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Marcus D. Mazur, Vijay M. Ravindra and Douglas L. Brockmeyer

OBJECT

Patients with occipitocervical (OC) instability from congenital vertebral anomalies (CVAs) of the craniocervical junction (CCJ) often have bony abnormalities that make instrumentation placement difficult. Within this patient population, some bilateral instrumentation constructs either fail or are not feasible, and a unilateral construct must be used. The authors describe the surgical management and outcomes of this disorder in patients in whom unilateral fixation constructs were used to treat OC instability.

METHODS

From a database of OC fusion procedures, the authors identified patients who underwent unilateral fixation for the management of OC instability. Patient characteristics, surgical details, and radiographic outcomes were reviewed. In each patient, CT scans were performed at least 4 months after surgery to evaluate for fusion.

RESULTS

Eight patients with CVAs of the CCJ underwent unilateral fixation for the treatment of OC instability. For 4 patients, the procedure occurred after a bilateral OC construct failed or infection forced hardware removal. For the remainder, it was the primary procedure. Two patients required reoperation for hardware revision and 1 developed nonunion requiring revision of the bone graft. Ultimately, 7 patients demonstrated osseous fusion on CT scans and 1 had a stable fibrous union.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings demonstrate that a unilateral OC fixation is effective for the treatment of OC instability in children with CVAs of the CCJ in whom bilateral screw placement fails or is not feasible.

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Vijay M. Ravindra, Ilyas M. Eli, Meic H. Schmidt and Douglas L. Brockmeyer

Spinal column tumors are rare in children and young adults, accounting for only 1% of all spine and spinal cord tumors combined. They often present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. In this article, the authors review the current management of primary osseous tumors of the pediatric spinal column and highlight diagnosis, management, and surgical decision making.

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Rinchen Phuntsok, Marcus D. Mazur, Benjamin J. Ellis, Vijay M. Ravindra and Douglas L. Brockmeyer

OBJECT

There is a significant deficiency in understanding the biomechanics of the pediatric craniocervical junction (CCJ) (occiput–C2), primarily because of a lack of human pediatric cadaveric tissue and the relatively small number of treated patients. To overcome this deficiency, a finite element model (FEM) of the pediatric CCJ was created using pediatric geometry and parameterized adult material properties. The model was evaluated under the physiological range of motion (ROM) for flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending and under tensile loading.

METHODS

This research utilizes the FEM method, which is a numerical solution technique for discretizing and analyzing systems. The FEM method has been widely used in the field of biomechanics. A CT scan of a 13-month-old female patient was used to create the 3D geometry and surfaces of the FEM model, and an open-source FEM software suite was used to apply the material properties and boundary and loading conditions and analyze the model. The published adult ligament properties were reduced to 50%, 25%, and 10% of the original stiffness in various iterations of the model, and the resulting ROMs for flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending were compared. The flexion-extension ROMs and tensile stiffness that were predicted by the model were evaluated using previously published experimental measurements from pediatric cadaveric tissues.

RESULTS

The model predicted a ROM within 1 standard deviation of the published pediatric ROM data for flexion-extension at 10% of adult ligament stiffness. The model's response in terms of axial tension also coincided well with published experimental tension characterization data. The model behaved relatively stiffer in extension than in flexion. The axial rotation and lateral bending results showed symmetric ROM, but there are currently no published pediatric experimental data available for comparison. The model predicts a relatively stiffer ROM in both axial rotation and lateral bending in comparison with flexion-extension. As expected, the flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending ROMs increased with the decrease in ligament stiffness.

CONCLUSIONS

An FEM of the pediatric CCJ was created that accurately predicts flexion-extension ROM and axial force displacement of occiput–C2 when the ligament material properties are reduced to 10% of the published adult ligament properties. This model gives a reasonable prediction of pediatric cervical spine ligament stiffness, the relationship between flexion-extension ROM, and ligament stiffness at the CCJ. The creation of this model using open-source software means that other researchers will be able to use the model as a starting point for research.

