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Randall B. Graham, Mathew Cotton, Antoun Koht and Tyler R. Koski

Various complications of prone positioning in spine surgery have been described in the literature. Patients in the prone position for extended periods are subject to neurological deficits and/or loss of intraoperative signals due to compression neuropathies, but positioning-related spinal deficits are rare in the thoracolumbar deformity population. The authors present a case of severe kyphoscoliotic deformity with critical thoracolumbar stenosis in which, during the use of a hinged open frame in the prone position, complete loss of intraoperative neural monitoring signals occurred while the frame was flexed into kyphosis to facilitate exposure and instrumentation placement. When the frame was reset to a neutral position, evoked potentials returned to baseline and the operation proceeded without complications. This case represents, to the authors’ knowledge, the first report of loss of evoked potentials due to an alteration of prone positioning on a hinged open frame. When positioning patients in such a manner, careful attention should be directed to intraoperative signals in patients with critical stenosis and kyphotic deformity.

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Patrick A. Sugrue, Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Fadi Nasr, Tyler R. Koski and Stephen L. Ondra

Spinal deformity surgery is associated with high rates of morbidity and a wide range of complications. The most significant abdominal complications following kyphosis correction, while uncommon, can certainly pose significant infectious and hemodynamic risks to the patient. Abdominal compartment syndrome is the most severe of the sequelae. It is the end result of elevated abdominal compartment pressure with physiological compromise and end organ system dysfunction. Although most commonly associated with trauma, abdominal compartment syndrome has also been witnessed following massive fluid shifts, which can occur during adult spinal deformity surgery. In this manuscript, we report on 2 patients with ankylosing spondylitis who developed significant abdominal pathology requiring exploratory laparotomy following kyphosis correction. In addition to describing the details of each case, we propose explanations of the relevant pathophysiology and review diagnostic and treatment strategies for such events. The key to effectively treating such a debilitating complication is to recognize it quickly and intervene rapidly and aggressively.

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Patrick C. Hsieh, Stephen L. Ondra, Robert J. Wienecke, Brian A. O'Shaughnessy and Tyler R. Koski

✓The authors describe the use of sacral pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) with multiple sacral alar osteotomies for the correction of sacral kyphosis and pelvic incidence and for achieving sagittal balance correction in cases of fixed sagittal deformity after a sacral fracture.

In this paper, the authors report on a novel technique using a series of sacral osteotomies and a sacral PSO to correct a fixed sagittal deformity in a patient with a sacral fracture that had healed in a kyphotic position. The patient sustained this fracture after a previous surgery for multilevel instrumented fusion. Preoperative and postoperative radiographic studies are reviewed and the clinical course and outcome are presented.

Experts agree that the pelvic incidence is a fixed parameter that dictates the morphological characteristics of the pelvis and affects spinopelvic orientation and sagittal spinal alignment. An increased pelvic incidence is associated with a higher degree of spondylolisthesis in the lumbosacral junction, and increased shear forces across this junction. The authors demonstrate that the pelvic incidence can be altered and corrected with a series of sacral osteotomies to improve sacral kyphosis, compensatory lumbar hyperlordosis, and sagittal balance.

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Patrick C. Hsieh, Tyler R. Koski, Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Patrick Sugrue, Sean Salehi, Stephen Ondra and John C. Liu

Object

A primary consideration of all spinal fusion procedures is restoration of normal anatomy, including disc height, lumbar lordosis, foraminal decompression, and sagittal balance. To the authors' knowledge, there has been no direct comparison of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) concerning their capacity to alter those parameters. The authors conducted a retrospective radiographic analysis directly comparing ALIF with TLIF in their capacity to alter foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis.

Methods

The medical records and radiographs of 32 patients undergoing ALIF and 25 patients undergoing TLIF from between 2000 and 2004 were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical data and radiographic measurements, including preoperative and postoperative foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis, were obtained. Statistical analyses included mean values, 95% confidence intervals, and intraobserver/interobserver reliability for the measurements that were performed.

Results

Our results indicate that ALIF is superior to TLIF in its capacity to restore foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis. The ALIF procedure increased foraminal height by 18.5%, whereas TLIF decreased it by 0.4%. In addition, ALIF increased the local disc angle by 8.3° and lumbar lordosis by 6.2°, whereas TLIF decreased the local disc angle by 0.1° and lumbar lordosis by 2.1°.

Conclusions

The ALIF procedure is superior to TLIF in its capacity to restore foraminal height, local disc angle, and lumbar lordosis. The improved radiographic outcomes may be an indication of improved sagittal balance correction, which may lead to better long-term outcomes as shown by other studies. Our data, however, demonstrated no difference in clinical outcome between the two groups at the 2-year follow-up.

