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Keitaro Matsukawa, Takashi Kato, Ralph Mobbs, Yoshiyuki Yato and Takashi Asazuma

OBJECTIVE

Lumbosacral fixation plays an important role in the management of devastating spinal pathologies, including osteoporosis, fracture, infection, tumor resection, and spinal deformities, which require long-segment fusion constructs to the sacrum. The sacral-alar-iliac (SAI) screw technique has been developed as a promising solution to facilitate both minimal invasiveness and strong fixation. The rationale for SAI screw insertion is a medialized entry point away from the ilium and in line with cranial screws. The divergent screw path of the cortical bone trajectory (CBT) provides a higher amount of cortical bone purchase and strong screw fixation and has the potential to harmoniously align with SAI screws due to its medial starting point. However, there has been no report on the combination of these two techniques. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of this combination technique.

METHODS

The subjects consisted of 17 consecutive patients with a mean age of 74.2 ± 4.7 years who underwent posterior lumbosacral fixation for degenerative spinal pathologies using the combination of SAI and CBT fixation techniques. There were 8 patients with degenerative scoliosis, 7 with degenerative kyphosis, 1 with an osteoporotic vertebral fracture at L5, and 1 with vertebral metastasis at L5. Fusion zones included T10–sacrum in 13 patients, L2–sacrum in 2, and L4–sacrum in 2.

RESULTS

No patients required complicated rod bending or the use of a connector for rod assembly in the lumbosacral region. Postoperative CT performed within a week after surgery showed that all lumbosacral screws were in correct positions and there was no incidence of neurovascular injuries. The lumbosacral bone fusion was confirmed in 81.8% of patients at 1-year follow-up based on fine-cut CT scanning. No patient showed a significant loss of spinal alignment or rod fracture in the lumbosacral transitional region.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first paper on the feasibility of a combination technique using SAI and CBT screws. This technique could be a valid option for lumbosacral fixation due to the ease of rod placement with potential reductions in operative time and blood loss.

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Toshinori Hasegawa, Yoshihisa Kida, Takenori Kato, Hiroshi Iizuka and Takashi Yamamoto

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) has been a safe and effective treatment for small- to medium-sized vestibular schwannomas (VSs) over relatively long-term outcomes. However, even with recent radiosurgical techniques, hearing results following GKS remain unsatisfactory. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hearing preservation rate as well as factors related to hearing preservation in patients with VSs and serviceable hearing who were treated with GKS.

Methods

Among patients with Gardner-Robertson (GR) Class I or II serviceable hearing and VSs treated with GKS between 1991 and 2009, 117 were evaluable via periodic MR imaging and audiometry.

Results

The median age at the time of GKS was 52 years. Four patients (3%) had undergone prior surgery. Fifty-six patients (48%) had GR Class I hearing and 61 (52%) had GR Class II hearing at the time of GKS. The median tumor volume was 1.9 cm3. The median maximum and tumor margin radiation doses were 24 and 12 Gy, respectively. The median follow-up periods for MR imaging and audiometry were 74 and 38 months, respectively. The overall tumor control rate was 97.5%. Actuarial 3-, 5-, and 8-year hearing preservation rates were 55%, 43%, and 34%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, GR hearing class at the time of GKS and the mean cochlear dose affected hearing preservation significantly. In a limited number of patients who were treated using the most recent dose planning techniques and who had GR Class I hearing before treatment, the 3- and 5-year hearing preservation rates increased to 80% and 70%, respectively.

Conclusions

For the majority of patients with small- to medium-sized VSs, GKS was an effective and reasonable alternative to resection with satisfactory long-term tumor control. Factors related to hearing preservation included a GR Class I hearing pre-GKS and a lower mean cochlear radiation dose. To retain serviceable hearing, it is important to apply GKS treatment while patients retain GR Class I hearing.

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Toshinori Hasegawa, Yoshihisa Kida, Takenori Kato, Hiroshi Iizuka, Shunichiro Kuramitsu and Takashi Yamamoto

Object

Little is known about long-term outcomes, including tumor control and adverse radiation effects, in patients harboring vestibular schwannomas (VSs) treated with stereotactic radiosurgery > 10 years previously. The aim of this study was to confirm whether Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for VSs continues to be safe and effective > 10 years after treatment.

Methods

A total of 440 patients with VS (including neurofibromatosis Type 2) treated with GKS between May 1991 and December 2000 were evaluable. Of these, 347 patients (79%) underwent GKS as an initial treatment and 93 (21%) had undergone prior resection. Three hundred fifty-eight patients (81%) had a solid tumor and 82 (19%) had a cystic tumor. The median tumor volume was 2.8 cm3 and the median marginal dose was 12.8 Gy.

