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1.  Micro-Computed Tomography-Based Three-Dimensional Kinematic Analysis During Lateral Bending for Spinal Fusion Assessment in a Rat Posterolateral Lumbar Fusion Model 
Rat posterolateral lumbar fusion (PLF) models have been used to assess the safety and effectiveness of new bone substitutes and osteoinductive growth factors using palpation, radiography, micro-computed tomography (μCT), and histology as standard methods to evaluate spinal fusion. Despite increased numbers of PLF studies involving alternative bone substitutes and growth factors, the quantitative assessment of treatment efficacy during spinal motion has been limited. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of spinal fusion on lumbar spine segment stability during lateral bending using a μCT-based three-dimensional (3D) kinematic analysis in the rat PLF model. Fourteen athymic male rats underwent PLF surgery at L4/5 and received bone grafts harvested from the ilium and femurs of syngeneic rats (Isograft, n=7) or no graft (Sham, n=7). At 8 weeks after the PLF surgery, spinal fusion was assessed by manual palpation, plain radiography, μCT, and histology. To determine lumbar segmental motions at the operated level during lateral bending, 3D kinematic analysis was performed. The Isograft group, but not the Sham group, showed spinal fusion on manual palpation (6/7), solid fusion mass in radiographs (6/7), as well as bone bridging in μCT and histological images (5/7). Compared to the Sham group, the Isograft group revealed limited 3D lateral bending angular range of motion and lateral translation during lateral bending at the fused segment where disc height narrowing was observed. This μCT-based 3D kinematic analysis can provide a quantitative assessment of spinal fusion in a rat PLF model to complement current gold standard methods used for efficacy assessment of new therapeutic approaches.
doi:10.1089/ten.tec.2013.0439
PMCID: PMC4074752  PMID: 24199634
2.  Surgeon Perceptions of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery 
SAS journal  2008;2(3):145.
Background
Interest in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) of the spine has driven the development of new and innovative techniques to treat an ever wider range of spinal disorders. Despite these new advances, spine surgeons have been slow in adopting MIS into their clinical practice. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the factors that have led to limited incorporation of these procedures into their practices.
Methods
Eighty-seven spine surgeons completed a questionnaire related to their perceptions of MIS. Respondents were asked to comment on their perceptions regarding the limitations and advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery. Survey results were then analyzed for both overall opinions and opinions based on the amount of MIS utilization in the respondents’ current practices.
Results
The top 3 identified limitations of MIS of the spine were technical difficulty, lack of convenient training opportunities, and radiation exposure. Of these respondents, spine surgeons experienced in MIS were concerned more with radiation exposure than the lack of training opportunities. In contrast, spine surgeons with little MIS experience cited the lack of training opportunities as the most significant limitation. There was little concern related to the limited proven clinical efficacy of MIS of the spine.
Discussion
Technical factors, training opportunities, and radiation exposure appear to be the major obstacles to MIS of the spine. Most spine surgeons believe that MIS leads to faster return to daily activities, better long-term function, and decreased hospitalization. This may explain why most surgeons did not cite a lack of proven efficacy as a major limitation to MIS.
These findings indicate that the widespread adoption of MIS of the spine will likely be driven through relatively simple means, such as improved training programs that strive to decrease the technical difficulty and limit radiation exposure of these procedures. It is unlikely that extensive clinical data alone, without such improved training programs, will be sufficient to drive widespread use of minimally invasive spine surgery.
doi:10.1016/S1935-9810(08)70032-X
PMCID: PMC2817980  PMID: 20148184
Surgeon perceptions; minimally invasive spine surgery; survey; limitations
3.  Surgeon Perceptions of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery 
SAS Journal  2008;2(3):145-149.
Background
Interest in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) of the spine has driven the development of new and innovative techniques to treat an ever wider range of spinal disorders. Despite these new advances, spine surgeons have been slow in adopting MIS into their clinical practice. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the factors that have led to limited incorporation of these procedures into their practices.
Methods
Eighty-seven spine surgeons completed a questionnaire related to their perceptions of MIS. Respondents were asked to comment on their perceptions regarding the limitations and advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery. Survey results were then analyzed for both overall opinions and opinions based on the amount of MIS utilization in the respondents’ current practices.
Results
The top 3 identified limitations of MIS of the spine were technical difficulty, lack of convenient training opportunities, and radiation exposure. Of these respondents, spine surgeons experienced in MIS were concerned more with radiation exposure than the lack of training opportunities. In contrast, spine surgeons with little MIS experience cited the lack of training opportunities as the most significant limitation. There was little concern related to the limited proven clinical efficacy of MIS of the spine.
Discussion
Technical factors, training opportunities, and radiation exposure appear to be the major obstacles to MIS of the spine. Most spine surgeons believe that MIS leads to faster return to daily activities, better long-term function, and decreased hospitalization. This may explain why most surgeons did not cite a lack of proven efficacy as a major limitation to MIS.
These findings indicate that the widespread adoption of MIS of the spine will likely be driven through relatively simple means, such as improved training programs that strive to decrease the technical difficulty and limit radiation exposure of these procedures. It is unlikely that extensive clinical data alone, without such improved training programs, will be sufficient to drive widespread use of minimally invasive spine surgery.
doi:10.1016/SASJ-2008-0006-MIS
PMCID: PMC2817980  PMID: 20148184
Surgeon perceptions; minimally invasive spine surgery; survey; limitations

Results 1-3 (3)