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Leslie C. Robinson and Ken R. Winston

OBJECT

This investigation was done to examine, following implantation of vagus nerve stimulators, the relationship of vocal cord paralysis to the inner diameter of the coils used to attach the stimulator lead to the nerve.

Methods

All data in this investigation were collected, as mandated by the FDA, by the manufacturer of vagus nerve stimulators and were made available without restrictions for analysis by the authors. The data reflect all initial device implantations in the United States for the period from 1997 through 2012.

Results

Vocal cord paralysis was reported in 193 of 51,882 implantations. In patients aged 18 years and older, the incidence of paralysis was 0.26% when the stimulator leads had coil diameters of 3 mm and 0.51% when the leads had 2-mm-diameter coils (p < 0.05). Across all age groups, the incidence of vocal cord paralysis increased with age at implantation for leads having 2-mm-diameter coils.

Conclusions

In patients aged 18 years and older, vocal cord paralysis occurred at almost twice the rate with the implantation of vagus nerve stimulator leads having 2-mm-diameter coils than with leads having 3-mm-diameter coils. The incidence of vocal cord paralysis increases with patient age at implantation.

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Avery Lee Buchholz, Steven L. Morgan, Leslie C. Robinson, and Bruce M. Frankel

OBJECT

Most cases of traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis (hangman's fracture) can be treated nonoperatively with reduction and subsequent immobilization in a rigid cervical collar or halo. However, in some instances, operative management is necessary and can be accomplished by using either anterior or posterior fusion techniques. Because open posterior procedures can result in significant blood loss, pain, and limited cervical range of motion, other less invasive options for posterior fixation are needed. The authors describe a minimally invasive, navigation-guided technique for surgical treatment of Levine-Edwards (L-E) Type II hangman's fractures.

METHODS

For 5 patients with L-E Type II hangman's fracture requiring operative reduction and internal fixation, percutaneous screw fixation directed through the fracture site was performed. This technique was facilitated by use of intraoperative 3D fluoroscopy and neuronavigation.

RESULTS

Of the 5 patients, 2 were women, 3 were men, and age range was 46–67 years. No intraoperative or postoperative complications occurred. All patients wore a rigid cervical collar, and flexion-extension radiographs were obtained at 6 months. For all patients, dynamic imaging demonstrated a stable construct.

CONCLUSIONS

L-E type II hangman's fractures can be safely repaired by using percutaneous minimally invasive surgical techniques. This technique may be appropriate, depending on circumstances, for all L-E Type I and II hangman's fractures; however, the degree of associated ligament injury and disc disruption must be accounted for. Percutaneous fixation is not appropriate for L-E Type III fractures because of significant displacement and ligament and disc disruption. This report is meant to serve as a feasibility study and is not meant to show superiority of this procedure over other surgical options.

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Leslie C. Robinson, Sandro Santagata, and Todd C. Hankinson

The recent genomic and transcriptomic characterization of human craniopharyngiomas has provided important insights into the pathogenesis of these tumors and supports that these tumor types are distinct entities. Critically, the insights provided by these data offer the potential for the introduction of novel therapies and surgical treatment paradigms for these tumors, which are associated with high morbidity rates and morbid conditions. Mutations in the CTNNB1 gene are primary drivers of adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma (ACP) and lead to the accumulation of β-catenin protein in a subset of the nuclei within the neoplastic epithelium of these tumors. Dysregulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and of sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling in ACP suggest that paracrine oncogenic mechanisms may underlie ACP growth and implicate these signaling pathways as potential targets for therapeutic intervention using directed therapies. Recent work shows that ACP cells have primary cilia, further supporting the potential importance of SHH signaling in the pathogenesis of these tumors. While further preclinical data are needed, directed therapies could defer, or replace, the need for radiation therapy and/or allow for less aggressive surgical interventions. Furthermore, the prospect for reliable control of cystic disease without the need for surgery now exists. Studies of papillary craniopharyngioma (PCP) are more clinically advanced than those for ACP. The vast majority of PCPs harbor the BRAF v600e mutation. There are now 2 reports of patients with PCP that had dramatic therapeutic responses to targeted agents. Ongoing clinical and research studies promise to not only advance our understanding of these challenging tumors but to offer new approaches for patient management.

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Andrew Kai-Hong Chan, Winward Choy, Catherine A. Miller, Leslie C. Robinson, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) is associated with improved patient-reported outcomes in well-selected patients. Recently, some neurosurgeons have aimed to further improve outcomes by utilizing multimodal methods to avoid the use of general anesthesia. Here, the authors report on the use of a novel awake technique for MI-TLIF in two patients. They describe the successful use of liposomal bupivacaine in combination with a spinal anesthetic to allow for operative analgesia.

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Todd C. Hankinson, Gerald F. Tuite, Dagmara I. Moscoso, Leslie C. Robinson, James C. Torner, David D. Limbrick Jr., Tae Sung Park, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

The distance to the ventral dura, perpendicular to the basion to C2 line (pB-C2), is commonly employed as a measure describing the anatomy of the craniovertebral junction. However, both the reliability among observers and the clinical utility of this measurement in the context of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) have been incompletely determined.

METHODS

Data were reviewed from the first 600 patients enrolled in the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium with CM-I and syringomyelia. Thirty-one cases were identified in which both CT and MRI studies were available for review. Three pediatric neurosurgeons independently determined pB-C2 values using common imaging sequences: MRI (T1-weighted and T2-weighted with and without the inclusion of retro-odontoid soft tissue) and CT. Values were compared and intraclass correlations were calculated among imaging modalities and observers.

