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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Bone morphogenetic protein in subaxial cervical arthrodesis: a meta-analysis of 5828 patients

Sufyan Ibrahim, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Patrick Flanigan, Sarah E. Johnson, Konstantinos Katsos, Arjun S. Sebastian, Brett A. Freedman, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Use of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)—an osteoinductive agent commonly used in lumbar arthrodesis—is off-label for cervical arthrodesis. This study aimed to identify the effect of BMP use on clinical and radiological outcomes in instrumented cervical arthrodesis.

METHODS

A comprehensive systematic review of the literature was performed to identify studies directly comparing outcomes between cervical arthrodeses with and without using BMP. Outcomes were analyzed separately for cases of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and posterior cervical fusion (PCF).

RESULTS

A total of 20 studies with 5828 patients (1948 with BMP and 3880 without BMP) were included. In the ACDF cases, BMP use was associated with higher fusion rates (98.9% vs 93.6%, risk difference [RD] 8%; risk ratio [RR] 1.12, p = 0.02), lower reoperation rates (2.2% vs 3.1%, RD 3%; RR 0.48, p = 0.04), and higher risk of dysphagia (24.7% vs 8.1%, RD 11%; RR 1.93, p = 0.02). No significant differences in the Neck Disability Index, neck pain, or arm pain scores were associated with the use of BMP. On subgroup meta-analysis of ACDF cases, older age (≥ 50 years) and higher BMP dose (≥ 0.9 mg/level) were associated with significantly higher fusion rates and relatively lower risk for dysphagia, whereas arthrodesis of fewer segments (< 2 levels) showed significantly higher dysphagia rates without a significant increase in fusion rates. In the PCF cases, the use of BMP was not associated with significant differences in fusion (p = 0.38) or reoperation (p = 0.61) rates but was associated with significantly higher blood loss during surgery (mean difference 146.7 ml, p ≤ 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Use of BMP in ACDF offers higher rates of augmented fusion and lower rates of all-cause reoperation but with an increased risk of dysphagia. The benefit of fusion outweighs the risk of dysphagia with a higher BMP dose in older patients being operated on for < 2 levels. The use of BMP in PCF seems to have a less important effect on clinical and radiological outcomes.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

C1–2 hypermobility and its impact on the spinal cord: a finite element analysis

Arpan A. Patel, Jacob K. Greenberg, Michael P. Steinmetz, Sarel Vorster, Edin Nevzati, and Alexander Spiessberger

OBJECTIVE

The authors present a finite element analysis (FEA) evaluating the mechanical impact of C1–2 hypermobility on the spinal cord.

METHODS

The Code_Aster program was used to perform an FEA to determine the mechanical impact of C1–2 hypermobility on the spinal cord. Normative values of Young’s modulus were applied to the various components of the model, including bone, ligaments, and gray and white matter. Two models were created: 25° and 50° of C1-on-C2 rotation, and 2.5 and 5 mm of C1-on-C2 lateral translation. Maximum von Mises stress (VMS) throughout the cervicomedullary junction was calculated and analyzed.

RESULTS

The FEA model of 2.5 mm lateral translation of C1 on C2 revealed maximum VMS for gray and white matter of 0.041 and 0.097 MPa, respectively. In the 5-mm translation model, the maximum VMS for gray and white matter was 0.069 and 0.162 MPa. The FEA model of 25° of C1-on-C2 rotation revealed maximum VMS for gray and white matter of 0.052 and 0.123 MPa. In the 50° rotation model, the maximum VMS for gray and white matter was 0.113 and 0.264 MPa.

