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Preston D’Souza, Erin K. Barr, Seshadri D. Thirumala, Roy Jacob, and Laszlo Nagy

Pigmented epithelioid melanocytomas (PEMs) are low-grade, intermediate-type borderline melanocytic tumors with limited metastatic potential. To date, PEMs have been treated via gross-total resections. Postoperative recurrence and mortality are rare. This case highlights a unique presentation of a PEM that involved bone destruction and intradural infiltration, which required a subtotal resection. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of a PEM extending through the dura and necessitating subtotal resection, which is contrary to the standard of care, gross-total resection. Surveillance imaging 10 months after resection remained negative for clinical and radiological recurrence.

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Viswanathan Rajaraman, Roy Vingan, Patrick Roth, Robert F. Heary, Lisa Conklin, and George B. Jacobs

Object. The literature on abdominal and general surgery—related complications following anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is scant. In this retrospective review of 60 patients in whom ALIF was performed at their institutions between 1996 and 1998, the authors detail the associated complications and their correlation with perioperative factors. The causes, strategies for their avoidance, and the clinical course of these complications are also discussed.

Methods. The study group was composed of 31 men and 29 women whose mean age was 42 years (range 29–71 years). The preoperative diagnosis was discogenic back pain in 33 patients (55%); failed back syndrome in 11 (18.3%); pseudarthrosis in five (8.3%); postlaminectomy syndrome in four (6.6%); spondylolisthesis in three (5%); burst fracture in two (3.3%); and malignancy in two (3.3%). A retroperitoneal approach to the spine was used in 57 of the 60 patients. One interspace was exposed in 28 patients (46.6%), two in 28 (46.6%), and three in four (6.6%). Discectomy and interbody fusion in which the authors placed titanium cages or bone dowels was performed in 56 patients and corpectomy with instrumentation in four. Seven (11.6%) of 60 patients had undergone previous abdominal surgery and 29 (48.3%) had undergone previous spinal surgery. The follow-up period averaged 12 ± 4 months (mean ± standard deviation). Twenty-four general surgery—related complications occurred in 23 patients (38.3%), including sympathetic dysfunction in six; vascular injury in four; somatic neural injury in three; sexual dysfunction in three; prolonged ileus in three; wound incompetence in two; and deep venous thrombosis, acute pancreatitis, and bowel injury in one patient each. There were no deaths. The incidence of complications was not associated with underlying diagnosis (p > 0.1), age (p > 0.5), previous abdominal or spinal surgery (p > 0.1), or the number of levels exposed (p > 0.1).

Conclusions. This report provides a detailed analysis of the general surgery—related complications following ALIF. Although many of these complications have been recognized in the literature, the significance of sympathetic dysfunction appears to have been underestimated. The high incidence of complications in this series likely reflects the strict criteria. Many of these complications were minor and resolved over time without long-term sequelae.

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Roy Xiao, Jacob A. Miller, Navin C. Sabharwal, Daniel Lubelski, Vincent J. Alentado, Andrew T. Healy, Thomas E. Mroz, and Edward C. Benzel


Improvements in imaging technology have steadily advanced surgical approaches. Within the field of spine surgery, assistance from the O-arm Multidimensional Surgical Imaging System has been established to yield superior accuracy of pedicle screw insertion compared with freehand and fluoroscopic approaches. Despite this evidence, no studies have investigated the clinical relevance associated with increased accuracy. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to investigate the clinical outcomes following thoracolumbar spinal fusion associated with O-arm–assisted navigation. The authors hypothesized that increased accuracy achieved with O-arm–assisted navigation decreases the rate of reoperation secondary to reduced hardware failure and screw misplacement.


A consecutive retrospective review of all patients who underwent open thoracolumbar spinal fusion at a single tertiary-care institution between December 2012 and December 2014 was conducted. Outcomes assessed included operative time, length of hospital stay, and rates of readmission and reoperation. Mixed-effects Cox proportional hazards modeling, with surgeon as a random effect, was used to investigate the association between O-arm–assisted navigation and postoperative outcomes.


Among 1208 procedures, 614 were performed with O-arm–assisted navigation, 356 using freehand techniques, and 238 using fluoroscopic guidance. The most common indication for surgery was spondylolisthesis (56.2%), and most patients underwent a posterolateral fusion only (59.4%). Although O-arm procedures involved more vertebral levels compared with the combined freehand/fluoroscopy cohort (4.79 vs 4.26 vertebral levels; p < 0.01), no significant differences in operative time were observed (4.40 vs 4.30 hours; p = 0.38). Patients who underwent an O-arm procedure experienced shorter hospital stays (4.72 vs 5.43 days; p < 0.01). O-arm–assisted navigation trended toward predicting decreased risk of spine-related readmission (0.8% vs 2.2%, risk ratio [RR] 0.37; p = 0.05) and overall readmissions (4.9% vs 7.4%, RR 0.66; p = 0.07). The O-arm was significantly associated with decreased risk of reoperation for hardware failure (2.9% vs 5.9%, RR 0.50; p = 0.01), screw misplacement (1.6% vs 4.2%, RR 0.39; p < 0.01), and all-cause reoperation (5.2% vs 10.9%, RR 0.48; p < 0.01). Mixed-effects Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed that O-arm–assisted navigation was a significant predictor of decreased risk of reoperation (HR 0.49; p < 0.01). The protective effect of O-arm–assisted navigation against reoperation was durable in subset analysis of procedures involving < 5 vertebral levels (HR 0.44; p = 0.01) and ≥ 5 levels (HR 0.48; p = 0.03). Further subset analysis demonstrated that O-arm–assisted navigation predicted decreased risk of reoperation among patients undergoing posterolateral fusion only (HR 0.39; p < 0.01) and anterior lumbar interbody fusion (HR 0.22; p = 0.03), but not posterior/transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion.


To the authors' knowledge, the present study is the first to investigate clinical outcomes associated with O-arm–assisted navigation following thoracolumbar spinal fusion. O-arm–assisted navigation decreased the risk of reoperation to less than half the risk associated with freehand and fluoroscopic approaches. Future randomized controlled trials to corroborate the findings of the present study are warranted.