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Curtis A. Dickman, Daniel Rosenthal, and John J. Regan

In this review the authors address the surgical strategies required to resect residual thoracic disc herniations. Fifteen patients who had undergone prior thoracic discectomy and who harbored residual or incompletely excised symptomatic thoracic discs were reviewed retrospectively. The surgical procedures that had failed to excise the herniated discs completely included 11 posterolateral approaches, one thoracotomy, and three thoracoscopic procedures. Of the incompletely resected or residual disks 13 were central calcified, two were soft, 12 were extradural, and three were intradural discs. Indications for reoperation were often multiple in each patient and included misidentification of the level of disc disease at the initial operation (five cases), abandoning the procedure because of intraoperative spinal cord injury (three cases), inadequate visualization of the pathology (eight cases), migration of a soft disc fragment within the spinal canal (one case), and intradural disc extension (three cases). The symptoms at the time of reoperation included myelopathy in 13 patients and radicular pain in two. The mean interval before reoperation was 150 days (range 1 day-4 years). The reoperation procedures included one thoracotomy and 14 video-assisted thoracoscopic procedures performed ipsilateral (11 cases) or contralateral (four cases) to the site of the initial surgery.

The herniated disc material was excised completely in all 15 cases without causing new neurological deficits. Reoperation complications included atelectasis in three patients, intercostal neuralgia in two, a loosened screw that required removal in one, and a cerebrospinal fluid leak in one patient. Of the 13 patients who experienced myelopathy preoperatively, 10 recovered neurological function and three stabilized. All patients with radicular pain improved.

Calcified, large, broad-based, centrally located, or transdural thoracic disc herniations can be difficult to resect. These lesions require a ventral operative approach to visualize the dura adequately for a safe and complete resection.

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Curtis A. Dickman, Daniel Rosenthal, and John J. Regan

Object. In this review the authors address the surgical strategies required to resect residual herniated thoracic discs.

Methods. Data obtained in 15 patients who had undergone prior thoracic discectomy and who harbored residual or incompletely excised symptomatic thoracic discs were reviewed retrospectively. The surgical procedures that had failed to excise the herniated discs completely included 11 posterolateral approaches, one thoracotomy, and three thoracoscopyguided surgical procedures. Of the lesions that were incompletely resected or residual, there were 13 central calcified, two soft, 12 extradural, and three intradural discs. Indications for reoperation were often multiple in each patient and included misidentification of the level of disc disease at the initial operation (five cases), abandoning the procedure because of intraoperative spinal cord injury (three cases), inadequate visualization of the pathological entity (eight cases), migration of a soft disc fragment within the spinal canal (one case), and intradural disc extension (three cases). The symptoms at the time of reoperation included myelopathy in 13 patients and radicular pain in two patients. The mean interval before reoperation was 150 days (range 1 day–4 years). The reoperation procedures included one thoracotomy and 14 video-assisted thoracoscopic procedures performed ipsilateral (11 cases) or contralateral (four cases) to the site of the initial surgery.

The herniated disc material was excised completely in all 15 cases without causing new neurological deficits. Reoperation complications included atelectasis in three patients, intercostal neuralgia in two, a loosened screw that required removal in one, residual intradural disc herniation that required a second reoperation in one patient, and a cerebrospinal fluid leak in one patient. Of the 13 patients who experienced myelopathy prior to operation, 10 recovered neurological function and three stabilized. All patients with radicular pain improved.

Conclusions. Calcified, large, broad-based, centrally located, or transdural thoracic disc herniations can be difficult to resect. These lesions require a ventral operative approach to visualize the dura adequately for a safe and complete resection.

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J. Patrick Johnson, Robert S. Pashman, Carl Lauryssen, Neel Anand, John J. Regan, and Robert S. Bray

✓ Spinal deformity has classically and historically been studied by those in the discipline of orthopedic surgery. This may be attributable to the orthopedic interventionalists' experience with osseous fixation for long-bone and other skeletal fractures. Neurosurgeons have maintained a long-standing interest in complex cervical spinal disorders, and their interest in the larger field of complex spinal deformity has been expanding.

An understanding of spinal deformity disorders, biomechanics, bone biology, and metallurgy is necessary before clinical, teaching, and research activities can be undertaken within neurosurgery.

