It is rare that the medial loop in the V2 segment of the vertebral artery (VA) causes compression of the proximal cervical root of the spinal cord without leading to bony erosion and an enlarged foramen. We evaluated the clinical significance and incidence of the medial loop in the V2 segment of the VA.
We reviewed the records from 1000 consecutive patients who had undergone magnetic resonance imaging evaluation of the cervical spine between January 2005 and January 2008. The inclusion criteria were that over a third of the axial aspect of the VA located in the intervertebral foramen was inside the line between the most ventral points of the bilateral lateral mass, and that the ipsilateral proximal root deviated dorsally because of the medial loop of the VA. We excluded cases of bone erosion, a widened foramen at the medial loop of the VA, any bony abnormalities, tumors displacing VA, or vertebral fractures. The medical records were reviewed retrospectively to search for factors of clinical significance.
In six patients (0.6%), the VA formed a medial loop that caused compression of the proximal cervical root. One of these patients had the cervical radiculopathy that developed after minor trauma but the others did not present with cervical radiculopathy related to the medial loop of the VA.
The medial loop of the VA might have a direct effect on cervical radiculopathy. Therefore, this feature should be of critical consideration in preoperative planning and during surgery.
Vertebral artery; Medial loop; Spine
Degenerative cervical disorders predominantly lead to anterior spinal cord compression (by bony spurs at the posterior margin of the vertebral body or by degenerated disc), which may be central and/or foraminal. In a smaller percentage of cases, there is encroachment of the canal mainly from posterior by bulging yellow ligaments or bony appositions, resulting in compression syndromes of roots or spinal cord. The aim of this work is to present a minimally invasive posterior approach avoiding detachment of muscles for the treatment of cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy. Thirteen patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy (four patients) or myelopathy (nine patients) were operated according to this technique. In principle, the technique secures access to the diseased spinal segment via a percutaneously placed working channel (11 mm outer diameter and 9 mm inner diameter). The cervical paraspinal muscles are not deflected, but just spread between their fibres by special dilators. All further steps are performed through this channel under control of three-dimensional vision through the operating microscope. The mean follow-up period was 17 months (one patient died 9 months postoperatively), and patients were evaluated using a modified version of the Oswestry Index, called the Neck Disability Index (NDI), and the visual analogue scale (VAS) for neck and arm pain. The mean NDI (P<0.0001) improved from 13.2 (preoperatively) to 4.8 (postoperatively). The VAS for arm pain (P<0.001) and for neck pain (P<0.001) also showed marked postoperative improvement. Complete recovery of the preoperative neurological deficit was found in four patients, while the remaining eight patients showed improvement of the neurological symptoms during the follow-up period. There were no intra-operative or postoperative complications and no re-operation. The preliminary experience with this technique, and the good clinical outcome, seem to promise that this minimally invasive technique is a valid alternative to the conventional open exposure for treatment of lateral disc prolapses, foraminal bony stenosis and central posterior ligamentous stenosis of the cervical spine.
Minimally invasive posterior approach Radiculopathy Myelopathy Foraminotomy Cervical spine
During spinal cord development, expression of chicken SEMAPHORIN6A (SEMA6A) is almost exclusively found in the boundary caps at the ventral motor axon exit point and at the dorsal root entry site. The boundary cap cells are derived from a population of late migrating neural crest cells. They form a transient structure at the transition zone between the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the central nervous system (CNS). Ablation of the boundary cap resulted in emigration of motoneurons from the ventral spinal cord along the ventral roots. Based on its very restricted expression in boundary cap cells, we tested for a role of Sema6A as a gate keeper between the CNS and the PNS.
Downregulation of Sema6A in boundary cap cells by in ovo RNA interference resulted in motoneurons streaming out of the spinal cord along the ventral roots, and in the failure of dorsal roots to form and segregate properly. PlexinAs interact with class 6 semaphorins and are expressed by both motoneurons and sensory neurons. Knockdown of PlexinA1 reproduced the phenotype seen after loss of Sema6A function both at the ventral motor exit point and at the dorsal root entry site of the lumbosacral spinal cord. Loss of either PlexinA4 or Sema6D function had an effect only at the dorsal root entry site but not at the ventral motor axon exit point.
