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David S. Xu, Konrad Bach and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive anterior and lateral approaches to the lumbar spine are increasingly used to treat and reduce grade I spondylolisthesis, but concerns still exist for their usage in the management of higher-grade lesions. The authors report their experience with this strategy for grade II spondylolisthesis in a single-surgeon case series and provide early clinical and radiographic outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a single surgeon’s cases between 2012 and 2016 identified all patients with a Meyerding grade II lumbar spondylolisthesis who underwent minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) or anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) targeting the slipped level. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic data were collected and analyzed. Changes in radiographic measurements, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and visual analog scale (VAS) scores were compared using the paired t-test and Wilcoxon signed rank test for continuous and ordinal variables, respectively.

RESULTS

The average operative time was 199.1 minutes (with 60.6 ml of estimated blood loss) for LLIFs and 282.1 minutes (with 106.3 ml of estimated blood loss), for ALIFs. Three LLIF patients had transient unilateral anterior thigh numbness during the 1st week after surgery, and 1 ALIF patient had transient dorsiflexion weakness, which was resolved at postoperative week 1. The mean follow-up time was 17.6 months (SD 12.5 months) for LLIF patients and 10 months (SD 3.1 months) for ALIF patients. Complete reduction of the spondylolisthesis was achieved in 12 LLIF patients (75.0%) and 7 ALIF patients (87.5%). Across both procedures, there was an increase in both the segmental lordosis (LLIF 5.6°, p = 0.002; ALIF 15.0°, p = 0.002) and overall lumbar lordosis (LLIF 2.9°, p = 0.151; ALIF 5.1°, p = 0.006) after surgery. Statistically significant decreases in the mean VAS and the mean ODI measurements were seen in both treatment groups. The VAS and ODI scores fell by a mean value of 3.9 (p = 0.002) and 19.8 (p = 0.001), respectively, for LLIF patients and 3.8 (p = 0.02) and 21.0 (p = 0.03), respectively, for ALIF patients at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Early clinical and radiographic results from using minimally invasive LLIF and ALIF approaches to treat grade II spondylolisthesis appear to be good, with low operative blood loss and no neurological deficits. Complete reduction of the spondylolisthesis is frequently possible with a statistically significant reduction in pain scores.

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Armen R. Deukmedjian, Amir Ahmadian, Konrad Bach, Alexandros Zouzias and Juan S. Uribe

Object

Lateral minimally invasive thoracolumbar instrumentation techniques are playing an increasing role in the treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis. However, there is a paucity of data in determining the ideal candidate for a lateral versus a traditional approach, and versus a hybrid construct. The objective of this study is to present a method for utilizing the lateral minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approach for adult spinal deformity, provide clinical outcomes to validate our experience, and determine the limitations of lateral MIS for adult degenerative scoliosis correction.

Methods

Radiographic and clinical data were collected for patients who underwent surgical correction of adult degenerative scoliosis between 2007 and 2012. Patients were retrospectively classified by degree of deformity based on coronal Cobb angle, central sacral vertical line (CSVL), pelvic incidence, lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), pelvic tilt (PT), presence of comorbidities, bone quality, and curve flexibility. Patients were placed into 1 of 3 groups according to the severity of deformity: “green” (mild), “yellow” (moderate), and “red” (severe). Clinical outcomes were determined by a visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).

Results

Of 256 patients with adult degenerative scoliosis, 174 underwent a variant of the lateral approach. Of these 174 patients, 27 fit the strict inclusion/exclusion criteria (n = 9 in each of the 3 groups). Surgery in 17 patients was dictated by their category, and 10 were treated with surgery outside of their classification. The average age was 61 years old and the mean follow-up duration was 17 months. The green and yellow groups experienced a reduction in coronal Cobb angle (12° and 11°, respectively), and slight changes in CSVL, SVA, and PT, and LL. In the green group, the VAS and ODI improved by 35 and 17 points, respectively, while in the yellow group they improved by 36 and 33 points, respectively. The red subgroup showed a 22° decrease in coronal Cobb angle, 15° increase in LL, and slight changes in PT and SVA. Three patients placed in the yellow subgroup had “green” surgery, and experienced a coronal Cobb angle and LL decrease by 17° and 10°, respectively, and an SVA and PT increase by 1.3 cm and 5°, respectively. Seven patients placed in the red group who underwent “yellow” or “green” surgery had a reduction in coronal Cobb angle of 16°, CSVL of 0.1 cm, SVA of 2.8 cm, PT of 4°, VAS of 28 points, and ODI of 12 points; lumbar lordosis increased by 15°. Perioperative complications included 1 wound infection, transient postoperative thigh numbness in 2 cases, and transient groin pain in 1 patient.

Conclusions

Careful patient selection is important for the application of lateral minimally invasive techniques for adult degenerative scoliosis. Isolated lateral interbody fusion with or without instrumentation is suitable for patients with preserved spinopelvic harmony. Moderate sagittal deformity (compensated with pelvic retroversion) may be addressed with advanced derivatives of the lateral approach, such as releasing the anterior longitudinal ligament. For patients with severe deformity, the lateral approach may be used for anterior column support and to augment arthrodesis.

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Chun-Po Yen, Joshua M. Beckman, Andrew C. Vivas, Konrad Bach and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

The authors investigated whether the presence of intradiscal vacuum phenomenon (IVP) results in greater correction of disc height and restoration of segmental lordosis (SL).

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed on every patient at the University of South Florida's Department of Neurosurgery treated with lateral lumbar interbody fusion between 2011 and 2015. From these charts, preoperative plain radiographs and CT images were reviewed for the presence of IVP. Preoperative and postoperative posterior disc height (PDH), anterior disc height (ADH), and SL were measured at disc levels with IVP and compared with those at disc levels without IVP using the t-test. Linear regression was used to evaluate the factors that predict changes in PDH, ADH, and SL.

