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Masaya Nakamura, Osahiko Tsuji, Kanehiro Fujiyoshi, Kota Watanabe, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Morio Matsumoto, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

The optimal management of malignant astrocytomas remains controversial, and the prognosis of these lesions has been dismal regardless of the administered treatment. In this study the authors investigated the surgical outcomes of cordotomy in patients with thoracic malignant astrocytomas to determine the effectiveness of this procedure.

Methods

Cordotomy was performed in 5 patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and 2 with anaplastic astrocytoma (AA). A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed, and the associations of the resection level with survival and postoperative complications were retrospectively examined.

Results

Cordotomy was performed in a single stage in 2 patients with GBM and in 2 stages in 3 patients with GBM and 2 patients with AA. In the 2 patients with GBM, cordotomy was performed 2 and 3 weeks after a partial tumor resection. In the 2 patients with AA, the initial treatment consisted of partial tumor resection and subtotal resection combined with radiotherapy, and rostral tumor growth and progressive paralysis necessitated cordotomy 2 and 28 months later. One patient with a secondary GBM underwent cordotomy; the GBM developed 1 year after subtotal resection and radiotherapy for a WHO Grade II astrocytoma. Four patients died 4, 5, 24, and 42 months after the initial operation due to CSF dissemination, and 3 patients (2 with GBM and 1 with AA) remain alive (16, 39, and 71 months). No metastasis to any other organs was noted.

Conclusions

One-stage cordotomy should be indicated for patients with thoracic GBM or AA presenting with complete paraplegia preoperatively. In patients with thoracic GBM, even if paralysis is incomplete, cordotomy should be performed before the tumor disseminates through the CSF. Radical resection should be attempted in patients with AA and incomplete paralysis. If the tumor persists, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are indicated, and cordotomy should be reserved for lesions growing progressively after such second-line treatments.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kazuhiro Chiba, Takashi Tsuji, Hirofumi Maruiwa, Yoshiaki Toyama and Jun Ogawa

✓ The authors placed titanium mesh cages to achieve posterior atlantoaxial fixation in five patients with atlantoaxial instability caused by rheumatoid arthritis or os odontoideum. A mesh cage packed with autologous cancellous bone was placed between the C-1 posterior arch and the C-2 lamina and was tightly connected with titanium wires. Combined with the use of transarticular screws, this procedure provided very rigid fixation. Solid fusion was achieved in all patients without major complications. The advantages of this method include more stable fixation, better control of the atlantoaxial fixation angle, and reduced donor-site morbidity compared with a conventional atlantoaxial arthrodesis in which an autologous iliac crest graft is used.

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Shuji Kazuki, Tomio Ohta, Ryusuke Ogawa, Masao Tsuji, Yoji Tamura, Yasushi Yoshizaki and Takashi Takase

✓ The authors investigated selective intra- and extraluminal effects of endothelin (ET) on perfused basilar and extracranial arteries and also studied the interaction between ET and extraluminal oxyhemoglobin (oxyHb). The basilar, mesenteric, and femoral arteries were isolated from 23 Japanese White rabbits. After isolation of the intra- and extraluminal sides of the preparation, 3 × 10−10 to 3 × 10−8 mol/L of ET was administered intra- or extraluminally. After extraluminal pretreatment with 10−5 mol/L oxyHb, 10−5 mol/L NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (l-NMMA), or 10−6 mol/L indomethacin, 10−10 to 10−8 mol/L of ET was administered intra- or extraluminally. Arterial contraction was evaluated by measuring the increase in the perfusion pressure gradient with a differential pressure gauge. Both intra- and extraluminal ET (10−9 to 3 × 10−8 mol/L) showed potent and dose-dependent vasoconstricting effects on basilar arteries (p < 0.01). The effect of ET on the basilar arteries was significantly greater than on the femoral or mesenteric arteries (both p < 0.01). The effect of intraluminal ET was enhanced by extraluminal oxyHb (p < 0.05) and l-NMMA (p < 0.01), but not by extraluminal indomethacin. Extraluminal oxyHb did not potentiate the contraction induced by extraluminal ET. These results indicate that the sensitivity of the basilar artery to intraluminal ET is greater than that of the femoral or mesenteric artery. Endothelin may act as a potent vasoconstrictor intra- as well as extraluminally under conditions such as subarachnoid hemorrhage in which oxyHb is present in the extraluminal space and endothelium-derived relaxing factors are inhibited.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kota Watanabe, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Masaya Nakamura, Kazuhiro Chiba and Yoshiaki Toyama

Object

The object of this study was to investigate failures after spinal reconstruction following total en bloc spondylectomy (TES), related factors, and sequelae arising from such failures in patients with malignant spinal tumors.

