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1.  Postfixed Brachial Plexus Radiculopathy Due to Thoracic Disc Herniation in a Collegiate Wrestler: A Case Report 
Journal of Athletic Training  2013;48(5):710-715.
Objective:
To present the unique case of a collegiate wrestler with C7 neurologic symptoms due to T1–T2 disc herniation.
Background:
A 23-year-old male collegiate wrestler injured his neck in a wrestling tournament match and experienced pain, weakness, and numbness in his left upper extremity. He completed that match and 1 additional match that day with mild symptoms. Evaluation by a certified athletic trainer 6 days postinjury showed radiculopathy in the C7 distribution of his left upper extremity. He was evaluated further by the team physician, a primary care physician, and a neurosurgeon.
Differential Diagnosis:
Cervical spine injury, stinger/burner, peripheral nerve injury, spinal cord injury, thoracic outlet syndrome, brachial plexus radiculopathy.
Treatment:
The patient initially underwent nonoperative management with ice, heat, massage, electrical stimulation, shortwave diathermy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without symptom resolution. Cervical spine radiographs were negative for bony pathologic conditions. Magnetic resonance imaging showed evidence of T1–T2 disc herniation. The patient underwent surgery to resolve the symptoms and enable him to participate for the remainder of the wrestling season.
Uniqueness:
Whereas brachial plexus radiculopathy commonly is seen in collision sports, a postfixed brachial plexus in which the T2 nerve root has substantial contribution to the innervation of the upper extremity is a rare anatomic variation with which many health care providers are unfamiliar.
Conclusions:
The injury sustained by the wrestler appeared to be C7 radiculopathy due to a brachial plexus traction injury. However, it ultimately was diagnosed as radiculopathy due to a T1–T2 thoracic intervertebral disc herniation causing impingement of a postfixed brachial plexus and required surgical intervention. Athletic trainers and physicians need to be aware of the anatomic variations of the brachial plexus when evaluating and caring for patients with suspected brachial plexus radiculopathies.
doi:10.4085/1062-6050-48.5.03
PMCID: PMC3784373  PMID: 23952042
neuropathy; burner; stinger; cervical spine; thoracic spine
2.  Effectiveness of manual physical therapy in the treatment of cervical radiculopathy: a systematic review 
Study design
Systematic review of randomized clinical trials.
Objective
Review of current literature regarding the effectiveness of manual therapy in the treatment of cervical radiculopathy.
Background
Cervical radiculopathy (CR) is a clinical condition frequently encountered in the physical therapy clinic. Cervical radiculopathy is a result of space occupying lesions in the cervical spine: either cervical disc herniations, spondylosis, or osteophytosis. These affect the pain generators of bony and ligamentous tissues, producing radicular symptoms (i.e. pain, numbness, weakness, paresthesia) observed in the upper extremity of patients with cervical nerve root pathology. Cervical radiculopathy has a reported annual incidence of 83·2 per 100 000 and an increased prevalence in the fifth decade of life among the general population.
Results
Medline and CINAHL via EBSCO, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar were used to retrieve the randomized clinical trial studies for this review between the years of 1995 and February of 2011. Four studies met inclusion criteria and were considered to be high quality (PEDro scores of ⩾5). Manual therapy techniques included muscle energy techniques, non-thrust/thrust manipulation/mobilization of the cervical and/or thoracic spine, soft-tissue mobilization, and neural mobilization. In each study, manual therapy was either a stand-alone intervention or part of a multimodal approach which included therapeutic exercise and often some form of cervical traction. Although no clear cause and effect relationship can be established between improvement in radicular symptoms and manual therapy, results are generally promising.
Conclusion
Although a definitive treatment progression for treating CR has not been developed a general consensus exists within the literature that using manual therapy techniques in conjunction with therapeutic exercise is effective in regard to increasing function, as well as AROM, while decreasing levels of pain and disability. High quality RCTs featuring control groups are necessary to establish clear and effective protocols in the treatment of CR.
doi:10.1179/2042618611Y.0000000011
PMCID: PMC3143012  PMID: 22851876
Cervical radiculopathy; Conservative treatment; Manual therapy; Manipulation; Mobilization; Non-operative; Physiotherapy; Physical therapy
3.  Symptomatic cervical disc herniation in teenagers: two case reports 
Introduction
The development of a symptomatic herniated cervical disc before the age of 20 is extremely rare. Sporadically reported cases of patients with cervical disc herniation under the age of 20 usually have had underlying disease.
Case presentation
Case 1: A 19-year-old Asian man visited our clinic and presented with progressive pain in his upper left scapula and weakness of the left deltoid and biceps brachii muscles. C5 radiculopathy by soft disc herniation at C4-C5 without calcification was diagnosed. Microsurgical posterior foraminotomy was performed and he recovered completely eight weeks after the surgery.
Case 2: A 15-year-old Asian man presented with difficulty in lifting his arm and neck pain on the right side. Neurological examination showed weakness of the right deltoid and biceps brachii muscles. A magnetic resonance imaging scan demonstrated a herniated intervertebral disc in the right C4-C5 foramen. The patient was treated conservatively and put under observation only, and had completely recovered eight weeks after admission.
Conclusion
Although extremely rare, symptomatic cervical disc herniations may occur even in the younger population under the age of 20 without any trauma or underlying disease. Favorable outcomes can be achieved by conventional treatments for cervical disc herniation.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-7-42
PMCID: PMC3599747  PMID: 23402661
4.  Intradural schwannoma complicated by lumbar disc herniation at the same level: A case report and review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(2):936-938.
Intradural tumours of the spine are usually benign and have a good prognosis, if they are diagnosed and removed early. Lumbar disc herniation is a common cause of chronic, acute, or recurrent lumbar radiculopathy. However, to date, there have been no reports of progressive neurological deficiencies due to the co-existence of two significant pathologies contributing to intradural and extradural compression. The current study reports the rare case of a patient with simultaneous extradural and intradural compression of the nerve root due to co-existent intervertebral disc herniation and an intradural schwannoma at the same level. A 71-year-old female suffering from lower back pain and radiating pain of the right lower extremities was admitted to Busan Korea Hospital (Busan, Korea). Magnetic resonance imaging revealed lumbar disc herniation at L4–5 and a mass occupying the intradural space at the same level of the compressed dural sac. Using the posterior approach, surgical excision of the two pathologies was performed. Pathological diagnosis confirmed schwannoma and the symptoms markedly improved.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2181
PMCID: PMC4081376  PMID: 25013519
herniated intervertebral disc; intradural tumor; schwannoma
5.  Clinical Features and Treatments of Upper Lumbar Disc Herniations 
Objective
Disc herniations at the L1-L2 and L2-L3 levels are different from those at lower levels of the lumbar spine with regard to clinical characteristics and surgical outcome. Spinal canals are narrower than those of lower levels, which may compromise multiple spinal nerve roots or conus medullaris. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical features and surgical outcomes of upper lumbar disc herniations.
Methods
We retrospectively reviewed the clinical features of 41 patients who had undergone surgery for single disc herniations at the L1-L2 and L2-3 levels from 1998 to 2007. The affected levels were L1-L2 in 14 patients and L2-L3 in 27 patients. Presenting symptoms and signs, patient characteristics, radiologic findings, operative methods, and surgical outcomes were investigated.
