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Jinli Yu, Fei Zou and Yirui Sun

OBJECTIVE

In China, orthopedics and neurosurgery are among the most desired majors for medical students. However, little is known about the working and living status of specialists in these two fields. This study was aimed at evaluating job satisfaction, engagement, and burnout in the population of Chinese orthopedist and neurosurgeon trainees.

METHODS

A nationwide online survey was administered in mainland China. Questionnaires were answered anonymously. Job satisfaction, engagement, and burnout were assessed using the Job Descriptive Index, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory, respectively.

RESULTS

Data were collected from 643 orthopedist trainees and 690 neurosurgeon trainees. Orthopedists and neurosurgeons showed no statistical difference in terms of age, sex, job titles, and preference for working in tertiary hospitals. Orthopedists had a higher marriage rate (p < 0.01), a lower divorce rate (p = 0.017), relatively shorter working hours (p < 0.01), and a higher annual income (p = 0.023) than neurosurgeons. Approximately 40% of respondents experienced workplace violence in the last 5 years. Less than 10% of respondents were satisfied with their pay, and over 70% would not encourage their offspring to become a doctor. Orthopedists were more satisfied with their careers than neurosurgeons (p < 0.01) and had a higher level of work engagement (p < 0.01). In addition, a higher proportion of orthopedists were burnt out (p < 0.01) than neurosurgeons, though the difference between the two groups was not significant (p = 0.088). Multivariate regressions suggested that younger age (≤ 25 years old), being a senior trainee, getting divorced, working in a regional hospital, long working hours (≥ 71 hrs/wk), a low annual income (<¥100,000), sleeping < 6 hrs/day, and experience with workplace violence were significantly related to burnout for both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Chinese orthopedic surgical and neurosurgical trainees are under significant stress. Orthopedic surgeons showed relatively optimistic data in their assessments of job satisfaction, engagement, and burnout. This study may provide valuable information for orthopedic and neurosurgical candidates considering either specialty as a career.

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Yu Sun, Li-Xin Wang, Lei Wang, Si-Xin Sun, Xiao-Jian Cao, Peng Wang and Li Feng

Object

The effectiveness of the topical application of mitomycin C (MMC) or 5-fluorouracil (5FU) in preventing peridural adhesion after laminectomy was compared in this study.

Methods

Laminectomies were performed at L-1 in 30 rats. Cotton pads soaked with 0.1 mg/ml MMC, 25 mg/ml 5FU, or 9 mg/ml saline (control) were applied to the operative sites. To evaluate neurological deficits pre- and postoperatively, somatosensory evoked potentials were monitored and the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan locomotion test was performed. Four weeks postlaminectomy the rats were killed, and peridural scar adhesion was evaluated histologically. The level of hydroxyproline, the area of peridural scar tissue, and the number of fibroblasts were determined. The degree of peridural adhesion was classified according to the Rydell standard.

Results

No obvious adhesion formed in the rats in the MMC group, but severe peridural adhesions were found in those in the 5FU and control groups. The content of hydroxyproline, the area of peridural scar tissue, and the number of fibroblasts in the MMC group were significantly lower than those in the 5FU and control groups.

Conclusions

The topical application of MMC rather than 5FU may be a successful method of preventing post-laminectomy peridural adhesions.

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Feng Xu, Hai Jin, Xingwang Yang, Xiao Sun, Yu Wang, Mengting Xu and Yingqun Tao

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine whether a modified registration method could reduce registration error and postoperative electrode vector error and to analyze the method’s clinical significance in deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery.

METHODS

The first part of the study involved a skull model, in which three registration methods were tested using the ROSA (robotic stereotactic assistance) system. In the second part, four registration methods were clinically tested in patients undergoing DBS surgery using the ROSA system. Thirty-three patients (65 sides, group I) underwent the conventional registration method 2E, and registration errors were recorded. Thirty-eight patients (75 sides, group II) underwent four types of modified registration methods including 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D. Registration and electrode vector errors, intraoperative electrophysiological signal length (IESL), and DBS power-on voltage were recorded. The primary measure of efficacy was the change in the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and UPDRS Part III scores from baseline to 10 weeks after surgery.

