Erythropoietin; Fracture Healing; Bone and Bones; Orthopedics; Orthopedic Procedures; Tibia
Spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis share many symptoms and the same treatment, but their causes remain unclear. Bone mineral density has been suggested to play a role. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in spinal bone density between spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis patients. 81 patients older than 60 years, who underwent DXA-scanning of their lumbar spine one year after a lumbar spinal fusion procedure, were included. Radiographs were assessed for disc height, vertebral wedging, and osteophytosis. Pain was assessed using the Low Back Pain Rating Scale pain index. T-score of the lumbar spine was significantly lower among degenerative spondylolisthesis patients compared with spinal stenosis patients (−1.52 versus −0.52, P = 0.04). Thirty-nine percent of degenerative spondylolisthesis patients were classified as osteoporotic and further 30% osteopenic compared to only 9% of spinal stenosis patients being osteoporotic and 30% osteopenic (P = 0.01). Pain levels tended to increase with poorer bone status (P = 0.06). Patients treated surgically for symptomatic degenerative spondylolisthesis have much lower bone mass than patients of similar age treated surgically for spinal stenosis. Low BMD might play a role in the development of the degenerative spondylolisthesis, further studies are needed to clarify this.
We describe a simple method for bone engineering using biodegradable scaffolds with mesenchymal stem cells derived from human induced-pluripotent stem cells (hiPS-MSCs). The hiPS-MSCs expressed mesenchymal markers (CD90, CD73, and CD105), possessed multipotency characterized by tri-lineages differentiation: osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic, and lost pluripotency – as seen with the loss of markers OCT3/4 and TRA-1-81 – and tumorigenicity. However, these iPS-MSCs are still positive for marker NANOG. We further explored the osteogenic potential of the hiPS-MSCs in synthetic polymer polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds or PCL scaffolds functionalized with natural polymer hyaluronan and ceramic TCP (PHT) both in vitro and in vivo. Our results showed that these iPS-MSCs are functionally compatible with the two 3D scaffolds tested and formed typically calcified structure in the scaffolds. Overall, our results suggest the iPS-MSCs derived by this simple method retain fully osteogenic function and provide a new solution towards personalized orthopedic therapy in the future.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of dermatan sulphate (DS) addition to biodegradable methoxy polyethylene glycol (MPEG) substituted polylactide-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) scaffolds for cartilage repair in vitro and in vivo.
Human chondrocytes from eight patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction were isolated and cultured in 5% oxygen on MPEG-PLGA scaffolds ± DS for one, three, seven and 14 days. Analyses were performed using quantitative gene expression analysis for chondrogenic and cell attachment markers. An osteochondral drill hole defect was created in the intertrochlear groove of the distal femur in 20 New Zealand white rabbits (defects n = 20). When bleeding was observed, the defects were treated with MPEG-PLGA scaffolds ± DS. Twelve weeks after surgery the rabbits were sacrificed and the defects were analysed using histological grading with O’Driscoll scoring.
DS addition to MPEG-PLGA scaffolds resulted in a significant upregulation of fibronectin gene expression on day 1. No differences were observed in chondrogenic gene expression. There were no differences between the two groups in histological grading (+DS 10.3 and −DS 9.6).
Upregulation of fibronectin in vitro indicating early cell-scaffold interaction and attachment did not result in improved cartilage repair in an osteochondral defect model in rabbits.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether or not post-op curve behaviour differs due to different choices of lowest instrumented vertebra (LIV) with reference to lumbar apical vertebra (LAV) in Lenke 3C and 6C scoliosis.
We reviewed all the AIS cases surgically treated in our institution from 2002 through 2008. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) patients with Lenke 3C or 6C scoliosis who were treated with posterior pedicle screw-only constructs; (2) 2-year radiographic follow-up. All the included patients were categorized into three groups based on the relative position of LIV and LAV: Group A—the LIV was above the LAV; Group B—the LIV was at the LAV; Group C—the LIV was below the LAV. All the radiographic parameters were then compared among the groups. All image data were available in our picture archiving and communication systems. Standing anteroposterior (AP) and lateral digital radiographs were reviewed at four times (pre-op, post-op, 3-month and 2-year). In each standing AP radiograph, centre sacral vertical line (CSVL, the vertical line that bisects the proximal sacrum) was first drawn, followed by measuring T1-CSVL, LIV-CSVL, (LIV + 1)-CSVL, LAV-CSVL and thoracic AV-CSVL distance. In addition, the Cobb angles of major thoracic and lumbar curves were measured at the four times and the correction rates were then calculated.
