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Shih-Tseng Lee and Tai-Ngar Lui

✓ The authors review the seizure incidence in 4232 adult patients with mild closed head injury who did not receive prophylactic anticonvulsant agents. One hundred patients (2.36%) experienced seizures within 1 week after head injury; 43 of these (1.02% of the series) had seizures within 24 hours after trauma. Most of the seizures (84%) that developed during the 1st week after injury were of the generalized tonic-clonic type. The incidence of generalized tonic-clonic seizures was higher than that of partial seizures with motor symptoms both within 24 hours (91% vs. 9%) and during the Day 2 to 7 period (79% vs. 21%). No definite intracranial pathological findings were detected by computerized tomography (CT) in 53% of patients with early posttraumatic seizures; six patients had intracranial hemorrhage without intracranial parenchymal damage (three with epidural hematoma and three with subarachnoid hemorrhage). The most common positive CT findings in the early posttraumatic-seizure group were intracerebral hemorrhage (24%), followed by acute subdural hematoma with intracerebral hemorrhage (17%). Intracerebral parenchymal damage could be identified on CT scans in 41 (48.8%) of 84 patients with generalized tonic-clonic seizures and five (31%) of 16 patients with partial seizures with motor symptoms. The intracerebral parenchymal damage was most commonly detected in the frontal lobe (21%) and the temporal lobe (19%). Seven patients with early posttraumatic seizures received emergency craniotomy to remove an intracranial hematoma (epidural in three, subdural and intracerebral in four) because the mass effect resulted in significant midline shift as seen on CT scans. This review suggests that early posttraumatic seizures after mild closed head injury have a high incidence (53%) in patients with normal CT scan findings. Although the possibility of surgically correctable intracranial hemorrhage is low (7%), the condition may be devastating if not treated properly.

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Cheng-Chih Liao and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ The authors report a case of focal ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) behind the L-3 vertebral body. This is relatively rare among previously reported cases in the literature. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed that the ossifying portion of the PLL was impinging on the left L-3 nerve root. Contrast enhancing hypertrophic PLL was also demonstrated around the ossification and along the lumbosacral PLL. Via a laminectomy and wide excision of the PLL the lesion was removed. Pathological examination revealed a nodule composed of fibrous cartilage, lamina bone, and mature fat marrow. Enchondral ossification could be identified under a microscope.

The authors believe that preoperative MR imaging evaluation is important for the detection of the relationship between an OPLL and the neural structure. Excision of the symptomatic OPLL should be performed when needed to obtain adequate nerve root decompression.

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Shih-Tseng Lee and Jyi-Feng Chen

✓ The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy and feasibility of closed reduction vertebroplasty for the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.

Two hundred consecutive patients (183 women and 17 men) with single-level osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture were included in this study. After induction of general anesthesia, the patient was placed prone on an operating table. Closed reduction of the fractured and kyphotic spine was achieved by extending the table to restore the kyphotic angle and vertebral body (VB) height. Percutaneous vertebroplasty was then performed to treat the fractured vertebra. The results were quantitatively evaluated, according to the concept of estimated VB height. The anterior, middle, and posterior VB heights of the fractured vertebra were measured preoperatively and immediately after surgery by studying plain standing lateral radiographs.

In 162 (81%) of the compression fractures the anterior VB height was restored (57.1 ± 24.8% of lost anterior VB height); in 152 (76%) of the compression fractures the middle VB height was restored (61.4 ± 20.6% of lost middle VB height); and in 52 (26%) of the compression fractures the posterior VB height was restored (51.3 ± 23.1% of lost posterior VB height). In 141 (71.5%) of the compression fractures kyphosis was corrected by 12.5 ± 3.8° [mean 61.6 ± 23.7%]).

Closed reduction vertebroplasty is an efficacious and simple method in the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture and was able to restore the VB height and kyphotic angle in postions of fractured vertebrae. Its associated, long-term effects on treated vertebrae, however, need further evaluation.

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Jyi-Feng Chen and Shih-Tseng Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to introduce a method for making a hollow cylindrical polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) strut for perioperative anterior spinal reconstruction after discectomy and/or corpectomy.

Methods

For use after anterior cervical discectomy or corpectomy, the authors created a hollow cylindrical PMMA strut using 10- and 3-ml disposable plastic syringes filled with PMMA containing 10% BaSO4 for anterior spinal reconstruction.

Results

With this method, the authors were able to make a PMMA strut that was approximately 50 mm in length with a 14-mm outer diameter and a 10-mm inner diameter. The PMMA strut could easily be cut with a saw to any desired length and molded with a cutting bur. The PMMA strut was used as a substitute for the cortical bone and was filled with bone graft for cervical spinal reconstruction after discectomy and/or corpectomy. The whole process of making the PMMA strut can be completed within 30 minutes, and it reduces costs by at least $1000 US (in 1-level discectomy), making the procedure cost effective.