Results
The mean age of patients with upper lumbar disc was 55.5 years (ranged 31 to 78). The mean follow-up period was 16.6 months. Most patients complained of back and buttock pain (38 patients, 92%), and radiating pain in areas such as the anterior or anterolateral aspect of the thigh (32 patients, 78%). Weakness of lower extremities was observed in 16 patients (39%) and sensory disturbance was presented in 19 patients (46%). Only 6 patients (14%) had undergone previous lumbar disc surgery. Discectomy was performed using three methods : unilateral laminectomy in 27 cases, bilateral laminectomy in 3 cases, and the transdural approach in 11 cases, which were performed through total laminectomy in 10 cases and unilateral laminectomy in 1 case. With regard to surgical outcomes, preoperative symptoms improved significantly in 33 patients (80.5%), partially in 7 patients (17%), and were aggravated in 1 patient (2.5%).
Conclusion
Clinical features of disc herniations at the L1-L2 and L2-L3 levels were variable, and localized sensory change or pain was rarely demonstrated. In most cases, the discectomy was performed successfully by conventional posterior laminectomy. On the other hand, in large central broad based disc herniation, when the neural elements are severely compromised, the posterior transdural approach could be an alternative.
doi:10.3340/jkns.2010.48.2.119
PMCID: PMC2941853  PMID: 20856659
Clinical feature; Disc herniation; Transdural; Upper lumbar
6.  Cervical Radiculopathy: A Review 
HSS Journal  2011;7(3):265-272.
Background
Cervical radiculopathy is defined as a syndrome of pain and/or sensorimotor deficits due to compression of a cervical nerve root. Understanding of this disease is vital for rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients with this condition, facilitating their recovery and return to regular activity.
Purpose
This review is designed to clarify (1) the pathophysiology that leads to nerve root compression; (2) the diagnosis of the disease guided by history, physical exam, imaging, and electrophysiology; and (3) operative and non-operative options for treatment and how these should be applied.
Methods
The PubMed database was searched for relevant articles and these articles were reviewed by independent authors. The conclusions are presented in this manuscript.
Results
Facet joint spondylosis and herniation of the intervertebral disc are the most common causes of nerve root compression. The clinical consequence of radiculopathy is arm pain or paresthesias in the dermatomal distribution of the affected nerve and may or may not be associated with neck pain and motor weakness. Patient history and clinical examination are important for diagnosis. Further imaging modalities, such as x-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and electrophysiologic testing, are of importance. Most patients will significantly improve from non-surgical active and passive therapies. Indicated for surgery are patients with clinically significant motor deficits, debilitating pain that is resistant to conservative modalities and/or time, or instability in the setting of disabling radiculopathy. Surgical treatment options include anterior cervical decompression with fusion and posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy.
Conclusion
Understanding the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment indications, and treatment techniques is essential for rapid diagnosis and care of patients with cervical radiculopathy.
doi:10.1007/s11420-011-9218-z
PMCID: PMC3192889  PMID: 23024624
cervical radiculopathy; disc herniation; ACDF; ADF; posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy; posterior cervical foraminotomy
7.  Endoscopic decompression for intraforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression 
Objective
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcome of endoscopic decompression surgery for intraforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression in the lumbar spine.
Methods
The records from seventeen consecutive patients treated with endoscopic posterior decompression without fusion for intaforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression in the lumbar spine (7 males and 10 females, mean age: 67.9 ± 10.7 years) were retrospectively reviewed. The surgical procedures consisted of lateral or translaminal decompression with or without discectomy. The following items were investigated: 1) the preoperative clinical findings; 2) the radiologic findings including MRI and computed tomography-discography; and 3) the surgical outcome as evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale for lower back pain (JOA score).
Results
All patients had neurological findings compatible with a radiculopathy, such as muscle weakness and sensory disturbance. MRI demonstrated the obliteration of the normal increased signal intensity fat in the intervertebral foramen. Ten patients out of 14 who underwent computed tomography-discography exhibited disc protrusion or herniation. Selective nerve root block was effective in all patients. During surgery, 12 patients were found to have a protruded disc or herniation that compressed the nerve root. Sixteen patients reported pain relief immediately after surgery.
Conclusions
Intraforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression is a rare but distinct pathological condition causing severe radiculopathy. Endoscopic decompression surgery is considered to be an appropriate and less invasive surgical option.
doi:10.1186/1749-799X-6-16
PMCID: PMC3073935  PMID: 21439083
8.  Combined intra-extracanal approach to lumbosacral disc herniations with bi-radicular involvement. Technical considerations from a surgical series of 15 cases 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(5):554-558.
Large lumbosacral disc herniations effacing both the paramedian and the foraminal area often cause double radicular compression. Surgical management of these lesions may be difficult. A traditional interlaminar approach usually brings into view only the paramedian portion of the intervertebral disc, unless the lateral bone removal is considerably increased. Conversely, the numerous far-lateral approaches proposed for removing foraminal or extraforaminal disc herniations would decompress the exiting nerve root only. Overall, these approaches share the drawback of controlling the neuroforamen on one side alone. A combined intra-extraforaminal exposure is a useful yet rarely reported approach. Over a 3-year period, 15 patients with bi-radicular symptoms due to large disc herniations of the lumbar spine underwent surgery through a combined intra-extracanal approach. A standard medial exposure with an almost complete hemilaminectomy of the upper vertebra was combined with an extraforaminal exposure, achieved by minimal drilling of the inferior facet joint, the lateral border of the pars interarticularis and the inferior margin of the superior transverse process. The herniated discs were removed using key maneuvers made feasible by working simultaneously on both operative windows. In all cases the disc herniation could be completely removed, thus decompressing both nerve roots. Radicular pain was fully relieved without procedure-related morbidity. The intra-extraforaminal exposure was particularly useful in identifying the extraforaminal nerve root early. Early identification was especially advantageous when periradicular scar tissue hid the nerve root from view, as it did in patients who had undergone previous surgery at the same site or had long-standing radicular symptoms. Controlling the foramen on both sides also reduced the risk of leaving residual disc fragments. A curved probe was used to push the disc material outside the foramen. In conclusion, specific surgical maneuvers made feasible by a simultaneous extraspinal and intraspinal exposure allow quick, safe and complete removal of lumbosacral disc herniations with paramedian and foraminal extension.
doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0862-6
PMCID: PMC3489333  PMID: 15761707
Combined approach; Disc herniation; Foraminal; Lumbar
9.  Artificial Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (ACDA): tips and tricks 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 36.
Abstract:
Background:
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is currently treatment of choice for managing medical therapy refractory cervical degenerative disc disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ACDF; patients generally experience rapid recoveries, and dramatic improvement in their pain and quality of life. However, as several studies reported symptomatic adjacent segment disease attributed to fusions’ altered kinematics, cervical disc arthroplasty emerged as a new motion-sparing alternative to fusion. Fusion at one level increases motion at adjacent levels along with increased intradiscal pressures. This phenomenon can result in symptomatic adjacent level degeneration, which can necessitate reoperation at these levels. The era of cervical arthroplasty began in Europe in the late 1990s. In recent years, artificial cervical disc arthroplasty (ACDA) has been increasingly used by spine surgeons for degenerative cervical disc disease. There have been several reports of safety, efficacy and indications of ACDA.