RESULTS

Intraclass correlation of pB-C2 demonstrated strong agreement between observers (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] range 0.72–0.76). Measurement using T2-weighted MRI with the inclusion of retro-odontoid soft tissue showed no significant difference with measurement using T1-weighted MRI. Measurements using CT or T2-weighted MRI without retro-odontoid soft tissue differed by 1.6 mm (4.69 and 3.09 mm, respectively, p < 0.05) and were significantly shorter than those using the other 2 sequences.

Conclusions pB-C2 can be measured reliably by multiple observers in the context of pediatric CM-I with syringomeyelia. Measurement using T2-weighted MRI excluding retro-odontoid soft tissue closely approximates the value obtained using CT, which may allow for the less frequent use of CT in this patient population. Measurement using T2-weighted MRI including retro-odontoid soft tissue or using T1-weighted MRI yields a more complete assessment of the extent of ventral brainstem compression, but its association with clinical outcomes requires further study.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Ibrahim Hussain, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Robert K. Eastlack, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Juan S. Uribe, Richard G. Fessler, Paul Park, Leslie Robinson, Joshua Rivera, Dean Chou, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Pierce D. Nunley, Michael Y. Wang, Frank La Marca, Khoi D. Than, Kai-Ming Fu, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for spinal deformity uses interbody techniques for correction, indirect decompression, and arthrodesis. Selection criteria for choosing a particular interbody approach are lacking. The authors created the minimally invasive interbody selection algorithm (MIISA) to provide a framework for rational decision-making in MIS for deformity.

METHODS

A retrospective data set of circumferential MIS (cMIS) for adult spinal deformity (ASD) collected over a 5-year period was analyzed by level in the lumbar spine to identify surgeon preferences and evaluate segmental lordosis outcomes. These data were used to inform a Delphi session of minimally invasive deformity surgeons from which the algorithm was created. The algorithm leads to 1 of 4 interbody approaches: anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), anterior column release (ACR), lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF), and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). Preoperative and 2-year postoperative radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes were compared.

RESULTS

Eleven surgeons completed 100 cMISs for ASD with 338 interbody devices, with a minimum 2-year follow-up. The type of interbody approach used at each level from L1 to S1 was recorded. The MIISA was then created with substantial agreement. The surgeons generally preferred LLIF for L1–2 (91.7%), L2–3 (85.2%), and L3–4 (80.7%). ACR was most commonly performed at L3–4 (8.4%) and L2–3 (6.2%). At L4–5, LLIF (69.5%), TLIF (15.9%), and ALIF (9.8%) were most commonly utilized. TLIF and ALIF were the most selected approaches at L5–S1 (61.4% and 38.6%, respectively). Segmental lordosis at each level varied based on the approach, with greater increases reported using ALIF, especially at L4–5 (9.2°) and L5–S1 (5.3°). A substantial increase in lordosis was achieved with ACR at L2–3 (10.9°) and L3–4 (10.4°). Lateral interbody arthrodesis without the use of an ACR did not generally result in significant lordosis restoration. There were statistically significant improvements in lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence–LL mismatch, coronal Cobb angle, and Oswestry Disability Index at the 2-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of the MIISA provides consistent guidance for surgeons who plan to perform MIS for deformity. For L1–4, the surgeons preferred lateral approaches to TLIF and reserved ACR for patients who needed the greatest increase in segmental lordosis. For L4–5, the surgeons’ order of preference was LLIF, TLIF, and ALIF, but TLIF failed to demonstrate any significant lordosis restoration. At L5–S1, the surgical team typically preferred an ALIF when segmental lordosis was desired and preferred a TLIF if preoperative segmental lordosis was adequate.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Michael Y. Wang, Juan S. Uribe, Richard G. Fessler, Dean Chou, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Pierce D. Nunley, Neel Anand, Michael S. Virk, Lawrence G. Lenke, Khoi D. Than, Leslie C. Robinson, Kai-Ming Fu, and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) can be used as an alternative or adjunct to traditional open techniques for the treatment of patients with adult spinal deformity. Recent advances in MIS techniques, including advanced anterior approaches, have increased the range of candidates for MIS deformity surgery. The minimally invasive spinal deformity surgery (MISDEF2) algorithm was created to provide an updated framework for decision-making when considering MIS techniques in correction of adult spinal deformity.

METHODS

A modified algorithm was developed that incorporates a patient’s preoperative radiographic parameters and leads to one of 4 general plans ranging from basic to advanced MIS techniques to open deformity surgery with osteotomies. The authors surveyed 14 fellowship-trained spine surgeons experienced with spinal deformity surgery to validate the algorithm using a set of 24 cases to establish interobserver reliability. They then re-surveyed the same surgeons 2 months later with the same cases presented in a different sequence to establish intraobserver reliability. Responses were collected and analyzed. Correlation values were determined using SPSS software.

RESULTS

Over a 3-month period, 14 fellowship-trained deformity surgeons completed the surveys. Responses for MISDEF2 algorithm case review demonstrated an interobserver kappa of 0.85 for the first round of surveys and an interobserver kappa of 0.82 for the second round of surveys, consistent with substantial agreement. In at least 7 cases, there was perfect agreement between the reviewing surgeons. The mean intraobserver kappa for the 2 surveys was 0.8.

CONCLUSIONS

The MISDEF2 algorithm was found to have substantial inter- and intraobserver agreement. The MISDEF2 algorithm incorporates recent advances in MIS surgery. The use of the MISDEF2 algorithm provides reliable guidance for surgeons who are considering either an MIS or an open approach for the treatment of patients with adult spinal deformity.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010