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Semra Isık, M. Özgür Taşkapılıoğlu, Fatma Oz Atalay and Seref Dogan

OBJECT

Epidural fibrosis is nonphysiological scar formation, usually at the site of neurosurgical access into the spinal canal, in the intimate vicinity of and around the origin of the radicular sheath. The formation of dense fibrous tissue causes lumbar and radicular pain. In addition to radicular symptoms, the formation of scar tissue may cause problems during reoperation. The authors aimed to investigate the effects of cross-linked high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (HA), an HA derivative known as HA gel, on the prevention of epidural fibrosis by using histopathological and biochemical parameters.

METHODS

Fifty-six adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were evaluated. The rats were divided into 4 groups. Rats in the sham group (n = 14) underwent laminectomy and discectomy and received no treatment; rats in the control group (n = 14) underwent laminectomy and discectomy and received 0.9% NaCl treatment in the surgical area; rats in the HA group (n = 14) received HA treatment at the surgical area after laminectomy and discectomy; and rats in the HA gel group (n = 14) underwent laminectomy and discectomy in addition to receiving treatment with cross-linked high-molecular-weight HA in the surgical area. All rats were decapitated after 4 weeks, and the specimens were evaluated histopathologically and biochemically. The results were statistically compared using the Mann-Whitney U-test.

RESULTS

Compared with the sham and control groups, the HA and HA gel groups showed significantly lower fibroblast cell density and tissue hydroxyproline concentrations (p < 0.05). There was statistically significant lower dural adhesion and foreign-body reaction between the control and HA gel groups (p < 0.05). Granulation tissue and epidural fibrosis were significantly lower in the HA and HA gel groups compared with the sham group (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in any histopathological parameters or biochemical values between Groups 3 and 4 (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Cross-linked high-molecular-weight HA had positive effects on the prevention of epidural fibrosis and the reduction of fibrotic tissue density. The efficacy of this agent should also be verified in further experimental and clinical studies.

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Seref Dogan, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Nicholas Theodore, Eric Horn, Harold L. Rekate and Volker K. H. Sonntag

Object

In this study the authors evaluated the mechanisms and patterns of injury and the factors affecting management and outcome of pediatric subaxial cervical spine injuries (C3–7).

Methods

Fifty-one pediatric patients (38 boys and 13 girls; mean age 12.4 years, range 10 months–16 years) with subaxial cervical spine injuries were reviewed retrospectively. Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) were the most common cause of injury. Overall, 12% presented with a dislocation, 63% with a fracture, 19% with a fracture–dislocation, and 6% with a ligamentous injury. The most frequently injured level was C6–7 (33%); C3–4 (6%) was least frequently involved. Sixty-four percent of patients were neurologically intact, 16% had incomplete spinal cord injuries (SCIs), 14% had complete SCIs, and three patients (6%) died after admission and before assessment. Treatment was conservative in 64%: seven (13%) wore a halo vest and 26 (51%) wore a rigid cervical orthosis. Surgery was performed in the other 18 patients (36%), with the breakdown as follows: 15 (30%) underwent an anterior approach, two (4%) had posterior approaches, and one (2%) had a combined approach. Postoperatively, four patients (8%) who had a neurological deficit improved. The overall mortality rate was 8%; all deaths were related to MVAs. There were no surgery-related deaths or complications.

Conclusions

Subaxial cervical spine injuries are common in children 9 to 16 years of age, and occur principally between C-5 and C-7. Multilevel injury is more common in children 8 years of age and older than in younger children and infants. Most patients with subaxial cervical spine injuries can be treated conservatively. Both anterior and posterior approaches are safe and effective.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Robert F. Spetzler, Louis Kim, Seref Dogan, Randall W. Porter and Volker K. H. Sonntag

✓There is growing evidence to suggest that pregnancy may increase the risk of hemorrhage from cavernous malformations (CMs). In the present case, a 21-year-old primigravida was admitted to the authors' neurosurgical service after a cesarean section. Three weeks before admission she had experienced rapidly progressive bilateral lower-extremity paresthesias. Spinal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed the presence of an intramedullary thoracic lesion. On T2-weighted MR images, heterogeneous signal intensity with a rim of decreased intensity was demonstrated in the spine. The mass was successfully resected, and 1 year later the patient's symptoms had resolved completely. This is the fourth reported case of a spinal intramedullary CM that became symptomatic during pregnancy. The pathogenesis and management of this entity are reviewed.

