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Jin-Sung Kim, Kil-Yong Lee, Sang-Ho Lee and Ho-Yeon Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare clinical and radiographic outcomes of 2 kinds of lumbar interbody fusion (LIF) for the treatment of adult low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis at L4–5 and L5–S1 levels.

Methods

The medical records and radiographs of 86 patients who underwent anterior LIF (ALIF) (L4–5, 42 patients; L5–S1, 44 patients) and 42 patients who underwent transforaminal LIF (TLIF) (L4–5, 22 patients; L5–S1, 20 patients) between 2001 and 2004 were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical results were investigated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, and using radiographic measurements, including disc height (DH), degree of spondylolisthesis, segmental lordosis, whole lumbar lordosis (WL), sacral slope (SS), and pelvic tilt; the L-1 axis S-1 distance (LASD) and pelvic incidence were also obtained.

Results

In both groups, VAS and ODI scores had significantly improved at both treatment levels. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference in postoperative VAS scores between groups at the L4–5 level and in postoperative VAS/ODI scores at the L5–S1 level. However, ODI scores were better in the TLIF than in the ALIF group at the L4–5 level. In terms of radiological changes, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups at the L4–5 level; however, at the L5–S1 level, radiographic results indicated that ALIF was superior to TLIF in its capacity to restore DH, WL, SS, and LASD. The radiological evidence of fusion shows no intergroup difference and no interlevel difference.

Conclusions

Considering the clinical and radiological outcomes in both groups, the authors recommend that instrumented mini-TLIF is preferable at the L4–5 level, whereas instrumented mini-ALIF might be preferable at the L5–S1 level for the treatment of unstable isthmic spondylolisthesis.

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Kyu Ho Lee, Jun Kim and Jin Mo Chung

✓ A late component of the cortical evoked potential elicited by somatosensory afferent input was studied in cats anesthetized with α-chloralose. Cortical evoked potentials were recorded from the somatosensory-motor cortex during stimulation of the sural nerve with graded intensities. The stimulus intensity was adjusted to activate Aαβ fibers only, then both Aαβ and Aδ fibers, and both A and C fibers, as judged by afferent volleys monitored from the sural nerve proximal to the stimulating site. In addition to early components reported previously, a very late component was identified at a latency of 400 to 600 msec following stimulation of the sural nerve with intensities above threshold for Aδ fibers. A further increase in stimulation intensity to include activation of C fibers did not reveal any more components. This late component was depressed by a systemic intravenous injection of morphine (2 mg/kg), and intravenous naloxone (0.1 mg/kg) reversed the effect of morphine. The late component of the evoked potential could also be recorded from subcortical tissue after decortication of the sensorimotor cortex.

From these results, it appears that a very late component of the cortical evoked potential can be recorded from cats anesthetized with α-chloralose. The late component is evoked by activation of peripheral Aδ fibers. Furthermore, its morphine sensitivity suggests that this component may be elicited by nociceptive afferent fibers. If further investigations prove this, the late component, which is analogous to human long-latency potentials, could be used in an experimental model for pain research.

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Jae-Sung Ahn, Ho-Jin Lee, Dae-Jung Choi, Ki-young Lee and Sung-jin Hwang

This study was performed to describe the extraforaminal approach of biportal endoscopic spinal surgery (BESS) as a new endoscopic technique for transforaminal decompression and discectomy and to demonstrate the clinical outcomes of this new procedure for the first time. Twenty-one patients (27 segments) who underwent the extraforaminal approach of BESS between March 2015 and April 2016 were enrolled according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The operative time (minutes/level) and complications after the procedure were recorded. The visual analog scale (VAS) score was checked to assess the degree of radicular leg pain preoperatively and at the time of the last follow-up. The modified Macnab criteria were used to examine the clinical outcomes at the time of the last follow-up. The mean duration of the follow-up period was 14.8 months (minimum duration 12 months). The mean operative time was 96.7 minutes for one level. The mean VAS score for radicular leg pain dropped from a preoperative score of 7.5 ± 0.9 to a final follow-up score of 2.5 ± 1.2 (p < 0.001). The final outcome according to the modified Macnab criteria was excellent in 5 patients (23.8%), good in 12 (57.2%), fair in 4 (19.0%), and poor in 0. Therefore, excellent or good results (a satisfied outcome) were obtained in 80.9% of the patients. Complications were limited to one dural tear (4.8%). The authors found that the extraforaminal approach of BESS was a feasible and advantageous endoscopic technique for the treatment of foraminal lesions, including stenosis and disc herniation. They suggest that this technique represents a useful, alternative, minimally invasive method that can be used to treat lumbar foraminal stenosis and disc herniation.

