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John C. Liu, Joseph D. Ciacci and Timothy M. George

✓ Treatment of the Dandy—Walker syndrome has included placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt alone or in combination with a posterior fossa cystoperitoneal shunt. Complications in shunting are common and are usually related to malfunction or infection. The authors present a case in which the patient developed headaches and focal cranial nerve deficits following infection caused by a cystoperitoneal shunt. Magnetic resonance imaging showed tethering of the brainstem. A posterior fossa craniotomy with microsurgical untethering and cyst fenestration achieved two goals: improvement of the focal cranial nerve deficits and elimination of the cystoperitoneal shunt.

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John K. Stokes, Alan T. Villavicencio, Paul C. Liu, Robert S. Bray and J. Patrick Johnson

Object

Surgical treatment of atlantoaxial instability has evolved to include various posterior wiring techniques including Brooks, Gallie, and Sonntag fusions in which success rates range from 60 to 100%. The Magerl–Seemans technique in which C1–2 transarticular screws are placed results in fusion rates between 87 and 100%. This procedure is technically demanding and requires precise knowledge of the course of the vertebral arteries (VAs). The authors introduce a new C1–2 fixation procedure in which C-1 lateral mass and C-2 pedicle screws are placed that may have advantages over C1–2 transarticular screw constructs.

Methods

A standard posterior C1–2 exposure is obtained. Polyaxial C-2 pedicle screws and C-1 lateral mass screws are placed bilaterally. Rods are connected to the screws and secured using locking nuts. A cross-link is then placed. Fusion can be performed at the atlantoaxial joint by elevating the C-2 nerve root.

The technique for this procedure has been used in four cases of atlantoaxial instability at the author's institution. There have been no C-2 nerve root– or VA-related injuries. No cases of construct failure have been observed in the short-term follow up period.

Conclusions

Atlantoaxial lateral mass and axial pedicle screw fixation offers an alternative means of achieving atlantoaxial fusion. The technique is less demanding than that required for transarticular screw placement and may avoid the potential complication of VA injury. The cross-linked construct is theoretically stable in flexion, extension, and rotation. Laminectomy or fracture of the posterior elements does not preclude use of this fixation procedure.

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Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Sean A. Salehi, Saad Ali and John C. Liu

✓ Chiari I malformation, a congenital disorder involving downward displacement of the cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum, is often treated surgically by performing suboccipital craniectomy and C-1 laminectomy. The authors report two cases in which fracture of the anterior atlantal arch occurred during the postoperative period following Chiari I decompression and C-1 laminectomy causing significant neck pain. The findings indicate that interruption of the integrity of the posterior arch of C-1, iatrogenically or otherwise, confers increased risk of anterior arch fracture. A C-1 fracture should therefore be considered in the differential diagnosis of posterior cervical pain in patients who have previously undergone decompression for Chiari I malformation.

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Shouyan Wang, Xuguang Liu, John Yianni, Alex L. Green, Carole Joint, John F. Stein, Peter G. Bain, Ralph Gregory and Tipu Z. Aziz

Object

The object of this study was to identify a preoperative physiological index by using surface electromyography (EMG) signals that would correlate with clinical outcome in dystonic patients following bilateral pallidal stimulation.

Methods

In 14 patients with spasmodic torticollis, generalized dystonia, and myoclonic dystonia, surface EMG signals were recorded from the most affected muscle groups. Although the dystonia affected different body segments, the EMG signals in all patients could be decomposed into bursting and sustained components. Subsequently, a ratio of the EMG amplitude was calculated between the two components and then correlated with clinical outcome.

Patients who experienced rapid improvement following bilateral pallidal stimulation had a significantly higher EMG ratio compared with those who did not. Furthermore, a significant correlation was found between the EMG ratio and clinical improvement during the 12-month period following pallidal stimulation.

Conclusions

The authors concluded that surface EMG studies could be used to predict the clinical outcome of and to select patients for pallidal stimulation for dystonia.

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Patrick C. Hsieh, Tyler R. Koski, Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Patrick Sugrue, Sean Salehi, Stephen Ondra and John C. Liu

Object

A primary consideration of all spinal fusion procedures is restoration of normal anatomy, including disc height, lumbar lordosis, foraminal decompression, and sagittal balance. To the authors' knowledge, there has been no direct comparison of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) concerning their capacity to alter those parameters. The authors conducted a retrospective radiographic analysis directly comparing ALIF with TLIF in their capacity to alter foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis.

