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Jun Jae Shin, Sang Hyun Kim, Yong Eun Cho, Samuel H. Cheshier, and Jon Park

Object

Several controversial issues arise in the management of unstable hangman's fractures. Some surgeons perform external reduction and immobilize the patient's neck in a halo vest, while others perform surgical reduction and internal fixation. The nonsurgical treatments with rigid collar or halo vest immobilization present problems, including nonunion, pseudarthrosis, skull fracture, and scalp laceration and may also fail to achieve anatomical realignment of the local C2–3 kyphosis. With recent advances in surgical technique and technology, surgical intervention is increasingly performed as the primary treatment in high cervical fractures. The outcomes of such surgeries are often superior to those of conservative treatment. The authors propose that surgical intervention as a primary management for hangman's fracture may avoid risks inherent in conservative management when severe circumferential discoligamentous instability is present and may reduce the risk of catastrophic results at the fracture site.

The purposes of this study were to assess fracture healing following expedient reduction and surgical fixation and to propose a guideline for treatment of unstable hangman's fractures.

Methods

From April 2006 to December 2011, the authors treated 105 patients with high cervical fractures. This study included 23 (21.9%) of these patients (15 men and 8 women; mean age 46.4 years) with Type II, IIa, and III hangman's fractures according to the Levine and Edwards classification. The patient's age, sex, mechanism of injury, associated injuries, neurological status, and complications were ascertained. The authors retrospectively assessed the clinical outcome (Neck Disability Index), radiological findings (disc height, translation, and angulation), and bony healing.

Results

The average follow-up period was 28.9 months (range 12–63.2 months). The overall average Neck Disability Index score at the time of this study was 6.6 ± 2.3. The average duration of hospitalization was 20.3 days, and fusion was achieved in all cases by 14.8 ± 1.6 weeks after surgery, as demonstrated on dynamic radiographs and cervical 3D CT scans.

The mean pretreatment translation was 6.9 ± 3.2 mm, and the mean postoperative translation was 1.6 ± 1.8 mm (mean reduction 5.2 ± 3.1 mm). The initial angulation was 4.7° ± 5.3° and the postoperative angulation was 2.5° ± 1.8° (mean reduction 6.1° ± 5.3°). The preoperative and postoperative values for translation and angulation differed significantly (p < 0.05). The overall C2–3 disc height was 6.7 ± 1.2 mm preoperatively, whereas 3 months after surgery it was 6.4 ± 1.1 mm. These values did not differ significantly (p = 0.0963).

Conclusions

The authors observed effective reduction and bony healing in cases of unstable hangman's fractures after fixation, and all patients experienced favorable clinical outcomes with neck pain improvement. The protocols allowed for physiological reconstruction of the fractured deformities and avoided external fixation. The authors suggest that posterior reduction and screw fixation should be used as a primary treatment to promote stability of hangman's fracture in the presence of discoligamentous instability or combined fractures.

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Jae-Hyuk Shin, Kee-Yong Ha, Ki-Won Kim, Jun-Seok Lee, and Min-Wook Joo

Only 6 cases of pyogenic spondylitis following vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty have been reported, and their causes remained unclear. The authors report on 4 cases of delayed pyogenic spondylitis (DPS) following vertebroplasty or ky-phoplasty for osteoporotic compression fractures and metastatic disease.

Four patients presented with DPS after vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty and underwent surgical treatment. Clinical history, laboratory examination, and MR imaging confirmed the diagnosis of DPS. Anterior debridement, reconstruction, and posterior instrumented fusion were performed.

The mean interval for the delayed occurrence of pyogenic spondylitis after surgery was 12.3 months. The infections were primarily bacterial in origin, but most patients also suffered diverse medical comorbidities. Despite successful treatment of the infections, comorbidity was and is a factor that compromises good results.

Medical comorbidities associated with compromised immunity may increase susceptibility to DPS after vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. In cases of incapacitating back pain after a pain-free period following either of these surgeries, evaluation of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein level and examination of contrast-enhanced MR imaging studies are essential to rule out delayed vertebral infection. Surgical treatment requires cement removal and anterior reconstruction with or without additional posterior instrumented fusion.

