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Yuzuru Takahashi, Kazuhisa Takahashi and Hideshige Moriya

✓ Previous dermatome drawings have been developed on the basis of investigations in humans and thus differ among investigators. The authors recently reported detailed dermatomes of the rat hindlimb that were mapped by electrical stimulation of spinal nerves and observation of plasma extravasation in the corresponding skin. In this paper a new human dermatome chart is proposed that has been reconstructed from rat dermatomes; the accuracy of previously reported dermatomes is also discussed. These newly defined dermatomes are arranged as serial semicircles, not as bands extending spirally from the low back down to the lower extremity as shown by Keegan. The posterior pattern differs markedly from that of any previously described charts in that the S-2 dermatome is “interposed” within the S-1 dermatome. This study clarifies the basic arrangement of lower-extremity dermatomes. Based on the present chart, it is concluded that Bonica's dermatomes are the most accurate among those previously reported.

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Yuzuru Takahashi, Tatsuo Morinaga, Shin-Ichiro Nakamura, Kaoru Suseki, Kazuhisa Takahashi and Yoshio Nakajima

✓ This study was designed to investigate neural mechanisms of referred pain in lumbar intervertebral disc lesions. Patients with a degenerative disc in lower lumbar segments occasionally complain of groin pain, which cannot be explained anatomically as having a radicular origin.

In rats pretreated with intravenous application of Evans blue dye, the dye extravasation appeared in the groin skin after application of capsaicin to the ventral portion of the L5–6 intervertebral disc. This response occurred even in rats with a sectioned L-5 spinal nerve and sympathetic trunks, but did not occur in rats with a sectioned genitofemoral nerve. Capsaicin topically applied to the sciatic nerve did not cause dye extravasation in the hindpaw. Therefore, groin dye extravasation was not due to a direct effect of capsaicin but, rather, presumably was caused by an “antidromic axon reflex” of dichotomizing C fibers or to a segmental sympathetic reflex causing vascular permeability.

The present results indicate that the ventral portion of the lumbar discs is neurally connected to the groin skin via the upper (L-2) lumbar spinal nerves in rats. Groin pain coincident with low-back pain may be explained as referred pain, indicating that a lesion is present in the ventral portion of the lumbar intervertebral disc space.

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Yasuchika Aoki, Masatsune Yamagata, Yoshikazu Ikeda, Fumitake Nakajima, Seiji Ohtori, Koichi Nakagawa, Arata Nakajima, Tomoaki Toyone, Sumihisa Orita and Kazuhisa Takahashi

Object

Many surgeons currently prefer to use transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), placing 1 unilateral pedicle screw (PS) and 1 cage. However, no study has examined whether unilateral fixation improves surgical outcome. The authors conducted a prospective randomized controlled trial with a minimum 2-year follow-up to analyze TLIF outcomes for 2 techniques: placement of a unilateral PS and a cage compared with placement of bilateral PSs and 2 cages.

Methods

Fifty patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing single-level TLIF were randomly assigned to receive either unilateral or bilateral fixation. Parameters compared between the groups were surgical invasiveness, severity of intermittent claudication, pre- and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores (from 0 to 10 for back pain, lower-extremity pain, and lower-extremity numbness), postoperative disability scores for lumbar spinal disorders (Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire [JOABPEQ]), and fusion rates.

Results

The mean operative time for TLIF was significantly (p = 0.05) shorter and mean estimated blood loss was significantly lower in the unilateral than in the bilateral group. Intermittent claudication improved in response to each technique, but there was no significant intergroup difference. The unilateral group had a nonsignificant tendency toward less improvement in VAS score for back pain (1.5 vs 3.7 for the bilateral group) and exhibited significantly less improvement in VAS score for lower-extremity pain (2.1 vs 5.1, respectively) and numbness (1.7 vs 4.4). There were no significant differences between the groups in postsurgical scores for all 5 items of the JOABPEQ. The fusion rates were 87.5% (21 of 24 patients) in the unilateral group and 95.7% (22 of 23) in the bilateral group.

