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Laura A. Snyder

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) is a well-accepted procedure with good outcomes. Robotics has the potential to augment these outcomes. This video demonstrates and discusses how surgeons can implement the use of a robotic device in an MIS TLIF workflow. The planning software and robotic arm guidance allow the surgeon to use intraoperative CT to guide the placement of pedicle screws in an MIS TLIF with optimal trajectory and decreased radiation. As robotic technology continues to improve, developing safe workflows that integrate robotics with currently well-established techniques should improve patient outcomes.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/rJWOa6XVLW0.

Open access

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Juan S. Uribe, Gennadiy A. Katsevman, Clinton D. Morgan, Gabriella M. Paisan, and Laura A. Snyder

The lateral retropleural approach provides an eloquent, mini-open, safe corridor to address various pathologies in the thoracolumbar spine, including herniated thoracic discs. Traditional approaches (e.g., transpedicular, costotransversectomy, or transthoracic) have their own benefits and pitfalls but are generally associated with significant morbidity and often require instrumentation. In this video, the authors highlight the retropleural approach and its nuances, including patient positioning, surgical planning, relevant anatomy, surgical technique, and postoperative care.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.3.FOCVID2217

Open access

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Laura A. Snyder, Melissa Erickson, Justin S. Smith, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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Nader Sanai, Laura A. Snyder, Norissa J. Honea, Stephen W. Coons, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Kris A. Smith, and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Greater extent of resection (EOR) for patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) corresponds with improved clinical outcome, yet remains a central challenge to the neurosurgical oncologist. Although 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)–induced tumor fluorescence is a strategy that can improve EOR in gliomas, only glioblastomas routinely fluoresce following 5-ALA administration. Intraoperative confocal microscopy adapts conventional confocal technology to a handheld probe that provides real-time fluorescent imaging at up to 1000× magnification. The authors report a combined approach in which intraoperative confocal microscopy is used to visualize 5-ALA tumor fluorescence in LGGs during the course of microsurgical resection.

Methods

Following 5-ALA administration, patients with newly diagnosed LGG underwent microsurgical resection. Intraoperative confocal microscopy was conducted at the following points: 1) initial encounter with the tumor; 2) the midpoint of tumor resection; and 3) the presumed brain-tumor interface. Histopathological analysis of these sites correlated tumor infiltration with intraoperative cellular tumor fluorescence.

Results

Ten consecutive patients with WHO Grades I and II gliomas underwent microsurgical resection with 5-ALA and intraoperative confocal microscopy. Macroscopic tumor fluorescence was not evident in any patient. However, in each case, intraoperative confocal microscopy identified tumor fluorescence at a cellular level, a finding that corresponded to tumor infiltration on matched histological analyses.

Conclusions

Intraoperative confocal microscopy can visualize cellular 5-ALA–induced tumor fluorescence within LGGs and at the brain-tumor interface. To assess the clinical value of 5-ALA for high-grade gliomas in conjunction with neuronavigation, and for LGGs in combination with intraoperative confocal microscopy and neuronavigation, a Phase IIIa randomized placebo-controlled trial (BALANCE) is underway at the authors' institution.

Free access

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Laura A. Snyder, Harry Shufflebarger, Michael F. O'Brien, Harjot Thind, Nicholas Theodore, and Udaya K. Kakarla

Object

Isthmic spondylolysis can significantly decrease functional abilities, especially in adolescent athletes. Although treatment can range from observation to surgery, direct screw placement through the fractured pars, or Buck's procedure, may be a more minimally invasive procedure than the more common pedicle screw-hook construct.

Methods

Review of surgical databases identified 16 consecutive patients treated with Buck's procedure from 2004 to 2010. Twelve patients were treated at Miami Children's Hospital and 4 at Barrow Neurological Institute. Demographics and clinical and radiographic outcomes were recorded and analyzed retrospectively.

Results

The 16 patients had a median age of 16 years, and 14 were 20 years or younger at the time of treatment. Symptoms included axial back pain in 100% of patients with concomitant radiculopathy in 38%. Pars defects were bilateral in 81% and unilateral in 19% for a total of 29 pars defects treated using Buck's procedure. Autograft or allograft augmented with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein as well as postoperative bracing was used in all cases. Postoperatively, symptoms resolved completely or partially in 15 patients (94%). Of 29 pars defects, healing was observed in 26 (89.6%) prior to 1 revision surgery, and an overall fusion rate of 97% was observed at last radiological follow-up. There were no implant failures. All 8 athletes in this group had returned to play at last follow-up.

Conclusions

Direct screw repair of the pars interarticularis defect as described in this series may provide a more minimally invasive treatment of adolescent patients with satisfactory clinical and radiological outcomes, including return to play of adolescent athletes.

