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Bryan Barnes, Joseph T. Alexander and Charles L. Branch Jr.

Object

The authors conducted a literature-based review of the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical vertebral osteomyelitis (CVO).

Methods

A Medline (PubMed) search using the key words “cervical vertebral osteomyelitis” yielded 256 articles. These were further screened for relevance, yielding 15 articles. Each publication was reviewed, and several others not identified in the PubMed search were screened and included in the review according to relevance. Each article was identified as involving either the epidemiology/etiology, diagnosis, or treatment of CVO. Separate categories were created for case reports and general reviews.

Conclusions

Cervical vertebral osteomyelitis has a spectrum of origins, which include spontaneous, postoperative, traumatic, and hematogenously spread causes. The majority of patients have medical risk factors and comorbidities that include diabetes, trauma, drug abuse, and infectious processes in extraspinal areas. The diagnosis of CVO can be accomplished in most cases by using plain x-ray films and computerized tomography scans. Nevertheless, preferential use of magnetic resonance imaging in cases in which there is a neurological deficit is helpful in identifying epidural compressive processes. Treatment for CVO can be successfully initiated with intravenous antibiotic therapy. Nevertheless, in cases in which there is a neurological deficit, spinal deformity and/or progressive lysis, or intractable pain, the earliest feasible surgical intervention with debridement and fusion is warranted.

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Bryan Barnes, Joseph T. Alexander and Charles L. Branch Jr.

Object

The authors conducted a review of the literature to establish reasonable practical guidelines for the management of complications in patients who have undergone recent spinal surgery and who require Level 1 anticoagulation therapy.

Methods

A MEDLINE (PubMed) literature search was performed using the key words “postoperative anticoagulation,” “spinal surgery,” and “postoperative epidural hematoma,” for articles published between 1990 and 2004. The search yielded 148 articles, which were then further screened for relevance and classified according to level-of-evidence guidelines established by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons joint committee for spinal cord injury. A total of 12 relevant articles were reviewed. There were no relevant articles meeting Class 1 standards of evidence, two met Class 2 evidence standards (one was a nonrandomized cohort study, the other was case-controlled), and the remaining 10 articles contained Class 3 evidence.

Conclusions

There are insufficient data to establish evidence-based guidelines for the use of Level 1 heparin or an equivalent anticoagulation protocol in patients who have recently undergone spinal surgery. Nevertheless, a search of the limited peer-reviewed literature on the subject indicates that there is an anecdotally high risk of complications in patients who have undergone spinal surgery and in whom a Level 1 or equivalent heparin protocol is administered. It therefore seems most prudent to arrange for placement of a vena cava filter in patients who have undergone spinal surgery and in whom a pulmonary embolus is found postoperatively. In patients who undergo spinal surgery and who require heparinization therapy for myocardial ischemia or infarction, the use of frequent neurological examinations in conjunction with anticoagulation therapy seems to be the only reasonable option.

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Joseph T. Alexander, Stephen C. Saris and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Carbon-14-labeled aminoisobutyric acid was used to determine local blood-to-tissue transfer constants in 22 Fischer rats with intracerebral 9L gliosarcomas that received either high-dose parenteral interleukin-2 (IL-2) or a control injection. In tumor and peritumoral tissue, the transfer constants in the IL-2-treated animals (89.6 ± 14.6 and 35.8 ± 6.0, respectively, mean ± standard error of the mean) were larger (p < 0.05) than in control animals (61.4 ± 6.4 and 14.6 ± 2.2, respectively). In contrast, in normal frontal and occipital tissue contralateral to the tumor-bearing hemisphere, there was no significant difference between the transfer constants in IL-2-treated and control animals. Furthermore, treatment of animals with IL-2 excipient caused no change in permeability as compared to animals treated with Hanks' balanced salt solution.

Parenteral injection of IL-2 increases blood-brain barrier disruption in tumor-bearing rat brain but does not increase the vascular permeability of normal brain. Methods to prevent this increased tumor vessel permeability are required before parenteral IL-2 can be used safely for the treatment of primary or metastatic brain tumors.

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Rebekah C. Austin, Charles L. Branch Jr. and Joseph T. Alexander

Object

The authors report the cases of 12 patients with medically refractory mechanical low-back pain and intermittent radicular symptoms in whom radiography demonstrated evidence of multilevel lumbosacral degenerative kyphotic and scoliotic deformity and spondylolisthesis.

Methods

These patients underwent multilevel posterior lumbar interbody fusion in which Macropore bioabsorbable spacers were placed. Each patient underwent at least 1 year of clinical and radiographic follow up.

