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Junichi Ohya, Yasushi Oshima, Hirotaka Chikuda, Takeshi Oichi, Hiroki Matsui, Kiyohide Fushimi, Sakae Tanaka, and Hideo Yasunaga

OBJECTIVE

Although minimally invasive spinal surgery has recently gained popularity, few nationwide studies have compared the adverse events that occur during endoscopic versus open spinal surgery. The purpose of this study was to compare perioperative complications associated with microendoscopic discectomy (MED) and open discectomy for patients with lumbar disc herniation.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively extracted from the Diagnosis Procedure Combination database, a national inpatient database in Japan, data for patients admitted between July 2010 and March 2013. Patients who underwent lumbar discectomy without fusion surgery were included in the analysis, and those with an urgent admission were excluded. The authors examined patient age, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Index, body mass index, smoking status, blood transfusion, duration of anesthesia, type of hospital, and hospital volume (number of patients undergoing discectomy at each hospital). One-to-one propensity score matching between the MED and open discectomy groups was performed to compare the proportions of in-hospital deaths, surgical site infections (SSIs), and major complications, including stroke, acute coronary events, pulmonary embolism, respiratory complications, urinary tract infection, and sepsis. The authors also compared the hospital length of stay between the 2 groups.

RESULTS

A total of 26,612 patients were identified in the database. The mean age was 49.6 years (SD 17.7 years). Among all patients, 17,406 (65.4%) were male and 6422 (24.1%) underwent MED. A propensity score–matched analysis with 6040 pairs of patients showed significant decreases in the occurrence of major complications (0.8% vs 1.3%, p = 0.01) and SSI (0.1% vs 0.2%, p = 0.02) in patients treated with MED compared with those who underwent open discectomy. Overall, MED was associated with significantly lower risks of major complications (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.43–0.89, p = 0.01) and SSI (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.09–0.87, p = 0.03) than open discectomy. There was a significant difference in length of hospital stay (11 vs 15 days, p < 0.001) between the groups. There was no significant difference in in-hospital mortality between MED and open discectomy.

CONCLUSIONS

The microendoscopic technique was associated with lower risks for SSI and major complications following discectomy in patients with lumbar disc herniation.

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Atsushi Seichi, Hirotaka Chikuda, Atsushi Kimura, Katsushi Takeshita, Shurei Sugita, Yuichi Hoshino, and Kozo Nakamura

Object

The aim in this prospective study was to determine the morphological limitations of laminoplasty for cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) by using intraoperative ultrasonography and to investigate correlations between ultrasonographic findings and 2-year follow-up results.

Methods

Included in this study were 40 patients who underwent double-door laminoplasty for cervical myelopathy due to OPLL. Intraoperative ultrasonography was used to evaluate posterior shift of the spinal cord after the posterior decompression procedure. To determine the decompression status of the cord, the authors classified ultrasonographic findings into 3 types on the basis of the presence or absence of spinal cord contact with OPLL after decompression: Type 1, noncontact; Type 2, contact and apart; and Type 3, contact. Patients were divided accordingly into Group 1, showing Type 1 or 2 findings, representing sufficient decompression; and Group 2, showing Type 3 findings with insufficient decompression. Preoperative sagittal alignment of the cervical spine (C2–7 angle) and preoperative maximal thickness of OPLL were compared between groups. The authors also investigated the morphological limitations of laminoplasty and 2-year follow-up results by using the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) scoring system.

Results

According to receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, an OPLL maximal thickness > 7.2 mm was a cutoff value for insufficient decompression. However, sufficient or insufficient decompression did not correlate with 2-year results, as determined by JOA scores. The C2–7 angle had no impact on ultrasonographic findings.

Conclusions

Laminoplasty has a morphological limitation for thick OPLLs, and a thickness > 7.2 mm represents a theoretical cutoff for residual cord compression after laminoplasty. According to 2-year results, however, laminoplasty can remain the first choice for any type of multiple-level OPLL.

