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Michael Y. Wang, Steven C. Ludwig, D. Greg Anderson and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Minimally invasive spinal instrumentation techniques have evolved tremendously over the past decade. Although there have been numerous reports of lumbar instrumentation performed via a percutaneous or minimal incisional route, to date there have been no reports of minimally invasive iliac screw placement.

A method was developed for accurate placement of minimally invasive iliac screw placement based on a modification of currently available percutaneous lumbar instrumentation techniques. The method involves fluoroscopically guided insertion of a cannula-based screw system, and this technique was successful applied to treat an L-5 burst fracture with L-4 to iliac spinal stabilization via a minimally invasive approach.

This report demonstrates the feasibility of percutaneous iliac screw instrumentation. However, future studies will be needed to validate the safety and efficacy of this approach.

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Sergey Mlyavykh, Steven C. Ludwig, Jean-Pierre Mobasser, Christopher K. Kepler and D. Greg Anderson

Object

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition that leads to significant disability, particularly in the elderly. Current therapeutic modalities for LSS have certain drawbacks when applied to this patient population. The object of this study was to define the 12-month postoperative outcomes and complications of pedicle-lengthening osteotomies for symptomatic LSS.

Methods

A prospective, single-treatment clinical pilot study was conducted. A cohort of 19 patients (mean age 60.9 years) with symptomatic LSS was treated by pedicle-lengthening osteotomy procedures at 1 or 2 levels. All patients had symptoms of neurogenic claudication or radiculopathy secondary to LSS and had not improved after a minimum 6-month course of nonoperative treatment. Eleven patients had a Meyerding Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis in addition to LSS. Clinical outcomes were measured using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Zurich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12), and a visual analog scale (VAS). Procedural variables, neurological outcomes, adverse events, and radiological imaging (plain radiographs and CT scans) were collected at the 1.5-, 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month time points.

Results

The pedicle-lengthening osteotomies were performed through percutaneous approaches with minimal blood loss in all cases. There were no operative complications. Four adverse events occurred during the follow-up period. Clinically, significant improvement was observed in the mean values of each of the outcome scales (comparing preoperative and 12-month values): ODI scores improved from 52.3 to 28.1 (p < 0.0001); the ZCQ physical function domain improved from 2.7 to 1.8 (p = 0.0021); the SF-12 physical component scale improved from 27.0 to 37.9 (p = 0.0024); and the VAS score for leg pain while standing improved from 7.2 to 2.7 (p < 0.0001). Imaging studies, reviewed by an independent radiologist, showed no evidence of device subsidence, migration, breakage, or heterotopic ossification. Thin-slice CT documented healing of the osteotomy site in all patients at the 6-month time point and an increase in the mean cross-sectional area of the spinal canal of 115%.

Conclusions

Treatment of patients with symptomatic LSS with a pedicle-lengthening osteotomy procedure provided substantial enlargement of the area of the spinal canal and favorable clinical results for both disease-specific and non–disease-specific outcome measures at the 12-month time point. Future studies are needed to compare this technique to alternative therapies for lumbar stenosis.

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Sergey Mlyavykh, Steven C. Ludwig, Christopher K. Kepler and D. Greg Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition that leads to significant disability, particularly in the elderly. Current therapeutic options have certain drawbacks. This study evaluates the 5-year clinical and radiographic results of a minimally invasive pedicle-lengthening osteotomy (PLO) for symptomatic LSS.

METHODS

A prospective, single-arm, clinical pilot study was conducted involving 20 patients (mean age 61.7 years) with symptomatic LSS treated by a PLO procedure at 1 or 2 lumbar levels. All patients had symptoms of neurogenic claudication or radiculopathy secondary to LSS, and had not improved after a minimum 6-month course of nonoperative treatment. Eleven patients had a Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis in addition to LSS. Clinical outcomes were measured using the Oswestry Disability Index, Zürich Claudication Questionnaire, 12-Item Short Form Health Survey, and a visual analog scale for back and leg pain. Procedural variables, neurological outcomes, adverse events, and radiological imaging (plain radiographs and CT scans) were collected at the 1.5-, 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, 24-, and 60-month time points.

