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Choong Jin Whang, Gi Taek Yee, Chan Young Choi, Moon-Jun Sohn and Dong Joon Lee

Object. The role of radiosurgery has become increasingly important in the treatment of intracranial lesions. In this study the authors evaluated the efficacy of the Novalis shaped beam radiosurgery system (dedicated linear accelerator) for various brain and spinal lesions.

Methods. Between November 2000 and October 2003 the authors treated 356 cases of various intracranial and extracranial lesions with Novalis shaped beam radiosurgery. Of these 356 cases, 109 cases were followed for more than a 2-year period. Fifty patients underwent fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery. Twenty patients (40%) harbored benign tumors (two acoustic neuromas, seven meningiomas, five pituitary adenomas, four optic gliomas, and two craniopharyngiomas), 18 patients (36%) harbored malignant tumors (16 glioblastoma multiforme [GBM], and two metastases), and the others included five with brainstem gliomas, one chordoma, five gliomas, and one with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Eighteen of 20 patients with benign tumors had good tumor control. Of 59 patients treated with single-dose stereotactic radiosurgery, 24 had benign intracranial tumors (12 acoustic neuromas, 11 meningiomas, and one pituitary adenoma), 20 had malignant tumors (two GBMs and 18 metastases), and the others were eight AVMs, two glomus jugulare tumors, three lymphomas, one pineal tumor, and one spinal tumor.

Conclusions. Stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery using the Novalis shaped beam radiosurgery system are effective and safe noninvasive treatment modalities for various intracranial and extracranial lesions.

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Cumhur Kilinçer, Michael P. Steinmetz, Moon Jun Sohn, Edward C. Benzel and William Bingaman

Object. Although advances in patient care have enabled surgeons to perform posterior lumbar decompression and fusion (PLDF), increased age remains a major concern when designing a treatment strategy. The authors conducted a study to evaluate if increased age has any effect on lumbar fusion surgery in terms of perioperative events.

Methods. This retrospective study comprised 129 patients (age range 25–91 years) with spondylolisthesis, lumbar stenosis and/or disc degeneration/herniation with instability, or unsuccessful results after a failed previous PLDF. The patients were stratified by age: those younger than 65 years of age (85 patients) and those at least 65 years of age (44 patients). The parameters reviewed included comorbid conditions, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, instrumentation technique (pedicle screws, a combination of pedicle screw fixation [PSF] and posterior lumbar interbody fusion [PLIF], or non-instrumented fusions), number of fused levels, operative time, estimated blood loss (EBL), complications, and hospital length of stay (LOS).

Fusion strategies in the elderly tended to be more conservative. Repeated operations and PSF/PLIF procedures were less frequent in the older age group. Older age did not result in increased complications, EBL, and operative time. Longer hospital LOS was observed in the older age group (7 ± 3.5 days) compared with the younger age group (5.5 ± 1.9 days) (p = 0.022).

Conclusions. Complications and perioperative events following PLDF in the elderly are comparable with those observed in younger patients. Withholding lumbar spine fusion solely based on advanced age is not warranted.

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Dong-Won Shin, Moon-Jun Sohn, Han-Seong Kim, Dong-Joon Lee, Sang Ryong Jeon, Yoon Joon Hwang and Eek-Hoon Jho

OBJECT

In this study the authors sought to evaluate clinical outcomes after using stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to treat benign and malignant spinal neurogenic tumors.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a total of 66 procedures of spinal SRS performed between 2001 and 2013 for 110 tumors in 58 patients with spinal neurogenic tumors, which included schwannomas, neurofibromas, and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). The clinical and radiological findings were evaluated in patients with benign neurogenic tumors. For the 4 patients with MPNSTs, the authors reported overall survival and results of additional immunohistochemical staining to predict the survival difference among the patients.

RESULTS

Of the 92 benign neurogenic tumors, 65 tumors that were serially followed up using MRI after SRS showed significant change in mean tumor volume, from a mean of 12.0 ± 2.6 cm3 pre-SRS to 10.8 ± 2.5 cm3 post-SRS (p = 0.027), over an average of 44 months. The local control rate of benign neurogenic tumors was 95.4%. The 34 patients who presented with clinical symptoms of pain showed a significant symptomatic improvement. The initial mean visual analog scale (VAS) score was 6.0 and decreased dramatically to 1.0 after SRS during an average follow-up period of 10.9 months (median of 8.1 months). Although the proportions of transient swelling and loss of intramural enhancement were significantly different among the groups, there was no statistically significant correlation between those 2 factors and local tumor control (p = 0.253 and 0.067, respectively; Fisher’s exact text). Cross-table analysis also indicated that there was no statistically significant relationship between groups with loss of intramural enhancement and transient swelling. The median survival of neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1)-related and sporadic MPNSTs was 1.13 and 5.8 years, respectively. Immunohistochemical results showed that S100 was expressed in a sporadic MPNST or neurofibroma, whereas topoisomerase-IIa was expressed in NF1-related MPNSTs.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS is an effective treatment modality for benign neurogenic tumors, while MPNSTs showed heterogeneity in their responses to SRS.

