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Kristina Aldridge, Brent R. Collett, Erin R. Wallace, Craig Birgfeld, Jordan R. Austin, Regina Yeh, Madison Feil, Kathleen A. Kapp-Simon, Elizabeth H. Aylward, Michael L. Cunningham, and Matthew L. Speltz

OBJECTIVE

Single-suture craniosynostosis (SSC), the premature fusion of a cranial suture, is characterized by dysmorphology of the craniofacial skeleton. Evidence to suggest that children with SSC are at an elevated risk of mild to moderate developmental delays and neurocognitive deficits is mounting, but the associations among premature suture fusion, neuroanatomy, and neurocognition are unexplained. The goals of this study were to determine 1) whether differences in the brain are present in young children with the 2 most common forms of SSC (sagittal and metopic) several years following surgical correction, and 2) whether the pattern of differences varies by affected suture (sagittal or metopic). Examination of differences in the brains of children with SSC several years after surgery may illuminate the growth trajectory of the brain after the potential constraint of the dysmorphic cranium has been relieved.

METHODS

The authors compared quantitative measures of the brain acquired from MR images obtained from children with sagittal or metopic craniosynostosis (n = 36) at 7 years of age to those obtained from a group of unaffected controls (n = 27) at the same age. The authors measured the volumes of the whole brain, cerebral cortex, cerebral white matter, cerebral cortex by lobe, and ventricles. Additionally, they measured the midsagittal area of the corpus callosum and its segments and of the cerebellar vermis and its component lobules. Measurements obtained from children with SSC and controls were compared using linear regression models.

RESULTS

No volume measures of the cerebrum or of the whole brain differed significantly between patients with SSC and controls (p > 0.05). However, ventricle volume was significantly increased in patients with SSC (p = 0.001), particularly in those with sagittal craniosynostosis (p < 0.001). In contrast, the area of the corpus callosum was significantly reduced in patients with metopic synostosis (p = 0.04), particularly in the posterior segments (p = 0.004). Similarly, the area of lobules VI–VII of the cerebellar vermis was reduced in patients with SSC (p = 0.03), with those with metopic craniosynostosis showing the greatest reduction (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The lack of differences in overall brain size or regional differences in the size of the lobes of the cerebrum in children with metopic and sagittal synostosis suggests that the elevated risk of neurodevelopmental deficits is not likely to be associated with differences in the cerebral cortex. Instead, this study showed localized differences between sagittal and metopic craniosynostosis cases as compared with controls in the ventricles and in the midsagittal structures of the corpus callosum and the cerebellum. It remains to be tested whether these structural differences are associated with the increased risk for developmental delay and neurocognitive deficits in children with SSC.

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.