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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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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, 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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Mohamad Bydon, Nicholas B. Abt, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Mohamed Macki, Timothy F. Witham, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ali Bydon and Judy Huang

OBJECT

The authors sought to determine the impact of resident participation on overall 30-day morbidity and mortality following neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for all patients who had undergone neurosurgical procedures between 2006 and 2012. The operating surgeon(s), whether an attending only or attending plus resident, was assessed for his or her influence on morbidity and mortality. Multivariate logistic regression, was used to estimate odds ratios for 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality outcomes for the attending-only compared with the attending plus resident cohorts (attending group and attending+resident group, respectively).

RESULTS

The study population consisted of 16,098 patients who had undergone elective or emergent neurosurgical procedures. The mean patient age was 56.8 ± 15.0 years, and 49.8% of patients were women. Overall, 15.8% of all patients had at least one postoperative complication. The attending+resident group demonstrated a complication rate of 20.12%, while patients with an attending-only surgeon had a statistically significantly lower complication rate at 11.70% (p < 0.001). In the total population, 263 patients (1.63%) died within 30 days of surgery. Stratified by operating surgeon status, 162 patients (2.07%) in the attending+resident group died versus 101 (1.22%) in the attending group, which was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Regression analyses compared patients who had resident participation to those with only attending surgeons, the referent group. Following adjustment for preoperative patient characteristics and comorbidities, multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that patients with resident participation in their surgery had the same odds of 30-day morbidity (OR = 1.05, 95% CI 0.94–1.17) and mortality (OR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.66–1.28) as their attendingonly counterparts.

CONCLUSIONS

Cases with resident participation had higher rates of mortality and morbidity; however, these cases also involved patients with more comorbidities initially. On multivariate analysis, resident participation was not an independent risk factor for postoperative 30-day morbidity or mortality following elective or emergent neurosurgical procedures.

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of spinal tuberculosis (TB) in the US between 2002 and 2011.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database from 2002 to 2011 was used to identify patients with a discharge diagnosis of TB and spinal TB. Demographic and hospital data were obtained for all admissions, and included age, sex, race, comorbid conditions, insurance status, hospital location, hospital teaching status, and hospital region. The incidence rate of spinal TB adjusted for population growth was calculated after application of discharge weights.

RESULTS

A total of 75,858 patients with a diagnosis of TB were identified, of whom 2789 had a diagnosis of spinal TB (3.7%); this represents an average of 278.9 cases per year between 2002 and 2011. The incidence of spinal TB decreased significantly—from 0.07 cases per 100,000 persons in 2002 to 0.05 cases per 100,000 in 2011 (p < 0.001), corresponding to 1 case per 2 million persons in the latter year. The median age for patients with spinal TB was 51 years, and 61% were male; 11.6% were patients with diabetes, 11.4% reported recent weight loss, and 8.1% presented with paralysis. There were 619 patients who underwent spinal surgery for TB, with the most common location being the thoracolumbar spine (61.9% of cases); 50% of patients had instrumentation of 3 or more spinal segments.

CONCLUSIONS

During the examined 10-year period, the incidence of spinal TB was found to significantly decrease over time in the US, reaching a rate of 1 case per 2 million persons in 2011. However, the absolute reduction was relatively small, suggesting that although it is uncommon, spinal TB remains a public health concern and most commonly affects male patients approximately 50 years of age. Approximately 20% of patients with spinal TB underwent surgery, most commonly in the thoracolumbar spine.

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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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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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Mohamad Bydon, Vance Fredrickson, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Yiping Li, Ronald A. Lehman Jr., Gregory R. Trost and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Sacral fractures are uncommon lesions and most often the result of high-energy trauma. Depending on the fracture location, neurological injury may be present in over 50% of cases. In this article, the authors conducted a comprehensive literature review on the epidemiology of sacral fractures, relevant anatomy of the sacral and pelvic region, common sacral injuries and fractures, classification systems of sacral fractures, and current management strategies. Due to the complex nature of these injuries, surgical management remains a challenge for the attending surgeon. Few large-scale studies have addressed postoperative complications or long-term results, but current evidence suggests that although fusion rates are high, long-term morbidity, such as residual pain and neurological deficits, persists for many patients.