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Kyu Ho Lee, Jin Mo Chung and William D. Willis Jr.

✓ Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) was applied in an experimental animal model to investigate the underlying mechanisms of this treatment. Recordings were made from identified spinothalamic tract (STT) neurons in the lumbosacral spinal cords of seven anesthetized monkeys. The STT cells were activated by stimulating the common peroneal nerve at a suprathreshold intensity for C-fibers. Evoked responses of C-fibers were compared before, during, and after application of TENS for 5 minutes from a commercially available TENS unit. The current delivered by the TENS unit was monitored.

In 14 STT cells, some degree of inhibition of C-fiber evoked responses occurred only when the intensity of TENS exceeded the threshold of Aδ fibers. At a given stimulus intensity, bursts of pulses repeated at a low rate were more effective than high-rate pulses. When TENS was applied to an area of the skin within a cell's receptive field, it was more effective than when it was applied outside the receptive field. The C-fiber volley recorded from a peripheral nerve was not reduced in size, and there were no substantial changes in its latency due to TENS. The inhibition of the activity of STT cells was not altered appreciably after intravenous injection of naloxone hydrochloride.

These results suggest that TENS produces central nervous system inhibition by activating Aδ afferent fibers. The inhibitory effects of TENS on STT cells appear to be due to a mechanism that does not involve release of endogenous opioid substances.

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Hyung-Lea Cho, Jin-Sung Kim, Sung Suk Paeng and Sang-Ho Lee

A butterfly vertebra is a rare congenital anomaly that is usually asymptomatic. The authors, however, describe a novel case involving a butterfly vertebra overlapping with disc herniation that presented as radiculopathy. A butterfly vertebra is characterized by a symmetrical fusion defect resulting in a sagittal cleft vertebra. Only a few cases of butterfly vertebrae have been reported as incidental findings. This spinal anomaly may be associated with other congenital conditions such as Pfeiffer, Crouzon, Jarcho-Levin, and Alagille syndromes. Moreover, there is no previous report of a case associated with symptomatic disc herniation from the sagittal cleft.

The authors excised the herniated disc fragment. They performed intraoperative discography after exposure of the corresponding intervertebral space via a conventional interlaminar approach. Histological examination of a tissue specimen showed scattered chondrocytes in the myxohyaline stroma, which indicated the nucleus pulposus.

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Sung Ho Lee, Bong Jin Park, Hee Sup Shin, Chang Kyu Park, Bong Arm Rhee and Young Jin Lim

OBJECTIVE

Abnormal lateral spread response (LSR) is a typical finding in facial electromyography (EMG) in patients with hemifacial spasm (HFS). Although intraoperative monitoring of LSR has been widely used during microvascular decompression (MVD), the prognostic value of this monitoring is still debated. The purpose of this study was to determine whether such monitoring exhibits prognostic value for the alleviation of LSR after treatment of HFS.

METHODS

Between January 2009 and December 2013, a total of 582 patients underwent MVD for HFS with intraoperative EMG monitoring at Kyung Hee University Hospital. The patients were categorized into 1 of 2 groups according to the presence of LSR at the conclusion of surgery (Group A, LSR free; Group B, LSR persisting). Patients were assessed for the presence of HFS 1 day, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Various parameters, including age, sex, symptom duration, offending vertebral artery, and offending perforating artery, were evaluated for their influence on surgical and electrophysiological results.