Methods

Fifteen patients (12 males and 3 females, with a mean age of 46.5 years) with malignant spinal tumors who underwent TES and survived for more than 1 year were included in this analysis (mean follow-up 41.5 months). Seven patients had primary tumors, including giant cell tumors in 4 patients, chordoma in 2, and Ewing sarcoma in 1. Eight patients had metastatic tumors, including thyroid cancer in 6 and renal cell cancer and malignant fibrous histiocytoma in 1 patient each. Seven patients without prominent paravertebral extension of the tumor were treated using a posterior approach alone, and 8 patients who exhibited prominent anterior or anterolateral extension of the tumors into the thoracic or abdominal cavity were treated using a combined anterior and posterior approach. Spinal reconstruction after tumor resection was performed using a combination of anterior structural support and posterior instrumentation. The relationship between instrumentation failure and clinical and radiographic factors, including age, sex, history of previous surgery, preoperative radiotherapy, tumor histology, tumor level, surgical approach, number of resected vertebrae, rod diameter, number of instrumented vertebrae, and cage subsidence, was investigated.

Results

Six patients (40%) with spinal instrumentation failure were identified: rod breakage occurred in 3 patients, and breakage of both the rod and the cage, combined cage breakage and screw back-out, and endplate fracture arising from cage subsidence occurred in 1 patient each. All of these patients experienced acute or chronic back pain, but only 1 patient with a tumor recurrence experienced neurological deterioration upon instrumentation failure. Cage subsidence (≥ 5 mm), preoperative irradiation, and the number of instrumented vertebrae (≤ 4 vertebrae) were significantly related to late instrumentation failure.

Conclusions

Late instrumentation failure was a frequent complication after TES. Although patients with instrumentation failure experienced back pain, the neurological sequelae were not catastrophic. For prevention, meticulous preparation of the graft site and a longer posterior fixation should be considered.

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Tsubasa Sakai, Takashi Tsuji, Takashi Asazuma, Yoshiyuki Yato, Osamu Matsubara and Koichi Nemoto

✓The authors report a case of spontaneous resorption of intradural disc material in a patient with recurrent intradural lumbar disc herniation and review magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and histopathological findings. Intradural lumbar disc herniation is rare, and most patients with this condition require surgical intervention due to severe leg pain and vesicorectal disturbance. In the present case, however, the recurrent intradural herniated mass had completely disappeared by 9 months after onset. Histological examination of intradural herniated disc tissue demonstrated infiltrated macrophages and angiogenesis within the herniated tissue, and Gd-enhanced MR images showed rim enhancement not only at the initial presentation, but also at recurrence.

The authors conclude that when rim enhancement is present on Gd-enhanced MR images, there is a possibility of spontaneous resorption even though the herniated mass may be located within the intradural space. Moreover, when radiculopathy is controllable and cauda equina syndrome is absent, conservative therapy can be selected.

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Masaya Nakamura, Kanehiro Fujiyoshi, Osahiko Tsuji, Tsunehiko Konomi, Naobumi Hosogane, Kota Watanabe, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Suketaka Momoshima, Yoshiaki Toyama, Kazuhiro Chiba and Morio Matsumoto

Object

This study was conducted to determine whether postoperative changes in the fractional anisotropy (FA) value and diffusion tensor imaging of the cervical spinal cord can predict functional outcome for patients with cervical compressive myelopathy (CCM).

Methods

Twenty patients with CCM were treated by laminoplasty from 2008 to 2009. Both T2-weighted MRI and diffusion tensor imaging were performed before and after surgery. The FA values were analyzed and fiber tracking was performed. The fiber tract (FT) ratio was calculated according to the following formula: (number of fibers at the compressed level)/(number of fibers at the C-2 level) × 100%. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association scoring system for cervical myelopathy was used to determine pre- and postoperative neurological status of the patients, and the Hirabayashi method was used to calculate the recovery rate.

Results

There was no significant difference in recovery rates between patients with and those without intramedullary high signal intensity on preoperative T2-weighted images. Substantial differences in FA value among spinal cord, bone, and CSF made it difficult to obtain a precise FA value for the compressed spinal cord. There was a significant correlation between the preoperative FT ratio and the recovery rate (p = 0.0006). A poor outcome (recovery rate < 40%) could be anticipated for CCM patients with preoperative FT ratios below 60%.

