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1.  A minimally invasive posterior lumbar interbody fusion for degenerative lumbar spine instabilities 
European Spine Journal  2011;20(Suppl 1):41-45.
Percutaneous techniques may be helpful to reduce approach-related morbidity of conventional open surgery. The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of mini-open posterior lumbar interbody fusion for instabilities and degenerative disc diseases. From May 2005 until October 2008, 20 patients affected by monosegmental instability and disc herniation underwent mini-open lumbar interbody fusion combined with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation of the lumbar spine. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form Health Survey-36. The mean follow-up was 24 months. The mean estimated blood loss was 126 ml; the mean length of stay was 5.3 days; the mean operative time was 171 min. At 24-month follow-up, the mean VAS score was 2.1, mean ODI was 27.1%, and mean SF-36 was 85.2%. 80 screws were implanted in 20 patients. 74 screws showed very good position, 5 screws acceptable, and 1 screw unacceptable. A solid fusion was achieved in 17 patients (85%). In our opinion, mini-open TLIF is a valid and safe treatment of lumbar instability and degenerative disc diseases in order to obtain faster return to daily activities.
PMCID: PMC3087039  PMID: 21445617
Percutaneous pedicle screw; Minimally invasive fusion; Disc herniation
2.  Outcome of minimally invasive surgery in the management of tuberculous spondylitis 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2012;46(2):159-164.
With the advancement of instrumentation and minimally access techniques in the field of spine surgery, good surgical decompression and instrumentation can be done for tuberculous spondylitis with known advantage of MIS (minimally invasive surgery). The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of the minimally invasive techniques in the surgical treatment of patients with tuberculous spondylodiscitis.
Materials and Methods:
23 patients (Group A) with a mean age 38.2 years with single-level spondylodiscitis between T4-T11 treated with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) involving anterior debridement and fusion and 15 patients (Group B) with a mean age of 32.5 years who underwent minimally invasive posterior pedicle screw instrumentation and mini open posterolateral debridement and fusion were included in study. The study was conducted from Mar 2003 to Dec 2009 duration. The indication of surgery was progressive neurological deficit and/or instability. The patients were evaluated for blood loss, duration of surgery, VAS scores, improvement in kyphosis, and fusion status. Improvement in neurology was documented and functional outcome was judged by oswestry disability index (ODI).
The mean blood loss in Group A (VATS category) was 780 ml (330-1180 ml) and the operative time averaged was 228 min (102-330 min). The average preoperative kyphosis in Group A was 38° which was corrected to 30°. Twenty-two patients who underwent VATS had good fusion (Grade I and Grade II) with failure of fusion in one. Complications occurred in seven patients who underwent VATS. The mean blood loss was 625 ml (350-800 ml) with an average duration of surgery of 255 min (180-345 min) in the percutaneous posterior instrumentation group (Group B). The average preoperative segmental (kyphosis) Cobb's angle of three patients with thoracic TB in Group B was 41.25° (28-48°), improved to 14.5°(11°- 21°) in the immediate postoperative period (71.8% correction). The average preoperative segmental kyphosis in another 12 patients in Group B with lumbar tuberculosis of 20.25° improved to –12.08° of lordosis with 32.33° average correction of deformity. Good fusion (Grade I and Grade II) was achieved in 14 patients and Grade III fusion in 1 patient in Group B. One patient suffered with pseudoarthrosis/doubtful fusion with screw loosening in the percutaneous group.
Good fusion rate with encouraging functional results can be obtained in caries spine with minimally invasive techniques with all the major advantages of a minimally invasive procedures including reduction in approach-related morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3308656  PMID: 22448053
Minimally invasive spine surgery; tuberculous spondylodiscitis; video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery
3.  Partially Overlapping Limited Anterior and Posterior Instrumentation for Adult Thoracolumbar and Lumbar Scoliosis: A Description of Novel Spinal Instrumentation, “The Hybrid Technique” 
HSS Journal  2006;3(1):93-98.
Progressive and/or painful adult spinal deformity in the thoracolumbar and lumbar spine is sometimes treated surgically by long posterior fusions from the thoracic spine down to the pelvis, especially where there is a major thoracic curve component. Recent advances in anterior spinal instrumentation and spinal surgery technique have demonstrated the improved corrective ability offered by anterior stabilization systems, and the added benefit of limiting the number of vertebral fusion levels required for control of the deformity. The “hybrid technique” is a novel use of anterior instrumentation that applies limited anterior instrumentation down to the low lumbar spine (rods and screws), and partially overlapping short-segment posterior instrumentation to the sacrum (pedicle screws and rods). These constructs avoid posterior thoracic instrumentation and fusions, and avoid extension of posterior instrumentation to the pelvis. In the first 10 patients treated using this technique, thoracolumbar and lumbar major curve correction has averaged 71 and 82% in the immediate postoperative period (n = 7), respectively, and 59 and 68% at 2-year follow-up, respectively. The technique is an appealing and attractive alternative for treatment of thoracolumbar and lumbar scoliosis in the adult population, and avoids the requirement for applying spinal fixation to the thoracic spine and the pelvis.
