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Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Mario Benvenutti-Regato and Enrique Caro-Osorio

OBJECTIVE

The authors' objective was to identify the 100 most-cited research articles in the field of spinal oncology.

METHODS

The Thomson Reuters Web of Science service was queried for the years 1864–2015 without language restrictions. Articles were sorted in descending order of the number of times they were cited by other studies, and all titles and abstracts were screened to identify the research areas of the top 100 articles. Levels of evidence were assigned on the basis of the North American Spine Society criteria.

RESULTS

The authors identified the 100 most-cited articles in spinal oncology, which collectively had been cited 20,771 times at the time of this writing. The oldest article on this top 100 list had been published in 1931, and the most recent in 2008; the most prolific decade was the 1990s, with 34 articles on this list having been published during that period. There were 4 studies with Level I evidence, 3 with Level II evidence, 9 with Level III evidence, 70 with Level IV evidence, and 2 with Level V evidence; levels of evidence were not assigned to 12 studies because they were not on therapeutic, prognostic, or diagnostic topics. Thirty-one unique journals contributed to the 100 articles, with the Journal of Neurosurgery contributing most of the articles (n = 25). The specialties covered included neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, neurology, radiation oncology, and pathology. Sixty-seven articles reported clinical outcomes. The most common country of article origin was the United States (n = 62), followed by Canada (n = 8) and France (n = 7). The most common topics were spinal metastases (n = 35), intramedullary tumors (n = 18), chordoma (n = 17), intradural tumors (n = 7), vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty (n = 7), primary bone tumors (n = 6), and others (n = 10). One researcher had authored 6 studies on the top 100 list, and 7 authors had 3 studies each on this list.

CONCLUSIONS

This study identified the 100 most-cited research articles in the area of spinal oncology. The studies highlighted the multidisciplinary and multimodal nature of spinal tumor management. Recognition of historical articles may guide future spinal oncology research.

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Mohamad Bydon, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos and Ziya L. Gokaslan

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Daniel M. Sciubba and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

In a meta-analysis, the authors sought to compare outcomes after iliac screw (IS) versus S2 alar-iliac (S2AI) screw fixation in adult patients.

METHODS

A PubMed/MEDLINE database search was performed for studies comparing IS and S2AI screw fixation techniques in adults. Levels of evidence were assigned based on the North American Spine Society guidelines. Three outcomes were examined: 1) revision surgery rate secondary to mechanical failure or wound complications, 2) surgical site infection rate, and 3) screw prominence/pain. Data were pooled and outcomes compared between techniques. Absolute risk reductions (ARRs) were also calculated for outcome measures.

RESULTS

Five retrospective cohort studies (all level III evidence) were included in our analysis. A total of 323 adult patients were included—147 in the IS group (45.5%) and 176 in the S2AI group (54.5%). Overall, revision surgery due to mechanical failure or wound complications was needed in 66 of 323 patients (revision surgery rate 20.4%)—27.9% in the IS group and 14.2% in the S2AI group (13.7% ARR; p < 0.001). Four studies reported wound infections among 278 total patients, with an infection rate of 12.6% (35/278)—25.4% in the IS group and 2.6% in the S2AI group (22.8% ARR; p < 0.001). Three studies examined development of screw prominence/pain; combined, these studies reported screw prominence/pain in 21 of 215 cases (9.8%)—18.1% in the IS group and 1.8% in the S2AI group (16.3% ARR; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

S2AI screw fixation in adults has a significantly lower mechanical failure and complication rate than IS fixation based on the current best available evidence.

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Daniel M. Sciubba and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

In a meta-analysis, the authors sought to compare outcomes after iliac screw (IS) versus S2 alar-iliac (S2AI) screw fixation in adult patients.

METHODS

A PubMed/MEDLINE database search was performed for studies comparing IS and S2AI screw fixation techniques in adults. Levels of evidence were assigned based on the North American Spine Society guidelines. Three outcomes were examined: 1) revision surgery rate secondary to mechanical failure or wound complications, 2) surgical site infection rate, and 3) screw prominence/pain. Data were pooled and outcomes compared between techniques. Absolute risk reductions (ARRs) were also calculated for outcome measures.