Results

The median follow-up period was 12.5 years. The actuarial 5- and ≥ 10-year progression-free survival was 93% and 92%, respectively. No patient developed treatment failure > 10 years after treatment. According to multivariate analysis, significant factors related to worse progression-free survival included brainstem compression with a deviation of the fourth ventricle (p < 0.0001), marginal dose ≤ 13 Gy (p = 0.01), prior treatment (p = 0.02), and female sex (p = 0.02). Of 287 patients treated at a recent optimum dose of ≤ 13 Gy, 3 (1%) developed facial palsy, including 2 with transient palsy and 1 with persistent palsy after a second GKS, and 3 (1%) developed facial numbness, including 2 with transient and 1 with persistent facial numbness. The actuarial 10-year facial nerve preservation rate was 97% in the high marginal dose group (> 13 Gy) and 100% in the low marginal dose group (≤ 13 Gy). Ten patients (2.3%) developed delayed cyst formation. One patient alone developed malignant transformation, indicating an incidence of 0.3%.

Conclusions

In this study GKS was a safe and effective treatment for the majority of patients followed > 10 years after treatment. Special attention should be paid to cyst formation and malignant transformation as late adverse radiation effects, although they appeared to be rare. However, it is necessary to collect further long-term follow-up data before making conclusions about the long-term safety and efficacy of GKS, especially for young patients with VSs.

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Akira Matsumura, Takashi Namikawa, Minori Kato, Tomonori Ozaki, Yusuke Hori, Noriaki Hidaka and Hiroaki Nakamura

The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical results of posterior corrective surgery using a multilevel transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with a rod rotation (RR) and to evaluate the segmental corrective effect of a TLIF using CT imaging. The medical records of 15 consecutive patients with degenerative lumbar kyphoscoliosis (DLKS) who had undergone posterior spinal corrective surgery using a multilevel TLIF with an RR technique and who had a minimum follow-up of 2 years were retrospectively reviewed. Radiographic parameters were evaluated using plain radiographs, and segmental correction was evaluated using CT imaging. Clinical outcomes were evaluated with the Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire-22 (SRS-22) and the SF-36.

The mean follow-up period was 46.7 months, and the mean age at the time of surgery was 60.7 years. The mean total SRS-22 score was 2.9 before surgery and significantly improved to 4.0 at the latest follow-up. The physical functioning, role functioning (physical), and social functioning subcategories of the SF-36 were generally improved at the latest follow-up, although the changes in these scores were not statistically significant. The bodily pain, vitality, and mental health subcategories were significantly improved at the latest follow-up (p < 0.05).

Three complications occurred in 3 patients (20%). The Cobb angle of the lumbar curve was reduced to 20.3° after surgery. The overall correction rate was 66.4%. The pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (preoperative/postoperative = 31.5°/4.3°), pelvic tilt (29.2°/18.9°), and sagittal vertical axis (78.3/27.6 mm) were improved after surgery and remained so throughout the follow-up. Computed tomography image analysis suggested that a 1-level TLIF can result in 10.9° of scoliosis correction and 6.8° of lordosis.

Posterior corrective surgery using a multilevel TLIF with an RR on patients with DLKS can provide effective correction in the coronal plane but allows only limited sagittal correction.

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Yuji Yamanaka, Takashi Shuto, Yoriko Kato, Tomu Okada, Shigeo Inomori, Hideyo Fujino and Hisato Nagano

Object

The combination approach of Ommaya reservoir placement and Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) was evaluated for the treatment of large cystic metastatic brain tumors.

Methods

The medical records of 22 patients harboring 28 tumors, who underwent Ommaya reservoir placement followed by GKS for large cystic metastatic brain tumors were retrospectively reviewed. The patients' ages ranged 26 to 77 years (mean 57.1 years). The most common locations of primary malignancy were the breast (11 patients) followed by the lung (seven patients). The mean maximum diameter of the tumor was 40.1 mm before Ommaya reservoir placement and 31.2 mm at GKS (mean reduction of 19.9%). The mean calculated tumor volume at GKS was 13.4 cm3. The mean tumor margin dose was 16 Gy in 17 patients treated by GKS only and 11 Gy in five patients treated using both GKS and external radiotherapy. The mean follow-up period was 11.5 months. Nineteen (67.9%) of the 28 tumors were controlled. The median patient survival time was 7 months. Asymptomatic intracystic hemorrhage associated with Ommaya reservoir placement was seen in two patients with four tumors, but no serious complication occurred.

Conclusions

Ommaya reservoir placement followed by GKS is relatively effective and safe for large cystic metastatic brain tumors. Gamma Knife surgery should be performed within a few days of Ommaya reservoir placement. Reaccumulation and high viscosity of cystic content must be considered.

