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Eli T. Sayegh, Shayan Fakurnejad, Taemin Oh, Orin Bloch and Andrew T. Parsa

Patients who undergo craniotomy for brain tumor resection are prone to experiencing seizures, which can have debilitating medical, neurological, and psychosocial effects. A controversial issue in neurosurgery is the common practice of administering perioperative anticonvulsant prophylaxis to these patients despite a paucity of supporting data in the literature. The foreseeable benefits of this strategy must be balanced against potential adverse effects and interactions with critical medications such as chemotherapeutic agents and corticosteroids. Multiple disparate metaanalyses have been published on this topic but have not been applied into clinical practice, and, instead, personal preference frequently determines practice patterns in this area of management. Therefore, to select the current best available evidence to guide clinical decision making, the literature was evaluated to identify meta-analyses that investigated the efficacy and/or safety of anticonvulsant prophylaxis in this patient population. Six meta-analyses published between 1996 and 2011 were included in the present study. The Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses and Oxman-Guyatt methodological quality assessment tools were used to score these meta-analyses, and the Jadad decision algorithm was applied to determine the highest-quality meta-analysis. According to this analysis, 2 metaanalyses were deemed to be the current best available evidence, both of which conclude that prophylactic treatment does not improve seizure control in these patients. Therefore, this management strategy should not be routinely used.

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Joshua Bakhsheshian, Nader S. Dahdaleh, Shayan Fakurnejad, Justin K. Scheer and Zachary A. Smith

Object

The overall evidence for nonoperative management of patients with traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures is unknown. There is no agreement on the optimal method of conservative treatment. Recent randomized controlled trials that have compared nonoperative to operative treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures without neurological deficits yielded conflicting results. By assessing the level of evidence on conservative management through validated methodologies, clinicians can assess the availability of critically appraised literature. The purpose of this study was to examine the level of evidence for the use of conservative management in traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures.

Methods

A comprehensive search of the English literature over the past 20 years was conducted using PubMed (MEDLINE). The inclusion criteria consisted of burst fractures resulting from a traumatic mechanism, and fractures of the thoracic or lumbar spine. The exclusion criteria consisted of osteoporotic burst fractures, pathological burst fractures, and fractures located in the cervical spine. Of the studies meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, any study in which nonoperative treatment was used was included in this review.

Results

One thousand ninety-eight abstracts were reviewed and 447 papers met inclusion/exclusion criteria, of which 45 were included in this review. In total, there were 2 Level-I, 7 Level-II, 9 Level-III, 25 Level-IV, and 2 Level-V studies. Of the 45 studies, 16 investigated conservative management techniques, 20 studies compared operative to nonoperative treatments, and 9 papers investigated the prognosis of conservative management.

Conclusions

There are 9 high-level studies (Levels I–II) that have investigated the conservative management of traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures. In neurologically intact patients, there is no superior conservative management technique over another as supported by a high level of evidence. The conservative technique can be based on patient and surgeon preference, comfort, and access to resources. A high level of evidence demonstrated similar functional outcomes with conservative management when compared with open surgical operative management in patients who were neurologically intact. The presence of a neurological deficit is not an absolute contraindication for conservative treatment as supported by a high level of evidence. However, the majority of the literature excluded patients with neurological deficits. More evidence is needed to further classify the appropriate burst fractures for conservative management to decrease variables that may impact the prognosis.

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Shayan Fakurnejad, Justin K. Scheer, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Douglas C. Burton, Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Khaled Kebaish, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Three-column osteotomies (3COs) are technically challenging techniques for correcting severe rigid spinal deformities. The impact of these interventions on outcomes reaching minimum clinically important difference (MCID) or substantial clinical benefit (SCB) is unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the rates of MCID and SCB in standard health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures after 3COs in patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). The impacts of location of the uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) on clinical outcomes and of maintenance on sagittal correction at 2 years postoperatively were also examined.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective multicenter analysis of the records from adult patients who underwent 3CO with complete 2-year radiographic and clinical follow-ups. Cases were categorized according to established radiographic thresholds for pelvic tilt (> 22°), sagittal vertical axis (> 4.7 cm), and the mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (> 11°). The cases were also analyzed on the basis of a UIV in the upper thoracic (T1–6) or thoracolumbar (T9–L1) region. Patient-reported outcome measures evaluated preoperatively and 2 years postoperatively included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, and Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22) scores. The percentages of patients whose outcomes for these measures met MCID and SCB were compared among the groups.

RESULTS

Data from 140 patients (101 women and 39 men) were included in the analysis; the average patient age was 57.3 ± 12.4 years (range 20–82 years). Of these patients, 94 had undergone only pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and 42 only vertebral column resection (VCR); 113 patients had a UIV in the upper thoracic (n = 63) orthoracolumbar region (n = 50). On average, 2 years postoperatively the patients had significantly improved in all HRQOL measures except the MCS score. For the entire patient cohort, the improvements ranged from 57.6% for the SRS-22 pain score MCID to 24.4% for the ODI score SCB. For patients undergoing PSO or VCR, the likelihood of their outcomes reaching MCID or SCB ranged from 24.3% to 62.3% and from 16.2% to 47.8%, respectively. The SRS-22 self-image score of patients who had a UIV in the upper thoracic region reached MCID significantly more than that of patients who had a UIV in the thoracolumbar region (70.6% vs 41.9%, p = 0.0281). All other outcomes were similar for UIVs of upper thoracic and thoracolumbar regions. Comparison of patients whose spines were above or below the radiographic thresholds associated with disability indicated similar rates of meeting MCID and SCB for HRQOL at the 2-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Outcomes for patients having UIVs in the upper thoracic region were no more likely to meet MCID or SCB than for those having UIVs in the thoracolumbar region, except for the MCID in the SRS-22 self-image measure. The HRQOL outcomes in patients who had optimal sagittal correction according to radiographic thresholds determined preoperatively were not significantly more likely to reach MCID or SCB at the 2-year follow-up. Future work needs to determine whether the Schwab preoperative radiographic thresholds for severe disability apply in postoperative settings.