RESULTS

Five retrospective cohort studies (all level III evidence) were included in our analysis. A total of 323 adult patients were included—147 in the IS group (45.5%) and 176 in the S2AI group (54.5%). Overall, revision surgery due to mechanical failure or wound complications was needed in 66 of 323 patients (revision surgery rate 20.4%)—27.9% in the IS group and 14.2% in the S2AI group (13.7% ARR; p < 0.001). Four studies reported wound infections among 278 total patients, with an infection rate of 12.6% (35/278)—25.4% in the IS group and 2.6% in the S2AI group (22.8% ARR; p < 0.001). Three studies examined development of screw prominence/pain; combined, these studies reported screw prominence/pain in 21 of 215 cases (9.8%)—18.1% in the IS group and 1.8% in the S2AI group (16.3% ARR; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

S2AI screw fixation in adults has a significantly lower mechanical failure and complication rate than IS fixation based on the current best available evidence.

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Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Amit Jain, Khaled M. Kebaish, Ali Bydon, Peter G. Passias and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to compare inpatient morbidity and mortality after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery in teaching versus nonteaching hospitals in the US.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was used to identify surgical patients with ASD between 2002 and 2011. Only patients > 21 years old and elective cases were included. Patient characteristics, inpatient morbidity, and inpatient mortality were compared between teaching and nonteaching hospitals. A multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the effect of hospital teaching status on surgical outcomes.

RESULTS

A total of 7603 patients were identified, with 61.2% (n = 4650) in the teaching hospital group and 38.8% (n = 2953) in the nonteaching hospital group. The proportion of patients undergoing revision procedures was significantly different between groups (5.2% in teaching hospitals vs 3.9% in nonteaching hospitals, p = 0.008). Likewise, complex procedures (defined as fusion of 8 or more segments and/or osteotomy) were more common in teaching hospitals (27.3% vs 21.7%, p < 0.001). Crude overall complication rates were similar in teaching hospitals (47.9%) compared with nonteaching hospitals (49.8%, p = 0.114). After controlling for patient characteristics, case complexity, and revision status, patients treated at teaching hospitals were significantly less likely to develop a complication when compared with patients treated at a nonteaching hospital (OR 0.89; 95% CI 0.82–0.98). The mortality rate was 0.4% in teaching hospitals and < 0.4% in nonteaching hospitals (p = 0.210).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who undergo surgery for ASD at a teaching hospital may have significantly lower odds of complication development compared with patients treated at a nonteaching hospital.

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Camilo Molina, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Benjamin D. Elder, Rafael De la Garza Ramos and Daniel M. Sciubba

Surgical interventions for spinal metastasis are commonly performed for mechanical stabilization, pain relief, preservation of neurological function, and local tumor reduction. Although multiple surgical approaches can be used for the treatment of metastatic spinal lesions, posterior approaches are commonly performed. In this study, the role of posterior surgical procedures in the treatment of spinal metastases was reviewed, including posterior laminectomy with and without instrumentation for stabilization, transpedicular corpectomy, and costotransversectomy. A review of the literature from 1980 to 2015 was performed using Medline, as was a review of the bibliographies of articles meeting preset inclusion criteria, to identify studies on the role of these posterior approaches among adults with spinal metastasis. Thirty-four articles were ultimately analyzed, including 1 randomized controlled trial, 6 prospective cohort studies, and 27 retrospective case reports and/or series. Some of the reviewed articles had Level II evidence indicating that laminectomy with stabilization can be recommended for improvement in neurological outcome and reduction of pain in selected patients. However, the use of laminectomy alone should be carefully considered. Additionally, transpedicular corpectomy and costotransversectomy can be recommended with the expectation of improving neurological outcomes and reducing pain in properly selected patients with spinal metastases. With improvements in the treatment paradigms for patients with spinal metastasis, as well as survival, surgical therapy will continue to play an important role in the management of spinal metastasis. While this review presents a window into determining the utility of posterior approaches, future prospective studies will provide essential data to better define the roles of the various options now available to surgeons in treating spinal metastases.

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Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Jessica V. Flores-Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Martínez-Gutiérrez, Alejandro Ruiz-Valls and Enrique Caro-Osorio

Meningiomas are among the most common intracranial tumors. The treatment of choice for these lesions is complete resection, but in 50% of cases it is not achieved due to tumor location and/or surgical morbidities. Moreover, benign meningiomas have high recurrence rates of up to 32% in long-term follow-up. Molecular analyses have begun to uncover the genetics behind meningiomas, giving rise to potential genetics-based treatments, including gene therapy. The authors performed a literature review on the most relevant genes associated with meningiomas and both current and potential gene therapy strategies to treat these tumors. Wild-type NF2 gene insertion, oncolytic viruses, and transfer of silencing RNA have all shown promising results both in vitro and in mice. These strategies have decreased meningioma cell growth, proliferation, and angiogenesis. However, no clinical trial has been done to date. Future research and trials in gene insertion, selective inhibition of oncogenes, and the use of oncolytic viruses, among other potential treatment approaches, may shape the future of meningioma management.

