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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Jau-Ching Wu, Henrich Cheng and Praveen V. Mummaneni

For patients with multilevel cervical stenosis at nonadjacent segments, one of the traditional approaches has included a multilevel fusion of the abnormal segments as well as the intervening normal segment. In this video we demonstrate an alternative treatment plan with tailored use of a combination of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) with an intervening skipped level.

The authors present the case of a 72-year-old woman with myeloradiculopathy and a large disc herniation with facet joint degeneration at C3–4 and bulging disc at C5–6. After nonoperative treatment failed, she underwent a single-level ACDF at C3–4 and single-level arthroplasty at C5–6, which successfully relieved her symptoms. No intervention was performed at the normal intervening C4–5 segment. By using ACDF combined with arthroplasty, the authors have avoided a 3-level fusion for this patient and maintained the range of motion of 2 disc levels.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/OrxcPUBvqLk.

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Michael G. Fehlings

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Chih-Chang Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

The most commonly accepted indications for cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) are 1- and 2-level cervical disc herniation or spondylosis causing radiculopathy or myelopathy that is refractory to medical management. Unlike anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), which eliminates motion, CDA aims to restore the physiological range of motion of the indexed joint. Thus, the effect of indirect decompression gained by the insertion of a sufficiently large interbody graft and incorporation into arthrodesis after ACDF cannot be duplicated for CDA. For patients undergoing CDA, during extreme flexion/extension or rotation, the exiting nerve roots might be impinged by inadequately decompressed foraminal osteophytes. Therefore, the authors advocate generous decompression, including resection of the posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) and bilateral uncovertebral joints (UVJs), even in the asymptomatic side. This video demonstrates full dural expansion and enlarged neuroforamen after removal of the PLL and UVJs. Venous hemorrhage encountered during foraminotomy can always be controlled by cottonoid packing or hemostatic agents. Also, the endplates of the surrounding vertebral bodies were meticulously prepared for parallel insertion of the ProDisc-C Nova (DePuy Synthes Spine) artificial disc. Please note that the ProDisc-C Nova is currently not available on the US market.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/XUo34j6WFYs.

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Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Hsiao-Wen Tsai, Chin-Chu Ko, Ching-Lan Wu, Tsung-Hsi Tu and Henrich Cheng

Object

The long-term outcome of lumbar dynamic stabilization is uncertain. This study aimed to investigate the incidence, risk factors, and outcomes associated with screw loosening in a dynamic stabilization system.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of medical records, radiological studies, and clinical evaluations obtained in consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level lumbar dynamic stabilization and were followed up for more than 24 months. Loosening of screws was determined on radiography and CT scanning. Radiographic and standardized clinical outcomes, including the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, were analyzed with a focus on cases in which screw loosening occurred.

Results

The authors analyzed 658 screws in 126 patients, including 54 women (42.9%) and 72 men (57.1%) (mean age 60.4 ± 11.8 years). During the mean clinical follow-up period of 37.0 ± 7.1 months, 31 screws (4.7%) in 25 patients (19.8%) were shown to have loosened. The mean age of patients with screw loosening was significantly higher than those without loosening (64.8 ± 8.8 vs 59.3 ± 12.2, respectively; p = 0.036). Patients with diabetes mellitus had a significantly higher rate of screw loosening compared with those without diabetes (36.0% vs 15.8%, respectively; p = 0.024). Diabetic patients with well-controlled serum glucose (HbA1c ≤ 8.0%) had a significantly lower chance of screw loosening than those without well-controlled serum glucose (28.6% vs 71.4%, respectively; p = 0.021). Of the 25 patients with screw loosening, 22 cases (88%) were identified within 6.6 months of surgery; 18 patients (72%) had the loosened screws in the inferior portion of the spinal construct, whereas 7 (28%) had screw loosening in the superior portion of the construct. The overall clinical outcomes at 3, 12, and 24 months, measured by VAS for back pain, VAS for leg pain, and ODI scores, were significantly improved after surgery compared with before surgery (all p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the patients with and without screw loosening at all evaluation time points (all p > 0.05). All 25 patients with screw loosening were asymptomatic, and in 6 (24%) osseous integration was demonstrated on later follow-up. Also, there were 3 broken screws (2.38% in 126 patients or 0.46% in 658 screws). To date, none of these loosened or broken screws have required revision surgery.

Conclusions

Screw loosening in dynamic stabilization systems is not uncommon (4.7% screws in 19.8% patients). Patients of older age or those with diabetes have higher rates of screw loosening. Screw loosening can be asymptomatic and presents opportunity for osseous integration on later follow-up. Although adverse effects on clinical outcomes are rare, longer-term follow-up is required in cases in which screws become loose.

