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Rob D. Dickerman, Ashley Reynolds and R.N. Matthew Bennett

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Shinya Okuda, Takenori Oda, Ryoji Yamasaki, Takafumi Maeno and Motoki Iwasaki

One of the most important sequelae affecting long-term results is adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF). Although several reports have described the incidence rate, there have been no reports of repeated ASD. The purpose of this report was to describe 1 case of repeated ASD after PLIF. A 62-year-old woman with L-4 degenerative spondylolisthesis underwent PLIF at L4–5. At the second operation, L3–4 PLIF was performed for L-3 degenerative spondylolisthesis 6 years after the primary operation. At the third operation, L2–3 PLIF was performed for L-2 degenerative spondylolisthesis 1.5 years after the primary operation. Vertebral collapse of L-1 was detected 1 year after the third operation, and the collapse had progressed. At the fourth operation, 3 years after the third operation, vertebral column resection of L-1 and replacement of titanium mesh cages with pedicle screw fixation between T-4 and L-5 was performed. Although the patient's symptoms resolved after each operation, the time between surgeries shortened. The sacral slope decreased gradually although each PLIF achieved local lordosis at the fused segment.

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Tomiya Matsumoto, Shinya Okuda, Takafumi Maeno, Tomoya Yamashita, Ryoji Yamasaki, Tsuyoshi Sugiura and Motoki Iwasaki

OBJECTIVE

The importance of spinopelvic balance and its implications for clinical outcomes after spinal arthrodesis has been reported in recent studies. However, little is known about the relationship between adjacent-segment disease (ASD) after lumbar arthrodesis and spinopelvic alignment. The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationship between spinopelvic radiographic parameters and symptomatic ASD after L4–5 single-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF).

METHODS

This was a retrospective 1:5 matched case-control study. Twenty patients who had undergone revision surgery for symptomatic ASD after L4–5 PLIF and had standing radiographs of the whole spine before primary and revision surgeries were enrolled from 2005 to 2012. As a control group, 100 age-, sex-, and pathology-matched patients who had undergone L4–5 PLIF during the same period, had no signs of symptomatic ASD for more than 3 years, and had whole-spine radiographs at preoperation and last follow-up were selected. Mean age at the time of primary surgery was 68.9 years in the ASD group and 66.7 years in the control group. Several radiographic spinopelvic parameters were measured as follows: sagittal vertical axis (SVA), thoracic kyphosis (TK), sacral slope (SS), pelvic tilt (PT), pelvic incidence (PI), lumbar lordosis (LL), and segmental lordosis at L4–5 (SL) in the sagittal view, and C7–central sacral vertical line (C7-CSVL) in the coronal view. Radiological parameters were compared between the groups.

RESULTS

No significant change was found between pre- and postoperative radiographic parameters in each group. In terms of preoperative radiographic parameters, the ASD group had significantly lower LL (40.7° vs 47.2°, p < 0.01) and significantly higher PT (27° vs 22.9°, p < 0.05) than the control group. SVA ≥ 50 mm was observed in 10 of 20 patients (50%) in the ASD group and in 21 of 100 patients (21%, p < 0.01) in the control group. PI-LL ≥ 10° was noted in 15 of 20 patients (75%) in the ASD group and in 40 of 100 patients (40%, p < 0.01) in the control group on preoperative radiographs. Postoperatively, the ASD group had significantly lower TK (22.5° vs 30.9°, p < 0.01) and lower LL (39.3° vs 48.1°, p < 0.05) than the control group had. PI-LL ≥ 10° was seen in 15 of 20 patients (75%) in the ASD group and in 43 of 100 patients (43%, p < 0.01) in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative global sagittal imbalance (SVA > 50 mm and higher PT), pre- and postoperative lower LL, and PI-LL mismatch were significantly associated with ASD. Therefore, even with a single-level PLIF, appropriate SL and LL should be obtained at surgery to improve spinopelvic sagittal imbalance. The results also suggest that the achievement of the appropriate LL and PI-LL prevents ASD after L4–5 PLIF.

