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Patrick W. Hitchon, Kurt Eichholz, Christopher Barry, Paige Rubenbauer, Aditya Ingalhalikar, Satoshi Nakamura, Kenneth Follett, Tae Hong Lim and James Torner

Object. The authors compared the biomechanical performance of the human cadaveric spine implanted with a metallic ball-and-cup artificial disc at L4–5 with the spine's intact state and after anterior discectomy.

Methods. Seven human L2—S1 cadaveric spines were mounted on a biomechanical testing frame. Pure moments of 0, 1.5, 3.0, 4.5, and 6.0 Nm were applied to the spine at L-2 in six degrees of motion (flexion, extension, right and left lateral bending, and right and left axial rotation). The spines were tested in the intact state as well as after anterior L4–5 discectomy. The Maverick disc was implanted in the discectomy defect, and load testing was repeated.

The artificial disc created greater rigidity for the spine than was present after discectomy, and the spine performed biomechanically in a manner comparable with the intact state.

Conclusions. The results indicate that in an in vitro setting, this model of artificial disc stabilizes the spine after discectomy, restoring motion comparable with that of the intact state.

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Aditya V. Ingalhalikar, Chandan G. Reddy, Tae Hong Lim, James C. Torner and Patrick W. Hitchon

Object

The artificial disc has been proposed as an alternative to spinal fusion for degenerative disc disease. The primary aim of this biomechanical study was to compare motion and intradiscal pressure (IDP) in a ball-and-socket artificial disc–implanted cadaveric lumbar spine, at the operative and adjacent levels, using a displacement-controlled setup. A secondary comparison involved a “salvage” construct, consisting of pedicle screws (PSs) added in supplementation to the artificial disc construct.

Methods

Ten human cadaveric lumbosacral spines (L2–S1) were potted at L-2 and S-1. All measurements were initially made in the intact spine, followed by implantation of the artificial disc, and finally by the salvage PS condition. For the artificial disc condition, a Maverick ball-and-socket artificial disc was implanted at L4–5. For the PS condition, CD Horizon PSs were placed at L4–5, and the artificial disc was left in place. A displacement-controlled, custom-designed testing apparatus was used to impart motion in the sagittal and coronal planes. Motion at both the implanted level (L4–5) and immediately adjacent levels (L3–4 and L5–S1) was measured. Intradiscal pressure at the rostral adjacent level (L3–4) was also measured. The Tukey test was used for statistical analysis (p < 0.05).

Results

In flexion, no significant difference was noted between the artificial disc and the intact spine with regard to motion at the operative level, motion at adjacent levels, or IDP. In lateral bending, while the artificial disc significantly decreased operative-level motion (p < 0.05), no significant difference was noted in adjacent-level motion or IDP. With regard to extension, the artificial disc significantly increased operative level motion and decreased the rostral adjacent level (L3–4) motion and IDP (p < 0.05). Caudal adjacent-level (L5–S1) motion was not significantly different.

In flexion and lateral bending, the addition of PSs significantly decreased motion at the implanted level when compared with the intact spine and the artificial disc (p < 0.05). This decrease in motion at the index level was associated with a compensatory increase in motion at both adjacent levels in flexion only (p < 0.05), but not in lateral bending (p > 0.05). The IDP was significantly increased in lateral bending but not in flexion. With regard to extension, the significant decrease in IDP that was noted with the artificial disc persisted despite the addition of PSs (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The artificial disc either maintains or reduces adjacent-level motion and pressure, compared with the intact spine. The addition of PSs to the artificial disc construct leads to significantly increased motion at adjacent levels in flexion and significantly increased IDP in lateral bending. At the operative level, the artificial disc is associated with hypermobility in extension, which is restored to the intact state after the addition of supplementary PSs.

