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Michael Y. Wang

Object

The treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD) remains a challenge for the spine surgeon. While minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has many favorable attributes that would be of great benefit for the ASD population, improvements in lordosis and sagittal balance have remained elusive in cases involving the MIS approach. This report describes the evolution of an MIS method for treating ASD with attention to sagittal correction.

Methods

Over an 18-month period 25 patients with thoracolumbar scoliosis were treated surgically. The mean patient age was 72 years, and 68% of the population was female. Patients were treated with multilevel facet osteotomies and interbody fusion in which expandable cages (mean 3.2 levels) were placed and percutaneous screw fixation (mean 5.3 levels) was performed. Seven patients underwent supplemental percutaneous iliac fixation.

Results

All patients underwent MIS without conversion to a traditional open procedure. The mean operative time was 273 mins and the mean blood loss was 416 ml. There were no intraoperative complications. The Cobb angle over the scoliotic deformity improved from a mean of 29.2° to that of 9.0° (p < 0.001). Lumbar lordosis between L-1 and S-1 improved from a mean of 27.8° to one of 42.6° (p < 0.001). Sagittal vertical axis improved from 7.4 cm to 4.3 cm (p = 0.001). Numeric pain scale scores improved as well, an average of 3.3 and 4.2 for the leg and back, respectively. A mean improvement of 20.8 points on the Oswestry Disability Index was seen at 12 months. Complications included: two cases requiring hardware repositioning, one case of screw pullout, one asymptomatic pedicle screw breach, prolonged hospitalization from constipation, and one acute coronary syndrome developing 3 days after surgery without myocardial damage.

Conclusions

An expanding body of evidence suggests that sagittal balance remains a keystone for good outcomes after ASD surgery. Minimally invasive surgery that involves a combination of osteotomies, interbody height restoration, and advanced fixation techniques may achieve this goal in patients with less severe deformities. While feasibility will have to be proven with larger series and improved surgical methods, the present technique holds promise as a means of reducing the significant morbidity associated with surgery in the ASD population.

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Michael Y. Wang

Adult spinal deformities (ASD) pose a challenge for the spinal surgeon. Because the spine is often rigid, mobilization of the segments is critical for effective correction, particularly in the sagittal plane. While minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has many favorable attributes that would be of great benefit for the ASD population, improvements in lordosis and sagittal balance have remained problematic using MIS approaches, including MIS lateral methods. This video illustrates one method for achieving improvement of coronal and sagittal correction without the extensive exposure and soft tissue envelope disruption needed in open surgery, particularly for less severe deformities. By using multi-level TLIFs through a mini-open surgery, curves of less than 60° can be managed with minimal blood loss and within a reasonable surgical timeframe. While feasibility will have to be proven with larger series and improved surgical methods, this technique holds promise as a means of reducing the significant morbidity associated with surgery in the ASD population.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/I0rkDSAVas0.

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Michael Y. Wang and Michael Thambuswamy

Object

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a disorder afflicting as many as 2% of East Asians. However, reports of OPLL in non-Asians have been sporadic in the medical literature. This study describes clinical and radiographic findings with OPLL in non-Asians at a tertiary care center treating a diverse multiethnic population.

Methods

Over a 6-year period, 43 patients not of East Asian descent presented to an urban tertiary medical center with OPLL. Patient data, including ethnicity, spinal cord function, Nurick grade, radiographic findings, OPLL subtype, and degree of cervical stenosis, were recorded.

Results

The average patient age was 59 years (range 32–92 years) with 18 women and 25 men. There were 22 Caucasian patients, 17 Hispanic patients, and 4 Black patients. With respect to the radiographic findings, OPLL morphology was continuous in 19, segmental in 17, mixed in 6, and other in 1. Average canal diameter was 7.6 mm (range 4.2–9.0 mm) at the most stenotic points. The mean Nurick grade was 2.95 at presentation, but 7 of the patients had OPLL identified incidentally and with early or minimal symptoms and signs of myelopathy.

Conclusions

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament in non-Asians demonstrates similar demographic and radiographic characteristics as in East Asians. The representation of different ethnic groups mirrors the demographics of the medical center population in general, showing no specific predilection for particular ethnic groups. Surgical decompression in appropriately selected patients results in similar rates of improvement when compared with the Japanese literature.

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Michael Y. Wang and Jay Grossman

OBJECTIVE

One of the principal goals of minimally invasive surgery has been to speed postoperative recovery. In this case series, the authors used an endoscopic technique for interbody fusion combined with percutaneous screw fixation to obviate the need for general anesthesia.

METHODS

The first 10 consecutive patients treated with a minimum of 1 year's follow-up were included in this series. The patients were all treated using endoscopic access through Kambin's triangle to allow for neural decompression, discectomy, endplate preparation, and interbody fusion. This was followed by percutaneous pedicle screw and connecting rod placement using liposomal bupivacaine for long-acting analgesia. No narcotics or regional anesthetics were used during surgery.

