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Dennis A. Turner, Jay Tracy, and Stephen J. Haines

✓ The long-term outcome following carotid endarterectomy for neurological symptoms was analyzed using a retrospective life-table approach in 212 patients who had undergone 243 endarterectomy procedures. The postoperative follow-up period averaged 38.9 ± 2.1 months (mean ± standard error of the mean). The endpoints of stroke and death were evaluated in these patients. Patient groups with the preoperative symptoms of amaurosis fugax, transient ischemic attack, and prior recovered stroke were similar in terms of life-table outcome over the follow-up period. Sixty-two percent of symptomatic patients were alive and free of stroke at 5 years. The late risk of stroke (after 30 days postoperatively) averaged 1.7% per year based on a linear approximation to the hazard at each life-table interval (1.3% per year for ipsilateral stroke). The trend of late stroke risk was clearly downward, however, and could be fitted more accurately by an exponential decay function with a half-life of 33 months. Thus, the risk of stroke following carotid endarterectomy for neurological symptoms was highest in the perioperative period, slowly declined with time, and occurred predominantly ipsilateral to the procedure.

The definition of a prospective medical control group remains crucial for a critical analysis of treatment modalities following the onset of premonitory neurological symptoms. In the absence of an adequate control group for this series, the calculated perioperative and postoperative stroke risk from this study was compared to data obtained from the literature on stroke risk in medically treated symptomatic patients. This uncontrolled comparison of treatment modalities suggests the combined perioperative and postoperative stroke risk associated with carotid endarterectomy to be modestly improved over medical treatment alone.

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Jay D. Turner and Robert F. Spetzler

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Eduardo Martinez-del-Campo, Jay D. Turner, Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Hector Soriano-Baron, Samuel Kalb, and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECTIVE

If left untreated, occipitocervical (OC) instability may lead to serious neurological injury or death. Open internal fixation is often necessary to protect the neurovascular elements. This study reviews the etiologies for pediatric OC instability, analyzes the radiographic criteria for surgical intervention, discusses surgical fixation techniques, and evaluates long-term postoperative outcomes based on a single surgeon's experience.

METHODS

The charts of all patients < 18 years old who underwent internal OC fixation conducted by the senior author were retrospectively reviewed. Forty consecutive patients were identified for analysis. Patient demographic data, OC junction pathology, radiological diagnostic tools, surgical indications, and outcomes are reported.

RESULTS

The study population consisted of 20 boys and 20 girls, with a mean age of 7.3 years. Trauma (45% [n = 18]) was the most common cause of instability, followed by congenital etiologies (37.5% [n = 15]). The condyle-C1 interval had a diagnostic sensitivity of 100% for atlantooccipital dislocation. The median number of fixated segments was 5 (occiput–C4). Structural bone grafts were used in all patients. Postsurgical neurological improvement was seen in 88.2% (15/17) of patients with chronic myelopathy and in 25% (1/4) of patients with acute myelopathy. Preoperatively, 42.5% (17/40) of patients were neurologically intact and remained unchanged at last follow-up, 42.5% (17/40) had neurological improvement, 12.5% (5/40) remained unchanged, and 2.5% (1/40) deteriorated. All patients had successful fusion at 1-year follow-up. The complication rate was 7.5% (3/40), including 1 case of vertebral artery injury.

CONCLUSIONS

Occipitocervical fixation is safe in children and provides immediate immobilization, with excellent survival and arthrodesis rates. Of the radiographic tools evaluated, the condyle-C1 interval was the most predictive of atlantooccipital dislocation.

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Eduardo Martinez-del-Campo, Jay D. Turner, Hector Soriano-Baron, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, Samuel Kalb, and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECTIVE

The authors assessed the rate of vertebral growth, curvature, and alignment for multilevel constructs in the cervical spine after occipitocervical fixation (OCF) in pediatric patients and compared these results with those in published reports of growth in normal children.

