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Hua Liu, Zhongkun Liu, Yong Liu, Shifeng Kan, Jian Yang and Hongyi Liu

OBJECTIVE

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is prevalent in the aged population and is commonly treated with bur hole drainage. This treatment, however, can lead to various surgical complications. Atorvastatin may cure CSDH via its antiinflammatory and proangiogenesis effects, but not all patients treated with this medication can avoid surgery. The authors' aim was to investigate the effect of atorvastatin and identify characteristics of patients with CSDH sensitive to atorvastatin therapy.

METHODS

A prospective, placebo-controlled observational study was conducted in 80 patients with evidence of CSDH. The patients were enrolled between February 2012 and August 2014 and were randomly assigned to either atorvastatin treatment (atorvastatin group) or placebo (control group). Patients were followed up for 12 months after initiation of treatment. Clinically relevant data were collected and compared between the 2 groups. The atorvastatin group was subdivided into patients who required surgery and those who did not, and characteristics of these subgroups were also compared. The relationship between atorvastatin treatment and need for surgery was investigated by means of multiple regression analysis using the following variables as predictors: age, sex, admission Markwalder grade, level of dependency in activities of daily living (ADL) as assessed with the modified Barthel Index, presence of hemiparesis, and hematoma volume.

RESULTS

The proportion of patients who required surgical intervention during the follow-up period was significantly lower in the atorvastatin group than in the control group (p = 0.001), and the mean time to surgery was longer in the atorvastatin group (p = 0.018). Within the atorvastatin group, there was a significant difference with respect to Markwalder grades, degree of dependency in ADL, percentage of patients with hemiparesis, and mean hematoma volume between the patients who required surgery during the follow-up period and those who did not (p = 0.002, p = 0.001, p = 0.001, and p = 0.012, respectively). The results of the logistic regression analysis showed that atorvastatin significantly reduced the probability of surgery and that female sex and favorable admission Markwalder grades and favorable dependency status with respect to ADL (independent, slightly dependent, or moderately dependent) were independent predictors of not requiring surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Atorvastatin administration can promote the resolution of CSDH, especially for women with favorable Markwalder grades and favorable ADL dependency status at admission.

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Zhijun Yang, Bo Wang, Chungcheng Wang and Pinan Liu

Object

The authors aim to identify the characteristics of primary spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea and propose a hypothesis for its pathogenesis.

Methods

Between 2003 and 2009, 21 patients diagnosed with primary spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea underwent surgery in the authors' hospital. The clinical aspects were retrospectively reviewed, and their characteristics were analyzed.

Results

There were 18 women and 3 men, whose ages ranged from 37 to 74 years (mean 53 years). Body mass index (BMI) ranged from 22 to 58.8 kg/m2 (mean 31.2 kg/m2). Eighteen patients (85.7%) were overweight, and 18 (85.7%) suffered from headache or tinnitus before rhinorrhea. Radiological images revealed fully or partially empty sellae in 14 patients (66.7%). The preoperative intracranial pressure (ICP) ranged from 11 to 28 cm H2O (mean 17.6 cm H2O), while the postoperative ICP ranged from 21 to 32 cm H2O (mean 25.5 cm H2O, p < 0.01). An endoscopeassisted transnasal approach was chosen for the repair. Postoperatively, in 95.2% of patients a cure was achieved. Rhinorrhea recurred in only 1 patient, and a leakage from a new defect occurred in another patient 4 years after the operation. Both patients underwent additional surgery, which was successful. The follow-up period varied from 5 to 75 months with a mean of 34 months.

Conclusions

All patients had direct or indirect evidence of elevated ICP, most patients presented with symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), and most patients were women and obese. Primary spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea may be due to IIH, and it is a rare symptom of IIH. When treating or monitoring these patients during follow-up, ICP should be controlled, and other symptoms of IIH should be noted.

