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Vaidya Govindarajan, Jean-Paul Bryant, Roberto J. Perez-Roman, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Cervical fractures in patients with ankylosing spondylitis can have devastating neurological consequences. Currently, several surgical approaches are commonly used to treat these fractures: anterior, posterior, and anterior-posterior. The relative rarity of these fractures has limited the ability of surgeons to objectively determine the merits of each. The authors present an updated systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the utility of anterior surgical approaches relative to posterior and anterior-posterior approaches.

METHODS

After a comprehensive literature search of the PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase databases, 7 clinical studies were included in the final qualitative and 6 in the final quantitative analyses. Of these studies, 6 compared anterior approaches with anterior-posterior and posterior approaches, while 1 investigated only an anterior approach. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated where appropriate.

RESULTS

A meta-analysis of postoperative neurological improvement revealed no statistically significant differences in gross rates of neurological improvement between anterior and posterior approaches (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.10–1.59; p = 0.19). However, when analyzing the mean change in neurological function, patients who underwent anterior approaches had a significantly lower mean change in postoperative neurological function relative to patients who underwent posterior approaches (mean difference [MD] −0.60, 95% CI −0.76 to −0.45; p < 0.00001). An identical trend was seen between anterior and anterior-posterior approaches; there were no statistically significant differences in gross rates of neurological improvement (OR 3.05, 95% CI 0.84–11.15; p = 0.09). However, patients who underwent anterior approaches experienced a lower mean change in neurological function relative to anterior-posterior approaches (MD −0.46, 95% CI −0.60 to −0.32; p < 0.00001). There were no significant differences in complication rates between anterior approaches, posterior approaches, or anterior-posterior approaches, although complication rates trended lower in patients who underwent anterior approaches.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this review and meta-analysis demonstrated the varying benefits of anterior approaches relative to posterior and anterior-posterior approaches in treatment of cervical fractures associated with ankylosing spondylitis. While reports demonstrated lower degrees of neurological improvement in anterior approaches, they may benefit patients with less-severe injuries if lower complication rates are desired.

Free access

Jean-Paul Bryant, Roberto J. Perez-Roman, S. Shelby Burks, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Osteoporosis represents the most common metabolic disease of the bone, with an estimated 10% of adults aged 50 years or older affected in the United States. This patient population is at increased risk for spine fracture and instrumentation-related complications after spine surgery. Surgeon knowledge of the available treatments for patients with low bone mineral density (BMD) and how they impact biology of fusion may help mitigate negative effects in the postoperative period. Recombinant parathyroid hormone, which is sold under the name teriparatide, is the most extensively studied bone-protecting agent in humans. Additionally, the success of the monoclonal antibody denosumab has led to further clinical investigations of human patients undergoing spine surgery. Another monoclonal antibody, romosozumab, was recently approved by the US FDA for human use in patients with osteoporosis. Although studies of romosozumab in patients undergoing spine surgery have not been conducted, this is a promising potential therapeutic agent based on its early success in preclinical and clinical trials. Here, the authors aimed to review the mechanisms of action and evidence of use of antiresorptive and anabolic agents in patients with osteoporosis undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS

In accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, a systematic review was conducted to explore the antiresorptive and anabolic agents used in the perioperative period in patients with osteoporosis undergoing spinal surgery. The search was performed by using the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases. Titles and abstracts were screened and subsequently selected for full review.

RESULTS

The initial search returned 330 articles. Of these articles, 23 final articles were included and reviewed. Many of these articles reported that use of adjuvant agents in the perioperative period improved radiographic evidence of bony fusion and bone fusion rates. These agents tended to improve BMD postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

Although antiosteoporosis agents are effective to varying degrees as treatments of patients with low BMD, teriparatide and bisphosphonates have been the most extensively studied with respect to spinal instrumentation. The advent of newer agents represents an area for further exploration, especially due to the current paucity of controlled investigations. It is imperative for spine surgeons to understand the mechanisms of action of these drugs and their effects on biology of fusion.

