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Yakov Gologorsky, Branko Skovrlj, Jeremy Steinberger, Max Moore, Marc Arginteanu, Frank Moore and Alfred Steinberger

Object

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with segmental pedicular instrumentation is a wellestablished procedure used to treat lumbar spondylosis with or without spondylolisthesis. Available biomechanical and clinical studies that compared unilateral and bilateral constructs have produced conflicting data regarding patient outcomes and hardware complications.

Methods

A prospective cohort study was undertaken by a group of neurosurgeons. They prospectively enrolled 80 patients into either bilateral or unilateral pedicle screw instrumentation groups (40 patients/group). Demographic data collected for each group included sex, age, body mass index, tobacco use, and Workers' Compensation/litigation status. Operative data included segments operated on, number of levels involved, estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, and perioperative complications. Long-term outcomes (hardware malfunction, wound dehiscence, and pseudarthrosis) were recorded. For all patients, preoperative baseline and 6-month postoperative scores for Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) outcomes were recorded.

Results

Patient follow-up times ranged from 37 to 63 months (mean 52 months). No patients were lost to follow-up. The patients who underwent unilateral pedicle screw instrumentation (unilateral cohort) were slightly younger than those who underwent bilateral pedicle screw instrumentation (bilateral cohort) (mean age 42 vs 47 years, respectively; p = 0.02). No other significant differences were detected between cohorts with regard to demographic data, mean number of lumbar levels operated on, or distribution of the levels operated on. Estimated blood loss was higher for patients in the bilateral cohort, but length of stay was similar for patients in both cohorts. The incidence of pseudarthrosis was significantly higher among patients in the unilateral cohort (7 patients [17.5%]) than among those in the bilateral cohort (1 patient [2.5%]) (p = 0.02). Wound dehiscence occurred for 1 patient in the unilateral cohort. Reoperation was offered to 8 patients in the unilateral cohort and 1 patient in the bilateral cohort (p = 0.03). The physical component scores of the Medical Outcomes SF-36 outcomes improved significantly for all patients (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion with either unilateral or bilateral segmental pedicular instrumentation is an effective treatment for lumbar spondylosis. Because patients with unilateral constructs were 7 times more likely to experience pseudarthrosis and require reoperation, TLIF with bilateral constructs might be the biomechanically superior technique.

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Martin B. Camins, Frank M. Moore and Peter W. Carmel

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Susan Morgello, Angeliki Kotsianti, Jeffrey P. Gumprecht and Frank Moore

✓ A 35-year-old man infected with human immunodeficiency virus presented with cervical myelopathy of 2 months duration. Clinical and radiographic evaluation revealed a discrete, subdural mass at C-6. At surgery, the mass proved to have a dural attachment and thus clinically, radiographically, and grossly, it resembled meningioma. Histopathological analysis revealed a leiomyosarcoma that stained diffusely for muscle-specific actin. Electron microscopy revealed basal lamina surrounding the tumor cells and intracytoplasmic bundles of myofilaments. Epstein—Barr virus (EBV) was demonstrated within tumor cell nuclei by in situ hybridization for EBER1 messenger RNA and immunohistochemical staining for EBNA2 protein. Epstein—Barr virus latent membrane protein (LMP1) was not detected. This is the first documentation of an EBV-associated smooth-muscle tumor of the dura, and the first demonstration that tumors in this location contain EBV in an unusual form of latency not seen in lymphoid cell lines. With increasing numbers of individuals being afflicted with long-term immunosuppression, EBV-associated dural leiomyoma and leiomyosarcoma may be encountered more frequently in the future.

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Paul S. Saphier, Marc S. Arginteanu, Frank M. Moore, Alfred A. Steinberger and Martin B. Camins

Object

In a prospective analysis the authors evaluated the clinical and radiographic outcome of 50 consecutive patients who underwent anterior cervical discectomy and fusion and fixation in which either a stress-shielding or a load-sharing plate (Orion and Premier, respectively) was placed. Data obtained in the two cohorts were analyzed to determine whether clinical or radiographic differences would emerge.

Methods

All patients underwent either one- or two-level fusion in which freeze-dried allogenic tricortical iliac crest bone graft was used. In the first cohort of 25 patients entered into the study, fixation was achieved using a stress-shielding anterior cervical plate (ACP) system, whereas in the second cohort of 25 patients a load-sharing plate system was employed. Patients were evaluated during a follow-up period that ranged from 12 to 35 months. Outcome was determined using a standard questionnaire by which the authors gauged the level of pain, disability, and satisfaction following surgery. The success of surgical fusion and the magnitude of the translation were determined by radiographic evaluation.

There was no statistically significant difference between the two cohorts with respect to age, sex, smoking rate, and postoperative complications. With regard to pain and functionality, there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) in favor of the load-sharing system. The fusion rates with the load-sharing and stress-shielding systems were 96 and 92%, respectively, and this difference was not significant. There was no significant difference between the two cohorts with regard to overall satisfaction. The magnitude of vertical translation was significantly greater in the stress-shielding ACP group (p < 0.05) for treatment at one level but not at two. Clinical and radiographic data were available in all patients.