PMCID: PMC2504101  PMID: 18751777
thoracolumbar; lumbar; spinal deformity; surgical technique
4.  The ALIF concept 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S035-S043.
The terms ‘minimally invasive’ or ‘less invasive surgery’ have been used recently to describe surgical approaches or operations that are performed with less trauma to anatomical structures on the way to or surrounding the surgical ‘target area’. These types of surgical procedures are usually performed with the help of ‘high-tech’ instruments such as surgical endoscopes or surgical microscopes, modern video techniques and automated instruments. Within the last 10 years, such techniques have been developed in the field of spinal surgery. The application of minimally or less invasive procedures has concentrated predominantly on anterior approaches to the thoracic and lumbar spine. This article describes two anterior approach techniques for performing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) through a minimally invasive retroperitoneal or transperitoneal approach. The technical principles are microsurgical modifications of traditional anterior approaches to the lumbar spine. Through small (4-cm) skin incisions, the target area can be exposed. Preliminary results suggest decreased peri - and postoperative morbidity, less blood loss, earlier rehabilitation and acceptable complication rates. The technique is currently used by the author for all patients requiring anterior lumbar interbody fusion.
PMCID: PMC3611443
Key words Microsurgery; Lumbar spine; Mini ALIF; Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
5.  Impact of total disc arthroplasty on the surgical management of lumbar degenerative disc disease: Analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2000 to 2008 
Spinal fusion is the most rapidly increasing type of lumbar spine surgery for various lumbar degenerative pathologies. The surgical treatment of lumbar spine degenerative disc disease may involve decompression, stabilization, or arthroplasty procedures. Lumbar disc athroplasty is a recent technological advance in the field of lumbar surgery. This study seeks to determine the clinical impact of anterior lumbar disc replacement on the surgical treatment of lumbar spine degenerative pathology. This is a retrospective assessment of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS).
The NIS was searched for ICD-9 codes for lumbar and lumbosacral fusion (81.06), anterior lumbar interbody fusion (81.07), and posterolateral lumbar fusion (81.08), as well as for procedure codes for revision fusion surgery in the lumbar and lumbosacral spine (81.36, 81.37, and 81.38). To assess lumbar arthroplasty, procedure codes for the insertion or replacement of lumbar artificial discs (84.60, 84.65, and 84.68) were queried. Results were assayed from 2000 through 2008, the last year with available data. Analysis was done using the lme4 package in the R programming language for statistical computing.
A total of nearly 300,000 lumbar spine fusion procedures were reported in the NIS database from 2000 to 2008; assuming a representative cross-section of the US health care market, this models approximately 1.5 million procedures performed over this time period. In 2005, the first year of its widespread use, there were 911 lumbar arthroplasty procedures performed, representing 3% of posterolateral fusions performed in this year. Since introduction, the number of lumbar spine arthroplasty procedures has consistently declined, to 653 total procedures recorded in the NIS in 2008. From 2005 to 2008, lumbar arthroplasties comprised approximately 2% of lumbar posterolateral fusions. Arthroplasty patients were younger than posterior lumbar fusion patients (42.8 ± 11.5 vs. 55.9 ± 15.1 years, P < 0.0000001). The distribution of arthroplasty procedures was even between academic and private urban facilities (48.5% and 48.9%, respectively). While rates of posterolateral lumbar spine fusion steadily grew during the period (OR 1.06, 95% CI: 1.05-1.06, P < 0.0000001), rates of revision surgery and anterior spinal fusion remained static.
The impact of lumbar arthroplasty procedures has been minimal. Measured as a percentage of more common lumbar posterior arthrodesis procedures, lumbar arthroplasty comprises only approximately 2% of lumbar spine surgeries performed in the United States. Over the first 4 years following the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the frequency of lumbar disc arthroplasty has decreased while the number of all lumbar spinal fusions has increased.
PMCID: PMC3205497  PMID: 22059134
Artificial disc; lumbar spinal fusion; total disc replacement
6.  Synframe: a preliminary report 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S044-S050.
Both endoscopic lumbar spinal surgery and the non-standardized and unstable retractor systems for the lumbar spine presently on the market have disadvantages and limitations in relation to the minimally invasive surgical concept, which have been gradually recognized in the last few years. In an attempt to resolve some of these issues, we have developed a highly versatile retractor system, which allows access to and surgery at the lumbar, thoracic and even cervical spine. This retractor system – Synframe – is based on a ring concept allowing 360° access to a surgical opening in anterior as well as posterior surgery. The ring is concentrically laid over the surgical opening for the approach and is used as a carrier for retractor arms, which are instrumented with either different sizes or types of blades and/or different sizes of Hohmann hooks. In posterior surgery, nerve root retractors can also be installed. This ring also functions as a carrier for fiberoptic illumination devices and different sizes of endoscopes, used to transmit the surgical procedure out of the depth of the surgical exposure for both teaching purposes and for the surgical team when it has no longer direct visual access to the procedure. The ring is stable, being fixed onto the operating table, allowing precise minimally open approaches and surgical procedures under direct vision with optimal illumination. This ring system also opens perspectives for an integrated minimally open surgical concept, where the ring may be used as a reference platform in computer-navigated surgery.
PMCID: PMC3611433
Key words Minimally invasive ¶surgery; Spine surgery; Laparoscopy; Lumbar spinal fusion; Lumbar disc surgery
7.  Efficacy of tranexamic acid in reducing blood loss in posterior lumbar spine surgery for degenerative spinal stenosis with instability: a retrospective case control study 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:29.