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Junichi Kushioka, Tomoya Yamashita, Shinya Okuda, Takafumi Maeno, Tomiya Matsumoto, Ryoji Yamasaki and Motoki Iwasaki

OBJECTIVE

Tranexamic acid (TXA), a synthetic antifibrinolytic drug, has been reported to reduce blood loss in orthopedic surgery, but there have been few reports of its use in spine surgery. Previous studies included limitations in terms of different TXA dose regimens, different levels and numbers of fused segments, and different surgical techniques. Therefore, the authors decided to strictly limit TXA dose regimens, surgical techniques, and fused segments in this study. There have been no reports of using TXA for prevention of intraoperative and postoperative blood loss in posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF). The purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of high-dose TXA in reducing blood loss and its safety during single-level PLIF.

METHODS

The study was a nonrandomized, case-controlled trial. Sixty consecutive patients underwent single-level PLIF at a single institution. The first 30 patients did not receive TXA. The next 30 patients received 2000 mg of intravenous TXA 15 minutes before the skin incision was performed and received the same dose again 16 hours after the surgery. Intra- and postoperative blood loss was compared between the groups.

RESULTS

There were no statistically significant differences in preoperative parameters of age, sex, body mass index, preoperative diagnosis, or operating time. The TXA group experienced significantly less intraoperative blood loss (mean 253 ml) compared with the control group (mean 415 ml; p < 0.01). The TXA group also had significantly less postoperative blood loss over 40 hours (mean 321 ml) compared with the control group (mean 668 ml; p < 0.01). Total blood loss in the TXA group (mean 574 ml) was significantly lower than in the control group (mean 1080 ml; p < 0.01). From 2 hours to 40 hours, postoperative blood loss in the TXA group was consistently significantly lower. There were no perioperative complications, including thromboembolic events.

CONCLUSIONS

High-dose TXA significantly reduced both intra- and postoperative blood loss without causing any complications during or after single-level PLIF.

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Shinya Okuda, Takenori Oda, Ryoji Yamasaki, Takamitsu Haku, Takafumi Maeno and Motoki Iwasaki

Object

The management of isthmic spondylolisthesis remains controversial, especially with respect to reduction. There have been no reports regarding appropriate slip reduction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the following issues: 1) surgical outcomes of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with total facetectomy for low-dysplastic isthmic spondylolisthesis, including postoperative complications; 2) effects of slip reduction on surgical outcomes; and 3) appropriate slip reduction.

Methods

A total of 106 patients who underwent PLIF with total facetectomy for low-dysplastic isthmic spondylolisthesis and who were followed for at least 2 years were reviewed. The average follow-up period was 8 years. Surgical outcomes, including the scores assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scoring system, the recovery rate, and postoperative complications were investigated. As for radiographic evaluations, pre- and postoperative slip and disc height, instrumentation failure, and fusion status were also examined.

Results

The pre- and postoperative average Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores were 14 (range 3–25) and 25 (range 11–29) points, respectively. The average recovery rate was 73% (range 0%–100%). The average pre- and postoperative slip was 24% and 10%, respectively. A significant correlation between postoperative slip and clinical outcomes was found; clinical outcomes were better in proportion to slip reduction. Although no statistical difference was detected in clinical outcomes between postoperative slip of less than 10% and from 10% to 20%, patients with postoperative slip of more than 20% showed significantly worse clinical outcomes. Postoperative complications included neurological deficits in 7 patients (transient motor loss in 6 and permanent motor loss in 1), instrumentation failures in 7, adjacent-segment degeneration in 5, and nonunion in 4. Instrumentation failures occurred significantly more often in patients with more slip reduction, although slip reduction did not affect the other postoperative complications. All patients with instrumentation failure showed postoperative slip reduction within 10%.

Conclusions

The use of PLIF with total facetectomy for low-dysplastic isthmic spondylolisthesis appears to produce satisfactory clinical outcomes, with an average of 73% recovery rate and few postoperative complications. Although clinical outcomes were better in proportion to slip reduction, excessive reduction caused instrumentation failure, and patients with less reduction demonstrated worse clinical outcomes. Appropriate reduction resulted in a postoperative slip ranging from 10% to 20%.

