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Sudhakar Vadivelu, Matthew Willsey, Daniel J. Curry and John W. McDonald III

Chronic neuropathic pain is a debilitating disease process associated with several medical disorders. Different from pain caused by inflammation, neuropathic pain is a diffuse pain disorder often found to be recalcitrant to the limited medical treatments available. Intractable nerve pain may benefit from other therapies capable of longer-lasting pain coverage or greater efficacy. A growing number of reports have emerged suggesting a role for stem cells as a cellular delivery source with neuroprotective agents opposing the effects of nerve damage. Here, the authors review the current experimental therapies examining the use of stem cells for the treatment of neuropathic pain disorders.

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P. Troy Henning, Thomas J. Wilson, Matthew Willsey, Jessin K. John, Miriana Popadich and Lynda J. S. Yang

Surgical transection of sensory nerves in the treatment of intractable neuropathic pain is a commonly performed procedure. At times these cases can be particularly challenging when encountering obese patients, when targeting deeper nerves or those with a variable branching pattern, or in the case of repeat operations. In this case series, the authors describe their experience with ultrasound-guided surgical instrument placement during transection of a saphenous nerve in the region of prior vascular surgery in 1 patient and in the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve in 2 obese patients. The authors also describe this novel technique and provide pilot data that suggests ultrasound-assisted surgery may allow for complex cases to be completed in an expedited fashion through smaller incisions.

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Christina Sayama, Matthew Willsey, Murali Chintagumpala, Alison Brayton, Valentina Briceño, Sheila L. Ryan, Thomas G. Luerssen, Steven W. Hwang and Andrew Jea


The aim of this study was to determine the safety of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) use in posterior instrumented fusions in the pediatric population, focusing on cancer risk. In a previous study, the authors reported the short-term (mean follow-up of 11 months) safety and efficacy of rhBMP-2 in the pediatric age group. The present study reports their results with a minimum of 24 months' follow-up.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 57 consecutive cases involving pediatric patients who underwent posterior occiptocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or lumbosacral spine fusion from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2011, at Texas Children's Hospital. Seven cases were excluded from further analysis because of loss to follow-up. Three patients died during the follow-up period and were placed in a separate cohort.


The patients' average age at the time of surgery was 11 years, 4 months (range 9 months to 20 years). The mean duration of follow-up was 48.4 months (range 24–70 months). Cancer status was determined at the most recent encounter with the patient and/or caretaker(s) in person, or in telephone follow-up. Twenty-four or more months after administration of rhBMP-2, there were no cases of new malignancy, degeneration, or metastasis of existing tumors. The cause of death of the patients who died during the study period was not related to BMP or to the development, degeneration, or metastasis of cancer.


Despite the large number of adult studies reporting increased cancer risk associated with BMP use, the authors' outcomes with rhBMP-2 in the pediatric population suggest that it is a safe adjunct to posterior spine fusions of the occipitocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and lumbosacral spine. There were no new cases of cancer, or degeneration or metastasis of existing malignancies in this series.

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Jennylee S. Swallow, Jacob R. Joseph, Kylene Willsey, Andrea A. Almeida, Matthew T. Lorincz, Paul Park, Nicholas J. Szerlip and Steven P. Broglio


The authors of recent concussion guidelines have sought to form a consensus on injury management, but it is unclear if they have been effective in conveying this information to the public. Many parents and athletes obtain medical recommendations via the Internet. This review is aimed at evaluating consistency between online resources and published guideline statements in postconcussion return-to-play (RTP) decisions.


Five websites were selected through a Google search for RTP after concussion, including a federal government institution (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website, a national high school association (National Federation of State High School Associations) website, a popular nationally recognized medical website for patients (WebMD), a popular parent-driven website for parents of children who participate in sports (MomsTeam), and the website of a private concussion clinic (Sports Concussion Institute), along with a university hospital website (University of Michigan Medicine). Eight specific items from the Zurich Sport Concussion Consensus Statement 2012 were used as the gold standard for RTP recommendations. Three independent reviewers graded each website for each of the 8 recommendations (A = states guideline recommendations appropriately; B = mentions guideline recommendation; C = does not mention guideline recommendation; F = makes inappropriate recommendation).


A grade of A was assigned for 45.8% of the recommendations, B for 25.0%, C for 25.0%, and F for 4.2%. All the websites were assigned an A grade for the recommendation of no RTP on the day of injury. Only 1 website (WebMD) mentioned medication usage in conjunction with the Zurich statement, and only 2 websites (Sports Concussion Institute and University of Michigan Medicine) mentioned appropriate management of persistent symptoms. None of these websites commented correctly on all 8 guideline recommendations.


Online resources are inconsistent in relaying guideline recommendations for RTP and provide a potential source of confusion in the management of concussion for athletes and their parents, which can result in inappropriate RTP decisions.