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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Diego Shih-Chieh Lin, Chih-Chang Chang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

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Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang, Jau-Ching Wu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Tzu-Yun Tsai, Chin-Chu Ko, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

Object

Cervical arthroplasty has been accepted as a viable option for surgical management of cervical spondylosis or degenerative disc disease (DDD). The best candidates for cervical arthroplasty are young patients who have radiculopathy caused by herniated disc with competent facet joints. However, it remains uncertain whether arthroplasty is equally effective for patients who have cervical myelopathy caused by DDD. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes of arthroplasty for patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and patients with radiculopathy without CSM.

Methods

A total of 151 consecutive cases involving patients with CSM or radiculopathy caused by DDD and who underwent one- or two-level cervical arthroplasty were included in this study. Clinical outcome evaluations and radiographic studies were reviewed. Clinical outcome measurements included the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) of neck and arm pain, Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and the Neck Disability Index (NDI) in every patient. For patients with CSM, Nurick scores were recorded for evaluation of cervical myelopathy. Radiographic studies included lateral dynamic radiographs and CT for detection of the formation of heterotopic ossification .

Results

Of the 151 consecutive patients with cervical DDD, 125 (82.8%; 72 patients in the myelopathy group and 53 in the radiculopathy group) had at least 24 months of clinical and radiographic follow-up. The mean duration of follow-up in these patients was 36.4 months (range 24–56 months). There was no difference in sex distribution between the 2 groups. However, the mean age of the patients in the myelopathy group was approximately 6 years greater than that of the radiculopathy group (53.1 vs 47.2 years, p < 0.001). The mean operation time, mean estimated blood loss, and the percentage of patients prescribed perioperative analgesic agents were similar in both groups (p = 0.754, 0.652, and 0.113, respectively). There were significant improvements in VAS neck and arm pain, JOA scores, and NDI in both groups. Nurick scores in the myelopathy group also improved significantly after surgery. In radiographic evaluations, 92.5% of patients in the radiculopathy group and 95.8% of those in the radiculopathy group retained spinal motion (no significant difference). Evaluation of CT scans showed heterotopic ossification in 34 patients (47.2%) in the myelopathy group and 25 patients (47.1%) in the radiculopathy group (p = 0.995). At a mean of over 3 years postoperatively, no secondary surgery was reported in either group.

Conclusions

The severity of myelopathy improves after cervical arthroplasty in patients with CSM caused by DDD. At 3-year follow-up, the clinical and radiographic outcomes of cervical arthroplasty in DDD patients with CSM are similar to those patients who have only cervical radiculopathy. Therefore, cervical arthroplasty is a viable option for patients with CSM caused by DDD who require anterior surgery. However, comparison with the standard surgical treatment of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is necessary to corroborate the outcomes of arthroplasty for CSM.

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

OBJECT

Heterotopic ossification (HO) after cervical arthroplasty is not uncommon and may cause immobility of the disc. To prevent HO formation, study protocols of clinical trials for cervical arthroplasty undertaken by the US FDA included perioperative use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, there are few data supporting the use of NSAIDs to prevent HO after cervical arthroplasty. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of NSAIDs in HO formation and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

Consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level cervical arthroplasty with a minimum follow-up of 24 months were retrospectively reviewed. All patients were grouped into 1 of 2 groups, an NSAID group (those patients who had used NSAIDs postoperatively) and a non-NSAID group (those patients who had not used NSAIDs postoperatively). The formation of HO was detected and classified using CT in every patient. The incidence of HO formation, disc mobility, and clinical outcomes, including visual analog scale (VAS) scores of neck and arm pain, neck disability index (NDI) scores, and complications were compared between the two groups. Furthermore, a subgroup analysis of the patients in the NSAID group, comparing the selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 to nonselective COX-2 NSAID users, was also conducted for each of the above-mentioned parameters.

RESULTS

A total of 75 patients (mean age [± SD] 46.71 ± 9.94 years) with 107 operated levels were analyzed. The mean follow-up duration was 38.71 ± 9.55 months. There were no significant differences in age, sex, and levels of arthroplasty between the NSAID and non-NSAID groups. There was a nonsignificantly lower rate of HO formation in the NSAID group than the non-NSAID group (47.2% vs. 68.2%, respectively; p = 0.129). During follow-up, most of the arthroplasty levels remained mobile, with similar rates of immobile discs in the NSAID and non-NSAID groups (13.2% and 22.7%, respectively; p = 0.318). Furthermore, there was a nonsignificantly lower rate of HO formation in the selective COX-2 group than the nonselective COX-2 group (30.8% vs 52.5%, respectively; p = 0.213). The clinical outcomes, including VAS neck, VAS arm, and NDI scores at 24 months postoperatively, were all similar in the NSAID and non-NSAID groups, as well as the selective and nonselective COX-2 groups (all p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study there was a trend toward less HO formation and fewer immobile discs in patients who used postoperative NSAIDs after cervical arthroplasty than those who did not, but this trend did not reach statistical significance. Patients who used selective COX-2 NSAIDs had nonsignificantly less HO than those who used nonselective COX-2 NSAIDs. The clinical outcomes were not affected by the use of NSAIDs or the kinds of NSAIDs used (selective vs nonselective COX-2). However, the study was limited by the number of patients included, and the efficacy of NSAIDs in the prevention of HO after cervical arthroplasty may need further investigation to confirm these results.