Degenerative spinal stenosis and instability requiring multilevel spine surgery has been associated with large blood losses. Factors that affect perioperative blood loss include time of surgery, surgical procedure, patient height, combined anterior/posterior approaches, number of levels fused, blood salvage techniques, and the use of anti-fibrinolytic medications. This study was done to evaluate the efficacy of tranexamic acid in reducing blood loss in spine surgery.
This retrospective case control study includes 97 patients who had to undergo surgery because of degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and instability. All operations included spinal decompression, interbody fusion and posterior instrumentation (4-5 segments). Forty-six patients received 1 g tranexamic acid intravenous, preoperative and six hours and twelve hours postoperative; 51 patients without tranexamic acid administration were evaluated as a control group. Based on the records, the intra- and postoperative blood losses were measured by evaluating the drainage and cell saver systems 6, 12 and 24 hours post operation. Additionally, hemoglobin concentration and platelet concentration were reviewed. Furthermore, the number of red cell transfusions given and complications associated with tranexamic acid were assessed.
The postoperative hemoglobin concentration demonstrated a statistically significant difference with a p value of 0.0130 showing superiority for tranexamic acid use (tranexamic acid group: 11.08 g/dl, SD: 1.68; control group: 10.29 g/dl, SD: 1.39). The intraoperative cell saver volume and drainage volume after 24 h demonstrated a significant difference as well, which indicates a less blood loss in the tranexamic acid group than the control group. The postoperative drainage volume at12 hours showed no significant differences; nor did the platelet concentration Allogenic blood transfusion (two red cell units) was needed for eight patients in the tranexamic acid group and nine in the control group because of postoperative anemia. Complications associated with the administration of tranexamic acid, e.g. renal failure, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism did not occur.
This study suggests a less blood loss when administering tranexamic acid in posterior lumbar spine surgery as demonstrated by the higher postoperative hemoglobin concentration and the less blood loss. But given the relatively small volume of blood loss in the patients of this study it is underpowered to show a difference in transfusion rates.
PMCID: PMC3234174  PMID: 22047046
8.  Perioperative and short-term advantages of mini-open approach for lumbar spinal fusion 
European Spine Journal  2009;18(8):1194-1201.
It has been widely reported a vascular and neurologic damage of the lumbar muscles produced in the classic posterior approach for lumbar spinal fusions. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate a better clinical and functional outcome in the postoperative and short term in patients undergoing minimal invasive surgery (“mini-open”) for this lumbar spinal arthrodesis. We designed a prospective study with a 30 individuals cohort randomized in two groups, depending on the approach performed to get a instrumented lumbar circumferential arthrodesis: “classic posterior” (CL group) or “mini-open” approach (MO group). Several clinical and functional parameters were assessed, including blood loss, postoperative pain, analgesic requirements and daily life activities during hospital stay and at the 3-month follow-up. Patients of the “mini-open approach” group had a significant lower blood loss and hospital stay during admission. They also had significant lower analgesic requirements and faster recovery of daily life activities (specially moderate efforts) when compared to the patients of the “classic posterior approach” group. No significant differences were found between two groups in surgery timing, X-rays exposure or sciatic postoperative pain. This study, inline with previous investigations, reinforces the concept of minimizing the muscular lumbar damage with a mini-open approach for a faster and better recovery of patients’ disability in the short term. Further investigations are necessary to confirm these findings in the long term, and to verify the achievement of a stable lumbar spinal fusion.
PMCID: PMC2899516  PMID: 19399538
Mini-invasive; Surgery; Lumbar fusion; Discopathy; Arthrodesis
9.  Increase in spinal longitudinal length by correction surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(10):1920-1925.
One of the downsides of spinal correction surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the cessation of spinal longitudinal growth within the fused levels in growing children. However, the surgery itself has the potential to increase spinal longitudinal length by correcting the curvature. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the correlation between curve correction and increased spinal longitudinal length by corrective surgery for AIS.
This study included 208 consecutive patients (14 male, 194 female) with AIS who underwent posterior or anterior correction and fusion surgeries. Mean age at the time of surgery was 15.7 ± 3.3 years (range 10–20 years). Patients with hyperkyphosis of more than 40° were excluded. All patients had main curves in the thoracic spine (Lenke type 1 or 2). Forty-three patients underwent anterior spinal correction and fusion (ASF) and 164 underwent posterior spinal correction and fusion (PSF). The mean preoperative height was 154.7 ± 6.9 cm (range 133–173 cm). Pre and postoperative PA standing X-ray films were used to measure the Cobb angle and spinal length between the end vertebrae of the main thoracic curve, and between T1 and L5. The patients were divided into ASF and PSF groups, within which correlations between the Cobb angle correction and spinal length increase were evaluated.
In the ASF group, the mean preoperative Cobb angle of the main thoracic curve was 54.9 ± 8.3° (range 41–83°) and it was corrected to 19.7 ± 9.5° (range 0–47°) with a mean correction of 35.2 ± 11.1° (range 10–74°) after surgery. The mean increase in the length of the main thoracic curve was 1.5 ± 4.6 mm (range −8 to 13 mm), and the mean increase in T1–L5 length was 16.6 ± 7.7 mm (range −3 to 51 mm). Significant correlation between the correction of the Cobb angle and increase in T1–L5 length was observed, with a correlation coefficient of 0.44. In the PSF group, the mean preoperative Cobb angle of the main thoracic curve was 58.8 ± 11.6° (range 36–107°) and it was corrected to 17.1 ± 7.6° (range 10–49°), with a mean correction of 41.7 ± 10.2° (range 21–73°) after surgery. The mean increase in the length of the main thoracic curve was 14.0 ± 5.2 mm (range 0–42 mm), and the mean increase in T1–L5 length was 32.4 ± 10.8 mm (10–61 mm). Correlation between the correction of the Cobb angle and increase in T1–L5 length was high, with a correlation coefficient of 0.64. The increase in T1–L5 length could be calculated by the following formula based on linear regression analysis: increase in T1–L5 length (mm) = correction of the Cobb angle (º) × 0.77.