Of the 278 patients reviewed, 40 met the inclusion criteria; 11 of these were included in Group A (LIV above LAV), another 11 in Group B (LIV at LAV) and the remaining 18 in Group C (LIV below LAV). At 2-year follow-up, the lumbar vertebrae such as LIV, LIV + 1 and LAV were all more deviated than before surgery in Group A (LIV above LAV), whereas in Group B and C (LIV at and below LAV) they were all less deviated than before surgery. No significant differences were found in thoracic or lumbar correction rate, global coronal balance and incidence rate of trunk shift among the three groups.
In conclusion, in Lenke 3C and 6C scoliosis, post-op lumbar curve behaviour differs due to different choices of LIV with reference to LAV, that is, the deviation of lumbar curve improves when the LIV is either at or below the LAV but deteriorates when the LIV is above the LAV. Although the greatest correction occurs when the LIV is below the LAV, choosing LAV as LIV can still be the optimal option in certain cases, since it can yield similar correction while preserving more lumbar mobility and growth potential.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Lowest instrumented vertebra; Radiographic measurement; Spinal imbalance; Curve behaviour
To investigate the correction effectiveness, incidence rate of distal adding on, and post-operative spinal balance in Lenke 3C and 6C AIS treated with extensive fusion using posterior pedicle screw-only constructs.
We reviewed all AIS cases surgically treated in our institution between 2002 and 2008. The inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) Lenke 3C or 6C scoliosis patients who were treated with extensive fusion using posterior pedicle screw-only constructs; (2) minimum two year radiographic follow-up; (3) the lowest instrumented vertebra (LIV) ended at L2, L3 or L4 level. All image data were available in our picture archiving and communication systems (PACSs) , and all radiographic measurements were performed. Standing anteroposterior (AP) and lateral digital radiographs were reviewed at four different time points (pre-op, post-op, three months, and two years). In each standing AP radiograph, CSVL (center sacral vertical line, the vertical line bisecting the proximal sacrum) was first drawn, followed by measurement of the translation (deviation from the CSVL) of some key vertebrae, such as the lowest instrumented vertebra (LIV), LIV + 1 (the first vertebra below LIV), lumbar apical vertebra, thoracic apical vertebra and T1, enabling depiction of how translation of different parts of the spine changes over time. Additionally, the Cobb angles of major thoracic and lumbar curves were measured at the different time points and the correction rate was calculated.
Of the 278 patients reviewed, 25 met the inclusion criteria. Immediately after surgery, satisfactory corrections were achieved from the perspective of not only Cobb angle but also vertebral translation. And the corrections were well retained in the following two years. The incidence rate of distal adding-on was low in this group of patients. In the course of two years following surgery, only six patients had an increase of greater than 5 mm in LIV + 1 translation, and among which only two patients had greater than 10 mm. Regarding global balance, overall, it neither improved nor deteriorated after extensive fusion. Furthermore, trunk shift was found in only three patients at two year follow-up.
In Lenke 3C and 6C scoliosis, extensive fusion can produce satisfactory corrections from the perspectives of both Cobb angle and vertebral translation and rarely causes significant distal adding-on, global imbalance or trunk shift.
Although lumbar spinal fusion has been performed for more than 70 years, few studies have examined rehabilitation strategies for spinal fusion patients, and there is only sparse information about the patient’s activity level after surgery. The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) is a standardized semi-structured interview, developed to identify patients’ problems in relation to activities of daily living (ADL). The COPM has neither been examined in a randomised clinical study nor employed in relation to lumbar spinal fusion patients. We aimed to examine whether or not the use of the semi-structured interview COPM during in-hospital rehabilitation could: (1) identify more ADL-related problems of importance to the patients after discharge from the hospital, (2) enhance the patients’ ADL performance after discharge from hospital
Eighty-seven patients undergoing a lumbar spinal fusion caused by degenerative diseases were randomly assigned to either use of the COPM or to standard treatment.
Results and conclusion
Use of the COPM during hospitalization helped in identifying more ADL problems encountered by patients during the first 3 months post-discharge period as COPM served to identify more treatment goals and plans of action. Use of the COPM had no impact on the patients’ ADL performance, and the difference is so small that COPM may be of little clinical consequence.
