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Robert J. Jackson and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object. Primary and metastatic neoplasms of the lumbosacral junction frequently pose a complex problem for the surgical management and stabilization of the spine because of the anatomical and biomechanical factors of this transition zone between spine and pelvis. The authors have used a modification of the Galveston technique, originally described by Allen and Ferguson in the treatment of scoliosis, to achieve rigid spinal—pelvic fixation in patients with lumbosacral neoplasms. The authors retrospectively reviewed their experience, with particular attention to method, pain relief, and neurological status.

Methods. From July 1994 through December 1998, 13 patients at the authors' institution have required spinal—pelvic fixation secondary to instability caused by primary (eight cases) or metastatic (five cases) neoplasms. Previous treatment included spinal surgery in 10 (77%), radiation therapy in seven (54%), and/or chemotherapy in six (46%). Following tumor resection, fixation was achieved by intraoperative placement of contoured titanium rods bilaterally into the ilium. These rods were attached to the lumbar spine with pedicle screws and subsequently crosslinked. Arthrodesis was performed.

In the follow-up period of 3 to 50 months (average 20 months), nine (69%) of 13 patients were still alive. There were no cases of surgery-related death. Seven weeks postoperatively instrumentation failure occurred in one patient and was corrected by performing double L-rod spinal—pelvic fixation. Two patients experienced neurological dysfunction (ankle weakness and neurogenic bladder) that was thought to be related to tumor resection rather than the fixation procedure. Neurological status improved in four patients and remained unchanged in seven patients. Ambulatory status improved in 62% (eight patients), remained unchanged in 23% (three patients), and worsened in 15% (two patients). Spinal pain, as measured by a visual analog pain scale and determined by medication consumption was significantly reduced in 85% (11 cases).

Conclusions. In selected patients with primary or metastatic lumbosacral tumors, resection followed by modified Galveston L-rod spinal—pelvic fixation is an effective means of achieving stabilization that can provide significant pain relief and preserve ambulatory capacity.

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Robert J. Jackson and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object. Occipitocervicothoracic (OCT) fixation and fusion is an infrequently performed procedure to treat patients with severe spinal instability. Only three cases have been reported in the literature. The authors have retrospectively reviewed their experience with performing OCT fixation in patients with neoplastic processes, paying particular attention to method, pain relief, and neurological status.

Methods. From July 1994 through July 1998, 13 of 552 patients who underwent a total of 722 spinal operations at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have required OCT fixation for spinal instability caused by neoplastic processes (12 of 13 patients) or rheumatoid arthritis (one of 13 patients). Fixation was achieved by attaching two intraoperatively contoured titanium rods to the occiput via burr holes and Luque wires or cables; to the cervical spinous processes with Wisconsin wires; and to the thoracic spine with a combination of transverse process and pedicle hooks. Crosslinks were used to attain additional stability. In all patients but one arthrodesis was performed using allograft.

At a follow-up duration of 1 to 45 months (mean 14 months), six of the 12 patients with neoplasms remained alive, whereas the other six patients had died of malignant primary disease. There were no deaths related to the surgical procedure. Postoperatively, one patient experienced respiratory insufficiency, and two patients required revision of rotational or free myocutaneous flaps. All patients who presented with spine-based pain experienced a reduction in pain, as measured by a visual analog scale for pain. All patients who were neurologically intact preoperatively remained so; seven of seven patients with neurological impairment improved; and six of seven patients improved one Frankel grade. There were no occurrences of instrumentation failure or hardware-related complications. In one patient a revision of the instrumentation was required 13.5 months following the initial surgery for progression of malignant fibrous histiosarcoma.

Conclusions. In selected patients, OCT fixation is an effective means of attaining stabilization that can provide pain relief and neurological preservation or improvement.

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Robert J. Jackson, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Shang-Chuin Arvinloh

Object. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an aggressive malignancy that frequently metastasizes. When RCC metastasizes to the spine, significant pain and neurological dysfunction often follow. Because systemic therapy and radiotherapy have a limited effect in controlling spinal disease, surgery is frequently required; however, there are very few published series specifically addressing the role and benefits of the surgical treatment for this disease. The authors conducted a retrospective study to review their experience with the surgical treatment of metastatic RCC of the spine, paying particular attention to methodology and patient neurological status, pain relief, and survival.

Methods. Between January 1993 and April 1999, 79 patients (63 men and 16 women patients; average age 55 years, range 16–82 years) underwent 107 spinal operations for metastatic RCC. Indications for surgery included disabling pain (94 [88%] of 107 procedures) and/or neurological dysfunction (55 [51%] of 107 procedures). The anatomical location and extent of tumor determined the choice of an anterior, posterior, or combined surgical approach. Internal fixation was performed in all but three patients. Preoperative embolization was required in approximately one half of the patients. Radiotherapy was performed in 40 patients prior to surgery, and immuno- and chemotherapy were administered in 70 patients either pre- or postoperatively. After an average follow-up duration of 15 months, 57 patients had died. Kaplan—Meier analysis revealed a median postoperative survival of 12.3 months. Significant pain reduction, as indicated by a visual analog pain scale, was achieved in 84 (89%) of the 94 cases presenting with disabling pain. Neurological improvement was seen in 36 (65%) of the 55 patients. The major morbidity and 30-day mortality rates were 15% (16 of 107 procedures) and 2% (two of 107 procedures), respectively.

