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1.  Percutaneous core excision and radiofrequency thermo-coagulation for the ablation of osteoid osteoma of the spine 
European Spine Journal  2008;18(3):345-351.
Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation is the treatment of choice for osteoid osteoma of the appendicular skeleton. However, difficulties in localizing the lesion in the spine and its proximity to neural elements have yet to make it the prevalent treatment for spine. This study assesses the safety and effectiveness of two percutaneous techniques for ablating osteoid osteoma of the spine. Seven patients were treated between 1998 and 2005. Four patients underwent percutaneous radiofrequency coagulation. The lesions were located at the articular processes of L3 and L4, the lamina of L3 and in the head of the 11th rib. Three patients with lesions in close proximity to neural structures (pedicle of T9, the posterolateral inferior aspect of L3 vertebral body and the inferior articular process of C5) were subjected to percutaneous core excision. Mean follow-up was 4.2 ± 1.6 years. Three out of four patients who underwent radiofrequency ablation had an immediate and sustained response. One patient with a lesion in the head of the rib failed to respond. The three patients in the group of pecutaneous core excisional biopsy demonstrated immediate relief of pain. However, one patient experienced relapse of symptoms 6 months after transpedicular core excision. CT scan suggested partial targeting of the lesion that corroborated with histologic examination revealing only reactive tissue. Subsequent percutaneous core excision was successful. Therefore, the overall success rate was 85.7%. Mean VAS improved dramatically from 9 ± 1 to 2 ± 1 after surgery (P < 0.05). No neurological or other complications were encountered. This study indicates that radiofrequency ablation of spinal osteoid osteomas is safe and reasonably effective when an intact cortical shell separates the nidus from the neural elements. Percutaneous core excision can obviate the risk of thermal damage for lesions located in close proximity to the neural elements. Effectiveness of treatment can also be evaluated by CT scan and histological examination. Difficulties in targeting the nidus can lead to treatment failure. The minimal morbidity and the effectiveness of these minimally invasive procedures make them a valid alternative in the treatment of spinal osteoid osteoma.
doi:10.1007/s00586-008-0791-x
PMCID: PMC2899413  PMID: 19031087
Osteoid osteoma; Minimally invasive surgery; Radiofrequency ablation; Percutaneous excision
2.  Studying the association between musculoskeletal disorders, quality of life and mental health. A primary care pilot study in rural Crete, Greece 
Background
The burden of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) on the general health and well-being of the population has been documented in various studies. The objective of this study was to explore the association between MSD and the quality of life and mental health of patients and to discuss issues concerning care seeking patterns in rural Greece.
Methods
Patients registered at one rural Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Crete were invited to complete the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms, together with validated instruments for measuring health related quality of life (SF-36) and mental distress (GHQ-28).
Results
The prevalence rate of MSD was found to be 71.2%, with low back and knee pain being the most common symptoms. Most conditions significantly impaired the quality of life, especially the physical dimensions of SF-36. Depression was strongly correlated to most MSD (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic analyses revealed that patients who consulted the PCC due to MSD were likely to have more mental distress or impaired physical functioning compared to those who did not.
Conclusion
Musculoskeletal disorders were common in patients attending the rural PCC of this study and were associated with a poor quality of life and mental distress that affected their consultation behaviour.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-143
PMCID: PMC2785760  PMID: 19930570
3.  Altered disc pressure profile after an osteoporotic vertebral fracture is a risk factor for adjacent vertebral body fracture 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(11):1522-1530.
This study investigated the effect of endplate deformity after an osteoporotic vertebral fracture in increasing the risk for adjacent vertebral fractures. Eight human lower thoracic or thoracolumbar specimens, each consisting of five vertebrae were used. To selectively fracture one of the endplates of the middle VB of each specimen a void was created under the target endplate and the specimen was flexed and compressed until failure. The fractured vertebra was subjected to spinal extension under 150 N preload that restored the anterior wall height and vertebral kyphosis, while the fractured endplate remained significantly depressed. The VB was filled with cement to stabilize the fracture, after complete evacuation of its trabecular content to ensure similar cement distribution under both the endplates. Specimens were tested in flexion-extension under 400 N preload while pressure in the discs and strain at the anterior wall of the adjacent vertebrae were recorded. Disc pressure in the intact specimens increased during flexion by 26 ± 14%. After cementation, disc pressure increased during flexion by 15 ± 11% in the discs with un-fractured endplates, while decreased by 19 ± 26.7% in the discs with the fractured endplates. During flexion, the compressive strain at the anterior wall of the vertebra next to the fractured endplate increased by 94 ± 23% compared to intact status (p < 0.05), while it did not significantly change at the vertebra next to the un-fractured endplate (18.2 ± 7.1%, p > 0.05). Subsequent flexion with compression to failure resulted in adjacent fracture close to the fractured endplate in six specimens and in a non-adjacent fracture in one specimen, while one specimen had no adjacent fractures. Depression of the fractured endplate alters the pressure profile of the damaged disc resulting in increased compressive loading of the anterior wall of adjacent vertebra that predisposes it to wedge fracture. This data suggests that correction of endplate deformity may play a role in reducing the risk of adjacent fractures.
doi:10.1007/s00586-008-0775-x
PMCID: PMC2583190  PMID: 18795344
Osteoporosis; Compression fractures; Adjacent fractures; Cement augmentation; Biomechanics; Intervertebral disc
4.  Balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of pathological vertebral compressive fractures 
European Spine Journal  2004;14(3):250-260.
