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Paul M. Foreman, Robert P. Naftel, Thomas A. Moore II and Mark N. Hadley

OBJECT

Since its introduction in 1976, the lateral extracavitary approach (LECA) has been used to access ventral and ventrolateral pathology affecting the thoracolumbar spine. Reporting of outcomes and complications has been inconsistent. A case series and systematic review are presented to summarize the available data.

METHODS

A retrospective review of medical records was performed, which identified 65 consecutive patients who underwent LECA for the treatment of thoracolumbar spine and spinal cord pathology. Cases were divided according to the presenting pathology. Neurological outcomes and complications were detailed. In addition, a systematic review of outcomes and complications in patients treated with the LECA as reported in the literature was completed.

RESULTS

Sixty-five patients underwent the LECA to the spine for the treatment of thoracic spine and spinal cord pathology. The most common indication for surgery was thoracic disc herniation (23/65, 35.4%). Neurological outcomes were excellent: 69.2% improved, 29.2% experienced no change, and 1.5% were worse. Two patients (3.1%) experienced a complication. The systematic review revealed comparable neurological outcomes (74.9% improved) but a notably higher complication rate (32.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

The LECA provides dorsal and unilateral ventrolateral access to and exposure of the thoracolumbar spine and spinal cord while allowing for posterior instrumentation through the same incision. Although excellent neurological results can be expected, the risk of pulmonary complications should be considered.

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Surgical manifestations of thoracic arachnoid pathology: series of 28 cases

Presented at the 2013 Joint Spine Section Meeting 

Christoph J. Griessenauer, David F. Bauer, Thomas A. Moore II, Patrick R. Pritchard and Mark N. Hadley

Object

Various pathologies involving the thoracic arachnoid mater uniformly manifest as thoracic myelopathy and may present a significant management dilemma. The authors undertook this study to assess outcome in cases of thoracic myelopathy due to thoracic arachnoid pathology.

Methods

The authors have cared for and followed 28 patients with thoracic myelopathy from thoracic arachnoid pathology over the last 17 years. A chart review and contemporary follow-up of these patients was performed and outcomes were reported.

Results

Patients with thoracic myelopathy from thoracic arachnoid pathology often have improvement in their condition after surgical decompression/detethering procedures. While not universal, patients in this series had improvement in mJOA scores at 1 year after surgery (p = 0.0001) and at last follow-up (p = 0.04). Results indicated that across a wide variety of pathologies the extent of thoracic spinal cord involvement is a predictor of the disease course and outcome. Comparison of the group of patients with cord involvement limited to 2 vertebral segments (short-segment pathology) versus the group with cord tethering of more than 2 segments (long-segment pathology) showed that patients in the short-segment group more frequently had ventral or dorsal arachnoid bands (p = 0.003), more frequently had signal change in the cord on MRI (p = 0.02), and less frequently presented with a syrinx (p = 0.02), and a smaller percentage of patients in this group underwent reoperation (p = 0.02). While patients with short-segment pathology typically improved after a single operative intervention, patients with long-segment pathology typically improved after multiple operations, frequently for CSF diversion.

Conclusions

Thoracic arachnoid pathology causing thoracic cord dysfunction and myelopathy is varied, has multiple etiologies, and can be difficult to treat over the long term. Surgical management, when indicated, is case specific. Serial long-term follow-up is essential to document enduring clinical and radiographic success.

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Ian K. White, Kashif A. Shaikh, Reilin J. Moore, Carli L. Bullis, Mairaj T. Sami, Thomas J. Gianaris and Daniel H. Fulkerson

Object

A number of mathematical models predict the risk of future cancer from the ionizing radiation exposure of CT scanning. The predictions are alarming. Some models predict 29,000 future cancers and 14,500 deaths in the US will be directly caused by 1 year's worth of CT scanning. However, there are very few clinical data to justify or refute these claims. Young children are theoretically highly susceptible to the damaging effects of radiation. In this study, the authors examined children who underwent CSF shunt placement before 6 years of age. The authors chose to study shunt-treated patients with the assumption that these patients would undergo future imaging, facilitating surveillance. They chose a study period of 1991–2001 to allow more than 10 years of follow-up data.

Methods

The authors studied 104 consecutive children who underwent CSF shunt placement prior to 6 years of age and who had at least 10 years of follow-up data. Sixty-two of these patients underwent shunt placement prior to 1 year of age. The age at the initial scanning session, the number of future CT scanning sessions, diagnosis, and results of any future studies were recorded. The age-specific radiation dose was calculated for children younger than 1 year. Children younger than 1 year at the time of shunt placement were evaluated separately, based on the assumption that they represented the highest risk cohort. The authors examined all data for any evidence of future leukemia or head/neck tumor (benign or malignant).

