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Hiroaki Nakamura, Yoshiki Yamano, Masahiko Seki and Sadahiko Konishi

✓ For lesions involving the anterior and/or middle column of the spine, an anterior approach is adequate for curetting the lesion and restoring spinal stability. Materials such as autogenous bone grafts, cages with bone chips, some artificial materials, or allografts are used as strut materials. Rib material is usually removed when the anterior approach is conducted for thoracic or thoracolumbar lesions. A rib itself is not rigid enough to support the load, and a bone union is not easily obtained. The purpose of this paper is to describe a method of grafting vascularized rib in folded form to fill the defects left after removal of a spinal lesion.

The rib, with the artery and vein at two levels cranial to the involved vertebral body, was isolated from surrounding tissues such as the intercostal nerve, muscles, and pleura. After curetting the lesion, the rib was folded into three or four pieces to a length adequate to fill the defect and inserted as a pedicled vascularized graft.

A total of 23 cases, including 14 men and nine women, underwent surgery in which this grafting technique was used. The pathological conditions requiring anterior decompression and fusion were spinal trauma in nine cases, spinal infection in six cases, osteoporotic fracture in seven cases, and spinal metastasis in one case. In all cases a solid bone union was obtained and all infections resolved.

With vascularized rib graft folded into three to four pieces, solid bone union can be obtained without use of any other grafted materials even in cases of infection and osteoporosis.

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Hiromitsu Toyoda, Hiroaki Nakamura, Sadahiko Konishi, Hidetomi Terai and Kunio Takaoka

Object. Although respiratory function is often impaired by acute cervical spinal cord injury, changes in respiratory function in patients with chronic cervical myelopathy (CCM) are not well documented. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the respiratory function of patients with CCM.

Methods. Spirometric parameters were measured in 94 patients with CCM before they underwent expansive laminoplasty. These measurements were compared with those obtained in age- and sex-matched control group patients without myelopathy. The study patients were also subdivided into two groups: those with spinal compressive lesions above or below the C3–4 disc level were compared in terms of respiratory function.

The vital capacity values measured in patients with CCM were significantly lower than those in the control group. In patients in whom spinal cord compression was present above C3–4, vital capacity values were lower than in patients in whom the compression level was below C3–4. The resting respiratory rate per minute was elevated in the CCM group. Peak expiratory flow rate was significantly decreased, and expiratory velocities at 50 and 25% of vital capacity were significantly increased in the CCM group.

Conclusions. The results indicated that expiratory flow may be impaired or incomplete in patients with CCM. An underlying subclinical respiratory dysfunction appears to be associated with CCM.

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Sho Dohzono, Akinobu Suzuki, Tatsuya Koike, Shinji Takahashi, Kentaro Yamada, Hiroyuki Yasuda and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Increasing soft-tissue mass posterior to the odontoid process causes spinal cord compression. Retro-odontoid pseudotumors are considered to be associated with atlantoaxial instability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but the exact mechanism by which these lesions develop has not been elucidated. The purpose of this study was to identify the relationships between retro-odontoid soft-tissue (ROST) thickness and radiological findings or clinical data in patients with RA.

METHODS

A total of 201 patients with RA who had been followed up at the outpatient clinic of the authors' institution were enrolled in this study. ROST thickness was evaluated on midsagittal T1-weighted MRI. The correlations between ROST thickness and radiographic findings or clinical data on RA were examined. The independent factors related to ROST thickness were analyzed using stepwise multiple regression analysis.

RESULTS

The average thickness of ROST was 3.0 ± 1.4 mm. ROST thickness showed an inverse correlation with disease duration (r = −0.329, p < 0.01), Steinbrocker stage (r = −0.284, p < 0.01), the atlantodental interval (ADI) in the neutral position (r = −0.326, p < 0.01), the ADI in the flexion position (r = −0.383, p < 0.01), and the ADI in the extension position (r = −0.240, p < 0.01). On stepwise multiple regression analysis, ADI in the flexion position and Steinbrocker stage were independent factors associated with ROST thickness.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the correlations were not strong, ROST thickness in patients with RA was inversely correlated with ADI and Steinbrocker stage. In other words, ROST thickness tends to be smaller as atlantoaxial instability and peripheral joint destruction worsen.