Activities of daily living (ADL); Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM); Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation; Lumbar spinal fusion
Bone tissue engineering implants with sustained local drug delivery provide an opportunity for better postoperative care for bone tumor patients because these implants offer sustained drug release at the tumor site and reduce systemic side effects. A rapid prototyped macroporous polycaprolactone scaffold was embedded with a porous matrix composed of chitosan, nanoclay, and β-tricalcium phosphate by freeze-drying. This composite scaffold was evaluated on its ability to deliver an anthracycline antibiotic and to promote formation of mineralized matrix in vitro. Scanning electronic microscopy, confocal imaging, and DNA quantification confirmed that immortalized human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC-TERT) cultured in the scaffold showed high cell viability and growth, and good cell infiltration to the pores of the scaffold. Alkaline phosphatase activity and osteocalcin staining showed that the scaffold was osteoinductive. The drug-release kinetics was investigated by loading doxorubicin into the scaffold. The scaffolds comprising nanoclay released up to 45% of the drug for up to 2 months, while the scaffold without nanoclay released 95% of the drug within 4 days. Therefore, this scaffold can fulfill the requirements for both bone tissue engineering and local sustained release of an anticancer drug in vitro. These results suggest that the scaffold can be used clinically in reconstructive surgery after bone tumor resection. Moreover, by changing the composition and amount of individual components, the scaffold can find application in other tissue engineering areas that need local sustained release of drug.
nanoclay; chitosan; scaffold; tissue engineering; drug delivery system
Older people are at increased risk of non-union after spinal fusion, but little is known about the factors determining the quality of the fusion mass in this patient group. The aim of this study was to investigate fusion mass bone quality after uninstrumented spinal fusion and to evaluate if it could be improved by additional direct current (DC) electrical stimulation. A multicenter RCT compared 40 and 100 μA DC stimulation with a control group of uninstrumented posterolateral fusion in patients older than 60 years. This report comprised 80 patients who underwent DEXA scanning at the 1 year follow-up. The study population consisted of 29 men with a mean age of 72 years (range 62–85) and 51 women with a mean age of 72 years (range 61–84). All patients underwent DEXA scanning of their fusion mass. Fusion rate was assessed at the 2 year follow-up using thin slice CT scanning. DC electrical stimulation did not improve fusion mass bone quality. Smokers had lower fusion mass BMD (0.447 g/cm2) compared to non-smokers (0.517 g/cm2) (P = 0.086). Women had lower fusion mass BMD (0.460 g/cm2) compared to men (0.552 g/cm2) (P = 0.057). Using linear regression, fusion mass bone quality, measured as BMD, was significantly influenced by gender, age of the patient, bone density of the remaining part of the lumbar spine, amount of bone graft applied and smoking. Fusion rates in this cohort was 34% in the control group and 33 and 43% in the 40 and 100 μA groups, respectively (not significant). Patients classified as fused after 2 years had significant higher fusion mass BMD at 1 year (0.592 vs. 0.466 g/cm2, P = 0.0001). Fusion mass bone quality in older patients depends on several factors. Special attention should be given to women with manifest or borderline osteoporosis. Furthermore, bone graft materials with inductive potential might be considered for this patient population.
Spinal fusion; Randomised clinical trial; Bone mineral density; Electrical stimulation; Bone graft; Age; Smoking
Background and purpose
In vitro expansion of autologous chondrocytes is an essential part of many clinically used cartilage repair treatments. Native chondrocytes reside in a 3-dimensional (3D) network and are exposed to low levels of oxygen. We compared monolayer culture to combined 3D and hypoxic culture using quantitative gene expression analysis.
Cartilage biopsies were collected from the intercondylar groove in the distal femur from 12 patients with healthy cartilage. Cells were used for either monolayer or scaffold culture. The scaffolds were clinically available MPEG-PLGA scaffolds (ASEED). After harvesting of cells for baseline investigation, the remainder was divided into 3 groups for incubation in conditions of normoxia (21% oxygen), hypoxia (5% oxygen), or severe hypoxia (1% oxygen). RNA extractions were performed 1, 2, and 6 days after the baseline time point, respectively. Quantitative RT-PCR was performed using assays for RNA encoding collagen types 1 and 2, aggrecan, sox9, ankyrin repeat domain-37, and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase relative to 2 hypoxia-stable housekeeping genes.
Sox9, aggrecan, and collagen type 2 RNA expression increased with reduced oxygen. On day 6, the expression of collagen type 2 and aggrecan RNA was higher in 3D culture than in monolayer culture.