Sema6A acts as a gate keeper between the PNS and the CNS both ventrally and dorsally. It is required for the clustering of boundary cap cells at the PNS/CNS interface and, thus, prevents motoneurons from streaming out of the ventral spinal cord. At the dorsal root entry site it organizes the segregation of dorsal roots.
The phenomenon of post-tetanic potentiation has been studied in the cat spinal cord with particular reference to polysynaptic responses. Following tetanization of dorsal roots, these reflexes show an increased response, as measured in terms of their voltage-time area, with a predominant change in the earlier reflex pathways. Both of these changes in the reflex discharge have a time course of 15 to 25 seconds. Post-tetanic potentiation is also observed in response to stimulation of a dorsal rootlet following tetanization of another rootlet in the same or in a neighboring segment. This effect can be explained by post-tetanic changes in the terminals of secondary, and possibly higher order, internuncial cells, essentially similar to those changes in the primary afferent terminals which give rise to potentiation of the monosynaptic reflex.
Surgery for thoracic disc herniations is still challenging, and the disc excision via a posterior laminectomy is considered risky. A variety of dorsolateral and ventral approaches have been developed. However, the lateral extracavitary and transthoracic approach require extensive surgical exposure. Therefore, we adopted a posterior transdural approach for direct visualization without entry into the thoracic cavity. Three cases that illustrate this procedure are reported here with the preoperative findings, radiological findings and surgical techniques used. After the laminectomy, at the involved level, the dorsal dura was opened with a longitudinal paramedian incision. The cerebrospinal fluid was drained to gain more operating space. After sectioning of the dentate ligaments, gentle retraction was applied to the spinal cord. Between the rootlets above and below, the ventral dural bulging was clearly observed. A small paramedian dural incision was made over the disc space and the protruded disc fragment was removed. Neurological symptoms were improved, and no surgery-related complication was encountered. The posterior transdural approach may offer an alternative surgical option for selected patients with thoracic paracentral soft discs, while limiting the morbidity associated with the exposure.
Disc herniation; Transdural approach; Thoracic
The organization of microtubular systems in the quadriflagellate unicell Polytomella agilis has been reconstructed by electron microscopy of serial sections, and the overall arrangement confirmed by immunofluorescent staining using antiserum directed against chick brain tubulin. The basal bodies of the four flagella are shown to be linked in two pairs of short fibers. Light microscopy of swimming cells indicates that the flagella beat in two synchronous pairs, with each pair exhibiting a breast-stroke-like motion. Two structurally distinct flagellar rootlets, one consisting of four microtubules in a 3 over 1 pattern and the other of a striated fiber over two microtubules, terminate between adjacent basal bodies. These rootlets diverge from the basal body region and extend toward the cell posterior, passing just beneath the plasma membrane. Near the anterior part of the cell, all eight rootlets serve as attachment sites for large numbers of cytoplasmic microtubules which occur in a single row around the circumference of the cell and closely parallel the cell shape. It is suggested that the flagellar rootless may function in controlling the patterning and the direction of cytoplasmic microtubule assembly. The occurrence of similar rootlet structures in other flagellates is briefly reviewed.
Two patients who developed cervical myelopathy secondary to rheumatoid arthritis were analyzed post mortem. One patient had anterior atlanto-axial subluxation (AAS) combined with subaxial subluxation (SS), and the other had vertical subluxation (VS) combined with SS. In the patient with AAS, the posterior aspect of the spinal cord demonstrated severe constriction at the C2 segment, which arose from dynamic osseous compression by the C1 posterior arch. A histological cross-section of the spinal cord at the segment was characterized by distinct necrosis in the posterior white columns and the gray matter. In the patient with VS, the upper cervical cord and medulla oblongata showed angulation over the invaginated odontoid process, whereas no significant pathological changes were observed. At the level of SS, the spinal cord was pinched and compressed between the upper corner of the vertebral body and the lower edge of the lamina. Histologically, demyelination and gliosis were observed in the posterior and lateral white columns.