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Benson P. Yang, Stephen L. Ondra, Larry A. Chen, Hee Soo Jung, Tyler R. Koski and Sean A. Salehi

Object

he authors conducted a study to evaluate the radiographically documented and functional outcomes obtained in patients who underwent pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO). They also compared outcomes after classification of cases into thoracic and lumbar PSO subgroups.

Methods

he authors analyzed data obtained in 35 consecutive PSO-treated patients with sagittal imbalance. One surgeon performed all surgeries. The minimal follow-up period was 2 years. Events during the perioperative course and complications were noted. Standing long-film radiographs of the spine were obtained and measurements were made preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at most recent follow-up examination. The modified Prolo Scale and the 22-item Scoliosis Research Society (SRS-22) Outcomes Questionnaire were administered.

Early complications after PSO included neurological injury, wound-related problems, and nosocomial infections. Late complications were limited to pseudarthrosis and attendant instrumentation failure. Early and late complication rates ranged from 10 to 30% for both thoracic and lumbar PSO cohorts.

Lumbar PSO was associated with improvements in local, segmental, and global measures of sagittal balance, whereas thoracic PSO was only associated with local improvement. Most patients rated their functional status as fair to good according to the modified Prolo Scale and reported, according to the SRS-22 Outcomes Questionnaire, that they were satisfied with the overall treatment of their back condition.

Conclusions

The ability to perform a PSO at both lumbar and thoracic levels is a powerful asset for the spine surgeon treating spinal deformity. In the present study radiographic and clinical outcomes were superior when PSO was used to treat lumbar deformity rather than thoracic deformity because of several anatomical and technical obstacles that hindered the thoracic procedure. Nevertheless, the thoracic PSO proved a useful addition with which to produce regional improvement in sagittal balance for patients with a fixed thoracic kyphosis.

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Rishi R. Lall, Rohan R. Lall, Jason S. Hauptman, Carlos Munoz, George R. Cybulski, Tyler Koski, Aruna Ganju, Richard G. Fessler and Zachary A. Smith

Spine surgery carries an inherent risk of damage to critical neural structures. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is frequently used to improve the safety of spine surgery by providing real-time assessment of neural structures at risk. Evidence-based guidelines for safe and efficacious use of IONM are lacking and its use is largely driven by surgeon preference and medicolegal issues. Due to this lack of standardization, the preoperative sign-in serves as a critical opportunity for 3-way discussion between the neurosurgeon, anesthesiologist, and neuromonitoring team regarding the necessity for and goals of IONM in the ensuing case. This analysis contains a review of commonly used IONM modalities including somatosensory evoked potentials, motor evoked potentials, spontaneous or free-running electromyography, triggered electromyography, and combined multimodal IONM. For each modality the methodology, interpretation, and reported sensitivity and specificity for neurological injury are addressed. This is followed by a discussion of important IONM-related issues to include in the preoperative checklist, including anesthetic protocol, warning criteria for possible neurological injury, and consideration of what steps to take in response to a positive alarm. The authors conclude with a cost-effectiveness analysis of IONM, and offer recommendations for IONM use during various forms of spine surgery, including both complex spine and minimally invasive procedures, as well as lower-risk spinal operations.

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Ekamjeet S. Dhillon, Ryan Khanna, Michael Cloney, Helena Roberts, George R. Cybulski, Tyler R. Koski, Zachary A. Smith and Nader S. Dahdaleh

OBJECTIVE

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) after spinal surgery is a major cause of morbidity, but chemoprophylactic anticoagulation can prevent it. However, there is variability in the timing and use of chemoprophylactic anticoagulation after spine surgery, particularly given surgeons’ concerns for spinal epidural hematomas. The goal of this study was to provide insight into the safety, efficacy, and timing of anticoagulation therapy after spinal surgery.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined records from 6869 consecutive spinal surgeries performed in their departments at Northwestern University. Data on patient demographics, surgery, hospital course, timing of chemoprophylaxis, and complications, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and spinal epidural hematomas requiring evacuation, were collected. Data from the patients who received chemoprophylaxis (n = 1904) were compared with those of patients who did not (n = 4965). The timing of chemoprophylaxis, the rate of VTEs, and the incidence of spinal epidural hematomas were analyzed.