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Moon-Jun Sohn, Mark M. Kayanja, Cumhur Kilinçer, Lisa A. Ferrara and Edward C. Benzel

Object

The purpose of this study was to measure and compare the ventral and lateral surface strain distributions and stiffness for two types of interbody cage placement: 1) central placement for anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF); and 2) dorsolateral placement for extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (ELIF).

Methods

Two functional spine units were obtained for testing in each of 13 cadaveric spines, yielding 26 segments (three of which were not used because of bone abnormalities). Bilateral strain gauges were mounted adjacent to the endplate on the lateral and ventral walls of each vertebral body in the 23 motion segments. Each segment was cyclically tested in compression, flexion, and extension in the following conditions: while intact, postdiscectomy, and instrumented with interbody fusion cages placed using both insertion techniques.

No significant differences were observed between ALIF and ELIF in compressive stiffness, bending stiffness in flexion and extension (p ≥ 0.1), ventral and lateral strain distribution during the intact tests (p ≥ 0.24), and during the flexion tests after fusion (p ≥ 0.22). In compression, higher ventral and lower lateral strain was observed in the ALIF than in the ELIF group (ventral, p = 0.05; lateral, p = 0.04), and in extension, higher ventral (p = 0.01) and higher lateral strain (p = 0.002) was observed in the ELIF than in the ALIF group.

Conclusions

Preservation of the ventral anulus and dorsolateral placement of the interbody cages during ELIF allow alternate load transfer pathways through the dorsolateral vertebral wall and ventral anulus that are not observed following ALIF. These may be associated with a lower incidence of subsidence and a higher rate of fusion due to a more concentrated application of bone healing–enhancing compression forces during the fusion and healing process.

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Chang-Hyun Lee, Hae-Won Koo, Seong Rok Han, Chan-Young Choi, Moon-Jun Sohn and Chae-Heuck Lee

OBJECTIVE

De novo seizure following craniotomy (DSC) for nontraumatic pathology may adversely affect medical and neurological outcomes in patients with no history of seizures who have undergone craniotomies. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are commonly used prophylactically in patients undergoing craniotomy; however, evidence supporting this practice is limited and mixed. The authors aimed to collate the available evidence on the efficacy and tolerability of levetiracetam monotherapy and compare it with that of the classic AED, phenytoin, for DSC.

METHODS

PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched for studies that compared levetiracetam with phenytoin for DSC prevention. Inclusion criteria were adult patients with no history of epilepsy who underwent craniotomy with prophylactic usage of phenytoin, a comparator group with levetiracetam treatment as the main treatment difference between the two groups, and availability of data on the numbers of patients and seizures for each group. Patients with brain injury and previous seizure history were excluded. DSC occurrence and adverse drug reaction (ADR) were evaluated. Seizure occurrence was calculated using the Peto odds ratio (POR), which is the relative effect estimation method of choice for binary data with rare events.

RESULTS

Data from 7 studies involving 803 patients were included. The DSC occurrence rate was 1.26% (4/318) in the levetiracetam cohort and 6.60% (32/485) in the phenytoin cohort. Meta-analysis showed that levetiracetam is significantly superior to phenytoin for DSC prevention (POR 0.233, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.117–0.462, p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis demonstrated that levetiracetam is superior to phenytoin for DSC due to all brain diseases (POR 0.129, 95% CI 0.039–0.423, p = 0.001) and tumor (POR 0.282, 95% CI 0.117–0.678, p = 0.005). ADRs in the levetiracetam group were cognitive disturbance, thrombophlebitis, irritability, lethargy, tiredness, and asthenia, whereas rash, anaphylaxis, arrhythmia, and hyponatremia were more common in the phenytoin group. The overall occurrence of ADR in the phenytoin (34/466) and levetiracetam (26/432) groups (p = 0.44) demonstrated no statistically significant difference in ADR occurrence. However, the discontinuation rate of AEDs due to ADR was 53/297 in the phenytoin group and 6/196 in the levetiracetam group (POR 0.266, 95% CI 0.137–0.518, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Levetiracetam is superior to phenytoin for DSC prevention for nontraumatic pathology and has fewer serious ADRs that lead to discontinuation. Further high-quality studies that compare levetiracetam with placebo are necessary to provide evidence for establishing AED guidelines.

