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Chima Ohaegbulam, Eric J. Woodard and Mark Proctor

✓The authors of this brief case report describe a previously unreported developmental variant of the craniovertebral junction. A 10-year-old girl who presented with cervical myelopathy was found to have cervicomedullary compression by hypertrophic occipital condyles. Decompression was achieved via a midline dorsal approach with no complications. The embryology of this area is briefly reviewed to attempt to explain the origin of this anomaly.

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Sagun K. Tuli, Jayshree Tuli, Peng Chen and Eric J. Woodard

Object. The term “fusion rate” is generally denoted in the literature as the percentage of patients with successful fusion over a specific range of follow up. Because the time to fusion is a time-to-event phenomenon a more accurate method of representation may be made using the Kaplan—Meier method of estimation.

Methods. The current study was performed to illustrate that fusion rate is more accurately represented by median times as calculated using survival analysis. Patients undergoing a cervical decompressive corpectomy and reconstruction formed the basis of the primary analysis. A secondary analysis was made to evaluate the difference in the fusion times for one- compared with multilevel corpectomy cases.

Data were collected at a tertiary care institution over a 5-year period with 6-month follow up after the last recruitment. Descriptive statistics of baseline patient characteristics, the extent of disease, and the surgical intervention were obtained.

Fusion was the final outcome, and it was defined as the “event.” The presence of any trabeculae bridging between the vertebral body and allograft signified the occurrence of an event. Postoperative static radiographs were evaluated by independent neuroradiologists to assess the presence of fusion.

Fusion rate was determined using the Kaplan—Meier estimate. The median time to fusion was calculated, as were the 95% confidence intervals (CIs). These were stratified for patients who underwent one- and two-level vertebrectomy. The log-rank test was used to differentiate between one-level and multilevel corpectomy. Multivariate analysis was performed using Cox regression for further evaluation, by adjusting for covariates (age, sex, smoking history).

Fifty-seven patients underwent single- or multilevel corpectomy and fusion. The male/female ratio was similar, with a median age of 53 years. Fourteen patients had a history of cigarette smoking. Thirty-six patients underwent a one-level corpectomy, 20 a two-level corpectomy, and one patient underwent a three-level corpectomy. The analysis was restricted to one- and two-level cases.

The median time to fusion for the cephalad and caudad aspect of the graft—host interface was 88 days (95% CI 82–94 days) and 85 days (95% CI 77–93 days), respectively. As generally reported in the literature, this translates to a 92% (by 2.1 years) and 93% (by 1.5 years) fusion rate, for the cephalad and caudad, respectively. The median time to fusion for the cephalad aspect of the graft for one-level vertebrectomy was 87 days (95% CI 83–91 days), whereas for two-level vertebrectomy was 90 days (95% CI 59–121 days). The median time to fusion for the caudal aspect of the graft—host interface was 85 days (95% CI 80–90 days) for one-level corpectomy and 90 days (95% CI 83–97 days) for the two-level cases.

There was no statistically significant difference in the median time to fusion for one- and two-level corpectomy at either the superior or inferior aspect of the graft (p = 0.19 and 0.84, respectively). This held true even after adjusting for covariates.

Conclusions. Fusion rate is a time-to-event phenomenon and is more accurately represented using the Kaplan—Meier method of estimation.

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Jayshree Tuli, Sagun Tuli, Marc E. Eichler and Eric J. Woodard

Object

In this paper, the authors compare the long-term outcomes of translaminar facet screw fixation (TFSF) and pedicle screw fixation (PSF) in the treatment of degenerative lumbosacral disease.

Methods

This prospective analytical study was performed to compare the long-term outcomes of TFSF and PSF for degenerative lumbosacral disease. Outcomes were defined as the need for reoperation for the development of a nonunion, end-fusion degeneration, or for explantation of hardware.