RESULTS

The chemoprophylaxis group had more risk factors, including greater age (59.70 vs 51.86 years, respectively; p < 0.001), longer surgery (278.59 vs 145.66 minutes, respectively; p < 0.001), higher estimated blood loss (995 vs 448 ml, respectively; p < 0.001), more comorbid diagnoses (2.69 vs 1.89, respectively; p < 0.001), history of VTE (5.8% vs 2.1%, respectively; p < 0.001), and a higher number were undergoing fusion surgery (46.1% vs 24.7%, respectively; p < 0.001). The prevalence of VTE was higher in the chemoprophylaxis group (3.62% vs 2.03%, respectively; p < 0.001). The median time to VTE occurrence was shorter in the nonchemoprophylaxis group (3.6 vs 6.8 days, respectively; p = 0.0003, log-rank test; hazard ratio 0.685 [0.505–0.926]), and the peak prevalence of VTE occurred in the first 3 postoperative days in the nonchemoprophylaxis group. The average time of initiation of chemoprophylaxis was 1.46 days after surgery. The rates of epidural hematoma were 0.20% (n = 4) in the chemoprophylaxis group and 0.18% (n = 9) in the nonchemoprophylaxis group (p = 0.622).

CONCLUSIONS

The risks of spinal epidural hematoma among patients who receive chemoprophylaxis and those who do not are low and equivalent. Administering anticoagulation therapy from 1 day before to 3 days after surgery is safe for patients at high risk for VTE.

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Frank L. Acosta Jr., Jamal McClendon Jr., Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Heiko Koller, Chris J. Neal, Oliver Meier, Christopher P. Ames, Tyler R. Koski and Stephen L. Ondra

Object

As the population continues to age, relatively older geriatric patients will present more frequently with complex spinal deformities that may require surgical intervention. To the authors' knowledge, no study has analyzed factors predictive of complications after major spinal deformity surgery in the very elderly (75 years and older). The authors' objective was to determine the rate of minor and major complications and predictive factors in patients 75 years of age and older who underwent major spinal deformity surgery requiring a minimum 5-level arthrodesis procedure.

Methods

Twenty-one patients who were 75 years of age or older and underwent thoracic and/or lumbar fixation and arthrodesis across 5 or more levels for spinal deformity were analyzed retrospectively. The medical and surgical records were reviewed in detail. Age, diagnosis, comorbidities, operative data, hospital data, major and minor complications, and deaths were recorded. Factors predictive of perioperative complications were identified by logistic regression analysis.

Results

The mean patient age was 77 years old (range 75–83 years). There were 14 women and 7 men. The mean follow-up was 41.2 months (range 24–81 months). Fifteen patients (71%) had at least 1 comorbidity. A mean of 10.5 levels were fused (range 5–15 levels). Thirteen patients (62%) had at least 1 perioperative complication, and 8 (38%) had at least one major complication for a total of 17 complications. There were no perioperative deaths. Increasing age was predictive of any perioperative complication (p = 0.03). However, major complications were not predicted by age or comorbidities as a whole. In a subset analysis of comorbidities, only hypertension was predictive of a major complication (OR 10, 95% CI 1.3–78; p = 0.02). Long-term postoperative complications occurred in 11 patients (52%), and revision fusion surgery was necessary in 3 (14%).

Conclusions

Patients 75 years and older undergoing major spinal deformity surgery have an overall perioperative complication rate of 62%, with older age increasing the likelihood of a complication, and a long-term postoperative complication rate of 52%. Patients in this age group with a history of hypertension are 10 times more likely to incur a major perioperative complication. However, the mortality risk for these patients is not increased.

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Patrick Shih, Nicholas P. Slimack, Anil Roy, Richard G. Fessler and Tyler R. Koski

Perioperative abdominal complications associated with spine surgery are rare. Although most known abdominal complications occur in conjunction with anterior spinal fusions, there is a paucity of reports reviewing abdominal complications occurring with posterior spinal fusions. The authors review 4 patients who experienced a perioperative abdominal complication following a posterior spinal fusion. In each of these patients, a history of abdominal surgery is present. Given the physiological changes that occur with surgery in the prone position, patients with previous abdominal surgeries are at risk for developing abdominal complications in the perioperative period.

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Patrick Shih, Ryan J. Halpin, Aruna Ganju, John C. Liu and Tyler R. Koski

Recurrent tethered cord syndrome (TCS) can lead to significant progressive disability in adults. The diagnosis of TCS is made with a high degree of clinical suspicion. In the adult population, many patients receive inadequate care unless they are seen at a multidisciplinary clinic. Successful detethering procedures require careful intradural dissection and meticulous wound and dural closure. With multiple revision procedures, vertebral column shortening has become an appropriate alternative to surgical detethering.