CONCLUSIONS

This FEA revealed significant spinal cord stress during pathological rotation (50°) and lateral translation (5 mm) consistent with values found during severe spinal cord compression and in patients with myelopathy. While this finite element model requires oversimplification of the atlantoaxial joint, the study provides biomechanical evidence that hypermobility within the C1–2 joint leads to pathological spinal cord stress.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Importance of the cervical paraspinal muscles in postoperative patient-reported outcomes and maintenance of sagittal alignment after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

Thomas Caffard, Artine Arzani, Bruno Verna, Vidushi Tripathi, Erika Chiapparelli, Lukas Schönnagel, Jiaqi Zhu, Samuel J. Medina, Soji Tani, Gaston Camino-Willhuber, Ali E. Guven, Krizia Amoroso, Ek Tsoon Tan, John A. Carrino, Jennifer Shue, Oliver Dobrindt, Timo Zippelius, David Dalton, Andrew A. Sama, Federico P. Girardi, Frank P. Cammisa, and Alexander P. Hughes

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of preoperatively assessed paraspinal muscle parameters on postoperative patient-reported outcomes and maintenance of cervical sagittal alignment after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

METHODS

Patients with preoperative and postoperative standing cervical spine lateral radiographs and preoperative cervical MRI who underwent an ACDF between 2015 and 2018 were reviewed. Muscles from C3 to C7 were segmented into 4 functional groups: anterior, posteromedial, posterolateral, and sternocleidomastoid. The functional cross-sectional area and also the percent fat infiltration (FI) were calculated for all groups. Radiographic alignment parameters collected preoperatively and postoperatively included C2–7 lordosis and C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA). Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores were recorded preoperatively and at 2 and 4–6 months postoperatively. To investigate the relationship between muscle parameters and postoperative changes in sagittal alignment, multivariable linear mixed models were used. Multivariable linear regression models were used to analyze the correlations between the changes in NDI scores and the muscles’ FI.

RESULTS

A total of 168 patients with NDI and 157 patients with sagittal alignment measurements with a median follow-up of 364 days were reviewed. The mixed models showed that a greater functional cross-sectional area of the posterolateral muscle group at each subaxial level and less FI at C4–6 were significantly associated with less progression of C2–7 SVA over time. Moreover, there was a significant correlation between greater FI of the posteromedial muscle group measured at the C7 level and less NDI improvement at 4–6 months after ACDF.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings highlight the importance of preoperative assessment of the cervical paraspinal muscle morphology as a predictor for patient-reported outcomes and maintenance of C2–7 SVA after ACDF.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Lumbar Spine Research Society 17th Annual Scientific Meeting

May 2–3, 2024 | Chicago, IL

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Barriers to overlapping complex and general spine surgery at a tertiary academic hospital

Noah C. Baker, Victor A. Bowden, Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Olivier E. Darbin, and Richard P. Menger

OBJECTIVE

Policy concern and debate surround the concept of overlapping spine surgery. Overlapping surgery specifically refers to nonessential portions of the case or noncutting time overlap. This differs from concurrent surgery, in which critical portions of the procedure overlap. Here the authors explore the barriers for safe and efficient overlapping surgery in academic spinal deformity practice.

METHODS

Over a 24-month period, cases of spinal deformity, degenerative cases, anterior cervical discectomy and fusions (ACDFs), and laminectomy were reviewed for duration in operating room (OR) prior to surgery, duration of cutting time, duration in OR after surgery, turnover duration, and time delay from initial start time. Standard degenerative cases were referenced as 1–2 ACDFs as well as 1- to 2-level laminectomy surgery. The blocks of time between two consecutive cutting periods were investigated to determine the feasibility of overlapping an additional surgery. Specifically, the authors compared the blocks of time that include the postsurgery period, the turnover period, and the presurgery period to cutting periods.

RESULTS

One hundred twenty-six complex spinal deformity procedures and 85 degenerative cases (including 49 ACDFs and 36 laminectomies) from one center and one neurosurgeon were reviewed. These procedures were performed between September 2019 and December 2021 with a 3-month gap in military deployment. On average, the procedure’s duration for cases of deformity was 236.5 minutes, for cases of ACDFs it was 84 minutes, and for cases of laminectomies it was 105.5 minutes. The block of noncutting time while the patient was in the OR showed no difference from the surgical cut time. The turnover time between cases was 52.35 minutes. Of 100 cases scheduled as the first case of the day, 94 had a delay to the OR averaging 18.2 minutes.