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Nader S. Dahdaleh, Satoshi Nakamura, James C. Torner, Tae-Hong Lim and Patrick W. Hitchon

Object

In patients with cervical stenosis with myelopathy, posterior instrumentation following cervical laminectomy has been shown to reduce the incidence of postoperative instability and kyphosis. However, the indications for posterior plus anterior instrumentation are not always obvious, and using both posterior and anterior instrumentation routinely is unnecessary and excessive. This study examines the rigidity of the intact isolated cadaveric cervical spine, after C4–6 laminectomy, with posterior lateral mass instrumentation, and following posterior plus anterior instrumentation.

Methods

Ten fresh-frozen human cadaveric cervical spines from C-1 to T-2 were potted in the neutral position, and retroreflective markers were placed on C-3 and C-7. Specimens were mounted on a biomechanical testing frame, and angular rotations of C-3 relative to C-7 were measured. Pure moments of 0, 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, and 1.2 Nm were applied at C-2 in all 3 planes. Each specimen was load tested as follows: 1) in the intact state; 2) after C4–6 laminectomy; 3) with C3–7 lateral mass instrumentation; and 4) with C3–7 posterior plus anterior instrumentation.

Results

Laminectomy was not associated with a significant increase in motion compared with the intact state with any load or in any direction. Instrumentation was associated with reduction in motion in all directions, and there was no significant difference in posterior versus combined posterior and anterior instrumentation.

Conclusions

Rigidity imparted to the cervical spine by a 5-level posterior lateral mass fixation is not augmented by anterior instrumentation.

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Chandan Reddy, Aditya V. Ingalhalikar, Scott Channon, Tae-Hong Lim, James Torner and Patrick W. Hitchon

Object

In instrumentation of the upper cervical spine, placement of pedicle screws into C-2 is generally safe, although there is the potential for injury to the vertebral arteries. Owing to this risk, translaminar screws into C-2 have been used. The aim of this study was to compare the stability of the in vitro cadaveric spine using C-2 laminar compared with C-2 pedicle screws in C2–3 instrumentation.

Methods

Eight fresh frozen human cadaveric cervical spines (C1–6) were potted at C1–2 and C5–6. Pure moments in increments of 0.3 Nm to a maximum of 1.5 Nm were applied in flexion, extension, right and left lateral bending, and right and left axial rotation. Each specimen was tested sequentially in three modes: 1) intact; 2) C2 pedicle screw–C3 lateral mass fixation; and 3) C2 laminar screw–C3 lateral mass fixation. The sequence of fixation testing was randomized. Motion was tracked with reflective markers attached to C-2 and C-3.

Results

Spinal levels with instrumentation showed significantly less motion than the intact spine in all directions and with all loads greater than 0.3 Nm (p < 0.05). Although there was no significant difference between C2 pedicle screw–C3 lateral mass fixation and C2 laminar screw–C3 lateral mass fixation, generally the former type of fixation was associated with less motion than the latter.

Conclusions

When pedicle screws in C-2 are contraindicated or inappropriate, laminar screws in C-2 offer a safe and acceptable option for posterior instrumentation.

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Biomechanical testing of anterior and posterior thoracolumbar instrumentation in the cadaveric spine

Invited submission from the Joint Section Meeting on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, March 2004

Kurt M. Eichholz, Patrick W. Hitchon, Aaron From, Paige Rubenbauer, Satoshi Nakamura, Tae Hong Lim and James Torner

Object. Thoracolumbar burst fractures frequently require surgical intervention. Although the use of either anterior or posterior instrumentation has advantages and disadvantages, there have been few studies in which these two approaches have been compared biomechanically.

Methods. Ten human cadaveric spines were subjected to subtotal L-3 corpectomy. In five spines placement of L-3 wooden strut grafts with lateral L2–4 dual rod and screw instrumentation was performed. Five other spines underwent L1–5 pedicle screw fixation. The spines were fatigued between steps of the experiment. The spines were load tested with pure moments of 1.5, 3, 4.5, and 6 Nm in the intact state and after placement of instrumentation in six degrees of freedom (flexion, extension, right and left lateral bending, and right and left axial rotation).

