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TREATMENT OF THE CERVICAL SPINE

Neurosurgical Focus, January 2002

Vincent Traynelis

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Vincent C. Traynelis

Object

Certain cervical spinal conditions require decompression and reconstruction of the entire subaxial cervical spine. There are limited data concerning the clinical details and outcomes of patients treated in this manner. The object of this study was to describe the specific technique employed to perform a total subaxial reconstruction and review the postoperative outcomes following surgery.

Methods

The author performed a review of data prospectively collected in 27 consecutive patients undergoing complete anterior decompression and reconstruction of the anterior cervical spine and followed by posterior instrumented arthrodesis with or without decompression.

Results

There were 16 men and 11 women whose mean age was 59 years (range 35–86 years). The minimum follow-up was 12 months and the mean follow-up period for all patients was 26 months. One patient underwent C2–7 surgery, and in all others the procedure crossed the cervicothoracic junction.

Following surgery patients remained intubated for an average of 3.3 days (range 1–22 days). The mean hospital length of stay was 11 days (range 3–45 days). One patient died 6 weeks following an uneventful surgery. Pneumonia developed in 5 patients, 1 patient experienced a minor pulmonary embolism, and 2 patients had posterior wound infections. No patient was neurologically worse following surgery. A single patient presented with a C-8 radiculopathy 6 weeks after surgery. At final follow-up no patient complained of dysphagia when specifically questioned about this potential problem. In all patients solid fusions developed at each treated levels. Preoperatively the mean sagittal Cobb angle was 15.4° (kyphosis) and the postoperative mean angle was −10.9° (lordosis) representing a total average correction of over 25° (p < 0.0001). The mean preoperative Neck Disability Index was 27.6; this score decreased to 15.5 (p = 0.0008) postoperatively. The mean pre- and postoperative visual analog scale neck pain scores were 6.0 and 2.1, respectively (p = 0.0004), and mean visual analog scale arm pain scores decreased by 3.7 following surgery (p = 0.001). Based on Odom criteria, the author found that 8 patients had an excellent outcome and 14 patients a good outcome. There were 4 patients in whom the outcome was judged to be fair and the single death was recorded as a poor outcome. The mean preoperative Nurick score was 2.68. Postoperatively the group improved to an average score of 1.5; the difference between the 2 was statistically significant (p = 0.002).

Conclusions

Segmental anterior decompression and reconstruction of the entire subaxial cervical spine, combined with an instrumented posterolateral fusion, can be performed with acceptable morbidity and is of significant benefit in selected patients.

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Vincent C. Traynelis

Symptomatic degenerative spinal disease is a serious medical condition that affects many individuals. Modern neuroimaging modalities, the development of new medications, and advances in operative and nonoperative treatments have all contributed to improved outcomes. Unfortunately, there remain a significant number of patients in whom primary therapy either fails or new or recurrent symptoms develop over time. The last decade has witnessed the invention of devices designed to reconstruct the spinal motion segment. These devices can be divided into those that primarily function to replace a nucleus pulposus and those that completely replace the disc complex. In this article the author reviews the background leading to the development of the current group of disc replacements. The design and preliminary clinical results obtained using major lumbar and cervical devices are also reviewed.

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Fusion of the Lumbar Spine: Indications and Techniques

Introduction by Topic Editor, Vincent C. Traynelis, M.D.

Vincent C. Traynelis

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Vincent C. Traynelis

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June Yoshii and Vincent C. Traynelis

Achondroplasia is associated with short pedicles that predispose individuals with this trait to develop symptomatic spinal canal stenosis. Laminoplasty is an excellent means of treating cervical myelopathy due to stenosis in selected individuals. Laminoplasty preserves segmental motion and stability, both of which are of benefit to all individuals. The authors report the successful surgical treatment of an achondroplastic adult woman with laminoplasty. This procedure alleviated her symptoms, and she was doing well at 2-year follow-up.

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Vincent C. Traynelis and Ralph O. Dunker

✓ Distal anterior cerebral artery aneurysms are commonly found near the genu of the corpus callosum. While these aneurysms may be surgically obliterated through a variety of approaches, exposure via the interhemispheric fissure is used by many surgeons. Early identification of the afferent artery may be difficult with this approach, however, particularly if the aneurysm lies just beneath the genu of the corpus callosum. The authors have modified the interhemispheric approach to distal anterior cerebral artery aneurysms by electively exposing the feeding artery through a small anterior callosotomy. While this maneuver is not necessary for all distal anterior cerebral artery aneurysms, it can greatly enhance exposure in the region just below the genu of the corpus callosum. Experience with this technique in five patients is reported. In all cases, the limited anterior callosotomy enhanced surgical exposure. No morbidity could be attributed to the callosotomy in any patient. It is concluded that, when the interhemispheric approach is used, anterior callosotomy improves exposure of the region just below the genu of the corpus callosum and may be a useful maneuver when treating distal anterior cerebral artery aneurysms.

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Mazda K. Turel, Mena G. Kerolus, Owoicho Adogwa, and Vincent C. Traynelis

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to comprehensively review each of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved labels of 7 total cervical disc replacements, assess the exact methodology in which the trial was conducted, and provide a broad comparison of these devices to allow each surgeon to determine which disc best suits his or her specific treatment goals based on the specific labels and not the studies published.

METHODS

The FDA-approved labels for each of the 7 artificial discs were obtained from the official FDA website. These labels were meticulously compared with regard to the statistical analysis performed, the safety and efficacy data, and the randomized controlled trial that each artificial disc was involved in to obtain the FDA approval for the product or device. Both single-level and 2-level approvals were examined, and primary and secondary end points were assessed.

RESULTS

In the single-level group, 4 of the 7 artificial discs—Prestige LP, Prestige ST, Bryan, and Secure-C—showed superiority in overall success. Prestige ST showed superiority in 3 of 4 outcome measures (neurological success, revision surgery, and overall success), while the other aforementioned discs showed superiority in 2 or fewer measures (Prestige LP, neurological and overall success; Bryan, Neck Disability Index [NDI] and overall success; Secure-C, revision surgery and overall success; Pro-Disc C, revision surgery). The PCM and Mobi-C discs demonstrated noninferiority across all outcome measures. In the 2-level group, Prestige LP and Mobi-C demonstrated superiority in 3 outcome measures (NDI, secondary surgery, and overall success) but not neurological success.

CONCLUSIONS

This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of 7 currently approved and distributed artificial discs in the United States. It compares specific outcome measures of these devices against those following the standard of care, which is anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. This information will provide surgeons the opportunity to easily answer patients' questions and remain knowledgeable when discussing devices with manufacturers.

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Vincent Traynelis

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John E. O'Toole and Vincent C. Traynelis