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Eiji Takasawa, Naohiro Kawamura, Yoichi Iizuka, Junichi Ohya, Yuki Onishi, Junichi Kunogi, and Hirotaka Chikuda

OBJECTIVE

Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), which can worsen a patient’s quality of life, is a common complication following the surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD). Although various radiographic parameters have been proposed to predict the occurrence of PJK, the optimal method has not been established. The present study aimed to investigate the usefulness of the T1–L1 pelvic angle in the standing position (standing TLPA) for predicting the occurrence of PJK.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively extracted data for patients with ASD who underwent minimum 5-level fusion to the pelvis with upper instrumented vertebra between T8 and L1. In the present study, PJK was defined as ≥ 10° progression of the proximal junctional angle or reoperation due to progressive kyphosis during 1 year of follow-up. The following parameters were analyzed on whole-spine standing radiographs: the T1–pelvic angle, conventional thoracic kyphosis (TK; T4–12), whole-thoracic TK (T1–12), and the standing TLPA (defined as the angle formed by lines extending from the center of T1 and L1 to the femoral head axis). A logistic regression analysis and a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis were performed.

RESULTS

A total of 50 patients with ASD were enrolled (84% female; mean age 74.4 years). PJK occurred in 19 (38%) patients. Preoperatively, the PJK group showed significantly greater T1–pelvic angle (49.2° vs 34.4°), conventional TK (26.6° vs 17.6°), and standing-TLPA (30.0° vs 14.9°) values in comparison to the non-PJK group. There was no significant difference in the whole-thoracic TK between the two groups. A multivariate analysis showed that the standing TLPA and whole-thoracic TK were independent predictors of PJK. The standing TLPA had better accuracy than whole-thoracic TK (AUC 0.86 vs 0.64, p = 0.03). The optimal cutoff value of the standing TLPA was 23.0° (sensitivity 0.79, specificity 0.74). Using this cutoff value, the standing TLPA was the best predictor of PJK (OR 8.4, 95% CI 1.8–39, p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

The preoperative standing TLPA was more closely associated with the occurrence of PJK than other radiographic parameters. These results suggest that this easily measured parameter is useful for the prediction of PJK.

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Motoaki Murakami, Atsushi Seichi, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Kozo Nakamura, and Atsushi Kimura

The authors report the case of a man with cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) who was observed for more than 26 years. Initial symptoms consisted of subtle numbness of the hands, and initial radiography showed small, segmental-type OPLL in the cervical spine. Lateral radiography of the cervical spine was performed every few years. Ossification accelerated for about 4 years during the follow-up. Segmental-type OPLL developed into mixed-type extensive OPLL. This case shows an accelerating maturation process of OPLL over the course of a few years. Segmental-type OPLL appears to represent an initial stage of extensive OPLL.

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Shurei Sugita, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Atsushi Seichi, and Sakae Tanaka

Object

Despite its potential clinical impact, information regarding progression of thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is scarce. Posterior decompression with stabilization is currently the primary surgical treatment for symptomatic thoracic OPLL; however, it remains unclear whether thoracic OPLL increases in size following spinal stabilization. It is also unknown whether patients' clinical symptoms worsen as OPLL size increases. In this retrospective case series study, the authors examined the postoperative progression of thoracic OPLL.

Methods

Nine consecutive patients with thoracic OPLL who underwent posterior decompression and fixation with a minimum follow-up of 3 years were included in this study. Thin-slice CT scans of the thoracic spine obtained at the time of surgery and the most recent follow-up were analyzed. The level of the most obvious protrusion of ossification was determined using the sagittal reconstructions, and the ossified area was measured on the axial reconstructed scan at the level of the most obvious protrusion of ossification using the DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) software program. Myelopathy severity was assessed according to the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score for lower-limb motor function on admission, at postoperative discharge, and at the last follow-up visit.

