Utilization of the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) approach for scoliosis offers the patients deformity correction and interbody fusion without the additional morbidity associated with more invasive reconstructive techniques. Published reports on complications associated with these surgical procedures are limited. The purpose of this study was to quantify the intra- and postoperative complications associated with the TLIF surgical approach in patients undergoing surgery for spinal stenosis and degenerative scoliosis correction.
This study included patients undergoing TLIF for degenerative scoliosis with neurogenic claudication and painful lumbar degenerative disc disease. The TLIF technique was performed along with posterior pedicle screw instrumentation. The average follow-up time was 30 months (range, 15–47).
A total of 29 patients with an average age of 65.9 years (range, 49–83) were evaluated. TLIFs were performed at 2.2 levels on average (range, 1–4) in addition to 6.0 (range, 4–9) levels of posterolateral instrumented fusion. The preoperative mean lumbar lordosis was 37.6° (range, 16°–55°) compared to 40.5° (range, 26°–59.2°) postoperatively. The preoperative mean coronal Cobb angle was 32.3° (range, 15°–55°) compared to 15.4° (range, 1°–49°) postoperatively. The mean operative time was 528 min (range, 276–906), estimated blood loss was 1091.7 mL (range, 150–2500), and hospitalization time was 8.0 days (range, 3–28). A baseline mean Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score of 7.6 (range, 4–10) decreased to 3.6 (range, 0–8) postoperatively. There were a total of 14 (49%) hardware and/or surgical technique related complications, and 8 (28%) patients required additional surgeries. Five (17%) patients developed pseudoarthrosis. The systemic complications (31%) included death (1), cardiopulmonary arrest with resuscitation (1), myocardial infarction (1), pneumonia (5), and pulmonary embolism (1).
This study suggests that although the TLIF approach is a feasible and effective method to treat degenerative adult scoliosis, it is associated with a high rate of intra- and postoperative complications and a long recovery process.
Adult scoliosis; complications; degenerative spine; lumbar stenosis; transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
Due to the increase of life expectancy, the prevalence of degenerative spine diseases such as adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis (ADLS) has been increasingly more than before which is required appropriate control and management. Therefore, the present study was aimed to survey the result of surgery in ADLS patients in Shiraz (Iran).
This is a preliminary report of 30 patients with ADLS who underwent pedicular screw fixation, posterolateral fusion, posterior decompression and correction of coronal plane deformity operation according to surgical indications in the Chamran and Kowsar hospitals during 2009-2011. The patients were followed up at 1, 6 and 12 months post operation. Radiologic changes were evaluated and the Oswestry low back pain disability (OLBP) scale and visual analogue scale (VAS) were used to evaluate functional and pain improvement, respectively. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 15. We used Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare the parameters of pain and LBP scale.
Primary analysis showed that 42.9% of operated patients were in 50-60 years age group. 71% of the patients were female and 29% were male. Prevalence of LBP from radicular pain among the patients was 95.2%. There was a significant difference between pre-operation and post-operation VAS and Oswestry LBP scale (P less than 0.001).
Our findings showed that posterior decompression combined with pedicular fixation, posterolateral fusion and correction of coronal plane deformity seems to be a suitable method for the relief of pain and improvement of function in ADLS patients. Only decompression can relieve low back pain but for the relief of radicular pain and correction of deformity, fixation and fusion are recommended.
Scoliosis, Degenerative, Low back pain, Adult lumbar, Radicular pain
A retrospective study.
To assess the radiographic progression of degenerative lumbar scoliosis after short segment decompression and fusion without deformity correction.
Overview of Literature
The aims of surgery in degenerative lumbar scoliosis are the relief of low back and leg pain along with a correction of the deformity. Short segment decompression and fusion can be performed to decrease the level of low back and leg pain provided the patient is not indicated for a deformity correction due to medical problems. In such circumstance, the patients and surgeon should be concerned with whether the scoliotic angle increases postoperatively.
Forty-seven patients who had undergone short segment decompression and fusion were evaluated. The average follow-up period was more than 3 years. The preoperative scoliotic angle and number of fusion segments was 13.6±3.9° and 2.3±0.5, respectively. The preoperative, postoperative and last follow-up scoliotic angles were compared and the time of progression of scoliotic angle was determined.
The postoperative and last follow-up scoliotic angle was 10.4±2.3° and 12.1±3.6°, respectively. In eight patients, conversion to long segment fusion was required due to the rapid progression of the scoliotic angle that accelerated from 6 to 9 months after the primary surgery. The postoperative scoliosis aggravated rapidly when the preoperative scoliotic angle was larger and the fusion was extended to the apical vertebra.
