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George M. Ghobrial and Michael Y. Wang

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Anthony N. Grieff, George M. Ghobrial and Jack Jallo

OBJECTIVE

The aim in this paper was to evaluate the efficacy of long-acting liposomal bupivacaine in comparison with bupivacaine hydrochloride for lowering postoperative analgesic usage in the management of posterior cervical and lumbar decompression and fusion.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort-matched chart review of 531 consecutive cases over 17 months (October 2013 to February 2015) for posterior cervical and lumbar spinal surgery procedures performed by a single surgeon (J.J.) was performed. Inclusion criteria for the analysis were limited to those patients who received posterior approach decompression and fusion for cervical or lumbar spondylolisthesis and/or stenosis. Patients from October 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, received periincisional injections of bupivacaine hydrochloride, whereas after January 1, 2014, liposomal bupivacaine was solely administered to all patients undergoing posterior approach cervical and lumbar spinal surgery through the duration of treatment. Patients were separated into 2 groups for further analysis: posterior cervical and posterior lumbar spinal surgery.

RESULTS

One hundred sixteen patients were identified: 52 in the cervical cohort and 64 in the lumbar cohort. For both cervical and lumbar cases, patients who received bupivacaine hydrochloride required approximately twice the adjusted morphine milligram equivalent (MME) per day in comparison with the liposomal bupivacaine groups (5.7 vs 2.7 MME, p = 0.27 [cervical] and 17.3 vs 7.1 MME, p = 0.30 [lumbar]). The amounts of intravenous rescue analgesic requirements were greater for bupivacaine hydrochloride in comparison with liposomal bupivacaine in both the cervical (1.0 vs 0.39 MME, p = 0.31) and lumbar (1.0 vs 0.37 MME, p = 0.08) cohorts as well. None of these differences was found to be statistically significant. There were also no significant differences in lengths of stay, complication rates, or infection rates. A subgroup analysis of both cohorts of opiate-naive versus opiate-dependent patients found that those patients who were naive had no difference in opiate requirements. In chronic opiate users, there was a trend toward higher opiate requirements for the bupivacaine hydrochloride group than for the liposomal bupivacaine group; however, this trend did not achieve statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS

Liposomal bupivacaine did not appear to significantly decrease perioperative narcotic use or length of hospitalization, although there was a trend toward decreased narcotic use in comparison with bupivacaine hydrochloride. While the results of this study do not support the routine use of liposomal bupivacaine, there may be a benefit in the subgroup of patients who are chronic opiate users. Future prospective randomized controlled trials, ideally with dose-response parameters, must be performed to fully explore the efficacy of liposomal bupivacaine, as the prior literature suggests that clinically relevant effects require a minimum tissue concentration.

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Matthew J. Viereck, George M. Ghobrial, Sara Beygi and James S. Harrop

OBJECTIVE

Resection significantly improves the clinical symptoms and functional outcomes of patients with intradural extramedullary tumors. However, patient quality of life following resection has not been adequately investigated. The aim in this retrospective analysis of prospectively collected quality of life outcomes is to analyze the efficacy of resection of intradural extramedullary spinal tumors in terms of quality of life markers.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a single institutional neurosurgical administrative database was conducted to analyze clinical data. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, and the EQ-5D-3 L descriptive system were used to analyze quality of life preoperatively, less than 1 month postoperatively, 1–3 months postoperatively, 3–12 months postoperatively, and more than 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

The ODI scores increased perioperatively at the < 1-month follow-up from 36 preoperatively to 47. Relative to preoperative values, the ODI score decreased significantly at 1–3, 3–12, and > 12 months to 23, 17, and 20, respectively. VAS scores significantly decreased from 6.1 to 3.5, 2.4, 2.0, and 2.9 at the < 1-month, 1- to 3-, 3- to 12-, and > 12-month follow-ups, respectively. EQ-5D mobility significantly worsened at the < 1-month follow-up but improved at the 3- to 12-and > 12-month follow-ups. EQ-5D self-care significantly worsened at the < 1-month follow-up but significantly improved by the 3- to 12-month follow-up. EQ-5D usual activities improved at the 1- to 3-, 3- to 12-, and > 12-month follow-ups. EQ-5D pain and discomfort significantly improved at all follow-up points. EQ-5D anxiety and depression significantly improved at 1- to 3-month and 3- to 12-month follow-ups.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection of intradural extramedullary spine tumors appears to significantly improve patient quality of life by decreasing patient disability and pain and by improving each of the EQ-5D domains.

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George M. Ghobrial, Richard Dalyai, Adam E. Flanders and James Harrop

The authors describe a patient who presented with acute tetraparesis and a proposed acute traumatic spinal cord injury that was the result of nitrous oxide myelopathy. This 19-year-old man sustained a traumatic fall off a 6-ft high wall. His examination was consistent with a central cord syndrome with the addition of dorsal column impairment. Cervical MRI demonstrated an isolated dorsal column signal that was suggestive of a nontraumatic etiology. The patient's symptoms resolved entirely over the course of 48 hours.