Open access

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David S. Xu, Gabriella M. Paisan, Joelle N. Hartke, Gennadiy A. Katsevman, Juan S. Uribe, and Laura A. Snyder

The lateral access approach for L1–2 interbody placement or other levels at or near the thoracolumbar junction may be difficult without proper knowledge and visualization of anatomy. Specifically, understanding where the fibers of the diaphragm travel and avoiding injury to the diaphragm are paramount.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.3.FOCVID2221

Restricted access

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Jakub Godzik, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, Ram Kumar Menon, Alexander C. Whiting, Brian P. Kelly, and Laura A. Snyder

OBJECTIVE

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is commonly used for lumbar fusion, such as for foraminal decompression, stabilization, and improving segmental lordosis. Although many options exist, surgical success is contingent on matching design strengths with surgical goals. The goal in the present study was to investigate the effects of an expandable interbody spacer and 2 traditional static spacer designs in terms of stability, compressive stiffness, foraminal height, and segmental lordosis.

METHODS

Standard nondestructive flexibility tests (7.5 N⋅m) were performed on 8 cadaveric lumbar specimens (L3–S1) to assess intervertebral stability of 3 types of TLIF spacers at L4–5 with bilateral posterior screw-rod (PSR) fixation. Stability was determined as range of motion (ROM) in flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR). Compressive stiffness was determined with axial compressive loading (300 N). Foraminal height, disc height, and segmental lordosis were evaluated using radiographic analysis after controlled PSR compression (170 N). Four conditions were tested in random order: 1) intact, 2) expandable interbody cage with PSR fixation (EC+PSR), 3) static ovoid cage with PSR fixation (SOC+PSR), and 4) static rectangular cage with PSR fixation (SRC+PSR).

RESULTS

All constructs demonstrated greater stability than the intact condition (p < 0.001). No significant differences existed among constructs in ROM (FE, AR, and LB) or compressive stiffness (p ≥ 0.66). The EC+PSR demonstrated significantly greater foraminal height at L4–5 than SRC+PSR (21.1 ± 2.6 mm vs 18.6 ± 1.7 mm, p = 0.009). EC+PSR demonstrated higher anterior disc height than SOC+PSR (14.9 ± 1.9 mm vs 13.6 ± 2.2 mm, p = 0.04) and higher posterior disc height than the intact condition (9.4 ± 1.5 mm vs 7.1 ± 1.0 mm, p = 0.002), SOC+PSR (6.5 ± 1.8 mm, p < 0.001), and SRC+PSR (7.2 ± 1.2 mm, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in segmental lordosis among SOC+PSR (10.1° ± 2.2°), EC+PSR (8.1° ± 0.5°), and SRC+PSR (11.1° ± 3.0°) (p ≥ 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

An expandable interbody spacer provided stability, stiffness, and segmental lordosis comparable to those of traditional nonexpandable spacers of different shapes, with increased foraminal height and greater disc height. These results may help inform decisions about which interbody implants will best achieve surgical goals.

Restricted access

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Laura A. Snyder, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Ram Kumar Menon, Jakub Godzik, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, and Brian P. Kelly

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive transforaminal interbody fusion techniques vary among surgeons. One decision point is whether to perform a unilateral facetectomy (UF), a unilateral facetectomy plus partial contralateral facetectomy (UF/PF), or a complete bilateral facetectomy (CBF). The authors therefore compared the biomechanical benefits of all 3 types of facetectomies to determine which approach produces improved biomechanical outcomes.

METHODS

Seven human cadaveric specimens (L3–S1) were potted and prepped for UF, with full facet removal, hemilaminectomy, discectomy, and pedicle screw placement. After distraction, a fixed interbody spacer was placed, and compression was performed. A final fixation configuration was performed by locking the rods across the screws posteriorly with bilateral compression. Final lordosis angle and change and foraminal height were measured, and standard nondestructive flexibility tests were performed to assess intervertebral range of motion (ROM) and compressive stiffness. The same procedure was followed for UF/PF and CBF in all 7 specimens.

RESULTS

All 3 conditions demonstrated similar ROM and compressive stiffness. No statistically significant differences occurred with distraction, but CBF demonstrated significantly greater change than UF in mean foraminal height after bilateral posterior compression (1.90 ± 0.62 vs 1.00 ± 0.45 mm, respectively, p = 0.04). With compression, the CBF demonstrated significantly greater mean ROM than the UF (2.82° ± 0.83° vs 2.170° ± 1.10°, p = 0.007). The final lordosis angle was greatest with CBF (3.74° ± 0.70°) and lowest with UF (2.68° ± 1.28°). This finding was statistically significant across all 3 conditions (p ≤ 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Although UF/PF and CBF may require slightly more time and effort and incur more risk than UF, the potential improvement in sagittal balance may be worthwhile for select patients.

