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Avery Lee Buchholz, Steven L. Morgan, Leslie C. Robinson and Bruce M. Frankel


Most cases of traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis (hangman's fracture) can be treated nonoperatively with reduction and subsequent immobilization in a rigid cervical collar or halo. However, in some instances, operative management is necessary and can be accomplished by using either anterior or posterior fusion techniques. Because open posterior procedures can result in significant blood loss, pain, and limited cervical range of motion, other less invasive options for posterior fixation are needed. The authors describe a minimally invasive, navigation-guided technique for surgical treatment of Levine-Edwards (L-E) Type II hangman's fractures.


For 5 patients with L-E Type II hangman's fracture requiring operative reduction and internal fixation, percutaneous screw fixation directed through the fracture site was performed. This technique was facilitated by use of intraoperative 3D fluoroscopy and neuronavigation.


Of the 5 patients, 2 were women, 3 were men, and age range was 46–67 years. No intraoperative or postoperative complications occurred. All patients wore a rigid cervical collar, and flexion-extension radiographs were obtained at 6 months. For all patients, dynamic imaging demonstrated a stable construct.


L-E type II hangman's fractures can be safely repaired by using percutaneous minimally invasive surgical techniques. This technique may be appropriate, depending on circumstances, for all L-E Type I and II hangman's fractures; however, the degree of associated ligament injury and disc disruption must be accounted for. Percutaneous fixation is not appropriate for L-E Type III fractures because of significant displacement and ligament and disc disruption. This report is meant to serve as a feasibility study and is not meant to show superiority of this procedure over other surgical options.

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Mladen Djurasovic, Jeffrey L. Gum, Charles H. Crawford III, Kirk Owens II, Morgan Brown, Portia Steele, Steven D. Glassman and Leah Y. Carreon


The midline transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIDLIF) using cortical screw fixation is a novel, minimally invasive procedure that may offer enhanced recovery over traditional open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). Little information is available regarding the comparative cost-effectiveness of the MIDLIF over conventional TLIF. The purpose of this study was to compare cost-effectiveness of minimally invasive MIDLIF with open TLIF.


From a prospective, multisurgeon, surgical database, a consecutive series of patients undergoing 1- or 2-level MIDLIF for degenerative lumbar conditions was identified and propensity matched to patients undergoing TLIF based on age, sex, smoking status, BMI, diagnosis, American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Classification System (ASA) class, and levels fused. Direct costs at 1 year were collected, including costs associated with the index surgical visit as well as costs associated with readmission. Improvement in health-related quality of life was measured using EQ-5D and SF-6D.


Of 214 and 181 patients undergoing MIDLIF and TLIF, respectively, 33 cases in each cohort were successfully propensity matched. Consistent with propensity matching, there was no difference in age, sex, BMI, diagnosis, ASA class, smoking status, or levels fused. Spondylolisthesis was the most common indication for surgery in both cohorts. Variable direct costs at 1 year were $2493 lower in the MIDLIF group than in the open TLIF group (mean $15,867 vs $17,612, p = 0.073). There was no difference in implant (p = 0.193) or biologics (p = 0.145) cost, but blood utilization (p = 0.015), operating room supplies (p < 0.001), hospital room and board (p < 0.001), pharmacy (p = 0.010), laboratory (p = 0.004), and physical therapy (p = 0.009) costs were all significantly lower in the MIDLIF group. Additionally, the mean length of stay was decreased for MIDLIF as well (3.21 vs 4.02 days, p = 0.05). The EQ-5D gain at 1 year was 0.156 for MIDLIF and 0.141 for open TLIF (p = 0.821). The SF-6D gain at 1 year was 0.071 for MIDLIF and 0.057 for open TLIF (p = 0.551).


Compared with patients undergoing traditional open TLIF, those undergoing MIDLIF have similar 1-year gains in health-related quality of life, with total direct costs that are $2493 lower. Although the findings were not statistically significant, minimally invasive MIDLIF showed improved cost-effectiveness at 1 year compared with open TLIF.