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Jun Jiang, Zezhang Zhu, Bangping Qian, Zhen Liu and Yong Qiu

Cervical myelomeningocele (MMC) is an uncommon congenital malformation of the spinal cord and accounts for a small proportion of neural tube defects. These lesions mostly occur in the dorsal part of the body. Only a single case of an anterior cervical MMC has been previously reported. The authors report a second case of anterior cervical MMC diagnosed when the patient began to experience symptoms of bilateral hand weakness in adulthood. In this patient, MR imaging of the cervical spine showed an anterior cervical MMC at the C6–7 level with hydrocephalus, thinning of the genu and trunk of the corpus callosum, maldevelopment of the cerebellar tonsils, and expansion of the fourth ventricle, posterior cranial fossa, and subarachnoid space. A CT scan and a 3D CT reconstruction of the cervical spine clearly demonstrated contiguous fusions of multiple lower-cervical vertebrae and neural arches, which was consistent with Type III Klippel-Feil syndrome. The patient was advised to undergo operative treatment to prevent the progression of her neurological deficit. However, after being notified of the potential neurological risks, the patient declined surgery and opted for conservative treatment with a hard neck collar. At 4 months' follow-up, the patient's neurological deficit remains stable with the MMC left untreated. The authors presume that the possible pathogenesis of anterior cervical MMC may greatly differ from that of posterior lesions. This lesion could also be associated with multiple other spinal abnormalities, which highlights the importance of comprehensive preoperative radiological examinations.

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Weiguo Zhu, Weixiang Sun, Leilei Xu, Xu Sun, Zhen Liu, Yong Qiu and Zezhang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

Recently, minimally invasive scoliosis surgery (MISS) was introduced for the correction of adult scoliosis. Multiple benefits including a good deformity correction rate and fewer complications have been demonstrated. However, few studies have reported on the use of MISS for the management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). The purpose of this study was to investigate the outcome of posterior MISS assisted by O-arm navigation for the correction of Lenke Type 5C AIS.

METHODS

The authors searched a database for all patients with AIS who had been treated with either MISS or PSF between November 2012 and January 2014. Levels of fusion, density of implants, operation time, and estimated blood loss (EBL) were recorded. Coronal and sagittal parameters were evaluated before surgery, immediately after surgery, and at the last follow-up. The accuracy of pedicle screw placement was assessed according to postoperative axial CT images in both groups. The 22-item Scoliosis Research Society questionnaire (SRS-22) results and complications were collected during follow-up.

RESULTS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 45 patients with Lenke Type 5C AIS, 15 who underwent posterior MISS under O-arm navigation and 30 who underwent posterior spinal fusion (PSF). The 2 treatment groups were matched in terms of baseline characteristics. Comparison of radiographic parameters revealed no obvious difference between the 2 groups immediately after surgery or at the final follow-up; however, the MISS patients had significantly less EBL (p < 0.001) and longer operation times (p = 0.002). The evaluation of pain and self-image using the SRS-22 showed significantly higher scores in the MISS group (p = 0.013 and 0.046, respectively) than in the PSF group. Postoperative CT showed high accuracy in pedicle placement in both groups. No deep wound infection, pseudarthrosis, additional surgery, implant failure, or neurological complications were recorded in either group.

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery is an effective and safe alternative to open surgery for patients with Lenke Type 5C AIS. Compared with results of the open approach, the outcomes of MISS are promising, with reduced morbidity. Before the routine use of MISS, however, long-term data are needed.

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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.

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Weiguo Zhu, Zhen Liu, Shifu Sha, Jing Guo, Hongda Bao, Leilei Xu, Yong Qiu and Zezhang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have reported spinal straightening and pelvic retroversion when changing from erect to sitting posture in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), which were thought to be related to low-back pain after sitting for long periods. However, the sitting sagittal alignment after posterior spinal fusion has not been evaluated. This study aims to assess the influence of posterior fusion surgery upon sitting sagittal spinopelvic alignment in adolescents with idiopathic thoracic curves (thoracic AIS [T-AIS]).

METHODS

A total of 44 T-AIS patients (30 Lenke I and 14 Lenke II) from the authors’ center were included in this study. Preoperative and postoperative long-cassette lateral radiographs of the spine and pelvis were obtained with the patients in standing and sitting positions. Thoracic kyphosis (TK), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI), sacral slope (SS), and pelvic tilt (PT) were measured on standing and sitting lateral radiographs. Patients were divided into selective thoracic fusion (STF) and nonselective thoracic fusion (NSTF) groups.