Conclusions

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion involving unilateral PS fixation and a single-cage technique is less invasive than a 2-cage technique and bilateral fixation, and it improved patients' symptoms. However, it resulted in less improvement in back pain, lower-extremity pain, and lower-extremity numbness. When considering unilateral PS fixation and a single cage, the surgeon should be aware of the potential limitations of this technique. Clinical trial registration no.: UMIN000007833 (UMIN).

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Sei Yano, Yasuchika Aoki, Atsuya Watanabe, Takayuki Nakajima, Makoto Takazawa, Hiroyuki Hirasawa, Kazuhisa Takahashi, Koichi Nakagawa, Arata Nakajima, Hiroshi Takahashi, Sumihisa Orita, Yawara Eguchi, Takane Suzuki and Seiji Ohtori

Pelvic ring fractures are defined as life-threatening injuries that can be treated surgically with external or internal fixation. The authors report on an 81-year-old woman with an unstable pelvic fracture accompanying multiple traumas that was successfully treated with a less invasive procedure. The patient was injured in a traffic accident and sustained a total of 20 fractures, including pelvic ring, bilateral rib, and lumbar transverse processes fractures, and multiple fractures of both upper and lower extremities. The pelvic ring fracture was unstable with fractures of the bilateral sacrum with right sacroiliac disruption, right superior and inferior pubic rami, left superior pubic ramus, and ischium. During emergency surgery, bilateral external fixation was applied to the iliac crest to stabilize the pelvic ring. Second and third surgeries were performed 11 and 18 days after the first emergency surgery, respectively, to treat the multiple fractures. At the third surgery, the pelvic ring fracture was stabilized surgically using a less invasive posterior fixation technique. In this technique, 2 iliac screws were inserted on each side following an 8-cm midline posterior incision from the S-1 to S-3 spinous process, with the subcutaneous tissue detached from the fascia of the paraspinal muscles. The S-2 spinous process was removed and 2 rods were connected to bilateral iliac screws to stabilize the bilateral ilium in a switchback fashion. A crosslink device was applied to connect the 2 rods at the base of the S-2 spinous process. Following pelvic fixation, percutaneous pedicle screws were inserted into L-4 and L-5 vertebral bodies on both sides, and connected to the cranial rod connecting the bilateral iliac screws, thus completing the lumbopelvic fixation. The postoperative course was favorable with no postoperative complications. At the 10-month follow-up, bone union had been achieved at the superior ramus of the pubis, the patient did not complain of pain, and her activities of daily life returned to preinjury status. Unstable pelvic ring fractures need to be sufficiently stabilized for good surgical outcome. However, to avoid postoperative complications, a less invasive treatment is preferred, particularly in cases with poor general condition. This procedure is less invasive and provides sufficient stabilization to the unstable pelvic ring fracture, and thus is the ideal surgical procedure for such cases.

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Koichi Hayashi, Masayuki Hashimoto, Masao Koda, Atsuhiko T. Naito, Atsushi Murata, Akihiko Okawa, Kazuhisa Takahashi and Masashi Yamazaki

Object

Clinical use of autologous induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could circumvent immune rejection and bioethical issues associated with embryonic stem cells. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating trauma with long-lasting disability, and current therapeutic approaches are not satisfactory. In the present study, the authors used the neural stem sphere (NSS) method to differentiate iPSCs into astrocytes, which were evaluated after their transplantation into injured rat spinal cords.

Methods

Induced pluripotent stem cell–derived astrocytes were differentiated using the NSS method and injected 3 and 7 days after spinal contusion–based SCI. Control rats were injected with DMEM in the same manner. Locomotor recovery was assessed for 8 weeks, and sensory and locomotion tests were evaluated at 8 weeks. Immunohistological parameters were then assessed.

Results

Transplant recipients lived for 8 weeks without tumor formation. Transplanted cells stretched their processes along the longitudinal axis, but they did not merge with the processes of host GFAP-positive astrocytes. Locomotion was assessed in 3 ways, but none of the tests detected statistically significant improvements compared with DMEM-treated control rats after 8 weeks. Rather, iPSC transplantation caused even greater sensitivity to mechanical stimulus than DMEM treatment.