The authors describe basic and advanced concepts of spinal deformity management with cases to illustrate teaching points.

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J. Patrick Johnson, Carl Lauryssen, Helen O. Cambron, Robert Pashman, John J. Regan, Neel Anand, and Robert Bray

Object

The authors evaluated cervical spine radiographs to determine sagittal alignment in patients who underwent one- or two-level arthroplasty with the Bryan cervical artificial disc prosthesis.

Methods

The curvature of the surgically treated spinal segments and the overall curvature of the cervical spine were evaluated in 13 patients who underwent 16 cervical arthroplasty device placements. Preoperative and postoperative lateral radiographs were reviewed and compared using standardized techniques for measuring spinal curvature. Patients who underwent a single-level cervical arthroplasty had a 4.7° mean reduction (p < 0.05) in lordosis after cervical artificial disc replacement. The three patients who underwent two-level cervical arthroplasty had no significant changes in the sagittal alignment.

Conclusions

Patients who underwent arthroplasty with a Bryan cervical artificial disc had a focal loss of lordosis (that is, kyphosis) at the treated levels after single-level procedures. Nevertheless, there was no significant change in the overall sagittal curvature of the cervical spine after single-level artificial disc replacements. The patients who underwent two-level artificial disc placement had no significant changes in lordosis at the treated levels or in the overall curvature. The likely source of this outcome appears to be the endplate milling procedures that reorient the vertebral endplates.

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Fred H. Geisler, Scott L. Blumenthal, Richard D. Guyer, Paul C. McAfee, John J. Regan, J. Patrick Johnson, and Bradford Mullin

Object. Arthrodesis is the gold standard for surgical treatment of lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD). Solid fusion, however, can cause stress and increased motion in the segments adjacent to the fused level. This may initiate and/or accelerate the adjacent-segment disease process. Artificial discs are designed to restore and maintain normal motion of the lumbar intervertebral segment. Restoring and maintaining normal motion of the segment reduces stresses and loads on adjacent level segments. A US Food and Drug Administration Investigational Device Exemptions multicentered study of the Charité artificial disc was completed. The control group consisted of individuals who underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion involving BAK cages and iliac crest bone graft. This is the first report of Class I data in which a lumbar artificial disc is compared with lumbar fusion.

Methods. Of 304 individuals enrolled in the study, 205 were randomized to the Charité disc-treated group and 99 to the BAK fusion—treated (control) group. Neurological status was equivalent between the two groups at 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. The number of patients with major, minor, or other neurological complications was equivalent. There was a greater incidence of both major and minor complications in the BAK fusion group at 0 to 42 days postoperatively. Compared with data reported in the lumbar fusion literature, the Charité disc—treated patients had equivalent or better mean changes in visual analog scale and Oswestry Disability Index scores.

Conclusions. The Charité artificial disc is safe and effective for the treatment of single-level lumbar DDD, resulting in no higher incidence of neurological complications compared with BAK-assisted fusion and leading to equivalent or better outcomes compared with those obtained in the control group and those reported in the lumbar fusion literature.

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Fred H. Geisler, Richard D. Guyer, Scott L. Blumenthal, Paul C. McAfee, Andrew Cappuccino, Fabien Bitan, and John J. Regan

Object

A secondary lumbar surgery at a previously surgically treated level is believed to result in minimal clinical improvement. The clinical results of the CHARITÉ Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study were analyzed to assess the effect of previous surgery on clinical outcomes following either total disc replacement with the CHARITÉ device or anterior lumbar interbody fusion with a BAK cage and iliac crest autograft.

Methods

Patients with prior microdiscectomy, laminectomy, or minimal medial facetectomy were not excluded from enrollment in the CHARITÉ IDE study. Thus, the following 3 groups were analyzed: all patients treated with the CHARITÉ Artificial Disc, whether randomized or nonrandomized; only patients treated with CHARITÉ devices randomized against patients with BAK devices; and control patients with BAK devices. Each group was further subdivided based on the patients' medical history, whether they had undergone prior surgery (prior surgery group) or had not (no prior surgery group). For all groups, baseline demographics were collected and compared for any potential recruitment bias. Postoperative improvements based on Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS), and patient satisfaction scores were further collected and statistically analyzed.

Results

For all 3 groups, there were no statistical differences in clinical improvement from 3 months to 2 years postoperatively as measured using ODI and VAS scores between the subgroups (those who had prior surgery and those who did not).