RESULTS

At baseline, TK, LL, and SS decreased by 27.5%, 42.1%, and 31.1%, respectively, from the standing to the sitting position, while PT increased by 193.6%. After posterior spinal fusion, increased TK, LL, and SS and corresponding decreased PT were observed compared to baseline parameters in the sitting position. Comparison of postoperative sitting and standing values for the whole cohort showed that the mean LS and SS values were significantly lower in the sitting position (decreased by 14.0% and 13.9%, respectively, compared to standing), whereas the mean PT value was significantly greater (increased by 39.0%, compared to standing). Similar changes were also observed in the STF group: postoperatively the mean LL value was 15.6% lower in sitting than in standing, while the mean SS value was 11.5% lower. However, no obvious changes of the postoperative values in sitting were found in the NSTF group.

CONCLUSIONS

Nonselective thoracic fusion surgery in T-AIS patients diminished spinal straightening and pelvic retroversion during sitting. Reducing distal fusion levels was of special value in not only saving more lumbar mobility, but also preserving the function of pelvic posterior rotation.

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Liang Xu, Yong Qiu, Zhonghui Chen, Benlong Shi, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Zezhang Zhu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to evaluate the correction results of traditional dual growing rods (DGRs) on axial rotation using CT scans and to further explore the relationships between axial and torso deformities in patients with early-onset scoliosis (EOS).

METHODS

Patients with EOS who were treated with traditional DGRs between January 2006 and December 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Plain radiographs were used to assess the degree of coronal and sagittal deformity. The apical vertebral rotation (AVR) and rib hump (RH) were measured on CT scans at the apical vertebra. Pearson or Spearman rank correlation analyses were used to analyze the associations between spinal and torso deformities.

RESULTS

A total of 27 patients (10 boys and 17 girls, average age 6.5 ± 1.7 years) were enrolled in this study. The average number of lengthenings per patient was 5.0 ± 1.9, with a mean follow-up duration of 52.9 ± 18.2 months. The apical vertebral translation, apical vertebral body–rib ratio (AVB-R), AVR, and RH parameters were significantly decreased after the initial surgery (p < 0.05) but showed notable progression at the latest follow-up evaluation (p < 0.05). The preoperative AVR and its correction after index surgery were significantly correlated with the preoperative values as well as with the corrections of the major Cobb angle, AVB-R, and RH. During the follow-up period, significant correlations were found between the deterioration of AVR and the AVB-R and also between the deterioration of AVR and the RH from the initial surgery to the latest follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant AVR correction can be achieved by DGR techniques after the initial surgery. However, this technique weakly prevents the deterioration of AVR during the follow-up period.

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Zhonghui Chen, Song Li, Yong Qiu, Zezhang Zhu, Xi Chen, Liang Xu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

Although the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) and growing rod instrumentation (GRI) encourage spinal growth via regular lengthening, they can create different results because of their different fixation patterns and mechanisms in correcting scoliosis. Previous studies have focused comparisons on coronal plane deformity with minimal attention to the sagittal profile. In this retrospective study, the authors aimed to compare the evolution of the sagittal spinal profile in early-onset scoliosis (EOS) treated with VEPTR versus GRI.

METHODS

The data for 11 patients with VEPTR and 22 with GRI were reviewed. All patients had more than 2 years’ follow-up with more than 2 lengthening procedures. Radiographic measurements were performed before and after the index surgery and at the latest follow-up. The complications in both groups were recorded.

RESULTS

Patients in both groups had similar diagnoses, age at the index surgery, and number of lengthening procedures. The changes in the major coronal Cobb angle and T1–S1 spinal height were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Compared with the GRI group, the VEPTR group had less correction in thoracic kyphosis (23% ± 12% vs 44% ± 16%, p < 0.001) after the index surgery and experienced a greater correction loss in thoracic kyphosis (46% ± 18% vs 11% ± 8%, p < 0.001) at the latest follow-up. Although the increase in the proximal junctional angle was not significantly different (VEPTR: 7° ± 4° vs GRI: 8° ± 5°, p = 0.569), the incidence of proximal junctional kyphosis was relatively lower in the VEPTR group (VEPTR: 18.2% vs GRI: 22.7%). No significant changes in the spinopelvic parameters were observed, while the sagittal vertical axis showed a tendency toward a neutral position in both groups. The overall complication rate was higher in the VEPTR group than in the GRI group (72.7% vs 54.5%).

CONCLUSIONS

The VEPTR had coronal correction and spinal growth results similar to those with GRI. In the sagittal plane, however, the VEPTR was not comparable to the GRI in controlling thoracic kyphosis. Thus, for hyperkyphotic EOS patients, GRI is recommended over VEPTR.

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Bang-ping Qian, Ji-chen Huang, Yong Qiu, Bin Wang, Yang Yu, Ze-zhang Zhu, Sai-hu Mao and Jun Jiang

OBJECTIVE

To describe the incidence of complications in spinal osteotomy for thoracolumbar kyphosis caused by ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and to investigate the risk factors for these complications.