CONCLUSIONS

The data in this study indicate that estimates for pre- and postsurgical times alone are not sufficient to allow for overlapping surgery. The average cut-time duration of ACDF was 84 minutes; the average presurgical time for deformity was 68 minutes. This highlights the critical analysis for further examination of optimal scheduling, on-time first start, turnover periods, and the orchestration of all members of the providing team to optimize the cutting time for safe and consistent implementation of overlapping spine surgery.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Long-term efficacy of microendoscopic laminotomy for lumbar spinal stenosis in advanced degenerative spondylolisthesis with or without dynamic spinal instability: a propensity score–matching analysis

Shizumasa Murata, Keiji Nagata, Hiroshi Iwasaki, Hiroshi Hashizume, Akihito Minamide, Yukihiro Nakagawa, Shunji Tsutsui, Masanari Takami, Yuyu Ishimoto, Masatoshi Teraguchi, Hiroki Iwahashi, Kimihide Murakami, Ryo Taiji, Takuhei Kozaki, Yoji Kitano, Munehito Yoshida, and Hiroshi Yamada

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors aimed to determine the mid- to long-term outcomes of microendoscopic laminotomy (MEL) for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) with degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) and identify preoperative predictors of poor mid- to long-term outcomes.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 274 patients who underwent spinal MEL for symptomatic LSS. The minimum postoperative follow-up duration was 5 years. Patients were classified into two groups according to DS: those with DS (the DS+ group) and those without DS (the DS− group). The patients were subjected to propensity score matching based on sex, age, BMI, surgical segments, and preoperative leg pain visual analog scale scores. Clinical outcomes were evaluated 1 year and > 5 years after surgery.

RESULTS

Surgical outcomes of MEL for LSS were not significantly different between the DS+ and DS− groups at the final follow-up (mean 7.8 years) in terms of Oswestry Disability Index (p = 0.498), satisfaction (p = 0.913), and reoperation rate (p = 0.154). In the multivariate analysis, female sex (standard β −0.260), patients with slip angle > 5° in the forward bending position (standard β −0.313), and those with dynamic progression of Meyerding grade (standard β −0.325) were at a high risk of poor long-term outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

MEL may have good long-term results in patients with DS without dynamic instability. Women with dynamic instability may require additional fusion surgery in approximately 25% of cases for a period of ≥ 5 years.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Comparing posterior cervical foraminotomy with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in radiculopathic patients: an analysis from the Quality Outcomes Database

Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Giorgos Michalopoulos, William J. Mualem, Sally El Sammak, Michael Y. Wang, Andrew K. Chan, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Dean Chou, Brandon A. Sherrod, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Jacob L. Goldberg, Michael S. Virk, Ibrahim Hussain, Nitin Agarwal, Steven D. Glassman, Mark E. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Kevin T. Foley, Brenton Pennicooke, Domagoj Coric, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to compare clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between posterior foraminotomy and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in patients presenting with cervical radiculopathy.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database was queried for patients who had undergone ACDF or posterior foraminotomy for radiculopathy. To create two highly homogeneous groups, optimal individual matching was performed at a 5:1 ratio between the two groups on 29 baseline variables (including demographic characteristics, comorbidities, symptoms, patient-reported scores, underlying pathologies, and levels treated). Outcomes of interest were length of stay, reoperations, patient-reported satisfaction, increase in EQ-5D score, and decrease in Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores for arm and neck pain as long as 1 year after surgery. Noninferiority analysis of achieving patient satisfaction and minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in PROs was performed with an accepted risk difference of 5%.