RESULTS

In the skull model, the registration error (mean ± SD) was 0.56 ± 0.11 mm for method 1A, 0.35 ± 0.11 mm for method 1B (vs. 1A, p < 0.001), and 0.90 ± 0.15 mm for method 1C (vs. 1A, p < 0.001). In the clinical study, method 2C was selected for DBS surgery in group II since it had the smallest registration error among the four methods tested. The registration error was 0.62 ± 0.22 mm (mean ± SD) for group I and 0.27 ± 0.07 mm for group II (p < 0.001). Postoperative electrode vector error was 0.97 ± 0.31 mm for group I and 0.65 ± 0.23 mm for group II (p < 0.001). There was a positive correlation between registration error and electrode vector error in both groups (group I: r = 0.69, p < 0.001; group II: r = 0.71, p < 0.001). The mean IESL was 5.0 ± 0.9 mm in group I and 5.8 ± 0.7 mm in group II (p < 0.001). The mean DBS power-on voltage was 1.63 ± 0.44 V in group I and 1.48 ± 0.38 V in group II (p = 0.027). In the UPDRS score, group I showed 50% ± 16% improvement and group II showed 52% ± 18% improvement (p = 0.724); there was no statistically significant difference in improvement on the UPDRS.

CONCLUSIONS

In DBS surgery assisted by the ROSA system, registration error and electrode vector error showed a positive correlation. The modified registration method could reduce the registration error and electrode vector error, but the long-term effects need to be further observed and evaluated.

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Yong Yu, Fan Hu, Xiaobiao Zhang, Junqi Ge and Chongjing Sun

Object

Transoral microscopic odontoidectomy has been accepted as a standard procedure to treat basilar invagination over the past several decades. In recent years the emergence of new technologies, including endoscopic odontoidectomy and posterior reduction, has presented a challenge to the traditional treatment algorithm. In this article, the authors describe 1 patient with basilar invagination who was successfully treated with endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy combined with posterior reduction. The purpose of this report is to validate the effectiveness of this treatment algorithm in selected cases and describe several operative nuances and pearls based on the authors' experience.

Methods

One patient with basilar invagination caused by a congenital osseous malformation underwent endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy combined with posterior reduction in a single operative setting. The purely endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy was first conducted with the patient supine. The favorable anatomical reduction was then achieved through a posterior approach after the patient was moved prone.

Results

The patient was extubated after recovery from anesthesia and allowed oral food intake the next day. No complications were noted, and the patient was discharged 4 days after the operation. Postoperative imaging demonstrated excellent decompression of the anterior cervicomedullary junction pathology. The patient was followed up for 12 months and remarkable neurological recovery was observed.

Conclusions

The endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy is a better minimally invasive approach for anterior decompression and can make the posterior reduction easier because the anterior resistant force is eliminated. The subsequent posterior reduction can make decompression of the ventral side of the cervicomedullary junction more effective because the C-2 vertebral body is pushed forward. A combination of these 2 approaches has the advantages of minimally invasive access and a faster patient recovery, and thus is a valid alternative in selected cases.

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Yu Han, Jianguang Sun, Chenghan Luo, Shilei Huang, Liren Li, Xiang Ji, Xiaozong Duan, Zhenqing Wang and Guofu Pi

OBJECTIVE

Pedicle screw–based dynamic spinal stabilization systems (PDSs) were devised to decrease, theoretically, the risk of long-term complications such as adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after lumbar fusion surgery. However, to date, there have been few studies that fully proved that a PDS can reduce the risk of ASD. The purpose of this study was to examine whether a PDS can influence the incidence of ASD and to discuss the surgical coping strategy for L5–S1 segmental spondylosis with preexisting L4–5 degeneration with no related symptoms or signs.

METHODS

This study retrospectively compared 62 cases of L5–S1 segmental spondylosis in patients who underwent posterior lumbar interbody fusion (n = 31) or K-Rod dynamic stabilization (n = 31) with a minimum of 4 years' follow-up. The authors measured the intervertebral heights and spinopelvic parameters on standing lateral radiographs and evaluated preexisting ASD on preoperative MR images using the modified Pfirrmann grading system. Radiographic ASD was evaluated according to the results of radiography during follow-up.

RESULTS

All 62 patients achieved remission of their neurological symptoms without surgical complications. The Kaplan-Meier curve and Cox proportional-hazards model showed no statistically significant differences between the 2 surgical groups in the incidence of radiographic ASD (p > 0.05). In contrast, the incidence of radiographic ASD was 8.75 times (95% CI 1.955–39.140; p = 0.005) higher in the patients with a preoperative modified Pfirrmann grade higher than 3 than it was in patients with a modified Pfirrmann grade of 3 or lower. In addition, no statistical significance was found for other risk factors such as age, sex, and spinopelvic parameters.