Methods

The medical records and radiographs of 32 patients undergoing ALIF and 25 patients undergoing TLIF from between 2000 and 2004 were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical data and radiographic measurements, including preoperative and postoperative foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis, were obtained. Statistical analyses included mean values, 95% confidence intervals, and intraobserver/interobserver reliability for the measurements that were performed.

Results

Our results indicate that ALIF is superior to TLIF in its capacity to restore foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis. The ALIF procedure increased foraminal height by 18.5%, whereas TLIF decreased it by 0.4%. In addition, ALIF increased the local disc angle by 8.3° and lumbar lordosis by 6.2°, whereas TLIF decreased the local disc angle by 0.1° and lumbar lordosis by 2.1°.

Conclusions

The ALIF procedure is superior to TLIF in its capacity to restore foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis. The improved radiographic outcomes may be an indication of improved sagittal balance correction, which may lead to better long-term outcomes as shown by other studies. Our data, however, demonstrated no difference in clinical outcome between the two groups at the 2-year follow-up.

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Patrick C. Hsieh, Tyler R. Koski, Daniel M. Sciubba, Dave J. Moller, Brian A. O'shaughnessy, Khan W. Li, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Stephen L. Ondra, Richard G. Fessler, and John C. Liu

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in the spine was primarily developed to reduce approach-related morbidity and to improve clinical outcomes compared with those following conventional open spine surgery. Over the past several years, minimally invasive spinal procedures have gained recognition and their utilization has increased. In particular, MIS is now routinely used in the treatment of degenerative spine disorders and has been shown to be as effective as conventional open spine surgeries. Although the procedures are not yet widely recognized in the context of complex spine surgery, the true potential in minimizing approach-related morbidity is far greater in the treatment of complex spinal diseases such as spinal trauma, spinal deformities, and spinal oncology. Conventional open spine surgeries for complex spinal disorders are often associated with significant soft tissue disruption, blood loss, prolonged recovery time, and postsurgical pain. In this article the authors review numerous cases of complex spine disorders managed with MIS techniques and discuss the current and future implications of these approaches for complex spinal pathologies.

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Jason S. Weinstein, Kenneth C. Liu, Johnny B. Delashaw Jr., Kim J. Burchiel, Harry R. van Loveren, Fernando L. Vale, Siviero Agazzi, Mark S. Greenberg, Donald A. Smith and John Tew Jr.

Object

The DuraSeal dural sealant system, a polyethylene glycol hydrogel, has been shown to be safe and effective when used with commercial and autologous duraplasty materials. The authors report on the safety and effectiveness of this sealant when used in conjunction with nonautologous duraplasty materials.

Methods

In this retrospective, nonrandomized, multicenter study, the safety and efficacy of a dural sealant system was assessed in conjunction with primarily collagen-based nonautologous duraplasty materials in a sample of 66 patients undergoing elective cranial procedures at 3 institutions. This cohort was compared with 50 well-matched patients from the DuraSeal Pivotal Trial who were treated with this sealant system and autologous duraplasty material.

Results

The key end points of the study were the incidences of CSF leaks, surgical site infections, and meningitis 90 days after surgery. The incidence of postoperative CSF leakage was 7.6% in the study group (retrospective population) and 6.0% in the Pivotal Trial population. The incidence of meningitis was 0% and 4.0% in the retrospective and Pivotal Trial groups, respectively. There were no serious device-related adverse events or unanticipated adverse device effects noted for either population.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that the DuraSeal sealant system is safe and effective when used for watertight dural closure in conjunction with nonautologous duraplasty materials.

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Patrick Shih, Ryan J. Halpin, Aruna Ganju, John C. Liu and Tyler R. Koski

Recurrent tethered cord syndrome (TCS) can lead to significant progressive disability in adults. The diagnosis of TCS is made with a high degree of clinical suspicion. In the adult population, many patients receive inadequate care unless they are seen at a multidisciplinary clinic. Successful detethering procedures require careful intradural dissection and meticulous wound and dural closure. With multiple revision procedures, vertebral column shortening has become an appropriate alternative to surgical detethering.

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Mario J. Cardoso, Tyler R. Koski, Aruna Ganju and John C. Liu

The surgical management of compressive cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) can be challenging. Traditionally, approach indications for decompression of cervical spondylotic myelopathy have been used. However, the postoperative complication profile after cervical OPLL decompression is unique and may require an alternative approach paradigm. The authors review the literature on approach-related OPLL complications and suggest a management strategy for patients with single- or multiple-segment OPLL with or without greater than 50% canal stenosis.