Conclusions. In selected patients with metastatic RCC of the spine, resection followed by stabilization can provide pain relief and neurological preservation or improvement.

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Robert J. Jackson, Reginald J. Davis, Gregory A. Hoffman, Hyun W. Bae, Michael S. Hisey, Kee D. Kim, Steven E. Gaede and Pierce Dalton Nunley

OBJECTIVE

Cervical total disc replacement (TDR) has been shown in a number of prospective clinical studies to be a viable treatment alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for the treatment of symptomatic degenerative disc disease. In addition to preserving motion, evidence suggests that cervical TDR may result in a lower incidence of subsequent surgical intervention than treatment with fusion. The goal of this study was to evaluate subsequent surgery rates up to 5 years in patients treated with TDR or ACDF at 1 or 2 contiguous levels between C-3 and C-7.

METHODS

This was a prospective, multicenter, randomized, unblinded clinical trial. Patients with symptomatic degenerative disc disease were enrolled to receive 1- or 2-level treatment with either TDR as the investigational device or ACDF as the control treatment. There were 260 patients in the 1-level study (179 TDR and 81 ACDF patients) and 339 patients in the 2-level study (234 TDR and 105 ACDF patients).

RESULTS

At 5 years, the occurrence of subsequent surgical intervention was significantly higher among ACDF patients for 1-level (TDR, 4.5% [8/179]; ACDF, 17.3% [14/81]; p = 0.0012) and 2-level (TDR, 7.3% [17/234]; ACDF, 21.0% [22/105], p = 0.0007) treatment. The TDR group demonstrated significantly fewer index- and adjacent-level subsequent surgeries in both the 1- and 2-level cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Five-year results showed treatment with cervical TDR to result in a significantly lower rate of subsequent surgical intervention than treatment with ACDF for both 1 and 2 levels of treatment.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00389597 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Reginald J. Davis, Pierce Dalton Nunley, Kee D. Kim, Michael S. Hisey, Robert J. Jackson, Hyun W. Bae, Gregory A. Hoffman, Steven E. Gaede, Guy O. Danielson III, Charles Gordon and Marcus B. Stone

OBJECT

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of 2-level total disc replacement (TDR) using a Mobi-C cervical artificial disc at 48 months' follow-up.

METHODS

A prospective randomized, US FDA investigational device exemption pivotal trial of the Mobi-C cervical artificial disc was conducted at 24 centers in the US. Three hundred thirty patients with degenerative disc disease were randomized and treated with cervical total disc replacement (225 patients) or the control treatment, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) (105 patients). Patients were followed up at regular intervals for 4 years after surgery.

RESULTS

At 48 months, both groups demonstrated improvement in clinical outcome measures and a comparable safety profile. Data were available for 202 TDR patients and 89 ACDF patients in calculation of the primary endpoint. TDR patients had statistically significantly greater improvement than ACDF patients for the following outcome measures compared with baseline: Neck Disability Index scores, 12-Item Short Form Health Survey Physical Component Summary scores, patient satisfaction, and overall success. ACDF patients experienced higher subsequent surgery rates and displayed a higher rate of adjacent-segment degeneration as seen on radiographs. Overall, TDR patients maintained segmental range of motion through 48 months with no device failure.

CONCLUSIONS

Four-year results from this study continue to support TDR as a safe, effective, and statistically superior alternative to ACDF for the treatment of degenerative disc disease at 2 contiguous cervical levels.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00389597 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Pierce D. Nunley, Marcus B. Stone, Michael S. Hisey, Kee D. Kim, Robert J. Jackson, Hyun W. Bae, Gregory A. Hoffman, Steven E. Gaede, Guy O. Danielson III, Charles Gordon, Reginald J. Davis and Bimal Rami

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Robert J. Dempsey, Tomy Varghese, Daren C. Jackson, Xiao Wang, Nirvedh H. Meshram, Carol C. Mitchell, Bruce P. Hermann, Sterling C. Johnson, Sara E. Berman and Stephanie M. Wilbrand

OBJECTIVE

This article describes the use of ultrasound measurements of physical strain within carotid atherosclerotic plaques as a measure of instability and the potential for vascular cognitive decline, microemboli, and white matter changes.

METHODS

Asymptomatic patients with significant (> 60%) carotid artery stenosis were studied for dynamic measures of plaque instability, presence of microemboli, white matter changes, and vascular cognitive decline in comparison with normative controls and premorbid state.

RESULTS

Although classically asymptomatic, these patients showed vascular cognitive decline. The degree of strain instability measured within the atherosclerotic plaque directly predicted vascular cognitive decline in these patients thought previously to be asymptomatic according to classic criteria. Furthermore, 26% of patients showed microemboli, and patients had twice as much white matter hyperintensity as controls.

