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Patrick C. Reid, Simon Morr and Michael G. Kaiser

Lumbar fusion is an accepted and effective technique for the treatment of lumbar degenerative disease. The practice has evolved continually since Albee and Hibbs independently reported the first cases in 1913, and advancements in both technique and patient selection continue through the present day. Clinical and radiological indications for surgery have been tested in trials, and other diagnostic modalities have developed and been studied. Fusion practices have also advanced; instrumentation, surgical approaches, biologics, and more recently, operative planning, have undergone stark changes at a seemingly increasing pace over the last decade. As the general population ages, treatment of degenerative lumbar disease will become a more prevalent—and costlier—issue for surgeons as well as the healthcare system overall. This review will cover the evolution of indications and techniques for fusion in degenerative lumbar disease, with emphasis on the evidence for current practices.

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Atul Goel

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Simon Morr and Adam S. Kanter

The minimally destructive lateral transpsoas approach to the spine has been used in the treatment of various lumbar spinal pathologies. Approach-specific complications have been reported due to the unique surgical corridor and lateral anatomical structures. The authors report a case of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) following interbody cage placement utilizing the lateral lumbar transpsoas approach. A review of the literature is discussed. Further clarification of the mechanism of CRPS and its treatments remains crucial for the fine-tuning of novel surgical techniques and complication avoidance during the development of these techniques.

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Simon Morr, Hakeem J. Shakir, Lindsay J. Lipinski, Vassilios G. Dimopoulos, Jody Leonardo and John Pollina

OBJECT

Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture. Bone density testing and medical treatment with bisphosphonates or parathormone are recommended for all patients with an osteoporotic fracture diagnosis. Inadequate testing and treatment of patients presenting with low-impact fractures have been reported in various specialties. Similar data are not available from academic neurosurgery groups. The authors assessed compliance with treatment and testing of osteoporosis in patients with vertebral compression fractures evaluated by the authors’ academic neurosurgery service, and patient variable and health-systems factors associated with improved compliance.

METHODS

Data for patients who underwent percutaneous kyphoplasty for compression fractures was retrospectively collected. Diagnostic and medical interventions were tabulated. Pre-, intra-, and posthospital factors that had been theorized to affect the compliance of patients with osteoporosis-related therapies were tabulated and statistically analyzed.

RESULTS

Less than 50% of patients with kyphoplasty received such therapies. Age was not found to correlate with other variables. Referral from a specialist rather than a primary care physician was associated with a higher rate of bone density screening, as well as vitamin D and calcium therapy, but not bisphosphonate/parathormone therapy. Patients who underwent preoperative evaluation by their primary care physician were significantly more likely to receive bisphosphonates compared with those only evaluated by a hospitalist. Patients with unprovoked fractures were more likely to undergo multiple surgeries compared with those with minor trauma.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest poor compliance with current standard of care for medical therapies in patients with osteoporotic compression fractures undergoing kyphoplasty under the care of an academic neurosurgery service.

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Yen-Po Cheng, Chien-Min Chen, Shao-Wei Feng and Dueng-Yuan Hueng

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Griffin R. Baum, Alex S. Ha, Meghan Cerpa, Scott L. Zuckerman, James D. Lin, Richard P. Menger, Joseph A. Osorio, Simon Morr, Eric Leung, Ronald A. Lehman Jr., Zeeshan Sardar and Lawrence G. Lenke

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to validate the Global Alignment and Proportion (GAP) score in a cohort of patients undergoing adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. The GAP score is a novel measure that uses sagittal parameters relative to each patient’s lumbosacral anatomy to predict mechanical complications after ASD surgery. External validation is required.

METHODS

Adult ASD patients undergoing > 4 levels of posterior fusion with a minimum 2-year follow-up were included. Six-week postoperative standing radiographs were used to calculate the GAP score, classified into a spinopelvic state as proportioned (P), moderately disproportioned (MD), or severely disproportioned (SD). A chi-square analysis, receiver operating characteristic curve, and Cochran-Armitage analysis were performed to assess the relationship between the GAP score and mechanical complications.

RESULTS

Sixty-seven patients with a mean age of 52.5 years (range 18–75 years) and a mean follow-up of 2.04 years were included. Patients with < 2 years of follow-up were included only if they had an early mechanical complication. Twenty of 67 patients (29.8%) had a mechanical complication. The spinopelvic state breakdown was as follows: P group, 21/67 (31.3%); MD group, 23/67 (34.3%); and SD group, 23/67 (34.3%). Mechanical complication rates were not significantly different among all groups: P group, 19.0%; MD group, 30.3%; and SD group, 39.1% (χ2 = 1.70, p = 0.19). The rates of mechanical complications between the MD and SD groups (30.4% and 39.1%) were less than those observed in the original GAP study (MD group 36.4%–57.1% and SD group 72.7%–100%). Within the P group, the rates in this study were higher than in the original study (19.0% vs 4.0%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found no statistically significant difference in the rate of mechanical complications between the P, MD, and SD groups. The current validation study revealed poor generalizability toward the authors’ patient population.