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Jee-Soo Jang and Sang-Ho Lee

Object. The authors performed a retrospective study to evaluate the results of percutaneous facet screw fixation (PFSF) after anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) in comparison with the gold standard, post-ALIF pedicle screw fixation (PSF).

Methods. Of 84 patients treated for degenerative spondylolisthesis or degenerative disc disease at the authors' institution, 44 underwent PFSF (Group 1) and 40 underwent PSF (Group 2 [control population]) after ALIF. Function was assessed using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scoring system, and outcome was measured using the Macnab criteria. At 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery, dynamic lateral (flexion—extension) radiography and computerized tomography scanning were conducted to evaluate the osseous union status. After a minimum follow-up period of 2 years, analysis showed no intergroup statistical difference in terms of ODI score and Macnab outcome criteria (p > 0.05).

Excellent or good outcome was obtained in 40 (90.9%) of the 44 patients in Group 1 and 37 (92.5%) of the 40 patients in the control Group 2 (p > 0.05). No patient required a blood transfusion in either group. At 24 months after surgery fusion rates were 95.8% in Group 1 and 97.5% in Group 2.

Conclusions. The results of PFSF following ALIF appear to be clinically equivalent to those achieved after PSF, and the procedure represents a safe and minimally invasive modality with which to achieve solid fusion in the lumbar spine.

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Jee-Soo Jang and Sang-Ho Lee

Object. Vertebroplasty involves the percutaneous injection of polymethylmethacrylate into collapsed vertebral bodies due to hemangioma, osteoporosis, or malignant tumor. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the merits and efficacy of percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) combined with radiotherapy in treating patients with osteolytic metastatic spinal tumors (OMSTs).

Methods. Twenty-eight patients with OMSTs underwent PVP for the treatment of 72 vertebrae after administration of a local anesthetic or induction of general anesthesia for pain relief and spinal stabilization. Radiotherapy for suppressing tumor or inducing pain relief was performed immediately after PVP in 22 patients. Pain levels were assessed before and after the procedure by using a visual analog scale (VAS), and follow-up assessment was conducted at 1, 3, 6, and 9 months. On postoperative Day 3, marked-to-complete VAS score—based pain relief was achieved in 13 patients (48%) and moderate relief was demonstrated in 11 (41%). The mean VAS pain score was reduced from 8.2 to 3, and major complications were absent in all cases. Follow-up plain radiography was performed to assess vertebral column stability. Neither additional vertebral collapse in the treated vertebrae nor neurological deterioration was observed.

Conclusions. Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure and, when combined with radiotherapy, seems to be effective in providing pain relief and stabilization in patients with OMSTs.

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Jee-Soo Jang and Sang-Ho Lee

Object. The purpose of this study was to introduce a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) technique that involves ipsilateral pedicle screw (PS) and contralateral facet screw (FS) fixation.

Methods. Eight men and 15 women (mean age 59.5 years, range 48–68) underwent the aforementioned TLIF procedure for degenerative spondylolisthesis and uni- or bilateral radiculopathy.

Twenty-two patients underwent one-level fusion and one patient two-level fusion (L4—S1). In all cases the various procedures were undertaken via one small incision. There were no intraoperative complications. The mean estimated blood loss (EBL) was 310 ml, and the mean operative time was 150 minutes in cases of one-level fusion.

The follow-up period ranged from 13 to 28 months (mean 19 months). The mean Numeric Rating Scale score reflected improvement-reductions from 7.5 (back pain) and 7.4 (leg pain) to 2.3 and 0.7, respectively (p < 0.0001). The mean Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores also reflected improved status (ODI of 33.1 before the surgery to 7.6 after the surgery; p < 0.0001). Examination indicated that 22 of 24 fusion sites exhibited osseous union. At the last follow-up examination, satisfactory outcomes were observed in 21 out of 23 patients.

Conclusions. The TLIF with ipsilateral PS and contralateral FS fixation has the advantages over the conventional TLIF of reduced EBL and diminished soft-tissue injury.

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Yong Ahn, June Ho Lee, Ho-Yeon Lee, Sang-Ho Lee and Sang-Hyun Keem

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the predictive factors for subsequent vertebral fracture occurring after percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) at the neighboring levels (adjacent vs nonadjacent levels).

Methods

The medical records of 508 consecutive patients treated with PVP between January 2000 and December 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 45 patients with 49 painful vertebral fractures occurring after PVP was identified based on clinical and radiological findings. New vertebral fractures, developing at any of the 3 consecutive vertebral bodies (VBs) above or below the previously treated level, were the focus of the study. The patients were divided into 3 groups: an adjacent-level fracture group, nonadjacent-level fracture group, and a control group composed of 50 randomly selected patients in whom there was no evidence of a new fracture. Clinical, imaging, and procedure-related factors for each group were statistically analyzed.

