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Panya Luksanapruksa, Jacob M. Buchowski, Neill M. Wright, Frank H. Valone III, Colleen Peters, and David B. Bumpass

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of suboccipital spinal metastases is rare but has increased given cancer patients' longer life expectancies. Operative treatment in this region is often challenging because of limited fixation points due to tumor lysis, as well as adjacent neural and vascular anatomy. Few studies have reported on this population of cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate clinical outcomes and complications of patients with suboccipital spinal metastases who had undergone posterior occipitocervical fixation.

METHODS

A single-institution database was reviewed to identify patients with suboccipital metastases who had undergone posterior-only instrumented fusion between 1999 and 2014. Clinical presentation, perioperative complications, and postoperative results were analyzed. Pain was assessed using the visual analog scale. Survival analysis was performed using a Kaplan-Meier curve. The revised Tokuhashi and the Tomita scoring systems were used for prognosis prediction.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients were identified, 10 men and 5 women with mean age of 64.8 ± 11.8 years (range 48–80 years). Severe neck pain without neurological deficit was the most common presentation. Primary tumors included lung, breast, bladder, myeloma, melanoma, and renal cell cancers. All tumors occurred in the axis vertebra. Preoperative Tokuhashi and Tomita scores ranged from 5 to 13 and 3 to 7, respectively. All patients had undergone occipitocervical fusion of a mean of 4.6 levels (range 2–7 levels). Median survival was 10.3 months. In all cases, neck pain markedly improved and patients were able to resume activities of daily living. The average postoperative pain score was significantly improved as compared with the average preoperative score (1.90 ± 2.56 and 5.50 ± 2.99, respectively, p = 0.01). Three patients experienced postoperative medical complications including urinary tract infection, deep vein thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and cardiac arrhythmia. In the follow-up period, no wound infections or reoperations occurred and no patients experienced spinal cord deficits from tumor recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior-only occipitocervical stabilization was highly effective at relieving patients' neck pain. No instrumentation failures were noted, and no neurological complications or tumor progression causing spinal cord deficits was noted in the follow-up period.

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Owoicho Adogwa, Daniel R. Rubio, Jacob M. Buchowski, Alden D’Souza, Maksim A. Shlykov, and Jack W. Jennings

OBJECTIVE

The population prevalence of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) continues to increase; however, data are limited regarding the incidence rate of skeletal related events (SREs) (i.e., surgery to the spinal column, radiation to the spinal column, radiofrequency ablation, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty, spinal cord compression, or pathological vertebral body fractures) and their impact on overall mortality. In this study, the authors sought to estimate the incidence rates of SREs in NSCLC patients and to quantify their impact on overall mortality.

METHODS

This was a single-institution retrospective study of patients diagnosed with NSCLC between 2002 and 2014. The incidence rates for bone metastasis and subsequent SREs (per 1000 person-years) by time since lung cancer diagnosis were calculated and analyses were stratified separately for each histological type. Incidence rates for mortality at 1, 2, and 3 years from diagnosis stratified by the presence of SREs were also calculated. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed to describe crude survival ratios in patients with spine metastasis and SREs and those with spine metastasis but without SREs. These curves were used to estimate the 1- and 2-year survival rates for each cohort.

RESULTS

We identified 320 patients with incident NSCLC (median follow-up 9.5 months). The mean ± SD age was 60.65 ± 11.26 years; 94.48% of patients were smokers and 60.12% had a family history of cancer. The majority of first-time SREs were pathological vertebral body compression fractures (77.00%), followed by radiation (35%), surgery (14%), and spinal cord compression (13.04%). Mortality rates were highest in NSCLC patients with spine metastasis who had at least 1 SRE. Stratifying by histological subtype, the incidence rate of mortality in patients with SRE was highest in the large cell cohort, 7.42 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 3.09–17.84 per 1000 person-years); followed by the squamous cell cohort, 2.49 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 1.87–3.32 per 1000 person-years); and lowest in the adenocarcinoma cohort, 1.68 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 1.46–1.94 per 1000 person-years). Surgery for decompression of neural structures and stabilization of the spinal column was required in 6% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

SREs in NSCLC patients with bone metastasis are associated with an increased incidence rate of mortality.

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Jin S. Yeom, Kyeong Hwan Kim, Soon Woo Hong, Kun-Woo Park, Bong-Soon Chang, Choon-Ki Lee, and Jacob M. Buchowski

✓ Surgical treatment of intraforaminal disc herniations at the L5–S1 level is technically demanding. The 2 most commonly used procedures involve either a medial or lateral ipsilateral approach and often require a partial or even complete facet resection, which may in turn result in vertebral instability and/or back pain, as well as, in some cases, a fusion or stabilization procedure. In this report, the authors present a new minimally invasive technique for the treatment of L5–S1 intraforaminal disc herniations. Using this technique, which involves tubular retractors and an operative microscope to approach the neural foramen from the contralateral side, the authors could easily visualize and remove the herniated disc material and perform a thorough microdiscectomy with minimal resection of osseous and ligamentous structures. To illustrate this new minimally invasive technique for the treatment of intraforaminal disc herniations at L5–S1, they describe the cases of 2 patients who underwent the procedure and in whom successful results were achieved.