Our findings suggest that there was a combined positive effect of 3D culture and hypoxia on cartilage-specific gene expression. The positive effects of 3D culture alone were not detected until day 6, suggesting that seeding of chondrocytes onto a scaffold for matrix-assisted chondrocyte implantation should be performed earlier than 2 days before implantation.
The bone–screw interface has been indicated as the weak link in pedicle screw spine fixation. Bisphosphonate treatment may have the effect of improving bone–screw interface fixation in spine fusion by inhibiting bone resorption. An experimental study was conducted using a porcine model to evaluate the influence of alendronate treatment on bone–pedicle screw interface fixation. Eleven pigs in the treatment group received alendronate 10 mg/day orally for three months postoperatively. The other 11 pigs served as a control group. Posterior lateral fusion with the CD Horizon pedicle screw system was performed with autograft on the lumbar spine on all animals. Biomechanical torsion test and histomorphometric parameters of screw fixation were evaluated three months after the operation. The maximum torque and initial angular stiffness of the treatment group was higher than that of the control group, but there was no statistical significance. The bone–screw contact surface was 23.3 ± 10% for the treatment group and 9.8 ± 5.9% for the control group (P < 0.01). This study indicated that alendronate treatment increased bone purchase of stainless steel screw surfaces.
We assessed the use of a filler compound together with the osteoinductive demineralized bone matrix (DBM), Colloss E. The filler was comprised of carboxymethyl-cellulose and collagen type 1. The purpose of the study was to see if the filler compound would enhance the bone formation and distribute the osteoinductive stimulus throughout the bone defect. Six sheep underwent a bilateral humerus drill defect. The drill hole was filled with a compound consisting of 100 mg CMC, 100 mg collagen powder, and 1 ccm autologous full blood in one side, and a combination of this filler compound and 20 mg Colloss E in the other. The animals were divided into three groups of two animals and observed for 8, 12 and 16 weeks. Drill holes was evaluated using quantitative computed tomography (QCT), micro computed tomography (µCT) and histomorphometry. Mean total bone mineral density (BMD) of each implantation site was calculated with both QCT and µCT. Bone volume to total volume (BV/TV) was analyzed using µCT and histomorphometry. Although not statistically significant, results showed increased bone BMD after 16 weeks in µCT data and an increased BV/TV after 16 weeks in both µCT and histology. Correlation between QCT and µCT was R2 = 0.804. Correlation between histomorphometry and µCT BV/TV data was R2 = 0.8935 and with an average overrepresentation of 8.2% in histomorphometry. In conclusion the CMC-Collagen + Colloss E filler seems like a viable osteogenic bone filler mid- to long term. A correlation was found between the analytical methods used in this study.
Collagen; histomorphometry; equine bone lyophilisate; cellulose.
Hypoxic culturing of chondrocytes is gaining increasing interest in cartilage research. Culturing of chondrocytes under low oxygen tension has shown several advantages, among them increased synthesis of extracellular matrix and increased redifferentiation of dedifferentiated chondrocytes. Quantitative gene expression analyses such as quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) are powerful tools in the investigation of underlying mechanisms of cell behavior and are used routinely for differentiation and phenotype assays. However, the genes used for normalization in normoxic cell-cultures might not be suitable in the hypoxic environment. The objective of this study was to determine hypoxia-stable housekeeping genes (HKG) for quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) in human chondrocytes cultured in 21%, 5% and 1% oxygen by geNorm and NormFinder analyses.
The chondrocytic response to the hypoxic challange was validated by a significant increase in expression of the hypoxia-inducible gene ankyrin repeat 37 as well as SOX9 in hypoxia. When cultured on the 3-dimentional (3D) scaffold TATA-binding protein (TBP) exhibited the highest expression stability with NormFinder while Ribosomal protein L13a (RPL13A) and beta2-microglobulin (B2M) were the most stable using geNorm analysis. In monolayer RPL13A were the most stable gene using NormFinder, while geNorm assessed RPL13A and human RNA polymerase II (RPII) as most stable. When examining the combination of (3D) culturing and monolayer RPL13A and B2M showed the highest expression stability from geNorm analysis while RPL13A also showed the highest expression stability using NormFinder. Often used HKG such as beta actin (ACTB) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) were the most unstable genes investigated in all comparisons. The pairwise variations for the two most stable HKG in each group were all below the cut-off value of 0.15, suggesting that the two most stable HKG from geNorm analysis would be sufficient for qRT-PCR.
