Idiopathic ventral spinal cord herniation is a rare condition that has been increasingly reported in the last decade. The natural history and optimal management have yet to be defined. Therefore, debate exists regarding the pathogenesis and surgical management of this condition. The purpose of this review article is to further educate neurosurgeons about the surgical techniques and outcomes associated with treating this rare and often misdiagnosed condition.
John H. Shin and Ajit A. Krishnaney
John H. Shin, Michael P. Steinmetz, Edward C. Benzel, and Ajit A. Krishnaney
Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament is a common cause of radiculopathy and myelopathy that often requires surgery to achieve decompression of the neural elements. With the evolution of surgical technique and a greater understanding of the biomechanics of cervical deformity, the criteria for selecting one approach over the other has been the subject of increased study and remains controversial. Ventral approaches typically consist of variations of the cervical corpectomy, whereas dorsal approaches include a wide range of techniques including laminoplasty, laminectomy, and laminectomy with instrumented fusion. Herein, the features and limitations of these approaches are reviewed with an emphasis on complications and outcomes.
Mark H. Bilsky, Ziya Gokaslan, John H. Shin, Nicolas Dea, and Fabio Ynoe de Moraes
William W. Ashley Jr., Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, John H. Shin, and Fady T. Charbel
✓Extracranial–intracranial bypass surgery has advanced from a mere technical feat to a procedure requiring careful patient selection and a justifiable decision-making paradigm. Currently available technologies for flow measurement in the perioperative and intraoperative setting allow a more structured and analytical approach to decision making. The purpose of this report is to review the use of flow measurement in cerebral revascularization, presenting algorithms for flow-assisted surgical planning, technique, and surveillance.
Elie Massaad, Myron Rolle, Muhamed Hadzipasic, Ali Kiapour, Ganesh M. Shankar, and John H. Shin
Achieving rigid spinal fixation can be challenging in patients with cancer-related instability, as factors such as osteopenia, radiation, and immunosuppression adversely affect bone quality. Augmenting pedicle screws with cement is a strategy to overcome construct failure. This study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of cement augmentation with fenestrated pedicle screws in patients undergoing posterior, open thoracolumbar surgery for spinal metastases.
A retrospective review was performed for patients who underwent surgery for cancer-related spine instability from 2016 to 2019 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Patient demographics, surgical details, radiographic characteristics, patterns of cement extravasation, complications, and prospectively collected Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Pain Interference and Pain Intensity scores were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Logistic regression was performed to determine factors associated with cement extravasation.
Sixty-nine patients underwent open posterior surgery with a total of 502 cement-augmented screws (mean 7.8 screws per construct). The median follow-up period for those who survived past 90 days was 25.3 months (IQR 10.8–34.6 months). Thirteen patients (18.8%) either died within 90 days or were lost to follow-up. Postoperative CT was performed to assess the instrumentation and patterns of cement extravasation. There was no screw loosening, pullout, or failure. The rate of cement extravasation was 28.9% (145/502), most commonly through the segmental veins (77/145, 53.1%). Screws breaching the lateral border of the pedicle but with fenestrations within the vertebral body were associated with a higher risk of leakage through the segmental veins compared with screws without any breach (OR 8.77, 95% CI 2.84–29.79; p < 0.001). Cement extravasation did not cause symptoms except in 1 patient who developed a symptomatic thoracic radiculopathy requiring decompression. There was 1 case of asymptomatic pulmonary cement embolism. Patients experienced significant pain improvement at the 3-month follow-up, with decreases in Pain Interference (mean change 15.8, 95% CI 14.5–17.1; p < 0.001) and Pain Intensity (mean change 28.5, 95% CI 26.7–30.4; p < 0.001).
Cement augmentation through fenestrated pedicle screws is a safe and effective option for spine stabilization in the cancer population. The risk of clinically significant adverse events from cement extravasation is very low.
Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, John H. Shin, Meide Zhao, Xinjian Du, and Fady T. Charbel
To date, angiography has been the primary modality for assessing graft patency following extracranial–intracranial bypass. The utility of a noninvasive and quantitative method of assessing bypass function postoperatively was evaluated using quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) angiography.
One hundred one cases of bypass surgery performed over a 5.5-year period at a single institution were reviewed. In 62 cases, both angiographic and quantitative MR angiographic data were available. Intraoperative flow measurements were available in 13 cases in which quantitative MR angiography was performed during the early postoperative period (within 48 hours after surgery).
