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Courtney E. Sherman, Peter S. Rose, Lori L. Pierce, Michael J. Yaszemski, and Franklin H. Sim


Sacrectomy positioning must balance surgical exposure, localization, associated operative procedures, and patient safety. Poor positioning may increase hemorrhage, risk of blindness, and skin breakdown.


The authors prospectively identified positioning-related morbidity in 17 patients undergoing 19 prone sacral procedures from September 2008 to August 2009 following institution of a standardized positioning protocol. Key elements include skull traction/head suspension, an open radiolucent frame, and wide draping for associated closure and reconstructive procedures.


Tumors included 5 chordomas, 4 high-grade sarcomas, 1 chondrosarcoma, 2 presacral extradural myxopapillary ependymomas, and 5 others. Mean patient age was 49.9 years (range 17–74 years); mean body mass index was 27.6 kg/m2 (range 19.3–43.9 kg/m2). Mean preoperative Braden skin integrity score was 21.1 (range 17–23). Average operative time was 501 minutes (range 158–1136 minutes). Prone surgery was a part of staged anterior/posterior resections in 8 patients. Localization was conducted using fluoroscopy in 13 patients and intraoperative CT in 4 patients. All imaging studies were successful. One patient developed a transient ulnar nerve palsy attributed to positioning. Three patients (two of whom were morbidly obese) developed Stage I pressure injuries to the chest and another developed Stage II pressure injury following a 1136-minute procedure. Morbidity was only observed in patients with morbid obesity or with procedures lasting in excess of 10 hours.


A positioning protocol using head suspension on an open radiolucent frame facilitates oncological sacral surgery with reasonable patient morbidity. Morbid obesity and procedure times in excess of 10 hours are risk factors for positioning-related complications. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of surgical positioning morbidity in this patient population.

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Konstantinos A. Starantzis, Vasileios I. Sakellariou, Peter S. Rose, Michael J. Yaszemski, and Panayiotis J. Papagelopoulos

This is a technical note of pelvic reconstruction performed by an advanced multidisciplinary team. The authors report a new 3-stage reconstruction of the hemipelvis after Type 3 sacrectomy involving instrumented spinoiliac arthrodesis and pedicled fibula grafting in 2 patients.

The anterior stage of the procedure begins with a transabdominal approach to mobilize the viscera and to free up the tumor from the vessels. The posterior divisions of internal iliac vessels, the middle sacral vessels, and the lateral sacral vessels are then ligated. An anterior vertebrectomy is done at the appropriate level, followed by an anterior osteotomy through the lateral planed surgical margin of the sacrum close to the salvaged sacroiliac joint. The second stage includes a major sacral resection with lower-extremity amputation from the pubic symphysis through the intact side of the sacrum, ipsilateral pedicled fibula harvesting, and closure with an ipsilateral pedicled quadriceps flap. The final stage involves reconstruction with lumboiliac instrumentation. The pedicled fibular graft left from the second stage is then placed distally within the previously created iliopectineal docking site and proximally within the L-5 docking site.

The authors believe that this is a feasible and reproducible technique with theoretical advantages that have to be proved in the long-term follow-up.

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Independent predictors of vertebral compression fracture following radiation for metastatic spine disease

Presented at the 2022 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Anthony L. Mikula, Zach Pennington, Nikita Lakomkin, Michelle J. Clarke, Peter S. Rose, Mohamad Bydon, Brett Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Lichun Lu, Roman O. Kowalchuk, Kenneth W. Merrell, Jeremy L. Fogelson, and Benjamin D. Elder


The goal of this study was to determine independent risk factors for vertebral compression fracture (VCF) following radiation for metastatic spine disease, including low bone mineral density as estimated by Hounsfield units (HU).


A retrospective chart review identified patients with a single vertebral column metastasis treated with radiation therapy, a pretreatment CT scan, and a follow-up CT scan at least 6 weeks after treatment. Patients with primary spine tumors, preradiation vertebroplasty, preradiation spine surgery, prior radiation to the treatment field, and proton beam treatment modality were excluded. The HU were measured in the vertebral bodies at the level superior to the metastasis, within the tumor and medullary bone of the metastatic level, and at the level inferior to the metastasis. Variables collected included basic demographics, Spine Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS), presenting symptoms, bone density treatment, primary tumor pathology, Weinstein-Boriani-Biagini (WBB) classification, Enneking stage, radiation treatment details, chemotherapy regimen, and prophylactic vertebroplasty.


One hundred patients with an average age of 63 years and average follow-up of 18 months with radiation treatment dates ranging from 2017 to 2020 were included. Fifty-nine patients were treated with external-beam radiation therapy, with a median total dose of 20 Gy (range 8–40 Gy). Forty-one patients were treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy, with a median total dose of 24 Gy (range 18–39 Gy). The most common primary pathologies included lung (n = 22), prostate (n = 21), and breast (n = 14). Multivariable logistic regression analysis (area under the curve 0.89) demonstrated pretreatment HU (p < 0.01), SINS (p = 0.02), involvement of ≥ 3 WBB sectors (p < 0.01), primary pathology other than prostate (p = 0.04), and ongoing chemotherapy treatment (p = 0.04) to be independent predictors of postradiation VCF. Patients with pretreatment HU < 145 (n = 32), 145–220 (n = 31), and > 220 (n = 37) had a fracture rate of 59%, 39%, and 11%, respectively. An HU cutoff of 157 was found to maximize sensitivity (71%) and specificity (75%) in predicting postradiation VCF.


Low preradiation HU, higher SINS, involvement of ≥ 3 WBB sectors, ongoing chemotherapy, and nonprostate primary pathology were independent predictors of postradiation VCF in patients with metastatic spine disease. Low bone mineral density, as estimated by HU, is a novel and potentially modifiable risk factor for VCF.