Cervical arthroplasty offers several theoretical advantages over anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in the treatment of selected patients with medically refractory cervical radiculopathy. Preserving motion at the operated level, cervical TDR has the potential to decrease the occurrence of adjacent segment degeneration.
There are a few studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of ACDA compared to cervical fusion. However, the true scenery of cervical arthroplasty yet to be identified.
Objective:
This study is intended to define patients' characteristics and outcomes of ACDA by a single surgeon in Iran.
Methods:
This retrospective study was performed in two general Hospitals in Tehran, Iran from 2005 To 2010. All patients were operated by one senior neurospine surgeon. One hundred fifty three patients were operated in this period. All patients signed the informed consent form prior to surgery. All patients presented with cervical discopathy who had myelopathy or radiculopathy and failed conservative management, undergoing cervical disc arthroplasty by ACDA were included, consecutively. Patients were followed for at least 2 years.
Exclusion criteria was age greater than 60 years, non compliance with the study protocol, osteoporosis, infection, congenital or post traumatic deformity, malignancy metabolic bone disease, and narrow cervical canal (less than 12 mm). Heterotopic ossification and adjacent segment degenerative changes were assessed at 2 years follow up by means of neutral and dynamic xrays and CT/MRI if clinically indicated. Neck and upper extremity pain were assessed before the procedure and in the first post-operative visit and 3 months later by means of visual analogue scale.
A standard approach was performed to the anterior cervical spine. Patients were positioned supine while holding neck in neutral position. A combination of sharp and blunt dissection was performed to expose longus coli musculature and anterior cervical vertebrae. Trachea and esophagus were retracted medially and carotid artery and jugular vein laterally. After a thorough discectomy, the intersomatic space is distracted in a parallel way by a vertebral distracter. Followed by Caspar distractor is applied to provide a working channel into posterior disc space. In this stage, any remnant disc materials as well as osteophytes are removed and foraminal decompression is done. Posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) opening and removal, although discouraged by some, is done next. In order to define the size of the prosthesis, multiple trials are tested. It is important not to exceed the height of the healthy adjacent disc to avoid facet joint overdistraction. An specific insertor is applied to plant the prosthesis in disc space. Control X-rays are advised to check the precise positioning of the implant.
Results:
one hundred-fifty three patients including 87 females and 66 males were included. The mean age was 41 for females and 42 for males. Affected level was C5-C6 in 81 cases, C6-C7 in 72 cases and C4-C5 in 10 cases. The most common applied ACDA was DiscoCerv which was inserted in 127 cases followed by prodisc-c in three patients and Baguera in thirty three psatients.Ten cases had two levels involvement. Both neck and upper extremity pain improved significantly in early and late post op assessments compared to pre-op. There was only one operative complication of quadriparesis which might be attributed to the iatrogenic cervical spinal trauma.
Conclusions:
Cervical disc arthroplasty has been advocated to address drawbacks of fusion including loss of motion segment and adjacent level degeneration; our study along with several other reports provide considerable evidence in this regard. Cervical disc arthroplasty is a safe and effective alternative for fusion in cervical degenerative disc disease.
Keywords:
Cervical degenerative disc disease, Artificial cervical disc arthroplasty, Safety, Efficacy
PMCID: PMC3571562
10.  A cervical ligamentum flavum cyst in an 82-year-old woman presenting with spinal cord compression: a case report and review of the literature 
Introduction
We report on a very rare case of a cervical ligamentum flavum cyst, which presented with progressive myelopathy and radiculopathy. The cyst was radically extirpated and our patient showed significant recovery. A review of the relevant literature yielded seven cases.
Case presentation
An 82-year-old Greek woman presented with progressive bilateral weakness of her upper extremities and causalgia, cervical pain, episodes of upper extremity numbness and significant walking difficulties. Her neurological examination showed diffusely decreased motor strength in both her upper and lower extremities. Magnetic resonance imaging of her cervical spine demonstrated a large, well-demarcated cystic lesion on the dorsal aspect of her spinal cord at the C3 to C4 level, significantly compressing the spinal cord at this level, in close proximity to the yellow ligament and the C3 left lamina. The largest diameter of this lesion was 1.4 cm, and there was no lesion enhancement after the intravenous administration of a paramagnetic contrast. The lesion was surgically removed after a bilateral C3 laminectomy. The thick cystic wall was yellow and fibro-elastic in consistency, while its content was gelatinous and yellow-brownish. A postoperative cervical-spine magnetic resonance image was obtained before her discharge, demonstrating decompression of her spinal cord and dural expansion. Her six-month follow-up evaluation revealed complete resolution of her walking difficulties, improvement in the muscle strength of her arms (4+/5 in all the affected muscle groups), no causalgia and a significant decrease in her preoperative upper extremity numbness.
Conclusion
Cervical ligamentum flavum cysts are rare benign lesions, which should be included in the list of differential diagnosis of spinal cystic lesions. They can be differentiated from other intracanalicular lesions by their hypointense appearance on T1-weighted and hyperintense appearance on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images, with contrast enhancement of the cystic wall. Surgical extirpation of the cyst is required for symptom alleviation and decompression of the spinal cord. The outcome of these cysts is excellent with no risk of recurrence.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-92
PMCID: PMC3325862  PMID: 22458344
11.  Artificial Discs for Lumbar and Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease –Update 
Executive Summary
Objective
To assess the safety and efficacy of artificial disc replacement (ADR) technology for degenerative disc disease (DDD).
Clinical Need
Degenerative disc disease is the term used to describe the deterioration of 1 or more intervertebral discs of the spine. The prevalence of DDD is roughly described in proportion to age such that 40% of people aged 40 years have DDD, increasing to 80% among those aged 80 years or older. Low back pain is a common symptom of lumbar DDD; neck and arm pain are common symptoms of cervical DDD. Nonsurgical treatments can be used to relieve pain and minimize disability associated with DDD. However, it is estimated that about 10% to 20% of people with lumbar DDD and up to 30% with cervical DDD will be unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments. In these cases, surgical treatment is considered. Spinal fusion (arthrodesis) is the process of fusing or joining 2 bones and is considered the surgical gold standard for DDD.
Artificial disc replacement is the replacement of the degenerated intervertebral disc with an artificial disc in people with DDD of the lumbar or cervical spine that has been unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments for at least 6 months. Unlike spinal fusion, ADR preserves movement of the spine, which is thought to reduce or prevent the development of adjacent segment degeneration. Additionally, a bone graft is not required for ADR, and this alleviates complications, including bone graft donor site pain and pseudoarthrosis. It is estimated that about 5% of patients who require surgery for DDD will be candidates for ADR.
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a computerized search of the literature published between 2003 and September 2005 to answer the following questions:
What is the effectiveness of ADR in people with DDD of the lumbar or cervical regions of the spine compared with spinal fusion surgery?
Does an artificial disc reduce the incidence of adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) compared with spinal fusion?
What is the rate of major complications (device failure, reoperation) with artificial discs compared with surgical spinal fusion?