There was excellent correlation between quantitative MR angiographic flow and angiographic findings over the mean 10 months of imaging follow up. Occluded bypasses were consistently absent on quantitative MR angiograms (four cases). The flow rates were significantly lower in those bypasses that became stenotic or reduced in diameter as demonstrated by follow-up angiography (nine cases) than in those bypasses that remained fully patent (mean ± standard error of the mean, 37 ± 13 ml/minute compared with 105 ± 7 ml/minute, p = 0.001). Flows were appreciably lower in poorly functioning bypasses for both vein and in situ arterial grafts. All angiographically poor bypasses (nine cases) were identifiable by absolute flows of less than 20 ml/minute or a reduction in flow greater than 30% within 3 months. Good correlation was seen between intraoperative flow measurements and early postoperative quantitative MR angiographic flow measurements (13 cases, Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.70, p = 0.02).
Bypass grafts can be assessed in a noninvasive fashion by using quantitative MR angiography. This imaging modality provides not only information regarding patency as shown by conventional angiography, but also a quantitative assessment of bypass function. In this study, a low or rapidly decreasing flow was indicative of a shrunken or stenotic graft. Quantitative MR angiography may provide an alternative to standard angiography for serial follow up of bypass grafts.
John H. Shin, Sebastian R. Herrera, Paula Eboli, Sabri Aydin, Emad H. Eskandar, and Konstantin V. Slavin
Eagle syndrome is characterized by unilateral pain in the oropharynx, face, and earlobe, and is caused by an elongated styloid process or ossification of the stylohyoid ligament with associated compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve. The pain syndrome may be successfully treated with surgical intervention that involves resection of the styloid process. Although nerve decompression is routinely considered a neurosurgical intervention, Eagle syndrome and its treatment are not sufficiently examined in the neurosurgical literature.
A review was performed of cases of Eagle syndrome treated in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center over the last 7 years. The clinical characteristics, radiographic imaging, operative indications, procedural details, surgical morbidity, and clinical outcomes were collected and analyzed.
Of the many patients with facial pain treated between 2001 and 2007, 7 were diagnosed with Eagle syndrome, and 5 of these patients underwent resection of the elongated styloid process. There were 4 women and 1 man, ranging in age from 20 to 68 years (mean 43 years). The average duration of disease was 11 years. In all patients, a preoperative workup revealed unilateral or bilateral elongation of the styloid process. All patients underwent resection of the styloid process on the symptomatic side using a lateral transcutaneous approach. There were no surgical complications. All patients experienced pain relief immediately after the operation. At the latest follow-up (average 46 months, range 7 months to 7.5 years) all but 1 patient maintained complete pain relief. In 1 patient, the pain recurred 12 months postoperatively and additional interventions were required.
Eagle syndrome may be considered an entrapment syndrome of the glossopharyngeal nerve. It is a distinct clinical entity that should be considered when evaluating patients referred for glossopharyngeal neuralgia. The authors' experience indicates that patients with Eagle syndrome may be successfully treated using open resection of the elongated styloid process, which appears to be both safe and effective in terms of long-lasting pain relief.
Zach Pennington, Jeff Ehresman, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, John H. Shin, C. Rory Goodwin, Joseph H. Schwab, and Daniel M. Sciubba
Long-term local control in patients with primary chordoma and sarcoma of the spine and sacrum is increasingly reliant upon en bloc resection with negative margins. At many institutions, adjuvant radiation is recommended; definitive radiation is also recommended for the treatment of unresectable tumors. Because of the high off-target radiation toxicities associated with conventional radiotherapy, there has been growing interest in the use of proton and heavy-ion therapies. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature regarding these therapies.
The PubMed, OVID, Embase, and Web of Science databases were queried for articles describing the use of proton, combined proton/photon, or heavy-ion therapies for adjuvant or definitive radiotherapy in patients with primary sarcoma or chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum. A qualitative synthesis of the results was performed, focusing on overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), disease-free survival (DFS), and disease-specific survival (DSS); local control; and postradiation toxicities.
Of 595 unique articles, 64 underwent full-text screening and 38 were included in the final synthesis. All studies were level III or IV evidence with a high risk of bias; there was also significant overlap in the reported populations, with six centers accounting for roughly three-fourths of all reports. Five-year therapy outcomes were as follows: proton-only therapies, OS 67%–82%, PFS 31%–57%, and DFS 52%–62%; metastases occurred in 17%–18% and acute toxicities in 3%–100% of cases; combined proton/photon therapy, local control 62%–85%, OS 78%–87%, PFS 90%, and DFS 61%–72%; metastases occurred in 12%–14% and acute toxicities in 84%–100% of cases; and carbon ion therapy, local control 53%–100%, OS 52%–86%, PFS (only reported for 3 years) 48%–76%, and DFS 50%–53%; metastases occurred in 2%–39% and acute toxicities in 26%–48%. There were no studies directly comparing outcomes between photon and charged-particle therapies or comparing outcomes between radiation and surgical groups.
The current evidence for charged-particle therapies in the management of sarcomas of the spine and sacrum is limited. Preliminary evidence suggests that with these therapies local control and OS at 5 years are comparable among various charged-particle options and may be similar between those treated with definitive charged-particle therapy and historical surgical cohorts. Further research directly comparing charged-particle and photon-based therapies is necessary.