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Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Risheng Xu, Seba Ramhmdani, Thomas Kosztowski, Mohamad Bydon, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Timothy F. Witham, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Ali Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to report the long-term clinical outcomes following 3- and 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

METHODS

A retrospective review of all adult neurosurgical patients undergoing elective ACDF for degenerative disease at a single institution between 1996 and 2013 was performed. Patients who underwent first-time 3- or 4-level ACDF were included; patients with previous cervical spine surgery, those undergoing anterior/posterior approaches, and those with corpectomy were excluded. Outcome measures included perioperative complication rates, fusion rates, need for revision surgery, Nurick Scores, Odom's criteria, symptom resolution, neck visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, and persistent narcotics usage.

RESULTS

Seventy-one patients who underwent 3-level ACDF and 26 patients who underwent 4-level ACDF were identified and followed for an average of 7.6 ± 4.2 years. There was 1 case (3.9%) of deep wound infection in the 4-level group and 1 case in the 3-level group (1.4%; p = 0.454). Postoperatively, 31% of patients in the 4-level group complained of dysphagia, compared with 12.7% in the 3-level group (p = 0.038). The fusion rate was 84.6% after 4-level ACDF and 94.4% after 3-level ACDF (p = 0.122). At last follow-up, a significantly higher proportion of patients in the 4-level group continued to have axial neck pain (53.8%) than in the 3-level group (31%; p = 0.039); the daily oral morphine equivalent dose was significantly higher in the 4-level group (143 ± 97 mg/day) than in the 3-level group (25 ± 10 mg/day; p = 0.030). Outcomes based on Odom's criteria were also different between cohorts (p = 0.044), with a significantly lower proportion of patients in the 4-level ACDF group experiencing an excellent/good outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, patients who underwent 4-level ACDF had significantly higher rates of dysphagia, postoperative neck pain, and postoperative narcotic usage when compared with patients who underwent 3-level ACDF. Pseudarthrosis and deep wound infection rates were also higher in the 4-level group, although this did not reach statistical significance. Additionally, a smaller proportion of patients achieved a good/excellent outcome in the 4-level group than in the 3-level group. These findings suggest a significant increase of perioperative morbidity and worsened outcomes for patients who undergo 4- versus 3-level ACDF.

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Amit Jain, Emily K. Miller, Nicole Huang, Khaled M. Kebaish, Paul D. Sponseller and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of and factors associated with complications following idiopathic scoliosis surgery in adolescents.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database was used to identify patients 10–18 years of age who had undergone spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) from 2002 to 2011. Twenty-three unique in-hospital postoperative complications, including death, were examined. A series of logistic regressions was used to determine if any demographic, comorbid, or surgical parameter was associated with complication development. Results of multiple logistic regression analyses were reported as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. All analyses were performed after the application of discharge weights to produce national estimates.

RESULTS

A total of 36,335 patients met the study inclusion criteria, 7.6% of whom (95% CI 6.3%–8.9%) developed at least one in-hospital complication. The 3 most common complications were respiratory failure (3.47%), reintubation (1.27%), and implant related (1.14%). Major complications such as death, pancreatitis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, visual loss, spinal cord injury, cardiac arrest, sepsis, nerve root injury, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, shock, malignant hyperthermia, myocardial infarction, and iatrogenic stroke each had an incidence ≤ 0.2%. On multiple logistic regression analysis, an increasing age (OR 0.80) was associated with significantly lower odds of complication development; patients who were male (OR 1.80) or who had anemia (OR 2.10), hypertension (OR 2.51), or hypothyroidism (OR 2.27) or underwent revision procedures (OR 5.55) were at a significantly increased risk for complication development. The rates of postoperative complications for posterior, anterior, and combined approaches were 6.7%, 10.0%, and 19.8%, respectively (p < 0.001). Length of fusion (< 8 vs ≥ 8 levels) was not associated with complication development (p = 0.311).

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of 36,335 patients who had undergone surgery for AIS revealed that younger patients, male patients, patients with a history of anemia, hypertension, or hypothyroidism, as well as those undergoing revision or anterior or combined approaches may have higher rates of postoperative complications. However, the overall complication rate was low (7.6%), and major complications had a rate ≤ 0.2% for each event. These findings suggest that surgery for AIS remains relatively safe, and future prospective investigations may further help to decrease the postoperative morbidity rate.