One reviewer evaluated the internal validity of the primary studies using the criteria outlined in the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group Quality Assessment Tool. The quality of concealment allocation was rated as: A, clearly yes; B, unclear; or C, clearly no. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A random effects model meta-analysis was conducted when data were available from 2 or more randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and when there was no statistical and or clinical heterogeneity among studies. Bayesian analyses were undertaken to do the following:
Examine the influence of missing data on clinical success rates;
Compute the probability that artificial discs were superior to spinal fusion (on the basis of clinical success rates);
Examine whether the results were sensitive to the choice of noninferiority margin.
Summary of Findings
The literature search yielded 140 citations. Of these, 1 Cochrane systematic review, 1 RCT, and 10 case series were included in this review. Unpublished data from an RCT reported in the grey literature were obtained from the manufacturer of the device. The search also yielded 8 health technology assessments evaluating ADR that are also included in this review.
Six of the 8 health technology assessments concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of either lumbar or cervical ADR. The results of the remaining 2 assessments (one each for lumbar and cervical ADR) led to a National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance document supporting the safety and effectiveness of lumbar and cervical ADR with the proviso that an ongoing audit of all clinical outcomes be undertaken owing to a lack of long-term outcome data from clinical trials.
Regarding lumbar ADR, data were available from 2 noninferiority RCTs to complete a meta-analysis. The following clinical, health systems, and adverse event outcome measures were synthesized: primary outcome of clinical success, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, pain VAS scores, patient satisfaction, duration of surgery, amount of blood loss, length of hospital stay, rate of device failure, and rate of reoperation.
The meta-analysis of overall clinical success supported the noninferiority of lumbar ADR compared with spinal fusion at 24-month follow-up. Of the remaining clinical outcome measures (ODI, pain VAS scores, SF-36 scores [mental and physical components], patient satisfaction, and return to work status), only patient satisfaction and scores on the physical component scale of the SF-36 questionnaire were significantly improved in favour of lumbar ADR compared with spinal fusion at 24 months follow-up. Blood loss and surgical time showed statistical heterogeneity; therefore, meta-analysis results are not interpretable. Length of hospital stay was significantly shorter in patients receiving the ADR compared with controls. Neither the number of device failures nor the number of neurological complications at 24 months was statistically significantly different between the ADR and fusion treatment groups. However, there was a trend towards fewer neurological complications at 24 months in the ADR treatment group compared with the spinal fusion treatment group.
Results of the Bayesian analyses indicated that the influence of missing data on the outcome measure of clinical success was minimal. The Bayesian model indicated that the probability for ADR being better than spinal fusion was 79%. The probability of ADR being noninferior to spinal fusion using a -10% noninferiority bound was 92%, and using a -15% noninferiority bound was 94%. The probability of artificial discs being superior to spinal fusion in a future trial was 73%.
Six case series were reviewed, mainly to characterize the rate of major complications for lumbar ADR. The Medical Advisory Secretariat defined a major complication as any reoperation; device failure necessitating a revision, removal or reoperation; or life-threatening event. The rates of major complications ranged from 0% to 13% per device implanted. Only 1 study reported the rate of ASD, which was detected in 2 (2%) of the 100 people 11 years after surgery.
There were no RCT data available for cervical ADR; therefore, data from 4 case series were reviewed for evidence of effectiveness and safety. Because data were sparse, the effectiveness of cervical ADR compared with spinal fusion cannot be determined at this time.
The rate of major complications was assessed up to 2 years after surgery. It was found to range from 0% to 8.1% per device implanted. The rate of ASD is not reported in the clinical trial literature.
The total cost of a lumbar ADR procedure is $15,371 (Cdn; including costs related to the device, physician, and procedure). The total cost of a lumbar fusion surgery procedure is $11,311 (Cdn; including physicians’ and procedural costs).
Conclusions
Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement
Since the 2004 Medical Advisory Secretariat health technology policy assessment, data from 2 RCTs and 6 case series assessing the effectiveness and adverse events profile of lumbar ADR to treat DDD has become available. The GRADE quality of this evidence is moderate for effectiveness and for short-term (2-year follow-up) complications; it is very low for ASD.
The effectiveness of lumbar ADR is not inferior to that of spinal fusion for the treatment of lumbar DDD. The rates for device failure and neurological complications 2 years after surgery did not differ between ADR and fusion patients. Based on a Bayesian meta-analysis, lumbar ADR is 79% superior to lumbar spinal fusion.
The rate of major complications after lumbar ADR is between 0% and 13% per device implanted. The rate of ASD in 1 case series was 2% over an 11-year follow-up period.
Outcome data for lumbar ADR beyond a 2-year follow-up are not yet available.
Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement
Since the 2004 Medical Advisory Secretariat health technology policy assessment, 4 case series have been added to the body of evidence assessing the effectiveness and adverse events profile of cervical ADR to treat DDD. The GRADE quality of this evidence is very low for effectiveness as well as for the adverse events profile. Sparse outcome data are available.
Because data are sparse, the effectiveness of cervical ADR compared with spinal fusion cannot be determined at this time.
The rate of major complications was assessed up to 2 years after surgery; it ranged from 0% to 8.1% per device implanted. The rate of ASD is not reported in the clinical trial literature.
PMCID: PMC3379529  PMID: 23074480
12.  Dorsal Epidural Intervertebral Disk Herniation With Atypical Radiographic Findings: Case Report and Literature Review 
Background/Objective:
Intervertebral disk herniation is relatively common. Migration usually occurs in the ventral epidural space; rarely, disks migrate to the dorsal epidural space due to the natural anatomical barriers of the thecal sac.
Design:
Case report.
Findings:
A 49-year-old man presented with 1 week of severe back pain with bilateral radiculopathy to the lateral aspect of his lower extremities and weakness of the ankle dorsiflexors and toe extensors. Lumbar spine magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium revealed a peripheral enhancing dorsal epidural lesion with severe compression of the thecal sac. Initial differential diagnosis included spontaneous hematoma, synovial cyst, and epidural abscess. Posterior lumbar decompression was performed; intraoperatively, the lesion was identified as a large herniated disk fragment.
Conclusions:
Dorsal migration of a herniated intervertebral disk is rare and may be difficult to definitively diagnose preoperatively. Dorsal disk migration may present in a variety of clinical scenarios and, as in this case, may mimic other epidural lesions on magnetic resonance imaging.
PMCID: PMC2920122  PMID: 20737802
Vertebral disk, herniation; Back pain, radiculopathy; Abscess, epidural; Hematoma, epidural; Laminectomy; Decompression, lumbar
13.  Non-Contiguous Spinal Injury in Cervical Spinal Trauma: Evaluation with Cervical Spine MRI 
Korean Journal of Radiology  2004;5(4):219-224.
Objective
We wished to evaluate the incidence of non-contiguous spinal injury in the cervicothoracic junction (CTJ) or the upper thoracic spines on cervical spinal MR images in the patients with cervical spinal injuries.
Materials and Methods
Seventy-five cervical spine MR imagings for acute cervical spinal injury were retrospectively reviewed (58 men and 17 women, mean age: 35.3, range: 18-81 years). They were divided into three groups based on the mechanism of injury; axial compression, hyperflexion or hyperextension injury, according to the findings on the MR and CT images. On cervical spine MR images, we evaluated the presence of non-contiguous spinal injury in the CTJ or upper thoracic spine with regard to the presence of marrow contusion or fracture, ligament injury, traumatic disc herniation and spinal cord injury.