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Vijay M. Ravindra, Michael Karsy, Richard H. Schmidt, Philipp Taussky, Min S. Park and Robert J. Bollo

The authors report the case of a previously healthy 6-month-old girl who presented with right arm and leg stiffening consistent with seizure activity. An initial CT scan of the head demonstrated acute subarachnoid hemorrhage in the basal cisterns extending into the left sylvian fissure. Computed tomography angiography demonstrated a 7 × 6 × 5–mm saccular aneurysm of the inferior M2 division of the left middle cerebral artery. The patient underwent left craniotomy and microsurgical clip ligation with wrapping of the aneurysm neck because the vessel appeared circumferentially dysplastic in the region of the aneurysm. Postoperative angiography demonstrated a small remnant, sluggish distal flow, but no significant cerebral vasospasm. Fifty-five days after the initial aneurysm rupture, the patient presented again with an acute intraparenchymal hemorrhage of the left anterior temporal lobe. Angiogram revealed a circumferentially dysplastic superior division of the M2 branch, with a new 5 × 4–mm saccular aneurysm distinct from the first, with 2 smaller aneurysms distal to the new ruptured aneurysm. Endovascular parent vessel occlusion with Onyx was performed. Genetic testing revealed a mutation of the MYH11. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of rapid de novo aneurysm formation in an infant with an MYH11 mutation. The authors review the patient's clinical presentation and management and comprehensively review the literature on this topic.

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Vijay M. Ravindra, Andrea Brock, Al-Wala Awad, Ricky Kalra and Meic H. Schmidt

OBJECTIVE

Treatment advances have resulted in improved survival for many cancer types, and this, in turn, has led to an increased incidence of metastatic disease, specifically to the vertebral column. Surgical decompression and stabilization prior to radiation therapy have been shown to improve functional outcomes, but anterior access to the thoracolumbar junction may involve open thoracotomy, which can cause significant morbidity. The authors describe the treatment of 12 patients in whom a mini-open thoracoscopic-assisted approach (mini-open TAA) to the thoracolumbar junction was used to treat metastatic disease, with an analysis of outcomes.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a retrospective cohort of patients treated for thoracolumbar junction metastatic disease with mini-open TAA between 2004 and 2016. Data collection included operative time, estimated blood loss, length of stay, follow-up duration, and pre- and postoperative visual analog scale scores and Frankel grades.

RESULTS

Twelve patients underwent a mini-open TAA procedure for metastatic disease at the thoracolumbar junction. The mean age of patients was 59 years (range 53–77 years), mean estimated blood loss was 613 ml, and the mean duration of the mini-open TAA procedure was 234 minutes (3.8 hours). The median length of stay in the hospital was 7.5 days (range 5–21 days). All 12 patients had significant improvement in their postoperative pain scores in comparison with their preoperative pain scores (p < 0.001). No patients suffered from worsening neurological function after surgery, and of 7 patients who presented with neurological dysfunction, 6 (86%) had an improvement in their Frankel grade after surgery. No patients experienced delayed hardware failure requiring reoperation over a mean follow-up of 10 months (range 1–45 months).

CONCLUSIONS

The mini-open TAA to the thoracolumbar junction for metastatic disease is a durable procedure that has a reduced morbidity rate compared with traditional open thoracotomy for ventral decompression and fusion. It compares well with traditional and novel posterior approaches to the thoracolumbar junction. The authors found a significant improvement in preoperative pain and neurological symptoms that supports greater use of the mini-open TAA for the treatment of complex metastatic disease at the thoracolumbar junction.

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Vijay M. Ravindra, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Walavan Sivakumar, Ryan R. Metzger and Robert J. Bollo

OBJECT

Computed tomography angiography (CTA) is frequently used to examine patients for blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) after cranial trauma, but the pediatric population at risk for BCVI is poorly defined. Although CTA is effective for BCVI screening in adults, the increased lifetime risk for malignant tumors associated with this screening modality warrants efforts to reduce its use in children. The authors' objective was to evaluate the incidence of BCVI diagnosed by CTA in a pediatric patient cohort and to create a prediction model to identify children at high risk for BCVI.

METHODS

Demographic, clinical, and radiographic data were collected retrospectively for pediatric patients who underwent CTA during examination for traumatic cranial injury from 2003 through 2013. The primary outcome was injury to the carotid or vertebral artery diagnosed by CTA.

RESULTS

The authors identified 234 patients (mean age 8.3 years, range 0.04–17 years, 150 [64%] boys) who underwent CTA screening for BCVI. Of these, 24 (10.3%) had a focal neurological deficit, and 153 (65.4%) had intracranial hemorrhage on a head CTA. Thirty-seven BCVIs were observed in 36 patients (15.4%), and 16 patients (6.8%) died. Multivariate regression analysis identified fracture through the carotid canal, petrous temporal bone fracture, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of < 8, focal neurological deficit, and stroke on initial CT scan as independent risk factors for BCVI. A prediction model for identifying children at high risk for BCVI was created. A score of ≤ 2 yielded a 7.9% probability of BCVI and a score of ≥ 3 a risk of 39.3% for BCVI.

