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Khalil Salame, Georges E. R. Ouaknine, Nissim Razon, and Semion Rochkind

Object

Cage devices were introduced in spinal fusion to overcome the shortcomings of autograft, allograft, and biocompatible implants. The aim of this study was to assess the short-term results of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in which an interbody carbon fiber cage (CFC) and local osteophyte–derived bone graft were implanted.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted of 100 consecutive patients treated by ACDF in which a CFC was packed with bone fragments obtained from osteophytes at the surgical site. Plain radiographs with dynamic lateral views obtained 1 year postoperatively were used to assess bone fusion, alignment of the cervical spine, and stability. Dynamic radiographs were also obtained at last follow up to determine whether loss of cervical alignment or collapse at the fused disc had occurred.

The mean follow-up period was 25 months. In all cases the cervical lordosis was maintained or corrected to different extents and disc height was restored. Solid fusion was achieved in 98% of the cases. There were no cage-related complications and no cases of cage failure.

Conclusions

The authors conclude that application of the CFC for ACDF is safe, effective, and technically feasible. Osteophytes resected during surgery may be a good alternative material for bone grafting in cage-assisted cervical interbody fusion.

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Zvi Lidar, Shlomi Constantini, Gilad J. Regev, and Khalil Salame

Postlaminectomy cervical kyphosis is one of the most challenging entities in spine surgery. Correction of this deformity usually requires anterior fusion with plating and a strut graft or interbody cage and posterior fusion with screws and rods. The situation is more complicated in the young child because fusion may affect future growth of the cervical spine. There is also a paucity of adequate instrumentation for the small bony structures. Some authors have reported utilization of absorbable cervical plates for fusion in pediatric patients with favorable results.

The authors present a modified surgical technique that was used for circumferential fusion in a 2-year-old girl with cervical kyphosis and recurrent neurofibroma. Anterior fusion was performed using an autologous rib graft and an absorbable cervical plate. This was followed by posterior fusion using rib bone and cables. Previous reports on the use of absorbable cervical plates are reviewed and the advantages of the current technique are discussed.

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Khalil Salame, Yoram Segev, Dan M. Fliss, and Georges E. Ouaknine

Posttraumatic cranio-orbital cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula is very rare. Diagnosis of these fistulas may be difficult, and it is possible that this complication of craniofacial injury is underdiagnosed. Early recognition and adequate treatment is of paramount importance to prevent hazardous complications. The authors report the case of a 20-year-old woman in whom a CSF leak developed through the medial canthus area of her eye after she sustained a mild sports-related injury. Clinical examination and chemical analysis of the fluid led to the correct diagnosis, and the leak was stopped with conservative treatment. It is proposed that a CSF leak through the eye be termed “oculorrhea” as compared with otorrhea and rhinorrhea. The mechanism of the fistula in this patient is discussed, as is the pertinent radiologically demonstrated anatomy and the mechanism of injury. Management and controversies are also discussed.

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Eyal Behrbalk, Khalil Salame, Gilad J. Regev, Ory Keynan, Bronek Boszczyk, and Zvi Lidar

Object

A retrospective study analyzing medical files of patients who had undergone surgical management for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) at a single tertiary hospital was performed to determine the time needed by community care physicians to reach a diagnosis of CSM in patients presenting with typical myelopathic signs and symptoms, and to establish the reasons for the delayed diagnosis when present.

Previous studies have documented that early diagnosis and surgical treatment of CSM may improve patients' neurological as well as general outcome. However, patients complaining of symptoms compatible with CSM may undergo lengthy medical investigations and treatments by community-based physicians before a correct diagnosis is made. The authors have found no published data on the process and time frame involved in attaining a diagnosis of CSM in the community setting.

Methods

The medical records of 42 patients were retrospectively reviewed for demographic data, symptoms, time to diagnosis, physician specialty, number of visits involved in the diagnostic process, and neurological status prior to surgery.

Results

The mean time delay from initiation of symptoms to diagnosis of CSM was 2.2 ± 2.3 years. The majority of symptomatic patients (90.4%) initially presented to a family practitioner (69%) or an orthopedic surgeon (21.4%), with fewer patients (9.6%) referring to other disciplines (for example, the emergency department) for initial care. In contrast, the diagnosis of CSM was most often made by neurosurgeons (38.1%) and neurologists (28.6%), and less frequently by orthopedic surgeons (19%) or family physicians (4.8%).

Conclusions

The diagnosis of CSM in the community is frequently delayed, leading to late referral for surgery. A higher index of suspicion for this debilitating entity is required from family practitioners and community-based orthopedic surgeons to prevent neurological sequelae.

