Introduction: In 2018, the first Mobi-C® total disk replacement (TDR) case was performed in Japan. In this study, we examined the preliminary clinical outcome of Mobi-C® for degenerative cervical spine disease.
Methods: We examined 24 consecutive patients who underwent 1-level TDR after 2018 and followed up for more than 6 months after surgery. The evaluation criteria included age, gender, diagnosis, follow-up period, surgical level, implant size, surgery time, intraoperative bleeding volume, complications, revision surgery, imaging findings, JOA score, and various questionnaires.
Results: The mean age was 52.7 years, 13 males and 11 females. There were 15 cases of cervical disk herniation and 9 cases of cervical spondylosis. The mean follow-up period was 17.4 months. Surgical levels were C3/4 in 4 cases, C4/5 in 2 cases, C5/6 in 16 cases, and C6/7 in 2 cases. The mean operation time was 138.5 minutes, the amount of intraoperative bleeding was 32.1 ml, and there were no serious intraoperative complications. The range of motion of the affected level increased significantly, from 6.6 degrees preoperatively to 12.2 degrees at final follow-up. No patients required revision surgery at final follow-up, and there were no cases of heterotopic ossification or adjacent segment disease. One patient exhibited radiculopathy due to mild subsidence 1 year after surgery, and 1 had asymptomatic contact of device plates. Preoperative and final JOA scores improved from 11.7 to 15.8 points, and NRS improved from 4.3 to 1.3 points for neck pain and 4.3 to 1.7 points for arm pain. Preoperative and final NDI improved from 39.7% to 14.0%, and EQ-5D improved from 0.602 to 0.801.
Conclusions: The short-term treatment outcomes of Mobi-C® TDR were generally favorable. Spine surgeons should comply with guidelines when introducing this procedure and strive to adopt this new technology in Japan.
Introduction: Despite being originally developed for the evaluation of lumbar disk degeneration, the Pfirrmann classification has emerged as the most popular classification system for cervical disk degeneration. However, with the Suzuki classification, a new classification system that is specifically tailored for the evaluation of cervical disk disease was introduced. In this study, we aim to evaluate differences in inter- and intraobserver reliability of both classifications in a head-to-head comparison.
Methods: In total, we have evaluated 120 cervical disks within 40 patients via magnetic resonance imaging according to the Pfirrmann and Suzuki classification. The degree of disk degeneration was evaluated by two independent musculoskeletal radiologists. After 6 months, the classification was reassessed to evaluate the intraobserver reliability. The inter- and intraobserver reliabilities were then calculated using Cohen's kappa.
Results: The inter- and intraobserver reliability provided a significant agreement between all ratings in Pfirrmann as well as the Suzuki classification (p>0.001). The interobserver reliability was determined to be fair in both the Suzuki classification (κ=0.290) and the Pfirrmann classification (κ=0.265). The intraobserver reliability was substantial in the Suzuki classification (κ=0.798), while it was almost perfect in the Pfirrmann classification (κ=0.858).
Conclusions: Although not designed for the evaluation of cervical disk degeneration, the Pfirrmann classification yielded equal inter- and higher intraobserver reliability. Both classification systems are viable options for the grading of cervical disk degeneration. While the Pfirrmann classification has the advantage of being better established, the Suzuki classification may be clinically superior due to a better representation of cervical disk degeneration and the consideration of disk bulging for the classification of cervical disk degeneration.
Introduction: Osteoplastic hemilaminectomy for the treatment of lumbar foraminal nerve root compression is a safe technique as the exiting nerve root can be directly observed during neuroforaminal decompression without spinal fusion. Moreover, this procedure allows anatomical reconstruction of the posterior elements. However, there might be a potential risk for the progression of lumbar segmental instability after performing this procedure. This study aimed to review the radiographic and clinical outcomes of osteoplastic hemilaminectomy for the treatment of lumbar foraminal nerve root compression.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 51 patients who underwent osteoplastic hemilaminectomy with a minimum follow-up of 2 years. The clinical outcomes were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) for low back pain, leg pain, and numbness and the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score. Lumbar segmental instability was evaluated as a radiographic assessment using functional radiography. The mean follow-up period was 65 months.
Results: The preoperative VASs for low back pain, leg pain, and numbness were 46±31, 72±26, and 43±34, respectively, which were improved to 24±23, 19±23, and 19±23, respectively. The JOA score was also improved from 14±5 to 22±4. Three patients (5.9%) were reoperated due to recurrent disc herniation within 2 years following surgery. In addition, three patients (5.9%) developed postoperative lumbar segmental instability but did not require additional surgery.
