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Yoshihisa Kotani, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Manabu Ito and Akio Minami

Object. The authors introduce a unique computer-assisted cervical pedicle screw (CPS) insertion technique used in conjunction with specially modified original pedicle screw insertion instruments. The accuracy of screw placement as well as surgery-related outcome and complication rates were compared between two groups of patients: those in whom a computer-assisted and those in whom a conventional manual insertion technique was used.

Methods. The screw insertion guiding system consisted of a modified awl, probe, tap and a screwdriver specially designed for a computer-assisted CPS insertion. Using this system, real-time instrument/screw tip information was three dimensionally identified in each step of screw insertion. Seventeen patients underwent CPS fixation in which a computer-assisted surgical navigation system was used. The cervical disorders consisted of spondylotic myelopathy with segmental instability or kyphosis, metastatic spinal tumor, rheumatoid spine, and postlaminectomy kyphosis. The rate of pedicle wall perforation was significantly lower in the computer-assisted group than that in the other group (1.2 and 6.7%, respectively; p < 0.05). The screw trajectory in the horizontal plane was significantly closer to the anatomical pedicle axis in the computer-assisted group compared with the manual insertion group (p < 0.05). This factor significantly reduced the incidence of screw perforation laterally. Complications such as neural damage or vascular injury were not demonstrated in the computer-assisted group (compared with 2% in the manual insertion treatment group). The overall surgery-related outcome was satisfactory.

Conclusions. In contrast to the previously reported computer-assisted technique, our CPS insertion technique provides real-time three-dimensional instrument/screw tip information. This serves as a powerful tool for safe and accurate pedicle screw placement in the cervical spine.

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Hirotaka Ito, Michiharu Morino, Manabu Niimura, Sachiko Takamizawa and Yoshie Shimizu

A 2-stage corpus callosotomy is accepted as a palliative procedure for patients older than 16 years with, in particular, medically intractable generalized epilepsy and drop attack seizures and is preferable for a lower risk of disconnection syndrome. Although the methods by which a previously performed craniotomy can be reopened for posterior callosotomy have already been reported, posterior corpus callosotomy using a parietooccipital interhemispheric approach with the patient in a semi-prone park-bench position has not been described in the literature. Here, the authors present a surgical technique for posterior callosotomy using a parietooccipital interhemispheric approach with a semi-prone park-bench position as a second surgery. Although this procedure requires an additional skin incision in the parietooccipital region, it makes the 2-stage callosotomy safer and easier to perform because of reduced intracranial adhesion, less bleeding, and an easier approach to the splenium of the corpus callosum.

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Hideki Sudo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Manabu Ito, Yoshihisa Kotani and Akio Minami

✓ The sublaminar wiring procedure has been commonly used for stabilizing the atlantoaxial complex. Multistrand braided cables were introduced in the early 1990s. In previous biomechanical studies these cables were demonstrated to be superior to monofilament wires in terms of their flexibility, mechanical strength, and fatigue-related characteristics. To the authors' knowledge, they are the first to describe clinically the occurrence of delayed spinal cord compression resulting from multistrand cables after the completion of rigid spinal arthrodesis in the upper cervical spine.

Three patients underwent posterior atlantoaxial fusion in which two sublaminar multistrand cables were placed. Between 15 and 48 months postoperatively, they suffered from upper- and lower-extremity numbness as well as gait disturbance. Plain radiography and computerized tomography myelography revealed spinal cord compression caused by the sublaminar cables, although fusion was complete and physiological alignment was maintained at the fused segment. The radiographs obtained immediately after surgery demonstrated that the initial cable placement had been properly performed. The shape of the cable at the initial surgery was oval and then gradually became circular. The anterior arc of the circular shape of the cable in fact led to the spinal cord compression.

Considering the mechanism of this late complication, a cable tends to spring open because of its high flexibility and becomes circular shaped even after the complete arthrodesis. When applying multistrand cables for intersegmental fixation at the atlantoaxial complex, delayed complications related to bowing of the cables is possible.