Conclusions

It is simple to make a hollow cylindrical PMMA strut with plastic syringes during a discectomy and/or corpectomy. The strut can provide adequate support at less cost than other methods. The hollow cylindrical strut is also of suitable size and length for anterior spinal reconstruction. It serves as an alternative for patients who cannot afford the expense of similar instruments or who cannot or do not want to take the risk of a human graft for anterior spinal reconstruction.

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Jyi-Feng Chen and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ Antibiotic–polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) cement and beads constitute an effective system of local drug delivery of antibiotic agents in patients with bone and soft-tissue infections. Debridement followed by implantation of antibiotic–PMMA beads and systemic administration of antibiotic agents has achieved a 100% success rate in treating chronic osteomyelitis; however, there have been no reports of an antibiotic–PMMA strut for treating spinal pyogenic spondylitis. In this case report we describe a 57-year-old woman with C5–6 pyogenic spondylitis, progressive kyphotic deformity, and neurological deficits. The patient underwent anterior C-5 and C-6 corpectomy and spinal reconstruction in which we used an antibiotic–PMMA strut. The strut was 14 mm in diameter and contained PMMA and vancomycin powder. The operation was technically successful, and no complication related to anesthesia or the surgical procedure occurred. At the 12-month follow-up examination, dynamic radiographs revealed cervical spine stabilization. The patient’s neck pain subsided and she recovered neurologically with no residual infection. No antibiotic–PMMA strut dislodgment or failure was identified; however, 9.8% subsidence of the strut into the vertebrae was observed. The long-term outcome in this case requires further evaluation.

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Jyi-Feng Chen, Chieh-Tsai Wu and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a useful procedure for patients with vertebral osteoporotic compression fractures; however, there has been no mention in the literature of the use of percutaneous vertebroplasty for the treatment of traumatic spinal fractures. The authors report the case of a 33-year-old man who harbored L-1, L-2, and L-5 burst fractures sustained in a work-related accident. The patient was successfully treated by percutaneous vertebroplasty with polymethylmethacrylate. The authors propose this procedure as a useful intervention in selected patients with lumbar burst fractures. The complications associated with major surgical procedures are absent.

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Jyi-Feng Chen, Chieh-Tsai Wu, Sai-Cheung Lee and Shih-Tseng Lee

✓ The authors describe a modified posterior atlantoaxial fixation technique for the treatment of reducible atlantoaxial instability, which can be performed simply and easily, and can decrease the risk of vessel and/or neural damage.

During an 18-month period, this technique was undertaken in 11 patients with atlantoaxial instability. There was no procedure-related morbidity. The follow-up period ranged from 8 to 18 months (mean 13.2 months). Fusion was documented in all 11 patients, and there was no progression of spinal deformity.

This technique can be considered an effective alternative in the treatment of atlantoaxial subluxation.

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Atilla Akbay and Nejat Akalan

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Jyi-Feng Chen, Chieh-Tsai Wu, Sai-Cheung Lee and Shih-Tseng Lee

Object. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) bone cement has been used as a spacer in the treatment of patients with cervical disc disease with good long-term outcomes, but solid bone fusion has not been demonstrated in all cases. To achieve cervical interbody fusion, the authors designed a modified PMMA cervical cage that they filled with spongy bone for the treatment of single-level cervical disc herniation.

Methods. Sixty-three patients underwent anterior cervical microdiscectomy and implantation of a PMMA cervical cage filled with autograft cancellous bone and were followed for a minimum of 2 years. The fusion rates were 90.5 and 100% at the 6- and 12-month follow-up examinations, respectively. The mean intervertebral disc height gain was 3.4 ± 1.9 mm when preoperative and 24-month postoperative values were compared. Neck pain, measured using the Huskissan visual analog scale (0 mm, no pain; 100 mm, worst possible pain), decreased from 71 ± 13 mm at preoperative baseline to 28 ± 17 at 6, 23 ± 19 at 12, and 31 ± 19 mm at 24 months. Based on the same scale, radicular pain decreased from 83 ± 15 mm at preoperative baseline to 24 ± 11 at 6, 27 ± 13 at 12, and 22 ± 11 mm at 24 months. The self-rated clinical outcome was excellent in 45 (71.4%) and good in 18 (28.6%) of the 63 patients.

Conclusions. The autograft cancellous bone—filled PMMA cage is safe and effective for cervical interbody fusion in the treatment of single-level cervical disc herniation and monoradiculopathy.