Spinal longitudinal length was significantly increased after surgery in both the ASF and PSF groups. Correction of the Cobb angle and increase in T1–L5 length were highly correlated with each other, especially in the PSF group.
PMCID: PMC3463697  PMID: 22310882
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Posterior correction with fusion surgery; Anterior correction with fusion surgery; Spinal length
10.  Minimally invasive 360° instrumented lumbar fusion 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S051-S056.
A retrospective preliminary study was undertaken of combined minimally invasive instrumented lumbar fusion utilizing the BERG (balloon-assisted endoscopic retroperitoneal gasless) approach ¶anteriorly, and a posterior small-incision approach with translaminar screw fixation and posterolateral ¶fusion. The study aimed to quantify the clinical and radiological results using this combined technique. The traditional minimally invasive approach to the anterior lumbar spine involves gas insufflation and provides reliable access only to L5-S1 and in some cases L4-5. A gas-mediated approach yields many technical drawbacks to performing spinal surgery. A minimally invasive posterior approach involving suprafascial pedicle screw instrumentation has been developed, but without widespread use. Translaminar facet fixation may be a viable alternative to transpedicular fixation in a 360° instrumented fusion model. Past studies have shown open 360° instrumented lumbar fusion yields high arthrodesis rates. The study examined the cases of 46 patients who underwent successful 360° instrumented lumbar fusion using a combined minimally invasive approach. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at one or two levels was performed through the BERG approach; a gasless retroperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine allowing the use ¶of standard anterior instrumentation. Posteriorly, all patients underwent successful decompression, translaminar fixation, and posterolateral fusion at one or two levels through ¶one small (2.5–5.0 cm) incision. Results showed mean hospital stay of 2.02 days; mean combined blood loss was 255 cc; and mean pain relief was 56%, with 75.5% of patients reporting good, excellent, or total pain relief. Forty-two of 46 patients (93.2%) achieved a solid fusion ¶24 months after surgery. A total of 47% of all patients working prior to surgery returned to work following surgery. The study showed that minimally invasive 360° instrumented lumbar fusion, when performed utilizing these approaches, yields a high rate of solid arthrodesis (93.3%), good pain relief, short hospital stays, low blood losses, accelerated rehabilitation, and a quick return to the workforce. The BERG approach offers technical advantages over the traditional gas-mediated laparoscopic approach to the anterior lumbar spine.
PMCID: PMC3611432
Key words Minimally Invasive; 360° lumbar fusion; Combined ¶anteroposterior; Gasless endoscopy; Translaminar fixation
11.  Minimally Invasive Anterior Spinal Exposure and Release in Children with Scoliosis 
The early experience with thoracoscopy in children has involved the diagnosis and treatment of pleural and pulmonary diseases. Recent advances have allowed surgeons to perform more complex procedures through video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), potentially decreasing the pain and pulmonary impairment associated with an open thoracotomy. The authors report their initial experience with thoracoscopic assisted anterior spinal exposure and release as part of the treatment for children with spinal deformities.
A retrospective chart review of five children who underwent VATS for anterior spinal surgery between June 1995 and January 1997 was performed.
The ages of the patients ranged from 11 to 16 years with a mean of 13.4 years. All patients had an anterior spinal release with or without fusion and same-day posterior spinal fusion with instrumentation. VATS was successfully completed in all patients without major morbidity and no mortality. The average operative time for the anterior portion of the procedure was 305 minutes, and a mean of 7 disc levels were released. Mean length of chest tube drainage and hospitalization were 6.8 and 8.6 days, respectively.
The objectives of anterior exposure for spinal surgery in children can safely and effectively be accomplished using minimally invasive surgery.
PMCID: PMC3015297  PMID: 9876749
Thoracoscopy; Scoliosis; Thoracic spine; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery
12.  Outcomes of allogenic cages in anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion 
European Spine Journal  2001;10(Suppl 2):S158-S168.
Interbody lumbar fusions provide a proven logical solution to diseases of the intervertebral discs by eliminating motion of the segment. Historically, there are many techniques to achieve spinal fusion in the lumbar spine. These include anterior, posterior, and foramenal approaches, often in combination with various internal fixation devices. The surgeon's choice of the approach and mechanical or biological implant is dependent on the patient's specific pathology and anatomy, in addition to the experience and training of the surgeon in similar conditions. In the past decade, new mechanical spine implants/spacers have been designed to provide restoration of disc height and improve stabilization of the spine. The ability to radiographically assess the "biology" of bone incorporation in these mechanical (metal) spacers has become a significant limitation.