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Peng-Yuan Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang and Jau-Ching Wu

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

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

OBJECTIVE

In the past decade, dynamic stabilization has been an emerging option of surgical treatment for lumbar spondylosis. However, the application of this dynamic construct for mild spondylolisthesis and its clinical outcomes remain uncertain. This study aimed to compare the outcomes of Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for the management of single-level spondylolisthesis at L4–5.

METHODS

This study retrospectively reviewed 91 consecutive patients with Meyerding Grade I spondylolisthesis at L4–5 who were managed with surgery. Patients were divided into 2 groups: DDS and MI-TLIF. The DDS group was composed of patients who underwent standard laminectomy and the DDS system. The MI-TLIF group was composed of patients who underwent MI-TLIF. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by visual analog scale for back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores at each time point of evaluation. Evaluations included radiographs and CT scans for every patient for 2 years after surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 86 patients with L4–5 spondylolisthesis completed the follow-up of more than 2 years and were included in the analysis (follow-up rate of 94.5%). There were 64 patients in the DDS group and 22 patients in the MI-TLIF group, and the overall mean follow-up was 32.7 months. Between the 2 groups, there were no differences in demographic data (e.g., age, sex, and body mass index) or preoperative clinical evaluations (e.g., visual analog scale back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores). The mean estimated blood loss of the MI-TLIF group was lower, whereas the operation time was longer compared with the DDS group (both p < 0.001). For both groups, clinical outcomes were significantly improved at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery compared with preoperative clinical status. Moreover, there were no differences between the 2 groups in clinical outcomes at each evaluation time point. Radiological evaluations were also similar and the complication rates were equally low in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

At 32.7 months postoperation, the clinical and radiological outcomes of DDS were similar to those of MI-TLIF for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis at L4–5. DDS might be an alternative to standard arthrodesis in mild lumbar spondylolisthesis. However, unlike fusion, dynamic implants have issues of wearing and loosening in the long term. Thus, the comparable results between the 2 groups in this study require longer follow-up to corroborate.

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Li-Yu Fay, Peng-Yuan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Chun-Hao Wang, Tzu-Yun Tsai, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

Dynamic stabilization devices are designed to stabilize the spine while preserving some motion. However, there have been reports demonstrating limited motion at the instrumented level of the lumbar spine after Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS). The causes of this limited motion and its actual effects on outcomes after DDS remain elusive. In this study, the authors investigate the incidence of unintended facet arthrodesis after DDS and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

This retrospective study included 80 consecutive patients with 1- or 2-level lumbar spinal stenosis who underwent laminectomy and DDS. All medical records, radiological data, and clinical evaluations were analyzed. Imaging studies included pre- and postoperative radiographs, MR images, and CT scans. Clinical outcomes were measured by a visual analog scale (VAS) for back and leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores. Furthermore, all patients had undergone postoperative CT for the detection of unintended arthrodesis of the facets at the indexed level, and range of motion was measured on standing dynamic radiographs.

RESULTS

A total of 70 patients (87.5%) with a mean age of 64.0 years completed the minimum 24-month postoperative follow-up (mean duration 29.9 months). Unintended facet arthrodesis at the DDS instrumented level was demonstrated by CT in 38 (54.3%) of the 70 patients. The mean age of patients who had facet arthrodesis was 9.8 years greater than that of the patients who did not (68.3 vs 58.5 years, p = 0.009). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes, including VAS back and leg pain, ODI, and JOA scores between patients with and without the unintended facet arthrodesis. Furthermore, those patients older than 60 years were more likely to have unintended facet arthrodesis (OR 12.42) and immobile spinal segments (OR 2.96) after DDS. Regardless of whether unintended facet arthrodesis was present or not, clinical evaluations demonstrated improvement in all patients (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

During the follow-up of more than 2 years, unintended facet arthrodesis was demonstrated in 54.3% of the patients who underwent 1- or 2-level DDS. Older patients (age > 60 years) were more likely to have unintended facet arthrodesis and subsequent immobile spinal segments. However, unintended facet arthrodesis did not affect the clinical outcomes during the study period. Further evaluations are needed to clarify the actual significance of this phenomenon.