Predicting tumor-specific survival in patients with spinal metastatic renal cell carcinoma: which scoring system is most accurate?
Presented at the 2020 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
Elie Massaad, Muhamed Hadzipasic, Christopher Alvarez-Breckenridge, Ali Kiapour, Nida Fatima, Joseph H. Schwab, Philip Saylor, Kevin Oh, Andrew J. Schoenfeld, Ganesh M. Shankar, and John H. Shin
Although several prognostic scores for spinal metastatic disease have been developed in the past 2 decades, the applicability and validity of these models to specific cancer types are not yet clear. Most of the data used for model formation are from small population sets and have not been updated or externally validated to assess their performance. Developing predictive models is clinically relevant as prognostic assessment is crucial to optimal decision-making, particularly the decision for or against spine surgery. In this study, the authors investigated the performance of various spinal metastatic disease risk models in predicting prognosis for spine surgery to treat metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
Data of patients who underwent surgery for RCC metastatic to the spine at 2 tertiary centers between 2010 and 2019 were retrospectively retrieved. The authors determined the prognostic value associated with the following scoring systems: the Tomita score, original and revised Tokuhashi scores, original and modified Bauer scores, Katagiri score, the Skeletal Oncology Research Group (SORG) classic algorithm and nomogram, and the New England Spinal Metastasis Score (NESMS). Regression analysis of patient variables in association with 1-year survival after surgery was assessed using Cox proportional hazard models. Calibration and time-dependent discrimination analysis were tested to quantify the accuracy of each scoring system at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year.
A total of 86 metastatic RCC patients were included (median age 64 years [range 29–84 years]; 63 males [73.26%]). The 1-year survival rate was 72%. The 1-year survival group had a good performance status (Karnofsky Performance Scale [KPS] score 80%–100%) and an albumin level > 3.5 g/dL (p < 0.05). Multivariable-adjusted Cox regression analysis showed that poor performance status (KPS score < 70%), neurological deficit (Frankel grade A–D), and hypoalbuminemia (< 3.5 g/dL) were associated with a higher risk of death before 1 year (p < 0.05). The SORG nomogram, SORG classic, original Tokuhashi, and original Bauer demonstrated fair performance (0.7 < area under the curve < 0.8). The NESMS differentiates survival among the prognostic categories with the highest accuracy (area under the curve > 0.8).
The present study shows that the most cited and commonly used scoring systems have a fair performance predicting survival for patients undergoing spine surgery for metastatic RCC. The NESMS had the best performance at predicting 1-year survival after surgery.
Michiel E. R. Bongers, Paul T. Ogink, Katrina F. Chu, Anuj Patel, Brett Rosenthal, John H. Shin, Sang-Gil Lee, Francis J. Hornicek, and Joseph H. Schwab
Reconstruction of the mobile spine following total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) of one or multiple vertebral bodies in patients with malignant spinal tumors is a challenging procedure with high failure rates. A common reason for reconstructive failure is nonunion, which becomes more problematic when using local radiation therapy. Radiotherapy is an integral part of the management of primary malignant osseous tumors in the spine. Vascularized grafts may help prevent nonunion in the radiotherapy setting. The authors have utilized free vascularized fibular grafts (FVFGs) for reconstruction of the spine following TES. The purpose of this article is to describe the surgical technique for vascularized reconstruction of defects after TES. Additionally, the outcomes of consecutive cases treated with this technique are reported.
Thirty-nine patients were treated at the authors’ tertiary care institution for malignant tumors in the mobile spine using FVFG following TES between 2010 and 2018. Postoperative union, reoperations, complications, neurological outcome, and survival were reported. The median follow-up duration was 50 months (range 14–109 months).
The cohort consisted of 26 males (67%), and the median age was 58 years. Chordoma was the most prevalent tumor (67%), and the lumbar spine was most affected (46%). Complete union was seen in 26 patients (76%), the overall complication rate was 54%, and implant failure was the most common complication, with 13 patients (33%) affected. In 18 patients (46%), one or more reoperations were needed, and the fixation was surgically revised 15 times (42% of reoperations) in 10 patients (26%). A reconstruction below the L1 vertebra had a higher proportion of implant failure (67%; 8 of 12 patients) compared with higher resections (21%; 5 of 24 patients) (p = 0.011). Graft length, number of resected vertebrae, and docking the FVFG on the endplate or cancellous bone was not associated with union or implant failure on univariate analysis.
The FVFG is an effective reconstruction technique, particularly in the cervicothoracic spine. However, high implant failure rates in the lumbar spine have been seen, which occurred even in cases in which the graft completely healed. Methods to increase the weight-bearing capacity of the graft in the lumbar spine should be considered in these reconstructions. Overall, the rates of failure and revision surgery for FVFG compare with previous reports on reconstruction after TES.