METHODS

The authors assessed cervical spine radiographs and CT images of 18 patients who underwent occipitocervical arthrodesis. Measurements were made using postoperative and follow-up images available for 16 patients to determine cervical alignment (cervical spine alignment [CSA], C1–7 sagittal vertical axis [SVA], and C2–7 SVA) and curvature (cervical spine curvature [CSC] and C2–7 lordosis angle). Seventeen patients had postoperative and follow-up images available with which to measure vertebral body height (VBH), vertebral body width (VBW), and vertical growth percentage (VG%—that is, percentage change from postoperative to follow-up). Results for cervical spine growth were compared with normal parameters of 456 patients previously reported on in 2 studies.

RESULTS

Ten patients were girls and 8 were boys; their mean age was 6.7 ± 3.2 years. Constructs spanned occiput (Oc)–C2 (n = 2), Oc–C3 (n = 7), and Oc–C4 (n = 9). The mean duration of follow-up was 44.4 months (range 24–101 months). Comparison of postoperative to follow-up measures showed that the mean CSA increased by 1.8 ± 2.9 mm (p < 0.01); the mean C2–7 SVA and C1–7 SVA increased by 2.3 mm and 2.7 mm, respectively (p = 0.3); the mean CSC changed by −8.7° (p < 0.01) and the mean C2–7 lordosis angle changed by 2.6° (p = 0.5); and the cumulative mean VG% of the instrumented levels (C2–4) provided 51.5% of the total cervical growth (C2–7). The annual vertical growth rate was 4.4 mm/year. The VBW growth from C2–4 ranged from 13.9% to 16.6% (p < 0.001). The VBW of C-2 in instrumented patients appeared to be of a smaller diameter than that of normal patients, especially among those aged 5 to < 10 years and 10–15 years, with an increased diameter at the immediately inferior vertebral bodies compensating for the decreased width. No cervical deformation, malalignment, or detrimental clinical status was evident in any patient.

CONCLUSIONS

The craniovertebral junction and the upper cervical spine continue to present normal growth, curvature, and alignment parameters in children with OCF constructs spanning a distance as long as Oc–C4.

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Clinton D. Morgan, Gennadiy A. Katsevman, Jakub Godzik, Joshua S. Catapano, Courtney Hemphill, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Single-position prone lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) improves the efficiency of staged minimally invasive lumbar spine surgery. However, laterally approaching the lumbar spine, especially L4–5 with the patient in the prone position, could increase the risk of complications and presents unique challenges, including difficult ergonomics, psoas migration, and management of the nearby lumbar plexus. The authors sought to identify postoperative femoral neurapraxia after single-position prone LLIF at L4–5 to better understand how symptoms evolve over time.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis examined a prospectively maintained database of LLIF patients who were treated by two surgeons (J.S.U. and J.D.T.). Patients who underwent single-position prone LLIF at L4–5 and percutaneous pedicle screw fixation for lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis were included if they had at least 6 weeks of follow-up. Outpatient postoperative neurological symptoms were analyzed at 6-week, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up evaluations.

RESULTS

Twenty-nine patients (16 women [55%]; overall mean ± SD age 62 ± 11 years) met the inclusion criteria. Five patients (17%) experienced complications, including 1 (3%) who had a femoral nerve injury with resultant motor weakness. The mean ± SD transpsoas retractor time was 14.6 ± 6.1 minutes, the directional anterior electromyography (EMG) threshold before retractor placement was 20.1 ± 10.2 mA, and the directional posterior EMG threshold was 10.4 ± 9.1 mA. All patients had 6-week clinical follow-up evaluations. Ten patients (34%) reported thigh pain or weakness at their 6-week follow-up appointment, compared with 3/27 (11%) at 3 months and 1/20 (5%) at 6 months. No association was found between directional EMG threshold and neurapraxia, but longer transpsoas retractor time at L4–5 was significantly associated with femoral neurapraxia at 6-week follow-up (p = 0.02). The only case of femoral nerve injury with motor weakness developed in a patient with a retractor time that was nearly twice as long as the mean time (27.0 vs 14.6 minutes); however, this patient fully recovered by the 3-month follow-up evaluation.