The scoliotic angle after short segment decompression and fusion was not deteriorated seriously in degenerative lumbar scoliosis. A larger scoliotic angle and fusion to the apical vertebra are significant risk factors for the acceleration of degenerative lumbar scoliosis.
Degenerative lumbar scoliosis; Short segment fusion; Radiographic progression
Minimally invasive spine surgery is becoming more common in the treatment of adult lumbar degenerative disorders. Minimally invasive techniques have been utilized for multilevel pathology, including adult lumbar degenerative scoliosis. The next logical step is to apply minimally invasive surgical techniques to the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). However, there are significant technical challenges of performing minimally invasive surgery on this patient population. For more than two years, we have been utilizing minimally invasive spine surgery techniques in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. We have developed the present technique to allow for utilization of all standard reduction maneuvers through three small midline skin incisions. Our technique allows easy passage of contoured rods, placement of pedicle screws without image guidance, and allows adequate facet osteotomy to enable fusion. There are multiple potential advantages of this technique, including: less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, earlier mobilization, and relatively less pain and need for pain medication. The operative time needed to complete this surgery is longer. We feel that a minimally invasive approach, although technically challenging, is a feasible option in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Although there are multiple perceived benefits, long term data is needed before it can be recommended for routine use.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common spinal deformity encountered by General Orthopaedic Surgeons. Etiology remains unclear and current research focuses on genetic factors that may influence scoliosis development and risk of progression. Delayed diagnosis can result in severe deformities which affect the coronal and sagittal planes, as well as the rib cage, waistline symmetry, and shoulder balance. Patient's dissatisfaction in terms of physical appearance and mechanical back pain, as well as the risk for curve deterioration are usually the reasons for treatment. Conservative management involves mainly bracing with the aim to stop or slow down scoliosis progression during growth and if possible prevent the need for surgical treatment. This is mainly indicated in young compliant patients with a large amount of remaining growth and progressive curvatures. Scoliosis correction is indicated for severe or progressive curves which produce significant cosmetic deformity, muscular pain, and patient discontent. Posterior spinal arthrodesis with Harrington instrumentation and bone grafting was the first attempt to correct the coronal deformity and replace in situ fusion. This was associated with high pseudarthrosis rates, need for postoperative immobilization, and flattening of sagittal spinal contour. Segmental correction techniques were introduced along with the Luque rods, Harri-Luque, and Wisconsin systems. Correction in both coronal and sagittal planes was not satisfactory and high rates of nonunion persisted until Cotrel and Dubousset introduced the concept of global spinal derotation. Development of pedicle screws provided a powerful tool to correct three-dimensional vertebral deformity and opened a new era in the treatment of scoliosis.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; natural history; clinical examination; radiological assessment; treatment
The objectives of this study were to clarify the short-term effects of transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) for degenerative lumbar scoliosis combined with spinal stenosis (DLSS), and to extrapolate factors relating to the prognosis of treatment.
Thirty-six patients with lumbar radicular pain from DLSS were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups (steroid or lidocaine group). We compared the effect of pain suppression at 2, 4 and 12 weeks after the procedure between the two groups. Radiographic analysis included measurement of the Cobb's angle, the upper endplate obliquities of L3 and L4, and maximal lateral olisthy between two adjacent lumbar vertebrae. Sagittal plane measurement included lumbar lordosis, and thoracolumbar kyphosis. Statistical analysis of both radiographic and clinical parameters along with treatment outcome was performed to determine any significant correlations between the two.
There were no significant differences in the demographic data, initial visual analogue scale (VAS) or Oswestry disability index (ODI) between the steroid group (n=17) and the lidocaine group (n=19). Two, 4, and 12 weeks after injection VAS, ODI showed a significantly greater improvement in the steroid group compared to the lidocaine group (p<0.05). The radiographic and clinical parameters were not significantly correlated with treatment outcome.
Our findings suggest that fluoroscopic transforaminal epidural steroid injections appear to be an effective non-surgical treatment option for patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis combined with spinal stenosis (DLSS) and radicular pain.
Degenerative; Scoliosis; Steroid; Stenosis; Transforaminal
The unrelenting changes associated with aging progressively affects all structures of the spinal units. The degenerative process starts early during the first decade of life at the disc level. Discal degeneration is associated with biochemical changes followed by macroscopic alterations including tears and fissures, which may lead to discal herniation, the main cause of radiculopathy in the young adult. Moreover, nociceptive nerve fibers have been demonstrated in degenerated discs. They may be a source of nociception and of pure low-back pain. Facet joint changes are usually secondary to discal degeneration. They include subluxation, cartilage alteration and osteophytosis. Facet hypertrophy and laxity, associated with discal degeneration, and enlargement of the ligamentum flavum progressively create narrowing of the spinal canal as well as degenerative instabilities such as spondylolisthesis and scoliosis, which are the main causes of neurogenic claudication and radiculopathy in old persons. Vertebral bodies are the static elements of the spinal unit. With advancing age, osteoporosis weakens the bony structures and facilitates bone remodeling and rotatory deformities. Finally, aging of bone, discs, facets, ligaments, and muscles may ultimately lead to rotatory scoliosis, destabilization, and rupture of equilibrium.