Conclusions

This series illustrates the novel use of bioabsorbable interbody spacers and fusion technique for correction of spinal deformity due to advanced degenerative kyphoscoliosis and spondylolisthesis.

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Joseph T. Alexander, Charles L. Branch Jr., Brian R. Subach and Regis W. Haid Jr.

✓ Polyhydroxy acids are a promising class of resorbable materials with potential applications in spinal surgery. One such polymer, MacroPore (MacroPore Biosurgery, Inc.), offers a balance of strength, predictable degradation, lack of stimulus of foreign body reaction, and biocompatibility with neural tissue. MacroPore can be formed into an array of shapes and can be manufactured, sterilized, and stored using conventional techniques. Limited clinical experience has been gained with resorbable implants used as load-sharing devices in a posterior lumbar interbody fusion construct.

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Sasha Vaziri, Joseph M. Abbatematteo, Max S. Fleisher, Alexander B. Dru, Dennis T. Lockney, Paul S. Kubilis and Daniel J. Hoh

OBJECTIVE

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) online surgical risk calculator uses inherent patient characteristics to provide predictive risk scores for adverse postoperative events. The purpose of this study was to determine if predicted perioperative risk scores correlate with actual hospital costs.

METHODS

A single-center retrospective review of 1005 neurosurgical patients treated between September 1, 2011, and December 31, 2014, was performed. Individual patient characteristics were entered into the NSQIP calculator. Predicted risk scores were compared with actual in-hospital costs obtained from a billing database. Correlational statistics were used to determine if patients with higher risk scores were associated with increased in-hospital costs.

RESULTS

The Pearson correlation coefficient (R) was used to assess the correlation between 11 types of predicted complication risk scores and 5 types of encounter costs from 1005 health encounters involving neurosurgical procedures. Risk scores in categories such as any complication, serious complication, pneumonia, cardiac complication, surgical site infection, urinary tract infection, venous thromboembolism, renal failure, return to operating room, death, and discharge to nursing home or rehabilitation facility were obtained. Patients with higher predicted risk scores in all measures except surgical site infection were found to have a statistically significant association with increased actual in-hospital costs (p < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS

Previous work has demonstrated that the ACS NSQIP surgical risk calculator can accurately predict mortality after neurosurgery but is poorly predictive of other potential adverse events and clinical outcomes. However, this study demonstrates that predicted high-risk patients identified by the ACS NSQIP surgical risk calculator have a statistically significant moderate correlation to increased actual in-hospital costs. The NSQIP calculator may not accurately predict the occurrence of surgical complications (as demonstrated previously), but future iterations of the ACS universal risk calculator may be effective in predicting actual in-hospital costs, which could be advantageous in the current value-based healthcare environment.

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Joseph C. Hsieh, Doniel Drazin, Alexander O. Firempong, Robert Pashman, J. Patrick Johnson and Terrence T. Kim

Object

Revision spine surgery, which is challenging due to disrupted anatomy, poor fluoroscopic imaging, and altered tactile feedback, may benefit from CT image-guided surgery (CT-IGS). This study evaluates accuracy of CT-IGS–navigated screws in primary versus revision spine surgery.

Methods

Pedicle and pelvic screws placed with the O-arm in 28 primary (313 screws) and 33 revision (429 screws) cases in which institutional postoperative CT scans were available were retrospectively reviewed for placement accuracy. Screw accuracy was categorized as 1) good (< 1-mm pedicle breach in any direction or “in-out-in” thoracic screws through the lateral thoracic pedicle wall and in the costovertebral joint); 2) fair (1- to 3-mm breach); or 3) poor (> 3-mm breach).

Results

Use of CT-IGS resulted in high rates of good or fair screws for both primary (98.7%) and revision (98.6%) cases. Rates of good or fair screws were comparable for the following regions: C7–T3 at 100% (good or fair) in primary versus 100% (good or fair) in revision; T4–9 at 96.8% versus 100%; T10–L2 at 98.2% versus 99.3%; L3–5 at 100% versus 99.2%; and pelvis at 98.7% versus 98.6%, respectively. On the other hand, revision sacral screws had statistically significantly lower rates of good placement compared with primary (100% primary vs 80.6% revision, p = 0.027). Of these revision sacral screws, 11.1% had poor placement, with bicortical screws extending > 3 mm beyond the anterior cortex. Revision pelvic screws demonstrated the highest rate of fair placement (28%), with the mode of medial breach in all cases directed into the sacral-iliac joint.