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Yang Liu, Ka-Yun Ng and Kevin O. Lillehei

Object

There have been numerous attempts to establish an effective immunotherapy for the treatment of brain tumors. To date, reliable methods to manipulate the immune system for promoting brain tumor regression have been disappointing. Generation of active immune responses in most of these studies was only possible in the absence of viable tumor cells, suggesting that immunotherapy can only be used as preventive therapy. In few studies the investigators have demonstrated success in using immunotherapy to treat a preestablished intracranial tumor. Using the 9L intracranial glioma model, the authors sought to delineate the underlying mechanisms for these observations.

Methods

In animals vaccinated with irradiated 9L glioma cells and interferon-gamma 14 and 7 days prior to intracranial tumor cell challenge, a significant increase in survival was shown. In contrast, vaccinations applied 3 days prior to, at the time of (Day 0) or 7 days after intracranial tumor cell challenge failed to influence survival. Histological examination of brain tissue specimens obtained in animals vaccinated before or after tumor cell challenge showed no difference in the degree of peritumoral mononuclear cell infiltration. When activated spleen cells obtained obtained from these animals were assayed for cytotoxicity and proliferative capacity, only those spleen cells derived from animals vaccinated prior to intracranial tumor cell challenge showed enhanced activity.

Conclusions

These data support the presence of a strong modulatory effect of tumor on local and systemic antitu-moral immune response. This immunosuppression appears to be secondary to a direct effect on T-cell function. Reversal of this immunosuppression may be a useful adjunct to tumor vaccine therapy.

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Kai Shen, Zhongliang Deng, Junsong Yang, Chao Liu and Ranxi Zhang

OBJECTIVE

Atlantoaxial instability is usually corrected by anterior and/or posterior C1–2 fusion. However, fusion can lead to considerable loss of movement at the C1–2 level, which can adversely impact a patient’s quality of life. In this study, the authors investigated the stability and function of a novel posterior artificial atlanto-odontoid joint (NPAAJ) by using cadaveric cervical spines.

METHODS

The Oc–C7 regions from 10 cadaveric spines were used for anteroposterior (AP) translation and range of motion (ROM) tests while intact and after destabilization, NPAAJ implantation, and double-rod fixation.

RESULTS

The mean AP C1–2 translational distances in the intact, destabilization, and double-rod groups were 6.53 ± 1.07 mm, 11.54 ± 1.59 mm, and 3.24 ± 0.99 mm, respectively, and the AP translational distance in the NPAAJ group was significantly different from that in the intact group (p < 0.05). The AP translational distance in the NPAAJ group was not significantly different from that in the double-rod group (p = 0.24). The mean flexion, extension, and axial rotation ROM values of the NPAAJ group were 9.87° ± 0.91°, 8.75° ± 0.99°, and 61.93° ± 2.93°, respectively, and these were lower than the corresponding values in the intact group (p < 0.05). The mean lateral bending ROM in the NPAAJ group (9.26° ± 0.86°) was not significantly different from that in the intact group (p = 0.23), and the flexion, extension, and rotation ranges in the NPAAJ group were 79.5%, 85.2%, and 82.3%, respectively, of those in the intact group.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of NPAAJ for correction of atlantoaxial instability disorders caused by congenital odontoid dysplasia, odontoid fracture nonunion, and C-1 transverse ligament disruption (IA, IB, and IIB) may restore the stability and preserve most of the ROM of C1–2. Additionally, the NPAAJ may prevent soft tissue from embedding within the joint. However, additional studies should be performed before the NPAAJ is used clinically.

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Yisen Zhang, Binbin Sui, Jian Liu, Yang Wang, Zhongbin Tian, Junfan Chen, Zhongxue Wu and Xinjian Yang

OBJECTIVE

The recurrence rate of vertebrobasilar dissecting aneurysms (VBDAs) after reconstructive endovascular treatment (EVT) is relatively high. The aneurysm wall enhancement on high-resolution MRI (HRMRI) reportedly predicts an unsteady state of an intracranial aneurysm. The authors used HRMRI to investigate the relationship between wall enhancement on HRMRI and progression of VBDAs after reconstructive EVT.