Results
Twenty-one cases (28%) showed CTJ or upper thoracic spinal injuries (C7-T5) on cervical spinal MR images that were separated from the cervical spinal injuries. Seven of 21 cases revealed overt fractures in the CTJs or upper thoracic spines. Ligament injury in these regions was found in three cases. Traumatic disc herniation and spinal cord injury in these regions were shown in one and two cases, respectively. The incidence of the non-contiguous spinal injuries in CTJ or upper thoracic spines was higher in the axial compression injury group (35.3%) than in the hyperflexion injury group (26.9%) or the hyperextension (25%) injury group. However, there was no statistical significance (p > 0.05).
Conclusion
Cervical spinal MR revealed non-contiguous CTJ or upper thoracic spinal injuries in 28% of the patients with cervical spinal injury. The mechanism of cervical spinal injury did not significantly affect the incidence of the non-contiguous CTJ or upper thoracic spinal injury.
doi:10.3348/kjr.2004.5.4.219
PMCID: PMC2698165  PMID: 15637471
Spine, MR; Spine, injuries; Trauma
14.  Disc degeneration of cervical spine on MRI in patients with lumbar disc herniation: comparison study with asymptomatic volunteers 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(4):585-591.
An association between progression of cervical disc degeneration and that of lumbar disc degeneration has been considered to exist. To date, however, this association has not yet been adequately studied. Age-related changes in the cervical intervertebral discs were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with lumbar disc herniation, and compared with the MRI findings of healthy volunteers without lower back pain. The purpose of this study was to clarify whether the prevalence of asymptomatic cervical disc degeneration is higher in patients with lumbar disc herniation than in healthy volunteers. The study was conducted on 51 patients who were diagnosed as having lumbar disc herniation and underwent cervical spine MRI. The patients consisted of 34 males and 17 females ranging in age from 21–83 years (mean 46.9 ± 14.5 years) at the time of the study. The control group was composed of 113 healthy volunteers (70 males and 43 females) aged 24–77 years (mean 48.9 ± 14.7 years), without neck pain or low back pain. The percentage of subjects with degenerative changes in the cervical discs was 98.0% in the lumbar disc herniation group and 88.5% in the control group (p = 0.034). The presence of lumbar disc herniation was associated significantly with decrease in signal intensity of intervertebral disc and posterior disc protrusion in the cervical spine. None of the MRI findings was significantly associated with the gender, smoking, sports activities, or BMI. As compared to healthy volunteers, patients with lumbar disc herniation showed a higher prevalence of decrease in signal intensity of intervertebral disc and posterior disc protrusion on MRI of the cervical spine. The result of this study suggests that disc degeneration appears to be a systemic phenomenon.
doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1644-y
PMCID: PMC3065617  PMID: 21127918
Lumbar disc herniation; Asymptomatic volunteers; MRI; Cervical spine; Disc degeneration
15.  Clinical Features and Surgical Results of Cervical Myelopathy Caused by Soft Disc Herniation 
Korean Journal of Spine  2013;10(3):138-143.
Objective
There are many causes of cervical myelopathy including trauma, degenerative conditions, tumors and demyelinating disorders. However, myelopathy caused by soft disc herniation might be seen rarely than the spondylosis caused by hard disc. Here, authors retrospectively analyzed the clinical features and results of cervical myelopathy caused by soft disc herniation.
Methods
From March 2010 to December 2010, 134 patients with degenerative cervical spinal disease were treated with anterior cervical discectomy and interbody fusion. Among them, 21 patients with cervical myelopathy secondary to cervical soft disc herniation were analyzed. Their clinical features, preoperative and, postoperative clinical results were evaluated by Nurick Grade and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale (JOA) retrospectively. Preoperative clinical features including duration of myelopathy, pain intensity and postoperative clinical results including improvement rate of myelopathy and radiculopathy were retrospectively analyzed by Nurick Grade and JOA scale. We also evaluated correlation between the duration of symptom, type of the disc herniation, pain intensity and clinical outcome.
Results
Mean age was 49.7 and male was predominant. Gait disturbance with mild to moderate pain was most common symptom in clinical features. Severe pain was shown in only 9 cases, and the other 12 cases experienced mild to moderate pain. Mean duration of myelopathy was 1.18 month. The mean JOA scores were 11.22 before surgery and 14.2 after surgery. The mean Nurick grades were 2.78 before treatment and 1.67 after treatment. Neurologic status of mild or moderate pain group on preoperative state is worse than that of severe pain group. The patients with duration of myelopathy symptom (<1 month) showed lower clinical improvement rate than the patients with myelopathy over 1 month. Patients with median type of disc herniation showed poorer neurological status than those with paramedian type of herniation in preoperative state.
Conclusion
Authors reviewed the clinical features and surgical outcome of the cervical myelopathy secondary to cervical soft disc herniation. We presumed that patients of more than one month of symptom duration, mild to moderate initial symptom would be related with better postoperative improvement rate.
doi:10.14245/kjs.2013.10.3.138
PMCID: PMC3941769  PMID: 24757475
Myelopathy; Cervical herniated disc; soft disc; Surgical outcome
16.  Tandem keyhole foraminotomy in the treatment of cervical radiculopathy: retrospective review of 35 cases 
Background
There has been no report regarding the results of two-level keyhole foraminotomy. The purpose of this study was to detail clinical outcomes following consecutive two-level cervical foraminotomy (tandem keyhole foraminotomy (TKF)) in patients with radiculopathy.
Methods
The authors conducted a retrospective review of 35 cases involving patients treated by a single surgeon using TKF. Clinical symptoms, data of physical examinations, pathology and clinical outcomes were detailed and discussed about this surgical method.
Results
Patients consisted of cervical disc herniation (CDH) (19/35), cervical spondylotic radiculopathy (CSR) (13/35), and cervical spondylotic amyotrophy (CSA) (3/35). TKF was performed from C3 to C5 in 2 patients (6%), from C4 to C6 in 7 patients (20%), from C5 to C7 in 23 patients (66%), and from C6 to T1 in 3 patients (8%). The mean operative duration was 99.2 min (range, 72 to 168 min). The mean estimated blood loss was 55.8 g (range, 0 to 200 g). Radicular pain was relieved within 3 months in 88% (29/32) and in 97% (31/32) at final follow-up. Resolution of muscle weakness was recognized within 6 months after operation in all CSA cases. Sixty-six percent of patients showed a greater than 20% deficit in grip weakness on the affected side compared with the normal side. After pain was relieved, grip strength improved by more than 15%.
Conclusions
TKF is a safe and highly effective procedure for patients with cervical radiculopathy and does not require invasive preoperative examinations. Further investigation is required to determine the effects of consecutive facetectomy.
doi:10.1186/1749-799X-9-38
PMCID: PMC4041334  PMID: 24884935
Keyhole foraminotomy; Cervical radiculopathy; Microsurgical decompression
17.  Chiropractic management using Cox cervical flexion-distraction technique for a disk herniation with left foraminal narrowing in a 64-year-old man 
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine  2011;10(4):316-321.
Objective
The purpose of this case report is to describe chiropractic management of a patient with a C6/C7 left posteromedial disk herniation with foraminal narrowing and concomitant neurological compromise in the form of left upper extremity radiating pain and hypoesthesia/anesthesia using Cox flexion-distraction technique.