RESULTS

A total of 7805 eligible patients were identified: 216 of these underwent posterior foraminotomy and were matched to 1080 patients who underwent ACDF. The patients who underwent ACDF had more underlying pathologies, lower EQ-5D scores, and higher NDI and neck pain scores at baseline. Posterior foraminotomy was associated with shorter hospitalization (0.5 vs 0.9 days, p < 0.001). Reoperations within 12 months were significantly more common among the posterior foraminotomy group (4.2% vs 1.9%, p = 0.04). The two groups performed similarly in PROs, with posterior foraminotomy being noninferior to ACDF in achieving MCID in EQ-5D and neck pain scores but also having lower rates of maximal satisfaction at 12 months (North American Spine Society score of 1 achieved by 65.2% posterior foraminotomy patients vs 74.6% of ACDF patients, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The two procedures were found to be offered to different populations, with ACDF being selected for patients with more complicated pathologies and symptoms. After individual matching, posterior foraminotomy was associated with a higher reoperation risk within 1 year after surgery compared to ACDF (4.2% vs 1.9%). In terms of 12-month PROs, posterior foraminotomy was noninferior to ACDF in improving quality of life and neck pain. The two procedures also performed similarly in improving NDI scores and arm pain, but ACDF patients had higher maximal satisfaction rates.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Objective assessment of postural ergonomics in neurosurgery: integrating wearable technology in the operating room

Alejandro Zulbaran-Rojas, Mohammad D. Rouzi, Mohsen Zahiri, Abderrahman Ouattas, Christina M. Walter, Hung Nguyen, Sanam Bidadi, Bijan Najafi, and G. Michael Lemole Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Physical stress associated with the static posture of neurosurgeons over prolonged periods can result in fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders. Objective assessment of surgical ergonomics may contribute to postural awareness and prevent further complications. This pilot study examined the feasibility of using wearable technology as a biofeedback tool to address this gap.

METHODS

Ten neurosurgeons, including 5 attendings (all faculty) and 5 trainees (1 fellow, 4 residents), were recruited and equipped with two wearable sensors attached to the back of their head and their upper back. The sensors collected the average time spent in extended (≤ −10°), neutral (> −10° and < 10°), and flexed (≥ 10°) static postures (undetected activity for more than 10 seconds) during spine and cranial procedures. Feasibility outcomes aimed for more than 70% of accurate data collection. Exploratory outcomes included the comparison of postural variability within and between participants adjusted to their demographics excluding nonrelated surgical activities, and postoperative self-assessment surveys.

RESULTS

Sixteen (80%) of 20 possible recordings were successfully collected and analyzed from 11 procedures (8 spine, 3 cranial). Surgeons maintained a static posture during 52.7% of the active surgical time (mean 1.58 hrs). During spine procedures, all surgeons used an exoscope while standing, leading to a significantly longer time spent in a neutral static posture (p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.14): attendings remained longer in a neutral static posture (36.4% ± 15.3%) than in the extended (9% ± 6.3%) and flexed (5.7% ± 3.4%) static postures; trainees also remained longer in a neutral static posture (30.2% ± 13.8%) than in the extended (11.1% ± 6.3%) and flexed (11.9% ± 6.6%) static postures. During cranial procedures, surgeons intermittently transitioned between standing/exoscope use and sitting/microscope use, with trainees spending a shorter time in a neutral static posture (16.3% vs 48.5%, p < 0.001) and a longer time in a flexed static posture (18.5% vs 2.7%, p < 0.001) compared with attendings. Additionally, longer cranial procedures correlated with surgeons spending a longer time (r = 0.94) in any static posture (extended, flexed, and neutral), with taller surgeons exhibiting longer periods in flexed and extended static postures (r = 0.86). Postoperative self-assessment revealed that attendings perceived spine procedures as more difficult than trainees (p = 0.029), while trainees found cranial procedures to be of greater difficulty than spine procedures (p = 0.012). Attendings felt more stressed (p = 0.048), less calmed (p = 0.024), less relaxed (p = 0.048), and experienced greater stiffness in their upper body (p = 0.048) and more shoulder pain (p = 0.024) during cranial versus spine procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

Wearable technology is feasible to assess postural ergonomics and provide objective biofeedback to neurosurgeons during spine and cranial procedures. This study showed reproducibility for future comparative protocols focused on correcting posture and surgical ergonomic education.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Biomarkers related to hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum: a systematic review of the literature

William Mualem, Jiaqi Liu, Alan Balu, Kelsi Chesney, and M. Nathan Nair

OBJECTIVE

Spinal stenosis is one of the most common spinal disorders in the elderly. Hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum (HLF) can contribute to spinal stenosis. The current literature suggests that various biomarkers may play important roles in the pathogenesis of HLF. However, the connection between these biomarkers and the development of HLF is still not well understood. This systematic review aims to explore the current literature on biomarkers related to the development of HLF.

