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Jonathan N. Sellin, Aditya Vedantam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

The complication profile of epidural triamcinolone acetonide use during lumbar decompression surgery is not known. However, isolated reports of increased risk of delayed CSF leakage with the use of triamcinolone acetonide in adult spinal surgery patients have been published. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety of epidural triamcinolone acetonide use in conjunction with lumbar decompression surgery in pediatric patients.

METHODS

The medical records of all patients who underwent lumbar decompression surgery with or without discectomy between July 1, 2007, and July 31, 2015, were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

During the study period, 58 patients underwent 59 spine procedures at Texas Children's Hospital. There were 33 female and 25 male patients. The mean age at surgery was 16.5 years (range 12–24 years). Patients were followed for an average of 38.2 months (range 4–97 months). Triamcinolone acetonide was used in 28 (of 35 total) cases of discectomy; there were no cases of delayed symptomatic CSF leaks (0%) in the minimally invasive and open discectomies. On the other hand, triamcinolone acetonide was used in 14 (of 24 total) cases of multilevel laminectomy, among which there were 10 delayed CSF leaks (71.4%) requiring treatment. The use of triamcinolone acetonide in patients who underwent multilevel laminectomy was significantly associated with an increased risk of delayed CSF leaks or pseudomeningoceles (Fisher's exact test, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

There was an unacceptable incidence of delayed postoperative CSF leaks when epidural triamcinolone acetonide was used in patients who underwent multilevel laminectomy.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Baraa Al-Hafez and Edward A. M. Duckworth

The authors report a case of trigeminal hypesthesia caused by compression of the spinal cord by a C-2 segmental-type vertebral artery (VA) that was successfully treated with microvascular decompression. Aberrant intradural VA loops have been reported as causes of cervical myelopathy, some of which improved with microvascular decompression. A 52-year-old man presented with progressive complaints of headache, dizziness, left facial numbness, and left upper-extremity paresthesia that worsened when turning his head to the right. Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spine showed the left VA passing intradurally between the axis and atlas, foregoing the C-1 foramen transversarium, and impinging on the spinal cord. The patient underwent left C-1 and C-2 hemilaminectomies followed by microvascular decompression of an aberrant VA loop compressing the spinal cord. The patient subsequently reported complete resolution of symptoms.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Jacob Cherian, James M. Barry, Sheila L. Ryan, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

It is common to evaluate children with suspected CSF shunt malfunctions using CT of the head or, more recently, “quick brain” MRI. However, the reliability of using ventricular behavior, as assessed on cranial imaging during previous presentations with shunt obstructions, is not well defined. The authors conducted a study to determine if CT or MRI of ventricular morphology added useful clinical information in the evaluation of shunt malfunctions.

Methods

A retrospective chart review of children operated on at Texas Children's Hospital from February 20, 2011, to June 18, 2013, for shunt obstruction was conducted. Inclusion criteria involved age 3 years or older in patients who had undergone two or more shunt revisions for intraoperatively confirmed obstructions. Patients with shunt infection but without shunt obstruction and patients with fourth ventricular shunt failure were excluded from the study. Preoperative CT or MRI results were dichotomized into two distinct categories, as determined by a radiologist's report: either dilation of the ventricular system in comparison with prior scans at points the shunt was deemed functional, or no dilation of the ventricular system in comparison such scans. Determination of the presence of shunt obstruction was assessed by findings documented by the surgeon in the operative report. Each case was then analyzed to see if the patient has a reliable pattern of ventricular dilation, or no dilation, at times of shunt obstruction.

Results

Forty-two patients (25 males and 17 females) were included in the study. There were a total of 117 patient encounters analyzed and an average of 2.79 encounters per patient. The mean age at shunt failure presentation was 10.8 years (range 3–23 years). In 4 encounters, patients presented with a CSF leak or pseudomeningocele. Twenty-seven patients (64%) consistently demonstrated dilation of the ventricular system during episodes of shunt obstruction. Four patients (10%) consistently demonstrated no dilation during episodes of shunt obstruction. Eleven patients (26%) demonstrated inconsistent changes in ventricular size at times of shunt obstruction. In those first patient encounters with shunt obstruction presenting with ventricular dilation, 92% (49 of 53) of subsequent encounters demonstrated ventricular dilation with shunt obstruction presentations.

