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Zvi Lidar, Shlomi Constantini, Gilad J. Regev, and Khalil Salame

Postlaminectomy cervical kyphosis is one of the most challenging entities in spine surgery. Correction of this deformity usually requires anterior fusion with plating and a strut graft or interbody cage and posterior fusion with screws and rods. The situation is more complicated in the young child because fusion may affect future growth of the cervical spine. There is also a paucity of adequate instrumentation for the small bony structures. Some authors have reported utilization of absorbable cervical plates for fusion in pediatric patients with favorable results.

The authors present a modified surgical technique that was used for circumferential fusion in a 2-year-old girl with cervical kyphosis and recurrent neurofibroma. Anterior fusion was performed using an autologous rib graft and an absorbable cervical plate. This was followed by posterior fusion using rib bone and cables. Previous reports on the use of absorbable cervical plates are reviewed and the advantages of the current technique are discussed.

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Eyal Behrbalk, Khalil Salame, Gilad J. Regev, Ory Keynan, Bronek Boszczyk, and Zvi Lidar

Object

A retrospective study analyzing medical files of patients who had undergone surgical management for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) at a single tertiary hospital was performed to determine the time needed by community care physicians to reach a diagnosis of CSM in patients presenting with typical myelopathic signs and symptoms, and to establish the reasons for the delayed diagnosis when present.

Previous studies have documented that early diagnosis and surgical treatment of CSM may improve patients' neurological as well as general outcome. However, patients complaining of symptoms compatible with CSM may undergo lengthy medical investigations and treatments by community-based physicians before a correct diagnosis is made. The authors have found no published data on the process and time frame involved in attaining a diagnosis of CSM in the community setting.

Methods

The medical records of 42 patients were retrospectively reviewed for demographic data, symptoms, time to diagnosis, physician specialty, number of visits involved in the diagnostic process, and neurological status prior to surgery.

Results

The mean time delay from initiation of symptoms to diagnosis of CSM was 2.2 ± 2.3 years. The majority of symptomatic patients (90.4%) initially presented to a family practitioner (69%) or an orthopedic surgeon (21.4%), with fewer patients (9.6%) referring to other disciplines (for example, the emergency department) for initial care. In contrast, the diagnosis of CSM was most often made by neurosurgeons (38.1%) and neurologists (28.6%), and less frequently by orthopedic surgeons (19%) or family physicians (4.8%).

Conclusions

The diagnosis of CSM in the community is frequently delayed, leading to late referral for surgery. A higher index of suspicion for this debilitating entity is required from family practitioners and community-based orthopedic surgeons to prevent neurological sequelae.

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Khalil Salame, Shimon Maimon, Gilad J. Regev, Tali Jonas Kimchi, Akiva Korn, Laurence Mangel, and Zvi Lidar

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative embolization is performed before spine tumor surgery when significant intraoperative hemorrhage is anticipated. Occlusion of radicular and segmental arteries may result in spinal ischemia. The goal of this study was to check whether neurophysiological monitoring during preoperative angiography in patients scheduled for total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) of spine tumors improves the safety of vessel occlusion.

METHODS

This was a case series study of patients who underwent tumor embolization under somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) and motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring in preparation for TES in treating spine tumors. The angiography findings, the embolized vessels, and the results are presented.

RESULTS

Five patients whose ages ranged from 33 to 75 years and who had thoracic spine tumors are reported. Four patients suffered from primary tumor and 1 patient had a metastatic tumor. Radicular arteries at the tumor level, 1 level above, and 1 level below were permanently occluded when SSEPs and MEPs were preserved during temporary occlusion. No complications were encountered during or after the angiography procedure and embolization.

CONCLUSIONS

Temporary occlusion with electrophysiological monitoring during preoperative angiography may improve the safety of permanent radicular artery occlusion, including the artery of Adamkiewicz in patients undergoing TES for the treatment of spine tumors.

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Assaf Berger, Laurence Mangel, Sharif Basal, Zvi Lidar, Gilad J Regev, Morsi Khashan, Dror Ofir, and Khalil Salame

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for foot drop secondary to lumbar degenerative disease is not always associated with postoperative functional improvement. It is still unclear whether early decompression results in better functional recovery and how soon surgery should be performed. This study aimed to evaluate predicting factors that affect short- and long-term recovery outcomes and to explore the relationship between timing of lumbar decompression and recovery from foot drop in an attempt to identify a cutoff time from symptom onset until decompression for optimal functional improvement.

METHODS

The authors collected demographic, clinical, and radiographic data on patients who underwent surgery for foot drop due to lumbar degenerative disease. Clinical data included tibialis anterior muscle (TAM) strength before and after surgery, duration of preoperative motor weakness, and duration of radicular pain until surgery. TAM strength was recorded at the immediate postoperative period and 1 month after surgery while long-term follow-up on functional outcomes were obtained at ≥ 2 years postsurgery by telephone interview. Data including degree and duration of preoperative motor weakness as well as the occurrence of pain and its duration were collected to analyze their impact on short- and long-term outcomes.

RESULTS

The majority of patients (70%) showed functional improvement within 1 month postsurgery and 40% recovered to normal or near-normal strength. Univariate analysis revealed a trend toward lower improvement rates in patients with preoperative weakness of more than 3 weeks (33%) compared with patients who were operated on earlier (76.5%, p = 0.034). In a multivariate analysis, the only significant predictor for maximal strength recovery was TAM strength before surgery (OR 6.80, 95% CI 1.38–33.42, p = 0.018). Maximal recovery by 1 month after surgery was significantly associated with sustained long-term functional improvement (p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Early surgery may improve the recovery rate in patients with foot drop caused by lumbar degenerative disease, yet the strongest predictor for the extent of recovery is the severity of preoperative TAM weakness. Maximal recovery in the short-term postoperative period is associated with sustained long-term functional improvement and independence.