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Sanjay S. Dhall, Michael Y. Wang and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

As minimally invasive approaches gain popularity in spine surgery, clinical outcomes and effectiveness of mini–open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) compared with traditional open TLIF have yet to be established. The authors retrospectively compared the outcomes of patients who underwent mini–open TLIF with those who underwent open TLIF.

Methods

Between 2003 and 2006, 42 patients underwent TLIF for degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis; 21 patients underwent mini–open TLIF and 21 patients underwent open TLIF. The mean age in each group was 53 years, and there was no statistically significant difference in age between the groups (p = 0.98). Data were collected perioperatively. In addition, complications, length of stay (LOS), fusion rate, and modified Prolo Scale (mPS) scores were recorded at routine intervals.

Results

No patient was lost to follow-up. The mean follow-up was 24 months for the mini-open group and 34 months for the open group. The mean estimated blood loss was 194 ml for the mini-open group and 505 ml for the open group (p < 0.01). The mean LOS was 3 days for the mini-open group and 5.5 days for the open group (p < 0.01). The mean mPS score improved from 11 to 19 in the mini-open group and from 10 to 18 in the open group; there was no statistically significant difference in mPS score improvement between the groups (p = 0.19). In the mini-open group there were 2 cases of transient L-5 sensory loss, 1 case of a misplaced screw that required revision, and 1 case of cage migration that required revision. In the open group there was 1 case of radiculitis as well as 1 case of a misplaced screw that required revision. One patient in the mini-open group developed a pseudarthrosis that required reoperation, and all patients in the open group exhibited fusion.

Conclusions

Mini–open TLIF is a viable alternative to traditional open TLIF with significantly reduced estimated blood loss and LOS. However, the authors found a higher incidence of hardware-associated complications with the mini–open TLIF.

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Daniel C. Lu, Sanjay S. Dhall and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Spinal extradural foraminal neoplasms are uncommon lesions that are traditionally resected via an open laminectomy and facetectomy approach. In this paper the authors present their mini-open approach for the removal of 3 such tumors. The authors retrospectively reviewed 3 patients with extradural schwannoma who underwent mini-open resection and fusion between June 2006 and July 2007. Clinical data, tumor characteristics, and outcomes were analyzed. All 3 patients underwent successful mini-open treatment of their spinal neoplasms. Postoperative MR imaging demonstrated complete resection in 2 cases and subtotal resection in 1 case. Extradural foraminal neoplasms can be safely and effectively treated with mini-open techniques. Reductions in blood loss, hospitalization, and tissue disruption may be potential benefits of this approach.

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Luis M. Tumialán, Daniel J. Brat and Daniel L. Barrow

✓ The authors report on 32-year-old woman with a history of a previously resected suprasellar clear cell meningioma (CCM), who returned to their institution after 3 years suffering from progressively worsening leg and back pain associated with leg weakness and bowel and bladder dysfunction. A magnetic resonance image of the thoracic and lumbar spine demonstrated a homogeneously enhancing intradural mass that filled and expanded the thecal sac. The patient underwent multiple-level laminectomies for resection of the lesion. Results of pathological studies confirmed distant recurrence of a CCM.

Since its initial recognition as a rare but aggressive histological variant of meningothelial tumors, the body of literature on CCMs has grown to include more than 40 cases. Nevertheless, the natural history of this neoplastic entity remains ill defined, as are the recommendations for management. Of particular concern is the treatment of patients who have undergone subtotal resection or present with recurrence. To the authors' knowledge, the present case represents the sixth distant recurrence of CCM reported in the literature. The radiographic and histological studies are reviewed along with the current literature on this subtype of meningioma. Recommendations for surveillance and treatment are made.

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Rishi Wadhwa, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Darryl Lau, Hai Le, Dean Chou and Sanjay S. Dhall

Object

The most common indications for circumferential cervical decompression and fusion are cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and cervical osteomyelitis (COM). Currently, the informed consent process prior to circumferential cervical fusion surgery is not different for these two groups of patients, as details of their diagnosis-specific risk profiles have not been quantified. The authors compared two patient cohorts with either CSM or COM treated using circumferential fusion. They sought to quantify perioperative morbidity and postoperative mortality in these two groups to assist with a diagnosis-specific informed consent process for future patients undergoing this type of surgery.

Methods

Perioperative and follow-up data from two cohorts of patients who had undergone circumferential cervical decompression and fusion were analyzed. Estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay (LOS), perioperative complications, hospital readmission, 30-day reoperation rates, change in Nurick grade, and mortality were compared between the two groups.