Conclusions

Historical CT or MRI data regarding ventricular morphology patterns seen during prior examinations of shunt obstructions may inform a clinician's judgment of shunt obstruction on subsequent presentations, but they are not conclusive. In the present series, the authors found that changes in the morphology of a given patient's ventricular system when shunt obstruction occurs were often consistent and predictable, but not always. It remains imperative, however, that cranial images obtained to rule out shunt malfunction be compared with prior studies.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Jeffrey S. Raskin, Kristen A. Staggers, Alison Brayton, Valentina Briceño, Amee J. Moreno and Andrew Jea

Thoracic and lumbar cortical bone trajectory pedicle screws have been described in adult spine surgery. They have likewise been described in pediatric CT-based morphometric studies; however, clinical experience in the pediatric age group is limited. The authors here describe the use of cortical bone trajectory pedicle screws in posterior instrumented spinal fusions from the upper thoracic to the lumbar spine in 12 children. This dedicated study represents the initial use of cortical screws in pediatric spine surgery.

The authors retrospectively reviewed the demographics and procedural data of patients who had undergone posterior instrumented fusion using thoracic, lumbar, and sacral cortical screws in children for the following indications: spondylolysis and/or spondylolisthesis (5 patients), unstable thoracolumbar spine trauma (3 patients), scoliosis (2 patients), and tumor (2 patients).

Twelve pediatric patients, ranging in age from 11 to 18 years (mean 15.4 years), underwent posterior instrumented fusion. Seventy-six cortical bone trajectory pedicle screws were placed. There were 33 thoracic screws and 43 lumbar screws. Patients underwent surgery between April 29, 2015, and February 1, 2016. Seven (70%) of 10 patients with available imaging achieved a solid fusion, as assessed by CT. Mean follow-up time was 16.8 months (range 13–22 months). There were no intraoperative complications directly related to the cortical bone trajectory screws. One patient required hardware revision for caudal instrumentation failure and screw-head fracture at 3 months after surgery.

Mean surgical time was 277 minutes (range 120–542 minutes). Nine of the 12 patients received either a 12- or 24-mg dose of recombinant human bone morphogenic protein 2. Average estimated blood loss was 283 ml (range 25–1100 ml).

In our preliminary experience, the cortical bone trajectory pedicle screw technique seems to be a reasonable alternative to the traditional trajectory pedicle screw placement in children. Cortical screws seem to offer satisfactory clinical and radiographic outcomes, with a low complication profile.

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Claudio E. Tatsui, R. Jason Stafford, Jing Li, Jonathan N. Sellin, Behrang Amini, Ganesh Rao, Dima Suki, Amol J. Ghia, Paul Brown, Sun-Ho Lee, Charles E. Cowles, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Laurence D. Rhines

OBJECT

High-grade malignant spinal cord compression is commonly managed with a combination of surgery aimed at removing the epidural tumor, followed by spinal stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) aimed at local tumor control. The authors here introduce the use of spinal laser interstitial thermotherapy (SLITT) as an alternative to surgery prior to SSRS.

METHODS

Patients with a high degree of epidural malignant compression due to radioresistant tumors were selected for study. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain and quality of life were obtained before and within 30 and 60 days after treatment. A laser probe was percutaneously placed in the epidural space. Real-time thermal MRI was used to monitor tissue damage in the region of interest. All patients received postoperative SSRS. The maximum thickness of the epidural tumor was measured, and the degree of epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC) was scored in pre- and postprocedure MRI.