CONCLUSIONS

Pedicle screw–based dynamic spinal stabilization systems were not found to be superior to posterior lumbar interbody fusion in preventing radiographic ASD (L4–5) during the midterm follow-up. Preexisting ASD with a modified Pfirrmann grade higher than 3 was a risk factor for radiographic ASD. In the treatment of degenerative diseases of the lumbosacral spine, the authors found that both of these methods are feasible. Also, the authors believe that no extra treatment, other than observation, is needed for preexisting degeneration in L4–5 without any clinical symptoms or signs.

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Xin-Yu Lu, Hui Sun, Jian-Guo Xu and Qiao-Yu Li

Object

Over the last two decades, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has arisen as a promising approach in the management of brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs). In the present study, the authors report a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available published data regarding the radiosurgical management of brainstem CMs.

Methods

To identify eligible studies, systematic searches for brainstem CMs treated with SRS were conducted in major scientific publication databases. The search yielded 5 studies, which were included in the meta-analysis. Data from 178 patients with brainstem CMs were extracted. Hemorrhage rates before and after SRS were calculated, a meta-analysis was performed, and the risk ratio (RR) was determined.

Results

Four studies showed a statically significant reduction in the annual hemorrhage rate after SRS. The overall RR was 0.161 (95% CI 0.052–0.493; p = 0.001), and 21 patients (11.8%) had transient or permanent neurological deficits.

Conclusions

The present meta-analysis for the radiosurgical management of brainstem CMs shows that SRS can decrease the rate of repeat hemorrhage and has a low rate of adverse effects compared with surgery. The authors suggest that SRS may be considered as an alternative treatment for brainstem CMs that are inoperable or have a high operative risk.

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Tao Yu, Xingwen Sun, Yan You, Jie Chen, Jun-mei Wang, Shuo Wang, Ning Lin, Buqing Liang and Jizong Zhao

Brain capillary telangiectasias (BCTs) are usually small and benign with a predilection in the pons and basal ganglion. Reports of large and symptomatic BCTs are rare. Large BCTs have a much higher risk of causing uncontrolled bleeding and severe neurological defects, and they can be fatal if left untreated. Therefore, large BCTs should be managed with special caution. Because of the lack of reports, diagnosis of large BCTs has been difficult. Strategies of management are undefined for large or giant BCTs.

The current study presents 5 cases of giant and large BCTs. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the largest series of this disease ever reported. Radiological findings, histopathological characteristics, clinical presentations, and surgical management were analyzed in 5 symptomatic, unusually large BCTs (mean diameter 5.06 cm, range 1.8–8 cm).

Four patients presented with focal or generalized seizures, and 1 patient presented with transient vision loss attributed to the lesions. Gross-total resection of the lesion was achieved in all patients. After surgery, the 4 patients with seizures were symptom free for follow-up periods varying from more than 1 to 5 years with no additional neurological deficits.

The unique location, radiological characteristics, and clinical course suggest that giant BCTs could be a different entity from small BCTs. Surgery might be a good option for treatment of patients with intractable neurological symptoms, especially in those with surgically accessible locations. Complete removal would be anticipated to provide relief of the symptoms without causing new neurological deficits.

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Yu Shuang Tian, Di Zhong, Qing Qing Liu, Xiu Li Zhao, Hong Xue Sun, Jing Jin, Hai Ning Wang and Guo Zhong Li

OBJECTIVE

Ischemic stroke remains a significant cause of death and disability in industrialized nations. Janus tyrosine kinase (JAK) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway play important roles in the downstream signal pathway regulation of ischemic stroke–related inflammatory neuronal damage. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as major regulators in cerebral ischemic injury; therefore, the authors aimed to investigate the underlying molecular mechanism between miRNAs and ischemic stroke, which may provide potential therapeutic targets for ischemic stroke.

METHODS

The JAK2- and JAK3-related miRNA (miR-135, miR-216a, and miR-433) expression levels were detected by real-time quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot analysis in both oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD)–treated primary cultured neuronal cells and mouse brain with middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)–induced ischemic stroke. The miR-135, miR-216a, and miR-433 were determined by bioinformatics analysis that may target JAK2, and miR-216a was further confirmed by 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) dual-luciferase assay. The study further detected cell apoptosis, the level of lactate dehydrogenase, and inflammatory mediators (inducible nitric oxide synthase [iNOS], matrix metalloproteinase–9 [MMP-9], tumor necrosis factor–α [TNF-α], and interleukin-1β [IL-1β]) after cells were transfected with miR-NC (miRNA negative control) or miR-216a mimics and subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) damage with 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, annexin V–FITC/PI, Western blots, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detection. Furthermore, neurological deficit detection and neurological behavior grading were performed to determine the infarction area and neurological deficits.