METHODS

From January 2012 to December 2015, patients with an unruptured VBDA who underwent reconstructive EVT were enrolled in this study. Preoperative enhanced HRMRI was performed to evaluate radiological characteristics. The relationships between aneurysm wall enhancement and various potential risk factors were statistically analyzed. Follow-up angiographic examination was performed with digital subtraction angiography and conventional HRMRI. Cox regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of VBDA progression after reconstructive EVT.

RESULTS

Eighty-two patients (12 women and 70 men, mean age 53.48 ± 9.23 years) with 83 VBDAs were evaluated in the current study. The average maximum diameter of the VBDAs was 11.30 ± 7.90 mm. Wall enhancement occurred in 43 VBDAs (51.81%). Among all 83 VBDAs, 62 (74.70%) were treated by stent-assisted coil embolization and 21 (25.30%) by stenting alone. The mean duration of imaging follow-up among all 82 patients was 10.55 months (range 6–45 months), and 15 aneurysms (18.07%) exhibited progression. The statistical analysis indicated no significant differences in age, sex, risk factors (high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes mellitus, and a high cholesterol level), VBDA stage, or VBDA size between enhanced and unenhanced VBDAs. Univariate Cox regression analysis showed that both the maximum diameter of the VBDAs and wall enhancement were associated with recurrence (p < 0.05). Multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression analysis showed that the maximum diameter of the VBDAs and wall enhancement on HRMRI were independent risk factors for aneurysm progression (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Aneurysm size and wall enhancement on HRMRI can predict the progression of VBDAs after reconstructive EVT.

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Mengcun Chen, Shuhua Yang, Cao Yang, Weihua Xu, Shunan Ye, Jing Wang, Yong Feng, Wen Yang and Xianzhe Liu

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to present an initial surgical experience in the management of 1- or 2-level degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine using biodegradable anterior cervical plates (bACPs) in anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). The authors also aimed to provide insight into this critical and controversial clinical issue by clarifying outcomes for patients receiving bACPs and by comparing their outcomes with those achieved using a traditional metallic anterior cervical plate (mACP) implant.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted for 2 series of patients who had undergone ACDF using either bACP (31 patients, 38 segments) or mACP (47 patients, 57 segments) instrumentation. The patients were followed up for a mean 13.5 ± 0.9 months (range 12–18 months) in the bACP group and 14.8 ± 1.5 months (range 14–22 months) in the mACP group. Clinical outcomes were determined according to scores on the visual analog scale (VAS), the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scoring system, and Odom's criteria. Radiological images were used to assess fusion rates, intervertebral height, Cobb's angle, and the width of prevertebral soft tissue.

RESULTS

Both VAS and mJOA scores were significantly improved at each follow-up in both groups. Excellent or good results according to Odom's criteria were achieved in 93.5% (29/31) of patients in the bACP group and 93.6% (44/47) of patients in the mACP group. At 6 months postoperatively, the fusion rate was 94.7% (36/38) in the bACP group and 96.5% (55/57) in the mACP group, but subsidence of the intervertebral space at the surgical level was more evident in the bACP group. Angulation, as measured by Cobb's angle, demonstrated obvious healing in both groups, while better maintenance was observed in the mACP group. The local inflammatory reaction was uneventful during follow-up. Dysphonia and dysphagia were observed in both groups during the follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The relatively comparable early clinical and radiographic outcomes and the overall acceptable complication rates for bACP and mACP use suggest that bACPs could be used as alternative instruments in ACDF. Mild graft resorption was noted without evidence of symptoms. However, the prospective efficacy of biodegradable instrumentation can only be elucidated with longer-term observation.

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Haichun Liu, Wenliang Wu, Yi Li, Jinwei Liu, Kaiyun Yang and Yunzhen Chen

Object

During the past decades, lumbar fusion has increasingly become a standard treatment for degenerative spinal disorders. However, it has also been associated with an increased incidence of adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD). Previous studies have reported less ASD in anterior fusion surgeries; thus, the authors hypothesized that the integrity of the posterior complex plays an important role in ASD. This study was designed to investigate the effect of the posterior complex on adjacent instability after lumbar instrumentation and the development of ASD.