The femoral ring allograft (FRA) and the posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) spacers have been developed as "biological cages" that permit restoration of the anterior column with machined allograft bone biological cages. Test results demonstrate that the FRA and PLIF spacers have a compressive strength of over 25,000 N. The pyramid-shaped teeth on the surfaces and the geometry of the implant increase the resistance to expulsion at clinically relevant loads (1053 and 1236 N). The technique of anterior column reconstruction with both the FRA and the PLIF biological cages have been previously reported.
Clinical outcomes and experience with the FRA spacer (137 patients) and the PLIF spacer (13 patients) were reported on and did not reveal any evidence of bone cage resorption or infectious inflammatory process. There was clinical migration with one PLIF spacer, which was later revised with an anterior approach and a FRA spacer. The radiographic outcomes demonstrated that 94% arthrodesis was achieved with the biological spacer and additional posterior instrumentation. The clinical success of every spine fusion procedure is dependent on many factors such as the extent of the instability, the pathology, type of graft used, the patient's pathology/anatomy and lifestyle.
PMCID: PMC3611548  PMID: 11716014
Biological cages Femoral ring allograft spacer Posterior lumbar interbody fusion spacer Interbody lumbar fusion Arthrodesis
13.  Dynamic Stabilization for Challenging Lumbar Degenerative Diseases of the Spine: A Review of the Literature 
Advances in Orthopedics  2013;2013:753470.
Fusion and rigid instrumentation have been currently the mainstay for the surgical treatment of degenerative diseases of the spine over the last 4 decades. In all over the world the common experience was formed about fusion surgery. Satisfactory results of lumbar spinal fusion appeared completely incompatible and unfavorable within years. Rigid spinal implants along with fusion cause increased stresses of the adjacent segments and have some important disadvantages such as donor site morbidity including pain, wound problems, infections because of longer operating time, pseudarthrosis, and fatigue failure of implants. Alternative spinal implants were developed with time on unsatisfactory outcomes of rigid internal fixation along with fusion. Motion preservation devices which include both anterior and posterior dynamic stabilization are designed and used especially in the last two decades. This paper evaluates the dynamic stabilization of the lumbar spine and talks about chronologically some novel dynamic stabilization devices and thier efficacies.
PMCID: PMC3639681  PMID: 23662211
14.  Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery Plus Lumbar Mini-Open Surgery for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2010;52(1):130-136.
The objectives of this study are to describe the outcome of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients treated with Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) plus supplementary minimal incision in the lumbar region for thoracic and lumbar deformity correction and fusion.
Materials and Methods
This is a case series of 13 patients treated with VATS plus lumbar mini-open surgery for AIS. A total of 13 patients requiring fusions of both the thoracic and lumbar regions were included in this study: 5 of these patients were classified as Lenke type 1A and 8 as Lenke type 5C. Fusion was performed using VATS up to T12 or L1 vertebral level. Lower levels were accessed via a small mini-incision in the lumbar area to gain access to the lumbar spine via the retroperitoneal space. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 1 year.
The average number of fused vertebrae was 7.1 levels. A significant correction in the Cobb angle was obtained at the final follow-up (p = 0.001). The instrumented segmental angle in the sagittal plane was relatively well-maintained following surgery, albeit with a slight increase. Scoliosis Research Society-22 (SRS-22) scores were noted have significantly improved at the final follow-up (p < 0.05).
Indications for the use of VATS may be extended from patients with localized thoracic scoliosis to those with thoracolumbar scoliosis. By utilizing a supplementary minimal incision in the lumbar region, a satisfactory deformity correction may be accomplished with minimal post-operative scarring.
PMCID: PMC3017688  PMID: 21155045
Scoliosis; VATS; mini-open retroperitoneal approach
15.  The impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and obesity on length of stay and cost of spine surgery 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2010;44(4):424-427.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obesity may be more common among spine surgery patients than in the general population and may affect hospital cost.
Materials and Methods:
We retrospectively studied the prevalence of COPD and obesity among 605 randomly selected spine surgery inpatients operated between 2005 and 2008, including lumbar microdiskectomy, anterior cervical decompression and fusion and lumbar decompression and fusion patients. The length of hospital stay and hospital charges for patients with and without COPD and obesity (body mass index [BMI]≥30 kg/m2) were compared.
Among 605 spine surgery patients, 9.6% had a history of COPD. There were no statistical difference in the prevalence of COPD between the three spine surgery groups. Obesity was common, with 47.4% of the patients having a BMI≥30 kg/m2. There were no significant differences in obesity rates or BMI values between the three types of spine surgery patients. Obesity rates between patients with and without COPD were 62.1% vs. 45.9%, and were statistically different (P<0.05). Similarly, significant difference (P<0.01) in BMI values between COPD and non-COPD groups, 32.66±7.19 vs. 29.57±6.048 (mean ± std. deviation), was noted. There was significant difference (P<0.01) in cost between nonobese female patients without COPD and those with obesity and COPD in the anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) group. No association with increased hospital length of stay or cost was found in the other two types of spine surgery or in male ACDF patients.
COPD and obesity seem to additively increase the length of hospital stay and hospital charges in ACDF female patients, an important finding that requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2947730  PMID: 20924484
COPD; obesity; spine surgery; length of stay; hospital cost
16.  A decade’s experience in lumbar spine surgery in Belgium: sickness fund beneficiaries, 2000–2009 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(12):2693-2703.
The purpose is to study rates, trends, geographic variations and outcome of lumbar spine surgery in the Belgian population during the last decade.
