and instability of the functional spine unit.


The prevalence of abnormal translational motion was significantly higher in patients with Grade IV degenerative discs and Grade 3 arthritic facet joints (p < 0.05). In patients with advanced disc degeneration and FJO, there was a lesser amount of motion in both segmental translation and angulation when compared with lower grades of degeneration, and this difference was statistically significant for angular motion (p < 0.05). Patients with advanced degenerative Grade 4 facet joint arthritis had a significantly lower percentage of abnormal angular motion compared to patients with normal facet joints (p < 0.001). The presence of LFH was strongly associated with abnormal translational and angular motion. Grade 4 interspinous ligament degeneration and the presence of paraspinal muscle fatty infiltration were both significantly associated with excessive abnormal angular motion (p < 0.05).


This kinetic MR imaging analysis showed that the lumbar functional unit with more disc degeneration, FJO, and LFH had abnormal sagittal plane translation and angulation. These findings suggest that abnormal segmental motion noted on kinetic MR images is closely associated with disc degeneration, FJO, and the pathological characteristics of interspinous ligaments, ligamentum flavum, and paraspinal muscles. Kinetic MR imaging in patients with mechanical back pain may prove a valuable source of information about the stability of the functional spine unit by measuring abnormal segmental motion and grading of radiographic parameters simultaneously.

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Chang-Hyun Lee, Chun Kee Chung, Jee-Soo Jang, Sung-Min Kim, Dong-Kyu Chin, Jung-Kil Lee, Seung Hwan Yoon, Jae Taek Hong, Yoon Ha, Chi Heon Kim, and Seung-Jae Hyun


As life expectancy continues to increase, primary degenerative sagittal imbalance (PDSI) is diagnosed in an increasing number of elderly people. Although corrective surgery for this sagittal deformity is becoming more popular, the effectiveness of the procedure remains unclear. The authors aimed to collate the available evidence on the effectiveness and complications of deformity-correction surgery in patients with PDSI.


The authors carried out a meta-analysis of clinical studies regarding deformity correction in patients with PDSI. The studies were identified through searches of the PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases. Surgery outcomes were evaluated and overall treatment effectiveness was assessed in terms of the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) values and pain levels according to visual analog scale (VAS) scores and in terms of restoration of spinopelvic parameters to within a normal range. Data are expressed as mean differences with 95% CIs.


Ten studies comprising 327 patients were included. The VAS and ODI values improved after deformity-correction surgery. The smallest treatment effect exceeded the MCID for VAS values (4.15 [95% CI 3.48–4.82]) but not for ODI values (18.11 [95% CI 10.99–25.23]). At the final follow-up visit, the mean lumbar lordosis angle (−38.60° [95% CI −44.19° to −33.01°]), thoracic kyphosis angle (31.10° [95% CI 24.67°–37.53°]), C-7 sagittal vertical axis (65.00 mm [95% CI 35.27–94.72 mm]), and pelvic tilt angle (30.82° [95% CI 24.41°–37.23°]) remained outside their normal ranges. Meta-regression analyses revealed a significant effect of ODI change in relation to lumbar lordosis change (p = 0.004). After a mean of 2 years after deformity correction, the mean lumbar lordosis angle and C-7 sagittal vertical axis decreased by 5.82° and 38.91 mm, respectively, and the mean thoracic kyphosis angle increased by 4.7°. The incidences of proximal junctional kyphosis and pseudarthrosis were 23.7% and 12.8%, respectively.


Deformity correction substantially relieves back pain for about 2 years in adult patients with PDSI. Sufficient surgical restoration of lumbar lordosis can lead to substantial improvement in patient disability and reduced decompensation. Deformity correction represents a viable therapeutic option for patients with PDSI, but further technical advancements are necessary to achieve sufficient lumbar lordosis and reduce complication rates.