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Laura A. Snyder

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) is a well-accepted procedure with good outcomes. Robotics has the potential to augment these outcomes. This video demonstrates and discusses how surgeons can implement the use of a robotic device in an MIS TLIF workflow. The planning software and robotic arm guidance allow the surgeon to use intraoperative CT to guide the placement of pedicle screws in an MIS TLIF with optimal trajectory and decreased radiation. As robotic technology continues to improve, developing safe workflows that integrate robotics with currently well-established techniques should improve patient outcomes.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/rJWOa6XVLW0.

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Nader Sanai, Laura A. Snyder, Norissa J. Honea, Stephen W. Coons, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Kris A. Smith and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Greater extent of resection (EOR) for patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) corresponds with improved clinical outcome, yet remains a central challenge to the neurosurgical oncologist. Although 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)–induced tumor fluorescence is a strategy that can improve EOR in gliomas, only glioblastomas routinely fluoresce following 5-ALA administration. Intraoperative confocal microscopy adapts conventional confocal technology to a handheld probe that provides real-time fluorescent imaging at up to 1000× magnification. The authors report a combined approach in which intraoperative confocal microscopy is used to visualize 5-ALA tumor fluorescence in LGGs during the course of microsurgical resection.

Methods

Following 5-ALA administration, patients with newly diagnosed LGG underwent microsurgical resection. Intraoperative confocal microscopy was conducted at the following points: 1) initial encounter with the tumor; 2) the midpoint of tumor resection; and 3) the presumed brain-tumor interface. Histopathological analysis of these sites correlated tumor infiltration with intraoperative cellular tumor fluorescence.

Results

Ten consecutive patients with WHO Grades I and II gliomas underwent microsurgical resection with 5-ALA and intraoperative confocal microscopy. Macroscopic tumor fluorescence was not evident in any patient. However, in each case, intraoperative confocal microscopy identified tumor fluorescence at a cellular level, a finding that corresponded to tumor infiltration on matched histological analyses.

Conclusions

Intraoperative confocal microscopy can visualize cellular 5-ALA–induced tumor fluorescence within LGGs and at the brain-tumor interface. To assess the clinical value of 5-ALA for high-grade gliomas in conjunction with neuronavigation, and for LGGs in combination with intraoperative confocal microscopy and neuronavigation, a Phase IIIa randomized placebo-controlled trial (BALANCE) is underway at the authors' institution.

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Laura A. Snyder, Harry Shufflebarger, Michael F. O'Brien, Harjot Thind, Nicholas Theodore and Udaya K. Kakarla

Object

Isthmic spondylolysis can significantly decrease functional abilities, especially in adolescent athletes. Although treatment can range from observation to surgery, direct screw placement through the fractured pars, or Buck's procedure, may be a more minimally invasive procedure than the more common pedicle screw-hook construct.

Methods

Review of surgical databases identified 16 consecutive patients treated with Buck's procedure from 2004 to 2010. Twelve patients were treated at Miami Children's Hospital and 4 at Barrow Neurological Institute. Demographics and clinical and radiographic outcomes were recorded and analyzed retrospectively.

Results

The 16 patients had a median age of 16 years, and 14 were 20 years or younger at the time of treatment. Symptoms included axial back pain in 100% of patients with concomitant radiculopathy in 38%. Pars defects were bilateral in 81% and unilateral in 19% for a total of 29 pars defects treated using Buck's procedure. Autograft or allograft augmented with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein as well as postoperative bracing was used in all cases. Postoperatively, symptoms resolved completely or partially in 15 patients (94%). Of 29 pars defects, healing was observed in 26 (89.6%) prior to 1 revision surgery, and an overall fusion rate of 97% was observed at last radiological follow-up. There were no implant failures. All 8 athletes in this group had returned to play at last follow-up.

Conclusions

Direct screw repair of the pars interarticularis defect as described in this series may provide a more minimally invasive treatment of adolescent patients with satisfactory clinical and radiological outcomes, including return to play of adolescent athletes.

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Jakub Godzik, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, Ram Kumar Menon, Alexander C. Whiting, Brian P. Kelly and Laura A. Snyder

OBJECTIVE

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is commonly used for lumbar fusion, such as for foraminal decompression, stabilization, and improving segmental lordosis. Although many options exist, surgical success is contingent on matching design strengths with surgical goals. The goal in the present study was to investigate the effects of an expandable interbody spacer and 2 traditional static spacer designs in terms of stability, compressive stiffness, foraminal height, and segmental lordosis.