This is a retrospective cohort study using administrative data of the largest Belgian sickness fund from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2009. Cases included lumbar laminectomy, combined discectomy and fusion, posterior interarticular fusion, anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and standard discectomy. The main outcome measures were age- and sex-adjusted rates of lumbar spine surgery, 1-year mortality, 1-year iterative surgery, no return to work (RTW) rate 1 year after surgery and length of hospital stay. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between age, sex, geographic region, type of surgery, year of intervention and duration of pre-operative sick leave on outcome.
Spine surgery rates rose 44 % from 2001 through 2009 and data for 2009 showed twofold variations in spine surgery rates among 10 Belgian provinces. Reported 1-year mortality varied from 0.6 to 2.5 % among surgical procedures performed in 2008. The overall 5-year reoperation rate was 12 %. RTW rates 1 year after standard discectomy, ALIF, PLIF and combined discectomy and fusion for the follow-up sample of 2008 were 14.4, 22.7, 26.1 and 30.6 %, respectively. The median length of hospital stay significantly decreased throughout the decade. Type of surgery and geographic region were significantly related to patient outcomes.
Regional variations highlight professional uncertainty and controversy. The study results point to the need for peer comparisons and surgeon feedback.
PMCID: PMC3508248  PMID: 22661202
Lumbar surgery rates; Trends; Reoperations; Return to work; Regional variations; Length of stay
17.  Anterior short correction in thoracic adolescent idiopathic scoliosis with mini-open thoracotomy approach: prospective clinical, radiological and pulmonary function results 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(Suppl 6):765-772.
This is a prospective study of adolescent patients in whom idiopathic thoracic scoliosis was corrected by short anterior fusion through a mini-open thoracotomy approach. Clinical, radiological and pulmonary function results of minimal 2-year (2–6) follow-up are presented.
Materials and methods
Consecutive 62 patients with Lenke 1 and 2 curves, having main thoracic scoliosis of up to 75°, were prospectively included. The shoulder imbalance in Lenke 2 patients was less than 20 mm. Thoracic scoliosis was corrected by short anterior fusion. The thoracic spine was exposed by an 8-cm mini-open thoracotomy incision. The operation technique and choosing of fusion levels are thoroughly described. Complete 360° discectomies and convex side vertebral endplates osteotomies are essential for deformity corrections with short fusions. Single-rod 5.5-mm titanium implants were used. The age at the time of operation was mean 15.2 years; 56 patients had a single thoracic curve and 6 patients had a double thoracic curve. There were almost equal numbers of patients with lumbar modifier A, B or C. The average length of fusion was 5.5 (4–7) vertebrae. The average length of fusion was 3.5 (2–6) vertebrae shorter than the average curve length.
The instrumented thoracic curves improved by 58.3% at 6 weeks and 56.3% at the last follow-up. Apex thoracic vertebral rotation improved by 73.78% at 6 weeks and 76.24% at the last follow-up. The non-instrumented upper thoracic curve improved by 25% in double thoracic scoliosis, where the mid-thoracic curve was selectively fused, and the non-instrumented lumbar curves improved by 33.9% at the last follow-up. The radiological changes from 6 weeks to the last follow-up were statistically not significant. The clinical rib hump improved by 54% at the last follow-up. There were no significant changes in the pulmonary function. FVC% was 81.04% preoperatively, 76.41% at 6 months and 80.38% at the 2-year follow-up. The results of SRS 24 questionnaire improved from a total of 61.40 points preoperatively to 100.50 points at 6 months and 98.62 points at the 2-year follow-up. There were no neurological or thoracotomy related complications, no pseudarthrosis, no implant pullout or breakage.
A good deformity correction without loss of correction or adding on, a good cosmetic result and good patient’s satisfaction were achieved through shorter than end-to-end thoracic fusions. The radiological residual deformity is acceptable. Anterior correction of thoracic scoliosis with a short spinal fusion is recommended to keep the large part of the spine mobile. A very short fusion, small thoracotomy incision, low-profile implants and complete closure of parietal pleura are keys to prevent reduction in postoperative lung function.
PMCID: PMC3535212  PMID: 22274321
Idiopathic thoracic scoliosis; Short anterior correction; Mini-thoracotomy; Pulmonary function; Single rod instrumentation
18.  A Radiological Comparison of Anterior Fusion Rates in Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion 
Global Spine Journal  2012;2(4):195-206.
Aim To compare anterior fusion in standalone anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) using cage and screw constructs and anterior cage–alone constructs with posterior pedicle screw supplementation but without posterior fusion.
Methods Eighty-five patients underwent single- or two-level ALIF procedure for degenerative disk disease or lytic spondylolisthesis (SPL). Posterior instrumentation was performed without posterior fusion in all cases of lytic SPL and when the anterior cage used did not have anterior screw through cage fixation.
Results Seventy (82%) patients had adequate radiological follow-up at a mean of 19 months. Forty patients had anterior surgery alone (24 single level and 16 two levels) and 30 had front-back surgery (15 single level and 15 two levels). Anterior locked pseudarthrosis was only seen in the anterior surgery–alone group when using the STALIF cage (Surgicraft, Worcestershire, UK) (37 patients). This occurred in five of the single-level surgeries (5/22) and nine of the two-level surgeries (9/15). Fusion was achieved in 100% of the front-back group and only 65% (26/40) of the anterior surgery–alone group.