CONCLUSIONS

To our knowledge, this is the largest study with the longest follow-up duration to date after single-position prone LLIF at L4–5 with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation. Although 34% of patients reported ipsilateral sensory symptoms in the thigh at the 6-week follow-up evaluation, only 1 patient sustained a nerve injury; this resulted in temporary weakness that resolved by the 3-month follow-up evaluation. Thus, longer transpsoas retractor time at L4–5 during prone LLIF is associated with increased ipsilateral thigh symptoms at 6-week follow-up that may resolve over time.

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Corey T. Walker, Jakub Godzik, Santiago Angel, Juan Pedro Giraldo, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Coronal malalignment (CM) in adult spinal deformity is associated with poor outcomes and remains underappreciated in the literature. Recent attempts at classifying CM indicate that some coronal shifts may be more difficult to treat than others. To date, outcomes for circumferential minimally invasive surgery (cMIS) of the spine in the context of these new CM classifications are unreported.

METHODS

A retrospective evaluation of patients with degenerative scoliosis (Cobb angle > 20°) consecutively treated with cMIS at a single institution was performed. Preoperative and 1-year postoperative standing radiographs were used to make the comparisons. Clinical outcome measures were compared. Patients were subgrouped according to the preoperative distance between their C7 plumb line and central sacral vertical line (C7-CSVL) as either coronally aligned (type A, C7-CSVL < 3 cm); shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the concavity (type B); or shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the convexity (type C) of the main lumbar curve.

RESULTS

Forty-two patients were included (mean age 67.7 years). Twenty-six patients (62%) were classified as type A, 5 patients (12%) as type B, and 11 patients (26%) as type C. An average of 4.9 segments were treated. No type A patients developed postoperative CM. All type B patients had CM correction. Six of the 11 type C patients had CM after surgery. Overall, there was an improvement in the C7-CSVL (from 2.4 to 1.8 cm, p = 0.04). Among subgroups, only type B patients improved (from 4.5 to 0.8 cm, p = 0.002); no difference was seen for type A patients (from 1.2 to 1.4 cm, p = 0.32) or type C patients (from 4.3 to 3.1 cm, p = 0.11). Comparing type C patients with postoperative CM versus those without postoperative CM, patients with CM had worse visual analog scale back scores at 1 year (5 vs 1, p = 0.01). Moreover, they had higher postoperative L4 tilt angles (11° vs 5°, p = 0.01), indicating inadequate correction of the lumbosacral fractional curve.

CONCLUSIONS

cMIS improved coronal alignment, curve magnitudes, and clinical outcomes among patients with degenerative scoliosis. It did not result in CM in type A patients and was successful at improving the C7-CSVL in type B patients. Type C patients remain the most difficult to treat coronally, with worse visual analog scale back pain scores in those with postoperative CM. Regional coronal restoration of the lumbosacral fracture curve should be the focus of correction in cMIS for these patients.

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S. Harrison Farber, Soumya Sagar, Jakub Godzik, James J. Zhou, Corey T. Walker, Kaveh Khajavi, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) used at the lumbosacral junction provides arthrodesis for several indications. The anterior approach allows restoration of lumbar lordosis, an important goal of surgery. With hyperlordotic ALIF implants, several options may be employed to obtain the desired amount of lordosis. In this study, the authors compared the degree of radiographic lordosis achieved with lordotic and hyperlordotic ALIF implants at the L5–S1 segment.

METHODS

All patients undergoing L5–S1 ALIF from 2 institutions over a 4-year interval were included. Patients < 18 years of age or those with any posterior decompression or osteotomy were excluded. ALIF implants in the lordotic group had 8° or 12° of inherent lordosis, whereas implants in the hyperlordotic group had 20° or 30° of lordosis. Upright standing radiographs were used to determine all radiographic parameters, including lumbar lordosis, segmental lordosis, disc space lordosis, and disc space height. Separate analyses were performed for patients who underwent single-segment fixation at L5–S1 and for the overall cohort.