Lumbar disc degeneration; Age-related intervertebral changes; Disc herniation; Stenosis; Low-back pain
The extent of fusion for degenerative lumbar scoliosis has not yet been determined. The purpose of this study was to compare the results of short fusion versus long fusion for degenerative lumbar scoliosis. Fifty patients (mean age 65.5 ± 5.1 years) undergoing decompression and fusion with pedicle screw instrumentation were evaluated. Short fusion was defined as fusion within the deformity, not exceeding the end vertebra. Long fusion was defined as fusion extended above the upper end vertebra. The lower end vertebra was included in the fusion in all the patients. The short fusion group included 28 patients and the long fusion group included 22 patients. Patients’ age and number of medical co-morbidities were similar in both the groups. The number of levels fused was 3.1 ± 0.9 segments in the short fusion group and 6.5 ± 1.5 in the long fusion group. Before surgery, the average Cobb angle was 16.3° (range 11–28°) in the short fusion group and 21.7° (range 12–33°) in the long fusion group. The correction of the Cobb angle averaged 39% in the short fusion group and 72% in the long fusion group with a statistical difference (P = 0.001). Coronal imbalance improved significantly in the long fusion group more than in the short fusion group (P = 0.03). The correction of lateral listhesis was better in the long fusion group (P = 0.02). However, there was no difference in the correction of lumbar lordosis and sagittal imbalance between the two groups. Ten of the 50 patients had additional posterolateral lumbar interbody fusion at L4-5 or L5-S1. The interbody fusion had a positive influence in improving lumbar lordosis, but was ineffective at restoring sagittal imbalance. Early perioperative complications were likely to develop in the long fusion group. Late complications included adjacent segment disease, loosening of screws, and pseudarthrosis. Adjacent segment disease developed in ten patients in the short fusion group, and in five patients in the long fusion group. In the short fusion group, adjacent segment disease occurred proximally in all of the ten patients. Loosening of distal screws developed in three patients, and pseudarthrosis at L5-S1 in one patient in the long fusion group. Reoperation was performed in four patients in the long fusion group and three patients in the short fusion group. In conclusion, short fusion is sufficient for patients with small Cobb angle and good spinal balance. For patients with severe Cobb angle and rotatory subluxation, long fusion should be carried out to minimize adjacent segment disease. For patients who have severe sagittal imbalance, spinal osteotomy is an alternative technique to be considered. As long fusion is likely to increase early perioperative complications, great care should be taken for high-risk patients to avoid complications.
Degenerative lumbar scoliosis; Short fusion; Long fusion
The effectiveness of bracing on preventing curve progression in coronal plane for mild and moderate adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients has been confirmed by previous radiographic researches. However, a hypokyphotic effect on the sagittal plane has been reported by a few studies. A relatively increasing number of AIS patients were noticed to wear a new kind of elastic orthotic belt for the treatments of scoliosis without doctors' instructions. We postulate the correcting mechanism of this new appliance may cause flattening of the spine. To our knowledge, no study has investigated the effects of this new orthosis on the sagittal profile of AIS patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the effects of elastic orthotic belt and Milwaukee brace on the sagittal alignment in AIS patients.
Twenty-eight female AIS patients with mild or moderate thoracic curves were included in this study. Standing full-length lateral radiographs were obtained in three conditions: natural standing posture without any treatment, with elastic orthotic belt and with Milwaukee brace. Thoracic kyphosis (TK), lumber lordosis (LL) and pelvic incidence (PI) were measured and compared between the above three conditions.
Both elastic orthotic belt and Milwaukee brace can lead to significant decrease of TK, however, the decrease of TK after wearing elastic orthotic belt is significantly larger than that after wearing Milwaukee brace. Compared with no treatment, LL was found to be significantly smaller after wearing Milwaukee brace, however, such significant decrease was not noted after wearing elastic orthotic belt. No significant changes were observed for the PI between 3 conditions.
The elastic orthotic belt could lead to more severe thoracic hypokyphosis when compared with Milwaukee brace. This belt may not be a suitable conservative method for the treatment of mild and moderate AIS patients.