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Shinya Okuda, Akira Miyauchi, Takenori Oda, Takamitsu Haku, Tomio Yamamoto and Motoki Iwasaki

Object

Previous studies of surgical complications associated with posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) are of limited value due to intrastudy variation in instrumentation and fusion techniques. The purpose of the present study was to examine rates of intraoperative and postoperative complications of PLIF using a large number of cases with uniform instrumentation and a uniform fusion technique.

Methods

The authors reviewed the hospital records of 251 patients who underwent PLIF for degenerative lumbar disorders between 1996 and 2002 and who could be followed for at least 2 years. Intraoperative, early postoperative, and late postoperative complications were investigated.

Intraoperative complications occurred in 26 patients: dural tearing in 19 patients and pedicle screw malposition in seven patients. Intraoperative complications did not affect the postoperative clinical results. Early postoperative complications occurred in 19 patients: brain infarction occurred in one, infection in one, and neurological complications in 17. Of the 17 patients with neurological complications, nine showed severe motor loss such as foot drop; the remaining eight patients showed slight motor loss or radicular pain alone, and their symptoms improved within 6 weeks. Late postoperative complications occurred in 17 patients: hardware failure in three, nonunion in three, and adjacent-segment degeneration in 11. Postoperative progression of symptomatic adjacentsegment degeneration was defined as a condition that required additional surgery to treat neurological deterioration.

Conclusions

The most serious complications of PLIF were postoperative severe neurological deficits and adjacent-segment degeneration. Prevention and management of such complications are necessary to attain good long-term clinical results.

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Masahiro Morita, Akira Miyauchi, Shinya Okuda, Takenori Oda, Tomio Yamamoto and Motoki Iwasaki

Object

The authors investigated the background, risk factors, and treatment strategies for Charcot spinal disease (CSD) after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods

The authors retrospectively examined the clinical and radiological findings in 9 patients with a total of 10 Charcot spine lesions that occurred after SCI. The mean age of the 9 patients was 54 years, and all patients presented with complete SCIs. In all but 1 patient, symptoms did not develop until 10 years postinjury. All 10 Charcot spine lesions were located below the thoracolumbar junction. Surgical treatment was performed in 7 patients (7 lesions), and the mean duration of postoperative follow-up was 84 months.

Results

All patients reported audible noises when changing posture, 5 of 9 patients reported low-back pain, and 7 patients displayed increasing instability while sitting. In 8 patients, spasticity disappeared and limbs became flaccid several years after SCI. Two patients had associated bacterial infections in the Charcot spine lesions, and 1 patient complained of autonomic dysreflexic symptoms associated with trunk movements. Although postoperative complications occurred in 3 patients, all patients who underwent surgical treatment made a good recovery and were able to return to daily life in a wheelchair. On lateral radiography, the mean range of motion at the lesion site was 43°, and fluid collections between the involved vertebrae were observed in 8 patients on MR images; ankylosing spinal hyperostosis was observed in 7 patients. Charcot spine lesions tended to occur at the junction between or at the end of an ankylosing spinal hyperostotic lesion. Postoperatively, solid arthrodesis was obtained within 6 months in all surgically treated lesions.

Conclusions

Disappearance of spasticity in the lower extremities is thought to be an important physical sign suggestive of CSD after SCI. Sitting imbalance and the fluid volume of the Charcot spinal lesions are related to range of motion at the lesion site. In addition to a combined approach, a single posterior approach with acquisition of anterior support is an option for surgical treatment even in cases of infected CSD.