In axial rotation posterior instrumentation significantly increased spinal rigidity compared with that of the intact state, whereas anterior instrumentation did not. Combined anterior—posterior instrumentation did not significantly increase the rigidity of the spine when compared with anterior or posterior instrumentation alone. Posterior instrumentation alone provided a greater reduction in angular rotation compared with anterior instrumentation alone in all degrees of freedom; however, statistical significance was achieved only in extension at 6 Nm.

Conclusions. The increased rigidity provided by pedicle screw instrumentation compared with the intact state or with anterior instrumentation is due to the longer construct spanning five levels and the three-column engagement of the pedicle screws. The decision to use anterior or posterior instrumentation should be based on the clinical necessity of canal decompression and correction of angulation.

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Arun T. Jacob, Aditya V. Ingalhalikar, John H. Morgan, Scott Channon, Tae-Hong Lim, James C. Torner and Patrick W. Hitchon

Object

The pedicle screw (PS) is the cornerstone of spinal instrumentation, and its failure often entails additional surgery. Screw pullout is one of the most common reasons for screw failure, particularly in the elderly population. In this study the authors undertook a biomechanical comparison of the maximum pullout force (MPF) required for single- and dual-lead PSs in cadaver vertebrae.

Methods

Radiographs of 40 cadaveric vertebrae (T11–L5) were obtained, and bone mineral density (BMD) was measured in the lateral plane using dual–x-ray absorptiometry with a bone densitometer. One screw of each design was implanted for side-by-side comparison. Vertebrae were potted and mounted on an MTS test frame for accurate measurement of MPF. A total of 80 PSs were tested, 40 each of single- and dual-lead design types.

Results

The average MPF for dual-lead screws (533.89 ± 285.7 N) was comparable to that of single-lead screws (524.90 ± 311.6 N) (p = 0.3733). The BMD had a significant correlation with MPF for both dual-lead (r = 0.56413, p < 0.0001) and single-lead screws (r = 0.56327, p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Barring the effect of BMD, this in vitro biomechanical test showed no significant difference in MPF between single- and dual-lead PSs. Dual-lead PSs can be used to achieve a faster insertion time, without compromising pullout force.

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Matthew T. Bender, Gustavo Pradilla, Sachin Batra, Alfred P. See, Carol James, Carlos A. Pardo, Benjamin S. Carson and Michael Lim

Object

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia due to multiple sclerosis (TN-MS) and idiopathic TN (ITN) who underwent glycerol rhizotomy (GR) and radiofrequency thermocoagulation with glycerol rhizotomy (RFTC-GR) were compared to investigate the effectiveness of these percutaneous ablative procedures in the TN-MS population.

Methods

Between 1998 and 2010, 822 patients with typical TN were evaluated; 63 (8%) had TN-MS and 759 (92%) had ITN. Pain relief comparisons were made between 22 GR procedures in patients with TN-MS and 470 GR procedures in patients with ITN; 50 RFTC-GR procedures in patients with TN-MS and 287 RFTC-GR procedures in patients with ITN were compared. Analysis of time to recurrence included only procedures that achieved complete pain relief without medications.

Results

After 15 of the GR procedures (68%) in patients with TN-MS and 315 of the procedures (67%) in those with ITN, the patients were pain free without medications (p = 0.736). After 36 of the RFTC-GR procedures (72%) in patients with TN-MS and 210 of the procedures (73%) in those with ITN, the patients were pain free without medications (p = 0.657). The difference in pain relief between GR and RFTC-GR for patients with TN-MS was not significant (p = 0.447). The median time to failure of GR was 20 months in patients with TN-MS compared with 25 months in those with ITN (p = 0.403). The median time to failure of RFTC-GR was 26 months in the TN-MS population compared with 21 months in the ITN population (p = 0.449). Patients with TN-MS experienced similar times to recurrence whether they were treated with GR or RFTC-GR (p = 0.431).