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David W. Beck and Darren S. Lovick

Object. Although advances in patient care have enabled surgeons to perform posterior lumbar decompression and fusion (PLDF), increased age remains a major concern when designing a treatment strategy. The authors conducted a study to evaluate if increased age has any effect on lumbar fusion surgery in terms of perioperative events.

Methods. This retrospective study comprised 129 patients (age range 25–91 years) with spondylolisthesis, lumbar stenosis and/or disc degeneration/herniation with instability, or unsuccessful results after a failed previous PLDF. The patients were stratified by age: those younger than 65 years of age (85 patients) and those at least 65 years of age (44 patients). The parameters reviewed included comorbid conditions, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, instrumentation technique (pedicle screws, a combination of pedicle screw fixation [PSF] and posterior lumbar interbody fusion [PLIF], or noninstrumented fusions), number of fused levels, operative time, estimated blood loss (EBL), complications, and hospital length of stay (LOS).

Fusion strategies in the elderly tended to be more conservative. Repeated operations and PSF/PLIF procedures were less frequent in the older age group. Older age did not result in increased complications, EBL, and operative time. Longer hospital LOS was observed in the older age group (7 ± 3.5 days) compared with the younger age group (5.5 ± 1.9 days) (p = 0.022).

Conclusions. Complications and perioperative events following PLDF in the elderly are comparable with those observed in younger patients. Withholding lumbar spine fusion solely based on advanced age is not warranted.

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Kristin J. Redmond, Simon S. Lo, Scott G. Soltys, Yoshiya Yamada, Igor J. Barani, Paul D. Brown, Eric L. Chang, Peter C. Gerszten, Samuel T. Chao, Robert J. Amdur, Antonio A. F. De Salles, Matthias Guckenberger, Bin S. Teh, Jason Sheehan, Charles R. Kersh, Michael G. Fehlings, Moon-Jun Sohn, Ung-Kyu Chang, Samuel Ryu, Iris C. Gibbs and Arjun Sahgal

OBJECTIVE

Although postoperative stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for spinal metastases is increasingly performed, few guidelines exist for this application. The purpose of this study is to develop consensus guidelines to promote safe and effective treatment for patients with spinal metastases.

METHODS

Fifteen radiation oncologists and 5 neurosurgeons, representing 19 centers in 4 countries and having a collective experience of more than 1300 postoperative spine SBRT cases, completed a 19-question survey about postoperative spine SBRT practice. Responses were defined as follows: 1) consensus: selected by ≥ 75% of respondents; 2) predominant: selected by 50% of respondents or more; and 3) controversial: no single response selected by a majority of respondents.

RESULTS

Consensus treatment indications included: radioresistant primary, 1–2 levels of adjacent disease, and previous radiation therapy. Contraindications included: involvement of more than 3 contiguous vertebral bodies, ASIA Grade A status (complete spinal cord injury without preservation of motor or sensory function), and postoperative Bilsky Grade 3 residual (cord compression without any CSF around the cord). For treatment planning, co-registration of the preoperative MRI and postoperative T1-weighted MRI (with or without gadolinium) and delineation of the cord on the T2-weighted MRI (and/or CT myelogram in cases of significant hardware artifact) were predominant. Consensus GTV (gross tumor volume) was the postoperative residual tumor based on MRI. Predominant CTV (clinical tumor volume) practice was to include the postoperative bed defined as the entire extent of preoperative tumor, the relevant anatomical compartment and any residual disease. Consensus was achieved with respect to not including the surgical hardware and incision in the CTV. PTV (planning tumor volume) expansion was controversial, ranging from 0 to 2 mm. The spinal cord avoidance structure was predominantly the true cord. Circumferential treatment of the epidural space and margin for paraspinal extension was controversial. Prescription doses and spinal cord tolerances based on clinical scenario, neurological compromise, and prior overlapping treatments were controversial, but reasonable ranges are presented. Fifty percent of those surveyed practiced an integrated boost to areas of residual tumor and density override for hardware within the beam path. Acceptable PTV coverage was controversial, but consensus was achieved with respect to compromising coverage to meet cord constraint and fractionation to improve coverage while meeting cord constraint.

CONCLUSIONS

The consensus by spinal radiosurgery experts suggests that postoperative SBRT is indicated for radioresistant primary lesions, disease confined to 1–2 vertebral levels, and/or prior overlapping radiotherapy. The GTV is the postoperative residual tumor, and the CTV is the postoperative bed defined as the entire extent of preoperative tumor and anatomical compartment plus residual disease. Hardware and scar do not need to be included in CTV. While predominant agreement was reached about treatment planning and definition of organs at risk, future investigation will be critical in better understanding areas of controversy, including whether circumferential treatment of the epidural space is necessary, management of paraspinal extension, and the optimal dose fractionation schedules.