Methods

To evaluate different surgical interventions, 120 patients were randomly allocated into 3 groups of 40 patients each who were statistically similar with respect to demographic and clinical data. Patients in Group A were allocated for facet joint resection and L4–5 fusion, Group B for semilaminectomy and fusion, and Group C for complete laminectomy and fusion. All of the patients were followed up for 5–7 years (mean 5.9 years). The disc height, intervertebral disc angle, dynamic intervertebral angular range of motion (ROM), L3–4 slip, and the total lordosis angle were each measured before the operation and at the final follow-up. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score was determined before surgery and at the final follow-up to evaluate the clinical results.

Results

Among the 3 groups, no significant differences were detected in all clinical and demographic assessments before surgery. At 3 months after surgery, the JOA score of all groups improved significantly and showed no significant differences among the groups. At the final follow-up, Group C had a significantly (p < 0.05) lower JOA score than the other 2 groups. Moreover, the disc height and total lumbar lordosis in patients of Group C were significantly decreased compared with disc height and total lumbar lordosis in the other 2 groups. In contrast, disc angle, dynamic angular ROM, and listhesis were significantly higher in Group C than in the other 2 groups. Twenty-four patients showed signs of ASD after the operation (3 patients in Group A, 4 in B, and 17 in C). The number of patients in Group C showing ASD was significantly different from that in Groups A and B.

Conclusions

During follow-up for 6 years, a significantly higher number of patients with ASD were noted in the complete-laminectomy group. The number of reoperations for treating ASD was much higher in this patient group than in the patients undergoing facet joint resection and L4–5 fusion or semilaminectomy and fusion. Therefore, preserving the posterior complex as much as possible during surgery plays an important role in preventing ASD and in reducing the reoperation rate.

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Wei Xu, Yu Wang, Jing Wang, Xinghai Yang, Weibo Liu, Wang Zhou, Tielong Liu and Jianru Xiao

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of long-term bisphosphonate treatment on reducing local recurrence of sacral giant cell tumors (GCTs) after nerve-sparing surgery.

METHODS

Thirty-five consecutive patients with sacral GCTs who received treatment in Shanghai Changzheng Hospital between January 2000 and December 2010 were included in this study. Between January 2007 and December 2010, 19 patients received bisphosphonates following nerve-sparing surgery. Before January 2007, 16 patients received nerve-sparing surgery alone, and these cases were included as the control group. The difference in clinical data between the groups was compared by Student's t-test and 2-tailed chi-square or Fisher's exact test. The postoperative recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared between the groups by log-rank test. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS

All of the patients had relatively good nerve function. The clinical data were homogeneous between the groups. The local recurrence rate was 10.53% (2 of 19) in the bisphosphonate treatment group and 43.75% (7 of 16) in the control group. The log-rank test showed that the 3-year RFS and 3-year OS in the bisphosphonate treatment group were significantly higher than those in the control group (RFS 89.5% vs 56.3%, p = 0.04; OS 100% vs 81.3%, p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The long-term use of bisphosphonates after nerve-sparing surgery is a viable option for the treatment of sacral GCTs. This approach could reduce local recurrences while preserving nerve function.

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Peng Li, Fu Zhao, Jing Zhang, Zhenmin Wang, Xingchao Wang, Bo Wang, Zhijun Yang, Jun Yang, Zhixian Gao and Pinan Liu

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical features of spinal schwannomas in patients with schwannomatosis and compare them with a large cohort of patients with solitary schwannomas and neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2).

METHODS

The study was a retrospective review of 831 patients with solitary schwannomas, 65 with schwannomatosis, and 102 with NF2. The clinical, radiographic, and pathological data were extracted with specific attention to the age at onset, location of tumors, initial symptoms, family history, and treatment outcome.