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Ching-Lan Wu, Chin-Chu Ko and Henrich Cheng

Object

Heterotopic ossification (HO) after cervical arthroplasty can limit the mobility of an artificial disc. In this study the authors used CT scanning to assess the formation of HO with the goal of investigating the correlation between the carpentry of arthroplasty, formation of HO, mobility, and clinical outcomes.

Methods

A retrospective review of medical records, radiological studies, and clinical evaluations was conducted for consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level cervical arthroplasty with the Bryan disc. The patients underwent follow-up for more than 24 months. The formation of HO was assessed using CT scanning as the final determination. The perfectness of carpentry for each arthroplasty level was scrutinized using criteria composed of 2 parameters (postoperative shell kyphosis and inadequate endplate coverage). Levels were divided into the optimal carpentry group and the suboptimal carpentry group. Radiographic and clinical outcomes, including the visual analog scale and neck disability index, were compared between the groups.

Results

A total of 107 levels of Bryan discs were placed in 75 patients (mean age 46.71 ± 9.94 years) and were analyzed. There was a male predominance of 68.0% (51 men), and the mean follow-up duration was 38.56 ± 9.66 months. Heterotopic ossification was identified in 60 levels (56.1%) by CT scanning. Most cases of HO were low grade and did not correlate with the limitation in the segmental motion of the arthroplasty device. There were no significant differences in terms of age, sex, and number of arthroplasty levels between the optimal and the suboptimal carpentry groups. However, the suboptimal carpentry group had significantly more high-grade HO (≥ Grade 2) than the optimal carpentry group (13 levels [12.1%] vs 7 levels [6.5%], p = 0.027). There were also more immobile (range of motion < 3°) artificial discs in the suboptimal carpentry group than the optimal carpentry group (11 levels [10.3%] vs 4 levels [3.7%], p = 0.010). The clinical outcomes (neck and arm visual analog scale scores and Neck Disability Index) in both groups were similarly good.

Conclusions

Shell kyphosis and inadequate endplate coverage have adverse effects on the formation of HO and segmental mobility after cervical arthroplasty with the Bryan artificial disc. Appropriate carpentry is the more important factor in determining the maintenance of segmental motion. Although the midterm clinical outcome remained similarly good regardless of HO, the carpentry of cervical arthroplasty should not be overlooked. Further studies are needed to clarify the etiology of HO.

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Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Hsiao-Wen Tsai, Chin-Chu Ko, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

Object

Cervical arthroplasty is a valid option for patients with single-level symptomatic cervical disc diseases causing neural tissue compression, but postoperative heterotopic ossification (HO) can limit the mobility of an artificial disc. In the present study the authors used CT scanning to assess HO formation, and they investigated differences in radiological and clinical outcomes in patients with either a soft-disc herniation or spondylosis who underwent cervical arthroplasty.

Methods

Medical records, radiographs, and clinical evaluations of consecutive patients who underwent single-level cervical arthroplasty were reviewed. Arthroplasty was performed using the Bryan disc. The patients were divided into a soft-disc herniation group and a spondylosis group. Clinical outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale (VAS) for neck and arm pain and the Neck Disability Index (NDI), whereas HO grading was determined by studying CT scans. Radiological and clinical outcomes were analyzed, and the minimum follow-up duration was 24 months.

Results

Forty-seven consecutive patients underwent a single-level cervical arthroplasty. Forty patients (85.1%) had complete radiological evaluations and clinical follow-up of more than 2 years. Patients were divided into 1 of 2 groups: soft-disc herniation (16 cases) and the spondylosis group (24 cases). Their mean age was 45.51 ± 11.12 years. Sixteen patients (40%) were female. Patients in the soft-disc herniation group were younger than those in the spondylosis group, but the difference was not statistically significant (42.88 vs 47.26, p = 0.227). The mean follow-up duration was 38.83 ± 9.74 months. Sex, estimated blood loss, implant size, and perioperative NSAID prescription were not significantly different between the groups (p = 0.792, 0.267, 0.581, and 1.000, respectively). The soft-disc herniation group had significantly less HO formation than the spondylosis group (1 HO [6.25%] vs 14 Hos [58.33%], p = 0.001). Almost all artificial discs in both groups remained mobile (100% and 95.8%, p = 0.408). The clinical outcomes were not significantly different between the groups at all postoperative time points of evaluation, and clinical improvements were also similar.

Conclusions

Clinical outcomes of single-level cervical arthroplasty for soft-disc herniation and spondylosis were similar 3 years after surgery. There was a significantly higher rate of HO formation in patients with spondylosis than in those with a soft-disc herniation. The mobility of the artificial disc is maintained, but the long-term effects of HO and its higher frequency in spondylotic cases warrant further investigation.