Conclusion Posterior pedicle screw supplementation without posterolateral fusion improves the fusion rate of ALIF when using anterior cage and screw constructs. We would recommend supplementary posterior fixation especially in cases where more than one level is being operated.
PMCID: PMC3864421  PMID: 24353968
anterior lumbar interbody fusion; ALIF; locked pseudarthrosis; spondylolisthesis
19.  Anterior surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis 
Anterior open scoliosis surgery using the dual rod system is a safe and rather effective procedure for the correction of scoliosis (50–60 %). Thoracic hypokyphosis and rib hump correction with open anterior rather than posterior instrumentation appear to be the better approaches, although the latter is somewhat controversial with current posterior vertebral column derotation devices. In patients with Risser grade 0, hyperkyphosis and adding-on may occur with anterior thoracic spine instrumentation. Anterior thoracoscopic instrumentation provides a similar correction (65 %) with good cosmetic outcomes, but it is associated with a rather high risk of instrumentation (pull-out, pseudoarthrosis) and pulmonary complications. Approximately 80 % of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) curves of >70° have restrictive lung disease or smaller than normal lung volumes. AIS patients undergoing anterior thoracotomy or anteroposterior surgery will demonstrate a significant decrease in percentage of predicted lung volumes during follow-up. The thoracoabdominal approach and thoracoscopic approach without thoracoplasty do not produce similar changes in detrimental lung volume. In patients with severe AIS (>90°), posterior-only surgery with TPS provides similar radiographic correction of the deformity (44 %) with better pulmonary function outcomes than anteroposterior surgery. Vascular spinal cord malfunction after segmental vessel ligation during anterior scoliosis surgery has been reported. Based on the current literature, the main indication for open anterior scoliosis instrumentation is Lenke 5C thoracolumbar or lumbar AIS curve with anterior instrumentation typically between T11 and L3.
PMCID: PMC3566254  PMID: 24432061
Anterior spinal instrumentation; Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Pulmonary function; Anterior open scoliosis surgery
20.  Staged surgical treatment for severe and rigid scoliosis 
A retrospective study of staged surgery for severe rigid scoliosis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the result of staged surgery in treatment of severe rigid scoliosis and to discuss the indications.
From 1998 to 2006, 21 cases of severe rigid scoliosis with coronal Cobb angle more than 80° were treated by staged surgeries including anterior release and halo-pelvic traction as first stage surgery and posterior instrumentation and spinal fusion as second stage. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy(PSO) was added in second stage according to spine rigidity. Among the 21 patients, 8 were male and 13 female with an average age of 15.3 years (rang from 4 to 23 years). The mean pre-operative Cobb angle was 110.5° (80°-145°) with a mean spine flexibility of 13%. Radiological parameters at different operative time points were analyzed (mean time of follow-up: 51 months).
External appearance of all patients improved significantly. The average correction rate was 65.2% (ranging from 39.8% to 79.5%) with mean correction loss of 2.23° at the end of follow-up. No decompensation of trunk has been found. Mean distance between the midline of C7 and midsacral line was 1.19 cm ± 0.51. Two patients had neurological complications: one patient had motor deficit and recovered incompletely.
Staged operation and halo-pelvic traction offer a safe and effective way in treatment of severe rigid scoliosis. Patients whose Cobb angle was more than 80° and the flexibility of the spine was less than 20% should be treated in this way, and those whose flexibility of the spine was less than 10% and the Cobb angle remained more than 70° after 1st stage anterior release and halo-pelvic traction should undergo pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) in the second surgery.
PMCID: PMC2481248  PMID: 18613982
21.  Clinical and radiological outcome of anterior–posterior fusion versus transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for symptomatic disc degeneration: a retrospective comparative study of 133 patients 
European Spine Journal  2009;18(2):203-211.
Abundant data are available for direct anterior/posterior spine fusion (APF) and some for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), but only few studies from one institution compares the two techniques. One-hundred and thirty-three patients were retrospectively analyzed, 68 having APF and 65 having TLIF. All patients had symptomatic disc degeneration of the lumbar spine. Only those with one or two-level surgeries were included. Clinical chart and radiologic reviews were done, fusion solidity assessed, and functional outcomes determined by pre- and postoperative SF-36 and postoperative Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and a satisfaction questionnaire. The minimum follow-up was 24 months. The mean operating room time and hospital length of stay were less in the TLIF group. The blood loss was slightly less in the TLIF group (409 vs. 480 cc.). Intra-operative complications were higher in the APF group, mostly due to vein lacerations in the anterior retroperitoneal approach. Postoperative complications were higher in the TLIF group due to graft material extruding against the nerve root or wound drainage. The pseudarthrosis rate was statistically equal (APF 17.6% and TLIF 23.1%) and was higher than most published reports. Significant improvements were noted in both groups for the SF-36 questionnaires. The mean ODI scores at follow-up were 33.5 for the APF and 39.5 for the TLIF group. The patient satisfaction rate was equal for the two groups.
PMCID: PMC2899330  PMID: 19125304
Symptomatic lumbar disc degeneration; Anterior–posterior fusion; Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
22.  Five years’ experience of retroperitoneal lumbar and thoracolumbar surgery 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S030-S034.