Key words Rheumatoid arthritis; Cervical spine; Subluxation; Myelopathy; Necropsy
Daughter four-membered rootlet microtubules direct eyespot positioning and assembly.
The eyespot of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a photoreceptive organelle required for phototaxis. Relative to the anterior flagella, the eyespot is asymmetrically positioned adjacent to the daughter four-membered rootlet (D4), a unique bundle of acetylated microtubules extending from the daughter basal body toward the posterior of the cell. Here, we detail the relationship between the rhodopsin eyespot photoreceptor Channelrhodopsin 1 (ChR1) and acetylated microtubules. In wild-type cells, ChR1 was observed in an equatorial patch adjacent to D4 near the end of the acetylated microtubules and along the D4 rootlet. In cells with cytoskeletal protein mutations, supernumerary ChR1 patches remained adjacent to acetylated microtubules. In mlt1 (multieyed) mutant cells, supernumerary photoreceptor patches were not restricted to the D4 rootlet, and more anterior eyespots correlated with shorter acetylated microtubule rootlets. The data suggest a model in which photoreceptor localization is dependent on microtubule-based trafficking selective for the D4 rootlet, which is perturbed in mlt1 mutant cells.
The spinal cord is a unique vertebrate feature that originates, together with the hindbrain, from the caudal neural plate. Whereas the hindbrain subdivides into rhombomeres, the spinal cord remains unsegmented. We have identified Cdx transcription factors as key determinants of the spinal cord region in zebrafish. Loss of Cdx1a and Cdx4 functions causes posterior expansion of the hindbrain at the expense of the unsegmented spinal cord. By contrast, cdx4 overexpression in the hindbrain impairs rhombomere segmentation and patterning and induces the expression of spinal cord-specific genes. Using cell transplantation, we demonstrate that Cdx factors function directly within the neural ectoderm to specify spinal cord. Overexpression of 5′ Hox genes fails to rescue hindbrain and spinal cord defects associated with cdx1a/cdx4 loss-of-function, suggesting a Hox-independent mechanism of spinal cord specification. In the absence of Cdx function, the caudal neural plate retains hindbrain characteristics and remains responsive to surrounding signals, particularly retinoic acid, in a manner similar to the native hindbrain. We propose that by preventing the posterior-most region of the neural plate from following a hindbrain developmental program, Cdx factors help determine the size of the prospective hindbrain and spinal cord territories.
Cdx; Caudal; Hox; Retinoic acid; Segmentation; Rhombomeres; Hindbrain; Spinal cord; Central nervous system; Chordates; Vertebrates; Evolution
The purpose of this study was to determine which spinal segment most closely corresponds to the level of the inferior angle of the scapula (IAS) using measurements taken on A-P full-spine radiographs.
Fifty sequentially selected radiographs were analyzed independently by two examiners. A straight edge was used to ascertain which spinal levels corresponded with the right and left IASs. For analysis, each spinal level was subdivided into three regions: upper vertebral body, lower vertebral body, and intervertebral space.
he mean spinal level corresponding to the left IAS was midway between the T8–9 interspace and the upper T9 body (range, lower T7 to upper T10). The mean spinal level corresponding to the right IAS was slightly lower, but still within the upper T9 body (range, lower T7 to lower T10). These levels correspond to the T8 spinous process.
