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Tianhao Wang, Yongfei Zhao, Yan Liang, Haocong Zhang, Zheng Wang and Yan Wang

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to analyze the incidence and risk factors of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who underwent pedicle subtraction osteotomy.

METHODS

The records of 83 patients with AS and thoracolumbar kyphosis who underwent surgery at the authors’ institution between 2007 and 2013 were reviewed. The patients were divided into 2 groups based on the presence or absence of PJK. The radiographic measurements, including proximal junctional angle (PJA), sagittal parameters, and pelvic parameters of these 2 groups, were compared at different time points: before surgery and 2 weeks, 12 months, and 2 years after surgery. Oswestry Disability Index scores were also evaluated.

RESULTS

Overall, 14.5% of patients developed PJK. Before surgery, the mean PJAs in the 2 groups were 13.6° and 8.5°, respectively (p = 0.008). There were no significant differences in age, sex, and body mass index between groups. Patients with PJK had a larger thoracolumbar kyphotic angle (50.8° ± 12.6°) and a greater sagittal vertical axis (21.7 ± 4.3 cm) preoperatively than those without PJK. The proportion of patients with PJK whose fusion extended to the sacrum was 41.2% (7/17), which is significantly greater than the proportion of patients with PJK whose lowest instrumented vertebra was above the sacrum. Oswestry Disability Index scores did not significantly increase in the PJK group compared with the non-PJK group.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that PJK occurs postoperatively in patients with AS with an incidence of 14.5%. Risk factors of PJK include larger preoperative sagittal vertical axis, PJA, and osteotomy angle. Reducing the osteotomy angle in some severe cases and extending fusion to a higher, flatter level would be also beneficial in decreasing the risk of PJK.

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Da Li, Yu-Ming Jiao, Liang Wang, Fu-Xin Lin, Jun Wu, Xian-Zeng Tong, Shuo Wang and Yong Cao

OBJECTIVE

Surgical management of brainstem lesions is challenging due to the highly compact, eloquent anatomy of the brainstem. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of preoperative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) in brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs).

METHODS

A prospective randomized controlled clinical trial was performed by using stratified blocked randomization. The primary eligibility criterion of the study was being a surgical candidate for brainstem CMs (with informed consent). The study enrolled 23 patients who underwent preoperative DTI/DTT and 24 patients who did not (the control group). The pre- and postoperative muscle strength of both limbs and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores were evaluated. Muscle strength of any limb at 12 months after surgery at the clinic visit was the primary outcome; worsened muscle strength was considered to be a poor outcome. Outcome assessors were blinded to patient management. This study reports the preliminary results of the interim analysis.

RESULTS

The cohort included 47 patients (22 women) with a mean age of 35.7 years. The clinical baselines between these 2 groups were not significantly different. In the DTI/DTT group, the corticospinal tract was affected in 17 patients (73.9%): it was displaced, deformed/partially interrupted, or completely interrupted in 6, 7, and 4 patients, respectively. The surgical approach and brainstem entry point were adjusted in 3 patients (13.0%) based on DTI/DTT data. The surgical morbidity of the DTI/DTT group (7/23, 30.4%) was significantly lower than that of the control group (19/24, 79.2%, p = 0.001). At 12 months, the mean mRS score (1.1, p = 0.034) and percentage of patients with worsened motor deficits (4.3%, p = 0.006) were significantly lower in the DTI/DTT group than in the control group (1.7% and 37.5%). Multivariate logistic regression identified the absence of preoperative DTI/DTT (OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.01–0.73, p = 0.028) and use of the 2-point method (OR 4.15, 95% CI 1.38–12.49, p = 0.011) as independent adverse factors for a worsened motor deficit. The multivariate model found a significant correlation between poor mRS score and both an increased preoperative mRS score (t = 3.559, p = 0.001) and absence of preoperative DTI/DTT (t = −2.747, p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS

DTI/DTT noninvasively allowed for visualization of the anatomical relationship between vital tracts and pathologies as well as facilitated the brainstem surgical approach and entry-point decision making. The technique was valuable for complex neurosurgical planning to reduce morbidity. Nonetheless, DTI/DTT data should be interpreted cautiously.

