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J. Patrick Johnson, Robert S. Pashman, Carl Lauryssen, Neel Anand, John J. Regan and Robert S. Bray

✓ Spinal deformity has classically and historically been studied by those in the discipline of orthopedic surgery. This may be attributable to the orthopedic interventionalists' experience with osseous fixation for long-bone and other skeletal fractures. Neurosurgeons have maintained a long-standing interest in complex cervical spinal disorders, and their interest in the larger field of complex spinal deformity has been expanding.

An understanding of spinal deformity disorders, biomechanics, bone biology, and metallurgy is necessary before clinical, teaching, and research activities can be undertaken within neurosurgery.

The authors describe basic and advanced concepts of spinal deformity management with cases to illustrate teaching points.

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John K. Stokes, Alan T. Villavicencio, Paul C. Liu, Robert S. Bray and J. Patrick Johnson


Surgical treatment of atlantoaxial instability has evolved to include various posterior wiring techniques including Brooks, Gallie, and Sonntag fusions in which success rates range from 60 to 100%. The Magerl–Seemans technique in which C1–2 transarticular screws are placed results in fusion rates between 87 and 100%. This procedure is technically demanding and requires precise knowledge of the course of the vertebral arteries (VAs). The authors introduce a new C1–2 fixation procedure in which C-1 lateral mass and C-2 pedicle screws are placed that may have advantages over C1–2 transarticular screw constructs.


A standard posterior C1–2 exposure is obtained. Polyaxial C-2 pedicle screws and C-1 lateral mass screws are placed bilaterally. Rods are connected to the screws and secured using locking nuts. A cross-link is then placed. Fusion can be performed at the atlantoaxial joint by elevating the C-2 nerve root.

The technique for this procedure has been used in four cases of atlantoaxial instability at the author's institution. There have been no C-2 nerve root– or VA-related injuries. No cases of construct failure have been observed in the short-term follow up period.


Atlantoaxial lateral mass and axial pedicle screw fixation offers an alternative means of achieving atlantoaxial fusion. The technique is less demanding than that required for transarticular screw placement and may avoid the potential complication of VA injury. The cross-linked construct is theoretically stable in flexion, extension, and rotation. Laminectomy or fracture of the posterior elements does not preclude use of this fixation procedure.

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Claudia S. Robertson, Raj K. Narayan, Charles F. Contant, Robert G. Grossman, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Rajesh Pahwa, Pedro Caram Jr., Robert S. Bray Jr. and Arthur M. Sherwood

✓ Intracranial compliance, as estimated from a computerized frequency analysis of the intracranial pressure (ICP) waveform, was continuously monitored during the acute postinjury phase in 55 head-injured patients. In previous studies, the high-frequency centroid (HFC), which was defined as the power-weighted average frequency within the 4- to 15-Hz band of the ICP power density spectrum, was found to inversely correlate with the pressure-volume index (PVI). An HFC of 6.5 to 7.0 Hz was normal, while an increase in the HFC to 9.0 Hz coincided with a reduction in the PVI to 13 ml and indicated exhaustion of intracranial volume-buffering capacity. The mean HFC for individual patients in the present study ranged from 6.8 to 9.0 Hz, and the length of time that the HFC was greater than 9.0 Hz ranged from 0 to 104.8 hours. The mortality rate increased concomitantly with the mean HFC, from 7% when the mean HFC was less than 7.5 Hz to 46% when the mean HFC was 8.5 Hz or greater. The length of time that the HFC was 9.0 Hz or greater was also associated with an increased mortality rate, which ranged from 16% if the HFC was never above 9.0 Hz to 60% if the HFC was 9.0 Hz or greater for more than 12 hours. In 12 patients who developed uncontrollable intracranial hypertension or clinical signs of tentorial herniation during the monitoring period, 75% were observed to have had an increase in the HFC to 9.0 Hz or more 1 to 36 hours prior to the clinical decompensation. The more rapid the increase in the HFC, the more likely the deterioration was to be caused by an intracranial hematoma. Continuous monitoring of intracranial compliance by computerized analysis of the ICP waveform may provide an earlier warning of neurological decompensation than ICP per se and, unlike PVI, does not require volumetric manipulation of intracranial volume.