Conclusions

The preoperative FT ratio correlated significantly with the recovery rates in CCM patients. Preoperative diffusion tensor tractography can be a new prognostic predictor for neurological recovery in CCM patients after laminoplasty.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kota Watanabe, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

This retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence and clinical consequences of postoperative lamina closure after open-door laminoplasty and to identify the risk factors.

Methods

Eighty-two consecutive patients with cervical myelopathy who underwent open-door laminoplasty without plates or spacers in the open side (Hirabayashi's original method) were included (62 men and 20 women with a mean age of 62 years and a mean follow-up of 1.8 years). In 67 patients the cause of cervical myelopathy was spondylotic myelopathy, and in 15 it was caused by ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament. Radiographic measurements were made of the anteroposterior diameters of the spinal canal and vertebral bodies from C3–6, and the presence of kyphosis were assessed. Lamina closure was defined as ≥ 10% decrease in the canal-to-body ratio at the final follow-up compared with that immediately after surgery at ≥ 1 vertebral level. The impact of lamina closure on neck pain, patient satisfaction, Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores, and recovery rates were also evaluated.

Results

The mean canal-to-body ratio at C3–6 was 0.69–0.72 preoperatively, 1.25–1.28 immediately after surgery, and 1.18–1.24 at the final follow-up examination. Lamina closure was observed in 34% of patients and was not associated with sex, age, or cause of myelopathy, but was significantly associated with the presence of preoperative kyphosis (p = 0.014). Between patients with and without lamina closure, there was no significant difference in preoperative (9.7 ± 3.1 vs 10.6 ± 2.5) and postoperative (13.7 ± 2.4 vs 13.1 ± 2.7) Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores, recovery rates (53.9 ± 29.9% vs 44.3 ± 29.5%), neck pain scores (3.5 ± 0.7 vs 3.3 ± 1.0), or patient satisfaction level (4.0 ± 1.4 vs 4.8 ± 1.0).

Conclusions

Lamina closure at ≥ 1 vertebral level occurred in 34% of patients. Although patients with lamina closure obtained equivalent recovery from myelopathy in a short-term follow-up, they tended to be less satisfied with surgery compared with those who did not have closure. The only significant risk factor identified was the presence of preoperative cervical kyphosis, and preventative methods for lamina closure, therefore, should be considered for patients with preoperative kyphosis.

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Kota Watanabe, Morio Matsumoto, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

The aim in this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the ball tip technique in placing thoracic pedicle screws (TPSs), as compared with the conventional freehand technique, in both a cadaveric study and a clinical study of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Although posterior spinal surgery using TPSs has been widely applied, these screws are associated with the potential risk of vascular, pulmonary, or neurological complications. To further enhance the accuracy and safety of TPS placement, the authors developed the ball tip technique.

Methods

After creating an appropriate starting point for probe insertion, a specially designed ball tip probe consisting of a ball-shaped tip with a flexible metal shaft is used to make a guide hole into the pedicle. Holding the probe with the fingertips while using an appropriate amount of pressure or by tapping it gently and continuously with a hammer, one can safely insert the ball tip probe into the cancellous channel in the pedicle.

In a cadaveric study, 5 spine fellows with similar levels of experience in placing TPSs applied the ball tip or the conventional technique to place screws in 5 cadavers with no spinal deformities. The incidence of misplaced screws was evaluated by dissecting the spines. In a clinical study, 40 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis underwent posterior surgery with TPS placement via the ball tip or conventional technique (20 patients in each treatment group). The accuracy of the TPS placements was evaluated on postoperative axial CT scanning.

Results

In the cadaveric study, 100 TPSs were evaluated, and the incidence of misplaced screws was 14% in the ball tip group and 34% in the conventional group (p = 0.0192). In the clinical study, 574 TPSs were evaluated. One hundred seventy-one intrapedicular screws (67%) were recognized in the conventional group and 288 (90%) in the ball tip group (p < 0.01). In the conventional and ball tip groups, the respective numbers of TPSs with a pedicle breach of ≤ 2 mm were 20 (8%) and 15 (5%), those with a pedicle breach of > 2 mm were 32 (13%) and 9 (3%; p < 0.01), and those located in the costovertebral joints were 32 (13%) and 7 (2%).

Conclusions

In both cadaveric and clinical studies the ball tip technique enhanced the accuracy of TPS placement as compared with the conventional freehand technique. Thus, the ball tip technique is useful for the accurate and safe placement of TPSs in deformed spines.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kota Watanabe, Ken Ishii, Takashi Tsuji, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to elucidate the clinical features and results of decompression surgery for extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction.