METHODS

A literature search was conducted using PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library. The search strategy looked for the titles, abstracts, and keywords of studies that contained a combination of the following phrases: "ligamentum flavum OR yellow ligament," "biomarkers," and "hypertrophy." Recorded data included study design, demographic characteristics (number of patients of each gender and mean age), study period, country where the study was conducted, biomarkers, and diagnostic modalities used. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for case-control studies.

RESULTS

The authors identified 39 studies. After screening, 26 full-text original articles assessing one or more biomarkers related to HLF were included. The included studies were conducted over a 22-year period. The most popular biomarkers studied, in order of frequency reported, were collagen types I and III (n = 10), transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) (n = 8), and interleukin (IL)–6 (n = 6). The authors found that mechanical stretching forces, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 2 (TIMP-2) induction, and TGF-β were associated with increased amounts of collagen I and III. IL-6 expression was increased by microRNA-21, as well as by leptin, through the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) pathway.

CONCLUSIONS

Biomarkers such as TGF-β, IL-6, and collagen I and III have been consistently correlated with the development of HLF. However, the pathogenesis of HLF remains unclear due to the heterogeneity of the studies, patient populations, and research at the molecular level. Further studies are necessary to better characterize the pathogenesis of HLF and provide a more comprehensive understanding of how these biomarkers may aid in the diagnosis and treatment of HLF.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Familial Chiari malformation: a systematic review and illustrative cases

Alaina Dhawan, Jillian Dhawan, Ajay N. Sharma, Daniel B. Azzam, Ahmed Cherry, and Michael G. Fehlings

OBJECTIVE

Chiari malformations (CMs) are a group of congenital or acquired disorders characterized by hindbrain overcrowding into an underdeveloped posterior cranial fossa. CM is considered largely sporadic—however, there exists growing evidence of transmissible genetic underpinnings. The purpose of this systematic review of all familial studies of CM was to investigate the existence of an inherited component and provide recommendations to manage and monitor at-risk family members.

METHODS

This paper includes the following: 1) a unique case report of dizygotic twins who presented at the Toronto Western Hospital Spinal Cord Clinic with symptomatic CM type 1 (CM-1) and syringomyelia; and 2) a systematic review of familial CM. The EMBASE and MEDLINE databases were searched on June 27, 2023, in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Only articles in the English language concerning the diagnosis of CM in > 1 human family member presented as a case study, case series, or literature review were included.

RESULTS

Among the 29 articles included in the final analysis, a total of 34 families with CM were analyzed. An average of 3 cases of CM were found per family among all generations. Eighty-one cases (88%) reported CM-1, whereas the other 11 (12%) cases reported either CM-0, CM-1.5, or tonsillar ectopia. A syrinx was present in 37 (54%) cases, with 14 (38%) of these patients also reporting a skeletal abnormality, the most common comorbidity. Most family members diagnosed with CM were siblings (18; 35%), followed by monozygotic twins/triplets (12; 23%).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients most often presented with headaches, sensory disturbances, or generalized symptoms. Overall, there exists mounting evidence for a hereditary component of CM. It is unlikely to be explained by a classic mendelian inheritance pattern, but is rather a polygenic architecture influenced by variable penetrance, cosegregation, and entirely nongenetic factors. For first-degree relatives of those affected by CM, the authors’ findings may influence clinicians to conduct closer clinical and radiographic monitoring, promote patient education, and consider earlier genetic testing.