RESULTS

A total of 204 patients were included (hyperlordotic group, 93 [45.6%]; lordotic group, 111 [54.4%]). Single-segment ALIF at L5–S1 was performed in 74 patients (hyperlordotic group, 27 [36.5%]; lordotic group, 47 [63.5%]). The overall mean ± SD age was 61.9 ± 12.3 years; 58.3% of patients (n = 119) were women. The mean number of total segments fused was 3.2 ± 2.6. Overall, 66.7% (n = 136) of patients had supine surgery and 33.3% (n = 68) had lateral surgery. Supine positioning was significantly more common in the hyperlordotic group than in the lordotic group (83.9% [78/93] vs 52.3% [58/111], p < 0.001). After adjusting for differences in surgical positioning, the change in lumbar lordosis was significantly greater for hyperlordotic versus lordotic implants (3.6° ± 7.5° vs 0.4° ± 7.5°, p = 0.048) in patients with single-level fusion. For patients receiving hyperlordotic versus lordotic implants, changes were also significantly greater for segmental lordosis (12.4° ± 7.5° vs 8.4° ± 4.9°, p = 0.03) and disc space lordosis (15.3° ± 5.4° vs 9.3° ± 5.8°, p < 0.001) after single-level fusion at L5–S1. The change in disc space height was similar for these 2 groups (p = 0.23).

CONCLUSIONS

Hyperlordotic implants provided a greater degree of overall lumbar lordosis restoration as well as L5–S1 segmental and disc space lordosis restoration than lordotic implants. The change in disc space height was similar. Differences in lateral and supine positioning did not affect these parameters.

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Piyanat Wangsawatwong, Anna G. U. Sawa, Bernardo de Andrada Pereira, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Luke K. O’Neill, Jay D. Turner, Juan S. Uribe, and Brian P. Kelly

OBJECTIVE

Cortical screw–rod (CSR) fixation has emerged as an alternative to the traditional pedicle screw–rod (PSR) fixation for posterior lumbar fixation. Previous studies have concluded that CSR provides the same stability in cadaveric specimens as PSR and is comparable in clinical outcomes. However, recent clinical studies reported a lower incidence of radiographic and symptomatic adjacent-segment degeneration with CSR. No biomechanical study to date has focused on how the adjacent-segment mobility of these two constructs compares. This study aimed to investigate adjacent-segment mobility of CSR and PSR fixation, with and without interbody support (lateral lumbar interbody fusion [LLIF] or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [TLIF]).

METHODS

A retroactive analysis was done using normalized range of motion (ROM) data at levels adjacent to single-level (L3–4) bilateral screw–rod fixation using pedicle or cortical screws, with and without LLIF or TLIF. Intact and instrumented specimens (n = 28, all L2–5) were tested using pure moment loads (7.5 Nm) in flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation. Adjacent-segment ROM data were normalized to intact ROM data. Statistical comparisons of adjacent-segment normalized ROM between two of the groups (PSR followed by PSR+TLIF [n = 7] and CSR followed by CSR+TLIF [n = 7]) were performed using 2-way ANOVA with replication. Statistical comparisons among four of the groups (PSR+TLIF [n = 7], PSR+LLIF [n = 7], CSR+TLIF [n = 7], and CSR+LLIF [n = 7]) were made using 2-way ANOVA without replication. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

Proximal adjacent-segment normalized ROM was significantly larger with PSR than CSR during flexion-extension regardless of TLIF (p = 0.02), or with either TLIF or LLIF (p = 0.04). During lateral bending with TLIF, the distal adjacent-segment normalized ROM was significantly larger with PSR than CSR (p < 0.001). Moreover, regardless of the types of screw-rod fixations (CSR or PSR), TLIF had a significantly larger normalized ROM than LLIF in all directions at both proximal and distal adjacent segments (p ≤ 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

The use of PSR versus CSR during single-level lumbar fusion can significantly affect mobility at the adjacent segment, regardless of the presence of TLIF or with either TLIF or LLIF. Moreover, the type of interbody support also had a significant effect on adjacent-segment mobility.

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Eduardo Martinez-del-Campo, Samuel Kalb, Hector Soriano-Baron, Jay D. Turner, Matthew T. Neal, Timothy Uschold, and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECT

Atlantooccipital dislocation (AOD) in adults cannot be diagnosed with adequate specificity and sensitivity using only CT or plain radiography, and the spine literature offers no guidelines. In children, the most sensitive and specific radiographic measurement for the diagnosis of AOD is the CT-based occipital condyle–C1 interval (CCI). The goal of the current study was to identify the normal CCI in healthy adults and compare it with the CCI in adults with AOD to establish a highly sensitive and specific cutoff value for the neuroimaging diagnosis of AOD.