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Ori Barzilai, Zvi Lidar, Shlomi Constantini, Khalil Salame, Yifat Bitan-Talmor, and Akiva Korn

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) represent a rare entity, accounting for 4%–10% of all central nervous system tumors. Microsurgical resection of IMSCTs is currently considered the primary treatment modality. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) has been shown to aid in maximizing tumor resection and minimizing neurological morbidity, consequently improving patient outcome. The gold standard for IONM to date is multimodality monitoring, consisting of both somatosensory evoked potentials, as well as muscle-based transcranial electric motor evoked potentials (tcMEPs). Monitoring of tcMEPs is optimal when combining transcranial electrically stimulated muscle tcMEPs with D-wave monitoring. Despite continuous monitoring of these modalities, when classic monitoring techniques are used, there can be an inherent delay in time between actual structural or vascular-based injury to the corticospinal tracts (CSTs) and its revelation. Often, tcMEP stimulation is precluded by the surgeon’s preference that the patient not twitch, especially at the most crucial times during resection. In addition, D-wave monitoring may require a few seconds of averaging until updating, and can be somewhat indiscriminate to laterality. Therefore, a method that will provide immediate information regarding the vulnerability of the CSTs is still needed.

The authors performed a retrospective series review of resection of IMSCTs using the tip of an ultrasonic aspirator for continuous proximity mapping of the motor fibers within the spinal cord, along with classic muscle-based tcMEP and D-wave monitoring.

The authors present their preliminary experience with 6 patients who underwent resection of an IMSCT using the tip of an ultrasonic aspirator for continuous proximity mapping of the motor fibers within the spinal cord, together with classic muscle-based tcMEP and D-wave monitoring. This fusion of technologies can potentially assist in optimizing resection while preserving neurological function in these challenging surgeries.

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Khalil Salame, Shimon Maimon, Gilad J. Regev, Tali Jonas Kimchi, Akiva Korn, Laurence Mangel, and Zvi Lidar

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative embolization is performed before spine tumor surgery when significant intraoperative hemorrhage is anticipated. Occlusion of radicular and segmental arteries may result in spinal ischemia. The goal of this study was to check whether neurophysiological monitoring during preoperative angiography in patients scheduled for total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) of spine tumors improves the safety of vessel occlusion.

METHODS

This was a case series study of patients who underwent tumor embolization under somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) and motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring in preparation for TES in treating spine tumors. The angiography findings, the embolized vessels, and the results are presented.

RESULTS

Five patients whose ages ranged from 33 to 75 years and who had thoracic spine tumors are reported. Four patients suffered from primary tumor and 1 patient had a metastatic tumor. Radicular arteries at the tumor level, 1 level above, and 1 level below were permanently occluded when SSEPs and MEPs were preserved during temporary occlusion. No complications were encountered during or after the angiography procedure and embolization.

CONCLUSIONS

Temporary occlusion with electrophysiological monitoring during preoperative angiography may improve the safety of permanent radicular artery occlusion, including the artery of Adamkiewicz in patients undergoing TES for the treatment of spine tumors.

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Assaf Berger, Laurence Mangel, Sharif Basal, Zvi Lidar, Gilad J Regev, Morsi Khashan, Dror Ofir, and Khalil Salame

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for foot drop secondary to lumbar degenerative disease is not always associated with postoperative functional improvement. It is still unclear whether early decompression results in better functional recovery and how soon surgery should be performed. This study aimed to evaluate predicting factors that affect short- and long-term recovery outcomes and to explore the relationship between timing of lumbar decompression and recovery from foot drop in an attempt to identify a cutoff time from symptom onset until decompression for optimal functional improvement.

METHODS

The authors collected demographic, clinical, and radiographic data on patients who underwent surgery for foot drop due to lumbar degenerative disease. Clinical data included tibialis anterior muscle (TAM) strength before and after surgery, duration of preoperative motor weakness, and duration of radicular pain until surgery. TAM strength was recorded at the immediate postoperative period and 1 month after surgery while long-term follow-up on functional outcomes were obtained at ≥ 2 years postsurgery by telephone interview. Data including degree and duration of preoperative motor weakness as well as the occurrence of pain and its duration were collected to analyze their impact on short- and long-term outcomes.

RESULTS

The majority of patients (70%) showed functional improvement within 1 month postsurgery and 40% recovered to normal or near-normal strength. Univariate analysis revealed a trend toward lower improvement rates in patients with preoperative weakness of more than 3 weeks (33%) compared with patients who were operated on earlier (76.5%, p = 0.034). In a multivariate analysis, the only significant predictor for maximal strength recovery was TAM strength before surgery (OR 6.80, 95% CI 1.38–33.42, p = 0.018). Maximal recovery by 1 month after surgery was significantly associated with sustained long-term functional improvement (p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Early surgery may improve the recovery rate in patients with foot drop caused by lumbar degenerative disease, yet the strongest predictor for the extent of recovery is the severity of preoperative TAM weakness. Maximal recovery in the short-term postoperative period is associated with sustained long-term functional improvement and independence.