Nitrous oxide abuse is increasing in prevalence. Its toxic side effects can mask vitamin B12 and folate deficiency and central cord syndrome. The patient's history and radiographic presentation are key to establishing a diagnosis.

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George M. Ghobrial, Kenneth M. Crandall, Anthony Lau, Seth K. Williams and Allan D. Levi

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to describe the use of a minimally invasive surgical treatment of lumbar spondylolysis in athletes by a fluoroscopically guided direct pars screw placement with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) and to report on clinical and radiographic outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of all patients treated surgically for lumbar spondylolysis via a minimally invasive direct pars repair with cannulated screws. Demographic information, clinical features of presentation, perioperative and intraoperative radiographic imaging, and postoperative data were collected. A 1-cm midline incision was performed for the placement of bilateral pars screws utilizing biplanar fluoroscopy, followed by placement of a fully threaded 4.0-mm-diameter titanium cannulated screw. A tubular table-mounted retractor was utilized for direct pars fracture visualization and debridement through a separate incision. The now-visualized pars fracture could then be decorticated, with care taken not to damage the titanium screw when using a high-speed drill. Local bone obtained from the curettage was then placed in the defect with 1.05 mg rhBMP-2 divided equally between the bilateral pars defects.

RESULTS

Nine patients were identified (mean age 17.7 ± 3.42 years, range 14–25 years; 6 male and 3 female). All patients had bilateral pars fractures of L-4 (n = 4) or L-5 (n = 5). The mean duration of preoperative symptoms was 17.22 ± 13.2 months (range 9–48 months). The mean operative duration was 189 ± 29 minutes (range 151–228 minutes). The mean intraoperative blood loss was 17.5 ± 10 ml (range 10–30 ml). Radiographic follow-up was available in all cases; the mean length of time from surgery to the most recent imaging study was 30.8 ± 23.3 months (range 3–59 months). The mean hospital length of stay was 1.13 ± 0.35 days (range 1–2 days). There were no intraoperative complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Lumbar spondylolysis treatment with a minimally invasive direct pars repair is a safe and technically feasible option that minimizes muscle and soft-tissue dissection, which may particularly benefit adolescent patients with a desire to return to a high level of physical activity.

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George M. Ghobrial, David W. Cadotte, Kim Williams Jr., Michael G. Fehlings and James S. Harrop

OBJECT

The use of intrawound vancomycin is rapidly being adopted for the prevention of surgical site infection (SSI) in spinal surgery. At operative closure, the placement of vancomycin powder in the wound bed—in addition to standard infection prophylaxis—can provide high concentrations of antibiotics with minimal systemic absorption. However, despite its popularity, to date the majority of studies on intrawound vancomycin are retrospective, and there are no prior reports highlighting the risks of routine treatment.

METHODS

A MEDLINE search for pertinent literature was conducted for studies published between 1966 and May 2015 using the following MeSH search terms: “intrawound vancomycin,” “operative lumbar spine complications,” and “nonoperative lumbar spine complications.” This was supplemented with references and known literature on the topic.

RESULTS

An advanced MEDLINE search conducted on May 6, 2015, using the search string “intrawound vancomycin” found 22 results. After a review of all abstracts for relevance to intrawound vancomycin use in spinal surgery, 10 studies were reviewed in detail. Three meta-analyses were evaluated from the initial search, and 2 clinical studies were identified. After an analysis of all of the identified manuscripts, 3 additional studies were included for a total of 16 studies. Fourteen retrospective studies and 2 prospective studies were identified, resulting in a total of 9721 patients. A total of 6701 (68.9%) patients underwent treatment with intrawound vancomycin. The mean SSI rate among the control and vancomycin-treated patients was 7.47% and 1.36%, respectively. There were a total of 23 adverse events: nephropathy (1 patient), ototoxicity resulting in transient hearing loss (2 patients), systemic absorption resulting in supratherapeutic vancomycin exposure (1 patient), and culture-negative seroma formation (19 patients). The overall adverse event rate for the total number of treated patients was 0.3%.

CONCLUSIONS

Intrawound vancomycin use appears to be safe and effective for reducing postoperative SSIs with a low rate of morbidity. Study disparities and limitations in size, patient populations, designs, and outcomes measures contribute significant bias that could not be fully rectified by this systematic review. Moreover, care should be exercised in the use of intrawound vancomycin due to the lack of well-designed, prospective studies that evaluate the efficacy of vancomycin and include the appropriate systems to capture drug-related complications.

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George M. Ghobrial, Sara Beygi, Matthew J. Viereck, Joshua E. Heller, Ashwini Sharan, Jack Jallo, James S. Harrop and Srinivas Prasad

Syringomyelia is a potentially debilitating disease that involves abnormal CSF flow mechanics; its incidence after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is approximately 15%. Treatment consists of restoration of CSF flow, typically via arachnoidolysis and syrinx decompression. The authors present a case of pronounced syringomyelia in a patient with concomitant severe cervical myelomalacia to demonstrate unilateral C-5 palsy as a potential complication of aggressive syrinx decompression at a remote level.