Bracing is the most effective non-operative treatment for mild progressive spinal deformities in adolescence but it has shown a considerable impact on several aspects of adolescents’ functioning. This cross-sectional study investigated the self-perceived health status of adolescents with the two most common deformities, treated with body orthosis. Seventy-nine adolescents with spinal deformities (idiopathic adolescent scoliosis, thoracic Scheuermann kyphosis) and 62 adolescents without spinal deformities were asked to complete the Quality of Life profile for Spine Deformities Instrument. This study showed that adolescents with deformities are significantly less likely to have back pain in training than controls, but more likely to have difficulty in forward bending, and in the most common daily activities while in brace. These individuals claim they wake up because of back pain and feel quite nervous with the external appearance of their body. These patients face often problems with their relations with friends, while they reported difficulties in getting up from bed and sleep at night more often than their counterparts without deformities. As they grow older, patients feel increasing ashamed of their body, as they are more concerned about the future effect of the deformity on their body. As the bracing time increases, patients have much more probability than controls to get low back pain. Girls with deformity have a higher probability than boys to get low back pain while working in the house and while training. Individuals with larger spinal curvatures have more difficulties in bending and increased incidence of back pain than their counterparts with smaller curvatures. Psychological reasons associated mainly with relations at school and back pain are the main causes for low compliance in adolescents with spinal deformities treated with body orthosis. Careful instructions for all individuals who will undergo brace therapy, psychological support for all patients who develop psychological reactions and physical training particularly for older girls should be recommended to increase bracing compliance.
Bracing; Idiopathic scoliosis; Scheuermann; Quality of life
We evaluate the efficacy-safety of percutaneous vertebroplasty (PV) as primary treatment in adult degenerative scoliosis. During the last 4 years, PV was performed in 18 adult patients (68 vertebral bodies) with back pain due to degenerative scoliotic spine. Under anaesthesia and fluoroscopy, direct access to most deformed vertebral bodies was obtained by 13G needles, and PMMA for vertebroplasty was injected. Scoliosis' inner arch was supported. Clinical evaluation included immediate and delayed studies of patient's general condition and neurological status. An NVS scale helped assessing pain relief, life quality, and mobility improvement. Comparing patients' scores prior to (mean value 8.06 ± 1.3 NVS units), the morning after (mean value 3.11 ± 1.2 NVS units), at 12 (mean value 1.67 ± 1.5 NVS units), and 24 months after vertebroplasty (mean value 1.67 ± 1.5 NVS units) treatment, patients presented a mean decrease of 6.39 ± 1.6 NVS units on terms of life quality improvement and pain relief (P = 0.000). Overall mobility improved in 18/18 (100%) patients. No complications were observed. During follow-up period (mean value 17.66 months), all patients underwent a mean of 1.3 sessions for facet joint and nerve root infiltrations. Percutaneous vertebroplasty in the inner arch seems to be an effective technique for supporting adult degenerative scoliotic spine.
Pediatric scoliosis is a relatively uncommon condition typically first noticed due to altered stature or by routine spine screenings by a school nurse or pediatrician. The formal diagnosis is made with spine radiographs, with coronal curvature measurement of 10° or greater. Treatment may consist of serial observation, bracing until skeletal maturity, or surgery for correction and fusion/stabilization of severe or progressive deformity. Overall success for non-operative management of scoliosis is affected by the etiology for the deformity, close follow up and monitoring for evolution of the deformity, and patient compliance with their treatment regimen. The most common surgical technique is a posterior approach spine fusion with implanted instrumentation, and patients are typically back to their activities of daily living by 6 months postoperatively. Continued intermittent monitoring of the scoliosis throughout adulthood is recommended, to detect late deformity progression, development of arthritis symptoms, or other associated issues.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Neuromuscular scoliosis; Congenital scoliosis; Observation; Bracing; Instrumented posterior fusion
Due to the aging population, degenerative scoliosis is a growing clinical problem. It is associated with back pain and radicular symptoms. The pathogenesis of degenerative scoliosis lies in degenerative changes of the spinal structures, such as the intervertebral disc, the facet joints and the vertebrae itself. Possibly muscle weakness also plays a role. However, it is not clear what exactly causes the decompensation to occur and what determines the direction of the curve. It is known that in the normal spine a pre-existing rotation exists at the thoracic level, but not at the lumbar level. In this retrospective study we have investigated if a predominant curve pattern can be found in degenerative scoliosis and whether symptoms are predominantly present at one side relative to the curve direction. The lumbar curves of 88 patients with degenerative scoliosis were analyzed and symptoms were recorded. It was found that curve direction depended significantly on the apical level of the curve. The majority of curves with an apex above L2 were convex to the right, whereas curves with an apex below L2 were more frequently convex to the left. This would indicate that also in degenerative scoliosis the innate curvature and rotational pattern of the spine plays a role in the direction of the curve. Unilateral symptoms were not coupled to the curve direction. It is believed that the symptoms are related to local and more specific degenerative changes besides the scoliotic curve itself.