Clinical Features
A 64-year-old man presented to a chiropractic clinic with complaints of neck/left shoulder pain and hypoesthesia/anesthesia into the palmar side of his left hand. Magnetic resonance images of the cervical spine revealed a left posteromedial C6/C7 disk herniation along with foraminal narrowing. In addition, there were other levels of degeneration, most noted at the C3/C4 spinal level, which also had significant left-sided foraminal narrowing.
Intervention and Outcome
Treatment included Cox flexion-distraction protocols aimed to reduce nerve root compression along with supportive physiological therapeutic interventions to aid with pain reduction and functional improvement. The patient was treated a total of 10 times over a course of 4 weeks. The patient reported being pain-free and fully functional 8 months following the conclusion of care.
Conclusion
This case study demonstrated the use of Cox flexion-distraction for treatment of a patient with a cervical disk herniation, foraminal narrowing, and associated radiating pain and radiculopathy in the left upper extremity.
doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2011.04.004
PMCID: PMC3315856  PMID: 22654692
Spinal stenosis; Manipulation, Chiropractic; Radiculopathy; Nerve compression syndromes; Neck pain
18.  SPORT: Do outcomes vary across centers for surgery for lumbar disc herniation? 
Neurosurgery  2012;71(4):833-842.
Background
Lumbar discectomy is the most common procedure performed in spine surgery. Different centers performing this procedure may have different outcomes.
Objective
To determine whether the choice of academic spine center in which surgery is performed affects outcome after lumbar discectomy.
Methods
Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) cohort participants with a confirmed diagnosis of intervertebral disc herniation (IDH) undergoing standard first-time open discectomy were followed from baseline at 6 weeks, and 3, 6, 12 months and yearly thereafter, at 13 spine clinics in 11 US states. Patient data were retrospectively reviewed. As of August 2009, the mean (SD) follow-up among all analyzed IDH patients was 41.3 (14.6) months. The median (range) follow-up time among all analyzed IDH patients was 47.4 (1.3, 95.3) months. Enrollment began in March 2000 and ended in November 2004.
Results
792 patients underwent first-time lumbar discectomy. Significant differences were found amongst centers with regard to patient age and race, and in baseline levels of disability and treatment preferences. There were no significant differences among the study centers in other patient characteristics (e.g., sex, body mass index, the prevalence of smoking, diabetes or hypertension), or disease characteristics (herniation level or type). Some short-term outcomes varied significantly among centers, including operative duration and blood loss, the incidence of durotomy and the length of hospital stay. Unadjusted reoperation rates also varied across centers. There were no differences among the various centers in incidence of nerve root injury, post-operative mortality, SF-36 scores of body pain or physical function, or Oswestry Disability Index at 4 years.
Conclusions
Although mean operative blood loss, risk of durotomy and length of hospital stay vary across academic centers performing lumbar discectomy, there appears to be no difference in long-term functional outcomes. The role of different reoperation rates in producing similar outcomes remains unclear.
doi:10.1227/NEU.0b013e31826772cb
PMCID: PMC4011394  PMID: 22791040
Clinical outcomes; Lumbar spine; Surgical complications
19.  The Management of a Patient with a Cervical Disc Herniation: A Case Report 
Purpose
To present the management of a patient with a cervical disc herniation and illustrate the efficacy of cervical traction as a main form of treatment for cervical disc herniation in conjunction with a home exercise program.
Background
A 71-year-old white female diagnosed with cervical disc herniation at the levels of C5-6 and C6-7 presented to physical therapy with neck pain radiating into the left upper extremity down to the 5th digit of the left hand.
Treatment
The patient reported to outpatient physical therapy for cervical disc herniation and radiculopathy. After initial evaluation she received intermittent cervical traction and was given a home exercise program consisting of cervical lateral flexion stretch, unilateral wall stretch for pectoralis muscles and to continue with her over the door cervical traction.
Conclusion
Cervical traction and a good home exercise program have been shown to reduce cervical disc herniation and its subsequent symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3785210  PMID: 24179345
traction; cervical spine; disc herniation; radiculopathy
20.  Metastatic non-Hodgkin lymphoma presenting as low back pain and radiculopathy: a case report 
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine  2012;11(3):202-206.
Objective
The purpose of this case report is to describe a case of metastatic non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the lumbar spine presenting as lumbar radiculopathy.
Clinical Features
A 46-year-old man sought care from his doctor of chiropractic for low back pain and right leg radiculopathy. The patient was referred for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to evaluate for a suspected disk herniation. The MRI scan revealed 2 lumbar pathologic compression fractures with cauda equina compression, and MRI short tau inversion recovery (STIR) sagittal image of the lumbar spine showed high signal in T12 and S2.
Intervention and Outcome
The patient was referred for an immediate consultation with his medical physician with the preliminary diagnosis of metastatic bone lesions or primary bone lesions of unknown etiology. The patient underwent bone biopsy, computed tomography, and positron emission tomography scanning and was diagnosed with small cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma with osseous metastasis. The patient underwent chemo- and radiation therapy, and the lymphoma is now in remission 18 months later.
Conclusion
This case describes the presentation of metastatic non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a possible contributing cause in a patient presenting with lumbar radiculopathy, a common musculoskeletal condition. As well, this case highlights the importance of STIR sequences as part of a routine lumbar spine MRI examination. Without the STIR sequences, the additional deposits in T12 and S1 would not have been readily appreciated. Although metastatic non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the spine is rare, it should be remembered in the differential diagnoses.
doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2012.05.008
PMCID: PMC3437349  PMID: 23449990
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Spine; Radiculopathy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Metastasis; Chiropractic
21.  Minimally invasive surgical procedures for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation 
Introduction
In up to 30% of patients undergoing lumbar disc surgery for herniated or protruded discs outcomes are judged unfavourable. Over the last decades this problem has stimulated the development of a number of minimally-invasive operative procedures. The aim is to relieve pressure from compromised nerve roots by mechanically removing, dissolving or evaporating disc material while leaving bony structures and surrounding tissues as intact as possible. In Germany, there is hardly any utilisation data for these new procedures – data files from the statutory health insurances demonstrate that about 5% of all lumbar disc surgeries are performed using minimally-invasive techniques. Their real proportion is thought to be much higher because many procedures are offered by private hospitals and surgeries and are paid by private health insurers or patients themselves. So far no comprehensive assessment comparing efficacy, safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery to standard procedures (microdiscectomy, open discectomy) which could serve as a basis for coverage decisions, has been published in Germany.
Objective
Against this background the aim of the following assessment is:
Based on published scientific literature assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery compared to standard procedures. To identify and critically appraise studies comparing costs and cost-effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures to that of standard procedures. If necessary identify research and evaluation needs and point out regulative needs within the German health care system. The assessment focusses on procedures that are used in elective lumbar disc surgery as alternative treatment options to microdiscectomy or open discectomy. Chemonucleolysis, percutaneous manual discectomy, automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy, laserdiscectomy and endoscopic procedures accessing the disc by a posterolateral or posterior approach are included.