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

OBJECT

Although anterior odontoidectomy has been widely accepted as a procedure for decompression of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ), postoperative biomechanical instability has not been well addressed. There is a paucity of data on the necessity for and choice of fixation.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of consecutively treated patients with basilar invagination who underwent anterior odontoidectomy and various types of posterior fixation. Posterior fixation included 1 of 3 kinds of constructs: occipitocervical (OC) fusion with atlantoaxial (AA) fixation, OC fusion without AA fixation, or AA-only (without OC) fixation. On the basis of the use or nonuse of AA fixation, these patients were assigned to either the AA group, in which the posterior fixation surgery involved both the atlas and axis simultaneously, regardless of whether the patient underwent OC fusion, or the non-AA group, in which the OC fusion construct spared the atlas, axis, or both. Clinical outcomes and neurological function were compared. Radiological results at each time point (i.e., before and after odontoidectomy and after fixation) were assessed by calculating the triangular area causing ventral indentation of the brainstem in the CVJ.

RESULTS

Data obtained in 14 consecutively treated patients with basilar invagination were analyzed in this series; the mean follow-up time was 5.75 years. The mean age was 53.58 years; there were 7 males and 7 females. The AA and non-AA groups consisted of 7 patients each. The demographic data of both groups were similar. Overall, there was significant improvement in neurological function after the operation (p = 0.03), and there were no differences in the postoperative Nurick grades between the 2 groups (p = 1.00). According to radiological measurements, significant decompression of the ventral brainstem was achieved stepwise in both groups by anterior odontoidectomy and posterior fixation; the mean ventral triangular area improved from 3.00 ± 0.86 cm2 to 2.08 ± 0.51 cm2 to 1.68 ± 0.59 cm2 (before and after odontoidectomy and after fixation, respectively; p < 0.05). The decompression gained by odontoidectomy (i.e., reduction of the ventral triangular area) was similar in the AA and non-AA groups (0.66 ± 0.42 cm2 vs 1.17 ± 1.42 cm2, respectively; p = 0.38). However, the decompression achieved by posterior fixation was significantly greater in the AA group than in the non-AA group (0.64 ± 0.39 cm2 vs 0.17 ± 0.16 cm2, respectively; p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Anterior odontoidectomy alone provides significant decompression at the CVJ. Adjuvant posterior fixation further enhances the extent of decompression after the odontoidectomy. Moreover, posterior fixation that involves AA fixation yields significantly more decompression of the ventral brainstem than OC fusion that spares AA fixation.

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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.

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

OBJECTIVE

Several large-scale clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of 1- and 2-level cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) for degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the subaxial cervical spine, while other studies reveal that during physiological neck flexion, the C4–5 and C5–6 discs account for more motion than the C3–4 level, causing more DDD. This study aimed to compare the results of CDA at different levels.

METHODS

After a review of the medical records, 94 consecutive patients who underwent single-level CDA were divided into the C3–4 and non-C3–4 CDA groups (i.e., those including C4–5, C5–6, and C6–7). Clinical outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale for neck and arm pain and by the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores. Postoperative range of motion (ROM) and heterotopic ossification (HO) were determined by radiography and CT, respectively.

RESULTS

Eighty-eight patients (93.6%; mean age 45.62 ± 10.91 years), including 41 (46.6%) female patients, underwent a mean follow-up of 4.90 ± 1.13 years. There were 11 patients in the C3–4 CDA group and 77 in the non-C3–4 CDA group. Both groups had significantly improved clinical outcomes at each time point after the surgery. The mean preoperative (7.75° vs 7.03°; p = 0.58) and postoperative (8.18° vs 8.45°; p = 0.59) ROMs were similar in both groups. The C3–4 CDA group had significantly greater prevalence (90.9% vs 58.44%; p = 0.02) and higher severity grades (2.27 ± 0.3 vs 0.97 ± 0.99; p = 0.0001) of HO.

CONCLUSIONS

Although CDA at C3–4 was infrequent, the improved clinical outcomes of CDA were similar at C3–4 to that in the other subaxial levels of the cervical spine at the approximately 5-year follow-ups. In this Asian population, who had a propensity to have ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, there was more HO formation in patients who received CDA at the C3–4 level than in other subaxial levels of the cervical spine. While the type of artificial discs could have confounded the issue, future studies with more patients are required to corroborate the phenomenon.