RESULTS

The PLOs were performed through percutaneous incisions, with minimal blood loss in all cases. There were no operative complications. Four adverse events occurred during the follow-up period. Statistically significant improvement was observed in each of the outcome instruments and maintained over the 5-year follow-up period. Imaging studies, reviewed by an independent radiologist, showed no evidence of device subsidence, migration, breakage, or heterotopic ossification. Thin-slice CT scans documented healing of the osteotomy site in all patients at the 6-month time point and an increase of 115% in the mean cross-sectional area of the spinal canal.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of patients with symptomatic LSS with a PLO procedure provided substantial enlargement of the area of the spinal canal and favorable clinical results for both disease-specific and non–disease-specific outcome measures at all follow-up time points out to 5 years. Future research is needed to compare this technique to alternative therapies for LSS.

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Myles Luszczyk, Justin S. Smith, Jeffrey S. Fischgrund, Steven C. Ludwig, Rick C. Sasso, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Alexander R. Vaccaro

Object

Although smoking has been shown to negatively affect fusion rates in patients undergoing multilevel fusions of the cervical and lumbar spine, the effect of smoking on fusion rates in patients undergoing single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with allograft and plate fixation has yet to be thoroughly investigated. The objective of the present study was to address the effect of smoking on fusion rates in patients undergoing a 1-level ACDF with allograft and a locked anterior cervical plate.

Methods

This study is composed of patients from the control groups of 5 separate studies evaluating the use of an anterior cervical disc replacement to treat cervical radiculopathy. For each of the 5 studies the control group consisted of patients who underwent a 1-level ACDF with allograft and a locked cervical plate. The authors of the present study reviewed data obtained in a total of 573 patients; 156 patients were smokers and 417 were nonsmokers. A minimum follow-up period of 24 months was required for inclusion in this study. Fusion status was assessed by independent observers using lateral, neutral, and flexion/extension radiographs.

Results

An overall fusion rate of 91.4% was achieved in all 573 patients. A solid fusion was shown in 382 patients (91.6%) who were nonsmokers. Among patients who were smokers, 142 (91.0%) had radiographic evidence of a solid fusion. A 2-tailed Fisher exact test revealed a p value of 0.867, indicating no difference in the union rates between smokers and nonsmokers.

Conclusions

The authors found no statistically significant difference in fusion status between smokers and nonsmokers who underwent a single-level ACDF with allograft and a locked anterior cervical plate. Although the authors do not promote tobacco use, it appears that the use of allograft with a locked cervical plate in single-level ACDF among smokers produces similar fusion rates as it does in their nonsmoking counterparts.

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Jeffrey D. Coe, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Andrew T. Dailey, Rick C. Sasso, Steven C. Ludwig, James S. Harrop, Joseph R. Dettori, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Sanford E. Emery and Michael G. Fehlings

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Joseph Hong, James A. Sanfilippo, Jeffrey Rihn, Carmella Fernandez, Corbett D. Winegar, Brian Friel, Steven Ludwig, Daniel Gelb and Alexander R. Vaccaro

Charcot spinal arthropathy is a relatively rare, destructive process characterized by a cycle of progressive deformity, destruction, and worsening instability as a result of repetitive trauma and inflammation. It may result from nontraumatic as well as traumatic causes. Historically, patients with severe symptomatic instability have been successfully treated with combined anterior and posterior fusion techniques. The long-term outcomes and potential complications, however, have not been well reported. The authors report on 2 such cases of Charcot spinal arthropathy treated surgically, one with a traumatic and one with a nontraumatic etiology. They include the unique pitfalls encountered while treating these patients, as well as their surgical treatments, complications, and long-term results.