Results

Twenty-two patients were in the COM cohort, and 24 were in the CSM cohort. Complications, hospital readmission, 30-day reoperation rates, EBL, and mortality were not statistically different, although patients with COM trended higher in each of these categories. There was a significantly greater LOS (p < 0.001) in the COM group and greater improvement in Nurick grade in the CSM group (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

When advising patients undergoing circumferential fusion about perioperative risk factors, it is important for those with COM to know that they are likely to have a higher rate of complications and mortality than those with CSM who are undergoing similar surgery. Furthermore, COM patients have less neurological improvement than CSM patients after surgery. This information may be useful to surgeons and patients in providing appropriate informed consent during preoperative planning.

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John H. Chi, Sanjay S. Dhall, Adam S. Kanter and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Thoracic disc herniations can be surgically treated with a number of different techniques and approaches. However, surgical outcomes comparing the various techniques are rarely reported in the literature. The authors describe a minimally invasive technique to approach thoracic disc herniations via a transpedicular route with the use of tubular retractors and microscope visualization. This technique provides a safe method to identify the thoracic disc space and perform a decompression with minimal paraspinal soft tissue disruption. The authors compare the results of this approach with clinical results after open transpedicular discectomy.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective cohort study comparing results in 11 patients with symptomatic thoracic disc herniations treated with either open posterolateral (4 patients) or mini-open transpedicular discectomy (7 patients). Hospital stay, blood loss, modified Prolo score, and Frankel score were used as outcome variables.

Results

Patients who underwent mini-open transpedicular discectomy had less blood loss and showed greater improvement in modified Prolo scores (p = 0.024 and p = 0.05, respectively) than those who underwent open transpedicular discectomy at the time of early follow-up within 1 year of surgery. However, at an average of 18 months of follow-up, the Prolo score difference between the 2 surgical groups was not statistically significant. There were no major or minor surgical complications in the patients who received the minimally invasive technique.

Conclusions

The mini-open transpedicular discectomy for thoracic disc herniations results in better modified Prolo scores at early postoperative intervals and less blood loss during surgery than open posterolateral discectomy. The authors' technique is described in detail and an intraoperative video is provided.

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Shekar N. Kurpad, R. John Hurlbert and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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Junichi Ohya, Todd D. Vogel, Sanjay S. Dhall, Sigurd Berven and Praveen V. Mummaneni

S-2 alar iliac (S2AI) screw fixation has recently been recognized as a useful technique for pelvic fixation. The authors demonstrate two cases where S2AI fixation was indicated: one case was a sacral insufficiency fracture following a long-segment fusion in a patient with a transitional S-1 vertebra; the other case involved pseudarthrosis following lumbosacral fixation. S2AI screws offer rigid fixation, low profile, and allow easy connection to the lumbosacral rod. The authors describe and demonstrate the surgical technique and nuances for the S2AI screw in a case with transitional S-1 anatomy and in a case with normal S-1 anatomy.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/Sj21lk13_aw.

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Stephen M. Pirris, Sanjay Dhall, Praveen V. Mummaneni and Adam S. Kanter

Surgical access to extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations is complicated due to the unique anatomical constraints of the region. Minimizing complications during microdiscectomies at the level of L5–S1 in particular remains a challenge. The authors report on a small series of patients and provide a video presentation of a minimally invasive approach to L5–S1 extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations utilizing a tubular retractor with microscopic visualization.

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Rishi Wadhwa, Michael Y. Wang, Alexandra Tien-Smith and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Minimally invasive spinal (MIS) surgery techniques have been used sporadically in thoracolumbar junction trauma cases in the past 5 years. A review of the literature on the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma treated with MIS surgery revealed no unifying algorithm to assist with treatment planning. Therefore, the authors formulated a treatment algorithm.

Methods

The authors reviewed the current literature on MIS treatment of thoracolumbar trauma. Based on the literature review, they then created an algorithm for the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma utilizing MIS techniques. This MIS trauma treatment algorithm incorporates concepts form the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System (TLICS).

Results

The authors provide representative cases of patients with thoracolumbar trauma who underwent MIS surgery utilizing the MIS trauma treatment algorithm. The cases involve the use of mini-open lateral approaches and/or minimally invasive posterior decompression with or without fusion.

Conclusions

Cases involving thoracolumbar trauma can safely be treated with MIS surgery in select cases of burst fractures. The role of percutaneous nonfusion techniques remains very limited (primarily to treat thoracolumbar trauma in patients with a propensity for autofusion [for example, those with ankylosing spondylitis]).