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Hugh J. L. Garton, Paul Park and Stephen M. Papadopoulos

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Randall W. Porter, Neil R. Crawford, Robert H. Chamberlain, Sung Chan Park, Paul W. Detwiler, Paul J. Apostolides and Volker K. H. Sonntag

Object

The authors compared the biomechanical stability of two multilevel cervical constructs involving the placement of equal size anterior cervical plates (ACPs) after decompressive surgery: the first is placed after three-level corpectomy with strut graft and the second after two-level corpectomy and aggressive discectomy with strut graft. In addition, both constructs were evaluated with and without the application of a screw attaching the ACP to the strut graft to determine whether the additional screw enhanced stability in any mode of loading.

Methods

Nondestructive repeated-measures in vitro flexibility tests were performed in human cadaveric cervical spines. Nonconstraining pure moments of up to 1.5 Nm were applied while recording three-dimensional angular motion stereophotogrammetrically at each level from C4–5 to C7—T1. Nine specimens underwent the three-level corpectomy/strut graft procedure and eight specimens the two-level corpectomy/discectomy strut graft procedure. Failures during testing eliminated two of the former specimens and three of the latter specimens from analysis.

The construct applied after the two-level procedure allowed a significantly smaller normalized neutral zone during flexion—extension than the three-level construct (p = 0.04). Normalized elastic zone and range of motion were consistently smaller in the two- than in the three-level construct, but the differences were not significant. Addition of a screw to the strut graft significantly reduced motion in the three-level procedure—treated specimens during flexion and lateral bending but had no effect on two-level corpectomy—treated specimens.

Conclusions

The construct associated with the two-level corpectomy/discectomy provided better immediate postoperative stability than that associated with the three-level corpectomy. The addition of a screw to the strut graft conferred stability on the three-level construct but not the two-level construct.

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Yamaan S. Saadeh, Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph, Sohaib Y. Jaffer, Martin J. Buckingham, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nicholas J. Szerlip and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in significant morbidity and mortality. Improving neurological recovery by reducing secondary injury is a major principle in the management of SCI. To minimize secondary injury, blood pressure (BP) augmentation has been advocated. The objective of this study was to review the evidence behind BP management after SCI.

METHODS

This systematic review was conducted following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Using the PubMed database, the authors identified studies that investigated BP management after acute SCI. Information on BP goals, duration of BP management, vasopressor selection, and neurological outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS

Eleven studies that met inclusion criteria were identified. Nine studies were retrospective, and 2 were single-cohort prospective investigations. Of the 9 retrospective studies, 7 reported a goal mean arterial pressure (MAP) of higher than 85 mm Hg. For the 2 prospective studies, the MAP goals were higher than 85 mm Hg and higher than 90 mm Hg. The duration of BP management varied from more than 24 hours to 7 days in 6 of the retrospective studies that reported the duration of treatment. In both prospective studies, the duration of treatment was 7 days. In the 2 prospective studies, neurological outcomes were stable to improved with BP management. The retrospective studies, however, were contradictory with regard to the correlation of BP management and outcomes. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and phenylephrine were the agents that were frequently used to augment BP. However, more complications have been associated with dopamine use than with the other vasopressors.

CONCLUSIONS

There are no high-quality data regarding optimal BP goals and duration in the management of acute SCI. Based on the highest level of evidence available from the 2 prospective studies, MAP goals of 85–90 mm Hg for a duration of 5–7 days should be considered. Norepinephrine for cervical and upper thoracic injuries and phenylephrine or norepinephrine for mid- to lower thoracic injuries should be considered.

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Jonathan M. Bledsoe, Michael J. Link, Scott L. Stafford, Paul J. Park and Bruce E. Pollock

Object

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for many patients with intracranial meningiomas. Nevertheless, the morbidity associated with radiosurgery of larger meningiomas is poorly understood.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 116 patients who underwent SRS for meningiomas (WHO Grade I) > 10 cm3 between 1990 and 2007, with a minimum follow-up of 12 months. Patients with atypical or malignant meningiomas and those who received prior radiotherapy were excluded. The average tumor volume was 17.5 cm3 (range 10.1–48.6 cm3); the average tumor margin dose was 15.1 Gy (range 12–18 Gy); and the mean follow-up duration was 70.1 months (range 12–199 months).

Results

Tumor control was 99% at 3 years and 92% at 7 years after radiosurgery. Thirty complications after radiosurgery were noted in 27 patients (23%), including 7 cases of seizures, 6 cases of hemiparesis, 5 cases of trigeminal injury, 4 cases of headaches, 3 cases of diplopia, 2 cases each of cerebral infarction and ataxia, and 1 case of hearing loss. Patients with supratentorial tumors experienced a higher complication rate compared with patients with skull base tumors (44% compared with 18%) (hazard ratio 2.9, 95% CI 1.3–6.7, p = 0.01).

