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Shinya Okuda, Takenori Oda, Ryoji Yamasaki, Takafumi Maeno and Motoki Iwasaki

One of the most important sequelae affecting long-term results is adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF). Although several reports have described the incidence rate, there have been no reports of repeated ASD. The purpose of this report was to describe 1 case of repeated ASD after PLIF. A 62-year-old woman with L-4 degenerative spondylolisthesis underwent PLIF at L4–5. At the second operation, L3–4 PLIF was performed for L-3 degenerative spondylolisthesis 6 years after the primary operation. At the third operation, L2–3 PLIF was performed for L-2 degenerative spondylolisthesis 1.5 years after the primary operation. Vertebral collapse of L-1 was detected 1 year after the third operation, and the collapse had progressed. At the fourth operation, 3 years after the third operation, vertebral column resection of L-1 and replacement of titanium mesh cages with pedicle screw fixation between T-4 and L-5 was performed. Although the patient's symptoms resolved after each operation, the time between surgeries shortened. The sacral slope decreased gradually although each PLIF achieved local lordosis at the fused segment.

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Masahiro Morita, Akira Miyauchi, Shinya Okuda, Takenori Oda, Tomio Yamamoto and Motoki Iwasaki

Object

The authors investigated the background, risk factors, and treatment strategies for Charcot spinal disease (CSD) after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods

The authors retrospectively examined the clinical and radiological findings in 9 patients with a total of 10 Charcot spine lesions that occurred after SCI. The mean age of the 9 patients was 54 years, and all patients presented with complete SCIs. In all but 1 patient, symptoms did not develop until 10 years postinjury. All 10 Charcot spine lesions were located below the thoracolumbar junction. Surgical treatment was performed in 7 patients (7 lesions), and the mean duration of postoperative follow-up was 84 months.

Results

All patients reported audible noises when changing posture, 5 of 9 patients reported low-back pain, and 7 patients displayed increasing instability while sitting. In 8 patients, spasticity disappeared and limbs became flaccid several years after SCI. Two patients had associated bacterial infections in the Charcot spine lesions, and 1 patient complained of autonomic dysreflexic symptoms associated with trunk movements. Although postoperative complications occurred in 3 patients, all patients who underwent surgical treatment made a good recovery and were able to return to daily life in a wheelchair. On lateral radiography, the mean range of motion at the lesion site was 43°, and fluid collections between the involved vertebrae were observed in 8 patients on MR images; ankylosing spinal hyperostosis was observed in 7 patients. Charcot spine lesions tended to occur at the junction between or at the end of an ankylosing spinal hyperostotic lesion. Postoperatively, solid arthrodesis was obtained within 6 months in all surgically treated lesions.

Conclusions

Disappearance of spasticity in the lower extremities is thought to be an important physical sign suggestive of CSD after SCI. Sitting imbalance and the fluid volume of the Charcot spinal lesions are related to range of motion at the lesion site. In addition to a combined approach, a single posterior approach with acquisition of anterior support is an option for surgical treatment even in cases of infected CSD.

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Shinya Okuda, Akira Miyauchi, Takenori Oda, Takamitsu Haku, Tomio Yamamoto and Motoki Iwasaki

Object

Previous studies of surgical complications associated with posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) are of limited value due to intrastudy variation in instrumentation and fusion techniques. The purpose of the present study was to examine rates of intraoperative and postoperative complications of PLIF using a large number of cases with uniform instrumentation and a uniform fusion technique.

Methods

The authors reviewed the hospital records of 251 patients who underwent PLIF for degenerative lumbar disorders between 1996 and 2002 and who could be followed for at least 2 years. Intraoperative, early postoperative, and late postoperative complications were investigated.

Intraoperative complications occurred in 26 patients: dural tearing in 19 patients and pedicle screw malposition in seven patients. Intraoperative complications did not affect the postoperative clinical results. Early postoperative complications occurred in 19 patients: brain infarction occurred in one, infection in one, and neurological complications in 17. Of the 17 patients with neurological complications, nine showed severe motor loss such as foot drop; the remaining eight patients showed slight motor loss or radicular pain alone, and their symptoms improved within 6 weeks. Late postoperative complications occurred in 17 patients: hardware failure in three, nonunion in three, and adjacent-segment degeneration in 11. Postoperative progression of symptomatic adjacentsegment degeneration was defined as a condition that required additional surgery to treat neurological deterioration.

Conclusions

The most serious complications of PLIF were postoperative severe neurological deficits and adjacent-segment degeneration. Prevention and management of such complications are necessary to attain good long-term clinical results.