There is a considerable amount of variability in where the IASs are located, but most commonly, they correspond to the level of the upper body of T9.
scapula; inferior angle; spinal segment; radiographs
The authors present their experience in the operative treatment of unstable lesions at the cervicothoracic junction. Ten patients, six men and four women, underwent operative procedures at the cervicothoracic junction (C7-T1) between 1990 and 1997. Six patients had sustained fracture-dislocations, three patients had metastases and one patient had a primary malignant lesion. All the patients had significant cervical pain and neurologic deficit. The spinal cord and nerves were decompressed in all cases. Posterior stabilization was accomplished using various types of implants including hooks, wires and rods. Anteriorly, the spine was stabilized with plates and screws. Partial or complete vertebrectomy was performed in five cases and a titanium cylinder or an iliac autograft replaced the vertebral body. Five patients were submitted to a posterior operation only, and the other five to bilateral procedures. In four of these a one-stage operation was performed and in the last case a two-stage procedure. The anatomic and biomechanical characteristics of the cervicothoracic junction require a precise pre-operative analysis of the local anatomy and the selection of the proper implants for anterior and posterior stabilization.
Key words Spine; Cervicothoracic junction; Instability; Operative treatment
The ciliary rootlet, first recognized over a century ago, is a prominent structure originating from the basal body at the proximal end of a cilium. Despite being the largest cytoskeleton, its structural composition has remained unknown. Here, we report a novel 220-kD protein, designated rootletin, found in the rootlets of ciliated cells. Recombinant rootletin forms detergent-insoluble filaments radiating from the centrioles and resembling rootlets found in vivo. An mAb widely used as a marker for vertebrate rootlets recognizes an epitope in rootletin. Rootletin has a globular head domain and a tail domain consisting of extended coiled-coil structures. Rootletin forms parallel in register homodimers and elongated higher order polymers mediated by the tail domain alone. The head domain may be required for targeting to the basal body and binding to a kinesin light chain. In retinal photoreceptors where rootlets appear particularly robust, rootlets extend from the basal bodies to the synaptic terminals and anchor ER membranes along their length. Our data indicate that rootlets are composed of homopolymeric rootletin protofilaments bundled into variably shaped thick filaments. Thus, rootletin is the long-sought structural component of the ciliary rootlet.
photoreceptor; cilium; striated fiber; basal body; centriole
Electron microscopy reveals a star-like pigment cell at the center of the eye of the arrow-worm, Sagitta scrippsae. Between the arms of the pigment cell are clusters of photoreceptor cell processes, each process consisting of: (1) a tubular segment containing longitudinally arranged microtubules about 500 A in diameter and 20 µ in length; (2) a remarkable conical body, composed of cords and large granules, situated at the base of the tubular segment; and (3) a connecting piece which, like that of rods and cones, connects the process with the sensory cell proper and through which runs a fibrillar apparatus consisting of nine peripheral double tubules. Beneath the connecting piece lies a typical centriole with a striated rootlet. The receptor cell process is deeply recessed into the sensory cell which may possess a corona of microvilli at its inner surface. A nerve fiber arises from the outer end of the cell and passes into the optic nerve. Additional features are some supporting cells, an external layer of flattened epithelial cells, and an over-all investment of basement membrane and thick fibrous capsule. The fine structure and function of these elements of the eye are discussed in relation to earlier studies with the light microscope. The ciliary nature of the photoreceptor cell process in S. scrippsae points to a probable evolutionary relationship of chaetognaths to echinoderms and chordates.
In posterior pedicle screw instrumentation of thoracic idiopathic scoliosis, screw malposition might cause significant morbidity in tems of possible pleural, spinal cord, and aorta injury. Preoperative axial magnetic resonace images (MRI) in 12 consecutive patients with right thoracic adolescent scoliosis, all with King type 3 curves, were analyzed in order to evaluate the relationship between the inserted pedicle screw position to pleura, spinal cord, aorta. Axial vertebral images for each thoracic level were scanned and the simulation of pedicle screw insertion was performed using a digital measurement programme. The angular contact value for each parameter regarding the pleura and spinal cord was measured on both sides of the curve. The aorta-vertebral distance was also measured. Aorta-vertebral distance was found to be decreasing gradually from the cephalad to the caudad with the shortest distance being measured at T12 with a mean of 1.2 mm. Concave-sided screws on T5–T9 and convex-sided screws on T2–T3 had the greatest risk to spinal cord injury. Pleural injury is most likely on T4–T9 segments by the convex side screws. T4–T8 screws on the concave side and T11–T12 screws on the convex side may pose risk to the aorta. This MRI-based study demonstrated that in pedicle instrumentation of thoracic levels, every segment deserves special consideration, where computer scanning might be mandatory in immature spine and in patients with severe deformity.