Conclusions

The morbidity associated with SRS for patients with benign meningiomas > 10 cm3 is greater for supratentorial tumors compared with skull base tumors. Whereas radiosurgery is relatively safe for patients with large-volume skull base meningiomas, resection should remain the primary disease management for the majority of patients with large-volume supratentorial meningiomas.

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Eric W. Franz, J. Nicole Bentley, Patricia P. S. Yee, Kate W. C. Chang, Jennifer Kendall-Thomas, Paul Park and Lynda J. S. Yang

OBJECT

Patient outcome measures are becoming increasingly important in the evaluation of health care quality and physician performance. Of the many novel measures currently being explored, patient satisfaction and other subjective measures of patient experience are among the most heavily weighted. However, these subjective measures are strongly influenced by a number of factors, including patient demographics, level of understanding of the disorder and its treatment, and patient expectations. In the present study, patients referred to a neurosurgery clinic for degenerative spinal disorders were surveyed to determine their understanding of lumbar spondylosis diagnosis and treatment.

METHODS

A multiple-choice, 6-question survey was distributed to all patients referred to a general neurosurgical spine clinic at a tertiary care center over a period of 11 months as a quality improvement initiative to assist the provider with individualized patient counseling. The survey consisted of questions designed to assess patient understanding of the role of radiological imaging in the diagnosis and treatment of low-back and leg pain, and patient perception of the indications for surgical compared with conservative management. Demographic data were also collected.

RESULTS

A total of 121 surveys were included in the analysis. More than 50% of the patients indicated that they would undergo spine surgery based on abnormalities found on MRI, even without symptoms; more than 40% of patients indicated the same for plain radiographs. Similarly, a large proportion of patients (33%) believed that back surgery was more effective than physical therapy in the treatment of back pain without leg pain. Nearly one-fifth of the survey group (17%) also believed that back injections were riskier than back surgery. There were no significant differences in survey responses among patients with a previous history of spine surgery compared with those without previous spine surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

These results show that a surprisingly high percentage of patients have misconceptions regarding the diagnosis and treatment of lumbar spondylosis, and that these misconceptions persist in patients with a history of spine surgery. Specifically, patients overemphasize the value of radiological studies and have mixed perceptions of the relative risk and effectiveness of surgical intervention compared with more conservative management. These misconceptions have the potential to alter patient expectations and decrease satisfaction, which could negatively impact patient outcomes and subjective valuations of physician performance. While these results are preliminary, they highlight a need for improved communication and patient education during surgical consultation for lumbar spondylosis.

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Heesuk Kang, Paul Park, Frank La Marca, Scott J. Hollister and Chia-Ying Lin

Object

The goal of this study was to evaluate and compare load sharing of the facet and uncovertebral joints after total cervical disc arthroplasty using 3 different implant designs.

Methods

Three-dimensional voxel finite element models were built for the C5–6 spine unit based on CT images acquired from a candidate patient for cervical disc arthroplasty. Models of facet and uncovertebral joints were added and artificial discs were placed in the intervertebral disc space. Finite element analyses were conducted under normal physiological loads for flexion, extension, and lateral bending to evaluate von Mises stresses and strain energy density (SED) levels at the joints.

Results

The Bryan disc imposed the greatest average stress and SED levels at facet and uncovertebral joints with flexion-extension and lateral bending, while the ProDisc-C and Prestige LP discs transferred less load due to their rigid cores. However, all artificial discs showed increased loads at the joints in lateral bending, which may be attributed to direct impinging contact force.

Conclusions

In unconstrained/semiconstrained prostheses with different core rigidity, the shared loads at the joints differ, and greater flexibility may result in greater joint loads. With respect to the 3 artificial discs studied, load sharing of the Bryan disc was highest and was closest to normal load sharing with the facet and uncovertebral joints. The Prestige LP and ProDisc-C carried more load through their rigid core, resulting in decreased load transmission to the facet and uncovertebral joints.

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Huina Zhang, Sushan Yang, Lin Wang, Paul Park, Frank La Marca, Scott J. Hollister and Chia-Ying Lin

Object

In this study, the authors' goal was to investigate the long-term progression of disc degeneration and the participating mechanisms induced by needle puncture in a rat caudal disc model .

Methods

The C5–6 and C7–8 intervertebral discs of the caudal spine in rats were stabbed laterally using 21-gauge hypodermic needles to a depth of 5 mm from the subcutaneous surface with the aid of fluoroscopy. Signs of degeneration in the disc of the tail were analyzed from Day 1 to Week 30 by in vivo MR imaging, histology, and biochemical and/or molecular analyses.