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Yoshihisa Kotani, Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Keigo Yasui and Akio Minami

The authors describe a case of a 52-year-old woman in whom tetraplegia developed with neurological respiratory failure due to POEMS syndrome associated with a solitary sacral plasmacytoma. Resection was finally performed after her condition proved resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. The patient showed a dramatic recovery and was ambulatory without tumor recurrence after 5 years and 6 months of follow-up. To the authors' knowledge, there are only 3 reported cases in the literature of bilateral phrenic nerve palsy leading to respiratory failure treated by chemotherapy. This is the first report describing neurological recovery after surgery for pentaplegia due to POEMS syndrome associated with solitary sacral plasmacytoma.

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Hideki Sudo, Itaru Oda, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Manabu Ito, Yoshihisa Kotani, Yoshihiro Hojo and Akio Minami

Object. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) was developed to overcome the limitations of posterolateral fusion in correcting spinal deformity and maintaining lumbar lordosis. In this study the authors compare the biomechanical effects of three different posterior reconstructions on the adjacent motion segment.

Methods. Ten calf spinal (L2—S1) specimens underwent nondestructive flexion—extension testing (± 6 Nm). The specimens were destabilized at the L5—S1 levels after intact testing. This was followed by pedicle screw fixation with and without interbody cages as follows: 1) with straight rods (“aligned” posterolateral fusion); 2) with kyphotically prebent rods (“kyphotic” posterolateral fusion); and 3) with interbody cages combined with straight rods (“aligned” PLIF/posterolateral fusion). The range of motion (ROM) of the operative segments, the intradiscal pressure (IDP), and longitudinal lamina strain in the superior adjacent segment (L4–5) were analyzed.

The ROM associated with aligned PLIF/posterolateral fusion-treated specimens was significantly less than both the aligned and kyphotic posterolateral fusion-treated procedures in both flexion and extension loading (p < 0.05). The aligned PLIF/posterolateral fusion was associated with greater IDP and the lamina strain compared with the aligned and kyphotic posterolateral fusion groups in flexion loading. Under extension loading, greater IDP and lamina strain were present in the kyphotic posterolateral fusion group than in the aligned posterolateral fusion group. The highest IDP and lamina strain were shown in the aligned PLIF/posterolateral fusion group.

Conclusions. Compared with kyphotic posterolateral fusion, PLIF may lead to even higher load at the superior adjacent level because of the increased stiffness of the fixed segments even if local kyphosis is corrected by PLIF.

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Hideki Sudo, Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Yoshihisa Kotani, Tatsuto Takeuchi, Keigo Yasui and Akio Minami


As increasing numbers of patients receive long-term hemodialysis, the number of reports regarding hemodialysis-related cervical spine disorders has also increased. However, there have been few reports summarizing the surgical results in patients with these disorders. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term follow up and clinical results after surgical treatment of cervical disorders in patients undergoing hemodialysis.


Seventeen patients in whom surgery was performed for cervical spine disorders while they received long-term hemodialysis therapy were enrolled in this study. Of these, 15 underwent follow-up review for more than 3 years after surgery, and these represent the study population. The remaining two patients died of postoperative sepsis. The average follow-up period was 120 months. Five patients without spinal instability underwent spinal cord decompression in which bilateral open-door laminoplasty was performed. Ten patients with destructive spondyloarthropathy (DSA) underwent reconstructive surgery involving pedicle screw (PS) fixation. In eight patients in whom posterior instrumentation was placed, anterior strut bone grafting was performed with autologous iliac bone to treat anterior-column destruction. Marked neurological recovery was obtained in all patients after the initial surgery. In the mobile segments adjacent to the site of previous spinal fusion, the authors observed progressive destructive changes with significant instability in four patients (40%) who underwent circumferential spinal fusion. No patients required a second surgery after laminoplasty for spinal canal stenosis without DSA changes.