Clinical trial registration no.: UMIN000000980 (UMIN Clinical Trials Registry)

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Akira Matsumura, Takashi Namikawa, Minori Kato, Tomonori Ozaki, Yusuke Hori, Noriaki Hidaka and Hiroaki Nakamura

The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical results of posterior corrective surgery using a multilevel transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with a rod rotation (RR) and to evaluate the segmental corrective effect of a TLIF using CT imaging. The medical records of 15 consecutive patients with degenerative lumbar kyphoscoliosis (DLKS) who had undergone posterior spinal corrective surgery using a multilevel TLIF with an RR technique and who had a minimum follow-up of 2 years were retrospectively reviewed. Radiographic parameters were evaluated using plain radiographs, and segmental correction was evaluated using CT imaging. Clinical outcomes were evaluated with the Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire-22 (SRS-22) and the SF-36.

The mean follow-up period was 46.7 months, and the mean age at the time of surgery was 60.7 years. The mean total SRS-22 score was 2.9 before surgery and significantly improved to 4.0 at the latest follow-up. The physical functioning, role functioning (physical), and social functioning subcategories of the SF-36 were generally improved at the latest follow-up, although the changes in these scores were not statistically significant. The bodily pain, vitality, and mental health subcategories were significantly improved at the latest follow-up (p < 0.05).

Three complications occurred in 3 patients (20%). The Cobb angle of the lumbar curve was reduced to 20.3° after surgery. The overall correction rate was 66.4%. The pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (preoperative/postoperative = 31.5°/4.3°), pelvic tilt (29.2°/18.9°), and sagittal vertical axis (78.3/27.6 mm) were improved after surgery and remained so throughout the follow-up. Computed tomography image analysis suggested that a 1-level TLIF can result in 10.9° of scoliosis correction and 6.8° of lordosis.

Posterior corrective surgery using a multilevel TLIF with an RR on patients with DLKS can provide effective correction in the coronal plane but allows only limited sagittal correction.

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Yusuke Hori, Masahiko Seki, Tadao Tsujio, Masatoshi Hoshino, Koji Mandai and Hiroaki Nakamura

Chondromas are benign tumors that are rarely located in the spine. The authors present a rare occurrence of a spinal chondroma that developed as an intradural but extramedullary tumor in a 60-year-old woman. The location of the tumor at C4–5 was confirmed by MRI, with hyperintensity on T2-weighted images and isointensity on T1-weighted images. The tumor was completely contained intradurally, with no continuity to any vertebrae. It adhered to the anterior dura, indicative of its likely origin from the dura mater. The tumor was completely resected, with no sign of recurrence after 3 years postoperatively. Although reports of chondromas originating from the dura mater have been previously described, these have all been intracranial tumors. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of an intradural chondroma located in the spine. Therefore, chondromas should be considered in the differential diagnosis of intradural spinal tumors.

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Chikao Nagashima, Motohide Takahama, Toshikatsu Shibata, Hiroaki Nakamura, Keiichi Okada, Hitoshi Morita and Hirokazu Kubo

✓ Three cases of cervical myeloradiculopathy associated with multiple calcified nodules containing identified calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystals in the ligamenta flava are described, with a comprehensive review of the 12 cases of this entity reported to date. The disease is characterized by: 1) oval or triangular areas of radiodensity in the posterior aspect of the cervical canal as seen in the lateral x-ray films and laminograms; 2) hemispherical areas of high density located almost symmetrically in the paramedial portion of the posterior spinal canal on computerized tomography scans; and 3) CPPD crystals in the nodules. It occurs independently or in association with cervical spondylosis or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament.

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Sho Dohzono, Hiromitsu Toyoda, Tomiya Matsumoto, Akinobu Suzuki, Hidetomi Terai and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECT

More information about the association between preoperative anterior translation of the C-7 plumb line and clinical outcomes after decompression surgery in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS) would help resolve problems for patients with sagittal imbalance. The authors evaluated whether preoperative sagittal alignment of the spine affects low-back pain and clinical outcomes after microendoscopic laminotomy.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of prospectively collected surgical data. The study comprised 88 patients with LSS (47 men and 41 women) who ranged in age from 39 to 86 years (mean age 68.7 years). All patients had undergone microendoscopic laminotomy at Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine from May 2008 through October 2012. The minimum duration of clinical and radiological follow-up was 6 months. All patients were evaluated by Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for low-back pain, leg pain, and leg numbness before and after surgery. The distance between the C-7 plumb line and the posterior corner of the sacrum (sagittal vertical axis [SVA]) was measured on lateral standing radiographs of the entire spine obtained before surgery. Radiological factors and clinical outcomes were compared between patients with a preoperative SVA ≥ 50 mm (forward-bending trunk [F] group) and patients with a preoperative SVA < 50 mm (control [C] group). A total of 35 patients were allocated to the F group (19 male and 16 female) and 53 to the C group (28 male and 25 female).

