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Harel Deutsch

Object

The goal of the study was to determine patient factors predictive of good outcome after lumbar disc arthroplasty. Specifically, the paper examines the relationship of the preoperative Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) to patient outcome at 1 year.

Methods

The study is a retrospective review of 20 patients undergoing a 1-level lumbar disc arthroplasty at the author's institution between 2004 and 2008. All data were collected prospectively. Data included the ODI, visual analog scale scores, and patient demographics.

Results

All patients underwent a 1-level disc arthroplasty at L4–5 or L5–S1. The patients were divided into 2 groups based on their baseline ODI. Patients with an ODI between 38 and 59 demonstrated better outcomes with lumbar disc arthroplasty. Only 1 (20%) of 5 patients with a baseline ODI higher than 60 reported a good outcome. In contrast, 13 (87%) of 15 patients with an ODI between 38 and 59 showed a good outcome (p = 0.03). The negative predictive value of using ODI > 60 is 60% in patients who are determined to be candidates for lumbar arthroplasty.

Conclusions

Lumbar arthroplasty is very effective in some patients. Other patients do not improve after surgery. The baseline ODI results are predictive of outcome in patients selected for lumbar disc arthroplasty. A baseline ODI > 60 is predictive of poor outcome. A high ODI may be indicative of psychosocial overlay.

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Harel Deutsch

Arachnoid cysts in the spinal cord may be asymptomatic. In some cases arachnoid cysts may exert mass effect on the thoracic spinal cord and lead to pain and myelopathy symptoms. Arachnoid cysts may be difficult to visualize on an MRI scan because the thin walled arachnoid may not be visible. Focal displacement of the thoracic spinal cord and effacement of the spinal cord with apparent widening of the cerebrospinal fluid space is seen. This video demonstrates surgical techniques to remove a dorsal arachnoid cyst causing spinal cord compression. The surgery involves a thoracic laminectomy. The dura is opened sharply with care taken not to open the arachnoid so that the cyst can be well visualized. The thickened arachnoid walls of the cyst are removed to alleviate the compression caused by the arachnoid cyst.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/pgUrl9xvsD0.

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Harel Deutsch

Object

The objective of the study was to quantify the improvement in pain levels for patients who have undergone surgery for intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations (SCCMs).

Methods

The author reviewed medical records of patients who underwent surgery for an intramedullary SCCM between 2003 and 2010. Numerical pain scores (range 0–10) were recorded preoperatively and at follow-up. The follow-up period exceeded 1 year. Neurological status and subjective outcomes were assessed. Each patient underwent follow-up MR imaging.

Results

Five patients were identified with SCCMs who underwent surgery: 4 with thoracic and 1 with cervical lesions. Patients had been conservatively managed for an average of 5 years prior to surgery, and none had a history of acute hemorrhage or neurological deterioration during the observation period. The primary indication for surgery in each patient was pain, although 4 of 5 patients had some evidence of myelopathy on examination. Pain improved from a mean preoperative score of 8.6 to mean score of 2.0 (p < 0.01) at 1 month. Pain scores then increased to 3.7 (p < 0.01) at 1 year. All patients had some improvement in pain. No new motor weakness was noted, but all patients had increased symptoms of posterior-column dysfunction and numbness after surgery.

Conclusions

Spinal cord intramedullary cavernous malformations are increasingly being diagnosed early with patients presenting with mostly pain symptoms. Removal of the lesion is reliably associated with improvement in pain scores but often the pain improvement is transient. While long-term worsening of pain scores occurs, at 1-year follow-up, patients reported pain scores were improved over preoperative scores. In all patients some degree of postoperative posterior-column dysfunction was present. Some of the immediate pain relief may be due to analgesia related to the myelotomy of newly described posterior column pain pathways. In patients with severe pain, surgery to remove SCCMs reduced the overall pain level at 1 year.

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Harel Deutsch

Lumbar radiculopathy is a common problem. Nerve root compression can occur at different places along a nerve root's course including in the foramina. Minimal invasive approaches allow easier exposure of the lateral foramina and decompression of the nerve root in the foramina. This video demonstrates a minimally invasive approach to decompress the lumbar nerve root in the foramina with a lateral to medial decompression.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/jqa61HSpzIA.

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Harel Deutsch and Michael J. Musacchio Jr.

Object

Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) has been shown to be effective in the treatment of axial low-back pain. Minimally invasive spine surgery for arthrodesis has several advantages, including quicker patient recovery, less postoperative pain, and less destruction of adjacent tissue. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the clinical outcomes after PLIF procedures in which unilateral pedicle screw fixation was used.