Results

The OPLL area was increased in all patients. The mean area of ossification increased from 83.6 ± 25.3 mm at the time of surgery to 114.8 ± 32.4 mm at the last follow-up visit. No patients exhibited any neurological deterioration due to OPLL progression.

Conclusions

The present study demonstrated that the size of the thoracic OPLL increased after spinal stabilization. Despite diminished local spinal motion, OPLL progression did not decrease or stop. Physicians should pay attention to ossification progression in patients with thoracic OPLL.

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Takeshi Oichi, Yasushi Oshima, Hiroyuki Oka, Yuki Taniguchi, Hirotaka Chikuda, Yoshitaka Matsubayashi, Katsushi Takeshita, and Sakae Tanaka

OBJECTIVE

Several investigators have reported the occurrence of interlaminar bony fusion after cervical laminoplasty, which is reportedly associated with reduced postoperative cervical range of motion (ROM). However, to the authors’ knowledge, no previous study has investigated the characteristics of patients who were likely to develop interlaminar bony fusion after cervical laminoplasty. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the risk factors for interlaminar bony fusion in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) following cervical laminoplasty and to investigate the effect of interlaminar bony fusion on surgical outcomes.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed data from 92 patients with CSM (63 men and 29 women) after cervical laminoplasty. The presence of interlaminar bony fusion was evaluated by functional radiographs 2 years after surgery. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to the presence of postoperative interlaminar bony fusion: a fusion group (at least 1 new postoperative interlaminar bony fusion) and a nonfusion group (no new interlaminar bony fusion). Potential risk factors for postoperative interlaminar bony fusion were assessed, including diabetes mellitus, smoking status, whether the C-2 lamina was included in the surgical treatment, C2–7 Cobb angle in each cervical position, preoperative cervical ROM, and T-1 slope. The differences in each variable were compared between the fusion and nonfusion groups. Thereafter, multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the risk factors for postoperative interlaminar bony fusion. For surgical outcomes, the recovery rate based on Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores and the reduction rate of cervical ROM were evaluated 2 years after surgery.

RESULTS

Interlaminar bony fusion was observed in 60 cases, 52 of which were observed at the C2–3 level. Patients in the fusion group were significantly older, had a significantly larger C2–7 angle in flexion, and had a significantly lower preoperative cervical ROM than those in the nonfusion group. A high T-1 slope was significantly more frequent in the fusion group. Multivariate analysis revealed that the significant risk factors for postoperative interlaminar bony fusion were high T-1 slope (odds ratio 4.81; p = 0.0015) and older age (odds ratio 1.05; p = 0.025). The Japanese Orthopaedic Association recovery rate in patients with interlaminar bony fusion did not differ significantly from those without bony fusion (45% vs 48%; p = 0.73). However, patients with bony fusion showed significantly reduced postoperative cervical ROM compared with those without bony fusion (50% vs 25%; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

High T-1 slope and older age were significant risk factors for developing interlaminar bony fusion after cervical laminoplasty in patients with CSM. Interlaminar bony fusion was associated with reduced postoperative cervical ROM, but it did not affect neurological outcomes.

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Takeshi Oichi, Hirotaka Chikuda, Teppei Morikawa, Harushi Mori, Daisuke Kitamura, Junya Higuchi, Yuki Taniguchi, Yoshitaka Matsubayashi, Yasushi Oshima, and Sakae Tanaka

Dumbbell-shaped tumors consisting of 2 different tumors are extremely rare. Herein, the authors present a case of concurrent spinal schwannoma and meningioma mimicking a single cervical dumbbell-shaped tumor. A 64-year-old man presented with a 5-year history of gradually exacerbating left occipital pain without clinical evidence of neurofibromatosis. Magnetic resonance imaging showed an extradural tumor along the left C-2 nerve root with a small intradural component. The tumor was approached via a C-1 hemilaminectomy. The intradural tumor was resected together with the extradural tumor after opening the dura mater. The intradural tumor was attached to the dura mater around the exit point of the C-2 nerve root. Intraoperative biopsy revealed that the extradural tumor was a schwannoma and that the intradural tumor was a meningioma. The dura mater adjacent to the tumor was then coagulated and resected. Postoperative pathological examination confirmed the same diagnoses with no evidence of continuity between the intra- and extradural components. The patient’s postoperative clinical course was uneventful. Clinicians should be aware that cervical dumbbell-shaped tumors can consist of 2 different tumors.