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Keitaro Matsukawa, Yoshiyuki Yato, Takashi Kato, Hideaki Imabayashi, Takashi Asazuma and Koichi Nemoto

Object

A cortical bone trajectory (CBT) is a new pedicle screw trajectory that maximizes the thread contact with cortical bone surface, providing enhanced screw purchase. Despite the increased use of the CBT in the lumbar spine, little is known about the insertion technique for the sacral CBT. The aim of this study was to introduce a novel sacral pedicle screw trajectory. This trajectory engages with denser bone maximally by the screw penetrating the S-1 superior endplate through a more medial entry point than the traditional technique, and also has safety advantages, with the protrusion of the screw tip into the intervertebral disc space carrying no risk of neurovascular injury.

Methods

In this study, the CT scans of 50 adults were studied for morphometric measurement of the new trajectory. The entry point was supposed to be the junction of the center of the superior articular process of S-1 and approximately 3 mm inferior to the most inferior border of the inferior articular process of L-5. The direction was straight forward in the axial plane without convergence, angulated cranially in the sagittal plane penetrating the middle of the sacral endplate. The cephalad angle to the sacral endplate, length of trajectory, and safety of the trajectory were investigated. Next, the insertional torque of pedicle screws using this technique was measured intraoperatively in 19 patients and compared with the traditional technique.

Results

The mean cephalad angle in these 50 patients was 30.7° ± 5.1°, and the mean length of trajectory was 31.5 ± 3.5 mm. The CT analysis revealed that the penetrating S-1 endplate technique did not cause any neurovascular injury anteriorly in any case. The new technique demonstrated an average of 141% higher insertional torque than the traditional monocortical technique.

Conclusions

The penetrating S-1 endplate technique through the medial entry point is suitable for the connection of lumbar CBT, has revealed favorable stability for lumbosacral fixation, and has reduced the potential risk of neurovascular injuries.

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Tomoyuki Kawataki, Eiji Sato, Tatsuya Kato, Takashi Sato, Toru Horikoshi and Hiroyuki Kinouchi

In this report, a rare case of dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET) initially presented as a small white matter lesion with calcification adjacent to the lateral ventricle and extending to the frontal cortex after 7 years. This 1-year-old boy initially suffered from partial seizures. Initial CT revealed a small, low-density area surrounding a tiny calcified mass in the deep white matter of the left frontal lobe. Seven years later, his seizures had become intractable to antiepileptic agents, and MR imaging demonstrated a relatively large mass extending from the calcified lesion up to the adjacent cortical surface. He underwent surgery and the tumor was subtotally removed. Histological examination of the tumor verified it as a DNET consisting of clusters of small oligodendrocytes with floating neurons in the mucoid background. The pattern of the tumor progression in this case suggests that a DNET in the cortex originates from the subependymal germinal layer near the ventricle.

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Masatoshi Hoshino, Hiroaki Nakamura, Sadahiko Konishi, Ryuichi Nagayama, Hidetomi Terai, Tadao Tsujio, Takashi Namikawa, Minori Kato and Kunio Takaoka

✓ The authors describe a new vertebroplasty technique for the treatment of chronic painful vertebral compression fractures (VCFs).

A urinary balloon catheter is introduced into the vertebral body (VB) via a bilateral transpedicular approach and inflated with contrast medium to obtain sufficient space for endoscopic observation. The granulation tissue occupying the VB is then removed using a punch or curette inserted through one pedicle, with the guidance of an endoscope introduced through the contralateral pedicle. After endoscopic resection of granulation tissue in the fractured VB, vertebroplasty is performed by injecting calcium phosphate cement (CPC) into the VB.

Fourteen patients in whom chronic painful VCFs were diagnosed underwent surgery involving the aforementioned technique. In all cases, intractable pain and ambulatory function improved after surgery, and there were no significant systemic complications. On radiological evaluation in eight cases in which the follow-up period exceeded 1 year, the mean height of the fractured VB improved from 38% of that of adjacent intact VBs to 85%. Although a slight loss of correction was routinely observed at 1 month postoperatively, an additional loss of VB height was not noted up to 1 year later. Bone formation was commonly seen along the anterior wall of the involved vertebrae in all cases.

Vertebroplasty involving the endoscopic removal of granulation tissue proved to be an efficacious procedure for the treatment of chronic painful VCFs. The osteoconductive capacity of CPC facilitated callus formation and ultimately restoration of vertebral bone structure.

