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Garrett K. Berger, Peyton L. Nisson, Whitney S. James, Kristen N. Kaiser and R. John Hurlbert


Ewing sarcoma (ES) is among the most prevalent of bone sarcomas in young people. Less often, it presents as a primary lesion of the spine (5%–15% of patients with ES).


A systematic literature search was performed, querying several scientific databases per PRISMA guidelines. Inclusion criteria specified all studies of patients with surgically treated ES located in the spine. Patient age was categorized into three groups: 0–13 years (age group 1), 14–20 years (age group 2), and > 21 (age group 3).


Eighteen studies were included, yielding 28 patients with ES of the spine. Sixty-seven percent of patients experienced a favorable outcome, with laminectomies representing the most common (46%) of surgical interventions. One-, 2-, and 5-year survival rates were 82% (n = 23), 75% (n = 21), and 57% (n = 16), respectively. Patients in age group 2 experienced the greatest mortality rate (75%) compared to age group 1 (9%) and age group 3 (22%). The calculated relative risk score indicated patients in age group 2 were 7.5 times more likely to die than other age groups combined (p = 0.02).


Primary ES of the spine is a rare, debilitating disease in which the role of surgery and its impact on one’s quality of life and independence status has not been well described. This study found the majority of patients experienced a favorable outcome with respect to independence status following surgery and adjunctive treatment. An increased risk of recurrence and death was also present among the adolescent age group (14–20 years).

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Whitney Sheen James, Anand I. Rughani and Travis M. Dumont


In the United States in recent years, a dramatic increase in the use of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) during spine surgeries has been suspected. Myriad reasons have been proposed, but no clear evidence confirming this trend has been available. In this study, the authors investigated the use of IONM during spine surgery, identified patterns of geographic variation, and analyzed the value of IONM for spine surgery cases.


In this retrospective analysis, the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried for all spine surgeries performed during 2007–2011. Use of IONM (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, code 00.94) was compared over time and between geographic regions, and its effect on patient independence at discharge and iatrogenic nerve injury was assessed.


A total of 443,194 spine procedures were identified, of which 85% were elective and 15% were not elective. Use of IONM was recorded for 31,680 cases and increased each calendar year from 1% of all cases in 2007 to 12% of all cases in 2011. Regional use of IONM ranged widely, from 8% of cases in the Northeast to 21% of cases in the West in 2011. Iatrogenic nerve and spinal cord injury were rare; they occurred in less than 1% of patients and did not significantly decrease when IONM was used.


As costs of spine surgeries continue to rise, it becomes necessary to examine and justify use of different medical technologies, including IONM, during spine surgery.

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Peyton L. Nisson, Robert T. Wicks, Xiaochun Zhao, Whitney S. James, David Xu and Peter Nakaji

Cavernous malformations of the brain are low-flow vascular lesions that have a propensity to hemorrhage. Extensive surgical approaches are often required for operative cure of deep-seated lesions. A 23-year-old female presented with a cavernous malformation of the left posterior insula with surrounding hematoma measuring up to 3 cm. A minimally invasive (mini-)pterional craniotomy with a transsylvian approach was selected. Endoscopic assistance was utilized to confirm complete resection of the lesion. The minipterional craniotomy is a minimally invasive approach that provides optimal exposure for sylvian fissure dissection and resection of many temporal and insular lesions.

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