Lumbar spine; Spinal decompensation; Degenerative scoliosis; Curve pattern; Right–left distribution
It is generally recognized that progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) evolves within a self-sustaining biomechanical process involving asymmetrical growth modulation of vertebrae due to altered spinal load distribution. A biomechanical finite element model of normal thoracic and lumbar spine integrating vertebral growth was used to simulate the progression of spinal deformities over 24 months. Five pathogenesis hypotheses of AIS were represented, using an initial geometrical eccentricity (gravity line imbalance of 3 mm or 2° rotation) at the thoracic apex to trigger the self-sustaining deformation process. For each simulation, regional (thoracic Cobb angle, kyphosis) and local scoliotic descriptors (axial rotation and wedging of the thoracic apical vertebra) were evaluated at each growth cycle. The simulated AIS pathogeneses resulted in the development of different scoliotic deformities. Imbalance of 3 mm in the frontal plane, combined or not with the sagittal plane, resulted in the closest representation of typical scoliotic deformities, with the thoracic Cobb angle progressing up to 39° (26° when a sagittal offset was added). The apical vertebral rotation increased by 7° towards the convexity of the curve, while the apical wedging increased to 8.5° (7.3° with the sagittal eccentricity) and this deformity evolved towards the vertebral frontal plane. A sole eccentricity in the sagittal plane generated a non-significant frontal plane deformity. Simulations involving an initial rotational shift (2°) in the transverse plane globally produced relatively small and non-typical scoliotic deformations. Overall, the thoracic segment predominantly was sensitive to imbalances in the frontal plane, although unidirectional geometrical eccentricities in different planes produced three-dimensional deformities at the regional and vertebral levels, and their deformities did not cumulate when combined. These results support the hypothesis of a prime lesion involving the precarious balance in the frontal plane, which could concomitantly be associated with a hypokyphotic component. They also suggest that coupling mechanisms are involved in the deformation process.
Idiopathic scoliosis; Pathogenesis; Biomechanical modeling; Growth modulation; Spine; Vertebra
Scoliosis is a spinal deformity consisting of lateral curvature and rotation of the vertebrae. The causes of scoliosis vary and are classified broadly as congenital, neuromuscular, syndrome-related, idiopathic and spinal curvature due to secondary reasons. The majority of scoliosis cases encountered by the general practitioner will be idiopathic. The natural history relates to the etiology and age at presentation, and usually dictates the treatment. However, it is the patient’s history, physical examination and radiographs that are critical in the initial evaluation of scoliosis, and in determining which patients need additional considerations. Scoliosis with a primary diagnosis (nonidiopathic) must be recognized by the physician to identify the causes, which may require intervention. Patients with congenital scoliosis must be evaluated for cardiac and renal abnormalities. School screening for scoliosis is controversial and is falling out of favour. The treatment for idiopathic scoliosis is based on age, curve magnitude and risk of progression, and includes observation, orthotic management and surgical correction with fusion. A child should be referred to a specialist if the curve is greater than 10° in a patient younger than 10 years of age, is greater than 20° in a patient 10 years of age or older, has atypical features or is associated with back pain or neurological abnormalities.
Back pain in scoliosis; Idiopathic scoliosis; Nonidiopathic scoliosis; Scoliosis screening
Decompressive laminotomy is the standard surgical procedure in the treatment of patients with canal stenosis related intermittent neurogenic claudication. New techniques, such as interspinous process implants, claim a shorter hospital stay, less post-operative pain and equal long-term functional outcome. A comparative (cost-) effectiveness study has not been performed yet. This protocol describes the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on (cost-) effectiveness of the use of interspinous process implants versus conventional decompression surgery in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.
Patients (age 40-85) presenting with intermittent neurogenic claudication due to lumbar spinal stenosis lasting more than 3 months refractory to conservative treatment, are included. Randomization into interspinous implant surgery versus bony decompression surgery will take place in the operating room after induction of anesthesia. The primary outcome measure is the functional assessment of the patient measured by the Zurich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ), at 8 weeks and 1 year after surgery. Other outcome parameters include perceived recovery, leg and back pain, incidence of re-operations, complications, quality of life, medical consumption, absenteeism and costs. The study is a randomized multi-institutional trial, in which two surgical techniques are compared in a parallel group design. Patients and research nurses are kept blinded of the allocated treatment during the follow-up period of 1 year.
Currently decompressive laminotomy is the golden standard in the surgical treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. Whether surgery with interspinous implants is a reasonable alternative can be determined by this trial.