Free access

Vaidya Govindarajan, Anthony Diaz, Roberto J. Perez-Roman, S. Shelby Burks, Michael Y. Wang, and Allan D. Levi

OBJECTIVE

Bisphosphonates and teriparatide are the most common therapies used in the treatment of osteoporosis. Their impact on fusion rates in osteoporotic patients following spinal fusion has yet to be concretely defined, with previous systematic reviews focusing heavily on bisphosphonates and lacking clinical insight on the utility of teriparatide. Herein the authors present an updated meta-analysis of the utility of both bisphosphonates and teriparatide in improving spinal fusion outcomes in osteoporotic patients.

METHODS

After a comprehensive search of the English-language literature in the PubMed and Embase databases, 11 clinical studies were included in the final qualitative and quantitative analyses. Of these studies, 9 investigated bisphosphonates, 7 investigated teriparatide, and 1 investigated a combination of teriparatide and denosumab. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated where appropriate.

RESULTS

A meta-analysis of the postoperative use of bisphosphonate demonstrated better odds of successful fusion as compared to that in controls during short-term monitoring (OR 3.33, 95% CI 1.72–6.42, p = 0.0003) but not long-term monitoring (p > 0.05). Bisphosphonate use was also shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of postoperative vertebral compression fracture (VCF; OR 0.07, 95% CI 0.01–0.59, p = 0.01) and significantly reduce Oswestry Disability Index scores (mean difference [MD] = −2.19, 95% CI −2.94 to −1.44, p < 0.00001) and visual analog scale pain scores (MD = −0.58, 95% CI −0.79 to −0.38, p < 0.00001). Teriparatide was found to significantly increase fusion rates at long-term postoperative periods as compared to rates after bisphosphonate therapy, with patients who received postoperative teriparatide therapy 2.05 times more likely to experience successful fusion (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.17–3.59, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrate the benefits of bisphosphonate and teriparatide therapy independently in accelerating fusion during the first 6 months after spinal fusion surgery in osteoporotic patients. In addition, they show that teriparatide may have superior benefits in spinal fusion during long-term monitoring as compared to those with bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates may be better suited in preventing VCFs postoperatively in addition to minimizing postoperative disability and pain.

Free access

G. Damian Brusko, Roberto J. Perez-Roman, Harold Tapamo, S. Shelby Burks, Aldo N. Serafini, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Hybrid SPECT with CT imaging has been used to help elucidate pain generators in patients with axial neck and back pain, identifying potential sites for treatment. Few studies have examined its role in spine surgery and most literature focuses on its use postoperatively. The authors describe the largest series to date of patients with symptomatic spondylosis who underwent preoperative SPECT imaging for surgical planning.

METHODS

A retrospective medical and imaging record review was conducted to identify patients who underwent SPECT or SPECT/CT studies between January 2014 and May 2018. Patients who underwent spine surgical intervention for spondylosis with primary symptoms of axial neck or back pain and who had evidence of hypermetabolic foci on spinal SPECT imaging were included. Only those patients who subsequently underwent surgery on a spinal level associated with increased radiotracer uptake were included in the analysis. Patient baseline and demographic information, and data pertaining to SPECT imaging, surgical planning, and postoperative care were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 23 patients with an average age at surgery of 60.0 ± 11.0 years were included. Fifteen patients (65.2%) were male. A total of 53 spinal levels were treated, with an average of 2.30 levels treated per patient. All patients underwent fusion surgery, either lumbar (n = 14), with interbody fusion most commonly used (64.2%); or cervical (n = 9), with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (66.6%) being the most common. The average length of hospital stay was 3.45 ± 2.32 days. One patient developed a wound infection postoperatively, requiring readmission. At the 3-month follow-up, 18 patients (78.3%) reported clinical improvement in pain. Eleven patients (47.8%) reported complete symptom resolution at the 6-month follow-up. At 1 year postoperatively, 19 patients (82.6%) reported significant relief of their symptoms following surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest series to date describing patients with axial neck and back pain who underwent preoperative SPECT imaging and subsequent surgical intervention on the affected spinal levels. The results demonstrate that SPECT imaging may be a useful adjunct to guide surgical planning, resulting in substantial clinical improvement following surgery.