Conclusions: The current study revealed that 94.1% of the patients who underwent osteoplastic hemilaminectomy achieved a significant improvement in the clinical outcomes and did not require additional surgery within 2 years following the procedure. Over a 5-year follow-up on average, 5.9% of the subjects developed postoperative lumbar segmental instability; however, they have maintained acceptable clinical conditions.
Introduction: Orthopedic surgeons are exposed to ionizing radiation daily. With the increase in the number of minimally invasive surgery performed under X-ray fluoroscopy, radiation exposure to unprotected fingers will increase. Although the effect of high dose radiation exposure is known, the long-term effect of exposure to low doses is unclear. This study aims to investigate damage to the nail and skin on the thumbs of spine surgeons via occupational ionizing radiation exposure.
Methods: Forty male spine surgeons (group S) and 40 males of the same age group who were not exposed to radiation (controls; group C) were included. Using a scoring system, we evaluated the damage to the fingernail and skin of the bilateral thumb. Scoring was based on fingernail pigmentation (melanonychia), fingernail crack, and periungual dermatitis status. We investigated the number of examinations and operations under radiation exposure in the last 3 months.
Results: Group S had 17.83 (3-28) years of surgeon experience. In group S, the dominant side scored significantly higher than the non-dominant side; however, there was no dominant vs. non-dominant difference in group C. Only the dominant side had a significantly higher score in group S than in group C. In group S, surgeon experience and the score of the dominant side were significantly correlated; however, for the non-dominant side of group S and both thumbs of group C, no correlation was observed. The kappa coefficients for fingernail pigmentation, fingernail crack, and periungual dermatitis status were 0.458, 0.248, and 0.612, respectively. The average number of examinations and operations under radiation exposure was 11.89 ± 9.04 (0-30) and 26.34 ± 14.67 (1-63), respectively.
Conclusions: The dominant side in group S had a significantly higher score than the non-dominant side in group S and the dominant side in group C, suggesting the possibility of radiation damage to the dominant side in group S.
Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has greatly changed the lifestyles of individuals due to the need to prevent disease spread. Globally, governments have enforced various policies, including travel bans, quarantine, home confinement, and lockdowns, as safety measures. Consequently, the frequency of individuals going out has decreased. This survey aimed to assess how decreasing the frequency of going out due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts patients with spinal disorders.
Methods: This multicenter cross-sectional questionnaire survey included patients who visited four private spine clinics for any symptoms. Participants completed questionnaires pre- and post-pandemic that assessed the following topics: frequency of leaving home, exercise habits, locomotive syndrome, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Patients were divided into decreased and non-decreased frequency of going out groups, according to observed changes in their frequencies of leaving home. Both groups were statistically compared using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses to identify factors associated with the frequency of going out.
Results: Among 855 patients, 160 (18.7%; the decreased group) reported that they went out less frequently, and 695 (81.3%; the non-decreased group) reported that they left home equally frequently post- versus pre-pandemic. Multivariate analyses showed that exercise habits significantly decreased (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.67, p = 0.004), the incidence of locomotive syndrome significantly increased (aOR = 2.86, p = 0.012), and HRQOL significantly deteriorated (aOR = 4.14, p < 0.001) in the decreased group compared to the non-decreased group.
Conclusions: Restrictions regarding leaving home due to the COVID-19 pandemic significantly decreased exercise frequency, increased the occurrence of locomotive syndrome, and were associated with deterioration of HRQOL in patients with spine disorders. It may be beneficial for spine surgeons to encourage patients with spinal disorders to leave home at a frequency similar to what they did pre-pandemic while avoiding crowded areas, despite the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introduction: Balloon kyphoplasty (BKP) is one of the most frequently used clinical methods to relieve pain caused by osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture (OVCF); it can effectively improve the body height of the vertebra. However, recompression of the augmented vertebra (RAV) is often observed after BKP. This study aimed to report factors that are associated with RAV in terms of cement augmentation.