Conclusions

Astrocytes can be generated by serum treatment of NSS-generated cells derived from iPSCs. However, transplantation of such cells is poorly suited for repairing SCI.

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Satoshi Maki, Masaaki Aramomi, Yusuke Matsuura, Takeo Furuya, Mitsutoshi Ota, Yasushi Iijima, Junya Saito, Takane Suzuki, Chikato Mannoji, Kazuhisa Takahashi, Masashi Yamazaki and Masao Koda

OBJECTIVE

Fusion surgery with instrumentation is a widely accepted treatment for cervical spine pathologies. The authors propose a novel technique for subaxial cervical fusion surgery using paravertebral foramen screws (PVFS). The authors consider that PVFS have equal or greater biomechanical strength than lateral mass screws (LMS). The authors’ goals of this study were to conduct a biomechanical study of PVFS, to investigate the suitability of PVFS as salvage fixation for failed LMS, and to describe this novel technique.

METHODS

The authors harvested 24 human cervical spine vertebrae (C3–6) from 6 fresh-frozen cadaver specimens from donors whose mean age was 84.3 ± 10.4 years at death. For each vertebra, one side was chosen randomly for PVFS and the other for LMS. For PVFS, a 3.2-mm drill with a stopper was advanced under lateral fluoroscopic imaging. The drill stopper was set to 12 mm, which was considered sufficiently short not to breach the transverse foramen. The drill was directed from 20° to 25° medially so that the screw could purchase the relatively hard cancellous bone around the entry zone of the pedicle. The hole was tapped and a 4.5-mm-diameter × 12-mm screw was inserted. For LMS, 3.5-mm-diameter × 14-mm screws were inserted into the lateral mass of C3–6. The pullout strength of each screw was measured. After pullout testing of LMS, a drill was inserted into the screw hole and the superior cortex of the lateral mass was pried to cause a fracture through the screw hole, simulating intraoperative fracture of the lateral mass. After the procedure, PVFS for salvage (sPVFS) were inserted on the same side and pullout strength was measured.

RESULTS

The CT scans obtained after screw insertion revealed no sign of pedicle breaching, violation of the transverse foramen, or fracture of the lateral mass. A total of 69 screws were tested (23 PVFS, 23 LMS, and 23 sPVFS). One vertebra was not used because of a fracture that occurred while the specimen was prepared. The mean bone mineral density of the specimens was 0.29 ± 0.10 g/cm3. The mean pullout strength was 234 ± 114 N for PVFS, 158 ± 91 N for LMS, and 195 ± 125 N for sPVFS. The pullout strength for PVFS tended to be greater than that for LMS. However, the difference was not quite significant (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors introduce a novel fixation technique for the subaxial cervical spine. This study suggests that PVFS tend to provide stronger fixation than LMS for initial applications and fixation equal to LMS for salvage applications. If placement of LMS fails, PVFS can serve as a salvage fixation technique.

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Yasuchika Aoki, Masatsune Yamagata, Fumitake Nakajima, Yoshikazu Ikeda, Koh Shimizu, Masakazu Yoshihara, Junichi Iwasaki, Tomoaki Toyone, Koichi Nakagawa, Arata Nakajima, Kazuhisa Takahashi and Seiji Ohtori

Object

Because the authors encountered 4 cases of hardware migration following transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, a retrospective study was conducted to identify factors influencing the posterior migration of fusion cages.

Methods

Patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease (125 individuals; 144 disc levels) were treated using transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and followed for 12–33 months. Medical records and pre- and postoperative radiographs were reviewed, and factors influencing the incidence of cage migration were analyzed.