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Eun-Hee Kim, Mi-Sun Yum, Young-Shin Ra, Jun Bum Park, Jae Sung Ahn, Gu-Hwan Kim, Hyun Woo Goo, Tae-Sung Ko, and Han-Wook Yoo

OBJECT

Moyamoya disease (MMD) is an idiopathic cerebrovascular occlusive disorder prevalent in East Asia. In the pathogenesis of MMD, the important role of genetic factors is being elucidated, and RNF213 has recently been identified as a susceptibility gene for MMD. The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the RNF213 genotype in patients with MMD and to determine their genotype-phenotype associations.

METHODS

The study involved 165 Korean MMD patients from 155 unrelated families who were diagnosed with MMD at a single center from 1995 to 2013. Their demographic, radiological, and clinical findings were evaluated. Direct sequencing of the major RNF213 single nucleotide polymorphisms was performed. The association of the common RNF213 variant with MMD risk was evaluated using historical controls for comparison. Correlations between RNF213 genotype and phenotype were statistically analyzed.

RESULTS

The c.14429G>A (p.R4810K) variant was identified in 125 (75.8%) of 165 MMD patients. Most patients (112) were heterozygous, and 13 patients had 2 copies of the c.14429G>A variant. A novel heterozygous variant, c.12086A>G (p.Q4029R), was found in 1 additional patient. The minor allele frequency of the c.14429G>A variant was significantly higher in the MMD group (138 [41.8%] of 330 patients) than in the control group (8 [1.36%] of 588 subjects; p < 0.001). The c.14429G>A (p.R4810K) variant significantly increased the risk of MMD in Korean patients, with an OR of 52.11 (p < 0.001) compared with controls. Moreover, c.14429G>A (p.R4810K) genotypes occurred more frequently in patients with a family history of MMD. The homozygous variant was highly associated with early-onset MMD (age at onset < 5 years), cerebral infarction at diagnosis, and cognitive impairment in long-term outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings indicate that the c.14429G>A (p.R4810K) allele of RNF213 is strongly associated with Korean patients with MMD. The homozygous c.14429G>A (p.R4810K) variant is particularly related to early-onset MMD, severe symptomatic manifestations at diagnosis, and poor prognosis. This genotypic variant may be a useful biomarker for early-onset MMD or unstable MMD with cerebral infarction, which requires early diagnosis and revascularization treatment.

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Jun Jae Shin, Hyeongseok Jeon, Jong Joo Lee, Hyung Cheol Kim, Tae Woo Kim, Sung Bae An, Dong Ah Shin, Seong Yi, Keung-Nyun Kim, Do-Heum Yoon, Narihito Nagoshi, Kota Watanabe, Masaya Nakamura, Morio Matsumoto, Nan Li, Sai Ma, Da He, Wei Tian, Kenny Yat Hong Kwan, Kenneth Man Chee Cheung, K. Daniel Riew, Daniel J. Hoh, Yoon Ha, and the Asia Pacific Spine Study Group (APSSG)

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this retrospective multicenter study was to compare prognostic factors for neurological recovery in patients undergoing surgery for cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) based on their presenting mild, moderate, or severe myelopathy.

METHODS

The study included 372 consecutive patients with OPLL who underwent surgery for cervical myelopathy between 2006 and 2016 in East Asian countries with a high OPLL prevalence. Baseline and postoperative clinical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) myelopathy score and recovery ratio. Radiographic assessment included occupying ratio, cervical range of motion, and sagittal alignment parameters. Patient myelopathy was classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the preoperative JOA score. Linear and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify patient and surgical factors associated with neurological recovery stratified by baseline myelopathy severity.

RESULTS

The mean follow-up period was 45.4 months (range 25–140 months). The mean preoperative and postoperative JOA scores and recovery ratios for the total cohort were 11.7 ± 3.0, 14.5 ± 2.7, and 55.2% ± 39.3%, respectively. In patients with mild myelopathy, only age and diabetes correlated with recovery. In patients with moderate to severe myelopathy, older age and preoperative increased signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging were significantly correlated with a lower likelihood of recovery, while female sex and anterior decompression with fusion (ADF) were associated with better recovery.

CONCLUSIONS

Various patient and surgical factors are correlated with likelihood of neurological recovery after surgical treatment for cervical OPLL, depending on the severity of presenting myelopathy. Older age, male sex, intramedullary high signal intensity, and posterior decompression are associated with less myelopathy improvement in patients with worse baseline function. Therefore, myelopathy-specific preoperative counseling regarding prognosis for postoperative long-term neurological improvement should include consideration of these individual and surgical factors.