RESULTS

One hundred forty patients with 247 disc levels between L-1 and L-5 were treated with lateral lumbar interbody fusion. Among all disc levels treated, the mean PDH increased from 3.69 to 6.66 mm (p = 0.011), the mean ADH increased from 5.45 to 11.53 mm (p < 0.001), and the mean SL increased from 9.59° to 14.55° (p < 0.001). Significantly increased PDH was associated with the presence of IVP, addition of pedicle screws, and lack of cage subsidence; significantly increased ADH was associated with the presence of IVP, anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) release, addition of pedicle screws, and lack of subsidence; and significantly increased SL was associated with the presence of IVP and ALL release.

CONCLUSIONS

IVP in patients with degenerative spinal disease remains grossly underreported. The data from the present study suggest that the presence of IVP results in increased restoration of disc height and SL.

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Jotham C. Manwaring, Konrad Bach, Amir A. Ahmadian, Armen R. Deukmedjian, Donald A. Smith and Juan S. Uribe

Object

Minimally invasive (MI) fusion and instrumentation techniques are playing a new role in the treatment of adult spinal deformity. The open pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO) are proven segmental methods for improving regional lordosis and global sagittal parameters. Recently the MI anterior column release (ACR) was introduced as a segmental method for treating sagittal imbalance. There is a paucity of data in the literature evaluating the alternatives to PSO and SPO for sagittal balance correction.

Thus, the authors conducted a preliminary retrospective radiographic review of prospectively collected data from 2009 to 2012 at a single institution. The objectives of this study were to: 1) investigate the radiographic effect of MI-ACR on spinopelvic parameters, 2) compare the radiographic effect of MI-ACR with PSO and SPO for treatment of adult spinal deformity, and 3) investigate the radiographic effect of percutaneous posterior spinal instrumentation on spinopelvic parameters when combined with MI transpsoas lateral interbody fusion (LIF) for adult spinal deformity.

Methods:

Patient demographics and radiographic data were collected for 36 patients (9 patients who underwent MI-ACR and 27 patients who did not undergo MI-ACR). Patients included in the study were those who had undergone at least a 2-level MI-LIF procedure; adequate preoperative and postoperative 36-inch radiographs of the scoliotic curvature; a separate second-stage procedure for the placement of posterior spinal instrumentation; and a diagnosis of degenerative scoliosis (coronal Cobb angle > 10° and/or sagittal vertebral axis > 5 cm). Statistical analysis was performed for normality and significance testing.

Results

Percutaneous transpedicular spinal instrumentation did not significantly alter any of the spinopelvic parameters in either the ACR group or the non-ACR group. Lateral MI-LIF alone significantly improved coronal Cobb angle by 16°, and the fractional curve significantly improved in a subgroup treated with L5–S1 transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. Fifteen ACRs were performed in 9 patients and resulted in significant coronal Cobb angle correction, lumbar lordosis correction of 16.5°, and sagittal vertebral axis correction of 4.8 cm per patient. Segmental analysis revealed a 12° gain in segmental lumbar lordosis and a 3.1-cm correction of the sagittal vertebral axis per ACR level treated.

Conclusions

The lateral MI-LIF with ACR has the ability to powerfully restore lumbar lordosis and correct sagittal imbalance. This segmental MI surgical technique boasts equivalence to SPO correction of these global radiographic parameters while simultaneously creating additional disc height and correcting coronal imbalance. Addition of posterior percutaneous instrumentation without in situ manipulation or overcorrection does not alter radiographic parameters when combined with the lateral MI-LIF.

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Lawrence G. Lenke

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S. Shelby Burks, Juan S. Uribe, John Paul G. Kolcun, Adisson Fortunel, Jakub Godzik, Konrad Bach and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive techniques are increasingly used in adult deformity surgery as surgeon familiarity improves and long-term data are published. Concerns raised in such cases include pseudarthrosis at levels where interbody grafts are not utilized. Few previous studies have specifically examined the thoracolumbar component of long surgical constructs, which is commonly instrumented without interbody or intertransverse fusion.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients who underwent hybrid minimally invasive deformity corrections in two academic spine centers over a 9-year period. Inclusion criteria were at least 2 rostral levels instrumented percutaneously, ranging from T8 to L1 as the upper end of the construct. Fusion assessment was made using CT when possible or radiography. Common radiographic parameters and clinical variables were assessed pre- and postoperatively.

RESULTS

A total of 36 patients fit the inclusion criteria. Baseline characteristics included a 1:1.8 male/female ratio, average age of 65.7 years, and BMI of 30.2 kg/m2. Follow-up imaging was obtained at a mean of 35.7 months. The average number of levels fused was 7.5, with an average of 3.4 instrumented percutaneously between T8 and L1, representing a total of 120 rostral levels instrumented percutaneously. Fusion assessment was performed using CT in 69 levels and radiography in 51 levels. Among the 120 rostral levels instrumented percutaneously, robust fusion was noted in 25 (20.8%), with 53 (44.2%) exhibiting some evidence of fusion. Pseudarthrosis was noted in 2 rostral segments (1.7%). There were no instances of proximal hardware revision. Eight patients exhibited radiographic proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK; 22.2%), none of whom underwent surgical intervention.

CONCLUSIONS

In the present series of adult patients with scoliosis undergoing thoracolumbar deformity correction, rostral segments instrumented percutaneously have a very low rate of pseudarthrosis, with radiographic evidence of bone fusion occurring in more than 60% of patients. The rate of PJK was acceptable and similar to other published series.