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Michael Grelat, Chang-Zhi Du, Liang Xu, Xu Sun and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

Scheuermann kyphosis (SK) could require surgical treatment in certain situations. A posterior reduction is the most widespread treatment so far, although the development of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is one of the possible complications of this procedure. The contour of the proximal part of the rod could influence the occurrence of PJK in SK patients. The objective of this study was to analyze the impact of the proximal rod contour on the occurrence of a PJK complication in SK patients.

METHODS

This retrospective monocentric study was performed in the Nanjing Spine Surgery Department. All eligible patients had undergone posterior correction surgery with pedicle screws only between 2002 and 2017 and had at least 24 months of follow-up. The presence of PJK was quantified on radiographs using the proximal junctional angle (PJA > 10° at the last follow-up). The authors propose a new radiological parameter to measure the angulation of the proximal part of the instrumentation: the proximal contouring rod angle (PCRA) is the angle between the upper endplate of the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) and the lower endplate of the second vertebra caudal to the UIV. The patients were analyzed according to the presence or absence of PJK. A t-test, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, and logistic regression analysis were performed for statistical analysis.

RESULTS

Sixty-two patients treated for SK were included in this study. The mean age was 18.6 ± 8.5 years, and the mean follow-up was 42.5 ± 16.4 months. The mean correction rate of global kyphosis was 46.4% ± 13.7%. At the last follow-up, 17 patients (27.4%) presented with PJK. No significant difference was found between the PJK and non-PJK groups in terms of age and other preoperative variables. A significant difference in the postoperative PCRA was found between the PJK and non-PJK groups (8.2° ± 4.9° vs 15.7° ± 6.6°, respectively; p = 0.001). A postoperative PCRA less than 10.1° predicted a significantly higher risk for PJK (p = 0.002, OR 2.431, 95% CI 1.781–4.133).

CONCLUSIONS

Under-contouring of the proximal part of the rods (lower than 10°) is a risk factor for PJK after posterior correction of SK.

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Jing Xu, Liang Xu, Ziheng Wu, Xianyi Chen, Jun Yu and Jianmin Zhang

OBJECT

P2 segment and distal aneurysms are rare lesions of the cerebrovascular system. The efficacy and safety of endovascular occlusion for these types of aneurysms remain controversial. The aim of this study was to reveal risk factors for endovascular parent artery occlusion of ruptured P2 segment and distal aneurysms.

METHODS

Between March 2010 and November 2012, 812 patients with a ruptured intracranial aneurysm were admitted to the authors' hospital. Among them, 11 patients presented with P2 segment and distal posterior cerebral artery (PCA) aneurysms. These patients were subjected to endovascular treatment. Periprocedural data and clinical and angiographic records were studied retrospectively.

RESULTS

Of the patients with a ruptured PCA aneurysm, 2 of them underwent selective aneurismal coiling, and the remaining patients were treated with simultaneous occlusion of the parent artery. Patients with an adult-type PCA (n = 6), treated with either selective coiling or simultaneous parent artery occlusion, had no serious neurological deficits on follow-up. Four patients with a fetal-type PCA that was also occluded intraoperatively exhibited newly developed permanent paralysis and hemianopsia. However, 1 patient with a fetal-type PCA aneurysm that was selectively coiled recovered without complications. No recanalization was observed in any of the treated aneurysms.

CONCLUSIONS

Endovascular occlusion of an aneurysm and its parent artery is a safe and effective method for managing adult-type P2 segment and distal aneurysms. However, the authors' clinical data suggest that this method is of high risk for patients with fetal-type PCA aneurysms.

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Zhonghui Chen, Song Li, Yong Qiu, Zezhang Zhu, Xi Chen, Liang Xu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

Although the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) and growing rod instrumentation (GRI) encourage spinal growth via regular lengthening, they can create different results because of their different fixation patterns and mechanisms in correcting scoliosis. Previous studies have focused comparisons on coronal plane deformity with minimal attention to the sagittal profile. In this retrospective study, the authors aimed to compare the evolution of the sagittal spinal profile in early-onset scoliosis (EOS) treated with VEPTR versus GRI.

METHODS

The data for 11 patients with VEPTR and 22 with GRI were reviewed. All patients had more than 2 years’ follow-up with more than 2 lengthening procedures. Radiographic measurements were performed before and after the index surgery and at the latest follow-up. The complications in both groups were recorded.

