Marcus D. Mazur and Andrew T. Dailey
Marcus D. Mazur, Vijay M. Ravindra and Douglas L. Brockmeyer
Patients with occipitocervical (OC) instability from congenital vertebral anomalies (CVAs) of the craniocervical junction (CCJ) often have bony abnormalities that make instrumentation placement difficult. Within this patient population, some bilateral instrumentation constructs either fail or are not feasible, and a unilateral construct must be used. The authors describe the surgical management and outcomes of this disorder in patients in whom unilateral fixation constructs were used to treat OC instability.
From a database of OC fusion procedures, the authors identified patients who underwent unilateral fixation for the management of OC instability. Patient characteristics, surgical details, and radiographic outcomes were reviewed. In each patient, CT scans were performed at least 4 months after surgery to evaluate for fusion.
Eight patients with CVAs of the CCJ underwent unilateral fixation for the treatment of OC instability. For 4 patients, the procedure occurred after a bilateral OC construct failed or infection forced hardware removal. For the remainder, it was the primary procedure. Two patients required reoperation for hardware revision and 1 developed nonunion requiring revision of the bone graft. Ultimately, 7 patients demonstrated osseous fusion on CT scans and 1 had a stable fibrous union.
These findings demonstrate that a unilateral OC fixation is effective for the treatment of OC instability in children with CVAs of the CCJ in whom bilateral screw placement fails or is not feasible.
Marcus Mazur, Gregory F. Jost, Meic H. Schmidt and Erica F. Bisson
Anterior decompression is an effective way to treat cervical myelopathy associated with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL); however, this approach is associated with an increased risk of a dural tear and resultant CSF leak because fusion of the dura with the ossified PLL is common in these cases. The authors review the literature and present an algorithm for treatment of CSF leaks in these patients.
A MEDLINE review was performed to identify papers related to CSF leak after anterior decompression for OPLL, and data were summarized to identify treatment options for various situations. A treatment algorithm was identified based on these findings and the experience of the authors.
Eleven studies were identified that presented data on intra- and postoperative management of a CSF leak during ventral surgery for OPLL. The incidence of cervical dural tears and CSF leaks after anterior decompression procedures for OPLL ranged from 4.3% to 32%. Techniques including preventative measures, intraoperative dural repair with various materials, and postoperative drainage or shunt placement have all been used.
Although direct dural repair is the preferred treatment for CSF leak, this technique is not always technically possible. In these cases, intraoperative adjuncts in combination with postoperative measures can be used to decrease the pressure gradient across the dural tear.
Marcus D. Mazur, Aaron Cutler, William T. Couldwell and Philipp Taussky
Meningiomas that invade the transverse or sigmoid sinuses are uncommon tumors that are challenging to treat surgically. Although the risk of recurrence is associated with the extent of resection, complete removal of meningiomas in these locations must be balanced with avoidance of venous outflow obstruction, which could cause venous infarction and significant neurological consequences. When a meningioma occludes a venous sinus completely, gross-total resection of the intravascular portion is commonly performed. When the tumor invades but does not completely obliterate a major venous sinus, however, opinions differ on whether to accept a subtotal resection or to open the sinus, perform a complete resection, and reconstruct the venous outflow tract. In this paper, the authors review the different strategies used to treat these lesions and provide illustrative case examples.
Marcus D. Mazur, Michael L. Mumert, Erica F. Bisson and Meic H. Schmidt
Anterior screw fixation of Type II odontoid fractures provides immediate stabilization of the cervical spine while preserving C1–2 motion. This technique has a high fusion rate, but can be technically challenging. The authors identify key points that should be taken into account to maximize the chance for a favorable outcome. Keys to success include proper patient and fracture selection, identification of suitable screw entry point and correct screw trajectory, achieving bicortical purchase, and placing 2 screws when feasible and applicable. The authors review the operative technique and present guidance on appropriate patient selection and common pitfalls in anterior screw fixation, with strategies for avoiding complications.