METHODS

A total of 81 patients, 59 without AOD and 22 with AOD, were included in this study. Measurements obtained from thin-slice CT scans of the craniovertebral joint to assess atlantooccipital dislocation included the CCI, condylar sum, the Wholey and Harris intervals, Powers and Sun ratios, Wackenheim line, and Lee X-lines.

RESULTS

The group of patients without AOD included 30 men (50.8%) and 29 women (49.2%) with a mean age of 42.4 ± 16 years (range 19–87 years). The group of patients with AOD included 10 men (45.5%) and 12 women (54.5%) with a mean age of 38.2 ± 9.7 years (range 20–56 years). Interrater reliabilities within a 95% CI were all greater than 0.98 for CCI measurements. A total of 1296 measurements of the CCI were made in 81 patients. The mean CCI for non-AOD patients was 0.89 ± 0.12 mm, the single largest CCI measurement was 1.4 mm, and the largest mean for either right or left CCI was 1.2 mm. The mean condylar sum was 1.8 ± 0.2 mm, and the largest condylar sum value was 2.2 mm. Linear regression with age predicted an increase in CCI of 0.001 mm/year (p < 0.05). The mean CCI in AOD patients was 3.35 ± 0.18 mm (range 1.5 mm–6.4 mm). The shortest single CCI measurements in the AOD patients were 1.1 mm and 1.2 mm. The mean condylar sum for all 22 AOD patients was 6.7 ± 2.7 mm and the shortest condylar sums were 3.0 mm. Cutoff values for AOD were set at 1.5 mm for the CCI and 3.0 mm for the condylar sum, both with a sensitivity of 1 and false-negative rate of 0. Sensitivity for the Powers, Wholey, Harris, Sun, Wackenheim, and Lee criteria were determined to be 0.55, 0.46, 0.27, 0.23, 0.41, and 0.41, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The CCI is shorter in adult patients as opposed to the pediatric population. The revised CCI (1.5 mm) and condylar sum (3.0 mm) cutoff values have the highest sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of AOD in the adult population.

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Jakub Godzik, Bernardo de Andrada Pereira, Anna G. U. Sawa, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Randall J. Hlubek, Brian P. Kelly, and Jay D. Turner

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate a novel connector design and compare it with traditional side connectors, such as a fixed-angle connector (FAC) and a variable-angle connector (VAC), with respect to lumbosacral stability and instrumentation strain.

METHODS

Standard nondestructive flexibility tests (7.5 Nm) and compression tests (400 N) were performed using 7 human cadaveric specimens (L1–ilium) to compare range of motion (ROM) stability, posterior rod strain (RS), and sacral screw bending moment (SM). Directions of motion included flexion, extension, left and right lateral bending, left and right axial rotation, and compression. Conditions included 1) the standard 2-rod construct (2R); 2) the dual-tulip head (DTH) with 4-rod construct (4R); 3) FACs with 4R; and 4) VACs with 4R. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA.

RESULTS

Overall, there were no statistically significant differences in ROM across the lumbosacral junction among conditions (p > 0.07). Compared with 2R, DTH and FAC significantly reduced RS in extension, left axial rotation, and compression (p ≤ 0.03). VAC significantly decreased RS compared with 2R in flexion, extension, left axial rotation, right axial rotation, and compression (p ≤ 0.03), and significantly decreased RS compared with DTH in extension (p = 0.02). DTH was associated with increased SM in left and right axial rotation compared with 2R (p ≤ 0.003) and in left and right lateral bending and left and right axial rotation compared with FAC and VAC (p ≤ 0.02). FAC and VAC were associated with decreased SM compared with 2R in right and left lateral bending (p ≤ 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

RS across the lumbosacral junction can be high. Supplemental rod fixation with DTH is an effective strategy for reducing RS across the lumbosacral junction. However, the greatest reduction in RS and SM was achieved with a VAC that allowed for straight (uncontoured) accessory rod placement.