A 56-year-old man with a remote history of SCI at T-11 (ASIA [American Spinal Injury Association] Grade A) presented with complaints of ascending motor and sensory weakness into the bilateral upper extremities that had progressed over 1 year. MRI demonstrated severe distortion of the spinal cord at the prior injury level of T10–11, where an old anterior column injury and prior hook-rod construct was visualized. Of note, the patient had a holocord syrinx with demonstrable myelomalacia. To restore CSF flow and decompress the spinal cord, T-2 and T-3 laminectomies, followed by arachnoidolysis and syringopleural shunt placement, were performed. Postoperatively on Day 1, with the exception of a unilateral deltoid palsy, the patient had immediate improvement in upper-extremity strength and myelopathy. He was discharged from the hospital on postoperative Day 5; however, at his 2-week follow-up visit, a persistent unilateral deltoid palsy was noted. MRI demonstrated a significant reduction in the holocord syrinx, no neural foraminal stenosis, and a significant positional shift of the ventral spinal cord. Further motor recovery was noted at the 8-month follow-up.

Syringomyelia is a debilitating disease arising most often as a result of traumatic SCI. In the setting of myelomalacia with a pronounced syrinx, C-5 palsy is a potential complication of syrinx decompression.

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Lorenzo Nigro, Pasquale Donnarumma, Roberto Tarantino, Marika Rullo, Antonio Santoro and Roberto Delfini

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George M. Ghobrial, Anil K. Nair, Richard T. Dalyai, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris, Aaron S. Dumont, Robert H. Rosenwasser and L. Fernando Gonzalez

Multimodal endovascular intervention is becoming more commonplace for the acute intervention of ischemic stroke. Hyperdensity in a portion of the treated territory is a common finding on postthrombolytic noncontrast CT (NCCT), but its significance is poorly understood. The authors conducted a single-institution, retrospective chart review of patients who had intraarterial thrombolysis of the anterior circulation between 2010 and 2011 with evidence of hyperdensity on NCCT following recanalization. Eighteen patients had evidence of postoperative contrast stasis causing hyperdensity on NCCT. One hundred percent of the patients had MR imaging evidence of completed strokes postoperatively in the same distribution as the stasis. Stasis on NCCT after intervention had a sensitivity and specificity of 82% and 0% for predicting stroke, respectively. Furthermore, the positive predictive value was 100%. The presence of contrast stasis on postthrombolytic NCCT correlates well with stroke seen on subsequent MR imaging.

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George M. Ghobrial, Thana Theofanis, Bruce V. Darden, Paul Arnold, Michael G. Fehlings and James S. Harrop

OBJECT

Unintended durotomy is a common occurrence during lumbar spinal surgery, particularly in surgery for degenerative spinal conditions, with the reported incidence rate ranging from 0.3% to 35%. The authors performed a systematic literature review on unintended lumbar spine durotomy, specifically aiming to identify the incidence of durotomy during spinal surgery for lumbar degenerative conditions. In addition, the authors analyzed the incidence of durotomy when minimally invasive surgical approaches were used as compared with that following a traditional midline open approach.

METHODS

A MEDLINE search using the term “lumbar durotomy” (under the 2015 medical subject heading [MeSH] “cerebrospinal fluid leak”) was conducted on May 13, 2015, for English-language medical literature published in the period from January 1, 2005, to May 13, 2015. The resulting papers were categorized into 3 groups: 1) those that evaluated unintended durotomy rates during open-approach lumbar spinal surgery, 2) those that evaluated unintended durotomy rates during minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), and 3) those that evaluated durotomy rates in comparable cohorts undergoing MISS versus open-approach lumbar procedures for similar lumbar pathology.

RESULTS

The MEDLINE search yielded 116 results. A review of titles produced 22 potentially relevant studies that described open surgical procedures. After a thorough review of individual papers, 19 studies (comprising 15,965 patients) pertaining to durotomy rates during open-approach lumbar surgery were included for analysis. Using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) ranking criteria, there were 7 Level 3 prospective studies and 12 Level 4 retrospective studies. In addition, the authors also included 6 studies (with a total of 1334 patients) that detailed rates of durotomy during minimally invasive surgery for lumbar degenerative disease. In the MISS analysis, there were 2 prospective and 4 retrospective studies. Finally, the authors included 5 studies (with a total of 1364 patients) that directly compared durotomy rates during open-approach versus minimally invasive procedures. Studies of open-approach surgery for lumbar degenerative disease reported a total of 1031 durotomies across all procedures, for an overall durotomy rate of 8.11% (range 2%–20%). Prospectively designed studies reported a higher rate of durotomy than retrospective studies (9.57% vs 4.32%, p = 0.05). Selected MISS studies reported a total of 93 durotomies for a combined durotomy rate of 6.78%. In studies of matched cohorts comparing open-approach surgery with MISS, the durotomy rates were 7.20% (34 durotomies) and 7.02% (68), respectively, which were not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal surgery for lumbar degenerative disease carries a significant rate of unintended durotomy, regardless of the surgical approach selected by the surgeon. Interpretation of unintended durotomy rates for lumbar surgery is limited by a lack of prospective and cohort-matched controlled studies.