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

Open access

Kevin Swong, Michael J. Strong, Jay K. Nathan, Timothy J. Yee, Brandon W. Smith, Paul Park, and Mark E. Oppenlander

BACKGROUND

Lumbar radiculopathy is the most common indication for lumbar discectomy, but residual postoperative radicular symptoms are common. Postoperative lumbar radiculopathy secondary to scar formation is notoriously difficult to manage, with the mainstay of treatment focused on nonoperative techniques. Surgical intervention for epidural fibrosis has shown unacceptably high complication rates and poor success rates.

OBSERVATIONS

Three patients underwent spinal arthrodesis without direct decompression for recurrent radiculopathy due to epidural fibrosis. Each patient previously underwent lumbar discectomy but subsequently developed recurrent radiculopathy. Imaging revealed no recurrent disc herniation, although it demonstrated extensive epidural fibrosis and scar in the region of the nerve root at the previous surgical site. Dynamic radiographs showed no instability. Two patients underwent lateral lumbar interbody fusion, and one patient underwent anterior lumbosacral interbody fusion. Each patient experienced resolution of radicular symptoms by the 1-year follow-up. Average EQ visual analog scale scores improved from 65 preoperatively to 78 postoperatively.

LESSONS

Spinal arthrodesis via lumbar interbody fusion, without direct decompression, may relieve pain in patients with recurrent radiculopathy due to epidural fibrosis, even in the absence of gross spinal instability.

Free access

Michael J. Strong, Timothy J. Yee, Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Kevin N. Swong, Osama N. Kashlan, Nicholas J. Szerlip, Paul Park, and Mark E. Oppenlander

OBJECTIVE

The lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) technique is used to treat many common spinal degenerative pathologies including kyphoscoliosis. The use of spinal navigation for LLIF has not been broadly adopted, especially in adult spinal deformity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility as well as the intraoperative and navigation-related complications of computer-assisted 3D navigation (CaN) during multiple-level LLIF for spinal deformity.

METHODS

Retrospective analysis of clinical and operative characteristics was performed for all patients > 18 years of age who underwent multiple-level CaN LLIF combined with posterior instrumentation for adult spinal deformity at the University of Michigan between 2014 and 2020. Intraoperative CaN-related complications, LLIF approach–related postoperative complications, and medical postoperative complications were assessed.

RESULTS

Fifty-nine patients were identified. The mean age was 66.3 years (range 42–83 years) and body mass index was 27.6 kg/m2 (range 18–43 kg/m2). The average coronal Cobb angle was 26.8° (range 3.6°–67.0°) and sagittal vertical axis was 6.3 cm (range −2.3 to 14.7 cm). The average number of LLIF and posterior instrumentation levels were 2.97 cages (range 2–5 cages) and 5.78 levels (range 3–14 levels), respectively. A total of 6 intraoperative complications related to the LLIF stage occurred in 5 patients. Three of these were CaN-related and occurred in 2 patients (3.4%), including 1 misplaced lateral interbody cage (0.6% of 175 total lateral cages placed) requiring intraoperative revision. No patient required a return to the operating room for a misplaced interbody cage. A total of 12 intraoperative complications related to the posterior stage occurred in 11 patients, with 5 being CaN-related and occurring in 4 patients (6.8%). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed no statistically significant risk factors for intraoperative and CaN-related complications. Transient hip weakness and numbness were found to be in 20.3% and 22.0% of patients, respectively. At the 1-month follow-up, weakness was observed in 3.4% and numbness in 11.9% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of CaN in multiple-level LLIF in the treatment of adult spinal deformity appears to be a safe and effective technique. The incidence of approach-related complications with CaN was 3.4% and cage placement accuracy was high.

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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.

Free access

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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Melvin C. Makhni, Ying Zhang, Paul J. Park, Meghan Cerpa, Ming Yang, Martin H. Pham, J. Alex Sielatycki, Eduardo C. Beauchamp, and Lawrence G. Lenke

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to describe and evaluate a new surgical procedure for the correction of coronal imbalance (CI) in adult spinal deformity patients, called the “kickstand rod” technique.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the records of 24 consecutive patients with pediatric and adult spinal deformity and CI treated between July 2015 and October 2017 with a long-segment fusion and a kickstand rod. For the kickstand rod technique, an iliac screw was placed on the ipsilateral side of the trunk shift and connected proximally through a side-by-side domino link to the thoracolumbar junction; this rod was distracted to promote coronal plane balancing. Distraction occurred with the rod on the contralateral side locked in order to preserve sagittal correction. Radiographic and clinical analyses were conducted to evaluate the outcomes and possible complications of the kickstand rod technique.

RESULTS

The mean age of the patients was 55 years (range 14–73 years). Eighteen of the 24 patients were female. CI preoperatively was a mean of 63 mm, and the mean measurement at the final follow-up (mean duration 1.4 years) was 47 mm. There were no neurological, vascular, or implant-related complications in any of the patients. One patient developed wound dehiscence that was successfully treated without implant removal, and one developed proximal junctional kyphosis requiring extension of the construct proximally. One patient also returned to the operating room for excision of a spinous process. There were no complaints about screw prominence, kickstand construct failure, or significant worsening of CI after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The kickstand rod technique is safe and effective for the correction of CI in spinal deformity patients. This technique was found to provide marked coronal correction and additional strength to the overall construct without significant adverse consequences.

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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.

Free access

Yamaan S. Saadeh, Clay M. Elswick, Eleanor Smith, Timothy J. Yee, Michael J. Strong, Kevin Swong, Brandon W. Smith, Mark E. Oppenlander, Osama N. Kashlan, and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Age is known to be a risk factor for increased complications due to surgery. However, elderly patients can gain significant quality-of-life benefits from surgery. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a minimally invasive procedure that is commonly used to treat degenerative spine disease. Recently, 3D navigation has been applied to LLIF. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an increased complication risk in the elderly with navigated LLIF.

METHODS

Patients who underwent 3D-navigated LLIF for degenerative disease from 2014 to 2019 were included in the analysis. Patients were divided into elderly and nonelderly groups, with those 65 years and older categorized as elderly. Ninety-day medical and surgical complications were recorded. Patient and surgical characteristics were compared between groups, and multivariate regression analysis was used to determine independent risk factors for complication.

RESULTS

Of the 115 patients included, 56 were elderly and 59 were nonelderly. There were 15 complications (25.4%) in the nonelderly group and 10 (17.9%) in the elderly group, which was not significantly different (p = 0.44). On multivariable analysis, age was not a risk factor for complication (p = 0.52). However, multiple-level LLIF was associated with an increased risk of approach-related complication (OR 3.58, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Elderly patients do not appear to experience higher rates of approach-related complications compared with nonelderly patients undergoing 3D navigated LLIF. Rather, multilevel surgery is a predictor for approach-related complication.

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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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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.