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Yutong Gu, Feng Zhang, Xiaoxing Jiang, Lianshun Jia and Robert McGuire

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of minimally invasive pedicle screw fixation combined with percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) for treating acute thoracolumbar osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture (VCF) and preventing secondary VCF after PVP.

Methods

Twenty patients with a mean age of 73.6 years (range 65–85 years) who sustained fresh thoracic or lumbar osteoporotic VCFs without neurological deficits underwent minimally invasive pedicle screw fixation combined with PVP. Visual analog scale pain scores were recorded, and the Cobb angles and the central and anterior vertebral body (VB) heights were measured on the lateral radiographs before surgery and immediately, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after surgery.

Results

The patients were followed up for an average of 26 months (range 24–30 months) after sugery. The visual analog scale score was found to be significantly decreased; from 7.3 ± 1.3 before surgery to 1.2 ± 0.7 immediately after surgery and to 0.7 ± 0.7 (p < 0.001) at the end of follow-up. The Cobb angle was 17.0° ± 4.3° before surgery and 6.4° ± 3.6° immediately after surgery. The central VB height that was 44.5% ± 7.6% before surgery increased to 74.6% ± 6.4% of the estimated intact central height immediately after surgery (p < 0.001). The anterior VB height increased from 50.7% ± 7.4% before surgery to 82.5% ± 6.7% of the estimated intact anterior height immediately after surgery (p < 0.001). There were no significant changes in the results obtained over the follow-up time period. There was no occurrence of new fracture in surgically treated or adjacent vertebrae in these patients.

Conclusions

Minimally invasive pedicle screw fixation combined with PVP is a good choice for the treatment of acute thoracolumbar osteoporotic VCF and can prevent the occurrence of new VCFs after PVP.

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Taolin Fang, Jian Dong, Xiaogang Zhou, Robert A. McGuire Jr. and Xilei Li

Object

The object of this study was to compare the mini-open anterior corpectomy procedure with posterior total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) in treating patients with solitary metastases of the thoracolumbar spine.

Methods

From 2004 to 2010, 41 patients with solitary metastases of the thoracolumbar spine were treated in our hospital using either a mini-open anterior corpectomy or posterior TES. Intraoperative and diagnostic data, including perioperative complications, were collected using retrospective chart review. The surgical outcomes were assessed according to survival status, neurological function, local recurrence, and pain before and after surgery.

Results

Seventeen patients underwent posterior TES and 24 underwent mini-open anterior corpectomy. Mean blood loss (TES, 1721 ± 293 ml; mini-open corpectomy, 1058 ± 263 ml; p < 0.05), and mean operative time (TES, 403 ± 55 minutes; mini-open corpectomy, 175 ± 38 minutes; p < 0.05) were recorded and calculated. Neurological improvement by at least 1 American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grade was noted in 35 (97.2%) of the 36 cases with preoperative deficits. After the operation, 68.4% of nonambulatory patients became ambulatory again, including 84.6% after mini-open corpectomy and 33.3% after posterior TES (p > 0.05). The visual analog scale scores of the patients were significantly reduced after both procedures, with no difference between the procedures (p > 0.05). The local tumor recurrence rate of the TES group was significantly lower than that of the mini-open corpectomy group (p < 0.05), while the postoperative survival rates within 2 years after surgery were similar. The complication rate in the mini-open corpectomy group (29.2%) was higher than that in the TES group (11.8%), but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.185). There was no hardware failure and no loss of the sagittal Cobb angle in either group. Slight subsidence (< 3 mm) of the mesh cage was observed with a successful fusion in 3 (17.6%) of 17 patients in the TES group. No subsidence of polymethylmethacrylate block/autograft was recorded in the mini-open group.

Conclusions

Mini-open anterior corpectomy can be accomplished with less blood loss, fewer fixation instrumentations, and shorter surgical time than that required for TES, but patients who undergo a mini-open corpectomy might have a greater tendency to experience local recurrence. A mini-open anterior corpectomy has a relatively mild learning curve and involves fewer technical difficulties. With smaller incisions, mini-open anterior corpectomy is an option in treating solitary metastases of the thoracolumbar spine.

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Robert M. Beatty, Peggy McGuire, Jean M. Moroney and Frank P. Holladay

✓ One hundred fifty patients underwent spinal surgery for radiculopathy; of these, 120 underwent lumbar surgery and 30 had cervical operations. All of the surgeries were performed to alleviate symptoms due to disc herniation, spondylosis, or both. During the surgical procedures continuous intraoperative electromyograph recordings were taken from the muscle corresponding to the involved nerve root. In baseline recordings taken in the operating room 10 minutes before lumbar surgery, electrical discharge or firing was recorded from the muscle in 18% (22 of 120 patients) of the cases. Once the nerve was decompressed, muscle firing ceased. Electrical discharges were produced with regularity on nerve root retraction.

This study concludes that continuous electromyograph monitoring can be accomplished easily and yields valuable information that indicates when the nerve root is adequately decompressed or when undue retraction is exerted on the root.