Results

These children underwent a total of 1584 CT scanning sessions over a follow-up period of 1622 person-years. A total of 517 scanning sessions were performed prior to 6 years of age, including 260 in the 1st year of life. Children who underwent shunt placement before 1 year of age underwent an average of 16.3 ± 13.5 CT sessions (range 1–41). Children undergoing placement between 1 and 6 years of age received an average of 14.1 ± 12.5 CT studies (range 5–52). There were no subsequent tumors (benign or malignant) or leukemia detected.

Conclusions

Previously published models predict a significant number of future cancers directly caused by CT scanning. However, there are very few published clinical data. In the authors' study, zero future radiation-induced malignancies were detected after routine CT scanning in a high-risk group. While the authors do not consider their single-institution study adequate to define the actual risk, their data suggest that the overall risk is low. The authors hope this study encourages future collaborative efforts to define the actual risk to patients.

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Wilson Z. Ray, Rahul Kasukurthi, Esther M. Papp, Amy M. Moore, Andrew Yee, Daniel A. Hunter, Nancy L. Solowski, Thalachallour Mohanakumar, Susan E. Mackinnon and Thomas H. Tung

Object

Peripheral nerve allografts provide a temporary scaffold for host nerve regeneration and allow for the repair of significant segmental nerve injuries. Despite this potential, nerve allograft transplantation requires temporary systemic immunosuppression. Characterization of the immunological mechanisms involved in the induction of immune hyporesponsiveness to prevent nerve allograft rejection will help provide a basis for optimizing immunomodulation regimens or manipulating donor nerve allografts to minimize or eliminate the need for global immunosuppression.

Methods

The authors used C57Bl/6 mice and STAT4 and STAT6 gene BALB/c knockout mice. A nonvascularized nerve allograft was used to reconstruct a 1-cm sciatic nerve gap in the murine model. A triple costimulatory blockade of the CD40, CD28/B7, and inducible costimulatory (ICOS) pathways was used. Quantitative assessment was performed at 3 weeks with nerve histomorphometry, walking track analysis, and the enzyme-linked immunospot assay.

Results

The STAT6 −/− mice received 3 doses of costimulation-blocking antibodies and had axonal regeneration equivalent to nerve isografts, while treated STAT4 −/− mice demonstrated moderate axonal regeneration but inferior to the T helper cell Type 2–deficient animals. Enzyme-linked immunospot assay analysis demonstrated a minimal immune response in both STAT4 −/− and STAT6 −/− mice treated with a costimulatory blockade.

Conclusions

The authors' findings suggest that Type 1 T helper cells may play a more significant role in costimulatory blockade–induced immune hyporesponsiveness in the nerve allograft model, and that Type 2 T helper differentation may represent a potential target for directed immunosuppression.

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Raghav Gupta, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Justin M. Moore, Christoph J. Griessenauer, Alejandro Enriquez-Marulanda, Madeline Leadon, Nimer Adeeb, Luis Ascanio, Georgios A. Maragkos, Abhi Jain, Philip G. R. Schmalz, Abdulrahman Y. Alturki, Kimberly Kicielinski, Clemens M. Schirmer and Ajith J. Thomas

OBJECTIVE

There is currently no standardized follow-up imaging strategy for intracranial aneurysms treated with the Pipeline embolization device (PED). Here, the authors use follow-up imaging data for aneurysms treated with the PED to propose a standardizable follow-up imaging strategy.

METHODS

A retrospective review of all patients who underwent treatment for ruptured or unruptured intracranial aneurysms with the PED between March 2013 and March 2017 at 2 major academic institutions in the US was performed.

RESULTS

A total of 218 patients underwent treatment for 259 aneurysms with the PED and had undergone at least 1 follow-up imaging session to assess aneurysm occlusion status. There were 235 (90.7%) anterior and 24 posterior (9.3%) circulation aneurysms. On Kaplan-Meier analysis, the cumulative incidences of aneurysm occlusion at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months were 38.2%, 77.8%, 84.2%, and 85.1%, respectively. No differences in the cumulative incidence of aneurysm occlusion according to aneurysm location (p = 0.39) or aneurysm size (p = 0.81) were observed. A trend toward a decreased cumulative incidence of aneurysm occlusion in patients 70 years or older was observed (p = 0.088). No instances of aneurysm rupture after PED treatment or aneurysm recurrence after occlusion were noted. Sixteen (6.2%) aneurysms were re-treated with the PED; 11 of these had imaging follow-up data available, demonstrating occlusion in 3 (27.3%).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors propose a follow-up imaging strategy that incorporates 12-month digital subtraction angiography and 24-month MRA for patients younger than 70 years and single-session digital subtraction angiography at 12 months in patients 70 years or older. For recurrent or persistent aneurysms, re-treatment with the PED or use of an alternative treatment modality may be considered.