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Michael Y. Wang, Steven C. Ludwig, D. Greg Anderson and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Minimally invasive spinal instrumentation techniques have evolved tremendously over the past decade. Although there have been numerous reports of lumbar instrumentation performed via a percutaneous or minimal incisional route, to date there have been no reports of minimally invasive iliac screw placement.

A method was developed for accurate placement of minimally invasive iliac screw placement based on a modification of currently available percutaneous lumbar instrumentation techniques. The method involves fluoroscopically guided insertion of a cannula-based screw system, and this technique was successful applied to treat an L-5 burst fracture with L-4 to iliac spinal stabilization via a minimally invasive approach.

This report demonstrates the feasibility of percutaneous iliac screw instrumentation. However, future studies will be needed to validate the safety and efficacy of this approach.

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Sergey Mlyavykh, Steven C. Ludwig, Jean-Pierre Mobasser, Christopher K. Kepler and D. Greg Anderson

Object

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition that leads to significant disability, particularly in the elderly. Current therapeutic modalities for LSS have certain drawbacks when applied to this patient population. The object of this study was to define the 12-month postoperative outcomes and complications of pedicle-lengthening osteotomies for symptomatic LSS.

Methods

A prospective, single-treatment clinical pilot study was conducted. A cohort of 19 patients (mean age 60.9 years) with symptomatic LSS was treated by pedicle-lengthening osteotomy procedures at 1 or 2 levels. All patients had symptoms of neurogenic claudication or radiculopathy secondary to LSS and had not improved after a minimum 6-month course of nonoperative treatment. Eleven patients had a Meyerding Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis in addition to LSS. Clinical outcomes were measured using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Zurich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12), and a visual analog scale (VAS). Procedural variables, neurological outcomes, adverse events, and radiological imaging (plain radiographs and CT scans) were collected at the 1.5-, 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month time points.

Results

The pedicle-lengthening osteotomies were performed through percutaneous approaches with minimal blood loss in all cases. There were no operative complications. Four adverse events occurred during the follow-up period. Clinically, significant improvement was observed in the mean values of each of the outcome scales (comparing preoperative and 12-month values): ODI scores improved from 52.3 to 28.1 (p < 0.0001); the ZCQ physical function domain improved from 2.7 to 1.8 (p = 0.0021); the SF-12 physical component scale improved from 27.0 to 37.9 (p = 0.0024); and the VAS score for leg pain while standing improved from 7.2 to 2.7 (p < 0.0001). Imaging studies, reviewed by an independent radiologist, showed no evidence of device subsidence, migration, breakage, or heterotopic ossification. Thin-slice CT documented healing of the osteotomy site in all patients at the 6-month time point and an increase in the mean cross-sectional area of the spinal canal of 115%.

Conclusions

Treatment of patients with symptomatic LSS with a pedicle-lengthening osteotomy procedure provided substantial enlargement of the area of the spinal canal and favorable clinical results for both disease-specific and non–disease-specific outcome measures at the 12-month time point. Future studies are needed to compare this technique to alternative therapies for lumbar stenosis.

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Sergey Mlyavykh, Steven C. Ludwig, Christopher K. Kepler and D. Greg Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition that leads to significant disability, particularly in the elderly. Current therapeutic options have certain drawbacks. This study evaluates the 5-year clinical and radiographic results of a minimally invasive pedicle-lengthening osteotomy (PLO) for symptomatic LSS.

METHODS

A prospective, single-arm, clinical pilot study was conducted involving 20 patients (mean age 61.7 years) with symptomatic LSS treated by a PLO procedure at 1 or 2 lumbar levels. All patients had symptoms of neurogenic claudication or radiculopathy secondary to LSS, and had not improved after a minimum 6-month course of nonoperative treatment. Eleven patients had a Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis in addition to LSS. Clinical outcomes were measured using the Oswestry Disability Index, Zürich Claudication Questionnaire, 12-Item Short Form Health Survey, and a visual analog scale for back and leg pain. Procedural variables, neurological outcomes, adverse events, and radiological imaging (plain radiographs and CT scans) were collected at the 1.5-, 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, 24-, and 60-month time points.

RESULTS

The PLOs were performed through percutaneous incisions, with minimal blood loss in all cases. There were no operative complications. Four adverse events occurred during the follow-up period. Statistically significant improvement was observed in each of the outcome instruments and maintained over the 5-year follow-up period. Imaging studies, reviewed by an independent radiologist, showed no evidence of device subsidence, migration, breakage, or heterotopic ossification. Thin-slice CT scans documented healing of the osteotomy site in all patients at the 6-month time point and an increase of 115% in the mean cross-sectional area of the spinal canal.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of patients with symptomatic LSS with a PLO procedure provided substantial enlargement of the area of the spinal canal and favorable clinical results for both disease-specific and non–disease-specific outcome measures at all follow-up time points out to 5 years. Future research is needed to compare this technique to alternative therapies for LSS.

