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Bhupal Chitnavis, Giuseppe Barbagallo, Richard Selway, Ronan Dardis, Ahmed Hussain, and Richard Gullan

Object. The authors undertook a study to assess the value of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in which carbon fiber cages (CFCs) were placed in patients undergoing revision disc surgery for symptoms suggesting neural compression with low-back pain.

Methods. The authors followed their first 50 patients for a maximum of 5 years and a minimum of 6 months after implantation of the CFCs. Patients in whom magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated “simple” recurrent herniation did not undergo PLIF. Surgery was performed in patients with symptoms of neural root compression, tension signs, and back pain with focal disc degeneration and nerve root distortion depicted on MR imaging compatible with clinical signs and symptoms. In 40 patients (80%) pedicle screws were not used. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Prolo Functional Economic Outcome Rating scale. Fusion outcome was assessed using an established classification.

Symptoms in 46 patients (92%) improved after surgery, and given their outcomes, 45 (90%) would have undergone the same surgery again. Two thirds of patients experienced good or excellent outcomes (Prolo score ≥ 8) at early and late follow up. There was no difference in clinical outcome between those in whom pedicle screws were and were not implanted (p = 0.83, Mann—Whitney U-test). The fusion rate at 2 years postsurgery was 95%. There were minimal complications, and no patients fared worse after surgery. No patient has undergone additional surgical treratment of the fused intervertebral space.

Conclusions. In this difficult group of patients the aim remains to improve symptoms but not cure the disease. A high fusion rate is possible when using the CFCs. Clinical success depends on selecting patients in whom radiological and clinical criteria accord. Pedicle screws are not necessary if facet joints are preserved, and high fusion rates and clinical success are possible without them.

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Luciano Furlanetti, Jonathan Ellenbogen, Hortensia Gimeno, Laura Ainaga, Vijay Narbad, Harutomo Hasegawa, Jean-Pierre Lin, Keyoumars Ashkan, and Richard Selway


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment for pediatric dystonia. The accuracy of electrode implantation is multifactorial and remains a challenge in this age group, mainly due to smaller anatomical targets in very young patients compared to adults, and also due to anatomical abnormalities frequently associated with some etiologies of dystonia. Data on the accuracy of robot-assisted DBS surgery in children are limited. The aim of the current paper was to assess the accuracy of robot-assisted implantation of DBS leads in a series of patients with childhood-onset dystonia.


Forty-five children with dystonia undergoing implantation of DBS leads under general anesthesia between 2017 and 2019 were included. Robot-assisted stereotactic implantation of the DBS leads was performed. The final position of the electrodes was verified with an intraoperative 3D scanner (O-arm). Coordinates of the planned electrode target and actual electrode position were obtained and compared, looking at the radial error, depth error, absolute error, and directional error, as well as the euclidean distance. Functional assessment data prospectively collected by a multidisciplinary pediatric complex motor disorders team were analyzed with regard to motor skills, individualized goal achievement, and patients’ and caregivers’ expectations.


A total of 90 DBS electrodes were implanted and 48.5% of the patients were female. The mean age was 11.0 ± 0.6 years (range 3–18 years). All patients received bilateral DBS electrodes into the globus pallidus internus. The median absolute errors in x-, y-, and z-axes were 0.85 mm (range 0.00–3.25 mm), 0.75 mm (range 0.05–2.45 mm), and 0.75 mm (range 0.00–3.50 mm), respectively. The median euclidean distance from the target to the actual electrode position was 1.69 ± 0.92 mm, and the median radial error was 1.21 ± 0.79. The robot-assisted technique was easily integrated into the authors’ surgical practice, improving accuracy and efficiency, and reducing surgical time significantly along the learning curve. No major perioperative complications occurred.


Robot-assisted stereotactic implantation of DBS electrodes in the pediatric age group is a safe and accurate surgical method. Greater accuracy was present in this cohort in comparison to previous studies in which conventional stereotactic frame-based techniques were used. Robotic DBS surgery and neuroradiological advances may result in further improvement in surgical targeting and, consequently, in better clinical outcome in the pediatric population.