Methods: A total of 78 patients (women, 60; men, 18) were included in this study. RAV was defined as anterior vertebral height loss (VHL), between immediate postoperation and 3 or 6 months after BKP, of more than 5.0 mm. Cement augmentation ratio (CAR) was calculated as the ratio of the maximal height of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) to the maximal distance between both end plates. Age, gender, fracture age, CAR, presence of medication for osteoporosis, intervertebral cleft (IVC), and cement leakage were evaluated using Fisher's exact test or Mann-Whitney U test to compare between RAV and non-RAV groups. Aforementioned variables were also analyzed using multiple logistic regression test. A P<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The incidence rates for RAV at 3 and 6 months were 35.9% (28/78) and 38.5% (30/78), respectively. Age (80.1 vs 74.7) was significantly higher in the RAV group, whereas CAR (69.4% vs 77.6%) was lower in the non-RAV group. A multivariate regression analysis revealed that age (odds ratio (OR) =1.12, P=0.001) and CAR (OR=0.91, P=0.001) were independently associated with RAV.
Conclusions: RAV was observed in 38.5% of patients in this study. Older age and low CAR were independently associated with RAV. To prevent RAV, especially in the elderly, augmented PMMA should come in contact with both end plates.
Introduction: Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) extended to the lumbar segments (L-DISH) reportedly has adverse effects on the surgical outcomes of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). However, the risk factors in patients with L-DISH have not been clarified. The purpose of this study was to investigate the long-term risk factors for reoperation at the same level after decompression surgery alone for LSS in patients with L-DISH in a retrospective cohort study.
Methods: A postoperative postal survey was sent to 1,150 consecutive patients who underwent decompression surgery alone for LSS from 2002 to 2010. Among all respondents, patients who exhibited L-DISH by preoperative total spine X-ray were included in this study. We investigated risk factors for reoperation at the same level as the initial surgery among various demographic and radiological parameters, including the lumbar ossification condition and computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging findings.
Results: A total of 57 patients were analyzed. Reoperations at the same level as that of the index surgery were performed in 10 patients (17.5%) and at 11 levels within a mean of 9.2 years. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis indicated that the independent risk factors for reoperation were a sagittal rotation angle ≥10° (adjusted hazard ratio: 5.17) and facet opening on CT (adjusted hazard ratio: 4.82). Neither sagittal translation nor the ossification condition in the lumbar segments affected reoperations.
Conclusions: A sagittal rotation angle ≥10° and facet opening on preoperative CT were risk factors for reoperation at the same level as that of the index surgery in patients with L-DISH. The surgical strategy should be carefully considered in those patients.
Introduction: A percutaneous endoscopic transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (PETLIF) procedure has been previously developed. During postoperative follow-up, in some patients, bone fusion occurred between opened facet joints, despite not having bone grafting in the facet joints. Here, we investigated facet fusion's frequency and tendencies following PETLIF.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on a prospectively collected, nonrandomized series of patients. Forty-two patients (6 males and 36 females, average age: 69.9 years) who underwent single-level PETLIF at our hospital from February 2016 to March 2019 were included in this study. Patients were assessed with lumbar X-ray images and computed tomography (CT) prior to, immediately after, and 1 year after surgery.
Results: Pseudarthrosis was not observed in any patients, and facet fusion was observed in 26 of 42 post-PETLIF patients (61.9%) by CT 1 year postoperatively. The average interfacet distance increased from 1.3 mm preoperatively to 4.5 mm postoperatively, and facet fusion was observed under the opened conditions of 3.8 mm at 1 year. Segmental lordotic angle of the fusion segment in the lumbar X-ray images was significantly larger in the facet fusion subgroup prior to surgery, immediately following surgery, and 1 year after surgery compared to the facet non-fusion group (p=0.02, p<0.01, p=0.01, respectively). There were no significant differences in patient background, correction loss of segmental lordosis, interfacet distance, or clinical score between the facet fusion and facet non-fusion subgroups.
Conclusions: Facet fusion was achieved over time within the facet joints that were opened through indirect decompression after PETLIF. We hypothesized that the preserved facet joints potentially became the base bed for spontaneous bone fusion due to the preserved facet joint capsule and surrounding soft tissue, which maintained cranio-caudal facet traffic and blood circulation in the facet joints. The complete preservation of the facet joints was a key advantage of minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion procedures.
Introduction: Preoperative factors that predict postoperative restoration of lumbar lordosis (LL) are not well understood. To investigate whether preoperative postural correction of LL, sagittal malalignment, or lumbar flexibility are associated with the postoperative restoration of LL in patients treated with a single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), a retrospective cohort study was conducted.