Methods

Twenty-eight patients with severe leg pain caused by extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction (18 men and 10 women; mean age 68.2 ± 8.9 years) were treated by posterior decompression without fusion using a microendoscope in 19 patients and a surgical microscope or loupe in 9 patients. The decompression procedures consisted of partial resection of the sacral ala, the L-5 transverse process, and the L5–S1 facet joint along the L-5 spinal nerve. The following items were investigated: 1) preoperative neurological findings; 2) preoperative radiological findings, including plain radiographs, CT scans, selective radiculography of L-5; 3) surgical outcome as evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale for low-back pain (JOA score); and 4) need for revision surgery.

Results

All patients presented with neurological deficits compatible with a diagnosis of L-5 radiculopathy such as weakness of the extensor hallucis longus muscle and sensory disturbance in the L-5 area together with neurogenic claudication. On plain radiographs, 21 patients (75%) and 17 patients (60.7%) exhibited lumbar scoliosis (≥ 5°) and wedging of the L5–S1 intervertebral space (≥ 3°), respectively. The CT scans demonstrated marked osteophyte formation at the posterolateral margin of the L5–S1 vertebral bodies, and a selective L-5 nerve root block was effective in all patients. All patients reported pain relief immediately after surgery. The mean JOA scores were 11.3 ± 3.8 before surgery and 24.3 ± 3.4 at the time of the final follow-up examination; the recovery rate was 68.6 ± 16.5%. The mean estimated blood loss was 66.6 ± 98.6 ml, and the mean surgical time was 135.3 ± 46.5 minutes. No significant difference in the recovery rate of the JOA scores or in the surgical time and blood loss was observed between the 2 surgical approaches. Four patients underwent revision posterior interbody fusion for the recurrence of radicular pain as a result of intraforaminal stenosis in 3 patients and insufficient decompression of the extraforaminal area in the remaining patient at an average of 19.5 months after surgery.

Conclusions

Extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction is a rare but distinct pathological condition causing L-5 radiculopathy. Decompression surgery without fusion using a microendoscope or a surgical microscope/ loupe is a feasible and less invasive surgical option for elderly patients with extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction.

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Masahiro Ozaki, Nobuyuki Fujita, Azusa Miyamoto, Satoshi Suzuki, Osahiko Tsuji, Narihito Nagoshi, Eijiro Okada, Mitsuru Yagi, Takashi Tsuji, Masaya Nakamura, Morio Matsumoto, Hitoshi Kono and Kota Watanabe

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS) and knee osteoarthritis (KOA), both of which are age-related degenerative diseases, are independently correlated with increased pain and dysfunction of the lower extremities. However, there have been few studies that investigated whether LSS patients with KOA exhibit poor clinical recovery following lumbar spinal surgery. The aim of this study was to elucidate the surgical outcomes of lumbar spinal surgery for LSS patients with KOA using multiple health-related quality of life (HRQOL) parameters.

METHODS

A total of 865 consecutive patients who underwent posterior lumbar spinal surgery for LSS were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline characteristics, radiographic parameters, perioperative factors, and multiple HRQOL parameters were analyzed preoperatively and at 1-year follow-up. HRQOL items included the Zurich Claudication Questionnaire, Oswestry Disability Index, Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), and Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ). The effectiveness of surgical treatment was assessed using the JOABPEQ. The treatment was regarded as effective when it resulted in an increase in postoperative JOABPEQ score by ≥ 20 points compared with preoperative score or achievement of a postoperative score of ≥ 90 points in those with a preoperative score of < 90 points.

RESULTS

A total of 32 LSS patients with KOA were identified, and 128 age- and sex-matched LSS patients without KOA were selected as controls. In both groups, all HRQOL parameters markedly improved at the 1-year follow-up. On the SF-36, the postoperative mean score for the role physical domain was significantly lower in the KOA group than in the control group (p = 0.034). The treatment was significantly less “effective” in the social life domain of JOABPEQ in the KOA group than in the control group (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The surgical outcomes of LSS patients with KOA are favorable, although poorer than those of LSS patients without KOA, particularly in terms of social life and activities. These results indicate that LSS patients with KOA experience difficulty in routine work or ordinary activities due to knee pain or restricted knee ROM even after lumbar spinal surgery. Hence, preoperative KOA status warrants consideration when planning lumbar spinal surgery and estimating surgical outcomes of LSS.