RESULTS

JAK2 showed its highest level while miR-216a showed its lowest level at day 1 after ischemic reperfusion. However, miR-135 and miR-433 had no obvious change during the process. The luciferase assay data further confirmed that miR-216a can directly target the 3′UTR of JAK2, and overexpression of miR-216a repressed JAK2 protein levels in OGD/R-treated neuronal cells as well as in the MCAO model ischemic region. In addition, overexpression of miR-216a mitigated cell apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo, which was consistent with the effect of knockdown of JAK2. Furthermore, the study found that miR-216a obviously inhibited the inflammatory mediators after OGD/R, including inflammatory enzymes (iNOS and MMP-9) and cytokines (TNF-α and IL-1β). Upregulating miR-216a levels reduced ischemic infarction and improved neurological deficit.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings suggest that upregulation of miR-216a, which targets JAK2, could induce neuroprotection against ischemic injury in vitro and in vivo, which provides a potential therapeutic target for ischemic stroke.

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Yirui Sun, Yue Hu, Qiang Yuan, Jian Yu, Xing Wu, Zhuoying Du, Xuehai Wu and Jin Hu

OBJECTIVE

Digitally designed titanium plates are commonly used for the reconstruction of craniofacial defects, although implant exposure (referred to as failure) is one of the major complications. Metal hypersensitivities have been suggested as possible causes of implant failure of orthopedic, intravascular, gynecological, and dental devices, yet there has been no consensus on the requirement for allergy screening before cranioplasty.

METHODS

In this study, the authors prospectively investigated the prevalence of metal hypersensitivity in patients for whom cranioplasty is planned and assess its relationship with titanium implant failure (exposure).

RESULTS

Based on records from 207 included patients, 39.61% of patients showed hypersensitivity to at least one kind of metal. Approximately one-quarter (25.12%) of patients had multiple metal allergies. Co, Cd, and Zn were the 3 most frequently identified metal hypersensitivities. No allergy to titanium was detected in this study. The overall incidence of cranioplasty implant failure was 5.31% (11 of 207). Patients showing hypersensitivities to more than 3 kinds of metal had higher risks of titanium plate exposure.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on their findings, the authors suggest that routine allergy screening be performed before titanium plate cranioplasty. For patients with hypersensitivities to more than 3 metals, alternative materials, such as polyetheretherketone, should be considered for cranioplasty.

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Feifei Zhou, Shuyang Li, Yanbin Zhao, Yilong Zhang, Kevin L. Ju, Fengshan Zhang, Shengfa Pan and Yu Sun

OBJECTIVE

The authors aimed to identify factors that may be useful for quantifying the amount of degenerative change in preoperative patients to identify ideal candidates for cervical disc replacement (CDR) in patients with a minimum of 10 years of follow-up data.

METHODS

During the period from December 2003 to August 2008, 54 patients underwent CDR with a Bryan cervical disc prosthesis performed by the same group of surgeons, and all of the patients in this group with at least 10 years of follow-up data were enrolled in this retrospective analysis of cases. Postoperative bone formation was graded in radiographic images by using the McAfee classification for heterotopic ossification. Preoperative degeneration was evaluated in radiographs based on a quantitative scoring system. After univariate analysis, the authors performed multifactor logistic regression analysis to identify significant factors. To determine the cutoff points for the significant factors, a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was conducted.

RESULTS

Study patients had a mean age of 43.6 years and an average follow-up period of 120.3 months. The patients as a group had a 68.2% overall incidence of bone formation. Based on univariate analysis results, data for patient sex, disc height, and the presence of anterior osteophytes and endplate sclerosis were included in the multivariate analysis. According to the analysis results, the identified independent risk factors for postoperative bone formation included disc height, the presence of anterior osteophytes, and endplate sclerosis, and according to a quantitative scoring system for degeneration of the cervical spine based on these variables, the ROC curve indicated that the optimal cutoff scores for these risk factors were 0.5, 1.5, and 1.5, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Among the patients who were followed up for at least 10 years after CDR, the incidence of postoperative bone formation was relatively high. The study results indicate that the degree of degeneration in the target level before surgery has a positive correlation with the incidence of postoperative ossification. Rigorous indication criteria for postoperative ossification should be applied in patients for whom CDR may be a treatment option.