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W. Jeffrey Elias, Kai-Ming Fu and Robert C. Frysinger

Object

The success of stereotactic surgery depends upon accuracy. Tissue deformation, or brain shift, can result in clinically significant errors. The authors measured cortical and subcortical brain shift during stereotactic surgery and assessed several variables that may affect it.

Methods

Preoperative and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging volumes were fused and 3D vectors of deviation were calculated for the anterior commissure (AC), posterior commissure (PC), and frontal cortex. Potential preoperative (age, diagnosis, and ventricular volume), intraoperative (stereotactic target, penetration of ventricles, and duration of surgery), and postoperative (volume of pneumocephalus) variables were analyzed and correlated with cortical (frontal cortex) and subcortical (AC, PC) deviations.

Results

Of 66 cases, nine showed a shift of the AC by more than 1.5 mm, and five by more than 2.0 mm. The largest AC shift was 5.67 mm. Deviation in the x, y, and z dimensions for each case was determined, and most of the cortical and subcortical shift occurred in the posterior direction. The mean 3D vector deviations for frontal cortex, AC, and PC were 3.5 ± 2.0, 1.0 ± 0.8, and 0.7 ± 0.5 mm, respectively. The mean change in AC–PC length was −0.2 ± −0.9 mm (range −4.28 to 1.66 mm). The volume of postoperative pneumocephalus, assumed to represent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) loss, was significantly correlated with shift of the frontal cortex (r = 0.640, 64 degrees of freedom, p < 0.001) and even more strongly with shift of the AC (r = 0.754, p < 0.001). No other factors were significantly correlated with AC shift. Interestingly, penetration of the ventricles during electrode insertion, whether unilateral or bilateral, did not affect volume of pneumocephalus.

Conclusions

Cortical and subcortical brain shift occurs during stereotactic surgery as a direct function of the volume of pneumocephalus, which probably reflects the volume of CSF that is lost. Clinically significant shifts appear to be uncommon, but stereotactic surgeons should be vigilant in preventing CSF loss.

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Justin S. Smith, Kai-Ming Fu, Peter Urban and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Adults with scoliosis often present with neurological symptoms and deficits. However, the incidence of these findings and how they may affect treatment decisions have not been clearly defined. The purpose of this study was to quantify the prevalence of neurological symptoms and deficits in adults with scoliosis presenting to a surgical clinic, and to assess for an association between these factors and the decision to pursue operative treatment.

Methods

In this study, the authors document the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), radiographic findings, and the incidences of back pain, neurological symptoms (radiculopathy and claudication), and neurological deficits (weakness, myelopathy, and bowel/bladder dysfunction) and correlate these with operative versus nonoperative management. Pain was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) score. Of 207 patients, 25% underwent surgery.

Results

Incidences of back pain (VAS score > 0 points) and radiculopathy (VAS score > 0) were 99 and 85%, respectively. The incidences of severe (VAS score > 5) back pain and radiculopathy were 66 and 47%, respectively. Neurological symptoms and deficits included weakness in 8% of patients, claudication in 9%, myelopathy in 1%, and bowel/bladder dysfunction in 3%. Patients with severe radiculopathy had greater mean ODI scores (p < 0.001) and reduced lumbar lordosis (p = 0.04) and were more likely to have de novo scoliosis (p = 0.009). Patients who underwent surgery had higher ODI scores (p < 0.001) and a greater incidence of severe radiculopathy (p = 0.006), weakness (p < 0.001), and neurogenic claudication (p = 0.003). Factors associated with operative management on multivariate analysis included weakness (p < 0.001), severe radiculopathy (p = 0.02), and sagittal imbalance (p = 0.03).

Conclusions

Neurological symptoms and deficits are common among adults with scoliosis. Development of neurological symptoms and/or deficits is strongly associated with the decision to pursue operative treatment.

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Ming-Kai Hsieh, Fu-Cheng Kao, Wen-Jer Chen, I-Jung Chen and Sheng-Fen Wang

OBJECTIVE

Spinopelvic parameters, such as the pelvic incidence (PI) angle, sacral slope angle, and pelvic tilt angle, are important anatomical indices for determining the sagittal curvature of the spine and the individual variability of the lumbar lordosis (LL) curve. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of spinopelvic parameters and LL on adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after short lumbar and lumbosacral fusion for single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all short lumbar and lumbosacral fusion surgeries performed between August 2003 and July 2010 for single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis in their orthopedic department.