Conclusions

In the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, CT-IGS demonstrated comparable accuracy rates for both primary and revision spine surgery. Use of 3D imaging of the bony pedicle anatomy appears to be sufficient for the spine surgeon to overcome the difficulties associated with instrumentation in revision cases. Although the bony structures of sacral pedicles and pelvis are relatively larger, the complexity of local anatomy was not overcome with CT-IGS, and an increased trend toward inaccurate screw placement was demonstrated.

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Stephen C. Saris, Nicholas J. Patronas, Steven A. Rosenberg, Joseph T. Alexander, Joseph Frank, Douglas J. Schwartzentruber, Joshua T. Rubin, David Barba and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Parenteral treatment with interleukin-2 (IL-2) is effective against certain advanced cancers outside the central nervous system. Prior to commencement of Phase II trials in patients with brain tumors, the neurological and neuroradiological features of 10 patients treated with intravenous administration of repeated doses of IL-2 were studied. Three patients had malignant gliomas, and seven patients had extracranial cancer without evidence of intracranial metastasis. All were treated with intravenous doses of 105 U/kg three times daily for up to 5 days. The patients with gliomas received cranial computerized axial tomography (CT) scans before IL-2 therapy was initiated and during the later stages of treatment. The patients with extracranial cancer under-went T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging before and later during therapy.

After two to 11 doses of IL-2, the patients with gliomas had marked neurological deterioration that was associated with a mild to marked increase in peritumoral edema and mass effect visible on CT scans. With cessation of treatment and appropriate supportive care, all returned to their pretreatment state. The patients with extracranial cancer were either neurologically unchanged or underwent minor transient changes in mental status (lethargy and confusion). In these patients, the MR signal intensity was quantified and compared in eight anatomic regions of interest. In six of the seven patients, there were increases in gray and white matter signal intensity consistent with increased cerebral water content. The percentage changes (means ± standard error of the means) were 12.6% ± 7.3% in the gray matter and 17.0% ± 6.2% in the white matter.

This study demonstrates that treatment with a high parenteral dose of IL-2 is not tolerated by patients with gliomas due to increased cerebral edema. In patients with extracranial cancer but no brain disease, parenteral IL-2 induces an increase in the cerebral water content of both gray and white matter.

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Mireille E. Kelley, Mark A. Espeland, William C. Flood, Alexander K. Powers, Christopher T. Whitlow, Joseph A. Maldjian, Joel D. Stitzel and Jillian E. Urban

OBJECTIVE

Limiting contact in football practice can reduce the number of head impacts a player receives, but further research is needed to inform the modification of optimal drills that mitigate head impact exposure (HIE) while the player develops the skills needed to safely play the game. This study aimed to compare HIE in practice drills among 6 youth football teams and to evaluate the effect of a team on HIE.

METHODS

On-field head impact data were collected from athletes (ages 10–13 years) playing on 6 local youth football teams (teams A–F) during all practices using the Head Impact Telemetry System. Video was recorded and analyzed to verify and assign impacts to a specific drill. Drills were identified as follows: dummy/sled tackling, half install, install, install walk through, multiplayer tackle, Oklahoma, one-on-one, open field tackling, other, passing, position skill work, scrimmage, special teams, tackling drill stations, and technique. HIE was quantified in terms of impacts per player per minute (ppm) and peak linear and rotational head acceleration. Generalized linear models were used to assess differences in head impact magnitude and frequency among drills as well as among teams within the most common drills.

RESULTS

Among 67 athlete-seasons, a total of 14,718 impacts during contact practices were collected and evaluated in this study. Among all 6 teams, the mean linear (p < 0.0001) and rotational (p < 0.0001) acceleration varied significantly among all drills. Open field tackling had significantly (p < 0.001) higher mean linear acceleration than all other drills. Multiplayer tackle had the highest mean impact rate (0.35 ppm). Significant variations in linear acceleration and impact rate were observed among teams within specific drills. Team A had the highest mean linear acceleration in install, one-on-one, and open field tackling and the highest mean impact rate in Oklahoma and position skill work. Although team A spent the greatest proportion of their practice on minimal- or no-player versus player contact drills (27%) compared to other teams, they had the highest median (20.2g) and 95th percentile (56.4g) linear acceleration in practice.

CONCLUSIONS

Full-speed tackling and blocking drills resulted in the highest HIE. Reducing time spent on contact drills relative to minimal or no contact drills may not lower overall HIE. Instead, interventions such as reducing the speed of players engaged in contact, correcting tackling technique, and progressing to contact may reduce HIE more effectively.

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Jeffrey D. Coe, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Andrew T. Dailey, Rick C. Sasso, Steven C. Ludwig, James S. Harrop, Joseph R. Dettori, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Sanford E. Emery and Michael G. Fehlings