RESULTS

Overall, HFS was alleviated in 455 (78.2%) patients 1 day after MVD, in 509 (87.5%) patients 6 months after MVD, and in 546 (93.8%) patients 1 year after MVD. Patients in Group B were significantly younger than those in Group A (p = 0.022). Patients with a symptom duration of less than 1 year were significantly more likely to be classified in Group A than were patients whose symptoms had persisted for longer than 10 years (p = 0.023); however, analysis of the entire range of symptom durations did not reveal a significant effect (p = 0.132). A comparison of Groups A and B according to follow-up period revealed that HFS recovery correlated with LSR alleviation over a shorter period, but the same was not true of longer periods; the proportions of spasm-free patients were 80.6% and 71.1% (p = 0.021), 89.4% and 81.9% (p = 0.022), and 93.5% and 94.6% (p = 0.699) 1 day, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery in Groups A and B, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Although intraoperative EMG monitoring during MVD was beneficial for identifying the offending vessel and suggesting the most appropriate surgical end point, loss of LSR did not always correlate with long-term HFS treatment outcome. Because the HFS cure rate improved over time, revision might be considered for persistent LSR when follow-up has been performed for more than 1 year and the spasm remains despite adequate decompression.

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Yong Ahn, Jin Uk Kim, Byung Hoi Lee, Sang-Ho Lee, Jong Dae Park, Dong Hyun Hong and June Ho Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the clinical characteristics of postoperative retroperitoneal hematoma (RPH) following transforaminal percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD) and to discuss how to prevent the complication of unintended hemorrhage.

Methods

The medical records of 412 consecutive patients treated with transforaminal PELD between January 2005 and May 2007 were reviewed. A total of 4 patients (0.97%) experienced symptomatic postoperative RPH. The clinical outcomes were evaluated using the visual analog scale and the Oswestry Disability Index.

Results

The common symptom in all patients with a hematoma was inguinal pain. The mean hematoma volume was 527.9 ml (range 53.3–1274.1 ml). Two patients with massive diffuse-type RPHs compressing the intraabdominal structures required open hematoma evacuation performed by general surgeons, and the other 2 patients with small, localized RPHs of < 100 ml were treated conservatively. The mean follow-up period was 21.3 months (range 13–29 months). The mean visual analog scale score for radicular leg pain improved from 7.6 to 1.8 and that for back pain improved from 4.3 to 2. The mean Oswestry Disability Index improved from 58.8 to 9.1%. The preoperative symptoms improved after the second treatment without significant neurological sequelae in all patients.

Conclusions

Although transforaminal PELD is a minimally invasive and safe procedure, the possibility of RPH should be kept in mind. Adequate technical and anatomical considerations are important to avoid this unusual hemorrhagic complication, especially in the patient with underlying medical problems or previous operative scarring. A high index of suspicion and early detection is also important to avoid the progression of the hematoma.

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Na Young Jung, Chang Kyu Park, Minsoo Kim, Phil Hyu Lee, Young Ho Sohn and Jin Woo Chang

OBJECTIVE

Recently, MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) has emerged as an innovative treatment for numerous neurological disorders, including essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and some psychiatric disorders. Thus, clinical applications with this modality have been tried using various targets. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility, initial effectiveness, and potential side effects of unilateral MRgFUS pallidotomy for the treatment of parkinsonian dyskinesia.

METHODS

A prospective, nonrandomized, single-arm clinical trial was conducted between December 2013 and May 2016 at a single tertiary medical center. Ten patients with medication-refractory, dyskinesia-dominant PD were enrolled. Participants underwent unilateral MRgFUS pallidotomy using the Exablate 4000 device (InSightec) after providing written informed consent. Patients were serially evaluated for motor improvement, neuropsychological effects, and adverse events according to the 1-year follow-up protocol. Primary measures included the changes in the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale (UDysRS) scores from baseline to 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Secondary measures consisted of neuropsychological batteries and quality of life questionnaire (SF-36). Technical failure and safety issues were also carefully assessed by monitoring all events during the study period.

