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Aaron Miller, Daniel W. Griepp, Chase Miller, Mousa Hamad, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, and Saikiran G. Murthy

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to determine if a consensus could be reached regarding the effectiveness of endotracheal tube cuff pressure (ETTCP) reduction after retractor placement in reducing postoperative laryngeal dysfunction after anterior cervical fusion surgery.

METHODS

A literature search of MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, Cochrane Central, Google Scholar, and Scopus databases was performed. Quantitative analysis was performed on data from articles comparing groups of patients with either reduced or unadjusted ETTCP after retractor placement in the context of anterior cervical surgery. The incidence and severity of postoperative recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy (RLNP), dysphagia, and dysphonia were compared at several postsurgical time points, ranging from 24 hours to 3 months. Heterogeneity was assessed using the chi-square test, I statistics, and inverted funnel plots. A random-effects model was used to provide a conservative estimate of the level of effect.

RESULTS

Nine studies (7 randomized, 1 prospective, and 1 retrospective) were included in the analysis. A total of 1671 patients were included (1073 [64.2%] in the reduced ETTCP group and 598 [35.8%] in the unadjusted ETTCP group). In the reduced ETTCP group, the severity of dysphagia, measured by the Bazaz-Yoo system in 3 randomized studies at 24 hours and at 4–8 weeks, was significantly lower (24 hours [standardized mean difference: −1.83, p = 0.04] and 4–8 weeks [standardized mean difference: −0.40, p = 0.05]). At 24 hours, the odds of developing dysphonia were significantly lower (OR 0.51, p = 0.002). The odds of dysphagia (24 hours: OR 0.77, p = 0.24; 1 week: OR 0.70, p = 0.47; 12 weeks: OR 0.58, p = 0.20) were lower, although not significantly, in the reduced ETTCP group. The odds of a patient having RLNP were significantly lower at all time points (24 hours: OR 0.38, p = 0.01; 12 weeks: OR 0.26, p = 0.03) when 3 randomized and 2 observational studies were analyzed. A subgroup analysis using only randomized studies demonstrated a similar trend in odds of having RLNP, yet without statistical significance (24 hours: OR 0.79, p = 0.60). All other statistically significant findings persisted with removal of any observational data.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the current best available evidence, reduction of ETTCP after retractor placement in anterior cervical surgery may be a protective measure to decrease the severity of dysphagia and the odds of developing RLNP or dysphonia.

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Murray Echt, Ariel Stock, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Evan Der, Mousa Hamad, Ryan Holland, Phillip Cezayirli, Rani Nasser, Vijay Yanamadala, and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare outcomes of separation surgery for metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) in patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) versus open surgery.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients undergoing MIS or standard open separation surgery for MESCC between 2009 and 2019 was performed. Both groups received circumferential decompression via laminectomy and a transpedicular approach for partial corpectomy to debulk ventral epidural disease, as well as instrumented stabilization. Outcomes were compared between the two groups.

RESULTS

There were 17 patients in the MIS group and 24 in the open surgery group. The average age of the MIS group was significantly older than the open surgery group (65.5 vs 56.6 years, p < 0.05). The preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score of the open group was significantly lower than that of the MIS group, with averages of 63.0% versus 75.9%, respectively (p = 0.02). This was also evidenced by the higher proportion of emergency procedures performed in the open group (9 of 24 patients vs 0 of 17 patients, p = 0.004). The average Spine Instability Neoplastic Score, number of levels fused, and operative parameters, including length of stay, were similar. The average estimated blood loss difference for the open surgery versus the MIS group (783 mL vs 430 mL, p < 0.05) was significant, although the average amount of packed red blood cells transfused was not significantly different (325 mL vs 216 mL, p = 0.39). Time until start of radiation therapy was slightly less in the MIS than the open surgery group (32.8 ± 15.6 days vs 43.1 ± 20.3 days, p = 0.069). Among patients who underwent open surgery with long-term follow-up, 20% were found to have local recurrence compared with 12.5% of patients treated with the MIS technique. No patients in either group developed hardware failure requiring revision surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

MIS for MESCC is a safe and effective approach for decompression and stabilization compared with standard open separation surgery, and it significantly reduced blood loss during surgery. Although there was a trend toward a faster time to starting radiation treatment in the MIS group, both groups received similar postoperative radiotherapy doses, with similar rates of local recurrence and hardware failure. An increased ability to perform MIS in emergency settings as well as larger, prospective studies are needed to determine the potential benefits of MIS over standard open separation surgery.