Pedicle screw; Thoracic spine; Pleura; Spinal cord; Aorta
In lower vertebrates, locomotor burst generators for axial muscles generally produce unitary bursts that alternate between the two sides of the body. In lamprey, a lower vertebrate, locomotor activity in the axial ventral roots of the isolated spinal cord can exhibit flexibility in the timings of bursts to dorsally-located myotomal muscle fibers versus ventrally-located myotomal muscle fibers. These episodes of decreased synchrony can occur spontaneously, especially in the rostral spinal cord where the propagating body waves of swimming originate. Application of serotonin, an endogenous spinal neurotransmitter known to presynaptically inhibit excitatory synapses in lamprey, can promote decreased synchrony of dorsal–ventral bursting. These observations suggest the possible existence of dorsal and ventral locomotor networks with modifiable coupling strength between them. Intracellular recordings of motoneurons during locomotor activity provide some support for this model. Pairs of motoneurons innervating myotomal muscle fibers of similar ipsilateral dorsoventral location tend to have higher correlations of fast synaptic activity during fictive locomotion than do pairs of motoneurons innervating myotomes of different ipsilateral dorsoventral locations, suggesting their control by different populations of premotor interneurons. Further, these different motoneuron pools receive different patterns of excitatory and inhibitory inputs from individual reticulospinal neurons, conveyed in part by different sets of premotor interneurons. Perhaps, then, the locomotor network of the lamprey is not simply a unitary burst generator on each side of the spinal cord that activates all ipsilateral body muscles simultaneously. Instead, the burst generator on each side may comprise at least two coupled burst generators, one controlling motoneurons innervating dorsal body muscles and one controlling motoneurons innervating ventral body muscles. The coupling strength between these two ipsilateral burst generators may be modifiable and weakening when greater swimming maneuverability is required. Variable coupling of intrasegmental burst generators in the lamprey may be a precursor to the variable coupling of burst generators observed in the control of locomotion in the joints of limbed vertebrates.
This study aimed to investigate the role of real-time B-mode ultrasound in posterior decompression and reduction and to observe the signal changes in spinal cord blood flow in a thoracolumbar burst fracture (TBF). Between February 2004 and December 2008, 138 patients with TBF were divided into group A (108 cases) and group B (30 cases). In group A, under the assistance of real-time B-mode ultrasound, posterior decompression and fracture piece reduction were performed, and we observed the signal changes in spinal cord blood flow. In group B, posterior fenestration was combined with pushing the fracture piece into the fractured vertebral body using an L-shaped operative tool. Presurgical and postsurgical recovery of neurological function was evaluated according to American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) standards, and the range of spinal decompression was determined by measuring the proportion of encroached fracture piece in the spinal canal (spinal stenosis rate) on the computed tomography (CT) image. In group A, 12 patients had a grade A spinal injury according to the Frankel grading system, and there were six cases without neurological recovery. In the other patients, neurological function increased by 1–3 grades. There were no aggravated spinal cord injuries or other serious complications. In group B, three patients were categorized as grade A and there were two cases without neurological recovery. In the other patients, neurological function increased by 1–3 grades. In groups A and B, the postsurgical spinal stenosis rate was significantly lower than the presurgical stenosis rate (P<0.05). The postsurgical spinal stenosis rate in group B was significantly higher compared with group A (P<0.05). There was no significant difference in neurological function recovery between the groups (P>0.05). Real-time B-mode ultrasound is an effective method for posterior decompression and reduction and to observe signal changes in spinal cord blood flow in TBF.