Conclusions

Patients indicated for 1-level lumbar arthroplasty with previous lumbar decompressive surgery can be expected to have similar clinical outcomes to patients undergoing arthroplasty without prior lumbar decompressive surgery. Similarly, candidates for anterior lumbar fusion with prior decompressive surgery may experience similar benefits from the surgical procedure as those without.

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Fred H. Geisler, Richard D. Guyer, Scott L. Blumenthal, Paul C. McAfee, Andrew Cappuccino, Fabien Bitan, and John J. Regan

Object

Patient selection is perhaps the most important factor in successful lumbar surgery. In this study, the authors analyzed the clinical outcomes of patients enrolled in the CHARITÉ investigational device exemption (IDE) trial who underwent revision surgery after primary total disc replacement with CHARITÉ or an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) with placement of a BAK cage and iliac crest autograft. This revision surgery was either a supplemental posterior lumbar fixation or a 360° fusion. Statistical analysis was conducted to compare clinical success in patients who underwent revision surgery with those who did not.

Methods

The patients enrolled in the CHARITÉ IDE study were divided into 6 groups according to treatment and repeated operation status, and their Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores at the 2-year follow-up and at baseline were compared. The patients had received the following treatments by group: A) ALIF without reoperation; B) ALIF with conversion to 360° fusion; C) arthroplasty (randomized) without repeated operation; D) arthroplasty with supplemental posterior lumbar fixation; E) arthroplasty (nonrandomized) without repeated operation; and F) arthroplasty (nonrandomized) with supplemental posterior lumbar fixation. Outcome scores in the groups of patients who required revision surgeries (Groups B, D, and F; 23 patients) were compared with the groups that did not require revision surgery (Groups A, C, and E; 299 patients).

Results

Patients who required revision surgery had a significantly lower level of clinical improvement than those who did not. The mean change in ODI score was −53.0% in Groups A, C, and E, but just −12.7% in Groups B, D, and F (p < 0.0001). The mean change in VAS score was −59.1% in Groups A, C, and E, compared to −23.4% in Groups B, D, and F (p < 0.0001). No significant differences were identified in analyzing absolute change in scores and the percentage change. A comparison of outcomes in patients who had undergone arthroplasty without reoperation (Groups C and E) with all patients who had undergone revision surgery (Groups B, D, and F) demonstrated similar results (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

The 7.1% of patients who underwent a secondary stabilization procedure had poor clinical improvement. This finding may indicate that if the alternative treatment had been the initial treatment, these patients would not have benefited, and further implies a 7.1% rate of imprecision in preoperative evaluation.

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Bryan W. Cunningham, Paul C. McAfee, Fred H. Geisler, Gwen Holsapple, Karen Adams, Scott L. Blumenthal, Richard D. Guyer, Andrew Cappuccino, John J. Regan, Ira L. Fedder, and P. Justin Tortolani

Object

One of the goals of lumbar arthroplasty is to restore and maintain range of motion (ROM) and to protect adjacent levels from abnormal motion, which may be a factor in transition syndrome following arthrodesis. In this study, in vitro ROM results were compared with in vivo, 2-year postoperative radiographic ROM evaluations.

Methods

Radiographs of patients enrolled in the CHARITÉ investigational device exemption study were analyzed at baseline and at 2 years postoperatively. The ROM in flexion/extension at the implanted and adjacent levels was measured, normalized, and compared with ROM results obtained using cadaver (in vitro) evaluations.

Results

Preoperative ROM distributions in patients enrolled for arthroplasty or fusion at the L4–5 level was as follows: 28% motion was observed at L3–4, 35% at L4–5 and 37% at L5–S1. Following a one-level arthroplasty at L4–5, the in vivo ROM distribution from L-3 to S-1 at the 2-year time point was 36% at L3–4, 30% at L4–5 and 35% at L5–S1. Following a one-level fusion with BAK and pedicle screws at L4–5, the in vivo ROM distribution from L-3 to S-1 at the 2-year time point was 45% at L3–4, 9% at L4–5 and 46% at L5–S1.

Conclusions

The baseline as well as the 2-year in vivo data confirmed previously published in vitro data. One-level arthroplasty was shown herein to replicate the normal distribution of motion of the intact spine.