METHODS

Standard nondestructive flexibility tests (7.5 N⋅m) were performed on 8 cadaveric lumbar specimens (L3–S1) to assess intervertebral stability of 3 types of TLIF spacers at L4–5 with bilateral posterior screw-rod (PSR) fixation. Stability was determined as range of motion (ROM) in flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR). Compressive stiffness was determined with axial compressive loading (300 N). Foraminal height, disc height, and segmental lordosis were evaluated using radiographic analysis after controlled PSR compression (170 N). Four conditions were tested in random order: 1) intact, 2) expandable interbody cage with PSR fixation (EC+PSR), 3) static ovoid cage with PSR fixation (SOC+PSR), and 4) static rectangular cage with PSR fixation (SRC+PSR).

RESULTS

All constructs demonstrated greater stability than the intact condition (p < 0.001). No significant differences existed among constructs in ROM (FE, AR, and LB) or compressive stiffness (p ≥ 0.66). The EC+PSR demonstrated significantly greater foraminal height at L4–5 than SRC+PSR (21.1 ± 2.6 mm vs 18.6 ± 1.7 mm, p = 0.009). EC+PSR demonstrated higher anterior disc height than SOC+PSR (14.9 ± 1.9 mm vs 13.6 ± 2.2 mm, p = 0.04) and higher posterior disc height than the intact condition (9.4 ± 1.5 mm vs 7.1 ± 1.0 mm, p = 0.002), SOC+PSR (6.5 ± 1.8 mm, p < 0.001), and SRC+PSR (7.2 ± 1.2 mm, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in segmental lordosis among SOC+PSR (10.1° ± 2.2°), EC+PSR (8.1° ± 0.5°), and SRC+PSR (11.1° ± 3.0°) (p ≥ 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

An expandable interbody spacer provided stability, stiffness, and segmental lordosis comparable to those of traditional nonexpandable spacers of different shapes, with increased foraminal height and greater disc height. These results may help inform decisions about which interbody implants will best achieve surgical goals.

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Laura A. Snyder, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Ram Kumar Menon, Jakub Godzik, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb and Brian P. Kelly

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive transforaminal interbody fusion techniques vary among surgeons. One decision point is whether to perform a unilateral facetectomy (UF), a unilateral facetectomy plus partial contralateral facetectomy (UF/PF), or a complete bilateral facetectomy (CBF). The authors therefore compared the biomechanical benefits of all 3 types of facetectomies to determine which approach produces improved biomechanical outcomes.

METHODS

Seven human cadaveric specimens (L3–S1) were potted and prepped for UF, with full facet removal, hemilaminectomy, discectomy, and pedicle screw placement. After distraction, a fixed interbody spacer was placed, and compression was performed. A final fixation configuration was performed by locking the rods across the screws posteriorly with bilateral compression. Final lordosis angle and change and foraminal height were measured, and standard nondestructive flexibility tests were performed to assess intervertebral range of motion (ROM) and compressive stiffness. The same procedure was followed for UF/PF and CBF in all 7 specimens.

RESULTS

All 3 conditions demonstrated similar ROM and compressive stiffness. No statistically significant differences occurred with distraction, but CBF demonstrated significantly greater change than UF in mean foraminal height after bilateral posterior compression (1.90 ± 0.62 vs 1.00 ± 0.45 mm, respectively, p = 0.04). With compression, the CBF demonstrated significantly greater mean ROM than the UF (2.82° ± 0.83° vs 2.170° ± 1.10°, p = 0.007). The final lordosis angle was greatest with CBF (3.74° ± 0.70°) and lowest with UF (2.68° ± 1.28°). This finding was statistically significant across all 3 conditions (p ≤ 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Although UF/PF and CBF may require slightly more time and effort and incur more risk than UF, the potential improvement in sagittal balance may be worthwhile for select patients.

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Laura A. Snyder, Andrew B. Wolf, Mark E. Oppenlander, Robert Bina, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Lynn Ashby, David Brachman, Stephen W. Coons, Robert F. Spetzler and Nader Sanai

Object

Recent evidence suggests that a greater extent of resection (EOR) extends malignant progression-free survival among patients with low-grade gliomas (LGGs). These studies, however, rely on the combined analysis of oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, and mixed oligoastrocytomas—3 histological subtypes with distinct genetic and molecular compositions. To assess the value of EOR in a homogeneous LGG patient population and delineate its impact on LGG transformation, the authors examined its effect on newly diagnosed supratentorial oligodendrogliomas.

Methods

The authors identified 93 newly diagnosed adult patients with WHO Grade II oligodendrogliomas treated with microsurgical resection at Barrow Neurological Institute. Clinical, laboratory, and radiographic data were collected retrospectively, including 1p/19q codeletion status and volumetric analysis based on T2-weighted MRI.