RESULTS

In the 11 patients eligible for study, the mean VAS score for pain decreased from 6.18 in the preoperative period to 4.27 within 30 days and 2.8 within 60 days after the procedure. A similar VAS interrogating the percentage of quality of life demonstrated improvement from 60% preoperatively to 70% within both 30 and 60 days after treatment. Imaging follow-up 2 months after the procedure demonstrated a significant reduction in the mean thickness of the epidural tumor from 8.82 mm (95% CI 7.38–10.25) before treatment to 6.36 mm (95% CI 4.65–8.07) after SLITT and SSRS (p = 0.0001). The median preoperative ESCC Grade 2 was scored as 4, which was significantly higher than the score of 2 for Grade 1b (p = 0.04) on imaging follow-up 2 months after the procedure.

CONCLUTIONS

The authors present the first report on an innovative minimally invasive alternative to surgery in the management of spinal metastasis. In their early experience, SLITT has provided local control with low morbidity and improvement in both pain and the quality of life of patients.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, William Reichardt, Andrew J. Bishop, Dima Suki, Laurence D. Rhines, Stephen H. Settle, Paul D. Brown, Jing Li, Ganesh Rao, Eric L. Chang and Claudio E. Tatsui

OBJECT

Palliative resection of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) spinal metastasis is indicated in cases of neurological compromise or mechanical instability, whereas conventional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is commonly used for pain control. Recently, spinal stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has emerged as a safe alternative, delivering higher therapeutic doses of radiation to spinal metastases. To better understand factors affecting survival in patients undergoing spinal SRS for metastatic RCC, the authors performed a retrospective analysis of a consecutive series of cases at a tertiary cancer center.

METHODS

Patients harboring contiguous sites of vertebral body involvement from metastatic RCC who received upfront spinal SRS treatment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between 2005 and 2012 were identified. Demographic data, pain scores, radiographic data, overall survival, complications, status of systemic disease, neurological and functional status, and time between primary diagnosis and diagnosis of metastasis (systemic and spinal) were analyzed to determine their influence on survival.

RESULTS

Thirty-seven patients receiving treatment for 40 distinct, contiguous sites of disease were included. The median overall survival after spinal SRS was 16.3 months (range 7.4–25.3 months). Univariate analysis revealed several factors significantly associated with improved overall survival. Local progression after spinal SRS was associated with worse overall survival compared with sustained local control (HR 3.4, 95% CI 1.6–7.4, p = 0.002). Median survival in patients with a Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score ≥ 70 was longer than in patients with a KPS score < 70 (HR 4.7, 95% CI 2.1–10.7, p < 0.001). Patients with neurological deficits at the time of spinal SRS had a shorter median survival than those without (HR 4.2, 95% CI 1.4–12.0, p = 0.008). Individuals with nonprogressive systemic disease at the time of spinal SRS had a longer median survival than those with systemic progression at the time of treatment (HR 8.3, 95% CI 3.3–20.7, p < 0.001). Median survival in patients experiencing any metastasis < 12 months after primary RCC diagnosis was shorter than in patients experiencing any metastasis > 12 months after primary diagnosis, a difference that approached but did not attain significance (HR 1.9, 95% CI 0.90–4.1, p = 0.09). On multivariate analysis, local progression of disease after spinal SRS, metastasis < 12 months after primary, KPS score ≤ 70, and progression of systemic disease at time of spinal SRS all remained significant factors influencing survival (respectively, HR 3.7, p = 0.002; HR 2.6, p = 0.026; HR 4.0, p = 0.002; and HR 13.2, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

We identified several factors associated with survival after spinal SRS for RCC metastases, including local progression, time between first metastasis and primary RCC diagnosis, KPS score, presence of neurological deficits, and progressive metastatic disease. These factors should be taken into consideration when considering a patient for spinal SRS for RCC metastases.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, William J. Steele III, Lauren Simpson, Wei X. Huff, Brandon C. Lane, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel H. Fulkerson, Christina M. Sayama and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

The Thoracolumbar Injury Classification and Severity Score (TLICS) system was developed to streamline injury assessment and guide surgical decision making. To the best of the authors' knowledge, external validation in the pediatric age group has not been undertaken prior to this report.