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Chih-Hsiang Liao, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Wei-Hsin Wang, Peng-Yuan Chang, Henrich Cheng and Yang-Shih

Surgical treatment of thoracic disc herniation is technically challenging from anterior, lateral or posterior approaches. Because of the deeply located thoracic discs and non-retractable thoracic thecal sac, standard anterior and lateral procedures for discectomy require extensive tissue dissection causing prolonged lengths of stay in hospital. In this video, the authors present a case of calcified disc herniation at the level of T10/11 causing paraplegia and voiding difficulty. The patient was operated on via an endoscope-assisted minimally invasive transforaminal thoracic interbody fusion (EA-TTIF). The herniated disc and calcification were removed through a 26-mm tubular retractor, under microscopes via a unilateral transpedicular approach. The endoscopes were used for direct visualization of the ventral thecal sac and confirmation of complete decompression. After the operation, the patient's neurological function completely recovered. Minimally invasive EA-TTIF is a viable and effective option for the surgical management of thoracic disc herniation. Thoracic interbody fusion can be achieved through a minimally invasive approach from the back.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/54rRMtvSyCM.

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Jau-Ching Wu, Li-Yu Fay, Chin-Chu Ko, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

Cervical total disc replacement (TDR) is a viable option for the surgical treatment of degenerative disc disease. This 67-year-old nonsmoking male patient underwent single-level ProDisc-C cervical TDR at C5–6 without any intraoperative problem. His radicular pain improved and he had no neck pain immediately after the operation. However, on postoperative Day 3, a radiograph demonstrated a vertical split fracture of the C-5 vertebra. This fracture was managed conservatively, and 2 years postoperatively a follow-up CT scan demonstrated stable device position and fusion of the fracture. Although the linear fracture caused no neurological symptoms or device migration, the authors advocate prudence in selection and installation of keel-design prostheses, even in a single-level cervical TDR scenario.

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Jau-Ching Wu, Chin-Chu Ko, Yu-Shu Yen, Wen-Cheng Huang, Yu-Chun Chen, Laura Liu, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Su-Shun Lo and Henrich Cheng

Object

This study aimed to determine the age- and sex-specific incidence of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and its associated risk of causing subsequent spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods

Using the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), a 12-year nationwide database in Taiwan, this retrospective cohort study analyzed the incidence of hospitalization caused by CSM. All patients diagnosed with and admitted for CSM were identified during the study period. The CSM patients were divided into 2 groups, a control group and an operated group. An incidence density method was used to estimate age- and sex-specific incidence rates of CSM. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression analyses were performed to compare the risk of SCI between the 2 groups.

Results

From 1998 to 2009, covering 349.5 million person-years, 14,140 patients were hospitalized for CSM. The overall incidence of CSM-related hospitalization was 4.04 per 100,000 person-years. Specifically, males and older persons had a higher incidence rate of CSM. During the follow-up of these patients for 13,461 person-years, a total of 166 patients were diagnosed with SCI. The incidence of SCI was higher in the control group than the operated group (13.9 vs 9.4 per 1000 person-years, respectively). During the follow-up, SCI was more likely to occur in CSM patients who were treated conservatively (crude HR 1.48, p = 0.023; adjusted HR 1.57, p = 0.011) than in those who underwent surgery for CSM.

Conclusions

In a national cohort of eastern Asia, the incidence of CSM-caused hospitalization was 4.04 per 100,000 person-years, with higher incidences observed in older and male patients. Subsequent SCI was more likely to develop in patients who received nonoperative management than in those who underwent surgery. Therefore, patients with CSM managed without surgery should be cautioned about SCI. However, further investigations are still required to clarify the risks and complications associated with surgery for CSM.

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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Huang-Chou Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Li-Yu Fay, Peng-Yuan Chang, Ching-Lan Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

OBJECT

The aim of this paper was to investigate the risk of recurrence of lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in patients with scoliosis who underwent microdiscectomy.

METHODS

A series of consecutive patients who underwent microdiscectomy for LDH was retrospectively reviewed. The inclusion criteria were young adults younger than 40 years who received microdiscectomy for symptomatic 1-level LDH. An exclusion criterion was any previous spinal surgery, including fusion or correction of scoliosis. The patients were divided into 2 groups: those with scoliosis and those without scoliosis. The demographic data in the 2 groups were similar. All medical records and clinical and radiological evaluations were reviewed.

RESULTS

A total of 58 patients who underwent 1-level microdiscectomy for LDH were analyzed. During the mean follow-up of 24.6 months, 6 patients (10.3%) experienced a recurrence of LDH with variable symptoms. The recurrence rate was significantly higher among the scoliosis group than the nonscoliosis group (33.3% vs 2.3%, p = 0.001). Furthermore, the recurrence-free interval in the scoliosis group was short.

CONCLUSIONS

Young adults (< 40 years) with uncorrected scoliosis are at higher risk of recurrent LDH after microdiscectomy.