Results

The median preoperative and postoperative tumor volumes and EOR were 29.0 cm3 (range 1.3–222.7 cm3), 5.2 cm3 (range 0–156.1 cm3), and 85% (range 6%–100%), respectively. Median follow-up was 75.4 months, and there were 14 deaths (15%). Progression and malignant progression were identified in 31 (33%) and 20 (22%) cases, respectively. A greater EOR was associated with longer overall survival (p = 0.005) and progression-free survival (p = 0.004); however, a greater EOR did not prolong the interval to malignant progression, even when controlling for 1p/19q codeletion.

Conclusions

A greater EOR is associated with an improved survival profile for patients with WHO Grade II oligodendrogliomas. However, for this particular LGG patient population, the interval to tumor transformation is not influenced by cytoreduction. These data raise the possibility that the capacity for microsurgical resection to modulate malignant progression is mediated through biological mechanisms specific to nonoligodendroglioma LGG histologies.

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Luis Perez-Orribo, Samuel Kalb, Laura A. Snyder, Forrest Hsu, Devika Malhotra, Richard D. Lefevre, Ali M. Elhadi, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, Nicholas Theodore and Neil R. Crawford

OBJECTIVE

The rule of Spence is inaccurate for assessing integrity of the transverse atlantal ligament (TAL). Because CT is quick and easy to perform at most trauma centers, the authors propose a novel sequence of obtaining 2 CT scans to improve the diagnosis of TAL impairment. The sensitivity of a new CT-based method for diagnosing a TAL injury in a cadaveric model was assessed.

METHODS

Ten human cadaveric occipitocervical specimens were mounted horizontally in a supine posture with wooden inserts attached to the back of the skull to maintain a neutral or flexed (10°) posture. Specimens were scanned in neutral and flexed postures in a total of 4 conditions (3 conditions in each specimen): 1) intact (n = 10); either 2A) after a simulated Jefferson fracture with an intact TAL (n = 5) or 2B) after a TAL disruption with no Jefferson fracture (n = 5); and 3) after TAL disruption and a simulated Jefferson fracture (n = 10). The atlantodental interval (ADI) and cross-sectional canal area were measured.

RESULTS

From the neutral to the flexed posture, ADI increased an average of 2.5% in intact spines, 6.25% after a Jefferson fracture without TAL disruption, 34% after a TAL disruption without fracture, and 25% after TAL disruption with fracture. The increase in ADI was significant with both TAL disruption and TAL disruption and fracture (p < 0.005) but not in the other 2 conditions (p > 0.6). Changes in spinal canal area were not significant (p > 0.70).

CONCLUSIONS

This novel method was more sensitive than the rule of Spence for evaluating the integrity of the TAL on CT and does not increase the risk of further neurological damage.

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Luis Perez-Orribo, Laura A. Snyder, Samuel Kalb, Ali M. Elhadi, Forrest Hsu, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, Devika Malhotra, Neil R. Crawford and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECTIVE

Craniovertebral junction (CVJ) injuries complicated by transverse atlantal ligament (TAL) disruption often require surgical stabilization. Measurements based on the atlantodental interval (ADI), atlas lateral diameter (ALD1), and axis lateral diameter (ALD2) may help clinicians identify TAL disruption. This study used CT scanning to evaluate the reliability of these measurements and other variants in the clinical setting.

METHODS

Patients with CVJ injuries treated at the authors' institution between 2004 and 2011 were evaluated retrospectively for demographics, mechanism and location of CVJ injury, classification of injury, treatment, and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score at the time of injury and follow-up. The integrity of the TAL was evaluated using MRI. The ADI, ALD1, and ALD2 were measured on CT to identify TAL disruption indirectly.

RESULTS

Among the 125 patients identified, 40 (32%) had atlas fractures, 59 (47.2%) odontoid fractures, 31 (24.8%) axis fractures, and 4 (3.2%) occipital condyle fractures. TAL disruption was documented on MRI in 11 cases (8.8%). The average ADI for TAL injury was 1.8 mm (range 0.9–3.9 mm). Nine (81.8%) of the 11 patients with TAL injury had an ADI of less than 3 mm. In 10 patients (90.9%) with TAL injury, overhang of the C-1 lateral masses on C-2 was less than 7 mm. ADI, ALD1, ALD2, ALD1 – ALD2, and ALD1/ALD2 did not correlate with the integrity of the TAL.