RESULTS

Patients in both groups had similar diagnoses, age at the index surgery, and number of lengthening procedures. The changes in the major coronal Cobb angle and T1–S1 spinal height were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Compared with the GRI group, the VEPTR group had less correction in thoracic kyphosis (23% ± 12% vs 44% ± 16%, p < 0.001) after the index surgery and experienced a greater correction loss in thoracic kyphosis (46% ± 18% vs 11% ± 8%, p < 0.001) at the latest follow-up. Although the increase in the proximal junctional angle was not significantly different (VEPTR: 7° ± 4° vs GRI: 8° ± 5°, p = 0.569), the incidence of proximal junctional kyphosis was relatively lower in the VEPTR group (VEPTR: 18.2% vs GRI: 22.7%). No significant changes in the spinopelvic parameters were observed, while the sagittal vertical axis showed a tendency toward a neutral position in both groups. The overall complication rate was higher in the VEPTR group than in the GRI group (72.7% vs 54.5%).

CONCLUSIONS

The VEPTR had coronal correction and spinal growth results similar to those with GRI. In the sagittal plane, however, the VEPTR was not comparable to the GRI in controlling thoracic kyphosis. Thus, for hyperkyphotic EOS patients, GRI is recommended over VEPTR.

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Liang Xu, Yong Qiu, Zhonghui Chen, Benlong Shi, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Zezhang Zhu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to evaluate the correction results of traditional dual growing rods (DGRs) on axial rotation using CT scans and to further explore the relationships between axial and torso deformities in patients with early-onset scoliosis (EOS).

METHODS

Patients with EOS who were treated with traditional DGRs between January 2006 and December 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Plain radiographs were used to assess the degree of coronal and sagittal deformity. The apical vertebral rotation (AVR) and rib hump (RH) were measured on CT scans at the apical vertebra. Pearson or Spearman rank correlation analyses were used to analyze the associations between spinal and torso deformities.

RESULTS

A total of 27 patients (10 boys and 17 girls, average age 6.5 ± 1.7 years) were enrolled in this study. The average number of lengthenings per patient was 5.0 ± 1.9, with a mean follow-up duration of 52.9 ± 18.2 months. The apical vertebral translation, apical vertebral body–rib ratio (AVB-R), AVR, and RH parameters were significantly decreased after the initial surgery (p < 0.05) but showed notable progression at the latest follow-up evaluation (p < 0.05). The preoperative AVR and its correction after index surgery were significantly correlated with the preoperative values as well as with the corrections of the major Cobb angle, AVB-R, and RH. During the follow-up period, significant correlations were found between the deterioration of AVR and the AVB-R and also between the deterioration of AVR and the RH from the initial surgery to the latest follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant AVR correction can be achieved by DGR techniques after the initial surgery. However, this technique weakly prevents the deterioration of AVR during the follow-up period.

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Liang Xu, Zhonghui Chen, Yong Qiu, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Qingshuang Zhou and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

As scoliosis in arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) is unusual and the number of cases reviewed in previous studies is also relatively small, no previous study exists that has directly compared the results of spinal deformity correction between AMC and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients. The aim of this study was to compare the radiographic and clinical outcomes of surgical correction of spinal deformity associated with AMC versus AIS.

METHODS

Twenty-four adolescents with AMC were matched with 48 AIS patients in terms of Cobb angle of main curve, curve pattern, sex, age at surgery, Risser grade, and length of follow-up. Patients in both groups underwent posterior-only spinal correction and fusion procedures. The surgical outcomes and complications were analyzed and compared between the 2 groups.

RESULTS

In comparison to the AIS group, the AMC group had a significantly longer mean operation time (5.6 vs 4.4 hours, p = 0.002), more blood loss (1620 ± 250 ml vs 840 ± 260 ml, p < 0.001), and more fusion levels (14.1 ± 2.3 levels vs 12.4 ± 2.5 levels, p = 0.007) as well as a lower correction rate (44.3% ± 11.1% vs 70.8% ± 12.4%, p < 0.001) and a higher rate of loss of correction (5.0% ± 3.1% vs 2.1% ± 1.9%, p < 0.001). Nine patients in the AMC group had preoperative pelvic obliquity, which was corrected from a mean of 14.2° ± 8.4° to a mean of 4.3° ± 3.2° (p < 0.001) after the surgery. The thoracic lordosis and sagittal vertical axis were significantly improved in the AMC group. Notably, however, the AMC group was found to have higher rates of screw malpositioning (15.9% vs 9.5%, p = 0.002) and complications (8/24 [33.3%] vs 4/48 [8.3%], p = 0.016) as compared to the AIS group.