Conclusions

Load-sharing ACP systems exhibited superior clinical results compared with stress-shielding ACPs in this series of patients. The symptomatic pseudarthrosis rate was lower in the load-sharing ACP–treated patients, although this was not statistically significant.

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Arien J. Smith, Marc Arginteanu, Frank Moore, Alfred Steinberger and Martin Camins

Object

Recent advances in the field of spinal implants have led to the development of the bioabsorbable interbody cage. Although much has been written about their advantageous characteristics, little has been reported regarding complications associated with these cages. The authors conducted this prospective cohort study to compare fusion and complication rates in patients undergoing transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with carbon fiber cages versus biodegradable cages made from 70/30 poly(l-lactide-co-d,l-lactide) (PLDLA).

Methods

Between January 2005 and May 2006, 81 patients with various degenerative and/or structural pathologies affecting the lumbar spine underwent single- or multilevel TLIF with posterior segmental pedicle screw fixation using implants made of carbon fiber (37 patients) or 70/30 PLDLA (44 patients). Clinical and radiological follow-up was performed at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year, and is ongoing. The incidence of nonunion, screw breakage, and cage migration were compared between the 2 groups.

Results

There was no significant difference in demographic data between the 2 groups, the mean number of lumbar levels operated, or distribution of the levels operated. There was a significantly increased incidence of nonunion (8 patients, 18.2%) and cage migrations (8 patients, 18.2%) in patients receiving the PLDLA implants compared with carbon fiber implants (no patients) (p = 0.006 and 0.007, respectively). There was no significant difference in demographic data between patients with cage migration and the rest of the patient population. Five of the 8 cases of migration occurred at the L5–S1 level while the remaining 3 occurred at the L4–5 level. The mean time to implant failure was 9.3 months.

Conclusions

This study showed an increased incidence of nonunion (18.2%) and postsurgical cage migration (18.2%) in patients undergoing TLIF with biodegradable cages versus carbon fiber implants (0%) (p = 0.006 and 0.007, respectively).

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Frank J. Yuk, Jonathan J. Rasouli, Marc S. Arginteanu, Alfred A. Steinberger, Frank M. Moore, Kevin C. Yao, John M. Caridi and Yakov Gologorsky

OBJECTIVE

Rigid cervicothoracic kyphotic deformity (CTKD) remains a difficult pathology to treat, especially in the setting of prior cervical instrumentation and fusion. CTKD may result in chronic neck pain, difficulty maintaining horizontal gaze, and myelopathy. Prior studies have advocated for the use of C7 or T1 pedicle subtraction osteotomies (PSOs). However, these surgeries are fraught with danger and, most significantly, place the C7, C8, and/or T1 nerve roots at risk.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed their experience with performing T2 PSO for the correction of rigid CTKD. Demographics collected included age, sex, details of prior cervical surgery, and coexisting conditions. Perioperative variables included levels decompressed, levels instrumented, estimated blood loss, length of surgery, length of stay, complications from surgery, and length of follow-up. Radiographic measurements included C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) correction, and changes in the cervicothoracic Cobb angle, lumbar lordosis, and C2–S1 SVA.

RESULTS

Four male patients were identified (age range 55–72 years). Three patients had undergone prior posterior cervical laminectomy and instrumented fusion and developed postsurgical kyphosis. All patients underwent T2 PSO: 2 patients received instrumentation at C2–T4, and 2 patients received instrumentation at C2–T5. The median C2–7 SVA correction was 3.85 cm (range 2.9–5.3 cm). The sagittal Cobb angle correction ranged from 27.8° to 37.6°. Notably, there were no neurological complications.

CONCLUSIONS

T2 PSO is a powerful correction technique for the treatment of rigid CTKD. Compared with C7 or T1 PSO, there is decreased risk of injury to intrinsic hand muscle innervators, and there is virtually no risk of vertebral artery injury. Laminectomy may also be safer, as there is less (or no) scar tissue from prior surgeries. Correction at this distal level may allow for a greater sagittal correction. The authors are optimistic that these findings will be corroborated in larger cohorts examining this challenging clinical entity.

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Harel Deutsch, Marc Arginteanu, Karen Manhart, Noel Perin, Martin Camins, Frank Moore, A. Abe Steinberger and Donald J Weisz

Object. Spine surgeons have used intraoperative cortical and subcortical somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring to detect changes in spinal cord function when intraoperative procedures can be performed to prevent neurological deterioration. However, the reliability of SSEP monitoring as applied to anterior thoracic vertebral body resections has not been rigorously assessed.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed hospital charts and operating room records obtained between August 1993 and December 1998 and found that SSEP monitoring was used in 44 surgical procedures involving an anterior approach for thoracic vertebral body resections.