Results

Magnetic resonance imaging showed a progressive decrease in T2 density and MR imaging index throughout the entire investigation, starting at Day 1 after the needle puncture. However, histological scores revealed a bimodal pattern, showing that severity increased in the first 17 days, declined thereafter, and increased again by 30 weeks. Gene expression analysis showed a transient up-regulation in gene expression of aggrecan, type II collagen, and BMP-2, and inhibition of type I collagen. The MMP-3 mRNA levels were up-regulated at all tested time points within 6 weeks postinjury. Furthermore, the degenerated disc did not recover spontaneously, as shown by decreases in T2 density, MR imaging index, and sulfated glycosaminoglycan content in conjunction with increases in histological scores at 15 and 30 weeks postsurgery.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that needle puncture into a tail disc in the rat induces a rapid and progressive disc degeneration process without spontaneous recovery. Changes in gene expression profiles of the disc matrix molecules as well as anabolic and catabolic factors at early time points further delineate the mechanism of disc degeneration in this newly developed animal model.

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Khoi D. Than, Anthony C. Wang, Shayan U. Rahman, Thomas J. Wilson, Juan M. Valdivia, Paul Park and Frank La Marca

The goal of this study was to review the literature to compare strategies for avoiding and treating complications from anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), and thus provide a comprehensive aid for spine surgeons. A thorough review of databases from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health was conducted. The complications of ALIF addressed in this paper include pseudarthrosis and subsidence, vascular injury, retrograde ejaculation, ileus, and lymphocele (chyloretroperitoneum). Strategies identified for improving fusion rates included the use of frozen rather than freeze-dried allograft, cage instrumentation, and bone morphogenetic protein. Lower cage heights appear to reduce the risk of subsidence. The most common vascular injury is venous laceration, which occurs less frequently when using nonthreaded interbody grafts such as iliac crest autograft or femoral ring allograft. Left iliac artery thrombosis is the most common arterial injury, and its occurrence can be minimized by intermittent release of retraction intraoperatively. The risk of retrograde ejaculation is significantly higher with laparoscopic approaches, and thus should be avoided in male patients. Despite precautionary measures, complications from ALIF may occur, but treatment options do exist. Bowel obstruction can be treated conservatively with neostigmine or with decompression. In cases of postoperative lymphocele, resolution can be attained by creating a peritoneal window. By recognizing ways to minimize complications, the spine surgeon can safely use ALIF procedures.

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Samuel W. Terman, Timothy J. Yee, Darryl Lau, Adam A. Khan, Frank La Marca and Paul Park

Object

Minimally invasive (MI) transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has been demonstrated in previous studies to offer improvement in pain and function comparable to those provided by the open surgical approach. However, comparative studies in the obese population are scarce, and it is possible that obese patients may respond differently to these two approaches. In this study, the authors compared the clinical benefit of open and MI TLIF in obese patients.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study based on review of electronic medical records at a single institution. Eligible patients had a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, were ≥ 18 years of age, underwent single-level TLIF between 2007 and 2011, and outcome was assessed at a minimum 6 months postoperatively. The authors categorized patients according to surgical approach (open vs MI TLIF). Outcome measures included postoperative improvement in visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), estimated blood loss (EBL), and hospital length of stay (LOS).

Results

A total 74 patients (21 open and 53 MI TLIF) were studied. Groups had similar baseline characteristics. The median BMI was 34.4 kg/m2 (interquartile range 31.6–37.5 kg/m2). The mean follow-up time was 30 months (range 6.5–77 months). The mean improvement in VAS score was 2.8 (95% CI 1.9–3.8) for the open group (n = 21) and 2.4 (95% CI 1.8–3.1) for the MI group (n = 53), which did not significantly differ (unadjusted, p = 0.49; adjusted, p = 0.51). The mean improvement in ODI scores was 13 (95% CI 3–23) for the open group (n = 14) and 15 (95% CI 8–22) for the MI group (n = 45), with no significant difference according to approach (unadjusted, p = 0.82; adjusted, p = 0.68). After stratifying by BMI (< 35 kg/m2 and ≥ 35 kg/m2), there was still no difference in either VAS or ODI improvement between the approaches (both unadjusted and adjusted, p > 0.05). Complications and EBL were greater for the open group than for the MI group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Obese patients experienced clinically and statistically significant improvement in both pain and function after undergoing either open or MI TLIF. Patients achieved similar clinical benefit whether they underwent an open or MI approach. However, patients in the MI group experienced significantly decreased operative blood loss and complications than their counterparts in the open group.

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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

OBJECTIVE

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.

METHODS

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).

RESULTS

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.