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Hiroki Oba, Jun Takahashi, Sho Kobayashi, Tetsuro Ohba, Shota Ikegami, Shugo Kuraishi, Masashi Uehara, Takashi Takizawa, Ryo Munakata, Terue Hatakenaka, Michihiko Koseki, Shigeto Ebata, Hirotaka Haro, Yukihiro Matsuyama and Hiroyuki Kato

OBJECTIVE

Unfused main thoracic (MT) curvatures occasionally increase after selective thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) fusion. This study sought to identify the predictors of an unacceptable increase in MT curve (UIMT) after selective posterior fusion (SPF) of the TL/L curve in patients with Lenke type 5C adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

METHODS

Forty-eight consecutive patients (44 females and 4 males, mean age 15.7 ± 2.5 years, range 13–24 years) with Lenke type 5C AIS who underwent SPF of the TL/L curve were analyzed. The novel “Shinshu line” (S-line) was defined as a line connecting the centers of the concave-side pedicles of the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) and lowest instrumented vertebra (LIV) on preoperative radiographs. The authors established an S-line tilt to the right as S-line positive (S-line+, i.e., the UIV being to the right of the LIV) and compared S-line+ and S-line− groups for thoracic apical vertebral translation (T-AVT) and MT Cobb angle preoperatively, early postoperatively, and at final follow-up. The predictors for T-AVT > 20 mm at final follow-up were evaluated as well. T-AVT > 20 mm was defined as a UIMT.

RESULTS

Among the 48 consecutively treated patients, 26 were S-line+ and 22 were S-line−. At preoperative, early postoperative, and final follow-up a minimum of 2 years later, the mean T-AVT was 12.8 mm (range −9.3 to 32.8 mm), 19.6 mm (range −13.0 to 41.0 mm), and 22.8 mm (range −1.9 to 68.7 mm) in the S-line+ group, and 10.8 mm (range −5.1 to 27.3 mm), 16.2 mm (range −11.7 to 42.1 mm), and 11.0 mm (range −6.3 to 26.9 mm) in the S-line− group, respectively. T-AVT in S-line+ patients was significantly larger than that in S-line− patients at the final follow-up. Multivariate analysis revealed S-line+ (odds ratio [OR] 23.8, p = 0.003) and preoperative MT Cobb angle (OR 7.9, p = 0.001) to be predictors of a UIMT.

CONCLUSIONS

S-line+ was defined as the UIV being to the right of the LIV. T-AVT in the S-line+ group was significantly larger than in the S-line− group at the final follow-up. S-line+ status and larger preoperative MT Cobb angle were independent predictors of a UIMT after SPF for the TL/L curve in patients with Lenke type 5C AIS. Surgeons should consider changing the UIV and/or LIV in patients exhibiting S-line+ during preoperative planning to avoid a possible increase in MT curve and revision surgery.

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Takayuki Oku, Masami Fujii, Nobuhiro Tanaka, Hirochika Imoto, Joji Uchiyama, Fumiaki Oka, Ichiro Kunitsugu, Hiroshi Fujioka, Sadahiro Nomura, Koji Kajiwara, Hirosuke Fujisawa, Shoichi Kato, Takashi Saito and Michiyasu Suzuki

Object

Focal brain cooling has been recognized to have a suppressive effect on epileptiform discharges or a protective effect on brain tissue. However, the precise influence of brain cooling on normal brain function and histology has not yet been thoroughly investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate the neurophysiopathological consequences of focal cooling and to detect the threshold temperature that causes irreversible histological change and motor dysfunction.

Methods

The experiments were performed in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (weighing 250–350 g) after induction of halothane anesthesia. A thermoelectric chip (6 × 6 × 2 mm) was used as a cooling device and was placed on the surface of the sensorimotor cortex after a 10 × 8–mm craniotomy. A thermocouple was placed between the chip and the brain surface. Focal cooling of the cortex was performed at the temperatures of 20, 15, 10, 5, 0, and −5°C for 1 hour (5 rats in each group). Thereafter, the cranial window was repaired. Motor function was evaluated using the beam-walking scale (BWS) every day for 7 days. The rats were killed 7 days after the operation for histological examination with H & E, Klüver-Barrera, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferasemediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling stainings. The authors also euthanized some rats 24 hours after cooling and obtained brain sections by the same methods.

Results

The BWS score was decreased on the day after cooling only in the −5°C group (p < 0.05), whereas the score did not change in the other temperature groups. Histologically, the appearance of cryoinjury such as necrosis, apoptosis, loss of neurons, and marked proliferation of astrocytes at the periphery of the lesion was observed only in the −5°C group, while no apparent changes were observed in the other temperature groups.

Conclusions

The present study confirmed that the focal cooling of the cortex for 1 hour above the temperature of 0°C did not induce any irreversible histological change or motor dysfunction. These results suggest that focal brain cooling above 0°C has the potential to be a minimally invasive and valuable modality for the treatment of severe brain injury or to assist in the examination of brain function.