Methods

Prospective data were collected in 34 patients undergoing a one-level minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) in 2003. Conservative therapy, including physical therapy and aggressive multimodality pain management, had failed in all patients. Selection was based on magnetic resonance imaging studies demonstrating degenerative disc disease. All patients underwent a unilateral TLIF procedure in conjunction with posterior unilateral pedicle screw fixation. Twenty patients in whom the follow-up duration was longer than 6 months were included in this study.

The follow-up duration in all patients ranged from 6 to 12 months. Seventeen (85%) of 20 patients had a good result, which was defined as a greater than 20-point reduction in the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score. The other three patients had no improvement. The mean preoperative ODI score of 57 improved to 25 after surgery (p < 0.005). In the 17 patients who demonstrated improvement, the mean ODI score improved from 57 to 18. The patients' visual analog scale pain scores improved from 8.3 to 1.4 (p < 0.005) after surgery. In patients who received Workers' Compensation, three (75%) of four improved. Follow-up computerized tomography scans were obtained in all 20 patients at 6 months. At that time, 13 of the patients demonstrated some degree of fusion, and no symptomatic pseudarthrosis was noted.

Conclusions

Minimally invasive TLIF in conjunction with unilateral pedicle screw instrumentation is an effective treatment for axial low-back pain in appropriately selected patients.

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Lee A. Tan, Ippei Takagi, and Harel Deutsch

Spinal epidural abscess (SEA) often requires prompt surgical decompression to prevent potential devastating neurological deficits. Dorsally located SEA usually can be evacuated via simple laminectomies. Ventral SEA often requires an anterior approach such as thoracotomy to achieve adequate exposure and decompression. We report a case of ventral thoracic SEA associated with discitis and osteomyelitis that was successfully treated via minimally invasive transpedicular approach. The patient had immediate and dramatic symptomatic improvement and was ambulatory on post-operative Day 1. The minimally invasive transpedicular approach avoids the surgical morbidity associated with anterior approach and is effective surgical alternative to treat ventral SEA.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/do-K1VWYhi4.

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Lee A. Tan, Manish K. Kasliwal, and Harel Deutsch

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Harel Deutsch, Regis W. Haid, Gerald E. Rodts, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Postlaminectomy cervical kyphosis is an important consideration when performing surgery. Identifying factors predisposing to postoperative deformity is essential. The goal is to prevent postlaminectomy cervical kyphosis while exposing the patient to minimal additional morbidity. When postlaminectomy kyphosis does occur, surgical correction is often required and performed via an anterior, posterior, or combined approach. The authors discuss the indications for surgical approaches as well as clinical results.

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Harel Deutsch, George I. Jallo, Alina Faktorovich, and Fred Epstein

Object. Improved neuroimaging techniques have led to an increase in the reported cases of intramedullary cavernomas. The purpose of this study was to define the spectrum of presenting signs and symptoms in patients with spinal intramedullary cavernomas and to analyze the role of surgery as a treatment for these lesions.

Methods. The authors reviewed the charts of 16 patients who underwent surgery for spinal intramedullary cavernomas. All patients underwent preoperative magnetic resonance imaging studies. Cavernomas represented 14 (5.0%) of 280 intramedullary lesions found in adults and two (1.1%) of 181 intramedullary lesions found in pediatric cases. A posterior laminectomy and surgical resection of the malformation were performed in all 16 patients.

Conclusions. Magnetic resonance imaging is virtually diagnostic for spinal cavernoma lesions. Patients with spinal intramedullary cavernomas presented with either an acute onset of neurological compromise or a slowly progressive neurological decline. Acute neurological decline occurs secondary to hemorrhage within the spinal cord. Chronic progressive myelopathy occurs due to microhemorrhages and the resulting gliotic reaction to hemorrhagic products. There is no evidence that cavernomas increase in size. The rate of rebleeding is unknown, but spinal cavernomas appear to be clinically more aggressive than cranial cavernomas, probably because the spinal cord is less tolerant of mass lesions. Complete surgical removal of the cavernoma was possible in 15 of 16 of the authors' cases.

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Harel Deutsch, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Regis W. Haid, Gerald E. Rodts, and Stephen L. Ondra

Primary tumors of the sacrum are rare. In adults, the most common sacral tumors are metastases. The most common primary sacral tumor is a chordoma. Chordomas along as well as tumors such as chondrosarcomas, osteosarcomas, myxopapillary ependymomas, myelomas, and Ewing sarcomas are considered malignant. In this article the authors focus on benign sacral tumors.