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Christopher F. Dibble, Saad Javeed, Justin K. Zhang, Brenton Pennicooke, Wilson Z. Ray, and Camilo Molina

BACKGROUND

Traumatic atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation after type 3 odontoid fracture is an uncommon presentation that may require complex intraoperative reduction maneuvers and presents challenges to successful instrumentation and fusion.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case of a 39-year-old female patient who sustained a type 3 odontoid fracture. She was neurologically intact and managed in a rigid collar. Four months later, she presented again after a second trauma with acute torticollis and type 2 atlantoaxial subluxation, again neurologically intact. Serial cervical traction was placed with minimal radiographic reduction. Ultimately, she underwent intraoperative reduction, instrumentation, and fusion. Freehand C1 lateral mass reduction screws were placed, then C2 translaminar screws, and finally lateral mass screws at C3 and C4. The C2–4 instrumentation was used as bilateral rod anchors to reduce the C1 lateral mass reduction screws engaged onto the subluxated atlantodental complex. As a final step, cortical allograft spacers were inserted at C1–2 under compression to facilitate long-term stability and fusion.

LESSONS

This is the first description of a technique using extended tulip cervical reduction screws to correct traction-irreducible atlantoaxial subluxation. This case is a demonstration of using intraoperative tools available for the spine surgeon managing complex cervical injuries requiring intraoperative reduction that is resistant to traction reduction.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Michael P. Kelly, Joshua M. Landman, Justin K. Zhang, Shay Bess, Justin S. Smith, Lawrence G. Lenke, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Keith H. Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

The Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1 (ASLS-1) trial demonstrated the benefit of adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) surgery. However, the extent to which individuals differ in their postoperative recovery trajectories is unknown. This study’s objective was to evaluate variability in and factors moderating recovery trajectories after ASLS surgery.

METHODS

The authors used longitudinal, multilevel models to analyze postoperative recovery trajectories following ASLS surgery. Study outcomes included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score and Scoliosis Research Society–22 (SRS-22) subscore, which were measured every 3 months until 2 years postoperatively. The authors evaluated the influence of preoperative disability level, along with other potential trajectory moderators, including radiographic, comorbidity, pain/function, demographic, and surgical factors. The impact of different parameters was measured using the R2, which represented the amount of variability in ODI/SRS-22 explained by each model. The R2 ranged from 0 (no variability explained) to 1 (100% of variability explained).

RESULTS

Among 178 patients, there was substantial variability in recovery trajectories. Applying the average trajectory to each patient explained only 15% of the variability in ODI and 21% of the variability in SRS-22 subscore. Differences in preoperative disability (ODI/SRS-22) had the strongest influence on recovery trajectories, with patients having moderate disability experiencing the greatest and most rapid improvement after surgery. Reflecting this impact, accounting for the preoperative ODI/SRS-22 level explained an additional 56%–57% of variability in recovery trajectory, while differences in the rate of postoperative change explained another 7%–9%. Among the effect moderators tested, pain/function variables—such as visual analog scale back pain score—had the biggest impact, explaining 21%–25% of variability in trajectories. Radiographic parameters were the least influential, explaining only 3%–6% more variance than models with time alone. The authors identified several significant trajectory moderators in the final model, such as significant adverse events and the number of levels fused.

CONCLUSIONS

ASLS patients have highly variable postoperative recovery trajectories, although most reach steady state at 12 months. Preoperative disability was the most important influence, although other factors, such as number of levels fused, also impacted recovery.

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Christopher F. Dibble, Justin K. Zhang, Jacob K. Greenberg, Saad Javeed, Jawad M. Khalifeh, Deeptee Jain, Ian Dorward, Paul Santiago, Camilo Molina, Brenton Pennicooke, and Wilson Z. Ray

OBJECTIVE

Local and regional radiographic outcomes following minimally invasive (MI) transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) versus open TLIF remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive assessment of local and regional radiographic parameters following MI-TLIF and open TLIF. The authors hypothesized that open TLIF provides greater segmental and global lordosis correction than MI-TLIF.