RESULTS

A total of 30 patients (21 women and 9 men, mean age 64 years) with ASD after lower lumbar or lumbosacral fusion surgery comprised the study group. Thirty matched patients (21 women and 9 men, mean age 63 years) without ASD comprised the control group, according to the following matching criteria: same diagnosis on admission, similar pathologic level (≤ 1 level difference), similar sex, and age. The average follow-up was 6.8 years (range 5–8 years). The spinopelvic parameters had no significant influence on ASD after short spinal fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

Neither the spinopelvic parameters nor a mismatch of PI and LL were significant factors responsible for ASD after short spinal fusion due to single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Dwight Saulle, Kai-Ming Fu, Justin S. Smith and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

This study was undertaken to evaluate the incidence of and risk factors associated with the development of dysphagia following same-day combined anterior-posterior cervical spine surgeries.

Methods

The records of 30 consecutive patients who underwent same-day combined anterior-posterior cervical spine surgery were reviewed. The presence of dysphagia was assessed by a formalized screening protocol using history/clinical presentation and a bedside swallowing test, followed by formal evaluation by speech and language pathologists and/or fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing/modified barium swallow when necessary. Age, sex, previous cervical surgeries, diagnoses, duration of procedure, specific vertebral levels and number of levels operated on, degree of sagittal curve correction, use of anterior plate, estimated blood loss, use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), and length of hospital stay following procedures were analyzed.

Results

In the immediate postoperative period, 13 patients (43.3%) developed dysphagia. Outpatient follow-up data were available for 11 patients with dysphagia, and within this subset, all cases of dysphagia resolved subjectively within 12 months following surgery. The mean numbers of anterior levels surgically treated in patients with and without dysphagia were 5.1 and 4.0, respectively (p = 0.004). All patients (100%) with dysphagia had an anterior procedure that extended above C-4, compared with 58.8% of patients without dysphagia (p = 0.010). Patients with dysphagia had significantly greater mean correction of C2–7 lordosis than patients without dysphagia (p = 0.020). The postoperative sagittal occiput–C2 angle and the change in this angle were not significantly associated with the occurrence of dysphagia (p = 0.530 and p = 0.711, respectively). Patients with postoperative dysphagia had significantly longer hospital stays than those who did not develop dysphagia (p = 0.004). No other significant difference between the dysphagia and no-dysphagia groups was identified; differences with respect to history of previous anterior cervical surgery (p = 0.141), use of an anterior plate (p = 0.613), and mean length of anterior cervical operative time (p = 0.541) were not significant.

Conclusions

The incidence of dysphagia following combined anterior-posterior cervical surgery in this study was comparable to that of previous reports. The risk factors for dysphagia that were identified in this study were increased number of anterior levels exposed, anterior surgery that extended above C-4, and increased surgical correction of C2–7 lordosis.

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Catherine A. Miller, Kai-Ming Fu and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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Kai-Ming G. Fu, Justin S. Smith, David W. Polly Jr., Christopher P. Ames, Sigurd H. Berven, Joseph H. Perra, Richard E. McCarthy, D. Raymond Knapp Jr. and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Patients with varied medical comorbidities often present with spinal pathology for which operative intervention is potentially indicated, but few studies have examined risk stratification in determining morbidity and mortality rates associated with the operative treatment of spinal disorders. This study provides an analysis of morbidity and mortality data associated with 22,857 cases reported in the multicenter, multisurgeon Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality database stratified by American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification, a commonly used system to describe preoperative physical status and to predict operative morbidity.

Methods

The Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality database was queried for the year 2007, the year in which ASA data were collected. Inclusion criterion was a reported ASA grade. Cases were categorized by operation type and disease process. Details on the surgical approach and type of instrumentation were recorded. Major perioperative complications and deaths were evaluated. Two large subgroups—patients with adult degenerative lumbar disease and patients with major deformity—were also analyzed separately. Statistical analyses were performed with the chi-square test.

Results

The population studied comprised 22,857 patients. Spinal disease included degenerative disease (9409 cases), scoliosis (6782 cases), spondylolisthesis (2144 cases), trauma (1314 cases), kyphosis (831 cases), and other (2377 cases). The overall complication rate was 8.4%. Complication rates for ASA Grades 1 through 5 were 5.4%, 9.0%, 14.4%, 20.3%, and 50.0%, respectively (p = 0.001). In patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar diseases and major adult deformity, similarly increasing rates of morbidity were found in higher-grade patients. The mortality rate was also higher in higher-grade patients. The incidence of major complications, including wound infections, hematomas, respiratory problems, and thromboembolic events, was also greater in patients with higher ASA grades.