Results

In 31 patients 35 VBs were classified as adjacent-level fractures, and in 14 patients 14 VBs were classified as nonadjacent-level fractures. After further vertebroplasty, the overall pain intensity and satisfaction rate in patients with post-PVP fractures were similar to those in the control group. In cases involving adjacent fractures, lower body mass index and intradiscal cement leakage were the significant predictive factors of fracture. In contrast, lower mobility of the index segment was related to nonadjacent-level fracture.

Conclusions

According to the authors' results, the mechanisms of subsequent fracture at adjacent and nonadjacent vertebrae are different. A direct pillar effect (that is, the difference in strength caused by cement augmentation) may provoke an adjacent-level fracture, whereas a dynamic hammer effect (the difference in segmental mobility) may lead to a nonadjacent fracture.

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Jee Soo Jang, Sang Ho Lee and Sang Rak Lim

Because the degree of immediate stabilization provided by cage-assisted anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) has been shown by several studies to be inadequate, supplementary posterior fixation, such as that created by translaminar or transpedicle screw fixation, is necessary. In this study, the authors studied the ALIF-augmentation procedure in which a special guide device is used to place percutaneously translaminar facet screws in 18 patients with degenerative lumbar disease. The minimum follow-up period was 1 month (mean 6 months, range 1–13 months). Degenerative spondylolisthesis with foraminal stenosis was diagnosed in nine patients, associated degenerative disc disease alone or combined with foraminal stenosis in eight, and recurrent disc herniation in one. Following screw placement, computerized tomography scanning was conducted to evaluate the accuracy of the facet screw positioning.

All screws were properly placed. No screw penetrated the spinal canal or injured the neural structures. Excellent or good clinical outcomes were demonstrated in all patients at the last follow up.

The use of this guide device for post—ALIF percutaneous translaminar facet screw fixation represents a safe, accurate, and minimally invasive modality with which to achieve immediate solid fixation in the lumbar spine.

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Seokjin Ko, Junseok Bae and Sang-Ho Lee

OBJECTIVE

The authors aimed to analyze outcomes following transthoracic microsurgical anterior decompression of thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (T-OPLL), which was causing myelopathy, and determine the predictive factors for surgical outcomes.

METHODS

Patients who underwent transthoracic microsurgical anterior decompression without fusion for the treatment of T-OPLL from December 2014 to May 2019 were included. Demographic, radiological, and perioperative data and clinical outcomes of 35 patients were analyzed. The modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score and recovery rate were used to evaluate functional outcomes.

RESULTS

A total of 35 consecutive patients (8 men and 27 women; mean age 52.2 ± 10.8 years) were enrolled in this study, and the mean follow-up period was 65.5 ± 51.9 months. The mean mJOA score significantly improved after surgery (5.9 ± 1.8 vs 8.3 ± 1.5, p < 0.001), with a mean recovery rate of 47.7% ± 24.5%. The visual analog scale (VAS) score significantly improved after surgery (7.3 ± 1.3 vs 4.3 ± 0.7, p < 0.001). The outcome was excellent in 4 patients (11.4%), good in 21 patients (60.0%), fair in 4 patients (11.4%), unchanged in 5 patients (14.3%), and worsened in 1 patient (2.9%). There were 12 cases of CSF leakage, 1 case of epidural hematoma, 1 case of pleural effusion, and 1 case of pneumothorax. Age, preoperative kyphotic angle, anteroposterior length of T-OPLL at the maximally affected level, and mass occupying rate were identified as predictors associated with postoperative outcome. A multivariate regression analysis revealed that age and preoperative kyphotic angle were independent risk factors for postoperative outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Transthoracic microsurgical anterior decompression without fusion achieved favorable clinical and radiological outcomes for treating T-OPLL with myelopathy. Patient age and preoperative kyphotic angle were independent risk factors for lower recovery rate.

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Jin-Sung Kim, Kil-Yong Lee, Sang-Ho Lee and Ho-Yeon Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare clinical and radiographic outcomes of 2 kinds of lumbar interbody fusion (LIF) for the treatment of adult low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis at L4–5 and L5–S1 levels.

Methods

The medical records and radiographs of 86 patients who underwent anterior LIF (ALIF) (L4–5, 42 patients; L5–S1, 44 patients) and 42 patients who underwent transforaminal LIF (TLIF) (L4–5, 22 patients; L5–S1, 20 patients) between 2001 and 2004 were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical results were investigated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, and using radiographic measurements, including disc height (DH), degree of spondylolisthesis, segmental lordosis, whole lumbar lordosis (WL), sacral slope (SS), and pelvic tilt; the L-1 axis S-1 distance (LASD) and pelvic incidence were also obtained.