Dutch Trial register number: NTR1307
Lumbar spinal stenosis, the results of congenital and degenerative constriction of the neural canal and foramina leading to lumbosacral nerve root or cauda equina compression, is a common cause of disability in middle-aged and elderly patients. Advanced neuroradiologic imaging techniques have improved our ability to localize the site of nerve root entrapment in patients presenting with neurogenic claudication or painful radiculopathy. Although conservative medical management may be successful initially, surgical decompression by wide laminectomy or an intralaminar approach should be done in patients with serious or progressive pain or neurologic dysfunction. Because the early diagnosis and treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis may prevent intractable pain and the permanent neurologic sequelae of chronic nerve root entrapment, all physicians should be aware of the different neurologic presentations and the treatment options for patients with spinal stenosis.
For patients whose scoliosis progresses, surgery remains the ultimate way to correct and stabilise the deformity while maintaining as many mobile spinal segments as possible. In thoracolumbar/lumbar adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), the spinal fusion has to be extended to the lumbar spine. The use of anterior spinal fusion (ASF) instead of the classic posterior fusion (PSF) may preserve more distal spinal levels in attempt to limit the consequences of surgery on trunk mobility. The effects of surgery on body shape, pain and the decompensation phenomenon have all been well evaluated. Very few studies have addressed the effect of ASF or PSF on basic activities, such as walking. Before any treatment, AIS patients already have reduced pelvis, hip and shoulder motion when walking at a normal speed compared with adolescents without scoliosis (control group). Additionally, they have longer contraction time of the lumbar and pelvic muscles leading to an excessive energy cost and reduced muscle efficiency. In addition, if these changes are associated with spinal stiffness, spinal fusion could further negatively affect this pre-surgical inefficient walk. The goals of this study were (a) to compare pre- and 1-year post-surgery conditions in order to assess the effects of spinal arthrodesis on gait parameters and (b) to compare the anterior versus the posterior surgical approaches. Nineteen young females with thoracolumbar/lumbar AIS were assessed by radiological and clinical examination and by conventional gait analysis before surgery and at almost 12 months after surgery. Seven subjects underwent surgery using ASF and 12 using PSF. Three-dimensional gait analysis was performed on a motor-driven treadmill at spontaneous self-selected speed to record kinematic, electromyographic (EMG), mechanical and energetic measurements synchronously. Although it was expected that the instrumentation would modify the characteristics of normal walking, this study showed that surgery does not induce asymmetric gait or any significant differences between the ASP and the PSF surgery groups. One year after surgery, the changes observed consisted of improvements in the gait and mechanical parameters. In the PSF group, 11–14 vertebrae were fused while only 3–4 were fused in the ASF group. In both AIS groups, step length was increased by 4% and cadence reduced by 2%. There was a slight increase in pelvis and hip frontal motion. Only the transverse shoulder motion was mildly decreased by 1.5°. All the other gait parameters were left unchanged or were improved by surgery. Notably, the EMG timing activity did not change. The total muscular mechanical work (Wtot) increased by 6% mainly due to the external work (Wext), i.e. the work performed by the body muscles to move the body in its surroundings. The energy cost, although showing a tendency towards a reduction, remained globally excessive, probably due to the excessive co-contraction of the lumbo-pelvic muscles.
Scoliosis; Gait; Energy; Surgery
A new era in the surgical treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) opened with the introduction of pedicle screw instrumentation, which provides 3-column vertebral fixation and allows major deformity correction on the coronal, sagittal, and axial planes. A steep learning curve can be expected for spinal surgeons to become familiar with pedicle screw placement and correction techniques. Potential complications including injury to adjacent neural, vascular, and visceral structures can occur due to screw misplacement or pull-out during correction maneuvers. These major complications are better recognized as pedicle screw techniques become more popular and may result in serious morbidity and mortality. Extensive laboratory and clinical training is mandatory before pedicle screw techniques in scoliosis surgery are put to practice. Wider application, especially in developing countries, is limited by the high cost of implants. Refined correction techniques are currently developed and these utilize a lesser number of pedicle anchors which are strategically positioned to allow optimum deformity correction while reducing the neurological risk, surgical time, and blood loss, as well as instrumentation cost. Such techniques can be particularly attractive at a time when cost has major implications on provision of health care as they can make scoliosis treatment available to a wider population of patients. Pedicle screw techniques are currently considered the gold standard for scoliosis correction due to their documented superior biomechanical properties and ability to produce improved clinical outcomes as reflected by health-related quality-of-life questionnaires. Ongoing research promises further advances with the future of AIS treatment incorporating genetic counseling and possibly fusionless techniques.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; pedicle screws; spinal fusion
The purpose of this study is to report the comparative results of thoracoscopic correction achieved via cantilever technique using a 4.5 mm thin rod and the poly-axial reduction screw technique using a 5.5 mm thick rod in Lenke type 1 adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).