CONCLUSIONS

No current measurement method using CT, including the ADI, ALD1, and ALD2 or their differences or ratios, consistently indicates the integrity of the TAL. A more reliable CT-based criterion is needed to diagnose TAL disruption when MRI is unavailable.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Ben Frock, Hai Sun, Kaan Yagmurlu, Felix Moron, Laura A. Snyder, Randy J. Hlubek, Joseph M. Zabramski, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECTIVE

Fusiform cerebral aneurysms represent a small portion of intracranial aneurysms; differ in natural history, anatomy, and pathology; and can be difficult to treat compared with saccular aneurysms. The purpose of this study was to examine the techniques of treatment of ruptured and unruptured fusiform intracranial aneurysms and patient outcomes.

METHODS

In 45 patients with fusiform aneurysms, the authors retrospectively reviewed the presentation, location, and shape of the aneurysm; the microsurgical technique; the outcome at discharge and last follow-up; and the change in the aneurysm at last angiographic follow-up.

RESULTS

Overall, 48 fusiform aneurysms were treated in 45 patients (18 male, 27 female) with a mean age of 49 years (median 51 years; range 6 months–76 years). Twelve patients (27%) had ruptured aneurysms and 33 (73%) had unruptured aneurysms. The mean aneurysm size was 8.9 mm (range 6–28 mm). The aneurysms were treated by clip reconstruction (n = 22 [46%]), clip-wrapping (n = 18 [38%]), and vascular bypass (n = 8 [17%]). The mean (SD) hospital stay was 19.0 ± 7.4 days for the 12 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage and 7.0 ± 5.6 days for the 33 patients with unruptured aneurysms. The mean follow-up was 38.7 ± 29.5 months (median 36 months; range 6–96 months). The mean Glasgow Outcome Scale score for the 12 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage was 3.9; for the 33 patients with unruptured aneurysms, it was 4.8. No rehemorrhages occurred during follow-up. The overall annual risk of recurrence was 2% and that of rehemorrhage was 0%.

CONCLUSIONS

Fusiform and dolichoectatic aneurysms involving the entire vessel wall must be investigated individually. Although some of these aneurysms may be amenable to primary clipping and clip reconstruction, these complex lesions often require alternative microsurgical and endovascular treatment. These techniques can be performed with acceptable morbidity and mortality rates and with low rates of early rebleeding and recurrence.

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Mark E. Oppenlander, Andrew B. Wolf, Laura A. Snyder, Robert Bina, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Stephen W. Coons, Lynn S. Ashby, David Brachman, Peter Nakaji, Randall W. Porter, Kris A. Smith, Robert F. Spetzler and Nader Sanai

Object

Despite improvements in the medical and surgical management of patients with glioblastoma, tumor recurrence remains inevitable. For recurrent glioblastoma, however, the clinical value of a second resection remains uncertain. Specifically, what proportion of contrast-enhancing recurrent glioblastoma tissue must be removed to improve overall survival and what is the neurological cost of incremental resection beyond this threshold?

Methods

The authors identified 170 consecutive patients with recurrent supratentorial glioblastomas treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute from 2001 to 2011. All patients previously had a de novo glioblastoma and following their initial resection received standard temozolomide and fractionated radiotherapy.

Results

The mean clinical follow-up was 22.6 months and no patient was lost to follow-up. At the time of recurrence, the median preoperative tumor volume was 26.1 cm3. Following re-resection, median postoperative tumor volume was 3.1 cm3, equating to an 87.4% extent of resection (EOR). The median overall survival was 19.0 months, with a median progression-free survival following re-resection of 5.2 months. Using Cox proportional hazards analysis, the variables of age, Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, and EOR were predictive of survival following repeat resection (p = 0.0001). Interestingly, a significant survival advantage was noted with as little as 80% EOR. Recursive partitioning analysis validated these findings and provided additional risk stratification at the highest levels of EOR. Overall, at 7 days after surgery, a deterioration in the NIH stroke scale score by 1 point or more was observed in 39.1% of patients with EOR ≥ 80% as compared with 16.7% for those with EOR < 80% (p = 0.0049). This disparity in neurological morbidity, however, did not endure beyond 30 days postoperatively (p = 0.1279).

Conclusions

For recurrent glioblastomas, an improvement in overall survival can be attained beyond an 80% EOR. This survival benefit must be balanced against the risk of neurological morbidity, which does increase with more aggressive cytoreduction, but only in the early postoperative period. Interestingly, this putative EOR threshold closely approximates that reported for newly diagnosed glioblastomas, suggesting that for a subset of patients, the survival benefit of microsurgical resection does not diminish despite biological progression.