METHODS

From April 2000 to July 2017, 342 consecutive AS patients with a mean age (± SD) of 35.4 ± 9.8 years (range 17–71 years) undergoing spinal osteotomy were enrolled. Patients with complications within the 1st postoperative year were identified. Demographic, radiological, and surgical data were compared between patients with and without complications. The complications were classified into intraoperative and postoperative complications.

RESULTS

A total of 310 consecutive pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and 37 multiple Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO) procedures were performed in 342 patients. Overall, 47 complications were identified in 47 patients (13.7%), including 31 intraoperative complications and 16 postoperative complications. Patients with complications were older than those without (p = 0.006). A significant difference was observed in preoperative global kyphosis (GK), lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), and the correction of these radiographic parameters between patients with and without complications (p < 0.05). Two-level PSO (p = 0.022) and an increased number of instrumented vertebrae (p = 0.019) were significantly associated with an increased risk of complications.

CONCLUSIONS

The overall incidence of complications was 13.7%. Age; preoperative GK, LL, and SVA; the correction of GK, LL, and SVA; 2-level PSO; and number of instrumented vertebrae were risk factors. Therefore, the potential risk of extensive surgeries with large correction and long fusion in older AS patients with severe GK should be seriously considered in surgical decision-making.

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Liang Xu, Benlong Shi, Yong Qiu, Zhonghui Chen, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Qingshuang Zhou, Zezhang Zhu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to quantify the response of the cervical spine to the surgical correction of Scheuermann’s kyphosis (SK) and to postoperative proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK).

METHODS

Fifty-nine patients (mean age 14.6 ± 2.3 years) were enrolled in the study: 35 patients in a thoracic SK (T-SK) group and 24 in a thoracolumbar SK (TL-SK) group. The mean follow-up period was 47.2 ± 17.6 months. Radiographic data, PJK-related complications, and patient-reported outcomes were compared between groups.

RESULTS

The global kyphosis significantly decreased postoperatively, and similar correction rates were observed between the two groups (mean 47.1% ± 8.6% [T-SK] vs 45.8% ± 9.4% [TL-SK], p = 0.585). The cervical lordosis (CL) in the T-SK group notably decreased from 21.4° ± 13.3° to 13.1° ± 12.4° after surgery and was maintained at 14.9° ± 10.7° at the latest follow-up, whereas in the TL-SK group, CL considerably increased from 7.2° ± 10.7° to 11.7° ± 11.1° after surgery and to 13.8° ± 8.9° at the latest follow-up. PJK was identified in 16 patients (27.1%). Its incidence in the TL-SK group was notably higher than it was in the T-SK group (41.6% [n = 10] vs 17.1% [n = 6], p = 0.037). Compared with non-PJK patients, PJK patients had greater CL and lower pain scores on the Scoliosis Research Society–22 questionnaire (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Hyperkyphosis correction eventually resulted in reciprocal changes in the cervical spine, with CL notably decreased in the T-SK group but significantly increased in the TL-SK group. Patients developing PJK have increased CL, which seems to have a negative effect on patients’ health-related quality of life.

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Qinghua Zhao, Benlong Shi, Xu Sun, Zhen Liu, Hao Su, Yang Li, Zezhang Zhu and Yong Qiu

OBJECTIVE

Intraspinal anomalies associated with congenital scoliosis (CS) complicate the decision-making process for spinal correction surgery in CS patients. Recently, deformity correction surgery without prior prophylactic neurological intervention has been recognized to be safe in CS patients with intact or stable neurological status. However, no case-control study has identified the surgical outcomes and risks of spinal correction surgery in this patient population. The authors sought to investigate the safety and efficacy of spinal correction surgery for CS associated with untreated intraspinal anomalies (split cord malformation [SCM], tethered cord, and/or syringomyelia) with intact or stable neurological status.

METHODS

A group of CS patients with intraspinal anomalies (CS+IA) and another group of CS patients without intraspinal anomalies (CS-IA) undergoing 1-stage posterior correction surgery were retrospectively reviewed. The radiographic and clinical outcomes and postoperative complications were compared between the 2 groups.

RESULTS

There were 57 patients in the CS+IA group and 184 patients in the CS-IA group. No significant difference was observed in age, sex, spinal curve pattern, main Cobb angle, and flexibility of the main curve between the 2 groups (p > 0.05 for all). The postoperative correction rates of the major curve were comparable between the 2 groups (53.5% vs 55.7% for the CS+IA and CS-IA groups, respectively, p > 0.05). No significant difference was observed in the incidence of either implant-related or neurological complications between 2 groups. No patients in the CS+IA group developed neurological complications, whereas 1 patient in the CS-IA group experienced transient weakness of the left lower extremity after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Coexisting intraspinal anomalies (SCM, tethered cord, and/or syringomyelia) in CS patients with normal or stable neurological status do not significantly increase the risk of neurological complications of correction surgery. Prophylactic neurosurgical intervention for intraspinal anomalies before correction surgery might be unnecessary for these patients.