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Ko Matsudaira, Takashi Yamazaki, Atsushi Seichi, Kazuto Hoshi, Nobuhiro Hara, Satoshi Ogiwara, Sei Terayama, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, and Kozo Nakamura

The authors developed an original procedure, modified fenestration with restorative spinoplasty (MFRS) for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. The first step is to cut the spinous process in an L-shape, which is caudally reflected. This procedure allows easy access to the spinal canal, including lateral recesses, and makes it easy to perform a trumpet-style decompression of the nerve roots without violating the facet joints. After the decompression of neural tissues, the spinous process is anatomically restored (spinoplasty). The clinical outcomes at 2 years were evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale and patients' satisfaction. Radiological follow-up included radiographs and CT.

Between January 2000 and December 2002, 109 patients with neurogenic intermittent claudication with or without mild spondylolisthesis underwent MFRS. Of these, 101 were followed up for at least 2 years (follow-up rate 93%). The average score on the self-administered JOA scale in 89 patients without comorbidity causing gait disturbance improved from 13.3 preoperatively to 22.9 at 2 years' follow-up. Neurogenic intermittent claudication disappeared in all cases. The patients' assessment of treatment satisfaction was “satisfied” in 74 cases, “slightly satisfied” in 12, “slightly dissatisfied” in 2, and “dissatisfied” in 1 case. In 16 cases (18%), a minimum progression of slippage occurred, but no symptomatic instability or recurrent stenosis was observed. Computed tomography showed that the lateral part of the facet joints was well preserved, and the mean residual ratio was 80%. The MFRS technique produces an adequate and safe decompression of the spinal canal, even in patients with narrow and steep facet joints in whom conventional fenestration is technically demanding.

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Morio Matsumoto, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Tsuyoshi Kato, Shigeo Shindo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Masahiko Takahata, Yutaka Nohara, Hiroshi Taneichi, Katsuro Tomita, Norio Kawahara, Shiro Imagama, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Masashi Yamazaki, and Akihiko Okawa

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of fusion surgery in patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament in the thoracic spine (T-OPLL) and to identify factors significantly related to surgical outcomes.

Methods

The study included 76 patients (34 men and 42 women with a mean age of 56.3 years) who underwent fusion surgery for T-OPLL at 7 spine centers during the 5-year period from 2003 to 2007. The authors evaluated the patient demographic data, underlying disease, preoperative comorbidities, history of spinal surgery, radiological findings, surgical methods, surgical outcomes, and complications. Surgical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score for thoracic myelopathy (11 points) and the recovery rate.

Results

The mean JOA scale score was 4.6 ± 2.1 points preoperatively and 7.7 ± 2.5 points at the time of the final follow-up examination, yielding a mean recovery rate of 45.4% ± 39.1%. The recovery rates by surgical method were 38.5% ± 37.8% for posterior decompression and fusion, 65.0% ± 35.6% for anterior decompression and fusion via an anterior approach, 28.8% ± 41.2% for anterior decompression via a posterior approach, and 57.5% ± 41.1% for circumferential decompression and fusion. The recovery rate was significantly higher in patients without diabetes mellitus (DM) than in those with DM. One or more complications were experienced by 31 patients (40.8%), including 20 patients with postoperative neurological deterioration, 7 with dural tears, 5 with epidural hematomas, 4 with respiratory complications, and 10 with other complications.

Conclusions

The outcomes of fusion surgery for T-OPLL were favorable. The absence of DM correlated with better outcomes. However, a high rate of complications was associated with the fusion surgery.