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Simon Heinrich Bayerl, Florian Pöhlmann, Tobias Finger, Jörg Franke, Johannes Woitzik and Peter Vajkoczy

OBJECTIVE

Microsurgical decompression (MD) in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) shows good clinical results. Nevertheless, 30%–40% of patients do not have a significant benefit after surgery—probably due to different anatomical preconditions. The sagittal profile types (SPTs 1–4) defined by Roussouly based on different spinopelvic parameters have been shown to influence spinal degeneration and surgical results. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the SPT on the clinical outcome in patients with LSS who were treated with MD.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively investigated 100 patients with LSS who received MD. The patients were subdivided into 4 groups depending on their SPT, which was determined from preoperative lateral spinal radiographs. The authors analyzed pre- and postoperative outcome scales, including the visual analog scale (VAS), walking distance, Oswestry Disability Index, Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire, Odom’s criteria, and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey score.

RESULTS

Patients with SPT 1 showed a significantly worse clinical outcome concerning their postoperative back pain (VASback-SPT 1 = 5.4 ± 2.8; VASback-SPT 2 = 2.6 ± 1.9; VASback-SPT 3 = 2.9 ± 2.6; VASback-SPT 4 = 1.5 ± 2.5) and back pain–related disability. Only 43% were satisfied with their surgical results, compared with 70%–80% in the other groups.

CONCLUSIONS

A small pelvic incidence with reduced compensation mechanisms, a distinct lordosis in the lower lumbar spine with a high load on dorsal structures, and a long thoracolumbar kyphosis with a high axial load might lead to worse back pain after MD. Therefore, the indication for MD should be provided carefully, fusion can be considered, and other possible reasons for back pain should be thoroughly evaluated and treated.

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Vincent Prinz, Simon Bayerl, Nora Renz, Andrej Trampuz, Marcus Czabanka, Johannes Woitzik, Peter Vajkoczy and Tobias Finger

OBJECTIVE

Loosening of pedicle screws is a frequent complication after spinal surgery. Implant colonization with low-virulent microorganisms forming biofilms may cause implant loosening. However, the clinical evidence of this mechanism is lacking. Here, the authors evaluated the potential role of microbial colonization using sonication in patients with clinical pedicle screw loosening but without signs of infection.

METHODS

All consecutive patients undergoing hardware removal between January 2015 and December 2017, including patients with screw loosening but without clinical signs of infection, were evaluated. The removed hardware was investigated using sonication.

RESULTS

A total of 82 patients with a mean (± SD) patient age of 65 ± 13 years were eligible for evaluation. Of the 54 patients with screw loosening, 22 patients (40.7%) had a positive sonication result. None of the 28 patients without screw loosening who served as a control cohort showed a positive sonication result (p < 0.01). In total, 24 microorganisms were detected in those 22 patients. The most common isolated microorganisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci (62.5%) and Cutibacterium acnes (formerly known as Propionibacterium acnes) (25%). When comparing only the patients with screw loosening, the duration of the previous spine surgery was significantly longer in patients with a positive microbiological result (288 ± 147 minutes) than in those with a negative result (201 ± 103 minutes) (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The low-virulent microorganisms frequently detected on pedicle screws by using sonication may be an important cause of implant loosening and failure. Longer surgical duration increases the likelihood of implant colonization with subsequent screw loosening. Sonication is a highly sensitive approach to detect biofilm-producing bacteria, and it needs to be integrated into the clinical routine for optimized treatment strategies.