■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: therapeutic; study design: randomized controlled trial; evidence: class I.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01758211 (ClinicalTrials.gov)

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Chang-Hsien Ou, Hao-Kuang Wang, Tzu-Hsien Yang, Cheng-Loong Liang and Ho-Fai Wong

The authors report an extremely rare case of spinal intraosseous epidural arteriovenous fistula (AVF) with perimedullary vein reflux causing symptoms of myelopathy. The intraosseous fistula tracts were completely obliterated with Onyx embolic agent, resulting in a total resolution of symptoms. The unique features of this case include the rare location of the fistula in the vertebral body and the association of the fistula with a compressive fracture. Imaging studies confirmed these hemodynamic findings and provided clarity and direct evidence regarding the association of epidural AVF formation with the vertebral compressive fracture. The authors also propose a possible disease evolution based on the previously adduced reflux-impending mechanism.

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Qing-Song Lin, Wei-Xiong Wang, Yuan-Xiang Lin, Zhang-Ya Lin, Liang-Hong Yu, Yin Kang and De-Zhi Kang

OBJECTIVE

Glutamate excitotoxicity and neuronal apoptosis are suggested to contribute to early brain injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Annexin A7 (ANXA7) has been shown to regulate glutamate release. However, the role of ANXA7 in early brain injury after SAH has not been illustrated. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of ANXA7 knockdown in reducing the severity of early brain injury after SAH, and determine the underlying mechanisms.

METHODS

Endovascular perforation was performed to induce SAH in male Sprague-Dawley rats. ANXA7-siRNA was administered via intraventricular injection 5 days before SAH induction. Neurological test, evaluation of SAH grade, assessment of blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, measurement of brain water content, Western blot, double immunofluorescence staining, TUNEL staining, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed at 24 hours of SAH induction.

RESULTS

ANXA7 protein expression increased significantly after SAH induction and was seen mainly in neurons. High expression of ANXA7 was associated with poor neurological status. ANXA7 knockdown dramatically ameliorated early brain injury through alleviating BBB disruption and brain edema. Further investigation of the mechanism showed that inhibiting ANXA7 expression can rescue neuronal apoptosis. In addition, ANXA7 knockdown also significantly reduced glutamate release, which was consistent with a significant increase of Bcl-2 expression and decreases of Bax and cleaved caspase-3 expression.

CONCLUSIONS

ANXA7 can induce neuronal apoptosis by affecting glutamate release in rats with SAH. Downregulating the expression of ANXA7 can significantly attenuate early brain injury after SAH. Future therapy targeting ANXA7 may be a promising new choice.

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Wen-Chao Liu, Liang Wen, Tao Xie, Hao Wang, Jiang-Biao Gong and Xiao-Feng Yang

OBJECTIVE

Erythropoietin (EPO) exerts a neuroprotective effect in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, its effectiveness in human patients with TBI is unclear. In this study, the authors conducted the first meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness and safety of EPO in patients with TBI.

METHODS

In December 2015, a systematic search was performed of PubMed, Web of Science, MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library databases, and Google Scholar. Only English-language publications of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using EPO in patients with TBI were selected for analysis. The assessed outcomes included mortality, favorable neurological outcome, hospital stay, and associated adverse effects. Continuous variables were presented as mean difference (MD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Dichotomous variables were presented as risk ratio (RR) or risk difference (RD) with a 95% CI. Statistical heterogeneity was examined using both I2 and chi-square tests.

RESULTS

Of the 346 studies identified in the search, 5 RCTs involving 915 patients met the inclusion criteria. The overall results demonstrated that EPO significantly reduced mortality (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49–0.96, p = 0.03) and shortened the hospitalization time (MD −7.59, 95% CI −9.71 to −5.46, p < 0.0001) for patients with TBI. Pooled results of favorable outcome (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.88–1.15, p = 0.97) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT; RD 0.00, 95% CI −0.05 to 0.05, p = 1.00) did not show a significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors suggested that EPO is beneficial for patients with TBI in terms of reducing mortality and shortening hospitalization time without increasing the risk of DVT. However, its effect on improving favorable neurological outcomes did not reach statistical significance. Therefore, more well-designed RCTs are necessary to ascertain the optimum dosage and time window of EPO treatment for patients with TBI.

