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Brian J. Kelley, Anas A. Minkara, Peter D. Angevine, Michael G. Vitale, Lawrence G. Lenke, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

The long-term effects of instrumentation and fusion of the occipital-cervical-thoracic spine on spinal growth in young children are poorly understood. To mitigate the effects of this surgery on the growing pediatric spine, the authors report a novel technique used in 4 children with severe cervical-thoracic instability. These patients underwent instrumentation from the occiput to the upper thoracic region for stabilization, but without bone graft at the craniovertebral junction (CVJ). Subsequent surgery was then performed to remove the occipital instrumentation, thereby allowing further growth and increased motion across the CVJ.

METHODS

Three very young children (15, 30, and 30 months old) underwent occipital to thoracic posterior segmental instrumentation due to cervical or upper thoracic dislocation, progressive kyphosis, and myelopathy. The fourth child (10 years old) underwent similar instrumentation for progressive cervical-thoracic scoliosis. Bone graft was placed at and distal to C-2 only. After follow-up CT scans demonstrated posterior arthrodesis without unintended fusion from the occiput to C-2, 3 patients underwent removal of the occipital instrumentation.

RESULTS

Follow-up cervical spine flexion/extension radiographs demonstrated partial restoration of motion at the CVJ. One patient has not had the occipital instrumentation removed yet, because only 4 months have elapsed since her operation.

CONCLUSIONS

Temporary fixation to the occiput provides increased biomechanical stability for spinal stabilization in young children, without permanently eliminating motion and growth at the CVJ. This technique can be considered in children who require longer instrumentation constructs for temporary stabilization, but who only need fusion in more limited areas where spinal instability exists.

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Richard Menger, Paul J. Park, Elise C. Bixby, Gerard Marciano, Meghan Cerpa, David Roye, Benjamin D. Roye, Michael Vitale, and Lawrence Lenke

OBJECTIVE

Significant investigation in the adult population has generated a body of research regarding proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) and proximal junctional failure (PJF) following long fusions to the sacrum and pelvis. However, much less is known regarding early complications, including PJK and PJF, in the ambulatory pediatric patient. As such, the objective of this study was to address the minimal literature on early complications after ambulatory pediatric patients underwent fusion to the sacrum with instrumentation to the pelvis in the era of sacral-alar-iliac (S2AI) instrumentation.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of pediatric patients with nonidiopathic spinal deformity < 18 years of age with ambulatory capacity who underwent fusion to the pelvis at a multisurgeon pediatric academic spine practice from 2016 to 2018. All surgeries were posterior-only approaches with S2AI screws as the primary technique for sacropelvic fixation. Descriptive, outcome, and radiographic data were obtained. The definition of PJF included symptomatic PJK presenting as fracture, screw pullout, or disruption of the posterior osseoligamentous complex.

RESULTS

Twenty-five patients were included in this study. Nine patients (36.0%) had 15 complications for an overall complication rate of 60.0%. Unplanned return to the operating room occurred 8 times in 6 patients (24.0%). Four patients (16.0%) had wound issues (3 with deep wound infection and 1 with wound breakdown) requiring reoperation. Three patients (12.0%) had PJF, all requiring reoperation. A 16-year-old female patient with syndromic scoliosis underwent extension of fusion due to posterior tension band failure at 6 months. A 17-year-old male patient with neuromuscular scoliosis underwent extension of fusion due to proximal screw pullout at 5 months. A 10-year-old female patient with congenital scoliosis underwent extension for PJF at 5 months following posterior tension band failure. One patient had pseudarthrosis requiring reoperation 20 months postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

Fixation to the pelvis enables significant deformity correction, but with rather high rates of complications and unexpected returns to the operating room. Considerations of sagittal plane dynamics for PJK and PJF should be strongly analyzed when performing fixation to the pelvis in ambulatory pediatric patients.

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Paul Gigante, Michael M. McDowell, Samuel S. Bruce, Genevieve Chirelstein, Claudia A. Chiriboga, Joseph Dutkowsky, Elizabeth Fontana, Joshua Hyman, Heakyung Kim, Dean Morgan, Toni S. Pearson, Benjamin D. Roye, David P. Roye Jr., Patricia Ryan, Michael Vitale, and Richard C. E. Anderson

Object

Randomized clinical trials have established that lumbar selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) reduces lower-extremity tone and improves functional outcome in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Significant data exist to support a secondary effect on upper-extremity function in patients with upper-extremity spasticity. The effects of SDR on upper-extremity tone, however, are not well characterized. In this report, the authors sought to assess changes in upper-extremity tone in individual muscle groups after SDR and tried to determine if these changes could be predicted preoperatively.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 42 children who underwent SDR at Columbia University Medical Center/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian between 2005 and 2011. Twenty-five had upper-extremity spasticity. All underwent pre- and postoperative examination for measuring tone (Modified Ashworth Scale) and assessing functional outcome. Follow-up examinations with therapists were performed at least once at a minimum of 2 months postoperatively (mean 15 months).

Results

In the upper extremities, 23 (92%) of 25 patients had improvements of at least 1 Ashworth point in 2 or more independent motor groups on the Modified Ashworth Scale, and 12 (71%) of 17 families surveyed reported increases in motor control or spontaneous movement. The mean Modified Ashworth Scale scores for all upper-extremity muscle groups demonstrated an improvement from 1.34 to 1.22 (p < 0.001). Patients with a mean preoperative upper-extremity tone of 1.25–1.75 were most likely to benefit from reduction in tone (p = 0.0019). Proximal and pronator muscle groups were most likely to demonstrate reduced tone.

Conclusions

In addition to improvements in lower-extremity tone and function, SDR has demonstrable effects on upper extremities. Greater than 90% of our patients with elevated upper-extremity tone demonstrated reduction in tone in at least 2 muscle groups postoperatively. Patients with a mean Modified Ashworth Scale upper-extremity score of 1.25–1.75 may encounter the greatest reduction in upper-extremity tone.