Methods
In order to assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures as well as their economic implications systematic reviews of the literature are performed. A comprehensive search strategy is composed to search 23 electronic databases, among them MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. Methodological quality of systematic reviews, HTA reports and primary research is assessed using checklists of the German Scientific Working Group for Health Technology Assessment. Quality and transparency of cost analyses are documented using the quality and transparency catalogues of the working group. Study results are summarised in a qualitative manner. Due to the limited number and the low methodological quality of the studies it is not possible to conduct metaanalyses. In addition to the results of controlled trials results of recent case series are introduced and discussed.
Results
The evidence-base to assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery procedures is rather limited:
Percutaneous manual discectomy: Six case series (four after 1998)Automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy: Two RCT (one discontinued), twelve case series (one after 1998)Chemonucleolysis: Five RCT, five non-randomised controlled trials, eleven case seriesPercutaneous laserdiscectomy: One non-randomised controlled trial, 13 case series (eight after 1998)Endoscopic procedures: Three RCT, 21 case series (17 after 1998)
There are two economic analyses each retrieved for chemonucleolysis and automated percutaneous discectomy as well as one cost-minimisation analysis comparing costs of an endoscopic procedure to costs for open discectomy.
Among all minimally-invasive procedures chemonucleolysis is the only of which efficacy may be judged on the basis of results from high quality randomised controlled trials (RCT). Study results suggest that the procedure maybe (cost)effectively used as an intermediate therapeutical option between conservative and operative management of small lumbar disc herniations or protrusions causing sciatica. Two RCT comparing transforaminal endoscopic procedures with microdiscectomy in patients with sciatica and small non-sequestered disc herniations show comparable short and medium term overall success rates. Concerning speed of recovery and return to work a trend towards more favourable results for the endoscopic procedures is noted. It is doubtful though, whether these results from the eleven and five years old studies are still valid for the more advanced procedures used today. The only RCT comparing the results of automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy to those of microdiscectomy showed clearly superior results of microdiscectomy. Furthermore, success rates of automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy reported in the RCT (29%) differ extremely from success rates reported in case series (between 56% and 92%).
The literature search retrieves no controlled trials to assess efficacy and/or effectiveness of laser-discectomy, percutaneous manual discectomy or endoscopic procedures using a posterior approach in comparison to the standard procedures. Results from recent case series permit no assessment of efficacy, especially not in comparison to standard procedures. Due to highly selected patients, modi-fications of operative procedures, highly specialised surgical units and poorly standardised outcome assessment results of case series are highly variable, their generalisability is low.
The results of the five economical analyses are, due to conceptual and methodological problems, of no value for decision-making in the context of the German health care system.
Discussion
Aside from low methodological study quality three conceptual problems complicate the interpretation of results.
Continuous further development of technologies leads to a diversity of procedures in use which prohibits generalisation of study results. However, diversity is noted not only for minimally-invasive procedures but also for the standard techniques against which the new developments are to be compared. The second problem refers to the heterogeneity of study populations. For most studies one common inclusion criterion was "persisting sciatica after a course of conservative treatment of variable duration". Differences among study populations are noted concerning results of imaging studies. Even within every group of minimally-invasive procedure, studies define their own in- and exclusion criteria which differ concerning degree of dislocation and sequestration of disc material. There is the non-standardised assessment of outcomes which are performed postoperatively after variable periods of time. Most studies report results in a dichotomous way as success or failure while the classification of a result is performed using a variety of different assessment instruments or procedures. Very often the global subjective judgement of results by patients or surgeons is reported. There are no scientific discussions whether these judgements are generalisable or comparable, especially among studies that are conducted under differing socio-cultural conditions. Taking into account the weak evidence-base for efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures it is not surprising that so far there are no dependable economic analyses.
Conclusions
Conclusions that can be drawn from the results of the present assessment refer in detail to the specified minimally-invasive procedures of lumbar disc surgery but they may also be considered exemplary for other fields where optimisation of results is attempted by technological development and widening of indications (e.g. total hip replacement).
Compared to standard technologies (open discectomy, microdiscectomy) and with the exception of chemonucleolysis, the developmental status of all other minimally-invasive procedures assessed must be termed experimental. To date there is no dependable evidence-base to recommend their use in routine clinical practice. To create such a dependable evidence-base further research in two directions is needed: a) The studies need to include adequate patient populations, use realistic controls (e.g. standard operative procedures or continued conservative care) and use standardised measurements of meaningful outcomes after adequate periods of time. b) Studies that are able to report effectiveness of the procedures under everyday practice conditions and furthermore have the potential to detect rare adverse effects are needed. In Sweden this type of data is yielded by national quality registries. On the one hand their data are used for quality improvement measures and on the other hand they allow comprehensive scientific evaluations. Since the year of 2000 a continuous rise in utilisation of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery is observed among statutory health insurers. Examples from other areas of innovative surgical technologies (e.g. robot assisted total hip replacement) indicate that the rise will probably continue - especially because there are no legal barriers to hinder introduction of innovative treatments into routine hospital care. Upon request by payers or providers the "Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss" may assess a treatments benefit, its necessity and cost-effectiveness as a prerequisite for coverage by the statutory health insurance. In the case of minimally-invasive disc surgery it would be advisable to examine the legal framework for covering procedures only if they are provided under evaluation conditions. While in Germany coverage under evaluation conditions is established practice in ambulatory health care only (“Modellvorhaben") examples from other European countries (Great Britain, Switzerland) demonstrate that it is also feasible for hospital based interventions. In order to assure patient protection and at the same time not hinder the further development of new and promising technologies provision under evaluation conditions could also be realised in the private health care market - although in this sector coverage is not by law linked to benefit, necessity and cost-effectiveness of an intervention.
PMCID: PMC3011322  PMID: 21289928
22.  The Prevalence of Medial Epicondylitis Among Patients With C6 and C7 Radiculopathy 
Sports Health  2010;2(4):334-336.
Background:
Medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s/pitcher’s elbow, develops as a result of medial stress overload on the flexor muscles at the elbow and presents as pain at the medial epicondyle. Cervical radiculopathy has been associated with lateral epicondylitis, but few associations between the cervical spine and medial epicondylitis have been made. Researchers propose that there is an association, suggesting that the weakness and imbalance in the elbow flexor and extensor muscles from C6 and C7 radiculopathy allow for easy onset of medial epicondylitis.
Hypothesis:
Medial epicondylitis will present in over half the patients diagnosed with C6 and C7 radiculopathy.
Methodology:
A total of 102 patients initially presenting with upper extremity or neck symptoms were diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy. They were then examined for medial epicondylitis. Data were collected by referring to patient charts from February 2008 until June 2009.
Results:
Fifty-five patients were diagnosed with medial epicondylitis. Of these, 44 had C6 and C7 radiculopathy whereas 11 presented with just C6 radiculopathy.
Conclusion:
Medial epicondylitis presented with cervical radiculopathy in slightly more than half the patients. Weakening of the flexor carpi radialis and pronator teres and imbalance of the flexor and extensor muscles from the C6 and C7 radiculopathy allow for easy onset of medial epicondylitis. Patients with medial epicondylitis should be examined for C6 and C7 radiculopathy to ensure proper treatment. Physicians dealing with golfers, pitchers, or other patients with medial epicondylitis should be aware of the association between these 2 diagnoses to optimize care.
doi:10.1177/1941738109357304
PMCID: PMC3445092  PMID: 23015956
cervical radiculopathy; epicondylitis; golfer’s elbow
23.  Descriptive Epidemiology and Prior Healthcare Utilization of Patients in the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial’s (SPORT) Three Observational Cohorts: Disc Herniation, Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Spondylolisthesis 
Spine  2006;31(7):806-814.