RESULTS

Unilateral MRgFUS pallidotomy was successfully performed in 8 of 10 patients (80%), and patients were followed up for more than 6 months. Clinical outcomes showed significant improvements of 32.2% in the “medication-off” UPDRS part III score (p = 0.018) and 52.7% in UDysRS (p = 0.017) at the 6-month follow-up, as well as 39.1% (p = 0.046) and 42.7% (p = 0.046) at the 1-year follow-up, respectively. These results were accompanied by improvement in quality of life. Among 8 cases, 1 patient suffered an unusual side effect of sonication; however, no patient experienced persistent aftereffects.

CONCLUSIONS

In the present study, which marks the first Phase I pilot study of unilateral MRgFUS pallidotomy for parkinsonian dyskinesia, the authors demonstrated the efficacy of pallidal lesioning using MRgFUS and certain limitations that are unavoidably associated with incomplete thermal lesioning due to technical issues. Further investigation and long-term follow-up are necessary to validate the use of MRgFUS in clinical practice.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02003248 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Bo-Gun Suh, Mary Ruth A. Padua, K. Daniel Riew, Ho-Joong Kim, Bong-Soon Chang, Choon-Ki Lee and Jin S. Yeom

Object

The authors introduce a simple technique and tool to facilitate reduction of atlantoaxial subluxation during posterior segmental screw fixation.

Methods

Two types of reduction tool have been designed: T-type and L-type. A T-shaped levering tool was used when a pedicle or pars screw was used for C-2, and an L-shaped tool was used when a laminar screw was used for C-2. Twenty-two patients who underwent atlantoaxial segmental screw fixation and fusion for the treatment of anteroposterior instability or subluxation, using either of these new types of reduction tool, were enrolled. Demographic, clinical, and surgical data, which had been prospectively collected in a database, were analyzed. The atlantodens interval was measured on lateral radiographs, and the space available for the spinal cord was measured on CT scans.

Results

The authors could attain reduction of the atlantoaxial subluxation without difficulty using either type of tool. The preoperative atlantodens interval ranged from −16.9 to 10.9 mm in a neutral position, and the postoperative interval ranged from −2.8 to 3.0 mm, with negative values due to extension-type or mixed-type instability. The mean space available for the spinal cord significantly increased, from 9.5 mm preoperatively to 15.4 mm postoperatively (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

This technique allowed for controlled manipulation and reduction of the atlantoaxial subluxation without difficulty.

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Hyoung-Sub Kim, Jong Beom Lee, Jong Hyeok Park, Ho Jin Lee, Jung Jae Lee, Shumayou Dutta, Il Sup Kim and Jae Taek Hong

OBJECTIVE

Little is known about the risk factors for postoperative subaxial cervical kyphosis following craniovertebral junction (CVJ) fixation. The object of this study was to evaluate postoperative changes in cervical alignment and to identify the risk factors for postoperative kyphotic change in the subaxial cervical spine after CVJ fixation.

METHODS

One hundred fifteen patients were retrospectively analyzed for postoperative subaxial kyphosis after CVJ fixation. Relations between subaxial kyphosis and radiological risk factors, including segmental angles and ranges of motion (ROMs) at C0–1, C1–2, and C2–7, and clinical factors, such as age, sex, etiology, occipital fixation, extensor muscle resection at C2, additional C1–2 posterior wiring, and subaxial laminoplasty, were investigated. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify the risk factors for postoperative kyphotic changes in the subaxial cervical spine.

RESULTS

The C2–7 angle change was more than −10° in 30 (26.1%) of the 115 patients. Risk factor analysis showed CVJ fixation combined with subaxial laminoplasty (OR 9.336, 95% CI 1.484–58.734, p = 0.017) and a small ROM at the C0–1 segment (OR 0.836, 95% CI 0.757–0.923, p < 0.01) were related to postoperative subaxial kyphotic change. On the other hand, age, sex, resection of the C2 extensor muscle, rheumatoid arthritis, additional C1–2 posterior wiring, and postoperative segmental angles were not risk factors for postoperative subaxial kyphosis

CONCLUSIONS

Subaxial alignment change is not uncommon after CVJ fixation. Muscle detachment at the C2 spinous process was not a risk factor of kyphotic change. The study findings suggest that a small ROM at the C0–1 segment with or without occipital fixation and combined subaxial laminoplasty are risk factors for subaxial kyphotic change.