Background
Previous clinical studies have shown the safety and effectiveness of balloon kyphoplasty in the treatment of pathological vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). However, they have not dealt with the impact of relatively common comorbid conditions in this age group, such as spinal stenosis, and they have not explicitly addressed the use of imaging as a prognostic indicator for the restoration of vertebral body height. Neither have these studies dealt with management and technical problems related to surgery, nor the effectiveness of bone biopsy during the same surgical procedure. This is a prospective study comparing preoperative and postoperative vertebral body heights, kyphotic deformities, pain intensity (using visual analogue scale) and quality of life (Oswestry disability questionnaire) in patients with osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) and osteolytic vertebral tumors treated with balloon kyphoplasty.
Methods
Thirty-two consecutive patients, 27 OVCFs (49 vertebral bodies [VBs]) and 5 patients suffering from VB tumor (12 VBs) were treated by balloon kyphoplasty. The mean age was 68.2 years. All patients were assessed within the first week of surgery, and then followed up after one, three and six months; all patients (27 OVCFs and 5 tumor patients) were followed up for 12 months, 17 patients (14 OVCFs and 3 tumors) were followed up for 18 months and 9 patients (8 OVCFs and 1 tumor) were followed up for 24 months (mean follow up 18 months). The correction of kyphosis and vertebral heights were measured by comparing preoperative and postoperative radiographic measurements.
Results
Thirty-one patients (96.9%) exhibited significant and immediate pain improvement: 90% responded within 24 h and 6.3% responded within 5 days. Daily activities improved by 53% on the Oswestry scale. In the OVCF group, kyphosis correction was achieved in 24/27 patients (89.6%) with a mean correction of 7.6°. Anterior wall height was restored in 43/49 VBs (88%) (mean increment of 4.3 mm), and mid vertebral body height was restored in 45/49 VBs (92%) (mean increment of 4.8 mm). Edema (high intensity signal) on short tau inversion recovery (STIR) was evidenced in all OVCF patients who experienced symptoms for less than nine months and was associated with correction of deformity. Cement leakage was the only technical problem encountered; it occurred in 5/49 VBs (10.2%) of the osteoporotic group and 1/12 VBs (8.3%) of the tumor group but had no clinical consequences. The incidence of leakage to the anterior epidural space was 2%. Spinal stenosis was present in three patients (11.1%) who responded successfully to subsequent laminectomy. Retrieval of tissue samples for biopsy was successful in 10/15 cases (67%). New fractures occurred in the adjacent level in 2/27 OVCF patients (7.4%).
Conclusions
Associated spinal stenosis with OVCF should not be overlooked; STIR MRI is a good predictor of deformity correction with balloon kyphoplasty. The prevalence of a new OVCF in the adjacent level is low.
doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0767-4
PMCID: PMC3476745  PMID: 15480827
Kyphoplasty; PMMA; Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures; Spinal stenosis; Laminectomy; STIR MRI; Biopsy
5.  Principles of management of osteometabolic disorders affecting the aging spine 
European Spine Journal  2003;12(Suppl 2):S113-S131.
Osteoporosis is the most common contributing factor of spinal fractures, which characteristically are not generally known to produce spinal cord compression symptoms. Recently, an increasing number of medical reports have implicated osteoporotic fractures as a cause of serious neurological deficit and painful disabling spinal deformities. This has been corroborated by the present authors as well. These complications are only amenable to surgical management, requiring instrumentation. Instrumenting an osteoporotic spine, although a challenging task, can be accomplished if certain guidelines for surgical techniques are respected. Neurological deficits respond equally well to an anterior or posterior decompression, provided this is coupled with multisegmental fixation of the construct. With the steady increase in the elderly population, it is anticipated that the spine surgeon will face serious complications of osteoporotic spines more frequently. With regard to surgery, however, excellent correction of deformities can be achieved, by combining anterior and posterior approaches. Paget's disease of bone (PD) is a non-hormonal osteometabolic disorder and the spine is the second most commonly affected site. About one-third of patients with spinal involvement exhibit symptoms of clinical stenosis. In only 12–24% of patients with PD of the spine is back pain attributed solely to PD, while in the majority of patients, back pain is either arthritic in nature or a combination of a pagetic process and coexisting arthritis. In this context, one must be certain before attributing low back pain to PD exclusively, and antipagetic medical treatment alone may be ineffective. Neural element dysfunction may be attributed to compressive myelopathy by pagetic bone overgrowth, pagetic intraspinal soft tissue overgrowth, ossification of epidural fat, platybasia, spontaneous bleeding, sarcomatous degeneration and vertebral fracture or subluxation. Neural dysfunction can also result from spinal ischemia when blood is diverted by the so-called "arterial steal syndrome". Because the effectiveness of pharmacologic treatment for pagetic spinal stenosis has been clearly demonstrated, surgical decompression should only be instituted after failure of antipagetic medical treatment. Surgery is indicated as a primary treatment when neural compression is secondary to pathologic fractures, dislocations, spontaneous epidural hematoma, syringomyelia, platybasia, or sarcomatous transformation. Five classes of drugs are available for the treatment of PD. Bisphosphonates are the most popular antipagetic drug and several forms have been investigated.