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Owoicho Adogwa, Jacob M. Buchowski, Lawrence G. Lenke, Maksim A. Shlykov, Mostafa El Dafrawy, Thamrong Lertudomphonwanit, Mitchel R. Obey, Jonathan Koscso, Munish C. Gupta, and Keith H. Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Pseudarthrosis is a common complication of long-segment fusions after surgery for correction of adult spinal deformity (ASD). Interbody fusions are frequently used at the caudal levels of long-segment spinal deformity constructs as adjuncts for anterior column support. There is a paucity of literature comparing rod fracture rates (proxy for pseudarthrosis) in patients undergoing transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) versus anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at the caudal levels of the long spinal deformity construct. In this study the authors sought to compare rod fracture rates in patients undergoing surgery for correction of ASD with TLIF versus ALIF at the caudal levels of long spinal deformity constructs.

METHODS

We reviewed clinical records of patients who underwent surgery for correction of ASD between 2008 and 2014 at a single institution. Data including demographics, comorbidities, and indications for surgery, as well as postoperative variables, were collected for each patient. All patients had a minimum 2-year follow-up. Patients were dichotomized into two groups for comparison on the basis of undergoing a TLIF versus an ALIF procedure at the caudal levels of long spinal deformity constructs. The primary outcome of interest was the rate of rod fractures.

RESULTS

A total of 198 patients (TLIF 133 patients; ALIF 65 patients) underwent a long-segment fusion to the sacrum with iliac fixation. The mean ± standard deviation follow-up period was 62.23 ± 29.26 months. Baseline demographic variables were similar in both patient groups. There were no significant differences between groups in the severity of the baseline sagittal plane deformity (i.e., baseline lumbar-pelvic parameters) or the final deformity correction achieved. Mean total recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) dose for L1–sacrum fusion was significantly higher in the ALIF (100 mg) than in the TLIF (62 mg) group. The overall rod failure rate (cases with rod fracture/total cases) within this case series was 19.19% (38/198); 10.60% (21/198) were unilateral rod fractures and 8.58% (17/198) were bilateral rod fractures. At last clinical follow-up, there were no statistically significant differences in bilateral rod fracture rates between the group of patients who had a TLIF procedure and the group who had an ALIF procedure at the caudal levels of the long spinal deformity constructs (TLIF 10.52% vs ALIF 4.61%, p = 0.11). However, the incidence rate (cases per patient follow-up years) for bilateral rod fractures was significantly higher in the TLIF than in the ALIF cohort (TLIF 2.20% vs ALIF 0.70%, p < 0.0001). The reoperation rate for rod fractures was similar between the patient groups (p = 0.40).

CONCLUSIONS

Although both ALIF and TLIF procedures at the caudal levels of long spinal deformity constructs achieved similar and satisfactory deformity correction, ALIFs were associated with a lower rod fracture incidence rate. There were no differences between groups in the prevalence of rod fracture or revision surgery, however, and both groups had low bilateral rod fracture prevalence and incidence rates. One technique is not clearly superior to the other.

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Justin S. Smith, Michael P. Kelly, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Christine R. Baldus, Thomas J. Buell, Jon D. Lurie, Charles Edwards, Steven D. Glassman, Lawrence G. Lenke, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Jacob M. Buchowski, Leah Y. Carreon, Charles H. Crawford III, Thomas J. Errico, Stephen J. Lewis, Tyler Koski, Stefan Parent, Virginie Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Christopher P. Ames, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab, Christopher I Shaffrey, and Keith H Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Although short-term adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) studies favor operative over nonoperative treatment, longer outcomes are critical for assessment of treatment durability, especially for operative treatment, because the majority of implant failures and nonunions present between 2 and 5 years after surgery. The objectives of this study were to assess the durability of treatment outcomes for operative versus nonoperative treatment of ASLS, to report the rates and types of associated serious adverse events (SAEs), and to determine the potential impact of treatment-related SAEs on outcomes.

METHODS

The ASLS-1 (Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1) trial is an NIH-sponsored multicenter prospective study to assess operative versus nonoperative ASLS treatment. Patients were 40–80 years of age and had ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]–22 subscore ≤ 4.0 in the Pain, Function, and/or Self-Image domains). Patients receiving operative and nonoperative treatment were compared using as-treated analysis, and the impact of related SAEs was assessed. Primary outcome measures were ODI and SRS-22.

RESULTS

The 286 patients with ASLS (107 with nonoperative treatment, 179 with operative treatment) had 2-year and 5-year follow-up rates of 90% (n = 256) and 74% (n = 211), respectively. At 5 years, compared with patients treated nonoperatively, those who underwent surgery had greater improvement in ODI (mean difference −15.2 [95% CI −18.7 to −11.7]) and SRS-22 subscore (mean difference 0.63 [95% CI 0.48–0.78]) (p < 0.001), with treatment effects (TEs) exceeding the minimum detectable measurement difference (MDMD) for ODI (7) and SRS-22 subscore (0.4). TEs at 5 years remained as favorable as 2-year TEs (ODI −13.9, SRS-22 0.52). For patients in the operative group, the incidence rates of treatment-related SAEs during the first 2 years and 2–5 years after surgery were 22.38 and 8.17 per 100 person-years, respectively. At 5 years, patients in the operative group who had 1 treatment-related SAE still had significantly greater improvement, with TEs (ODI −12.2, SRS-22 0.53; p < 0.001) exceeding the MDMD. Twelve patients who received surgery and who had 2 or more treatment-related SAEs had greater improvement than nonsurgically treated patients based on ODI (TE −8.34, p = 0.017) and SRS-22 (TE 0.32, p = 0.029), but the SRS-22 TE did not exceed the MDMD.

CONCLUSIONS

The significantly greater improvement of operative versus nonoperative treatment for ASLS at 2 years was durably maintained at the 5-year follow-up. Patients in the operative cohort with a treatment-related SAE still had greater improvement than patients in the nonoperative cohort. These findings have important implications for patient counseling and future cost-effectiveness assessments.