Marcus D. Mazur, Sara McEvoy, Meic H. Schmidt and Erica F. Bisson
Patient satisfaction scores have become a common metric for health care quality. Because satisfaction scores are right-skewed, even small differences in mean scores can have a large impact. Little information, however, is available on the specific factors that play a role in satisfaction in patients with spinal disorders. The authors investigated whether disability severity and the surgeon's recommendation for or against surgical intervention were associated with patient satisfaction scores.
The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study involving adult patients who were referred to a spine surgeon for an outpatient evaluation of back pain. Patients completed the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) before their clinic appointment and a Press Ganey patient satisfaction survey after their visit. Patients were grouped by self-assessed disability severity: mild to moderate (ODI < 40%) and severe (≥ 40%). Satisfaction scores were graded from 0 (very poor) to 100 (very good). Nonparametric tests were used to evaluate the association between patient satisfaction and current disability self-assessment. The authors also investigated whether the surgeon's recommendation against surgery negatively affected patient satisfaction.
One hundred thirty patients completed the ODI questionnaire before and satisfaction surveys after seeing a spine surgeon for a new outpatient back pain consultation. Of these, 68 patients had severe disability, 62 had mild to moderate disability, 67 received a recommendation for surgery, and 63 received a recommendation against surgery. Composite satisfaction scores were lower among patients who had severe disability than among those with mild to moderate disability (median [interquartile range]: 91.7 [83.7–96.4] vs 95.8 [91.0–99.3], respectively; p = 0.0040). Patients who received a recommendation against surgery reported lower satisfaction scores than those who received a recommendation for surgery (91.7 [83.5–95.8] vs 95.8 [88.5–99.8]; p = 0.0059).
High self-assessment of disability and a surgeon's recommendation against surgical intervention are associated with lower satisfaction scores in patients with spinal disorders.
Marcus Mazur, Robert H. Miller and Shenandoah Robinson
Brain injury from preterm birth predisposes children to cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cognitive delay, and behavioral abnormalities. The CNS injury often begins before the early birth, which hinders diagnosis and concurrent treatment. Safe, effective postnatal interventions are urgently needed to minimize these chronic neurological deficits. Erythropoietin (EPO) is a pleiotropic neuroprotective cytokine, but the biological basis of its efficacy in the damaged developing brain remains unclear. Coordinated expression of EPO ligand and receptor expression occurs during CNS development to promote neural cell survival. The authors propose that prenatal third trimester global hypoxiaischemia disrupts the developmentally regulated expression of neural cell EPO signaling, and predisposes neural cells to death. Furthermore, the authors suggest that neonatal exogenous recombinant human EPO (rhEPO) administration can restore the mismatch of EPO ligand and receptor levels, and enhance neural cell survival.
Transient systemic hypoxia-ischemia (TSHI) on embryonic Day 18 in rats mimics human early-thirdtrimester placental insufficiency. This model was used to test the authors' hypothesis using a novel clinically relevant paradigm of prenatal injury on embryonic Day 18, neonatal systemic rhEPO administration initiated 4 days after injury on postnatal Day 1, and histological, biochemical, and functional analyses in neonatal, juvenile, and adult rats.
The results showed that prenatal TSHI upregulates brain EPO receptors, but not EPO ligand. Sustained EPO receptor upregulation was pronounced on oligodendroglial lineage cells and neurons, neural cell populations particularly prone to loss from CNS injury due to preterm birth. Postnatal rhEPO administration after prenatal TSHI minimized histological damage and rescued oligodendrocytes and γ-aminobutyric acidergic interneurons. Myelin basic protein expression in adult rats after insult was reduced compared with sham controls, but could be restored to near normal levels by neonatal rhEPO treatment. Erythropoietin-treated TSHI rats performed significantly better than their saline-treated peers as adults in motor skills tests, and showed significant seizure threshold restoration using a pentylenetetrazole increasing-dose paradigm.
These data demonstrate that neonatal rhEPO administration in a novel clinically relevant paradigm initiated 4 days after a global prenatal hypoxic-ischemic insult in rats rescues neural cells, and induces lasting histological and functional improvement in adult rats.