All data combined we recommend RPL13A, B2M and RPII as the best choice for qRT-PCR analyses when comparing normoxic and hypoxic cultured human chondrocytes although other genes might also be suitable. However, the matching of HKG to target genes by means of a thorough investigation of the stability in each study would always be preferable.
Background and purpose An increasing number of lumbar fusions are performed using allograft to avoid donor-site pain. In elderly patients, fusion potential is reduced and the patient may need supplementary stability to achieve a solid fusion if allograft is used. We investigated the effect of instrumentation in lumbar spinal fusion performed with fresh frozen allograft in elderly patients.
Methods 94 patients, mean age 70 (60–88) years, who underwent posterolateral spinal fusion either non-instrumented (51 patients) or instrumented (43 patients) were followed for 2–7 years. Functional outcome was assessed with the Dallas pain questionnaire (DPQ), the low back pain rating scale pain index (LBPRS), and SF-36. Fusion was assessed using plain radiographs.
Results Instrumented patients had statistically significantly better outcome scores in 6 of 7 parameters. Fusion rate was higher in the instrumented group (81% vs. 68%, p = 0.1). Solid fusion was associated with a better functional outcome at follow-up (significant in 2 of 7 parameters). 15 patients (6 in the non-instrumented group and 9 in the instrumented group) had repeated lumbar surgery after their initial fusion procedure. Functional outcome was poorer in the group with additional spine surgeries (significant in 4 of 7 parameters).
Interpretation Superior outcomes after lumbar spinal fusion in elderly patients can be achieved by use of instrumentation in selected patients. Outcome was better in patients in which a solid fusion was obtained. Instrumentation was associated with a larger number of additional surgeries, which resulted in a lesser degree of improvement. Instrumentation should not be discarded just because of the age of the patient.
Introduction Few studies have investigated the long-term effect of posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion on functional outcome. Aim To investigate the long-term result after posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion with and without pedicle screw instrumentation. Methods Questionnaire survey of 129 patients originally randomised to posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion with or without pedicle screw instrumentation. Follow-up included Dallas Pain Questionnaire (DPQ), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), SF-36 and a question regarding willingness to undergo the procedure again knowing the result as global outcome parameter. Results Follow-up was 83% of the original study population (107 patients). Average follow-up time was 12 years (range 11–13 years). DPQ-scores were significantly lower than preoperatively in both groups (P < 0.005) and no drift towards the preoperative level was seen. No difference between the two groups were observed (instrumented vs. non-instrumented): DPQ Daily Activity mean 37.0 versus 32.0, ODI mean 33.4 versus 30.6, SF-36 PCS mean 38.8 versus 39.8, SF-36 MCS mean 49.0 versus 53.3. About 71% in both groups were answered positively to the global outcome question. Patients who had retired due to low back pain had poorer outcome than patients retired for other reasons, best outcome was seen in patients still at work (P = 0.01 or less in all questionnaires, except SF-36 MCS P = 0.08). Discussion Improvement in functional outcome is preserved for 10 or more years after posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion. No difference between instrumented fusion and non-instrumented fusion was observed. Patients who have to retired due to low back pain have the smallest improvement.
Lumbar spinal fusion; Randomised clinical trial; Outcome
Recently, Christensen et al. reported the clinical effects of a low-cost rehabilitation program equally efficient to a relatively intensive program of individual, physiotherapist-guided exercise therapy. Yet, the low-cost approach is not fully supported as an optimal strategy until a full-scale economic evaluation, including extra-hospital effects such as service utilization in the primary health care sector and return-to-work, is conducted. The objective of this study was to conduct such evalution i.e. investigate the cost-effectiveness of (1) a low-cost rehabilitation regimen with a behavioural element and (2) a regimen of individual exercise therapy, both in comparison with usual practice, from a health economic, societal perspective. Study design was a cost-effectiveness evaluation of an RCT with a 2-year follow-up. Ninety patients having had posterolateral or circumferential fusion (indicated by chronic low back pain and localized pathology) were randomized 3 months after their spinal fusion. Validated pain- and disability index scales were applied at baseline and at 2 years postoperative. Costs were measured in a full-scale societal perspective. The probability of the behavioural approach being cost-effective was close to 1 given pain as the prioritized effect measure, and 0.8 to 0.6 (dependent on willingness to pay per effect unit) given disability as the prioritized effect measure. The probability of the exercise therapy approach being cost-effective was modest due to inferior effectiveness. Results proved robust to relevant sensitivity analysis although a differentiated cost-effectiveness ratio between males and females was suspected. In conclusion, a simple behavioural extension, of setting up group meetings for patients, to a regimen with a strict physiotherapeutic focus was found cost-effective, whereas the cost-effectiveness of increasing frequency and guidance of a traditional physiotherapeutic regimen was unlikely in present trial setting.