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Myles Luszczyk, Justin S. Smith, Jeffrey S. Fischgrund, Steven C. Ludwig, Rick C. Sasso, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Alexander R. Vaccaro

Object

Although smoking has been shown to negatively affect fusion rates in patients undergoing multilevel fusions of the cervical and lumbar spine, the effect of smoking on fusion rates in patients undergoing single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with allograft and plate fixation has yet to be thoroughly investigated. The objective of the present study was to address the effect of smoking on fusion rates in patients undergoing a 1-level ACDF with allograft and a locked anterior cervical plate.

Methods

This study is composed of patients from the control groups of 5 separate studies evaluating the use of an anterior cervical disc replacement to treat cervical radiculopathy. For each of the 5 studies the control group consisted of patients who underwent a 1-level ACDF with allograft and a locked cervical plate. The authors of the present study reviewed data obtained in a total of 573 patients; 156 patients were smokers and 417 were nonsmokers. A minimum follow-up period of 24 months was required for inclusion in this study. Fusion status was assessed by independent observers using lateral, neutral, and flexion/extension radiographs.

Results

An overall fusion rate of 91.4% was achieved in all 573 patients. A solid fusion was shown in 382 patients (91.6%) who were nonsmokers. Among patients who were smokers, 142 (91.0%) had radiographic evidence of a solid fusion. A 2-tailed Fisher exact test revealed a p value of 0.867, indicating no difference in the union rates between smokers and nonsmokers.

Conclusions

The authors found no statistically significant difference in fusion status between smokers and nonsmokers who underwent a single-level ACDF with allograft and a locked anterior cervical plate. Although the authors do not promote tobacco use, it appears that the use of allograft with a locked cervical plate in single-level ACDF among smokers produces similar fusion rates as it does in their nonsmoking counterparts.

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Jeffrey D. Coe, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Andrew T. Dailey, Rick C. Sasso, Steven C. Ludwig, James S. Harrop, Joseph R. Dettori, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Sanford E. Emery and Michael G. Fehlings

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Chelsea J. Hendow, Alexander Beschloss, Alejandro Cazzulino, Joseph M. Lombardi, Philip K. Louie, Andrew H. Milby, Andrew J. Pugely, Ali K. Ozturk, Steven C. Ludwig and Comron Saifi

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate revision burden and associated demographic and economic data for atlantoaxial (AA) fusion procedures in the US.

METHODS

Patient data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for primary AA fusion were obtained from 1993 to 2015, and for revision AA fusion from 2006 to 2014 using ICD-9 procedure codes. Data from 2006 to 2014 were used in comparisons between primary and revision surgeries. National procedure rates, hospital costs/charges, length of stay (LOS), routine discharge, and mortality rates were investigated.

RESULTS

Between 1993 and 2014, 52,011 patients underwent primary AA fusion. Over this period, there was a 111% increase in annual number of primary surgeries performed. An estimated 1372 patients underwent revision AA fusion between 2006 and 2014, and over this time period there was a 6% decrease in the number of revisions performed annually. The 65–84 year-old age group increased as a proportion of primary AA fusions in the US from 35.9% of all AA fusions in 1997 to 44.2% in 2015, an increase of 23%. The mean hospital cost for primary AA surgery increased 32% between 2006 and 2015, while the mean cost for revision AA surgery increased by 35% between 2006 and 2014. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean hospital charge for primary AA surgery increased by 67%; the mean charge for revision surgery over that same period increased by 57%. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean age for primary AA fusions was 60 years, while the mean age for revision AA fusions was 52 years. The mean LOS for both procedures decreased over the study period, with primary AA fusion decreasing by 31% and revision AA fusion decreasing by 24%. Revision burden decreased by 21% between 2006 and 2014 (mean 4.9%, range 3.2%–6.4%). The inpatient mortality rate for primary AA surgery decreased from 5.3% in 1993 to 2.2% in 2014.

CONCLUSIONS

The number of primary AA fusions between 2006 and 2014 increased 22%, while the number of revision procedures has decreased 6% over the same period. The revision burden decreased by 21%. The inpatient mortality rate decreased 62% (1993–2014) to 2.2%. The increased primary fusion rate, decreased revision burden, and decreased inpatient mortality determined in this study may suggest an improvement in the safety and success of primary AA fusion.