Materials and Methods
Radiographic data, Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) patient-based outcome questionnaires, and operative records were reviewed for forty-nine patients undergoing surgical treatment of scoliosis. The study group was divided into a 4.5 mm thin rod group (n = 24) and a 5.5 mm thick rod group (n = 25). The radiographic parameters that were analyzed included coronal curve correction, the most caudal instrumented vertebra tilt angle correction, coronal balance, and thoracic kyphosis.
The major curve was corrected from 49.8° and 47.2° pre-operatively to 24.5° and 18.8° at the final follow-up for the thin and thick rod groups, respectively (50.8% vs. 60.2% correction). There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of kyphosis, coronal balance, or tilt angle at the time of the final follow-up. The mean number of levels fused was 6.2 in the thin rod group, compared with 5.9 levels in the thick rod group. There were no major intraoperative complications in either group.
Significant correction loss was observed in the thin rod system at the final follow-up though both groups had comparable correction immediately post-operative. Therefore, the thick rod with poly axial screw system helps to maintain post-operative correction.
Instrumentation; rod; scoliosis; thoracoscopic surgery
Neurogenic intermittent claudication, caused by lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), usually occurs after the age of 50 and is one of the most common degenerative spinal diseases in the elderly. Among patients over the age of 65 with LSS, open decompression is the most frequently performed spinal operation. The recently introduced interspinous spacers are a new alternative under discussion. In this retrospective study, we reviewed medical records and radiographs of patients with LSS and NIC treated from June 2003 to June 2007. All included patients (n = 129) were treated with interspinous implants (X Stop® Wallis®, or Diam®). Evaluations of pain, using a visual analog scale (VAS), and radiographic signs, using two-plane X-rays of the lumbar spine, were performed preoperatively (preop), postoperatively (postop) and after discharge (FU 2–3). Gender ratio (m:w) was 1.1:1. Mean age of the patients was 60.8 ± 16.3 years. Foraminal height, foraminal width, foraminal cross-sectional area, intervertebral angle, as well as anterior and posterior disc height changed significantly (P < 0.0001) after implantation of the interspinous device. Postoperatively, symptom relief (VAS) was significant (P < 0.0001). The X Stop implant improved (in some cases significantly) the radiographic parameters of foraminal height, width, and cross-sectional area, more than the Diam and Wallis implants; however, there was no significant difference among the three regarding symptom relief. FU 1 was on average 202.3 ± 231.9 and FU 2 527.2 ± 377.0 days postoperatively. During FU, the radiological improvements seemed to revert toward initial values. Pain (VAS) did not increase despite this “loss of correction.” There was no correlation between age and symptom improvement. There was only very weak correlation between the magnitude of radiographic improvement and the extent of pain relief (VAS). The interspinous implant did not worsen low-grade spondylolisthesis. Provided there is a strict indication and fusion is not required, implantation of an interspinous spacer is a good alternative to treat LSS. The interspinous implant offers significant, longlasting symptom control, even if initially significant radiological changes seem to revert toward the initial values (“loss of correction”).
Interspinous spacer; Interspinous process device; Interspinous process decompression; Lumbar spinal stenosis; Neurogenic intermittent claudication
Several methods are used to measure lumbar lordosis. In adult scoliosis patients, the measurement is difficult due to degenerative changes in the vertebral endplate as well as the coronal and sagittal deformity. We did the observational study with three examiners to determine the reliability of six methods for measuring the global lumbar lordosis in adult scoliosis patients. Ninety lateral lumbar radiographs were collected for the study. The radiographs were divided into normal (Cobb < 10°), low-grade (Cobb 10°–19°), high-grade (Cobb ≥ 20°) group to determine the reliability of Cobb L1–S1, Cobb L1–L5, centroid, posterior tangent L1–S1, posterior tangent L1–L5 and TRALL method in adult scoliosis. The 90 lateral radiographs were measured twice by each of the three examiners using the six measurement methods. The data was analyzed to determine the inter- and intra-observer reliability. In general, for the six radiographic methods, the inter- and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) were all ≥0.82. A comparison of the ICCs and 95% CI for the inter- and intra-observer reliability between the groups with varying degrees of scoliosis showed that, the reliability of the lordosis measurement decreased with increasing severity of scoliosis. In Cobb L1–S1, centroid and posterior tangent L1–S1 methods, the ICCs were relatively lower in the high-grade scoliosis group (≥0.60). And, the mean absolute difference (MAD) in these methods was high in the high-grade scoliosis group (≤7.17°). However, in the Cobb L1–L5 and posterior tangent L1–L5 method, the ICCs were ≥0.86 in all groups. And, in the TRALL method, the ICCs were ≥0.76 in all groups. In addition, in the Cobb L1–L5 and posterior tangent L1–L5 method, the MAD was ≤3.63°. And, in the TRALL method, the MAD was ≤3.84° in all groups. We concluded that the Cobb L1–L5 and the posterior tangent L1–L5 methods are reliable methods for measuring the global lumbar lordosis in adult scoliosis. And the TRALL method is more reliable method than other methods which include the L5–S1 joint in lordosis measurement.