Rehabilitation; Lumbar spinal fusion; Chronic low back pain; Health economic evaluation; Cost-effectiveness evaluation
Up to one third of patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion show no improvement after the procedure and thus, despite evidence from RCTs, there might be a rationale for observational studies clarifying indications. Similarly, selection of the right patients for the right procedure could have significant impact on cost-effectiveness, which in some countries, in turn, affects whether procedures are to be available through the National Health Service. The aim of this study was to investigate determinants of cost-effectiveness in lumbar spinal fusion. An observational cohort study with 2-year follow-up was conducted: 695 patients who underwent lumbar spinal fusion from 1996 to 2002 were included and followed for 2 years. Patients had a localized segmental pathology and were diagnosed with MRI-verified isthmic spondylolisthesis (26%) or disc degeneration (74%). The surgical techniques were non-instrumented posterolateral fusion (14%), instrumented posterolateral fusion (54%), and circumferential fusion (32%). Societal costs and improvement in functional disability (Dallas Pain Questionnaire) were transformed into a net benefit measure. Classical linear regression of the net benefit was conducted using predictors of age, sex, diagnosis, duration of pain, smoking habits, occupational status, severity of disability, emotional distress, surgical technique, and number of levels fused. The main results were that two determinants were found to negatively influence net benefit: smoking and diagnosis, whereas two others were found to be positively associated with the net benefit: severe disability and emotional distress. In conclusion, predicting net benefit reverses the picture usually seen in studies predicting clinical outcomes, because the response variable is based on improvement over time rather than end-point measures alone. Smoking habits, diagnosis, pre-operative disability, and pre-operative emotional distress were found to be significantly associated with the net benefit of spinal fusion.
Lumbar spinal fusion; Chronic low back pain; Economics; Net benefit; Determinants
Although cost-effectiveness is becoming the foremost evaluative criterion within health service management of spine surgery, scientific knowledge about cost-patterns and cost-effectiveness is limited. The aims of this study were (1) to establish an activity-based method for costing at the patient-level, (2) to investigate the correlation between costs and effects, (3) to investigate the influence of selected patient characteristics on cost-effectiveness and, (4) to investigate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of (a) posterior instrumentation and (b) intervertebral anterior support in lumbar spinal fusion. We hypothesized a positive correlation between costs and effects, that determinants of effects would also determine cost-effectiveness, and that posterolateral instrumentation and anterior intervertebral support are cost-effective adjuncts in posterolateral lumbar fusion. A cohort of 136 consecutive patients with chronic low back pain, who were surgically treated from January 2001 through January 2003, was followed until 2 years postoperatively. Operations took place at University Hospital of Aarhus and all patients had either (1) non-instrumented posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion, (2) instrumented posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion, or (3) instrumented posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion + anterior intervertebral support. Analysis of costs was performed at the patient-level, from an administrator’s perspective, by means of Activity-Based-Costing. Clinical effects were measured by means of the Dallas Pain Questionnaire and the Low Back Pain Rating Scale at baseline and 2 years postoperatively. Regression models were used to reveal determinants for costs and effects. Costs and effects were analyzed as a net-benefit measure to reveal determinants for cost-effectiveness, and finally, adjusted analysis (for non-random allocation of patients) was performed in order to reveal the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of (a) posterior instrumentation and (b) anterior support. The costs of non-instrumented posterolateral spinal fusion were estimated at DKK 88,285(95% CI 81,369;95,546), instrumented posterolateral spinal fusion at DKK 94,396(95% CI 89,865;99,574) and instrumented posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion + anterior intervertebral support at DKK 120,759(95% CI 111,981;133,738). The net-benefit of the regimens was significantly affected by smoking and functional disability in psychosocial life areas. Multi-level fusion and surgical technique significantly affected the net-benefit as well. Surprisingly, no correlation was found between treatment costs and treatment effects. Incremental analysis suggested that the probability of posterior instrumentation being cost-effective was limited, whereas the probability of anterior intervertebral support being cost-effective escalates as willingness-to-pay per effect unit increases. This study reveals useful and hitherto unknown information both about cost-patterns at the patient-level and determinants of cost-effectiveness. The overall conclusion of the present investigation is a recommendation to focus further on determinants of cost-effectiveness. For example, patient characteristics that are modifiable at a relatively low expense may have greater influence on cost-effectiveness than the surgical technique itself—at least from an administrator’s perspective.