Methods: We enrolled 104 patients (mean age: 67.5±10.7 years old; 47 men and 57 women) with lumbar degenerative diseases treated with a single-level TLIF. The pre- and postoperative LL were examined using lateral radiographs in the standing position and computed tomography (CT) images in the supine position. The correlation between postoperative LL restoration and preoperative postural correction of LL (difference in LL between the standing and supine positions: D-LL), sagittal imbalance (pelvic incidence minus LL: PI-LL), and lumbar flexibility (difference in LL between the flexion and extension postures) were analyzed. Patients were divided into two groups according to the D-LL (D-LL≥0° and D-LL<0°). The rates of postoperative LL restoration (postoperative LL-preoperative LL in standing) were compared between the two groups.
Results: Multiple regression analysis performed after adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, and cage angle revealed that postoperative LL restoration was significantly correlated with D-LL (p<0.001), but not with PI-LL, and lumbar flexibility. Patients with a preoperative D-LL≥0° showed a significantly greater increase of LL after TLIF (7.1°±11.2°) than those with D-LL<0° (1.4°±6.6°) (p=0.003).
Conclusions: A preoperative evaluation of a lateral radiograph or CT taken in the supine position is useful in predicting postoperative improvement of sagittal alignment. Postoperative improvement of sagittal spinopelvic alignment would be expected when LL is corrected in the supine position preoperatively. Surgeons should pay attention to the postural correction of LL when performing short-segment fusion surgery for lumbar degenerative disease with sagittal malalignment.
Introduction: Lateral corpectomy has been considered a minimally invasive surgery, allowing a "transdiaphragmatic approach" at the thoracolumbar junction. This approach allows for a small diaphragmatic incision directly in the retroperitoneal space and the affected vertebra. However, its effectiveness in comparison to a conventional approach remains unclear. Thus, in this present study, we compared the surgical outcomes between conventional diaphragmatic detachment and the transdiaphragmatic approach in patients with vertebral fracture at the thoracolumbar junction.
Methods: In total, 31 patients with a vertebral fracture at the thoracolumbar junction (T12-L2) were included in this study: 17 underwent a conventional approach, whereas 14 underwent a transdiaphragmatic approach, with a minimum 2-year follow-up. The effectiveness of surgery was evaluated in each category of the Japanese Orthopedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ).
Results: Operative time and estimated blood loss were determined to be significantly shorter in the transdiaphragmatic than in the conventional approach. Perioperative complications were observed in the conventional approach (one atelectasis and one pleural effusion), while no complication was noted in the transdiaphragmatic approach. There were no significant differences in postoperative quality of life as assessed by JOABPEQ in terms of pain-related disorders, lumbar spine dysfunction, gait disturbance, social life dysfunction, or psychological disorders between the conventional and transdiaphragmatic approaches.
Conclusions: A "transdiaphragmatic approach" using lateral access surgery has been found to be associated with a shorter operative time and less blood loss with fewer complications than the conventional approach. Given that equivalent clinical outcomes were achieved in both conventional and transdiaphragmatic approaches, this "transdiaphragmatic approach" could be useful because of its minimal invasiveness.
Introduction: This study aimed to elucidate low-back pain (LBP) characteristics, i.e., its qualities, extent, and location, in patients with early-stage spondylolysis (ESS).
Methods: We recruited patients (≤18 years old) who presented with acute LBP lasting up to 1 month. Patients were divided into ESS and nonspecific LBP (NS-LBP) groups based on their magnetic resonance imaging findings; patients showing no pathological findings that might explain the cause of LBP were classified as NS-LBP. All patients were evaluated using the following tests: hyperextension and hyperflexion (pain provocation tests in a standing position), pain quality (sharp/dull), pain extent (fingertip-sized area/palm-sized area), and pain location (left and/or right pain in side [side]/central pain [center]). We have also compared outcomes between the ESS and NS-LBP groups in terms of gender and physical symptoms.
Results: Of 101 patients, 53 were determined to have ESS (ESS group: mean age: 14.3 years old; 43 males/10 females), whereas 48 had no pathological findings explaining the LBP origin [NS-LBP group (mean age, 14.4 years old; 31 males/17 females) ]. Chi-squared test has identified gender (male), a negative result on hyperflexion test, pain extent (fingertip-sized area), and pain location (side) to be significantly associated with ESS. Among these, regression analysis revealed that male gender and LBP located on the side were significantly associated with ESS (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Although the hyperextension test is generally considered useful for ESS, we demonstrated that its association is not deemed significant. Our results indicate that male gender, a negative result of the hyperflexion test, fingertip-sized pain area, and LBP on the side may be specific characteristics of ESS. Of these physical signs, male gender and LBP located on the side are characteristic factors suggesting ESS presence.
