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Akash J. Patel, Sudhakar Vadivelu, Sohum K. Desai and Andrew Jea

The authors describe rare cases of congenital hypoplasia of the L-5 pedicles and the congenital absence of the left S-1 pedicle in 2 young girls, respectively, including the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. Moreover, they review the literature on this clinical entity. The patients presented with intractable chronic low-back pain. Plain radiographs and 2D CT scanning revealed the presence of the aforementioned anomalies. Degenerative changes to adjacent level and contralateral facet joints were thought to be the result of overload and instability and seemed to have led to spondylolisthesis, micromotion at L-5 and S-1, and subsequent low-back pain. The pediatric patients were treated with posterior instrumented fusion with good functional outcomes at a minimum 3-month follow-up. To the best of the authors' knowledge, these are the first reports of intractable low-back pain and spondylolisthesis accompanied by hypoplastic-aplastic pedicles at the lumbosacral junction in children.

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Sohum K. Desai, Christina Sayama, Daniel Vener, Alison Brayton, Valentina Briceño, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea


The authors have previously reported on their early experience with sublaminar polyester bands in spine surgery. In this paper, the authors describe the use of sublaminar polyester bands in long-segment posterior instrumented spinal fusions from the upper thoracic spine to the ilium in 21 children and transitional adults with progressive neuromuscular scoliosis. Transitional adults were patients older than 18 years of age with a spinal disorder of pediatric onset, such as spina bifida. This dedicated study represents the first reported use of polyester bands in spine surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis in this patient population in the US.


The authors retrospectively reviewed the demographics and procedural data of patients who underwent posterior instrumented fusion using sublaminar polyester bands for neuromuscular scoliosis.


Twenty-one pediatric and adult transitional patients, ranging in age from 10 to 20 years (mean 14 years), underwent posterior instrumented fusion for progressive neuromuscular scoliosis. The average coronal Cobb angle measured 66° before surgery (range 37°–125°). Immediately after surgery, the mean coronal Cobb angle was 40° (range 13°–85°). At last follow-up, the average coronal Cobb angle was maintained at 42° (range 5°–112°). Regarding sagittal parameters, thoracic kyphosis was restored by 8%, and lumbar lordosis improved by 20% after surgery. Mean follow-up duration was 17 months (range 2–54 months). One patient with an aborted procedure due to loss of intraoperative evoked potentials was excluded from the analysis of radiographic outcomes. Mean surgical time was 7 hours 43 minutes (range 3 hours 59 minutes to 10 hours 23 minutes). All patients received either a 12- or 24-mg dose of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2. Average estimated blood loss was 976 ml (range 300–2700 ml). Complications directly related to the use of sublaminar instrumentation included transient proprioceptive deficit (1 patient) and prolonged paraparesis (1 patient). Other complications noted in this series included disengagement of the rod from an iliac screw (1 patient), proximal junctional kyphosis (1 patient), noninfected wound drainage (2 patients), and perioperative death (1 patient). The lessons learned from these complications are discussed.


Pedicle screws, laminar/pedicle/transverse process hooks, and sublaminar metal wires have been incorporated into posterior spinal constructs and widely reported and used in the thoracic and lumbar spines and sacrum with varying success. This report demonstrates the satisfactory radiological outcomes of hybrid posterior spinal constructs in pediatric and adult neuromuscular scoliosis that include sublaminar polyester bands that promise the technical ease of passing sublaminar instrumentation with the immediate biomechanical rigidity of pedicle screws and hooks. However, the high neurological complication rate associated with this technique (2/21, or 10%) tempers the acceptable radiographic outcomes.

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Sohum K. Desai, Alison Brayton, Valerie B. Chua, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Spinal arthrodesis was the first successful treatment for scoliosis, performed by Dr. Russell A. Hibbs in 1911 and later by Dr. Fred H. Albee for tuberculosis. In 1914, Dr. H.P.H. Galloway and Dr. Hibbs began using the method to treat neuromuscular scoliosis in patients with poliomyelitis. However, this treatment approach was plagued by loss of deformity correction over time and high pseudarthrosis rates. The turning point in the operative management of spinal deformities began in 1947 with Dr. Paul Randall Harrington when he started a decade-long process to revolutionize surgical treatment of spinal deformities culminating in the advent of the Harrington Rod, the first successful implantable spinal instrumentation system. During the epoch that he was in practice, Dr. Harrington's achievement influenced the technology and art of spine surgery for his contemporaries and the coming generations of spine surgeons. The purpose of this article is to review the life of Dr. Harrington, and how he has arguably come to be known as “Father of the Modern Treatment of Scoliosis.”

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Sohum K. Desai, Sudhakar Vadivelu, Akash J. Patel, Alison Brayton and Andrew Jea


Isolated cervical canal stenosis at the level of the atlas (C-1) is a rare cause of cervical myelopathy in the pediatric population. It has been associated with several genetic disorders including spondyloepiphysial dysplasia congenita, Down syndrome, and Klippel-Feil syndrome. The purpose of this study is to highlight the authors' experience with 4 additional pediatric cases, review the literature, and report a new association of this disease with Williams syndrome.


The medical records and radiological imaging studies of 4 patients treated at Texas Children's Hospital for symptomatic hypoplasia of the atlas were retrospectively reviewed. Pertinent patient demographic data, clinical presentation, imaging findings, and outcomes after surgery were recorded. A thorough literature review was performed, allowing the authors to compare and contrast their 4 cases to surgical cases already published in the literature.


There were 11 boys and 1 girl in the aggregate series. The average age of the patients was 7 years (range 13 months–14 years), and the duration of symptoms prior to presentation was 6 months (range 0–36 months). The mean sagittal diameter of the spinal canal at the level of the atlas measured from the posterior aspect of the dens to the anterior aspect of the arch of C-1 was 11.9 mm (range 8.3–16 mm) in the aggregate series. In 2 new pediatric patients with hypoplasia of the atlas the disease was associated with Williams syndrome, which has not been previously described. Patients in the aggregate series were followed for an average of 18 months (range 3–50 months). Laminectomy of C-1 provided neurological improvement in all patients who presented.


Isolated cervical spinal canal stenosis at the level of the atlas is a rare cause of cervical myelopathy. The authors hope that this report will prompt clinicians to consider it when searching for the origin of signs and symptoms of cervical myelopathy, especially in children.