Results

In both groups, VAS and ODI scores had significantly improved at both treatment levels. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference in postoperative VAS scores between groups at the L4–5 level and in postoperative VAS/ODI scores at the L5–S1 level. However, ODI scores were better in the TLIF than in the ALIF group at the L4–5 level. In terms of radiological changes, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups at the L4–5 level; however, at the L5–S1 level, radiographic results indicated that ALIF was superior to TLIF in its capacity to restore DH, WL, SS, and LASD. The radiological evidence of fusion shows no intergroup difference and no interlevel difference.

Conclusions

Considering the clinical and radiological outcomes in both groups, the authors recommend that instrumented mini-TLIF is preferable at the L4–5 level, whereas instrumented mini-ALIF might be preferable at the L5–S1 level for the treatment of unstable isthmic spondylolisthesis.

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Ho Yeong Kang, Sang-Ho Lee, Sang Hyeop Jeon and Song-Woo Shin

✓ The authors describe a new minimally invasive technique for posterior supplementation using percutaneous trans-laminar facet screw (TFS) fixation with computed tomography (CT) guidance. Oblique axial images were used to determine facet screw fixation sites. After the induction of local anesthesia and conscious sedation, a guide pin was inserted and guided with a laser mounted on the CT gantry. Cannulated TFSs were placed via a percutaneous approach. From December 2002 to August 2003, 18 patients underwent CT-guided TFS. In 17 of these patients this procedure was supplementary to anterior lumbar interbody fusion, which had been performed several days earlier; in the remaining patient, CT-guided TFS fixation was undertaken as the primary therapy. Twelve patients had painful degenerative disc disease or unstable degenerative spondylolisthesis, three had infections, and three had deformities. All screws were inserted accurately and there were no complications. This new minimally invasive surgical technique may offer an alternative to pedicle screw fixation as a method of posterior supplementation.

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Dong Yeob Lee, Tag-Geun Jung and Sang-Ho Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to analyze the surgical outcomes in cases involving elderly patients who underwent single-level instrumented mini-open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF).

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 27 consecutive cases involving elderly patients (≥ 65 years of age) who underwent single-level instrumented mini-open TLIF and were followed up for at least 3 years. Degenerative spondylolisthesis was diagnosed in 16 patients, stenosis with instability in 8, and lytic spondylolisthesis in 3. All cases were Grade I or II based on the American Society of Anesthesiologists' classification system. Clinical outcomes were assessed using a visual analog scale, the Oswestry Disability Index, and patients' subjective satisfaction. Sagittal balance, bone union, and adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) were assessed using plain radiography and 3D CT.

Results

The mean age of patients at the time of surgery was 69.3 years (range 65–80 years). Minor complications occurred in 2 patients (7.4%) in the perioperative period. At a mean follow-up duration of 38.6 months (range 36–42 months), clinical success was achieved in 88.9% of cases. The mean segmental lordosis and sacral tilt significantly increased after surgery (from 11.9 and 33.5° to 13.9 and 37.2°, p = 0.024 and p = 0.001, respectively). Solid fusion was achieved in 77.8% of the patients. Adjacent segment deterioration was found in 44.4% of the patients. No patients underwent revision surgery due to nonunion or ASD. The development of ASD was significantly related to postoperative sacral tilt (p = 0.006).

Conclusions

Single-level instrumented mini-open TLIF yielded good clinical and radiological outcomes with a low complication rate in elderly patients.

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Jee Soo Jang, Sang Ho Lee, Chang Hun Rhee and Seung Hoon Lee

✓ Screw fixation augmented with polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) or some other biocompatible bone cement has been used in patients with osteoporosis requiring spinal fusion. No clinical studies have been conducted on PMMA-augmented screw fixation for stabilization of the vertebral column in patients with metastatic spinal tumors. The purpose of this study was to determine whether screw fixation augmented with PMMA might be suitable in patients treated for multilevel metastatic spinal tumors.

Ten patients with metastatic spinal tumors involving multiple vertebral levels underwent stabilization procedures in which PMMA was used to augment screw fixation after decompression of the spinal cord.

Within 15 days, partial or complete relief from pain was obtained in all patients postoperatively. Two of four patients in whom neurological deficits caused them to be nonambulatory before surgery were able to ambulate postoperatively. Neither collapse of the injected vertebral bodies nor failure of the screw fixation was observed during the mean follow-up period of 6.7 months.

Screw fixation augmented with PMMA may offer stronger stabilization and facilitate the instrumentation across short segments in the treatment of multilevel metastatic spinal tumors.