Introduction: The sacral-alar-iliac (SAI) screw technique is becoming popular for sacropelvic fixation. However, appropriately placing SAI screws is technically demanding because of a narrow safe corridor and the risk of neurovascular/visceral injuries. Recently, a three-dimensional patient-specific template guiding technique for pedicle screw placement has been considered a promising method to improve accuracy and safety. The objective of the present study was to investigate the accuracy of SAI screw placement with a patient-specific template guide using cadaveric and prospective clinical pilot studies.
Methods: Three-dimensional planning of SAI screw placement, including entry point, screw trajectory, length, and diameter, was performed using a computer simulation software. Then, three-dimensional printed patient-specific template guides were created based on the plan. Firstly, a total of 12 SAI screws were placed for 6 cadaveric specimens using the guides. Next, in a prospective clinical trial, a total of 20 SAI screws were placed for 10 consecutively enrolled patients. The safety and accuracy of screw placement were analyzed using postoperative computed tomography by the evaluation of any cortical breach and measurement of screw deviations between the planned and actual screw positions.
Results: All the screws showed no perforation. In the cadaveric study, the mean horizontal and vertical deviations from the planned screw position at the entry point were 1.40±1.21 mm and 1.34±1.09 mm, respectively. The mean angular deviations in the sagittal and transverse planes were 1.68°±1.24° and 1.53°±1.06°, respectively. The results of the clinical study showed comparable accuracy with those of the cadaveric study, except for the vertical deviation at the entry point (p=0.048).
Conclusions: This is the first study to evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of using a patient-specific template guide for SAI screw placement. This technique could become an effective solution to achieve accurate screw placement.
Introduction: In the aging society, fragility fracture of the pelvis (FFP) has become a problem. Although strong and minimally invasive fixation is required in FFP surgery, reports on relevant surgical results are scarce. Crab-shaped fixation (CSF) is a spinopelvic fixation that involves reconstruction of the posterior pelvic ring using spinal instrumentation. This study aimed to evaluate the walking ability and perioperative complications of patients who underwent CSF for FFP.
Methods: We included patients diagnosed with unstable FFPs, including sacral fracture, who required hospitalization. Demographic data, such as age, sex, bone mineral density, and Rommens classification, were evaluated. Surgical findings included estimated blood loss, operation time, and perioperative complications. The improvement in postoperative walking ability was evaluated based on the length of the postoperative period before the initiation of walker training and whether walking aids were required at 6 months post-surgery, compared with those who received conservative treatment for FFP.
Results: Our study included 6 cases that received CSF and 16 cases that received conservative treatment, in which all were females and presented with sacral fractures. The average age of the surgical patients, the operation time, and the estimated blood loss were 79.5±14.7 years, 180.7±28.7 min, and 124.2±29.4 mL, respectively. The average length of the postoperative period prior to the initiation of walker training was 10.8±12.3 days, which was significantly shorter than that of conservative treatment. With regard to perioperative complications, poor reduction of fracture dislocation was observed in one case as well as surgical site infection in another case, but the walking ability improved in all cases.
Conclusions: We evaluated the results of the posterior pelvic ring reconstruction with CSF for patients with vertically unstable FFPs, including sacral fractures. CSF is minimally invasive and would be useful as it allowed walker training during the early postoperative period, which improved patients' walking ability even during the in situ pelvic ring reconstruction.
Introduction: In this study, we present "microscopic mini-open foraminotomy (MicroMOF) " as a new, less invasive method for posterior cervical foraminotomy.
Technical Note: Using surgical microscope guidance, the spinous process is hemi-split, and the posterior muscle is detached from the laminar subperiosteal surface. Bony resection is then performed obliquely from medial posterior to lateral anterior under lateral-tilted surgical field exposure. MicroMOF has been performed successfully for cervical radiculopathy and cervical spondylotic amyotrophy, which achieved postoperative symptom improvement with few complications.
Conclusions: The novel MicroMOF foraminotomy technique has been found to protect the nerve root and vertebral artery and help preserve muscle and cervical facet joint bone.