Cervical PS-assisted reconstruction provided an excellent fusion rate and good spinal alignment. During the long-term follow-up period, however, some cases required extension of the spinal fusion due to the destructive changes in the adjacent vertebral levels. Guidelines or recommendations to overcome these problems should be produced to further increase the survival rates of patients undergoing hemodialysis.

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Yuichiro Abe, Manabu Ito, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Yoshihisa Kotani, Hideki Sudo and Akio Minami


Use of computer-assisted spine surgery (CASS) technologies, such as navigation systems, to improve the accuracy of pedicle screw (PS) placement is increasingly popular. Despite of their benefits, previous CASS systems are too expensive to be ubiquitously employed, and more affordable and portable systems are desirable. The aim of this study was to introduce a novel and affordable computer-assisted technique that 3-dimensionally visualizes anatomical features of the pedicles and assists in PS insertion. The authors have termed this the 3D-visual guidance technique for inserting pedicle screws (3D-VG TIPS).


The 3D-VG technique for placing PSs requires only a consumer-class computer with an inexpensive 3D DICOM viewer; other special equipment is unnecessary. Preoperative CT data of the spine were collected for each patient using the 3D-VG TIPS. In this technique, the anatomical axis of each pedicle can be analyzed by volume-rendered 3D models, as with existing navigation systems, and both the ideal entry point and the trajectory of each PS can be visualized on the surface of 3D-rendered images. Intraoperative guidance slides are made from these images and displayed on a TV monitor in the operating room. The surgeon can insert PSs according to these guidance slides. The authors enrolled 30 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) who underwent posterior fusion with segmental screw fixation for validation of this technique.


The novel technique allowed surgeons, from office or home, to evaluate the precise anatomy of each pedicle and the risks of screw misplacement, and to perform 3D preoperative planning for screw placement on their own computer. Looking at both 3D guidance images on a TV monitor and the bony structures of the posterior elements in each patient in the operating theater, surgeons were able to determine the best entry point for each PS with ease and confidence. Using the current technique, the screw malposition rate was 4.5% in the thoracic region in corrective surgery for AIS.


The authors found that 3D-VG TIPS worked on a consumer-class computer and easily visualized the ideal entry point and trajectory of PSs in any operating theater without costly special equipment. This new technique is suitable for preoperative planning and intraoperative guidance when performing reconstructive surgery with PSs.

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Yoshihisa Kotani, Bryan W. Cunningham, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Anton E. Dmitriev, Manabu Ito, Niabin Hu, Yasuo Shikinami, Paul C. McAfee and Akio Minami

Object. This in vitro experimental study was conducted to investigate the initial biomechanical effect of artificial intervertebral disc replacement in the cervical spine. The multidirectional flexibility of replaced and adjacent spinal segments were analyzed using a cadaveric cervical spine model.

Methods. The following three cervical reconstructions were sequentially performed at the C5–6 level after anterior discectomy in seven human cadaveric occipitocervical spines: anterior artificial disc replacement with a bioactive three-dimensional (3D) fabric disc (FD); anterior iliac bone graft; and anterior plate fixation with iliac bone graft. Six unconstrained pure moments were applied with a 6-df spine simulator, and 3D segmental motions at the operative and adjacent segments were measured with an optoelectronic motion measurement system. The 3D FD group demonstrated statistically equivalent ranges of motion (ROMs) when compared with intact values in axial rotation and lateral bending. The 45% increase in flexion—extension ROM was demonstrated in 3D FD group; however, neutral zone analysis did not reach statistical significance between the intact spine and 3D FD. The anterior iliac bone graft and iliac bone graft reconstructions demonstrated statistically lower ROMs when compared with 3D FD in all loading modes (p < 0.05). The adjacent-level ROMs of the 3D FD group demonstrated nearly physiological characteristics at upper and lower adjacent levels. Excellent stability at the interface was maintained during the whole testing without any device displacement and dislodgment.