real-time B-mode ultrasound; thoracolumbar burst fracture; posterior decompression; reduction
Background. The authors describe a lateral approach to the cervical spine for the management of spondylotic myeloradiculopathy. The rationale for this approach and surgical technique are discussed, as well as the advantages, disadvantages, complications, and pitfalls based on the author's experience over the last two decades. Methods. Spondylotic myelo-radiculopathy may be treated via a lateral approach to the cervical spine when there is predominant anterior compression associated with either spine straightening or kyphosis, but without vertebral instability. Results. By using a lateral approach, the lateral aspect of the cervical spine and the vertebral artery are easily reached and visualized. Furthermore, the lateral part of the affected intervertebral disc(s), uncovertebral joint(s), vertebral body(ies), and posterior longitudinal ligament can be removed as needed to decompress nerve root(s) and/or the spinal cord. Conclusion. Multilevel cervical oblique corpectomy and/or lateral foraminotomy allow wide decompression of nervous structures, while maintaining optimal stability and physiological motion of the cervical spine.
Transarticular C1/2 screws are widely used in posterior cervical spine instrumentation. The use of pedicle screws in the cervical spine remains uncommon. Due to superior biomechanical stability compared to lateral mass screws, pedicle screws can be used, especially for patients with poor bone quality or defects in the anterior column. Nevertheless there are potential risks of iatrogenic damage to the spinal cord, nerve roots or the vertebral artery associated with both posterior cervical spine instrumentation techniques. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate whether C1/2 transarticular screws as well as transpedicular screws in C3 and C4 can be applied safely and with high accuracy using a computer-assisted surgery (CAS) system. We used 13 human cadaver C0-C5 spine segments. We installed 1.4-mm Kirschner wires transarticular in C1/2, using a specially designed guide, and drilled 2.5-mm pedicle holes in C3 and C4 with the assistance of the CAS system. Hole positions were evaluated by palpation, CT and dissection. Forty-eight (92%) of the 52 drilled pedicles were correctly positioned after palpation, imaging and dissection. The vertebral artery was not injured in any specimen. All of the 26 C1/2 Kirschner wires were placed properly after imaging and dissection evaluations. No injury to vascular or bony structures was observed. C1/2 transarticular screws as well as transpedicular screws in the cervical spine can be applied safely and with high accuracy using a CAS system in vitro. Therefore, this technique may be used in a clinical setting, as it offers improved accuracy and reduced radiation dose for the patient and the medical staff. Nevertheless, users should take note of known sources of possible faults causing inaccuracies in order to prevent iatrogenic damage. Small pedicles, with a diameter of less than 4.0 mm, may not be suitable for pedicle screws.
Key words Computer-assisted ¶surgery; Cervical spine; Posterior instrumentation; In vitro
The cervical spine, usually regarded as a supporting structure for the head, is also an important viaduct of vessels and nerves which must function with little clearance in a congested and moving space bounded by bone. Pressure in this viaduct is an important cause of headache.
The cervical foramina although apparently roomy, are constricted by cartilage, by the vertebral artery and its adnexae, and by the lateral intervertebral joints. Osteophytosis, swelling or adhesion in this constricted space almost inevitably causes painful vascular or neural disorder.
In certain postures of the neck the vertebral artery is constricted or even occluded. Traction or sprain may likewise cause headache through disturbance of the vertebral arterial nerves, the posterior cervical autonomic system or the spinal accessory nerves which originate in delicate filaments from all points of the cervical spinal cord.
A syndrome described by Skillern—migraine-like suboccipital and retro-orbital headache—is due to disturbance of the second cervical nerve, which communicates with the first division of the trigeminal nerve.
Headache due apparently to a minor scalp contusion may really be due to irritation of a trigger area at the site of an old scalp injury.
Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) in the thoracic spine produces myelopathy. This is often progressive and is not affected by conservative treatment. Therefore, decompressive surgery is usually chosen.
To conduct a stress analysis of the thoracic OPLL.
The three-dimensional finite element spinal cord model was established. We used local ossification angle (LOA) for the degree of compression of spinal cord. LOA was the medial angle at the intersection between a line from the superior posterior margin at the cranial vertebral body of maximum OPLL to the top of OPLL with beak type, and a line from the lower posterior margin at the caudal vertebral body of the maximum OPLL to the top of OPLL with beak type. LOA 20°, LOA 25°, and LOA 30° compression was applied to the spinal cord in a preoperative model, the posterior decompressive model, and a model for the development of kyphosis.
In a preoperative model, at more than LOA 20° compression, high stress distributions in the spinal cord were observed. In a posterior decompressive model, the stresses were lower than in the preoperative model. In the model for development of kyphosis, high-stress distributions were observed in the spinal cord at more than LOA 20° compression.
Posterior decompression was an effective operative method. However, when the preoperative LOA is more than 20°, it is very likely that symptoms will worsen. If operation is performed at greater than LOA 20°, then correction of kyphosis by fixation of instruments or by forward decompression should be considered.
Myelopathy; Finite-element method; Local ossification angle; Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament; Spine surgery; Thoracic spinal cord; Kyphosis
An acoustic guidance method for pedicle screw placement during spine fixation surgery was recently investigated, with a view toward preventing complications such as injury to the spinal cord, thecal sac, and spinal nerve roots due to screw misplacement. The method relies upon the change in the ultrasound amplitude reflected at different sites—from the outer posterior cortex, through the pedicle, and toward the distal ventral cortex. The amplitude change was empirically observed through in vitro measurement of ultrasound amplitude at the different sites by inserting a 2.5-MHz single element transducer into a vertebral body through insertion pathway created by an advancing screw. This paper provides a theoretical and experimental rationale behind these empirical findings and distance-dependent correlation coefficients between amplitude and bone mineral density within the vertebral body, which approached 97%.
Acoustic devices; Pedicle screw; Spine fixation surgery; Ultrasound guidance
The purpose of this study is to elucidate the anatomic relationships between the uncinate process and surrounding neurovascular structures to prevent possible complications in anterior cervical surgery.
Twenty-eight formalin-fixed cervical spines were removed from adult cadavers and were studied. The authors investigated the morphometric relationships between the uncinate process, vertebral artery and adjacent nerve roots.
The height of the uncinate process was 5.6-7.5 mm and the width was 5.8-8.0 mm. The angle between the posterior tip of the uncinate process and vertebral artery was 32.2-42.4°. The distance from the upper tip of the uncinate process to the vertebral body immediately above was 2.1-3.3 mm, and this distance was narrowest at the fifth cervical vertebrae. The distance from the posterior tip of the uncinate process to the nerve root was 1.3-2.0 mm. The distance from the uncinate process to the vertebral artery was measured at three different points of the uncinate process : upper-posterior tip, lateral wall and the most antero-medial point of the uncinate process, and the distances were 3.6-6.1 mm, 1.7-2.8 mm, and 4.2-5.7 mm, respectively. The distance from the uncinate process tip to the vertebral artery and the angle between the uncinate process tip and vertebral artery were significantly different between the right and left side.
These data provide guidelines for anterior cervical surgery, and will aid in reducing neurovascular injury during anterior cervical surgery, especially in anterior microforaminotomy.