CONCLUSIONS

These data show that physical measures of plaque instability are possible through interpretation of ultrasound strain data during pulsation, which may be more clinically relevant than solely measuring degree of stenosis. The data also highlight the importance of understanding that the definition of symptoms should not be limited to motor, speech, and vision function but underscore the role of vascular cognitive decline in the pathophysiology of carotid atherosclerotic disease.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02476396 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Jonathan Pindrik, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jessica S. Alvey, Ron W. Reeder, Ian F. Pollack, John C. Wellons III, Eric M. Jackson, Curtis J. Rozzelle, William E. Whitehead, David D. Limbrick Jr., Robert P. Naftel, Chevis Shannon, Patrick J. McDonald, Mandeep S. Tamber, Todd C. Hankinson, Jason S. Hauptman, Tamara D. Simon, Mark D. Krieger, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Few studies have addressed surgical resource utilization—surgical revisions and associated hospital admission days—following shunt insertion or endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with or without choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) for CSF diversion in hydrocephalus. Study members of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) investigated differences in surgical resource utilization between CSF diversion strategies in hydrocephalus in infants.

METHODS

Patients up to corrected age 24 months undergoing initial definitive treatment of hydrocephalus were reviewed from the prospectively maintained HCRN Core Data Project (Hydrocephalus Registry). Postoperative courses (at 1, 3, and 5 years) were studied for hydrocephalus-related surgeries (primary outcome) and hospital admission days related to surgical revision (secondary outcome). Data were summarized using descriptive statistics and compared using negative binomial regression, controlling for age, hydrocephalus etiology, and HCRN center. The study population was organized into 3 groups (ETV alone, ETV with CPC, and CSF shunt insertion) during the 1st postoperative year and 2 groups (ETV alone and CSF shunt insertion) during subsequent years due to limited long-term follow-up data.

RESULTS

Among 1090 patients, the majority underwent CSF shunt insertion (CSF shunt, 83.5%; ETV with CPC, 10.0%; and ETV alone, 6.5%). Patients undergoing ETV with CPC had a higher mean number of revision surgeries (1.2 ± 1.6) than those undergoing ETV alone (0.6 ± 0.8) or CSF shunt insertion (0.7 ± 1.3) over the 1st year after surgery (p = 0.005). At long-term follow-up, patients undergoing ETV alone experienced a nonsignificant lower mean number of revision surgeries (0.7 ± 0.9 at 3 years and 0.8 ± 1.3 at 5 years) than those undergoing CSF shunt insertion (1.1 ± 1.9 at 3 years and 1.4 ± 2.6 at 5 years) and exhibited a lower mean number of hospital admission days related to revision surgery (3.8 ± 10.3 vs 9.9 ± 27.0, p = 0.042).

CONCLUSIONS

Among initial treatment strategies for hydrocephalus, ETV with CPC yielded a higher surgical revision rate within 1 year after surgery. Patients undergoing ETV alone exhibited a nonsignificant lower mean number of surgical revisions than CSF shunt insertion at 3 and 5 years postoperatively. Additionally, the ETV-alone cohort demonstrated significantly fewer hospital admission days related to surgical management of hydrocephalus within 3 years after surgery. These findings suggest a time-dependent benefit of ETV over CSF shunt insertion regarding surgical resource utilization.

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Andrew T. Hale, P. David Adelson, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Brent O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, Tae Sung Park, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons, William E. Whitehead, Chevis N. Shannon, David D. Limbrick Jr. and for the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium Investigators

OBJECTIVE

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

METHODS

Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

RESULTS

The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16–0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34–1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12–0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02–2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31–3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67–5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.

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Jennifer M. Strahle, Rukayat Taiwo, Christine Averill, James Torner, Chevis N. Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, Gerald F. Tuite, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Jerrel Rutlin, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Francesco T. Mangano, James M. Johnston, Manish N. Shah, Bermans J. Iskandar, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, David J. Daniels, Eric M. Jackson, Gerald A. Grant, Daniel E. Couture, P. David Adelson, Tord D. Alden, Philipp R. Aldana, Richard C. E. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden, Lissa C. Baird, Karin Bierbrauer, Joshua J. Chern, William E. Whitehead, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Herbert E. Fuchs, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Mark R. Iantosca, W. Jerry Oakes, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus R. Khan, Michael S. Muhlbauer, J. Gordon McComb, Arnold H. Menezes, John Ragheb, Jodi L. Smith, Cormac O. Maher, Stephanie Greene, Michael Kelly, Brent R. O’Neill, Mark D. Krieger, Mandeep Tamber, Susan R. Durham, Greg Olavarria, Scellig S. D. Stone, Bruce A. Kaufman, Gregory G. Heuer, David F. Bauer, Gregory Albert, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Scott D. Wait, Mark D. Van Poppel, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy Mapstone, Joshua S. Shimony, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors’ goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

RESULTS

Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB–C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.