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Multilevel anterior cervical osteotomies with uncinatectomies to correct a fixed kyphotic deformity associated with ankylosing spondylitis: technical note and operative video

Scott L. Zuckerman, Jacob L. Goldberg, and K. Daniel Riew

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory disorder leading to ossification of joints and ligaments, resulting in autofusion throughout the spinal column. In patients with fixed, kyphotic cervical deformities, which cause an impaired horizontal gaze and severe neck pain, surgical intervention is warranted. Although several articles have described the anterior and/or posterior surgical treatments used to address the fixed kyphosis, few sources present the key operative steps and technical nuances. The purpose of this technical report was to provide detailed surgical steps, representative photographs, and an operative video demonstrating multilevel anterior cervical osteotomies, uncinatectomies, and a posterior osteotomy for the correction of a fixed cervical deformity secondary to AS.

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Feasibility of smart glasses in supporting spinal surgical procedures in low- and middle-income countries: experiences from East Africa

Fabian Sommer, Francois Waterkeyn, Ibrahim Hussain, Jacob L. Goldberg, Sertac Kirnaz, Rodrigo Navarro-Ramirez, Alaaeldin Azmi Ahmad, Massimo Balsano, Branden Medary, Hamisi Shabani, Amanda Ng, Pravesh Shankar Gadjradj, and Roger Härtl

OBJECTIVE

Telemedicine technology has been developed to allow surgeons in countries with limited resources to access expert technical guidance during surgical procedures. The authors report their initial experience using state-of-the-art wearable smart glasses with wireless capability to transmit intraoperative video content during spine surgery from sub-Saharan Africa to experts in the US.

METHODS

A novel smart glasses system with integrated camera and microphone was worn by a spine surgeon in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during 3 scoliosis correction surgeries. The images were transmitted wirelessly through a compatible software system to a computer viewed by a group of fellowship-trained spine surgeons in New York City. Visual clarity was determined using a modified Snellen chart, and a percentage score was determined on the smallest line that could be read from the 8-line chart on white and black backgrounds. A 1- to 5-point scale (from 1 = unrecognizable to 5 = optimal clarity) was used to score other visual metrics assessed using a color test card including hue, contrast, and brightness. The same scoring system was used by the group to reach a consensus on visual quality of 3 intraoperative points including instruments, radiographs (ability to see pedicle screws relative to bony anatomy), and intraoperative surgical field (ability to identify bony landmarks such as transverse processes, pedicle screw starting point, laminar edge).

RESULTS

All surgeries accomplished the defined goals safely with no intraoperative complications. The average download and upload connection speeds achieved in Dar es Salaam were 45.21 and 58.89 Mbps, respectively. Visual clarity with the modified white and black Snellen chart was 70.8% and 62.5%, respectively. The average scores for hue, contrast, and brightness were 2.67, 3.33, and 2.67, respectively. Visualization quality of instruments, radiographs, and intraoperative surgical field were 3.67, 1, and 1, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Application of smart glasses for telemedicine offers a promising tool for surgical education and remote training, especially in low- and middle-income countries. However, this study highlights some limitations of this technology, including optical resolution, intraoperative lighting, and internet connection challenges. With continued collaboration between clinicians and industry, future iterations of smart glasses technology will need to address these issues to stimulate robust clinical utilization.