Conclusions

Patients with higher ASA grades undergoing spinal surgery had significantly higher rates of morbidity than those with lower ASA grades. Given the common application of the ASA system to surgical patients, this grade may prove helpful for surgical decision making and preoperative counseling with regard to risks of morbidity and mortality.

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Manish K. Kasliwal, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Leah Y. Carreon, Steven D. Glassman, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Kai-Ming G. Fu and Keith H. Bridwell

Object

In many adults with scoliosis, symptoms can be principally referable to focal pathology and can be addressed with short-segment procedures, such as decompression with or without fusion. A number of patients subsequently require more extensive scoliosis correction. However, there is a paucity of data on the impact of prior short-segment surgeries on the outcome of subsequent major scoliosis correction, which could be useful in preoperative counseling and surgical decision making. The authors' objective was to assess whether prior focal decompression or short-segment fusion of a limited portion of a larger spinal deformity impacts surgical parameters and clinical outcomes in patients who subsequently require more extensive scoliosis correction surgery.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort analysis with propensity scoring, based on a prospective multicenter deformity database. Study inclusion criteria included a patient age ≥ 21 years, a primary diagnosis of untreated adult idiopathic or degenerative scoliosis with a Cobb angle ≥ 20°, and available clinical outcome measures at a minimum of 2 years after scoliosis surgery. Patients with prior short-segment surgery (< 5 levels) were propensity matched to patients with no prior surgery based on patient age, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Cobb angle, and sagittal vertical axis.

Results

Thirty matched pairs were identified. Among those patients who had undergone previous spine surgery, 30% received instrumentation, 40% underwent arthrodesis, and the mean number of operated levels was 2.4 ± 0.9 (mean ± SD). As compared with patients with no history of spine surgery, those who did have a history of prior spine surgery trended toward greater blood loss and an increased number of instrumented levels and did not differ significantly in terms of complication rates, duration of surgery, or clinical outcome based on the ODI, Scoliosis Research Society-22r, or 12-Item Short Form Health Survey Physical Component Score (p > 0.05).

Conclusions

Patients with adult scoliosis and a history of short-segment spine surgery who later undergo more extensive scoliosis correction do not appear to have significantly different complication rates or clinical improvements as compared with patients who have not had prior short-segment surgical procedures. These findings should serve as a basis for future prospective study.

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Charles A. Sansur, Robert C. Frysinger, Nader Pouratian, Kai-Ming Fu, Markus Bittl, Rod J. Oskouian, Edward R. Laws and W. Jeffrey Elias

Object

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is the most significant complication associated with the placement of stereotactic intracerebral electrodes. Previous reports have suggested that hypertension and the use of microelectrode recording (MER) are risk factors for cerebral hemorrhage. The authors evaluated the incidence of symptomatic ICH in a large cohort of patients with various diseases treated with stereotactic electrode placement. They examined the effect of comorbidities on the risk of ICH and independently assessed the risks associated with age, sex, use of MER, diagnosis, target location, hypertension, and previous use of anticoagulant medications. The authors also evaluated the effect of hemorrhage on length of hospital stay and discharge disposition.

Methods

Between 1991 and 2005, 567 electrodes were placed by two neurosurgeons during 337 procedures in 259 patients. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) was performed in 167 procedures, radiofrequency lesioning (RFL) of subcortical structures in 74, and depth electrodes were used in 96 procedures in patients with epilepsy. Electrodes were grouped according to target, patient diagnosis, use of MER, patient history of hypertension, and patient prior use of anticoagulant medication (stopped 10 days before surgery). The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) was used to evaluate the effect of comorbidities. The CCI score, patient age, length of hospital stay, and discharge status were continuous variables. Symptomatic hemorrhages were grouped as transient or leading to permanent neurological deficits.