Conclusions. The stand-alone cervical 3D FD demonstrated nearly physiological biomechanical characteristics at both operative and adjacent spinal segments in vitro, indicating an excellent clinical potential for cervical artificial disc replacement.

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Yuichiro Abe, Shigenobu Sato, Koji Kato, Takahiko Hyakumachi, Yasushi Yanagibashi, Manabu Ito and Kuniyoshi Abumi

Augmented reality (AR) is an imaging technology by which virtual objects are overlaid onto images of real objects captured in real time by a tracking camera. This study aimed to introduce a novel AR guidance system called virtual protractor with augmented reality (VIPAR) to visualize a needle trajectory in 3D space during percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP).

The AR system used for this study comprised a head-mount display (HMD) with a tracking camera and a marker sheet. An augmented scene was created by overlaying the preoperatively generated needle trajectory path onto a marker detected on the patient using AR software, thereby providing the surgeon with augmented views in real time through the HMD. The accuracy of the system was evaluated by using a computer-generated simulation model in a spine phantom and also evaluated clinically in 5 patients.

In the 40 spine phantom trials, the error of the insertion angle (EIA), defined as the difference between the attempted angle and the insertion angle, was evaluated using 3D CT scanning. Computed tomography analysis of the 40 spine phantom trials showed that the EIA in the axial plane significantly improved when VIPAR was used compared with when it was not used (0.96° ± 0.61° vs 4.34° ± 2.36°, respectively). The same held true for EIA in the sagittal plane (0.61° ± 0.70° vs 2.55° ± 1.93°, respectively).

In the clinical evaluation of the AR system, 5 patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures underwent VIPAR-guided PVP from October 2011 to May 2012. The postoperative EIA was evaluated using CT. The clinical results of the 5 patients showed that the EIA in all 10 needle insertions was 2.09° ± 1.3° in the axial plane and 1.98° ± 1.8° in the sagittal plane. There was no pedicle breach or leakage of polymethylmethacrylate.

VIPAR was successfully used to assist in needle insertion during PVP by providing the surgeon with an ideal insertion point and needle trajectory through the HMD. The findings indicate that AR guidance technology can become a useful assistive device during spine surgeries requiring percutaneous procedures.

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Hideki Sudo, Itaru Oda, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Manabu Ito, Yoshihisa Kotani and Akio Minami


The objectives of this study were to compare the biomechanical effects of five lumbar reconstruction models on the adjacent segment and to analyze the effects of three factors: construct stiffness, sagittal alignment, and the number of fused segments.


Nondestructive flexion–extension tests were performed by applying pure moments to 10 calf spinal (L3–S1) specimens. One-segment (L5–6) or two-segment (L5–S1) posterior fusion methods were simulated: 1) one-segment posterolateral fusion (PLF); 2) one-segment PLF with interbody fusion cages (one-segment PLIF/PLF); 3) two-segment PLF; 4) two-segment PLIF/PLF; and 5) two-segment PLF in kyphosis (two-segment kyphotic PLF). The range of motion (ROM) of the reconstructed segments, intradiscal pressure (IDP), and lamina strain in the upper (L4–5) adjacent segment were analyzed.

The ROM was significantly decreased in the PLIF/PLF models compared with that in the PLF alone models after both the one- and two-segment fusions. If the number of fused segments was increased, the pressure and strains were also increased in specimens subjected to the PLIF/PLF procedure, more so than the PLF-alone procedure. In the one-segment PLIF/PLF model the authors observed a reduced IDP and lamina strain compared with those in the kyphotic two-segment PLF model despite the latter’s higher levels of initial stiffness.


If the number of fused levels can be reduced by using PLIF to correct local kyphosis, then this procedure may be valuable for reducing adjacent-segment degenerative changes.