RESULTS

The mean SVA was 81.0 mm for patients in the F group and 22.0 mm for those in the C group. At final follow-up evaluation, no significant differences between the groups were found for the JOA score improvement ratio (73.3% vs 77.1%) or the VAS score for leg numbness (23.6 vs 24.0 mm); the VAS score for low-back pain was significantly higher for those in the F group (21.1 mm) than for those in the C group (11.0 mm); and the VAS score for leg pain tended to be higher for those in the F group (18.9 ± 29.1 mm) than for those in the C group (9.4 ± 16.0 mm).

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative alignment of the spine in the sagittal plane did not affect JOA scores after microendoscopic laminotomy in patients with LSS. However, low-back pain was worse for patients with preoperative anterior translation of the C-7 plumb line than for those without.

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Kazunori Hayashi, Hiromitsu Toyoda, Hidetomi Terai, Akinobu Suzuki, Masatoshi Hoshino, Koji Tamai, Shoichiro Ohyama and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Numerous reports have been published on the effectiveness and safety of correction of the coronal Cobb angle and thoracolumbar sagittal alignment in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Suboptimal sagittal alignment, such as decreased thoracic kyphosis (TK), after corrective surgery, is a possible cause of lumbar or cervical spinal degeneration and junctional malalignment; however, few reports are available on reciprocal changes outside of the fused segments, such as the cervical lordotic angle (CLA). This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the perioperative CLA and other radiographic factors or clinical results in AIS, and to identify independent risk factors of postoperative cervical hyperkyphosis.

METHODS

A total of 51 AIS patients who underwent posterior spinal fusion with the placement of pedicle screw (PS) constructs at thoracic levels were included in the study. Clinical and radiographic follow-up of patients was conducted for a minimum of 2 years, and the postoperative course was evaluated. The authors measured and identified the changes in the CLA and other radiographic parameters using whole-spine radiography, with the patient in the standing position, performed immediately before surgery, 2 weeks after surgery, and 2 years after surgery. The postoperative cervical hyperkyphosis group included patients whose CLA at 2-year follow-up was smaller than −10°. The reciprocal changes of the CLA and other parameters were also investigated. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine the associated risk factors for postoperative cervical hyperkyphosis.

RESULTS

This study comprised 48 females and 3 males (mean age 16.0 years). The mean follow-up period was 47 months (range 24–90 months). The main coronal thoracic curve was corrected from 54.6° to 16.4°, and the mean correction rate was 69.8% at 2 years. The CLA significantly increased from the mean preoperative measurement (−5.4° ± 14°) to the 2-year follow-up measurement (−1.7° ± 11°) (p = 0.019). Twelve of the 51 patients had postoperative cervical hyperkyphosis. This group exhibited significantly smaller preoperative CLA and TK measurements (p = 0.001 and 0.004, respectively) than the others. After adjusting for confounding factors, preoperative CLA less than −5° and preoperative TK less than 10° were significantly associated with postoperative cervical hyperkyphosis (p < 0.05; OR 12.5 and 8.59, respectively). However, no differences were found in the clinical results regardless of cervical hyperkyphosis.

CONCLUSIONS

The CLA increased significantly from preoperatively to 2 years after surgery. Preoperative small CLA and TK measurements were independent risk factors of postoperative cervical hyperkyphosis. However, there was no difference in the clinical outcomes regardless of cervical hyperkyphosis.

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Kosuke Shintani, Takuya Uemura, Kiyohito Takamatsu, Takuya Yokoi, Ema Onode, Mitsuhiro Okada and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Peripheral nerve adhesion caused by extraneural and intraneural scar formation after neurolysis leads to nerve dysfunction. The authors previously developed a novel very flexible biodegradable nerve conduit composed of poly(L-lactide) and poly(ε-caprolactone) for use in peripheral nerve regeneration. In the present study, they investigated the effect of protective nerve wrapping on preventing adhesion in a rat sciatic nerve adhesion model.