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Kentaro Iwakiri, Akira Miyauchi, Shinya Okuda, Ken Matsuda, Tomio Yamamoto and Motoki Iwasaki

✓This report describes an effective technique of using a total leg flap for treating a 57-year-old male paraplegic patient with intractable sacral pyogenic spondylitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Spondylitis was accompanied by severe instability of the lumbosacral area, a large lumbosacral ulcer, and a large bone and muscle defect, which made it difficult for the patient to maintain a sitting position. A total leg flap procedure, a modification of the total thigh flap procedure, was performed as a 1-stage salvage surgery. The vascularized tibia and fibula were grafted between the lumbar and sacral vertebrae, and a musculocutaneous flap was used to cover the extensive ulceration in the lumbosacral skin defect. The intractable lesion of the lumbosacral spine, which had not been cured for more than 2 years despite repeated debridement, intravenous antibiotic injections, sugar treatment, pyoktanin treatment, and hyperbaric O2 treatment, subsided and stabilized within 1 year of surgery. The patient returned to activities of daily living using a wheelchair, and was very satisfied with the results. Use of a total leg flap with a vascularized tibia graft is an effective treatment for intractable pyogenic spondylitis accompanied by a large bone defect and large lumbosacral ulcers.

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Shigeaki Matsuoka, Akira Yokota, Hideoki Yasukouchi, Atsukuni Harada, Chitoshi Kadoya, Shin-Ichi Wada, Tadahiro Ishikawa and Shinya Okuda

✓ The case of a 40-year-old man with a clival chordoma who presented with symptoms of pathological laughter and left sixth cranial nerve paresis is reported. Laughing and talking during sleep were noted on polygraphic and videotape recordings of nocturnal sleep. Selective disorganization of sleep was observed, with laughing facial expressions and a lack of muscular atonia. The tumor developed in the prepontine cistern, compressing the pontomesencephalic structures backward and involving the upper clivus and the left cavernous sinus. No recurrence of laughter attacks were noted after total removal of the tumor. The sleep patterns observed were similar to those of experimental animals with lesions of the peri-α locus ceruleus. The importance of uncontrolled laughter as a sign of a ventral brain-stem mass is emphasized.

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Yoshifumi Takahashi, Shinya Okuda, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Tomiya Matsumoto, Tsuyoshi Sugiura and Motoki Iwasaki

OBJECTIVE

Although the importance of spinopelvic sagittal balance and its implications for clinical outcomes of spinal fusion surgery have been described, to the authors’ knowledge there have been no reports of the relationship between spinopelvic alignment and clinical outcomes for 2-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF). The purpose of this study was to elucidate the relationship between clinical outcomes and spinopelvic sagittal parameters after 2-level PLIF for 2-level degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).

METHODS

This study was limited to patients who were treated with 2-level PLIF for 2-level DS at L3–4-5. Between 2005 and 2014, 33 patients who could be followed up for at least 2 years were included in this study. The average age at the time of surgery was 72 years, and the average follow-up period was 5.6 years. Based on clinical assessments, the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score and recovery rate were evaluated. The patients were divided into 2 groups based on the recovery rate: the good outcome group (G group; n = 19), with recovery rate ≥ 50%, and the poor outcome group (P group; n = 14) with recovery rate < 50%. Spinopelvic parameters were measured using lateral standing radiographs of the whole spine as follows: sagittal vertical axis (SVA), thoracic kyphosis (TK), sacral slope (SS), pelvic tilt (PT), pelvic incidence (PI), lumbar lordosis (LL), and segmental lordosis (SL) at L3–4-5. The clinical outcomes and radiological parameters were assessed preoperatively and at the final follow-up. Radiological parameters were compared between the 2 groups.

RESULTS

The mean JOA score improved significantly in all patients from 10.8 points before surgery to 19.6 points at the latest follow-up (mean recovery rate 47.7%). For radiological outcomes, no difference was observed from preoperative assessment to final follow-up in any of the spinopelvic parameters except SVA. Although no significant difference between the 2 groups was detected in any of the spinopelvic parameters, there were significant differences in the change in SL and LL (ΔSL 3.7° vs −2.1° and ΔLL 1.2° vs −5.6° for the G and P groups, respectively). In addition, the number of patients in the G group was significantly larger for the patients with ΔSL-plus than those with ΔSL-minus (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical outcomes of 2-level PLIF for 2-level DS limited at L3–4-5 appeared to be satisfactory. The results indicate that acquisition of increased SL in surgery might lead to better clinical outcomes.