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Rodrigo Navarro-Ramirez, Oded Rabau, Alisson Teles, Susan Ge, Abdulaziz Bin Shebreen, Neil Saran and Jean Ouellet

Early-onset scoliosis (EOS) correction techniques have evolved slowly over the past 40 years and still remain a challenge for the spine surgeon. Avoiding spinal fusion in these patients is key to decreasing morbidity and mortality in this population.

Current treatments for EOS include both conservative and surgical options. The authors present the modified Luqué technique that has been performed at their institution for the past decade. This modified technique relies on Luqué’s principle, but with newer “gliding” implants through a less disruptive approach. The goal of this technique is to delay fusion as long as possible, with the intent to prevent deformity progression while preserving maximal growth.

Normally, these patients will have definitive fusion surgery once they have reached skeletal maturity or as close as possible. Out of 23 patients until present (close to 4-year follow-up), the authors have not performed any revision due to implant failure. Three patients have undergone final fusion as the curve progressed (one patient, 4 years out, had final fusion at age 12 years; two other patients had final fusion at 3 years). These implants, which have the CE mark in Europe, are available in Canada via a special access process with Health Canada. The implants have not yet been submitted to the FDA, as they are waiting on clinical data out of Europe and Canada.

In the following video the authors describe the modified Luqué technique step-by-step.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/k0AuFa9lYXY.

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Andreas Leidinger, Eliana E. Kim, Rodrigo Navarro-Ramirez, Nicephorus Rutabasibwa, Salim R. Msuya, Gulce Askin, Raphael Greving, Hamisi K. Shabani and Roger Härtl

OBJECTIVE

Spinal trauma is a major cause of disability worldwide. The burden is especially severe in low-income countries, where hospital infrastructure is poor, resources are limited, and the volume of cases is high. Currently, there are no reliable data available on incidence, management, and outcomes of spinal trauma in East Africa. The main objective of this study was to describe, for the first time, the demographics, management, costs of surgery and implants, treatment decision factors, and outcomes of patients with spine trauma in Tanzania.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed prospectively collected data on spinal trauma patients in the single surgical referral center in Tanzania (Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute [MOI]) from October 2016 to December 2017. They collected general demographics and the following information: distance from site of trauma to the center, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS), time to surgery, steroid use, and mechanism of trauma and AOSpine classification and costs. Surgical details and complications were recorded. Primary outcome was neurological status on discharge. The authors analyzed surgical outcome and determined predicting factors for positive outcome.

RESULTS

A total of 180 patients were included and analyzed in this study. The mean distance from site of trauma to MOI was 278.0 km, and the time to admission was on average 5.9 days after trauma. Young males were primarily affected (82.8% males, average age 35.7 years). On admission, 47.2% of patients presented with AIS grade A. Most common mechanisms of injury were motor vehicle accidents (28.9%) and falls from height (32.8%). Forty percent of admitted patients underwent surgery. The mean time to surgery was 33.2 days; 21.4% of patients who underwent surgery improved in AIS grade at discharge (p = 0.030). Overall, the only factor associated with improvement in neurological status was undergoing surgery (p = 0.03) and shorter time to surgery (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to describe the management and outcomes of spinal trauma in East Africa. Due to the lack of referral hospitals, patients are admitted late after trauma, often with severe neurological deficit. Surgery is performed but generally late in the course of hospital stay. The decision to perform surgery and timing are heavily influenced by the availability of implants and economic factors such as insurance status. Patients with incomplete deficits who may benefit most from surgery are not prioritized. The authors’ results suggest that surgery may have a positive impact on patient outcome. Further studies with a larger sample size are needed to confirm our results. These results provide strong support to implement evidence-based protocols for the management of spinal trauma.