METHODS

A single-center retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients undergoing MI- or open TLIF for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis was performed. One-to-one nearest-neighbor propensity score matching (PSM) was used to match patients who underwent open TLIF to those who underwent MI-TLIF. Sagittal segmental radiographic measures included segmental lordosis (SL), anterior disc height (ADH), posterior disc height (PDH), foraminal height (FH), percent spondylolisthesis, and cage position. Lumbopelvic radiographic parameters included overall lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI)–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch, sacral slope (SS), and pelvic tilt (PT). Change in segmental or overall lordosis after surgery was considered "lordosing" if the change was > 0° and "kyphosing" if it was ≤ 0°. Student t-tests or Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to compare outcomes between MI-TLIF and open-TLIF groups.

RESULTS

A total of 267 patients were included in the study, 114 (43%) who underwent MI-TLIF and 153 (57%) who underwent open TLIF, with an average follow-up of 56.6 weeks (SD 23.5 weeks). After PSM, there were 75 patients in each group. At the latest follow-up both MI- and open-TLIF patients experienced significant improvements in assessment scores obtained with the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the numeric rating scale for low-back pain (NRS-BP), without significant differences between groups (p > 0.05). Both MI- and open-TLIF patients experienced significant improvements in SL, ADH, and percent corrected spondylolisthesis compared to baseline (p < 0.001). However, the MI-TLIF group experienced significantly larger magnitudes of correction with respect to these metrics (ΔSL 4.14° ± 4.35° vs 1.15° ± 3.88°, p < 0.001; ΔADH 4.25 ± 3.68 vs 1.41 ± 3.77 mm, p < 0.001; percent corrected spondylolisthesis: −10.82% ± 6.47% vs −5.87% ± 8.32%, p < 0.001). In the MI-TLIF group, LL improved in 44% (0.3° ± 8.5°) of the cases, compared to 48% (0.9° ± 6.4°) of the cases in the open-TLIF group (p > 0.05). Stratification by operative technique (unilateral vs bilateral facetectomy) and by interbody device (static vs expandable) did not yield statistically significant differences (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Both MI- and open-TLIF patients experienced significant improvements in patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures and local radiographic parameters, with neutral effects on regional alignment. Surprisingly, in our cohort, change in SL was significantly greater in MI-TLIF patients, perhaps reflecting the effect of operative techniques, technological innovations, and the preservation of the posterior tension band. Taking these results together, no significant overall differences in LL between groups were demonstrated, which suggests that MI-TLIF is comparable to open approaches in providing radiographic correction after surgery. These findings suggest that alignment targets can be achieved by either MI- or open-TLIF approaches, highlighting the importance of surgeon attention to these variables.

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Dinal Jayasekera, Justin K. Zhang, Jacob Blum, Rachel Jakes, Peng Sun, Saad Javeed, Jacob K. Greenberg, Sheng-Kwei Song, and Wilson Z. Ray

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the most common cause of chronic spinal cord injury, a significant public health problem. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a neuroimaging technique widely used to assess CNS tissue pathology and is increasingly used in CSM. However, DTI lacks the needed accuracy, precision, and recall to image pathologies of spinal cord injury as the disease progresses. Thus, the authors used diffusion basis spectrum imaging (DBSI) to delineate white matter injury more accurately in the setting of spinal cord compression. It was hypothesized that the profiles of multiple DBSI metrics can serve as imaging outcome predictors to accurately predict a patient’s response to therapy and his or her long-term prognosis. This hypothesis was tested by using DBSI metrics as input features in a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm.

METHODS

Fifty patients with CSM and 20 healthy controls were recruited to receive diffusion-weighted MRI examinations. All spinal cord white matter was identified as the region of interest (ROI). DBSI and DTI metrics were extracted from all voxels in the ROI and the median value of each patient was used in analyses. An SVM with optimized hyperparameters was trained using clinical and imaging metrics separately and collectively to predict patient outcomes. Patient outcomes were determined by calculating changes between pre- and postoperative modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale scores.

RESULTS

Accuracy, precision, recall, and F1 score were reported for each SVM iteration. The highest performance was observed when a combination of clinical and DBSI metrics was used to train an SVM. When assessing patient outcomes using mJOA scale scores, the SVM trained with clinical and DBSI metrics achieved accuracy and an area under the curve of 88.1% and 0.95, compared with 66.7% and 0.65, respectively, when clinical and DTI metrics were used together.

CONCLUSIONS

The accuracy and efficacy of the SVM incorporating clinical and DBSI metrics show promise for clinical applications in predicting patient outcomes. These results suggest that DBSI metrics, along with the clinical presentation, could serve as a surrogate in prognosticating outcomes of patients with CSM.