METHODS

Rat sciatic nerves were randomly assigned to one of the following four groups: a no-adhesion group, which involved neurolysis alone without an adhesion procedure; an adhesion group, in which the adhesion procedure was performed after neurolysis, but no treatment was subsequently administered; a nerve wrap group, in which the adhesion procedure was performed after neurolysis and protective nerve wrapping was then performed with the nerve conduit; and a hyaluronic acid (HA) group, in which the adhesion procedure was performed after neurolysis and nerve wrapping was then performed with a 1% sodium HA viscous solution. Six weeks postoperatively, the authors evaluated the extent of scar formation using adhesion scores and biomechanical and histological examinations and assessed nerve function with electrophysiological examination and gastrocnemius muscle weight measurement.

RESULTS

In the adhesion group, prominent scar tissue surrounded the nerve and strongly adhered to the nerve biomechanically and histologically. The motor nerve conduction velocity and gastrocnemius muscle weight were the lowest in this group. Conversely, the adhesion scores were significantly lower, motor nerve conduction velocity was significantly higher, and gastrocnemius muscle weight was significantly higher in the nerve wrap group than in the adhesion group. Additionally, the biomechanical breaking strength was significantly lower in the nerve wrap group than in the adhesion group and HA group. The morphological properties of axons in the nerve wrap group were preserved. Intraneural macrophage invasion, as assessed by the number of CD68- and CCR7-positive cells, was less severe in the nerve wrap group than in the adhesion group.

CONCLUSIONS

The nerve conduit prevented post-neurolysis peripheral nerves from developing adhesion and allowed them to maintain their nerve function because it effectively blocked scarring and prevented adhesion-related damage in the peripheral nerves.

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Ema Onode, Takuya Uemura, Kiyohito Takamatsu, Kosuke Shintani, Takuya Yokoi, Mitsuhiro Okada and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Treatment of painful neuroma remains difficult, despite the availability of numerous surgical procedures. Recently, nerve capping treatment for painful neuroma using artificial nerve conduits has been introduced in clinical and basic research. However, the appropriate length of the nerve conduit and the pain relief mechanism have not been determined. In this study the authors aimed to investigate nerve capping treatment with a bioabsorbable nerve conduit using the rat sciatic nerve amputation model. Using histological analysis, the authors focused on the nerve conduit length and pain relief mechanism.

METHODS

Sixteen Sprague Dawley rats were evaluated for neuropathic pain using an autotomy (self-amputation) score and gross and histological changes of the nerve stump 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after sciatic nerve neurectomy without capping. Forty-five rats were divided into 3 experimental groups, no capping (control; n = 15), capping with a 3-mm nerve conduit (n = 15), and capping with a 6-mm nerve conduit (n = 15). All rats were evaluated using an autotomy score and nerve stump histology 12 weeks after neurectomy. The nerve conduit was approximately 0.5 mm larger than the 1.5-mm diameter of the rat sciatic nerves to prevent nerve constriction.

RESULTS

The autotomy scores gradually exacerbated with time. Without capping, a typical bulbous neuroma was formed due to random axonal regeneration 2 weeks after neurectomy. Subsequently, the adhesion surrounding the neuroma expanded over time for 12 weeks, and at the 12-week time point, the highest average autotomy scores were observed in the no-capping (control) group, followed by the 3- and the 6-mm nerve conduit groups. Histologically, the distal axonal fibers became thinner and terminated within the 6-mm nerve conduit, whereas they were elongated and protruded across the 3-mm nerve conduit. Minimal perineural scar formation was present around the terminated axonal fibers in the 6-mm nerve conduit group. Expressions of anti–α smooth muscle actin and anti–sigma-1 receptor antibodies in the nerve stump significantly decreased in the 6-mm nerve conduit group.

CONCLUSIONS

In the rat sciatic nerve amputation model, nerve capping treatment with a bioabsorbable nerve conduit provided relief from neuroma-induced neuropathic pain and prevented perineural scar formation and neuroinflammation around the nerve stump. The appropriate nerve conduit length was determined to be more than 4 times the diameter of the original nerve.