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Takayoshi Shimizu, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Bungo Otsuki, Koichi Murata and Shuichi Matsuda

OBJECTIVE

The use of indirect decompression surgery for severe canal stenosis remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of lateral interbody fusion (LIF) without posterior decompression in degenerative lumbar spinal spondylosis with severe stenosis on preoperative MRI.

METHODS

This is a retrospective case series from a single academic institution. The authors included 42 patients (45 surgical levels) who were preoperatively diagnosed with severe degenerative lumbar stenosis on MRI based on the previously published Schizas classification. These patients underwent LIF with supplemental pedicle screw fixation without posterior decompression. Surgical levels were limited to L3–4 and/or L4–5. All patients satisfied the minimum 1-year MRI follow-up. The authors compared the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the thecal sac and the clinical outcome scores (Japanese Orthopaedic Association [JOA] score) preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at the 1-year follow-up. Fusion status and disc height were evaluated based on CT scans obtained at the 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS

The CSA improved over time, increasing from 54.5 ± 19.2 mm2 preoperatively to 84.7 ± 31.8 mm2 at 3 weeks postoperatively and to 132.6 ± 37.5 mm2 at the last follow-up (average 28.3 months) (p < 0.001). The JOA score significantly improved over time (preoperatively 16.1 ± 4.1, 3 months postoperatively 24.4 ± 4.0, and 1-year follow-up 25.7 ± 2.9; p < 0.001). The fusion rate at the 1-year follow-up was 88.8%, and disc heights were significantly restored (preoperative, 6.3 mm and postoperative, 9.6 mm; p < 0.001). Patients showing poor CSA expansion (< 200% expansion rate) at the last follow-up had a higher prevalence of pseudarthrosis than patients with significant CSA expansion (> 200% expansion rate) (25.0% vs 3.4%, p < 0.001). No major perioperative complications were observed.

CONCLUSIONS

LIF with indirect decompression for degenerative lumbar disease with severe canal stenosis provided successful clinical outcomes, including restoration of disc height and indirect expansion of the thecal sac. Severe canal stenosis diagnosed on preoperative MRI itself is not a contraindication for indirect decompression surgery.

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Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Masashi Neo and Takashi Nakamura

✓ Spinal fixation for destructive metastatic lesions at the lumbosacral junction is challenging because of the large and unique load-bearing characteristics present. In particular, caudal fixation is difficult in cases of sacral destruction because of insufficient S-1 pedicle screw anchorage. The authors describe their surgical technique for secure iliac screw placement and the clinical results obtained in five patients with metastatic spinal disease. All patients in this study underwent palliative operations with dual iliac screw fixation between April 1999 and October 2002, and the clinical and radiological findings were assessed. In all five patients, spinal metastases extended into the sacrum. The metastases were from renal cell carcinomas in two patients, lung cancer in two, and a paraganglioma in one patient.

Postoperative follow-up periods ranged from 3 months to 6 years (mean 28.4 months). Preoperatively, four patients could not walk due to severe pain or neurological compromise. Postoperatively, all patients reported a reduction in pain and regained the ability to walk. Complications included one case of early wound infection. In the patients with long survival after the operation, there was one case of iliac screw loosening and one case of rod breakage. The dual iliac screw fixation technique provided sufficient immediate stability for destructive lumbosacral metastasis.

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Bungo Otsuki, Mitsuru Takemoto, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Hiroaki Kimura, Kazutaka Masamoto and Shuichi Matsuda

Several articles have described the use of screw insertion guides during primary spine surgery; however, the use of such a guide during revision surgeries has not been described. The purpose of this study is to describe the utility of a custom screw insertion (CSI) guide assembled using a novel method and a full-scale, color-coded 3D plaster (FCTP) model for safe and accurate revision surgery.

The authors applied the CSI guide and the FCTP model in 3 cases. In the first case, a patient with multiple failed cervical spine surgeries underwent occipitocervicothoracic fusion. After a successful result for this patient, the authors applied the CSI guide in 2 other patients who underwent revision lumbar fusion surgeries to confirm the accuracy and the efficacy of the CSI guides in such cases. The models and guides were fabricated using rapid prototyping technology. The effectiveness of these methods was examined.