Vijay M. Ravindra, Jayson A. Neil, Marcus D. Mazur, Min S. Park, William T. Couldwell and Philipp Taussky
The craniocervical junction (CCJ) functions within a complicated regional anatomy necessary to protect and support vital neurovascular structures. In select instances, vascular pathology can be attributed to this complicated interplay of motion and structure found within this narrow space. The authors report 3 cases of complex vascular pathology related to motion at the CCJ and detail the management of these cases. Two cases involved posterior circulation vascular compression syndromes, and one case involved a vascular anomaly and its relation to aneurysm formation and rupture. The patient in Case 1 was a 66-year-old man with a history of syncopal episodes resulting from the bilateral vertebral artery becoming occluded when he rotated his head. Successful microsurgical decompression at the skull base resulted in patent bilateral vertebral artery V3 segments upon head movement in all directions. The patient in Case 2 was a 53-year-old woman who underwent elective resection of a right temporal meningioma and who experienced postoperative drowsiness, dysphagia, and mild right-arm ataxia. Subsequent MRI demonstrated bilateral posterior inferior cerebel-lar artery (PICA) strokes. Cerebral angiography showed a single PICA, of extradural origin, supplying both cerebellar hemispheres. The PICA exhibited dynamic extradural compression when the patient rotated her head; the bilateral PICA strokes were due to head rotation during surgical positioning. In Case 3, a 37-year-old woman found unconscious in her home had diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage and evidence of a right PICA aneurysm. A right far-lateral craniectomy was performed for aneurysm clipping, and she was found to have a dissecting aneurysm with an associated PICA originating extradurally. There was a shearing phenomenon of the extradural PICA along the dura of the foramen magnum, and this microtraumatic stress imposed on the vessel resulted in a dissecting aneurysm. This series of complex and unusual cases highlights the authors’ understanding of vascular pathology of the CCJ and its management.
Rinchen Phuntsok, Marcus D. Mazur, Benjamin J. Ellis, Vijay M. Ravindra and Douglas L. Brockmeyer
There is a significant deficiency in understanding the biomechanics of the pediatric craniocervical junction (CCJ) (occiput–C2), primarily because of a lack of human pediatric cadaveric tissue and the relatively small number of treated patients. To overcome this deficiency, a finite element model (FEM) of the pediatric CCJ was created using pediatric geometry and parameterized adult material properties. The model was evaluated under the physiological range of motion (ROM) for flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending and under tensile loading.
This research utilizes the FEM method, which is a numerical solution technique for discretizing and analyzing systems. The FEM method has been widely used in the field of biomechanics. A CT scan of a 13-month-old female patient was used to create the 3D geometry and surfaces of the FEM model, and an open-source FEM software suite was used to apply the material properties and boundary and loading conditions and analyze the model. The published adult ligament properties were reduced to 50%, 25%, and 10% of the original stiffness in various iterations of the model, and the resulting ROMs for flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending were compared. The flexion-extension ROMs and tensile stiffness that were predicted by the model were evaluated using previously published experimental measurements from pediatric cadaveric tissues.
The model predicted a ROM within 1 standard deviation of the published pediatric ROM data for flexion-extension at 10% of adult ligament stiffness. The model's response in terms of axial tension also coincided well with published experimental tension characterization data. The model behaved relatively stiffer in extension than in flexion. The axial rotation and lateral bending results showed symmetric ROM, but there are currently no published pediatric experimental data available for comparison. The model predicts a relatively stiffer ROM in both axial rotation and lateral bending in comparison with flexion-extension. As expected, the flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending ROMs increased with the decrease in ligament stiffness.
An FEM of the pediatric CCJ was created that accurately predicts flexion-extension ROM and axial force displacement of occiput–C2 when the ligament material properties are reduced to 10% of the published adult ligament properties. This model gives a reasonable prediction of pediatric cervical spine ligament stiffness, the relationship between flexion-extension ROM, and ligament stiffness at the CCJ. The creation of this model using open-source software means that other researchers will be able to use the model as a starting point for research.