CONCLUSIONS

Correction of AMC-associated scoliosis tends to require a longer operating time and involve more fusion levels but results in less correction, more blood loss, and more complications, in comparison with AIS. In addition, more attention should be paid to pelvic obliquity and sagittal hyperlordosis in AMC patients.

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Liang Wu, Xiaofeng Deng, Chenlong Yang and Yulun Xu

Object

Intramedullary capillary hemangiomas are exceedingly rare lesions in the spinal cord, and have been previously reported in the literature as case reports. The authors review their experience in 5 surgically treated patients with intramedullary capillary hemangiomas and discuss the clinical features, radiological findings, and surgical outcomes.

Methods

Clinical and imaging data of 5 patients with intramedullary spinal capillary hemangiomas treated at a single institution were retrospectively analyzed.

Results

There were 4 men and 1 woman, and their ages ranged from 18 to 63 years (mean 47.2 years). The thoracic cord was affected in 4 patients, and the cervicothoracic cord in 1 patient. Four patients underwent a gross-total resection. One patient initially underwent a subtotal removal and then underwent a second surgery due to enlargement of the residual lesion. Long-term neurological function was improved in all patients and MRI showed no tumor recurrence.

Conclusions

Capillary hemangiomas should be considered in the differential diagnosis of intramedullary spinal vascular lesions. Complete resection is the treatment of choice for these lesions. When total resection cannot be achieved, subtotal or even partial removal of the tumor is advised and repeat removal of the lesion is indicated when residual tumor regrowth is associated with neurological deterioration.

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Xiaofeng Deng, Liang Wu, Chenlong Yang and Yulun Xu

Object

Neuropathic arthropathy (Charcot joint) caused by syringomyelia is rare and commonly misdiagnosed. Few cases have been reported by neurosurgeons. The aims of this study were to analyze the clinical and imaging presentations of neuropathic arthropathy and to discuss the effect of surgical management of the primary neurological deficits on neuropathic arthropathy.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed clinical and imaging data of 12 patients with neuropathic arthropathy caused by syringomyelia who were referred to the department of neurosurgery between January 2003 and September 2012. Radiographs revealed destruction, dislocation, disorganization, and increased density or debris in the joints. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a syrinx of the spinal cord in all patients, with Chiari malformation in 11 patients and tethered spinal cord in 1 patient. Neurosurgical operations were performed in 5 of 12 patients, including posterior fossa decompression in 4 patients and syrinx-subarachnoidal shunt placement in 1 patient. Surgical management of the neuropathic joints was not performed in any of the patients. All patients were followed up, with a mean duration of 39 months.

Results

Sixteen joints were involved, including 10 elbows, 3 shoulders, 2 interphalangeal joints, and 1 wrist. The side of the syrinx on cervical axial MRI was consistent with the side of the affected limb in every patient. Five patients who underwent neurosurgical treatments stated improvement in neurological dysfunctions and no deterioration in symptoms related to neuropathic arthropathy. In the 7 patients without neurosurgical treatments, 5 reported aggravation of neuropathic arthropathy manifestations, with deterioration of neurological symptoms in 4 of the 5 patients. The condition of the other 2 patients remained stable.

Conclusions

The elbow is the most frequently involved joint in neuropathic arthropathy caused by syringomyelia, followed by the shoulder. The authors speculate that the side of the syrinx determines the side of the neuropathic arthropathy. A detailed medical history and a careful physical examination are crucial for differentiating neuropathic arthropathy from other joint lesions. This study suggests that early management of the primary neurological condition may play an important role in preventing the development of neuropathic arthropathy and avoiding disease progression.

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Tao Yang, Liang Wu, Jingyi Fang, Chenlong Yang, Xiaofeng Deng and Yulun Xu

OBJECT

Intramedullary neurenteric cysts (NECs) are exceedingly rare lesions and have been previously reported in case reports. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical manifestations, radiological features, and long-term prognosis of patients with such lesions.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 13 patients with an intramedullary NEC. Each patient underwent MRI, laminotomy, and microsurgery. The accurate diagnosis was based on imaging and pathology findings. Each patient's follow-up status was determined through individual office visits and a structured telephone interview.