Study Design
Prospective Observational Cohorts
Objective
To describe sociodemographic and clinical features, and non-operative (medical) resource utilization prior to enrollment, in patients who are candidates for surgical intervention for intervertebral disc herniation (IDH), spinal stenosis (SpS), and degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) according to SPORT criteria.
Summary of Background Data
Intervertebral disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and degenerative spondylolisthesis with stenosis are the three most common diagnoses of low back and leg symptoms for which surgery is performed. There is a paucity of descriptive literature examining large patient cohorts for the relationships among baseline characteristics and medical resource utilization with these three diagnoses.
Methods
The Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) conducts three randomized and three observational cohort studies of surgical and non-surgical treatments for patients with IDH, SPS, and DS. Baseline data include demographic information, prior treatments received, and functional status measured by SF-36 and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI-AAOS/Modems version). The data presented represents all 1,417 patients (745 IDH, 368 SpS, 304 DS) enrolled in the SPORT observational cohorts. Multiple logistic regression was used to generate independent predictors of utilization adjusted for sociodemographic variables, diagnosis, and duration of symptoms.
Results
The average age was 41 years for the IDH group, 64 years for the SPS group, and 66 years for the DS group.
At enrollment, IDH patients presented with the most pain as reported on the SF-36 (BP 26.2 vs 33 SPS and 33.7 DS) and were the most impaired (ODI 51 vs 42.3 SPS and 41.5 DS). IDH patients utilized more chiropractic treatment (42% vs 33% SPS and 26% DS); had more Emergency Department (ED) visits (21% vs 7 % SPS and 4% DS); and used more opiate analgesics (50% vs 29% SPS and 28% DS).
After adjusting for age, gender, diagnosis, education, race, duration of symptoms, and compensation, Medicaid patients used significantly more opiate analgesics (58% Medicaid vs 41% no insurance, 42% employer, 33% Medicare, and 32% private) and had more ED visits compared to other insurance types. (31% Medicaid vs 22% no insurance, 16% employer, 3% Medicare, and 11% private).
Conclusion
IDH patients appear to have differences in sociodemographics, resource utilization, and functional impairment when compared to the SpS/DS patients. In addition, the differences in resource utilization for Medicaid patients may reflect differences in access to care. The data provided from these observational cohorts will serve as an important comparison to the SPORT randomized cohorts in the future.
doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000207473.09030.0d
PMCID: PMC2775468  PMID: 16582855
SPORT; Disc herniation; spinal stenosis; degenerative spondylolisthesis; epidemiology; outcomes; utilization of healthcare resources
24.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging Predictors of Surgical Outcome in Patients with Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Herniation 
Spine  2013;38(14):1216-1225.
Study Design
A retrospective cohort design
Objective
To determine if baseline MRI findings including central/foraminal stenosis, Modic change, disc morphology, facet arthropathy, disc degeneration, nerve root impingement, and thecal sac compression are associated with differential surgical treatment effect.
Summary of Background Data
Intervertebral Disc Herniation (IDH)remains the most common source of lumbar radiculopathy treated either with discectomy or non-operative intervention. Although MRI remains the reliable gold standard for diagnosis, uncertainty surrounds the relationship between MRI findings and treatment outcomes.
Methods
Three-hundred-and-seven “complete” images from patients enrolled in a previous trial were de-identified and evaluated by one of 4 independent readers. Findings were compared to outcome measures including the Oswestry Disability Index. Differences in surgery and non-operative treatment outcomes were evaluated between image characteristic subgroups and TE determined by the difference in ODI scores.
Results
The cohort was comprised of 40% females with an average age of 41.5 (±11.6), 61% of which underwent discectomy for IDH. Patients undergoing surgery with Modic type I endplate changes had worse outcomes (−26.4 versus −39.7 for none and −39.2 for type 2, p=0.002) and smaller treatment effect (−3.5 versus −19.3 for none and −15.7 for type 2, p=0.003). Those with compression >=1/3 showed the greatest improvement within the surgical group (−41.9 for >=1/3 versus −31.6 for none and −38.1 for <1/3,p=0.007), and the highest TE (−23 compared to −11.7 for none and −15.2 for <1/3, p=0.015). Furthermore, patients with minimal nerve root impingement demonstrated worse surgical outcomes(−26.5 versus −41.1 for “displaced” and −38.9 for “compressed”, p=0.016).
Conclusion
Among patients with IDH, those with thecal sac compression >=1/3 had greater surgical treatment effect than those with small disc herniations and Modic type I changes. Additionally, patients with nerve root “compression” and “displacement” benefit more from surgery than those with minimal nerve-root impingement.
doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e31828ce66d
PMCID: PMC3683115  PMID: 23429684
Intervertebral Disc Herniation; Lumbar; surgical outcome; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Modic Change; Thecal Sac Compression
25.  Herniated lumbar disc 
Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:1118.
Introduction
Herniated lumbar disc is a displacement of disc material (nucleus pulposus or annulus fibrosis) beyond the intervertebral disc space. The highest prevalence is among people aged 30-50 years, with a male to female ratio of 2:1. There is little evidence to suggest that drug treatments are effective in treating herniated disc.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of drug treatments, non-drug treatments, and surgery for herniated lumbar disc? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to July 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 49 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acupuncture, advice to stay active, analgesics, antidepressants, bed rest, corticosteroids (epidural injections), cytokine inhibitors (infliximab), discectomy (automated percutaneous, laser, microdisectomy, standard), exercise therapy, heat, ice, massage, muscle relaxants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), percutaneous disc decompression, spinal manipulation, and traction.
Key Points
Herniated lumbar disc is a displacement of disc material (nucleus pulposus or annulus fibrosis) beyond the intervertebral disc space. The highest prevalence is among people aged 30-50 years, with a male to female ratio of 2:1.
There is little evidence to suggest that drug treatments are effective in treating herniated disc. NSAIDs and cytokine inhibitors don’t seem to improve symptoms of sciatica caused by disc herniation.We found no evidence examining the effectiveness of analgesics, antidepressants, or muscle relaxants in people with herniated disc.We found no evidence of sufficient quality to judge the effectiveness of epidural injections of corticosteroids.
With regard to non-drug treatments, spinal manipulation seems to be more effective at relieving local or radiating pain in people with acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion compared with sham manipulation, although concerns exist regarding possible further herniation from spinal manipulation in people who are surgical candidates. Neither bed rest nor traction seem effective in treating people with sciatica caused by disc herniation.We found insufficient evidence about advice to stay active, acupuncture, massage, exercise, heat, or ice to judge their efficacy in treating people with herniated disc.
About 10% of people have sufficient pain after 6 weeks for surgery to become a consideration. Both standard discectomy and microdiscectomy seem to increase self-reported improvement to a similar extent.We found insufficient evidence judging the effectiveness of automated percutaneous discectomy, laser discectomy, or percutaneous disc decompression.
PMCID: PMC2907819  PMID: 19445754

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