CONCLUSIONS

For cranial trauma in children, fracture of the petrous temporal bone or through the carotid canal, focal neurological deficit, stroke, and a GCS score of < 8 are independent risk factors for BCVI.

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Wilson Z. Ray, Vijay M. Ravindra, Meic H. Schmidt and Andrew T. Dailey

Object

Pelvic fixation is a crucial adjunct to many lumbar fusions to avoid L5–S1 pseudarthrosis. It is useful for treatment of kyphoscoliosis, high-grade spondylolisthesis, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, sacral tumors, lumbosacral dislocations, and osteomyelitis. The most popular method, iliac fixation, has drawbacks including hardware prominence, extensive muscle dissection, and the need for connection devices. S-2 alar iliac fixation provides a useful primary or salvage alternative. The authors describe their techniques for using stereotactic navigation for screw placement.

Methods

The O-arm Surgical Imaging System allowed for CT-quality multiplanar reconstructions of the pelvis, and registration to a StealthStation Treon provided intraoperative guidance. The authors describe their technique for performing computer-assisted S-2 alar iliac fixation for various indications in 18 patients during an 18-month period.

Results

All patients underwent successful bilateral placement of screws 80–100 mm in length. All placements were confirmed with a second multiplanar reconstruction. One screw was moved because of apparent anterior breach of the ilium. There were no immediate neurological or vascular complications due to screw placement. The screw length required additional instruments including a longer pedicle finder and tap.

Conclusions

Stereotactic guidance to navigate the placement of distal pelvic fixation with bilateral S-2 alar iliac fixation can be safely performed in patients with a variety of pathological conditions. Crossing the sacroiliac joint, choosing trajectory, and ensuring adequate screw length can all be enhanced with 3D image guidance. Long-term outcome studies are underway, specifically evaluating the sacroiliac joint.

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Wilson Z. Ray, Vijay M. Ravindra, Gregory F. Jost, Erica F. Bisson and Meic H. Schmidt

As health care reform continues to evolve, demonstrating the cost effectiveness of spinal fusion procedures will be of critical value. Posterior subaxial cervical fusion with lateral mass screw and rod instrumentation is a well-established fixation technique. Subaxial transarticular facet fixation is a lesser known fusion technique that has been shown to be biomechanically equivalent to lateral mass screws for short constructs. Although there has not been a widespread adoption of transarticular facet screws, the screws potentially represent a cost-effective alternative to lateral mass rod and screw constructs. In this review, the authors describe an institutional experience with the use of lateral mass screws and provide a theoretical cost comparison with the use of transarticular facet screws.

Free access

Jakub Godzik, Vijay M. Ravindra, Wilson Z. Ray, Meic H. Schmidt, Erica F. Bisson and Andrew T. Dailey

OBJECT

The authors’ objectives were to compare the rate of fusion after occipitoatlantoaxial arthrodesis using structural allograft with the fusion rate from using autograft, to evaluate correction of radiographic parameters, and to describe symptom relief with each graft technique.

METHODS

The authors assessed radiological fusion at 6 and 12 months after surgery and obtained radiographic measurements of C1–2 and C2–7 lordotic angles, C2–7 sagittal vertical alignments, and posterior occipitocervical angles at preoperative, postoperative, and final follow-up examinations. Demographic data, intraoperative details, adverse events, and functional outcomes were collected from hospitalization records. Radiological fusion was defined as the presence of bone trabeculation and no movement between the graft and the occiput or C-2 on routine flexion-extension cervical radiographs. Radiographic measurements were obtained from lateral standing radiographs with patients in the neutral position.

RESULTS

At the University of Utah, 28 adult patients underwent occipitoatlantoaxial arthrodesis between 2003 and 2010 using bicortical allograft, and 11 patients were treated using iliac crest autograft. Mean follow-up for all patients was 20 months (range 1–108 months). Of the 27 patients with a minimum of 12 months of follow-up, 18 (95%) of 19 in the allograft group and 8 (100%) of 8 in the autograft group demonstrated evidence of bony fusion shown by imaging. Patients in both groups demonstrated minimal deterioration of sagittal vertical alignment at final follow-up. Operative times were comparable, but patients undergoing occipitocervical fusion with autograft demonstrated greater blood loss (316 ml vs 195 ml). One (9%) of 11 patients suffered a significant complication related to autograft harvesting.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of allograft in occipitocervical fusion allows a high rate of successful arthrodesis yet avoids the potentially significant morbidity and pain associated with autograft harvesting. The safety and effectiveness profile is comparable with previously published rates for posterior C1–2 fusion using allograft.