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1.  Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) versus posterolateral instrumented fusion (PLF) in degenerative lumbar disorders: a randomized clinical trial with 2-year follow-up 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(9):2022-2029.
The aim of the present study was to analyze outcome, with respect to functional disability, pain, fusion rate, and complications of patients treated with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) in compared to instrumented poserolateral fusion (PLF) alone, in low back pain. Spinal fusion has become a major procedure worldwide. However, conflicting results exist. Theoretical circumferential fusion could improve functional outcome. However, the theoretical advantages lack scientific documentation.
Prospective randomized clinical study with a 2-year follow-up period. From November 2003 to November 2008 100 patients with severe low back pain and radicular pain were randomly selected for either posterolateral lumbar fusion [titanium TSRH (Medtronic)] or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [titanium TSRH (Medtronic)] with anterior intervertebral support by tantalum cage (Implex/Zimmer). The primary outcome scores were obtained using Dallas Pain Questionnaire (DPQ), Oswestry disability Index, SF-36, and low back pain Rating Scale. All measures assessed the endpoints at 2-year follow-up after surgery.
The overall follow-up rate was 94 %. Sex ratio was 40/58. 51 patients had TLIF, 47 PLF. Mean age 49(TLIF)/45(PLF). No statistic difference in outcome between groups could be detected concerning daily activity, work leisure, anxiety/depression or social interest. We found no statistic difference concerning back pain or leg pain. In both the TLIF and the PLF groups the patients had significant improvement in functional outcome, back pain, and leg pain compared to preoperatively. Operation time and blood loss in the TLIF group were significantly higher than in the PLF group (p < 0.001). No statistic difference in fusion rates was detected.
Transforaminal interbody fusion did not improve functional outcome in patients compared to posterolateral fusion. Both groups improved significantly in all categories compared to preoperatively. Operation time and blood loss were significantly higher in the TLIF group.
PMCID: PMC3777065  PMID: 23584162
Prospective; RCT; Lumbar interbody fusion
2.  Failure modes in conservative and surgical management of infectious spondylodiscitis 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(8):1837-1844.
Purpose and methods
We reviewed the management, failure modes, and outcomes of 196 patients treated for infectious spondylodiscitis between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010, at the Spinal Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark. Patients with infectious spondylodiscitis at the site of previous spinal instrumentation, spinal metastases, and tuberculous and fungal spondylodiscitis were excluded.
Mean age at the time of treatment was 59 (range 1–89) years. The most frequently isolated microorganism was Staphylococcus aureus. The lumbosacral spine was affected in 64 % of patients and the thoracic in 21 %. In 24 % of patients, there were neurologic compromise, four had the cauda equina syndrome and ten patients were paraplegic. Ninety-one patients were managed conservatively. Treatment failed in 12 cases, 7 patients required re-admission, 3 in-hospital deaths occurred, and 5 patients died during follow-up. Posterior debridement with pedicle screw instrumentation was performed in 75, without instrumentation in 19 cases. Seven patients underwent anterior debridement alone, and in 16 cases, anterior debridement was combined with pedicle screw instrumentation, one of which was a two-stage procedure. Re-operation took place in 12 patients during the same hospitalization and in a further 12 during follow-up. Two in-hospital deaths occurred, and five patients died during follow-up.
Patients were followed for 1 year after treatment. Eight (9 %) patients treated conservatively had a mild degree of back pain, and one (1 %) patient presented with mild muscular weakness. Among surgically treated patients, 12 (10 %) had only mild neurological impairment, one foot drop, one cauda equine dysfunction, but 4 were paraplegic. Twenty-seven (23 %) complained of varying degrees of back pain.
Conservative measures are safe and effective for carefully selected patients without spondylodiscitic complications. Failure of conservative therapy requires surgery that can guarantee thorough debridement, decompression, restoration of spinal alignment, and correction of instability. Surgeons should master various techniques to achieve adequate debridement, and pedicle screw instrumentation may safely be used if needed.
PMCID: PMC3731482  PMID: 23247861
Infectious spondylodiscitis; Vertebral osteomyelitis; Surgical management; Spine infection; Spondylodiscitis complications
3.  Prevalence of complications in neuromuscular scoliosis surgery: a literature meta-analysis from the past 15 years 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(6):1230-1249.
Our objectives were primarily to review the published literature on complications in neuromuscular scoliosis (NMS) surgery and secondarily, by means of a meta-analysis, to determine the overall pooled rates (PR) of various complications associated with NMS surgery.
PubMed and Embase databases were searched for studies reporting the outcomes and complications of NMS surgery, published from 1997 to May 2011. We focused on NMS as defined by the Scoliosis Research Society’s classification. We measured the pooled estimate of the overall complication rates (PR) using a random effects meta-analytic model. This model considers both intra- and inter-study variation in calculating PR.
Systematic review and meta-analysis were performed for 68 cohort and case–control studies with a total of 15,218 NMS patients. Pulmonary complications were the most reported (PR = 22.71 %) followed by implant complications (PR = 12.51 %), infections (PR = 10.91 %), neurological complications (PR = 3.01 %) and pseudoarthrosis (PR = 1.88 %). Revision, removal and extension of implant had highest PR (7.87 %) followed by malplacement of the pedicle screws (4.81 %). Rates of individual studies have moderate to high variability. The studies were heterogeneous in methodology and outcome types, which are plausible explanations for the variability; sensitivity analysis with respect to age at surgery, sample size, publication year and diagnosis could also partly explain this variability. In regard to surgical complications affiliated with various surgical techniques in NMS, the level of evidence of published literature ranges between 2+ to 2−; the subsequent recommendations are level C.
NMS patients have diverse and high complication rates after scoliosis surgery. High PRs of complications warrant more attention from the surgical community. Although the PR of all complications are affected by heterogeneity, they nevertheless provide valuable insights into the impact of methodological settings (sample size), patient characteristics (age at surgery), and continual advances in patient care on complication rates.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2542-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3676557  PMID: 23085815
Neuromuscular scoliosis; Complications; Scoliosis surgery; Deformity surgery; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
4.  Lowest instrumented vertebra selection in Lenke 3C and 6C scoliosis: what if we choose lumbar apical vertebra as distal fusion end? 
European Spine Journal  2011;21(6):1053-1061.
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.
PMCID: PMC3366136  PMID: 22057393
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Lowest instrumented vertebra; Radiographic measurement; Spinal imbalance; Curve behaviour
5.  Extensive fusion for Lenke 3C and 6C scoliosis: a two year radiographic follow-up 
International Orthopaedics  2011;36(4):795-801.
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.
PMCID: PMC3311790  PMID: 21842429
6.  Fusion mass bone quality after uninstrumented spinal fusion in older patients 
European Spine Journal  2010;19(12):2200-2208.
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.
PMCID: PMC2997208  PMID: 20429017
Spinal fusion; Randomised clinical trial; Bone mineral density; Electrical stimulation; Bone graft; Age; Smoking
7.  Outcome in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis after brace treatment and surgery assessed by means of the Scoliosis Research Society Instrument 24 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(7):1108-1117.
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.
PMCID: PMC3233940  PMID: 16308724
Scoliosis; Quality of life; Functional outcome; Brace; Surgery

Results 1-7 (7)