RESULTS

The male-to-female ratio of patients with schwannomatosis (72.3% vs 27.7%) was significantly higher than that of patients with solitary schwannomas (53.3% vs 46.7%) and NF2 (54.0% vs 46.0%), respectively (chi-square test, p = 0.012). The mean age at the first spinal schwannoma operation of patients with NF2 (24.7 ± 10.2 years) was significantly younger than that of patients with solitary schwannomas (44.8 ± 13.2 years) and schwannomatosis (44.4 ± 14.1 years; 1-way ANOVA, p < 0.001). The initial symptoms were similar among the 3 groups, with pain being the most common. The distribution of spinal tumors among the 3 groups was significantly different. The peak locations of spinal schwannomas in patients with solitary schwannomas were at C1–3 and T12–L3; in schwannomatosis, the peak location was at T12-L5. A preferred spinal location was not evident for intradural-extramedullary tumors in NF2. Only a slight prominence in the lumbar area could be observed. The patients in the 3 groups obtained similar benefits from the operation; the recovery rates in the patients with solitary schwannomas, NF2, and schwannomatosis were 50.1%, 38.0%, and 53.9%, respectively. The prognosis varied among spinal schwannomas in the patients with schwannomatosis. Up until the last date of follow-up, most patients with schwannomatosis (81.5%) had undergone a single spinal operation, but 12 patients (18.5%) had undergone multiple spinal operations. Patients with nonsegmental schwannomatosis or those with early onset disease seemed to have a poor prognosis; they were more likely to undergo multiple spinal operations. Small cauda equina nodules were common in patients with schwannomatosis (46.7%) and NF2 (86.9%); these small schwannomas appeared to have relatively static behavior. Two patients suspicious for schwannomatosis were diagnosed with NF2 with the detection of constitutional NF2 mutations; 1 had unilateral vestibular schwannoma, and the other had suspicious bilateral trigeminal schwannomas.

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical features of spinal schwannomas vary among patients with solitary schwannomas, NF2, and schwannomatosis. Spinal schwannomas of patients with NF2 appear to be more aggressive than those in patients with solitary schwannomas and schwannomatosis. Spinal schwannomas of schwannomatosis predominate in the lumbar area, and most of them can be treated successfully with surgery. The prognosis varies among spinal schwannomas of schwannomatosis; some patients may need multiple operations due to newly developed schwannomas. Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate schwannomatosis from NF2 based on clinical manifestations. It is prudent to perform close follow-up examinations in patients with undetermined schwannomatosis and their offspring.

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Yang Li, Xinxin Yuan, Shifu Sha, Zhen Liu, Weiguo Zhu, Yong Qiu, Bin Wang, Yang Yu and Zezhang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate how implant density affects radiographic results and clinical outcomes in patients with dystrophic scoliosis secondary to neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1).

METHODS

A total of 41 patients with dystrophic scoliosis secondary to NF1 who underwent 1-stage posterior correction between June 2011 and December 2013 were included. General information about patients was recorded, as were preoperative and postoperative scores from Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–22 questionnaires. Pearson correlation analysis was used to analyze the associations among implant density, coronal Cobb angle correction rate and correction loss at last follow-up, change of sagittal curve, and apical vertebral translation. Patients were then divided into 2 groups: those with low-density and those with high-density implants. Independent-sample t-tests were used to compare demographic data, radiographic findings, and clinical outcomes before surgery and at last follow-up between the groups.

RESULTS

Significant correlations were found between the implant density and the coronal correction rate of the main curve (r = 0.505, p < 0.01) and the coronal correction loss at final follow-up (r = −0.379, p = 0.015). There was no significant correlation between implant density and change of sagittal profile (p = 0.662) or apical vertebral translation (p = 0.062). The SRS-22 scores improved in the appearance, activity, and mental health domains within both groups, but there was no difference between the groups in any of the SRS-22 domains at final follow-up (p > 0.05 for all).

CONCLUSIONS

Although no significant differences between the high- and low-density groups were found in any of the SRS-22 domains at final follow-up, higher implant density was correlated with superior coronal correction and less postoperative correction loss in patients with dystrophic NF1-associated scoliosis.