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Shinya Okuda, Takenori Oda, Ryoji Yamasaki, Takamitsu Haku, Takafumi Maeno and Motoki Iwasaki

Object

The management of isthmic spondylolisthesis remains controversial, especially with respect to reduction. There have been no reports regarding appropriate slip reduction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the following issues: 1) surgical outcomes of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with total facetectomy for low-dysplastic isthmic spondylolisthesis, including postoperative complications; 2) effects of slip reduction on surgical outcomes; and 3) appropriate slip reduction.

Methods

A total of 106 patients who underwent PLIF with total facetectomy for low-dysplastic isthmic spondylolisthesis and who were followed for at least 2 years were reviewed. The average follow-up period was 8 years. Surgical outcomes, including the scores assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scoring system, the recovery rate, and postoperative complications were investigated. As for radiographic evaluations, pre- and postoperative slip and disc height, instrumentation failure, and fusion status were also examined.

Results

The pre- and postoperative average Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores were 14 (range 3–25) and 25 (range 11–29) points, respectively. The average recovery rate was 73% (range 0%–100%). The average pre- and postoperative slip was 24% and 10%, respectively. A significant correlation between postoperative slip and clinical outcomes was found; clinical outcomes were better in proportion to slip reduction. Although no statistical difference was detected in clinical outcomes between postoperative slip of less than 10% and from 10% to 20%, patients with postoperative slip of more than 20% showed significantly worse clinical outcomes. Postoperative complications included neurological deficits in 7 patients (transient motor loss in 6 and permanent motor loss in 1), instrumentation failures in 7, adjacent-segment degeneration in 5, and nonunion in 4. Instrumentation failures occurred significantly more often in patients with more slip reduction, although slip reduction did not affect the other postoperative complications. All patients with instrumentation failure showed postoperative slip reduction within 10%.

Conclusions

The use of PLIF with total facetectomy for low-dysplastic isthmic spondylolisthesis appears to produce satisfactory clinical outcomes, with an average of 73% recovery rate and few postoperative complications. Although clinical outcomes were better in proportion to slip reduction, excessive reduction caused instrumentation failure, and patients with less reduction demonstrated worse clinical outcomes. Appropriate reduction resulted in a postoperative slip ranging from 10% to 20%.

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Takahito Fujimori, Motoki Iwasaki, Shinya Okuda, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Hironobu Sakaura, Takenori Oda and Hideki Yoshikawa

Object

Surgical results in cervical myelopathy caused by ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) evaluated with a patient-based method have not yet been reported. The purpose of this study was to examine patient satisfaction with surgery for cervical myelopathy due to OPLL and to clarify factors related to satisfaction.

Methods

Clinical data in 103 patients (74 male and 29 female) who underwent surgery for cervical OPLL were retrospectively reviewed. The average age at surgery was 57 years, and the average follow-up period was 9.3 years. Outcomes were assessed using an original satisfaction questionnaire, the conventional Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system, the JOA Cervical Myelopathy Evaluation Questionnaire, the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, and the hospital anxiety and depression scale. Spearman rank correlation coefficients for 5-scale patient satisfaction against outcome measures were calculated to test relationships between variables. All variables were compared between the satisfied (responses of very satisfied or satisfied) and dissatisfied (responses of dissatisfied or very dissatisfied) groups. Parameters exhibiting a significant Spearman rank correlation or difference between the groups were entered in a stepwise logistic regression analysis model, with satisfaction as the dependent variable.

Results

Sixty-nine patients were included in the analysis. There was not a significant difference in clinical data between these 69 study patients and the other 34 patients. Fifty-five patients (80%) were satisfied with the results of the surgery, and 58 patients (84%) reported that their condition was improved by the surgery. All patients who reported being very improved were either very satisfied or satisfied with the results of surgery. Quality of life (QOL), physical function (PF), and role physical (RP) were significantly correlated with patient satisfaction. The dissatisfied group had significantly more severe pain; lower maximum conventional JOA scores; lower maximum recovery rates; worse lower-extremity function (LEF); reduced QOL; and lower PF, RP, and vitality scores. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that PF, QOL, LEF, and maximum recovery rate based on JOA score were correlated with satisfaction.

Conclusions

Eighty percent of patients were satisfied with the surgical results after treatment of cervical myelopathy due to OPLL. Surgery for cervical OPLL was effective, as evaluated by both doctor- and patient-based methods. Patient satisfaction was related to QOL, PF (especially LEF), and improvement.