Results

The risk of hemorrhage leading to permanent neurological deficits in this study was 0.7%, and the risk of symptomatic hemorrhage was 1.2%. A patient history of hypertension was the most significant factor associated with hemorrhage (p = 0.007). Older age, male sex, and a diagnosis of Parkinson disease (PD) were also significantly associated with hemorrhage (p = 0.01, 0.04, 0.007, respectively). High CCI scores, specific target locations, and prior use of anticoagulant therapy were not associated with an increased risk of hemorrhage. The use of MER was not found to be correlated with an increased hemorrhage rate (p = 0.34); however, the number of hemorrhages in the patients who underwent DBS was insufficient to draw definitive conclusions. The mean length of stay for the DBS, RFL, and depth electrode patient groups was 2.9, 2.6, and 11.0 days, respectively. For patients who received DBS and RFL, the mean duration of hospitalization in cases of symptomatic hemorrhage was 8.2 days compared with 2.7 days in those without hemorrhaging (p < 0.0001). Three of the seven patients with symptomatic hemorrhages were discharged home.

Conclusions

The placement of stereotactic electrodes is generally safe, with a symptomatic hemorrhage rate of 1.2%, and a 0.7% rate of permanent neurological deficit. Consistent with prior reports, this study confirms that hypertension is a significant risk factor for hemorrhage. Age, male sex, and diagnosis of PD were also significant risk factors. Patients with symptomatic hemorrhage had longer hospital stays and were less likely to be discharged home.

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Woojin Cho, Jonathan R. Mason, Justin S. Smith, Adam L. Shimer, Adam S. Wilson, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Francis H. Shen, Wendy M. Novicoff, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Joshua E. Heller and Vincent Arlet

Object

Lumbopelvic fixation provides biomechanical support to the base of the long constructs used for adult spinal deformity. However, the failure rate of the lumbopelvic fixation and its risk factors are not well known. The authors' objective was to report the failure rate and risk factors for lumbopelvic fixation in long instrumented spinal fusion constructs performed for adult spinal deformity.

Methods

This retrospective review included 190 patients with adult spinal deformity who had long construct instrumentation (> 6 levels) with iliac screws. Patients' clinical and radiographic data were analyzed. The patients were divided into 2 groups: a failure group and a nonfailure group. A minimum 2-year follow-up was required for inclusion in the nonfailure group. In the failure group, all patients were included in the study regardless of whether the failure occurred before or after 2 years. In both groups, the patients who needed a revision for causes other than lumbopelvic fixation (for example, proximal junctional kyphosis) were also excluded. Failures were defined as major and minor. Major failures included rod breakage between L-4 and S-1, failure of S-1 screws (breakage, halo formation, or pullout), and prominent iliac screws requiring removal. Minor failures included rod breakage between S-1 and iliac screws and failure of iliac screws. Minor failures did not require revision surgery. Multiple clinical and radiographic values were compared between major failures and nonfailures.

Results

Of 190 patients, 67 patients met inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. The overall failure rate was 34.3%; 8 patients had major failure (11.9%) and 15 had minor failure (22.4%). Major failure occurred at a statistically significant greater rate in patients who had undergone previous lumbar surgery, had greater pelvic incidence, and had poor restoration of lumbar lordosis and/or sagittal balance (that is, undercorrection). Patients with a greater number of comorbidities and preoperative coronal imbalance showed trends toward an increase in major failures, although these trends did not reach statistical significance. Age, sex, body mass index, smoking history, number of fusion segments, fusion grade, and several other radiographic values were not shown to be associated with an increased risk of major failure. Seventy percent of patients in the major failure group had anterior column support (anterior lumbar interbody fusion or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) while 80% of the nonfailure group had anterior column support.

Conclusions

The incidence of overall failure was 34.3%, and the incidence of clinically significant major failure of lumbopelvic fixation after long construct fusion for adult spinal deformity was 11.9%. Risk factors for major failures are a large pelvic incidence, revision surgery, and failure to restore lumbar lordosis and sagittal balance. Surgeons treating adult spinal deformity who use lumbopelvic fixation should pay special attention to restoring optimal sagittal alignment to prevent lumbopelvic fixation failure.

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Charles A. Sansur, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Rod J. Oskouian Jr., Jay Jagannathan, Charles Kuntz iv and Christopher I. Shaffrey

✓ Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory rheumatic disease whose primary effect is on the axial skeleton, causing sagittal-plane deformity at both the thoracolumbar and cervicothoracic junctions. In the present review article the authors discuss current concepts in the preoperative planning of patients with AS. The authors also review current techniques used to treat sagittal-plane deformity, focusing on pedicle subtraction osteotomy at the thoracolumbar junction, as well as cervical extension osteotomy at the cervicothoracic junction.