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Neil R. Crawford, K. Zafer Yüksel, Şeref Doğan, Octavio Villasana-Ramos, Julio C. Soto-Barraza, Seungwon Baek, Randall W. Porter, Frederick F. Marciano and Nicholas Theodore

Object

An experiment was performed to study the limits of the ability of screws designed to center themselves in the pedicle during insertion, and to study whether straight-ahead versus inward screw insertion trajectories differ in their resistance to pullout.

Methods

Forty-nine human cadaveric lumbar vertebrae were studied. Pedicle screws were inserted in trajectories starting 0°, 10°, 20°, or 30° from the optimal trajectory, either medially or laterally misdirected. The surgeon then inserted the screw with forward thrust but without resisting the screw's tendency to reorient its own trajectory during insertion. On the opposite pedicle, a control screw was inserted with the more standard inward-angled anatomical trajectory and insertion point. Cortical wall violation during insertion was recorded. Screws were then pulled out at a constant displacement rate while ultimate strength was recorded.

Results

Lateral misdirection as small as 10° was likely to lead to cortical wall violation (3 of 7 violations). Conversely, medial misdirection usually resulted in safe screw insertion (1 of 21 violations for 10°, 20°, or 30° medial misdirection). The resistance to pullout of screws inserted in a straight-ahead trajectory did not differ significantly from that of screws inserted along an inward trajectory (p = 0.68).

Conclusions

Self-tapping, self-drilling pedicle screws can redirect themselves to a much greater extent during medial than during lateral misdirection. The cortical wall is more likely to be violated laterally than medially. The strength of straight-ahead and inward trajectories was equivalent.

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Seref Dogan, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Nicholas Theodore, Steven W. Chang, Eric M. Horn, Nittin R. Mariwalla, Harold L. Rekate and Volker K. H. Sonntag

Object

The authors evaluated the mechanisms and patterns of thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spinal injuries in a pediatric population as well as factors affecting the management and outcome of these injuries.

Methods

The records of 89 patients (46 boys and 43 girls; mean age 13.2 years, range 3–16 years) with thoracic, lumbar, or sacral injuries were reviewed. Motor vehicle accidents were the most common cause of injury. Eighty-two patients (92.1%) were between 10 and 16 years old, and seven (7.9%) were between 3 and 9 years old. Patient injuries included fracture (91%), fracture and dislocation (6.7%), dislocation (1.1%), and ligamentous injury (1.1%). The L2–5 region was the most common injury site (29.8%) and the sacrum the least common injury site (5%). At the time of presentation 85.4% of the patients were neurologically intact, 4.5% had incomplete injuries, and 10.1% had complete injuries. Twenty-six percent of patients underwent surgery for their injuries whereas 76% received nonsurgical treatment. In patients treated surgically, an anterior approach was used in six patients (6.7%), a posterior approach in 16 (18%), and a combined approach in one (1.1%). Postoperatively, six patients (26.1%) with neurological deficits improved, one of whom recovered fully from an initially complete injury.

Conclusions

Thoracic and lumbar spine injuries were most common in children older than 9 years. Multilevel injuries were common and warranted imaging evaluation of the entire spinal column. Most patients were treated conservatively. The prognosis for neurological recovery is related to the initial severity of the neurological injuries. Some pediatric patients with devastating spinal cord injuries can recover substantial neurological function.