METHODS

This study evaluated the use of the TLICS in a large retrospective series of children and adolescents treated at 4 pediatric medical centers (Texas Children's Hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Riley Children's Hospital, and Doernbecher Children's Hospital). A total of 147 patients treated for traumatic thoracic or lumbar spine trauma between February 1, 2002, and September 1, 2015, were included in this study. Clinical and radiographic data were evaluated. Injuries were classified using American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) status, Denis classification, and TLICS.

RESULTS

A total of 102 patients (69%) were treated conservatively, and 45 patients (31%) were treated surgically. All patients but one in the conservative group were classified as ASIA E. In this group, 86/102 patients (84%) had Denis type compression injuries. The TLICS in the conservative group ranged from 1 to 10 (mean 1.6). Overall, 93% of patients matched TLICS conservative treatment recommendations (score ≤ 3). No patients crossed over to the surgical group in delayed fashion.

In the surgical group, 26/45 (58%) were ASIA E, whereas 19/45 (42%) had neurological deficits (ASIA A, B, C, or D). One of 45 (2%) patients was classified with Denis type compression injuries; 25/45 (56%) were classified with Denis type burst injuries; 14/45 (31%) were classified with Denis type seat belt injuries; and 5/45 (11%) were classified with Denis type fracture-dislocation injuries. The TLICS ranged from 2 to 10 (mean 6.4). Eighty-two percent of patients matched TLICS surgical treatment recommendations (score ≥ 5). No patients crossed over to the conservative management group. Eight patients (8/147, 5%) had a calculated TLICS of 4, which meant they were candidates for surgery or conservative therapy by TLICS criteria. Excluding these patients, the degree of agreement between TLICS and surgeon decision was deemed to be very good (κ = 0.878).

CONCLUSIONS

The TLICS results and recommendations matched treatment in 96% of conservative group cases. In the surgical group, TLICS recommendations matched treatment in 93% of cases. The TLICS recommendations and surgeon decision making displayed very good concordance. The TLICS appears to be effective in the classification of thoracic and lumbar spine injuries and in guiding treatment in the pediatric age group.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Dima Suki, Viraat Harsh, Benjamin D. Elder, Daniel K. Fahim, Ian E. McCutcheon, Ganesh Rao, Laurence D. Rhines and Claudio E. Tatsui

OBJECT

Spinal metastases account for the majority of bone metastases from thyroid cancer. The objective of the current study was to analyze a series of consecutive patients undergoing spinal surgery for thyroid cancer metastases in order to identify factors that influence overall survival.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients who underwent surgery for spinal metastases from thyroid cancer between 1993 and 2010 at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

RESULTS

Forty-three patients met the study criteria. Median overall survival was 15.4 months (95% CI 2.8–27.9 months) based on the Kaplan-Meier method. The median follow-up duration for the 4 patients who were alive at the end of the study was 39.4 months (range 1.7–62.6 months). On the multivariate Cox analysis, progressive systemic disease at spine surgery and postoperative complications were associated with worse overall survival (HR 8.98 [95% CI 3.46–23.30], p < 0.001; and HR 2.86 [95% CI 1.30–6.31], p = 0.009, respectively). Additionally, preoperative neurological deficit was significantly associated with worse overall survival on the multivariate analysis (HR 3.01 [95% CI 1.34–6.79], p = 0.008). Conversely, preoperative embolization was significantly associated with improved overall survival on the multivariate analysis (HR 0.43 [95% CI 0.20–0.94], p = 0.04). Preoperative embolization and longer posterior construct length were significantly associated with fewer and greater complications, respectively, on the univariate analysis (OR 0.24 [95% CI 0.06–0.93] p = 0.04; and OR 1.24 [95% CI 1.02–1.52], p = 0.03), but not the multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Progressive systemic disease, postoperative complications, and preoperative neurological deficits were significantly associated with worse overall survival, while preoperative spinal embolization was associated with improved overall survival. These factors should be taken into consideration when considering such patients for surgery. Preoperative embolization and posterior construct length significantly influenced the incidence of postoperative complications only on the univariate analysis.