RESULTS

The series included 7 male and 6 female patients. Progressive or intermittent motor deficit was the main symptom associated with or without pain or sensory disturbance. Five cysts were located in the cervical cord, 1 in the cervicothoracic cord, 3 in the thoracic cord, and 4 in the conus medullaris. Concurrent malformations included scoliosis (3 cases), fusion of rib (1 case), enlarged spinal canal (1 case), tethered spinal cord (1 case), and ectocardia (1 case). Gross-total resection of the cyst was achieved in 8 cases, and subtotal resection (STR) was achieved in 5 cases. All patients were followed up, with a mean duration of 66.5 months. Cyst recurrence was observed in 4 cases after STR. In 2 cases the patients underwent reoperation; the other 2 patients remained clinically stable and did not undergo reoperation. At the last evaluation, neurological function was improved in 11 patients and remained stable in 2 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Intramedullary NECs should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a middle-aged patient with intermittent neurological symptoms and concurrent malformations. Early surgery is advocated to prevent permanent neurological deficits. When gross-total resection cannot be achieved, maximally safe removal under the protection of intraoperative neuromonitoring is advised. Because of the high risk of cyst recurrence, routine follow-up MRI is needed. If a residual cyst shows obvious regrowth and results in neurological deficits, timely reoperation with a goal of STR should be performed.

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Qing-shuang Zhou, MM, Xu Sun, Xi Chen, Liang Xu, Bang-ping Qian, Ze-zhang Zhu, Bin Wang and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate sagittal alignment and compensatory mechanisms in patients with monosegmental spondylolysis (mono_lysis) and multisegmental spondylolysis (multi_lysis).

METHODS

A total of 453 adult patients treated for symptomatic low-grade spondylolytic spondylolisthesis were retrospectively studied at a single center. Patients were divided into 2 subgroups, the mono_lysis group and the multi_lysis group, based on the number of spondylolysis segments. A total of 158 asymptomatic healthy volunteers were enrolled in this study as the control group. Radiographic parameters measured on standing sagittal radiographs and the ratios of L4–S1 segmental lordosis (SL) to lumbar lordosis (L4–S1 SL/LL) and pelvic tilt to pelvic incidence (PT/PI) were compared between all experimental groups.

RESULTS

There were 51 patients (11.3%) with a diagnosis of multi_lysis in the spondylolysis group. When compared with the control group, the spondylolysis group exhibited larger PI (p < 0.001), PT (p < 0.001), LL (p < 0.001), and L4–S1 SL (p = 0.025) and a smaller L4–S1 SL/LL ratio (p < 0.001). When analyzing the specific spondylolysis subgroups, there were no significant differences in PI, but the multi_lysis group had a higher L5 incidence (p = 0.004), PT (p = 0.018), and PT/PI ratio (p = 0.039). The multi_lysis group also had a smaller L4–S1 SL/LL ratio (p = 0.012) and greater sagittal vertical axis (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

A high-PI spinopelvic pattern was involved in the development of spondylolytic spondylolisthesis, and a larger L5 incidence might be associated with the occurrence of consecutive multi_lysis. Unlike patients with mono_lysis, individuals with multi_lysis were characterized by an anterior trunk, insufficiency of L4–S1 SL, and pelvic retroversion.

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Liang Xu, Benlong Shi, Yong Qiu, Zhonghui Chen, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Qingshuang Zhou, Zezhang Zhu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to quantify the response of the cervical spine to the surgical correction of Scheuermann’s kyphosis (SK) and to postoperative proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK).

METHODS

Fifty-nine patients (mean age 14.6 ± 2.3 years) were enrolled in the study: 35 patients in a thoracic SK (T-SK) group and 24 in a thoracolumbar SK (TL-SK) group. The mean follow-up period was 47.2 ± 17.6 months. Radiographic data, PJK-related complications, and patient-reported outcomes were compared between groups.

RESULTS

The global kyphosis significantly decreased postoperatively, and similar correction rates were observed between the two groups (mean 47.1% ± 8.6% [T-SK] vs 45.8% ± 9.4% [TL-SK], p = 0.585). The cervical lordosis (CL) in the T-SK group notably decreased from 21.4° ± 13.3° to 13.1° ± 12.4° after surgery and was maintained at 14.9° ± 10.7° at the latest follow-up, whereas in the TL-SK group, CL considerably increased from 7.2° ± 10.7° to 11.7° ± 11.1° after surgery and to 13.8° ± 8.9° at the latest follow-up. PJK was identified in 16 patients (27.1%). Its incidence in the TL-SK group was notably higher than it was in the T-SK group (41.6% [n = 10] vs 17.1% [n = 6], p = 0.037). Compared with non-PJK patients, PJK patients had greater CL and lower pain scores on the Scoliosis Research Society–22 questionnaire (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Hyperkyphosis correction eventually resulted in reciprocal changes in the cervical spine, with CL notably decreased in the T-SK group but significantly increased in the TL-SK group. Patients developing PJK have increased CL, which seems to have a negative effect on patients’ health-related quality of life.