Economic evaluation; Cost-effectiveness; Lumbar spinal fusion; Methods; Low back pain
A retrospectively designed long-term follow-up study of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients who had completed treatment, of at least 2 years, by means of brace, surgery, or both brace and surgery. This study is to assess the outcome after treatment for AIS by means of the Scoliosis Research Society Outcome Instrument 24 (SRS 24). One hundred and eighteen AIS patients (99 females and 19 males), treated at the Aarhus University Hospital from January 1, 1987 to December 31, 1997, were investigated with at least 2 years follow-up at the time of receiving a posted self-administered questionnaire. Forty-four patients were treated with Boston brace (B) only, 41 patients had surgery (S), and 33 patients were treated both with brace and surgery (BS). The Cobb angles of the three treatment groups did not differ significantly after completed treatment. The outcome in terms of the total SRS 24 score was not significantly different among the three groups. B patients had a significantly better general (not treatment related) self-image and higher general activity level than the total group of surgically treated patients, while surgically treated patients scored significantly better in post-treatment self-image and satisfaction. Comparing B with BS we found a significantly higher general activity level in B patients, while the BS group had significantly higher satisfaction. There were no significant differences between BS and S patients in any of the domain scores. All treatment groups scored “fair or better” in all domain scores of the SRS 24 questionnaire, except in post-treatment function, where all groups scored worse than “fair”. Improvement of appearance by means of surgical correction increases mean scores for post-treatment self-image and post-treatment satisfaction. Double-treatment by brace and surgery does not appear to jeopardize a good final outcome.
Scoliosis; Quality of life; Functional outcome; Brace; Surgery
Very few studies have investigated the effects or costs of rehabilitation regimens following lumbar spinal fusion. The effectiveness of in-hospital rehabilitation regimens has substantial impact on patients’ demands in the primary health care sector. The aim of this study was to investigate patient-articulated demands to the primary health care sector following lumbar spinal fusion and three different in-hospital rehabilitation regimens in a prospective, randomized study with a 2-year follow-up. Ninety patients were randomized 3 months post lumbar spinal fusion to either a ‘video’ group (one-time oral instruction by a physiotherapist and patients were then issued a video for home exercise), or a ‘café’ group (video regimen with the addition of three café meetings with other fusion-operated patients) or a ‘training’ group (exercise therapy; physiotherapist-guided; two times a week for 8 weeks). Register data of service utilization in the primary health care sector were collected from the time of randomization through 24 months postsurgery. Costs of in-hospital protocols were estimated and the service utilization in the primary health care sector and its cost were analyzed. A significant difference (P=0.023) in number of contacts was found among groups at 2-year follow-up. Within the periods of 3–6 months and 7–12 months postoperatively, the experimental groups required less than half the amount of care within the primary health care sector as compared to the video group (P=0.001 and P=0.008). The incremental costs of the café regimen respectively, the training regimen were compensated by cost savings in the primary health care sector, at ratios of 4.70 (95% CI 4.64; 4.77) and 1.70 (95% CI 1.68; 1.72). This study concludes that a low-cost biopsychosocial rehabilitation regimen significantly reduces service utilization in the primary health care sector as compared to the usual regimen and a training exercise regimen. The results stress the importance of a cognitive element of coping in a rehabilitation program.
Lumbar spinal fusion; Rehabilitation; Primary care; Costs and cost analysis
Gene therapy presents a novel approach to biological treatment. Several orthopaedic diseases can cause changes in biological signalling at the tissue level that potentially can be repaired or modified by inserting genes into the cells or tissues to modulate gene expression. Impaired bone healing, need for extensive bone formation, cartilage repair and metabolic bone diseases are all conditions where alterations of the signalling peptides involved may provide cure or improvement. In orthopaedic oncology, gene therapy may achieve induction of tumour necrosis and increased tumour sensitivity to chemotherapy. In the last decade, extensive improvements have been made to optimise gene therapy and have been tested on several orthopaedic conditions. How far this development has come in orthopaedics is highlighted in this paper.