The FCTP model was designed using CT data. During model assembly, implants inserted during previous surgery were removed virtually, and for the cervical spine, vertebral arteries were colored red for planning. The CSI guide was designed with 5 or 6 arms to fit the bone surface precisely after removing artifacts. Surgery was performed by referring to the FCTP model. Because the actual structure of the bone surface was almost identical to that of the FCTP model, surgical exposure around the complex bone shape proceeded smoothly. The CSI guides were positioned accurately to aid the successful insertion of a pedicle screw into the C-2 vertebra in the case of cervical revision surgery, and 4 pedicle screws for lumbar vertebrae in the 2 other patients. Postoperative CT scans showed that all screw positions closely matched those predicted during the preoperative planning. In conclusion, the FCTP models and the novel CSI guides were effective for safe and accurate revision surgery of the spine.

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Koichi Murata, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Bungo Otsuki, Takayoshi Shimizu, Kazutaka Masamoto and Shuichi Matsuda

OBJECTIVE

In this study the authors aimed to evaluate the rate of malposition, including pedicle breach and superior facet violation, after percutaneous insertion of pedicle screws using the coaxial fluoroscopic view of the pedicle, and to assess the risk factors for pedicle breach.

METHODS

In total, 394 percutaneous screws placed in 85 patients using the coaxial fluoroscopic view of the pedicle between January 2014 and September 2017 were assessed, and 445 pedicle screws inserted in 116 patients using conventional open procedures were used for reference. Pedicle breach and superior facet violation were evaluated by postoperative 0.4-mm slice CT.

RESULTS

Superior facet violation was observed in 0.5% of the percutaneous screws and 1.8% of the conventionally inserted screws. Pedicle breach occurred more frequently with percutaneous screws (28.9%) than with conventionally inserted screws (11.9%). The breaches in percutaneous screws were minor and did not reduce the interbody fusion rate. The angle difference between the percutaneous and conventionally inserted screws was comparable. Insertion at the L3 or L4 level, right-sided insertion, placement around a trefoil canal, smaller pedicle angle, and a small difference between the screw and pedicle diameters were found to be risk factors for pedicle breach by percutaneous pedicle screws.

CONCLUSIONS

Percutaneous pedicle screw placement using the coaxial fluoroscopic view of the pedicle carries a low risk of superior facet violation. The screws should be placed carefully considering the level and side of insertion, canal shape, and pedicle angle.

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Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Masashi Neo and Takashi Nakamura

✓The authors report a rare case of surgically treated symptomatic thoracic kyphosis caused by dynamic compression in an elderly man. Myelopathy due to thoracic kyphosis has been reported in patients with congenital kyphosis, Scheuermann dorsal kyphosis, and Cushing disease, but to the authors’ knowledge this is the first report of dynamic kyphosis in an elderly person. This otherwise healthy 84-year-old man presented with a 2-year history of progressive difficulty in walking and bilateral leg dysesthesia. Despite several cervical and lumbar surgeries, his symptoms gradually worsened. A radiological examination revealed severe thoracic kyphosis, with a lateral Cobb angle of 59° from T-2 to T-12. On a dynamic computed tomography (CT) myelogram, severe thoracic spinal cord draping and stretching on flexion was demonstrated. On extension, however, imaging studies failed to show draping or stretching. Posterior corrective fusion was performed with instrumentation from T-2 to T-9. Postoperative CT myelography demonstrated no significant spinal cord compression with restoration of the cerebrospinal fluid space anterior to the spinal cord, and the successful correction of the kyphosis to 44°. The patient’s neurological sequelae gradually resolved throughout 6 months of follow up.

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Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Masashi Neo, Mitsuru Takemoto, Masato Ota and Takashi Nakamura

Object

Foraminal stenosis is a common cause of lumbar radicular symptoms. Recognition of the dynamic pathology, as well as the static anatomical changes, is important to achieving successful surgical outcomes. Excessive facet and anulus removal leads to subsequent disc space narrowing and/or segmental instability, which can cause poor results after decompressive surgery. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the paraspinalapproach transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) in the treatment of lumbar foraminal stenosis.

Methods

Twenty levels of lumbar foraminal stenosis in 16 patients were treated using an instrumented paraspinal-approach TLIF. There were 12 single-level and 4 two-level cases. Pathologies included foraminal stenosis at 13 levels and lateral disc herniation with disc space narrowing at 7.