Results

A total of 77 patients were analyzed. Thirty-seven patients underwent PSF and 40 received TFSF. Twenty-three of the 77 patients required a reoperation: 13 (32.5%) of the 40 patients in the TFSF group and 10 (27%) of the 37 the patients in the PSF group. The overall mean time to reoperation (regardless of outcome) was 4.05 years. For patients in the TFSF group the mean time to reoperation was 2.94 years, whereas it was 4.35 years in the PSF group (p = 0.34). Nonunion was noted in seven of the 40 patients in the TFSF group and one of 37 in the PSF group. The mean time to surgery for nonunion for patients in the TFSF group was 3.46 years and for those in the PSF group it was 6.27 years (p = 0.04). Surgery for end-fusion degeneration was performed in two patients in the TFSF group and five in the PSF group (p = 0.43). Explantation of hardware was performed in two patients with TFSF and four patients with PSF.

Multivariable analysis revealed a statistically significant difference in the time to surgery for nonunion between PSF and TFSF (p = 0.048), with a hazard ratio of 0.097 (95% confidence interval 0.01–0.98).

Conclusions

Findings from the current prospective study suggest that there is an increased risk of requirement for a reoperation for nonunion among TFSF cases compared with PSF cases.

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Michael G. Fehlings, Justin S. Smith, Branko Kopjar, Paul M. Arnold, S. Tim Yoon, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Darrel S. Brodke, Michael E. Janssen, Jens R. Chapman, Rick C. Sasso, Eric J. Woodard, Robert J. Banco, Eric M. Massicotte, Mark B. Dekutoski, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Christopher M. Bono and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Rates of complications associated with the surgical treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) are not clear. Appreciating these risks is important for patient counseling and quality improvement. The authors sought to assess the rates of and risk factors associated with perioperative and delayed complications associated with the surgical treatment of CSM.

Methods

Data from the AOSpine North America Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Study, a prospective, multicenter study, were analyzed. Outcomes data, including adverse events, were collected in a standardized manner and externally monitored. Rates of perioperative complications (within 30 days of surgery) and delayed complications (31 days to 2 years following surgery) were tabulated and stratified based on clinical factors.

Results

The study enrolled 302 patients (mean age 57 years, range 29–86) years. Of 332 reported adverse events, 73 were classified as perioperative complications (25 major and 48 minor) in 47 patients (overall perioperative complication rate of 15.6%). The most common perioperative complications included minor cardiopulmonary events (3.0%), dysphagia (3.0%), and superficial wound infection (2.3%). Perioperative worsening of myelopathy was reported in 4 patients (1.3%). Based on 275 patients who completed 2 years of follow-up, there were 14 delayed complications (8 minor, 6 major) in 12 patients, for an overall delayed complication rate of 4.4%. Of patients treated with anterior-only (n = 176), posterior-only (n = 107), and combined anterior-posterior (n = 19) procedures, 11%, 19%, and 37%, respectively, had 1 or more perioperative complications. Compared with anterior-only approaches, posterior-only approaches had a higher rate of wound infection (0.6% vs 4.7%, p = 0.030). Dysphagia was more common with combined anterior-posterior procedures (21.1%) compared with anterior-only procedures (2.3%) or posterior-only procedures (0.9%) (p < 0.001). The incidence of C-5 radiculopathy was not associated with the surgical approach (p = 0.8). The occurrence of perioperative complications was associated with increased age (p = 0.006), combined anterior-posterior procedures (p = 0.016), increased operative time (p = 0.009), and increased operative blood loss (p = 0.005), but it was not associated with comorbidity score, body mass index, modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score, smoking status, anterior-only versus posterior-only approach, or specific procedures. Multivariate analysis of factors associated with minor or major complications identified age (OR 1.029, 95% CI 1.002–1.057, p = 0.035) and operative time (OR 1.005, 95% CI 1.002–1.008, p = 0.001). Multivariate analysis of factors associated with major complications identified age (OR 1.054, 95% CI 1.015–1.094, p = 0.006) and combined anterior-posterior procedures (OR 5.297, 95% CI 1.626–17.256, p = 0.006).

Conclusions

For the surgical treatment of CSM, the vast majority of complications were treatable and without long-term impact. Multivariate factors associated with an increased risk of complications include greater age, increased operative time, and use of combined anterior-posterior procedures.