RESULTS

All patients underwent the procedure successfully without conversion to open surgery. The patients' average age was 62.2 ± 9.0 years (range 52–78 years). All patients had severe disc height collapse, and 60% had a Grade I spondylolisthesis. The mean operative time was 113.5 ± 6.3 minutes (range 105–120 minutes), and blood loss was 65 ± 38 ml (range 30–190 ml). The mean length of hospital stay was 1.4 ± 1.3 nights. There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications. Comparison of preoperative and final clinical metrics demonstrated that the Oswestry Disability Index improved from 42 ± 11.8 to 13.3 ± 15.1; the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) Physical Component Summary improved from 47.6 ± 3.8 to 49.7 ± 5.4; the SF-36 Mental Component Summary decreased from 47 ± 3.9 to 46.7 ± 3.4; and the EQ-5D improved from 10.7 ± 9.5 to 14.2 ± 1.6. There were no cases of nonunion identified radiographically on follow-up imaging.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic fusion under conscious sedation may represent a feasible alternative to traditional lumbar spine fusion in select patients. Larger clinical series are necessary to validate that clinical improvements are sustained and that arthrodesis rates are successful when compared with open surgery. This initial experience demonstrates the possible utility of this procedure.

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Jeremiah N. Johnson and Michael Y. Wang

Bilateral pedicle fractures in the spine are uncommon in the absence of bony abnormality, previous surgery, or trauma. The authors report a case of spontaneous bilateral lumbar pedicle fracture in a 50-year-old sedentary woman, which caused intractable pain and did not respond to months of conservative management. The fractures were surgically treated using a percutaneous, minimally invasive technique with screws placed directly through the fractures into the vertebral body. The pedicles were strategically tapped to achieve the lag effect and reapproximate the posterior fragment with the anterior elements. The patient tolerated the procedure well and experienced early improvement of her symptoms, and follow-up imaging showed evidence of fracture healing. Transpedicular fixation and the use of the lag effect could be a useful strategy in the treatment of future cases involving poorly healing pedicle fractures causing persistent symptoms.

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The evolution of minimally invasive spine surgery

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Jang W. Yoon and Michael Y. Wang

The field of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) has rapidly evolved over the past 3 decades. This review follows the evolution of techniques and principles that have led to significant advances in the field. While still representing only a subset of spine surgeries, MISS’s goals of reducing soft-tissue trauma and mitigating the morbidity of surgery are being realized, translating into more rapid recovery, lower infection rates, and higher cost savings. Future advances in technology and techniques can be anticipated.

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Peng-Yuan Chang and Michael Y. Wang

In minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery, transforaminal lumbar (sacral) interbody fusion (TLIF) is one of the most common procedures that provides both anterior and posterior column support without retraction or violation to the neural structure. Direct and indirect decompression can be done through this single approach. Preoperative plain radiographs and MR scan should be carefully evaluated. This video demonstrates a standard approach for how to perform a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbosacral interbody fusion.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/bhEeafKJ370.

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Faiz U. Ahmad and Michael Y. Wang

Object

Over the past decade percutaneous pedicle screws have become popular for the minimally invasive treatment of spinal disorders. However, until the last 5 years the presence of a significant spinal deformity was regarded as a relative contraindication for percutaneous instrumentation. Recent advances in surgical technique and intraoperative technology have made percutaneous fixation in complex spinal pathologies more commonplace. The authors report their experience using a parsimonious method for uniplanar fluoroscopic targeting of pedicles in challenging cases.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients with adult spinal deformity who underwent percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation from 2008 to 2013. Cases were included if a spiral slice postoperative CT scan was obtained. All cases had a minimum of 10° of axial rotation and typically had additional accompanying anatomical abnormalities. Screws were assessed for any pedicle violations as well as any impingement of the surrounding facet joints.

Results

A total of 410 pedicle screws were placed in 36 patients with an average 6.4 levels of instrumentation per patient. The mean age was 67 years (range 44–86 years) and there were 25 females. Of the 410 screws, 29 (7.1%) had some medial or lateral pedicle violation. Of these, 15 (3.7%) were Grade 1, 6 (1.4%) were Grade 2, and 8 (2.0%) were Grade 3 violations. Of the Grade 3 violations, 2 each were at the L-4, L-5, and S-1 levels, and 1 each was at the T-10 and L-1 levels. Two of the patients had symptoms and both underwent screw repositioning, one during the same admission and the other in a delayed fashion. Both were at the L-5 and S-1 levels with anatomically highly medialized pedicles. There were no motor deficits, and both removals were for numbness. Of the 72 screws at the proximal end of the construct, there were 6 facet violations (8.3%). Four (5.6%) of these were Grade 1, 1 (1.4%) was Grade 2, and 1 (1.4%) was Grade 3.

Conclusions

The anteroposterior fluoroscopic technique can be effectively used by spinal surgeons to cannulate the pedicles in patients with rotational deformities. The complication rate in this challenging population is acceptable and is in accordance with the existing literature. However, caution should be used at L-5 and S-1 when the pedicle is narrow and highly medialized, rendering an indistinct medial wall on anteroposterior imaging.

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Joanna E. Gernsback and Michael Y. Wang

Vertebral augmentation with cement has become a common procedure for the treatment of compression fractures, leading to a growing population who have had this procedure and are now in need of another spinal surgery. This technical note reports an undescribed method for placing pedicle screws through a previously cemented level.

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George M. Ghobrial and Michael Y. Wang