Results

In all patients, preoperative radicular symptoms and mechanical low-back pain were resolved immediately after the operation and leg weakness improved gradually. The recovery rate using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score was 89.1%. Bony union was achieved within 6 months after the operation in all cases. Postoperative MR imaging showed minimal changes in the paraspinal muscles in the single-level cases.

Conclusions

The paraspinal-approach TLIF is a minimally invasive, safe, and secure procedure for treating lumbar foraminal lesions. Direct visualization and decompression for the foraminal lesion, distraction of the collapsed disc space, and stabilization of the unstable segments can be achieved simultaneously through the paraspinal approach, which produces successful clinical and radiological results.

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Masashi Neo, Takeshi Sakamoto, Shunsuke Fujibayashi and Takashi Nakamura

✓The authors describe a case of postoperative spinal epidural hematoma (PSEH) that developed in a patient 9 days after he underwent laminoplasty. A PSEH is a rare but critical complication of spinal surgery that usually occurs within a few days of the procedure. The authors draw attention to the possibility of delayed PSEH and its triggering mechanism. In this case, a 59-year-old man with no history of bleeding disorder underwent cervical laminoplasty for mild myelopathy. On the 7th postoperative day computed tomography demonstrated no abnormal findings in the operative field. On the 9th postoperative day, while straining to defecate, the patient suddenly felt neck and shoulder pain, and tetraplegia rapidly developed. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a huge epidural hematoma. The clot was evacuated during emergency revision surgery, during which the arterial bleeding from a split muscle wall was confirmed. The postoperative course after the revision surgery was uneventful and the patient had none of the previous symptoms 1 year later.

A PSEH causing paralysis can occur even more than a week after surgery. The possibility of a delayed-onset PSEH should be kept in mind, and prompt diagnosis should be made when a patient presents with paresis or paralysis after an operation. The authors recommend advising patients that for a while after surgery they avoid strenuous activity.

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Masashi Neo, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Makoto Yoshida and Takashi Nakamura

✓The purpose of this retrospective review was to demonstrate the effectiveness of simple spinous process plate fixation as a salvage operation for failed anterior cervical fusion (ACF). In this technique, the spinous processes are securely sandwiched between a pair of plates with thorns, which are squeezed together by tightening screws that extend through the plates. The authors salvaged six failed ACFs (nonunion of bone graft, plate migration, or bone graft dislodgment) by conducting this fixation without bone grafting, or with an anterior or posterior local bone graft only. Anterior bone union was attained within 6 months in all cases. This technique is easy to perform and probably provides more mechanical strength than does conventional spinous process wiring, resulting in prompt fusion without the need for a new massive bone graft. This technique is a practical option in salvage operations for failed ACF.

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Masahiko Miyata, Masashi Neo, Hiromu Ito, Makoto Yoshida, Shunsuke Fujibayashi and Takashi Nakamura

Object

Vertebral artery (VA) injury is a potentially serious complication of C-2 pedicle screw (PS) fixation. Although this surgery is frequently performed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), few studies have compared the risk of VA injury in patients with and without RA. In this study, the authors compare the morphological risk of VA injury relating to C-2 PS fixation in patients with and without RA.

Methods

A total of 110 3D CT images of the cervical spine including the axis were evaluated. Fifty patients with RA and 60 patients without RA were included in the study. The maximum PS diameter (MPSD) that could be used at C-2 without breaching the cortex was measured in 3D using a computer-assisted navigation system. A narrow-pedicle carrier was defined as a patient with an MPSD of 4 mm or less.

Results

In the RA group, 42 of 100 MPSDs were ≤ 4 mm, and 30 of 50 patients (60%) were narrow-pedicle carriers. In the non-RA group, 10 of 120 MPSDs (8%) were ≤ 4 mm, and 8 of 60 (13%) patients were narrow-pedicle carriers. The MPSD, the anteroposterior (AP) diameter of C-3, and the ratio of MPSD to the AP diameter of C-3 were significantly smaller in the RA group than in the non-RA group. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that RA and narrow C-3 AP diameter were significant risk factors for a narrow-pedicle carrier.

Conclusions

Rheumatoid arthritis is a significant risk factor for a narrow C-2 pedicle. When performing PS placement at C-2, particularly in patients with RA, thorough preoperative evaluation of the bone architecture is very important for avoiding inadvertent injury to the VA.