Results

Postoperative cage migration was found in 4 patients at or before 3 months. Because all the cages that migrated postoperatively were bullet-shaped (Capstone), only these cages were analyzed. The analysis of preoperative radiographs revealed that higher posterior disc height ([PDH] ≥ 6 mm) significantly increased the incidence of postoperative cage migration, but percent slippage, translation, range of motion, and Cobb angle did not. The incidence of cage migration in patients with unilateral fixation (3 [8.3%] of 36) was not significantly different from that in patients with bilateral fixation (1 [2.1%] of 48). Patients who had scoliotic curvature with a Cobb angle > 10° when treated with unilateral fixation demonstrated a tendency to have more frequent postoperative cage migration than patients treated with bilateral fixation.

To examine the influence of the height of fusion cages, a value obtained by subtracting preoperative anterior disc height (ADH) or PDH from cage height was defined as “Cage height – ADH” (or “Cage height –PDH”). The analysis revealed that the value for “Cage height –ADH” as well as “Cage height –PDH” was significantly lower in migrated levels than in nonmigrated levels, suggesting that the choice of undersized cages may increase the incidence of cage migration.

Conclusions

The results suggest that the use of a bullet-shaped cage, higher PDH, the presence of scoliotic curvature, and undersized fusion cages are possible risk factors for cage migration. One patient with postoperative cage migration following bilateral screw fixation underwent revision surgery, and the pedicle screw fixation was found to be disrupted. Other than in this patient, cage migration occurred only in those treated by unilateral fixation. The potential for postoperative cage migration and limitations of unilateral fixation should be considered by spine surgeons.

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Yawara Eguchi, Masaki Norimoto, Munetaka Suzuki, Ryota Haga, Hajime Yamanaka, Hiroshi Tamai, Tatsuya Kobayashi, Sumihisa Orita, Miyako Suzuki, Kazuhide Inage, Hirohito Kanamoto, Koki Abe, Tomotaka Umimura, Takashi Sato, Yasuchika Aoki, Atsuya Watanabe, Masao Koda, Takeo Furuya, Junichi Nakamura, Tsutomu Akazawa, Kazuhisa Takahashi and Seiji Ohtori

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between vertebral bodies, psoas major morphology, and the course of lumbar nerve tracts using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) before lateral interbody fusion (LIF) to treat spinal deformities.

METHODS

DTI findings in a group of 12 patients (all women, mean age 74.3 years) with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) were compared with those obtained in a matched control group of 10 patients (all women, mean age 69.8 years) with low-back pain but without scoliosis. A T2-weighted sagittal view was fused to tractography from L3 to L5 and separated into 6 zones (zone A, zones 1–4, and zone P) comprising equal quarters of the anteroposterior diameters, and anterior and posterior to the vertebral body, to determine the distribution of nerves at various intervertebral levels (L3–4, L4–5, and L5–S1). To determine psoas morphology, the authors examined images for a rising psoas sign at the level of L4–5, and the ratio of the anteroposterior diameter (AP) to the lateral diameter (lat), or AP/lat ratio, was calculated. They assessed the relationship between apical vertebrae, psoas major morphology, and the course of nerve tracts.

RESULTS

Although only 30% of patients in the control group showed a rising psoas sign, it was present in 100% of those in the DLS group. The psoas major was significantly extended on the concave side (AP/lat ratio: 2.1 concave side, 1.2 convex side). In 75% of patients in the DLS group, the apex of the curve was at L2 or higher (upper apex) and the psoas major was extended on the concave side. In the remaining 25%, the apex was at L3 or lower (lower apex) and the psoas major was extended on the convex side. Significant anterior shifts of lumbar nerves compared with controls were noted at each intervertebral level in patients with DLS. Nerves on the extended side of the psoas major were significantly shifted anteriorly. Nerve pathways on the convex side of the scoliotic curve were shifted posteriorly.

CONCLUSIONS

A significant anterior shift of lumbar nerves was noted at all intervertebral levels in patients with DLS in comparison with findings in controls. On the convex side, the nerves showed a posterior shift. In LIF, a convex approach is relatively safer than an approach from the concave side. Lumbar nerve course tracking with DTI is useful for assessing patients with DLS before LIF.