There were no patients in whom SSEP changes did not return to baseline during the surgical procedure. Patients in four cases, despite their stable SSEP recordings throughout the procedure, were noted immediately postoperatively to have experienced significant neurological deterioration. The false-negative rate in SSEP monitoring was 9%. Sensitivity was determined to be 0%.

Conclusions. It is important to recognize high false-negative rates and low sensitivity of SSEP monitoring when it is used to record spinal cord function during anterior approaches for thoracic vertebrectomies. The insensitivity of SSEPs for motor deterioration during anterior thoracic vertebrectomies is likely due to the limitation of SSEPs, which monitor only posterior column function whereas motor paths are conveyed in the anterior and anterolateral spinal cord. The authors believe that SSEPs can not be relied on to detect reversible spinal damage during anterior thoracic vertebrectomies.

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Narayan Sundaresan, Alfred A. Steinberger, Frank Moore, Ved Parkash Sachdev, George Krol, Laura Hough and Kevin Kelliher

✓ Spinal instrumentation currently allows gross-total resection and reconstruction in cases of malignancies at all levels of the spine. The authors analyzed the results in 110 patients who underwent surgery for primary and metastatic spinal tumors over a 5-year period (1989–1993) at a single institution. Major primary sites of tumor included breast (14 cases), chordoma (14 cases), lung (12 cases), kidney (11 cases), sarcoma (13 cases), plasmacytoma (10 cases), and others (36 cases). Prior to surgery, 55 patients (50%) had received prior treatment. Forty-eight patients (44%) were nonambulatory, and severe paraparesis was present in 20 patients. Fifty-three patients (48%) underwent combined anterior—posterior resection and instrumentation, 33 (30%) underwent anterior resection with instrumentation, 18 (16%) underwent anterior or posterior resection alone, and the remaining six patients (5%) underwent posterior resection and instrumentation. Major indications for anterior—posterior resection included three-column involvement, high-grade instability, involvement of contiguous vertebral bodies, and solitary metastases. Postoperatively, 90 patients improved neurologically. The overall median survival was 16 months, with 46% of patients surviving 2 years. Fifty-three patients (48%) suffered postoperative complications. Despite the high incidence of complications, the majority of patients reported improvement in their quality of life at follow-up review. Our findings suggest that half of all patients with spinal malignancies require combined anterior—posterior surgery for adequate tumor removal and stabilization.

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Narayan Sundaresan, Alfred A. Steinberger, Frank Moore, Ved Parkash Sachdev, George Krol, Laura Hough and Kevin Kelliher

Spinal instrumentation currently allows gross-total resection and reconstruction in cases of malignancies at all levels of the spine. The authors analyzed the results in 110 patients who underwent surgery for primary and metastatic spinal tumors over a 5 year period (1989–1993) at a single institution. Major primary sites of tumor included breast (14 cases), chordoma (14 cases), lung (12 cases), kidney (11 cases), sarcoma (13 cases), plasmacytoma (10 cases), and others (36 cases). Prior to surgery, 55 patients (50%) had received prior treatment. Forty eight patients (44%) were nonambulatory, and severe paraparesis was present in 20 patients. Fifty three patients (48%) underwent combined anterior-posterior resection and instrumentation, 33 (30%) underwent anterior resection with instrumentation, 18 (16%) underwent anterior or posterior resection alone, and the remaining six patients (5%) underwent posterior resection and instrumentation. Major indications for anterior-posterior resection included three-column involvement, high-grade instability, involvement of contiguous vertebral bodies, and solitary metastases. Postoperatively, 90 patients improved neurologically. The overall median survival was 16 months, with 46% of patients surviving 2 years. Fifty-three patients (48%) suffered postoperative complications. Despite the high incidence of complications, the majority of patients reported improvement in their quality of life at follow-up review. Our findings suggest that half of all patients with spinal malignancies require combined anterior-posterior surgery for adequate tumor removal and stabilization.

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Jason Moore, Narayan Yoganandan, Frank A. Pintar, Jason Lifshutz and Dennis J. Maiman

Object

The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro biomechanical responses of lumbar spinal segments after implantation of tapered cages.

Methods

Range of motion (ROM)– and stiffness-related data were determined in 10 human cadaveric T12–S1 columns subjected to flexion, extension, and lateral bending modes before and after anterior lumbar interbody fusion in which stand-alone LT-CAGE devices were used. The overall column showed no significant changes in ROM or stiffness. At the instrumented level, stiffness increased significantly (p < 0.05) in flexion and lateral bending modes. Indications of instability in extension were present, but these values were not statistically significant. There was no evidence of adjacent-level instability at any level in any mode, except for the segment superior to the fixation level in flexion; here there was a significant increase in ROM (p < 0.05) and a decrease in stiffness.

Conclusions

The anatomical conformity and bilateral placement of cages provide ample stability and rigidity at the treated level, comparable to that of other cage systems. Because hypermobility is traditionally related to early degenerative changes, the present results appear to suggest that cages do not significantly contribute to such alterations.