Conclusions

Pain relief and durability of relief outcomes of GR and RFTC-GR were similar in patients with TN-MS and ITN, reinforcing their use as preferred treatments of TN-MS. The GR and RFTC-GR achieved comparable outcomes in patients with TN-MS, suggesting that both can be used to good effect.

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J. Pablo Villablanca, Parizad Hooshi, Neil Martin, Reza Jahan, Gary Duckwiler, Sylvester Lim, John Frazee, Y. Pierre Gobin, James Sayre, John Bentson and Fernando Viñuela

Object. Middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms can be difficult to detect and characterize. The authors describe the utility and impact of helical computerized tomography (CT) angiography for the evaluation of aneurysms in this location, and compare this modality with digital subtraction (DS) angiography and intraoperative findings.

Methods. Two hundred fifty-one patients with suspected cerebral aneurysms underwent CT angiography. Two-dimensional multiplanar reformatted images and three-dimensional CT angiograms were examined by two independent readers in a blinded fashion. Results were compared with findings on DS angiograms to determine the relative efficacy of these modalities in the detection and characterization of aneurysms. Questionnaires completed by neurosurgeons and endovascular therapists were used to determine the impact of CT angiograms on aneurysm management.

Twenty-eight patients harboring 31 MCA aneurysms and 26 patients without aneurysms were identified using CT angiography. The sensitivity of CT angiography and DS angiography for MCA aneurysms was 97%; both techniques showed 100% specificity. In 76% of evaluations, the CT angiography studies provided information not available on DS angiography examinations. For the characterization of aneurysms, CT angiography was rated superior (72%) or equal (20%) to DS angiography in 92% of cases evaluated (p < 0.001). Computerized tomography angiography was evaluated as the only study needed for patient triage in 82% of cases (p < 0.001), and as the only study needed for treatment planning in 89% of surgically treated (p < 0.001) and in 63% of endovascularly treated cases (p < 0.001). The information acquired on CT angiograms changed the initial treatment plan in 24 (67%) of these 36 complex lesions (p < 0.01). The aneurysm appearance intraoperatively was identical or nearly identical to that seen on CT angiograms in 17 (89%) of 19 of the surgically treated cases.

Conclusions. Computerized tomography angiography has unique advantages over DS angiography and is a viable alternative to the latter modality in the diagnosis, triage, and treatment planning in patients with MCA aneurysms.

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James S. Harrop, Alexander R. Vaccaro, R. John Hurlbert, Jared T. Wilsey, Eli M. Baron, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Charles G. Fisher, Marcel F. Dvorak, F. C. Öner, Kirkham B. Wood, Neel Anand, D. Greg Anderson, Moe R. Lim, Joon Y. Lee, Christopher M. Bono, Paul M. Arnold, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Michael G. Fehlings and The Spine Trauma Study Group

Object

A new classification and treatment algorithm for thoracolumbar injuries was recently introduced by Vaccaro and colleagues in 2005. A thoracolumbar injury severity scale (TLISS) was proposed for grading and guiding treatment for these injuries. The scale is based on the following: 1) the mechanism of injury; 2) the integrity of the posterior ligamentous complex (PLC); and 3) the patient’s neurological status. The reliability and validity of assessing injury mechanism and the integrity of the PLC was assessed.

Methods

Forty-eight spine surgeons, consisting of neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, reviewed 56 clinical thoracolumbar injury case histories. Each was classified and scored to determine treatment recommendations according to a novel classification system. After 3 months the case histories were reordered and the physicians repeated the exercise. Validity of this classification was good among reviewers; the vast majority (> 90%) agreed with the system’s treatment recommendations. Surgeons were unclear as to a cogent description of PLC disruption and fracture mechanism.

Conclusions

The TLISS demonstrated acceptable reliability in terms of intra- and interobserver agreement on the algorithm’s treatment recommendations. Replacing injury mechanism with a description of injury morphology and better definition of PLC injury will improve inter- and intraobserver reliability of this injury classification system.