Free access

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S. Harrison Farber, David J. Mauler, Soumya Sagar, Mark A. Pacult, Corey T. Walker, Michael A. Bohl, Laura A. Snyder, Kristina M. Chapple, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Juan S. Uribe, Jay D. Turner, Steve W. Chang, and U. Kumar Kakarla

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common and robust procedure performed on the cervical spine. Literature on ACDF for 4 or more segments is sparse. Increasing the number of operative levels increases surgical complexity, tissue retraction, and risks of complications, particularly dysphagia. The overall risks of these complications and rates of dysphagia are not well studied for surgery on 4 or more segments. In this study, the authors evaluated their institution’s perioperative experience with 4- and 5-level ACDFs.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent 4- or 5-level ACDF at their institution over a 6-year period (May 2013–May 2019). Patient demographics, perioperative complications, readmission rates, and swallowing outcomes were recorded. Outcomes were analyzed with a multivariate linear regression.

RESULTS

A total of 174 patients were included (167 had 4-level and 7 had 5-level ACDFs). The average age was 60.6 years, and 54.0% of patients (n = 94) were men. A corpectomy was performed in 12.6% of patients (n = 22). After surgery, 56.9% of patients (n = 99) experienced dysphagia. The percentage of patients with dysphagia decreased to 22.8% (37/162) at 30 days, 12.9% (17/132) at 90 days, and 6.3% (5/79) and 2.8% (1/36) at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Dysphagia was more likely at 90 days postoperatively in patients with gastroesophageal reflux (OR 4.4 [95% CI 1.5–12.8], p = 0.008), and the mean (± SD) lordosis change was greater in patients with dysphagia than those without at 90 days (19.8° ± 13.3° vs 9.1° ± 10.2°, p = 0.003). Dysphagia occurrence did not differ with operative implants, including graft and interbody type. The mean length of time to solid food intake was 2.4 ± 2.1 days. Patients treated with dexamethasone were more likely to achieve solid food intake prior to discharge (OR 4.0 [95% CI 1.5–10.6], p = 0.004). Postsurgery, 5.2% of patients (n = 9) required a feeding tube due to severe approach-related dysphagia. Other perioperative complication rates were uniformly low. Overall, 8.6% of patients (n = 15) returned to the emergency department within 30 days and 2.9% (n = 5) required readmission, whereas 1.1% (n = 2) required unplanned return to surgery within 30 days.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest series of patients undergoing 4- and 5-level ACDFs reported to date. This procedure was performed safely with minimal intraoperative complications. More than half of the patients experienced in-hospital dysphagia, which increased their overall length of stay, but dysphagia decreased over time.

Restricted access

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Laura A. Snyder, Andrew B. Wolf, Mark E. Oppenlander, Robert Bina, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Lynn Ashby, David Brachman, Stephen W. Coons, Robert F. Spetzler, and Nader Sanai

Object

Recent evidence suggests that a greater extent of resection (EOR) extends malignant progression-free survival among patients with low-grade gliomas (LGGs). These studies, however, rely on the combined analysis of oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, and mixed oligoastrocytomas—3 histological subtypes with distinct genetic and molecular compositions. To assess the value of EOR in a homogeneous LGG patient population and delineate its impact on LGG transformation, the authors examined its effect on newly diagnosed supratentorial oligodendrogliomas.

Methods

The authors identified 93 newly diagnosed adult patients with WHO Grade II oligodendrogliomas treated with microsurgical resection at Barrow Neurological Institute. Clinical, laboratory, and radiographic data were collected retrospectively, including 1p/19q codeletion status and volumetric analysis based on T2-weighted MRI.

Results

The median preoperative and postoperative tumor volumes and EOR were 29.0 cm3 (range 1.3–222.7 cm3), 5.2 cm3 (range 0–156.1 cm3), and 85% (range 6%–100%), respectively. Median follow-up was 75.4 months, and there were 14 deaths (15%). Progression and malignant progression were identified in 31 (33%) and 20 (22%) cases, respectively. A greater EOR was associated with longer overall survival (p = 0.005) and progression-free survival (p = 0.004); however, a greater EOR did not prolong the interval to malignant progression, even when controlling for 1p/19q codeletion.

Conclusions

A greater EOR is associated with an improved survival profile for patients with WHO Grade II oligodendrogliomas. However, for this particular LGG patient population, the interval to tumor transformation is not influenced by cytoreduction. These data raise the possibility that the capacity for microsurgical resection to modulate malignant progression is mediated through biological mechanisms specific to nonoligodendroglioma LGG histologies.