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Ming-liang Yang, Jian-jun Li, Shao-cheng Zhang, Liang-jie Du, Feng Gao, Jun Li, Yu-ming Wang, Hui-ming Gong and Liang Cheng

The authors report a case of functional improvement of the paralyzed diaphragm in high cervical quadriplegia via phrenic nerve neurotization using a functional spinal accessory nerve. Complete spinal cord injury at the C-2 level was diagnosed in a 44-year-old man. Left diaphragm activity was decreased, and the right diaphragm was completely paralyzed. When the level of metabolism or activity (for example, fever, sitting, or speech) slightly increased, dyspnea occurred. The patient underwent neurotization of the right phrenic nerve with the trapezius branch of the right spinal accessory nerve at 11 months postinjury. Four weeks after surgery, training of the synchronous activities of the trapezius muscle and inspiration was conducted. Six months after surgery, motion was observed in the previously paralyzed right diaphragm. The lung function evaluation indicated improvements in vital capacity and tidal volume. This patient was able to sit in a wheelchair and conduct outdoor activities without assisted ventilation 12 months after surgery.

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Tao Yu, Xingwen Sun, Yan You, Jie Chen, Jun-mei Wang, Shuo Wang, Ning Lin, Buqing Liang and Jizong Zhao

Brain capillary telangiectasias (BCTs) are usually small and benign with a predilection in the pons and basal ganglion. Reports of large and symptomatic BCTs are rare. Large BCTs have a much higher risk of causing uncontrolled bleeding and severe neurological defects, and they can be fatal if left untreated. Therefore, large BCTs should be managed with special caution. Because of the lack of reports, diagnosis of large BCTs has been difficult. Strategies of management are undefined for large or giant BCTs.

The current study presents 5 cases of giant and large BCTs. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the largest series of this disease ever reported. Radiological findings, histopathological characteristics, clinical presentations, and surgical management were analyzed in 5 symptomatic, unusually large BCTs (mean diameter 5.06 cm, range 1.8–8 cm).

Four patients presented with focal or generalized seizures, and 1 patient presented with transient vision loss attributed to the lesions. Gross-total resection of the lesion was achieved in all patients. After surgery, the 4 patients with seizures were symptom free for follow-up periods varying from more than 1 to 5 years with no additional neurological deficits.

The unique location, radiological characteristics, and clinical course suggest that giant BCTs could be a different entity from small BCTs. Surgery might be a good option for treatment of patients with intractable neurological symptoms, especially in those with surgically accessible locations. Complete removal would be anticipated to provide relief of the symptoms without causing new neurological deficits.

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Ming-Xiang Zou, Guo-Hua Lv, Xiao-Bin Wang and Jing Li

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Yong-Jian Zhu, Guang-Yu Ying, Ai-Qin Chen, Lin-Lin Wang, Dan-Feng Yu, Liang-Liang Zhu, Yu-Cheng Ren, Chen Wang, Peng-Cheng Wu, Ying Yao, Fang Shen and Jian-Min Zhang

OBJECT

Posterior midline laminectomy or hemilaminectomy has been successfully applied as the standard microsurgical technique for the treatment of spinal intradural pathologies. However, the associated risks of postoperative spinal instability increase the need for subsequent fusion surgery to prevent potential long-term spinal deformity. Continuous efforts have been made to minimize injuries to the surrounding tissue resulting from surgical manipulations. The authors report here their experiences with a novel minimally invasive surgical approach, namely the interlaminar approach, for the treatment of lumbar intraspinal tumors.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of patients at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine who underwent minimally invasive resection of lumbar intradural-extramedullary tumors. By using an operative microscope, in addition to an endoscope when necessary, the authors were able to treat all patients with a unilateral, paramedian, bone-sparing interlaminar technique. Data including preoperative neurological status, tumor location, size, pathological diagnosis, extension of resections, intraoperative blood loss, length of hospital stay, and clinical outcomes were obtained through clinical and radiological examinations.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients diagnosed with lumbar intradural-extramedullary tumors were treated from October 2013 to March 2015 by this interlaminar technique. A microscope was used in 15 cases, and the remaining 3 cases were treated using a microscope as well as an endoscope. There were 14 schwannomas, 2 ependymomas, 1 epidermoid cyst, and 1 enterogenous cyst. Postoperative radiological follow-up revealed complete removal of all the lesions and no signs of bone defects in the lamina. At clinical follow-up, 14 of the 18 patients had less pain, and patients' motor/sensory functions improved or remained normal in all cases except 1.

CONClUSIONS

When meeting certain selection criteria, intradural-extramedullary lumbar tumors, especially schwannomas, can be completely and safely resected through a less-invasive interlaminar approach using a microscope, or a microscope in addition to an endoscope when necessary. This approach was advantageous because it caused even less bone destruction, resulting in better postoperative spinal stability, no need for facetectomy and fusion, and quicker functional recovery for the patients. Individualized surgical planning according to preoperative radiological findings is key to a successful microsurgical resection of these lesions through the interlaminar space.