Retroperitoneal videoscopic spine surgery has been developed in our department since 1994. It has been used not only at the lumbar, but also at the thoracolumbar and lumbosacral level. Thirty-eight patients have been operated on. We have performed 12 thoracolumbar approaches, 23 lumbar approaches, and 3 retroperitoneal lumbosacral approaches. In every case, a video-assisted technique has been employed. These techniques have been used for anterior grafting in 18 cases of fracture, for corporectomy and grafting with or without anterior osteosynthesis in 6 cases of malunion, for cage implantation or isolated grafting in ¶10 cases of degenerative disc disease, and for the treatment of 4 cases of spondylodiscitis. Results were satisfactory for every type of pathology. The complications related to the approach were the same as those seen with open surgery; however, the videoscopic approach seems to us less invasive, with cosmetic benefit, less blood loss, and more rapid recovery. A video-assisted technique appears to be a good compromise between videoscopic technique and open surgery. With the development of these techniques, few indications remain for open anterior surgery on the lumbar spine in our opinion.
PMCID: PMC3611430
Key words Videoscopy; Retroperitoneoscopy; Endoscopic surgery; Lumbar spine; Lumbar ¶approach; Arthrodesis
23.  Lateral Transpsoas Fusion: Indications and Outcomes 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:893608.
Spinal fusion historically has been used extensively, and, recently, the lateral transpsoas approach to the thoracic and lumbar spine has become an increasingly common method to achieve fusion. Recent literature on this approach has elucidated its advantage over more traditional anterior and posterior approaches, which include a smaller tissue dissection, potentially lower blood loss, no need for an access surgeon, and a shorter hospital stay. Indications for the procedure have now expanded to include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, degenerative scoliosis, nonunion, trauma, infection, and low-grade spondylolisthesis. Lateral interbody fusion has a similar if not lower rate of complications compared to traditional anterior and posterior approaches to interbody fusion. However, lateral interbody fusion has unique complications that include transient neurologic symptoms, motor deficits, and neural injuries that range from 1 to 60% in the literature. Additional studies are required to further evaluate and monitor the short- and long-term safety, efficacy, outcomes, and complications of lateral transpsoas procedures.
PMCID: PMC3504425  PMID: 23213303
24.  The transverse placement laminoplasty using titanium miniplates for the reconstruction of the laminae in thoracic and lumbar lesion 
European Spine Journal  2006;15(8):1292-1297.
Laminoplasty for thoracic and lumbar spine surgery enables surgeons to preserve the posterior arch of the spine while preventing invasion of hematoma and scar tissue, postoperative instability, subluxation, and kyphotic deformities. The authors have developed a new surgical technique: namely, transverse placement laminoplasty (TPL) using titanium miniplates. Eight patients and 18 laminae underwent TPL using a titanium mini-plate. The preoperative diagnoses were six intradural tumors, one ossification of a yellow ligament and one spontaneous spinal cord herniation. The mean blood loss was 219 g and the mean duration of surgery was 3 h and 54 min. The mean postoperative follow-up period was 2 years and 1 month. All eight patients started to sit with a soft brace within the second postoperative day, and were able to walk within the fifth postoperative day. There were no cases of spinal deformity, an invasion of hematoma or scar tissue into the spinal canal on magnetic resonance imaging, or back pain. TPL simultaneously enables surgeons to obtain sufficient field of vision and rigid early fixation of the reduced lamina at the time of surgery. Moreover, our novel technique also simplifies the postoperative treatment, while preserving the posterior arch of the spine, and also preventing an invasion of a hematoma and scar tissue, postoperative instability, subluxation, and kyphotic deformities.
PMCID: PMC3233967  PMID: 16612643
Laminoplasty; Thoracic and lumbar lesion; Intradural tumor
25.  Postural control in patients with lumbar disc herniation in the early postoperative period 
European Spine Journal  2009;19(3):409-414.
Chronic spinal disc disease leads to disorders in postural movement coordination. An incorrect asymmetrical movement pattern for the lower limbs loading impairs proprioception and deteriorates postural stability, particularly when the vision is occluded. The standard surgical treatment improves biomechanical conditions in the lumbar spine, reduces pain, yet does it reduce the stability deficit in the upright position? An answer to the latter question would help work out targeted therapy to improve postural stability. We hypothesized that the standard surgical treatment would improve postural stability reflected by decreased sway variability accounting for better use of proprioceptive inputs postoperatively. Thirty-nine patients with lumbar disc herniation participated in the study. Their postural sway was recorded in anterior/posterior and medial/lateral planes with their eyes open or closed (EC) before and after surgery. The variability, range, mean velocity of the recorded time series and the area of the ellipse enclosed by the statokinesiogram were used as measures of postural stability. Preoperatively, EC condition resulted in an increased variability and mean velocity of postural sway, while postoperatively it caused an increase in sway mean velocity and sway area only with no effect on sway variability and range. The comparison of the balance before and after the surgery in the EC condition showed significant decrease in all parameters. In the early postoperative period, the patients recover the ability to control their postural sway in EC within normal limits, however, at the expense of significantly increased frequency of corrective torques. It is probably a transient short-term strategy needed to compensate for the recovery phase when the normal weighting factors for all afferents are being reestablished. We propose that this transient postoperative period may be the best timing of therapeutic intervention targeted at facilitating and reinforcing the acquisition of correct motor patterns.
PMCID: PMC2899757  PMID: 19562385
Postural control; Postural balance; Lumbar disc herniation; Surgical treatment

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