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Robert Micieli, Adriana Lucia Lopez Rios, Ricardo Plata Aguilar, Luis Fernando Botero Posada, and William D. Hutchison

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the posterior hypothalamus (PH) has been reported to be effective for aggressive behavior in a number of isolated cases. Few of these case studies have analyzed single-unit recordings in the human PH and none have quantitatively analyzed single units in the red nucleus (RN). The authors report on the properties of ongoing neuronal discharges in bilateral trajectories targeting the PH and the effectiveness of DBS of the PH as a treatment for aggressive behavior.

METHODS

DBS electrodes were surgically implanted in the PH of 1 awake patient with Sotos syndrome and 3 other anesthetized patients with treatment-resistant aggressivity. Intraoperative extracellular recordings were obtained from the ventral thalamus, PH, and RN and analyzed offline to discriminate single units and measure firing rates and firing patterns. Target location was based on the stereotactic coordinates used by Sano et al. in their 1970 study and the location of the dorsal border of the RN.

RESULTS

A total of 138 units were analyzed from the 4 patients. Most of the PH units had a slow, irregular discharge (mean [± SD] 4.5 ± 2.7 Hz, n = 68) but some units also had a higher discharge rate (16.7 ± 4.7 Hz, n = 15). Two populations of neurons were observed in the ventral thalamic region as well, one with a high firing rate (mean 16.5 ± 6.5 Hz, n = 5) and one with a low firing rate (mean 4.6 ± 2.8 Hz, n = 6). RN units had a regular firing rate with a mean of 20.4 ± 9.9 Hz and displayed periods of oscillatory activity in the beta range. PH units displayed a prolonged period of inhibition following microstimulation compared with RN units that were not inhibited. Patients under anesthesia showed a trend for lower firing rates in the PH but not in the RN. All 4 patients displayed a reduction in their aggressive behavior after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

During PH DBS, microelectrode recordings can provide an additional mechanism to help identify the PH target and surrounding structures to be avoided such as the RN. PH units can be distinguished from ventral thalamic units based on their response to focal microstimulation. The RN has a characteristic higher firing rate and a pattern of beta oscillations in the spike trains. The effect of the anesthetic administered should be considered when using microelectrode recordings. The results of this study, along with previous reports, suggest that PH DBS may be an effective treatment for aggression.

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Jorge Eduardo Duque Parra, John Barco Ríos, and Jhonny Fernando García Aguirre

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Hani Malone, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Martin Collier, Reilly L. Kidwell, Fernando Rios, Michael Jelousi, Shae Galli, Bahar Shahidi, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, and Robert K. Eastlack

OBJECTIVE

Intervertebral devices are increasingly utilized for fusion in the lumbar spine, along with a variety of bone graft materials. These various grafting materials often have substantial cost burdens for the surgical procedure, although they are necessary to overcome the limitations in healing capacity for many traditional interbody devices. The use of bioactive interbody fusion devices, which have demonstrable stimulatory capacity for the surrounding osteoblasts and osteoprogenitor cells and allow for osseointegration, may reduce this heavy reliance on osteobiologics for achieving interbody fusion. The objective of this study was to evaluate the rate of successful interbody fusion with a bioactive lateral lumbar interbody titanium implant with limited volume and low-cost graft material.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study (May 2017 to October 2018) of consecutively performed lateral lumbar interbody fusions with a bioactive 3D-printed porous titanium interbody device. Each interbody device was filled with 2–3 cm3/cage of a commercially available ceramic bone extender (β-tricalcium phosphate-hydroxyapatite) and combined with posterior pedicle screw fixation. No other biological agents or grafts were utilized. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic variables were captured. Fusion success was the primary endpoint of the study, with graft subsidence, fixation failure, and patient-reported outcomes (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] and visual analog scale [VAS]–back and –leg pain scores) collected as secondary endpoints. The authors utilized a CT-based fusion classification system that accounted for both intervertebral through-growth (bone bridging) and ingrowth (integration of bone at the endplate-implant interface).

RESULTS

In total, 136 lumbar levels were treated in 90 patients. The mean age was 69 years, and 63% of the included patients were female. Half (50.0%) had undergone previous spinal surgery, and a third (33.7%) had undergone prior lumbar fusion. A third (33.7%) were treated at multiple levels (mean levels per patient 1.51). One year after surgery, the mean improvements in patient-reported outcomes (vs preoperative scores) were −17.8 for ODI (p < 0.0001), −3.1 for VAS–back pain (p < 0.0001), and −2.9 for VAS–leg pain (p < 0.0001). Bone bridging and/or appositional integrity was achieved in 99.3% of patients, including 97.8% who had complete bone bridging. No fixation loosening or implant failure was observed at any segment. Low-grade graft subsidence (Marchi grade ≤ I) occurred in 3 levels (2.2%), and intraoperative endplate violation occurred twice (1.5%). High-grade subsidence was not found. No implant failure or revision surgery for pseudarthrosis/subsidence was necessary.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of bioactive titanium interbody devices with a large surface footprint appears to result in a very high rate of effective fusion, despite the use of a small volume of low-cost biological material. This potential change in the osteobiologics required to achieve high fusion rates may have a substantially beneficial impact on the economic burden inherent to spinal fusion.