Adult scoliosis; Lumbar lordosis; Radiographic measurement
Inadequate understanding of risk factors involved in the progression of idiopathic scoliosis restrains initial treatment to observation until the deformity shows signs of significant aggravation. The purpose of this analysis is to explore whether the concave–convex biases associated with scoliosis (local degeneration of the intervertebral discs, nucleus migration, and local increase in trabecular bone-mineral density of vertebral bodies) may be identified as progressive risk factors. Finite element models of a 26° right thoracic scoliotic spine were constructed based on experimental and clinical observations that included growth dynamics governed by mechanical stimulus. Stress distribution over the vertebral growth plates, progression of Cobb angles, and vertebral wedging were explored in models with and without the biases of concave–convex properties. The inclusion of the bias of concave–convex properties within the model both augmented the asymmetrical loading of the vertebral growth plates by up to 37% and further amplified the progression of Cobb angles and vertebral wedging by as much as 5.9° and 0.8°, respectively. Concave–convex biases are factors that influence the progression of scoliotic curves. Quantifying these parameters in a patient with scoliosis may further provide a better clinical assessment of the risk of progression.
Scoliosis; Growth modulation; Hemiepiphysiodesis; Finite element model
Prior imaging studies of scoliosis patients attempted to demonstrate a relationship between plain radiographic curve patterns and curve progression and pain, or used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to focus on spinal cord abnormalities. Pain in scoliosis patients may differ from nondeformity patients, yet may still be discogenic. The purpose of this study was to assess the possible relationship of degenerative disc findings on MRI to scoliosis patients’ pain. This prospective study enrolled scoliosis and control patients, all of whom had assessment for back pain (visual analog scale) and disability (Oswestry Index) and spinal MRI to identify prevalence and distribution of degenerative disc findings. Specifically, we assessed 60 consecutive pediatric and adult idiopathic scoliosis patients who had progressed to surgical treatment, 60 age- and gender-matched asymptomatic controls, and 172 nondeformity symptomatic degenerative disc disease patients who had progressed to surgical treatment. All subjects had independent analysis of their preoperative MRI for disc degeneration, disc herniation, Schmorl’s nodes, and inflammatory end plate changes. Imaging findings of the scoliosis patients were compared to those from asymptomatic and symptomatic control groups. Our results found that both pediatric and adult scoliosis patients had significantly more pain and disability than did asymptomatic controls (P < 0.001). The adult idiopathic scoliosis patients had pain and disability similar to those of surgical degenerative disc disease control groups. Disc degeneration and herniation (contained) were not related to pain. However, in the pediatric scoliosis patients, those with Schmorl’s nodes often had greater pain than those without (P = 0.01). Adults with painful scoliosis, typically occurring at the apex of the scoliosis or at the lumbosacral junction, had a significantly higher frequency of inflammatory end plate changes on MRI than did controls (P < 0.001). Prior studies have demonstrated a correlation of inflammatory end plate changes to lumbar discogenic pain. In conclusions, scoliosis patients who have progressed to surgical intervention, pediatric patients have varying degrees of pain, and those with Schmorl’s nodes may be at greater risk for pain. Adult scoliosis patients have multifactorial pain of which one component may be related to degeneration of the lower lumbar discs similar to that in nondeformity patients. Additionally, adult scoliosis patients may have MRI findings consistent with discogenic pain at the apex of their curvature, most commonly at the proximal lumbar levels.
Disc degeneration; Endplate changes; Modic; MRI; Schmorl’s nodes; Scoliosis
Scoliosis is a complex three-dimensional deformity of the spine and rib cage frequently treated by brace. Although bracing produces significant correction in the frontal plane, it generally reduces the normal sagittal plane curvatures and has limited effect in the transverse plane. The goal of this study is to develop a new optimization approach using a finite element model of the spine and rib cage in order to find optimal correction patterns. The objective function to be minimized took account of coronal and sagittal offsets from a normal spine at the thoracic and lumbar apices as well as the rib hump. Two different optimization studies were performed using the finite element model, which was personalized to the geometry of 20 different scoliotic patients. The first study took into account only the thoracic deformity, while the second considered both the thoracic and lumbar deformities. The optimization produced an average of 56% and 51% reduction of the objective function respectively in the two studies. Optimal forces were mostly located on the convex side of the curve. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using an optimization approach with a finite element model of the trunk to analyze the biomechanics of bracing, and may be useful in the design of new and more effective braces.
Key words Scoliosis; Optimization; Biomechanical; model; Brace; 3D correction