Anterior cervical surgery; Foraminotomy; Uncinate process, Vertebral artery; Nerve root
Low back pain origins have been a matter of great controversy. While spinal stenosis is now radiologically traceable, the alteration of intervertebral foramen is less clear. The aim of this study was to assess “secular trends” — alterations occurring from one generation to the next — in osseous intervertebral foramina of the major vertebral segments in an industrialized society, and to discuss their possible clinical implication. The macerated “maximum intervertebral foramen width” and “intervertebral foramen height” of all major vertebral levels in 71 nonpathologic Swiss adult skeletons from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, with known individual age and sex and similar geographic and socio-economic background, were measured by sliding caliper at validated landmarks. A secular trend of the increase in “maximum intervertebral foramen width” is found for most levels, with females showing a more prominent alteration. Additionally, the non-pathologic “maximum intervertebral foramen width” does not change with respect to individual age, nor is a significant side difference detectable. “Intervertebral foramen height,” hereby defined as the difference of the dorsal vertebral body height minus pedicle height, demonstrates for most levels, and either sex, an insignificant negative secular trend. Neither stature nor skeletal robustness vary significantly through time within this particular sample. The results of this study, despite obvious inadequacies of methods used, exclude secular narrowing of the “maximum intervertebral foramen width” as the only cause of radiculopathy or spinal stenosis. Furthermore, we found a mild insignificant decrease of the clinically more relevant “intervertebral foramen height.” Nevertheless, the detected short-time variability of the bony intervertebral foramen, independent of individual stature, skeletal robustness or age, argues for an enhanced focus on the understanding of clinically relevant changes of spinal morphology from generation to generation.
Backache; Bone; Pain; Paleopathology; Spinal cord
Although uncommon, selective cervical nerve root blocks can have serious complications. The most serious complications that have been reported include cerebral infarction, spinal cord infarction, transient quadriplegia and death.
A 40-year-old Japanese woman with a history of severe right-sided cervical radicular pain was scheduled to undergo a right-sided C6 selective cervical nerve root block using a transforaminal approach under fluoroscopic guidance. An anterior oblique view of the C5-C6 intervertebral foramen was obtained, and a 23-gauge spinal needle, connected to the normal extension tube with a syringe filled with contrast medium, was introduced into the posterior-caudal aspect of the C5-C6 intervertebral foramen on the right side. In the anteroposterior view, the placement of the needle was considered satisfactory when it was placed no more medial than halfway across the width of the articular pillar. Although the spread of the contrast medium along the C6 nerve root was observed with right-sided C6 radiculography, the subdural flow of the contrast medium was not observed with real-time fluoroscopy. The extension tube used for the radiculography was removed from the spinal needle and a normal extension tube with a syringe filled with lidocaine connected in its place. We performed a negative aspiration test and then injected 1.5 mL of 1.0% lidocaine slowly around the C6 nerve root. Immediately after the injection of the local anesthetic, our patient developed acute flaccid paralysis, complained of breathing difficulties and became unresponsive; her respiratory pattern was uncoordinated. After 20 minutes, she regained consciousness and became alert, and her muscle strength in all four limbs returned to normal without any sensory deficits after receiving emergent cardiorespiratory support.
We believe that confirming maintenance of the appropriate needle position in the anteroposterior view by injecting local anesthetic is important for preventing central needle movement. Because the potential risk of serious complications cannot be completely eliminated during the use of any established selective cervical nerve root block procedure, preparation for an emergency airway, ventilation and cardiovascular support is indispensable in cases of high spinal cord anesthesia.
Extradural lesions are most commonly metastatic neoplasms. Extradural meningioma accounts for 2.7 to 10% of spinal neoplasms and most commonly is found in the thoracic spine.
A 45-year-old woman presented with posterior cervicothoracic pain for 8 months following a motor vehicle crash. Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spine revealed an enhancing epidural mass. Computerized tomography of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis revealed no systemic disease. Due to the lesion's unusual signal characteristics and location, an open surgical biopsy was completed, which revealed a psammomatous meningioma. Surgical decompression of the spinal cord and nerve roots was then performed. The resection was subtotal due to the extension of the tumor around the vertebral artery.
Meningiomas should be considered in the differential diagnosis of contrast-enhancing lesions in the cervical spine.
Meningioma; psammomatous; Epidural tumor; Vertebrae, cervical