This study investigated the healing potential of allograft from bisphosphonate-treated animals in anterior lumbar spine interbody fusion. Three levels of anterior lumbar interbody fusion with Brantigan cages were performed in two groups of five landrace pigs. Empty Brantigan cages or cages filled with either autograft or allograft were located randomly at different levels. The allograft materials for the treatment group were taken from the pigs that had been fed with alendronate, 10 mg daily for 3 months. The histological fusion rate was 2/5 in alendronate-treated allograft and 3/5 in non-treated allograft. The mean bone volume was 39% and 37.2% in alendronate-treated or non-treated allograft (NS), respectively. No statistical difference was found between the same grafted cage comparing two groups. The histological fusion rate was 7/10 in all autograft cage levels and 5/10 in combined allograft cage levels. No fusion was found at all in empty cage levels. With the numbers available, no statistically significant difference was found in histological fusion between autograft and allograft applications. There was a significant difference of mean bone volume between autograft (49.2%) and empty cage (27.5%) (P<0.01). In conclusion, this study did not demonstrate different healing properties of alendronate-treated and non-treated allograft for anterior lumbar interbody fusion in pigs.
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF); Bisphosphonate; Bone graft; Cage; CT
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an autogenous source of growth factor and has been shown to enhance bone healing both in clinical and experimental studies. PRP in combination with porous hydroxyapatite has been shown to increase the bone ingrowth in a bone chamber rat model. The present study investigated whether the combination of beta tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) and PRP may enhance spinal fusion in a controlled animal study. Ten Danish Landrace pigs were used as a spinal fusion model. Immediately prior to the surgery, 55 ml blood was collected from each pig for processing PRP. Three-level anterior lumbar interbody fusion was performed with carbon fiber cages and staples on each pig. Autogenous bone graft, β-TCP, and β-TCP loaded with PRP were randomly assigned to each level. Pigs were killed at the end of the third month. Fusion was evaluated by radiographs, CT scanning, and histomorphometric analysis. All ten pigs survived the surgery. Platelet concentration increased 4.4-fold after processing. Radiograph examination showed 70% (7/10) fusion rate in the autograft level. All the levels with β-TCP+PRP showed partial fusion, while β-TCP alone levels had six partial fusions and four non-fusions (P=0.08). CT evaluation of fusion rate demonstrated fusion in 50% (5/10) of the autograft levels. Only partial fusion was seen at β-TCP levels and β-TCP+PRP levels. Histomorphometric evaluation found no difference between β-TCP and β-TCP+PRP levels on new bone volume, remaining β-TCP particles, and bone marrow and fibrous tissue volume, while the same parameters differ significantly when compared with autogenous bone graft levels. We concluded from our results in pigs that the PRP of the concentration we used did not improve the bone-forming capacity of β-TCP biomaterial in anterior spine fusion. Both β-TCP and β-TCP+PRP had poorer radiological and histological outcomes than that of autograft after 3 months.
Spinal fusion; Bone substitute; Platelet-rich plasma; Tricalcium phosphate; Pig
“Spinal instrumentation without fusion” techniques, which do not interfere with spinal growth, have been used extensively in the treatment of progressive spinal scoliosis in very young children. Due to subperiosteal exposure, the process of spinal instrumentation may induce spontaneous bony fusion. Instrumentation and surgical techniques have been modified in order to prevent spontaneous posterior fusion from occurring in children. An absorbable ADCON-L gel has been shown to inhibit scar and epidural adhesions following spinal surgeries. However, little is known about its influence on spinal fusion. In the present study, a single-level intertransverse arthrodesis at L4-5 on both sides was performed on each of nine pigs. Each side was randomly designed to receive autogenous bone graft with or without ADCON-L gel. The animals were followed for 10 weeks postoperatively. A fusion rate of 78% (7/9) was obtained in the autograft treatment by plain X-ray and CT evaluation, while the autograft/ADCON-L treatment yielded a 0% (0/9) fusion rate (p=0.001). Histomorphometric evaluation revealed that the addition of ADCON-L gel to bone graft decreased bone and bone marrow formation and significantly increased fibrous tissue formation. No statistical difference between the two treatments was found in cartilage, bone surface density, osteoid surfaces or osteoclast-covered surfaces in any zone. We conclude that ADCON-L gel mixed into autogenous bone graft can delay or decrease bone formation at spinal arthrodesis sites, thus influencing the extent of spinal fusion. This accords with our hypothesis that the use of ADCON-L gel can prevent not only the occurrence of spontaneous fusion in very young scoliosis patients after instrumentation without fusion, but also re-ossification of a decompressed spinal canal.
Spinal fusion; ADCON-L; Bone regeneration; Pig