doi:10.1007/s00586-003-0600-5
PMCID: PMC3591829  PMID: 14505119
Osteoporosis; Fractures; Neurological deficit; Deformity; Paget's disease; Back pain; Spinal stenosis; Myelopathy; Treatment
6.  Paget's Disease of the spine and its management 
European Spine Journal  2001;10(5):370-384.
Abstract.
A review of the literature was conducted to study the pathomechanics by which Paget's Disease of bone (PD) alters the spinal structures that result in distinct spinal pathologic entities such as pagetic spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and other pathologies, and to assess the best treatment options and available drugs. The spine is the second most commonly affected site with PD. About one-third of patients with spinal involvement exhibit symptoms of clinical stenosis. In only 12–24% of patients with PD of the spine is back pain attributed solely to PD, while in the majority of patients back pain is either arthritic in nature or a combination of a pagetic process and coexisting arthritis. Neural element dysfunction may be attributed to compressive myelopathy by pagetic bone overgrowth, pagetic intraspinal soft tissue overgrowth, ossification of epidural fat, platybasia, spontaneous bleeding, sarcomatous degeneration and vertebral fracture or subluxation. Neural dysfunction can also result from spinal ischemia, when blood is diverted by the so-called ''arterial steal syndrome''. Because the effectiveness of pharmacologic treatment for pagetic spinal stenosis has been clearly demonstrated, surgical decompression should only be instituted after failure of antipagetic medical treatment. Surgery is indicated as a primary treatment when neural compression is secondary to pathologic fractures, dislocations, spontaneous epidural hematoma, syringomyelia, platybasia, or sarcomatous transformation. Since, in the majority of cases with pagetic spinal involvement, there are also coexisting osteoarthritic changes, antipagetic medical treatment alone may be disappointing. Therefore, one must be careful before attributing low back pain to PD alone. Five classes of drugs are available for the treatment of PD: bisphosphonates, calcitonins, mithramycin (plicamycin), gallium nitrate, and ipriflavone. Bisphosphonates are the most popular, and several forms have been investigated, but only the following forms have been approved for clinical use: disodium etidronate, clodronate, aledronate, risedronate, neridronate, pamidronate, tiludronate, ibadronate, aminohydroxylbutylidene bisphosphonate, olpadronate, and zoledronate. Several of these forms are still under investigation.
doi:10.1007/s005860100329
PMCID: PMC3611523  PMID: 11718191
Paget's Disease Back pain Spinal stenosis Myelopathy Complications Medical treatment Surgery Review
7.  Plaster of Paris as bone substitute in spinal surgery 
European Spine Journal  2001;10(Suppl 2):S189-S196.
Abstract.
In order to assess the effectiveness of calcium sulphate (plaster of Paris; POP) as a substitute for autologous bone graft, we performed lumbar intervertebral fusion in mature sheep using POP and a variety of other graft materials, and reviewed the literature. The osteoconductivity of the POP grafts was compared to that of grafts carried out with autogenous iliac crest, frozen allogeneic bone, and ProOsteon 500 coralline bone. We also compared the osteogenicity of POP to admixtures of autogenous iliac crest bone with POP and coralline bone, and to an osteoinductive demineralized sheep bone preparation (DBM). The substrates were loaded into tubular titanium mesh, implanted into excavated disc spaces and recovered after a period of 4 months. Fusion mass segments tested in flexion and tension showed that POP was equal to autogenous bone and most other substrates. The POP fusions were significantly tougher than the DBM fusions, even though histomorphometry failed to reveal differences in the amount of trabecular bone. We conclude that POP can be used to achieve a biomechanically stable interbody lumbar vertebral fusion. In addition, our literature review indicated that POP can be used as a vehicle for local delivery of antibiotics in bone infections.
doi:10.1007/s005860100275
PMCID: PMC3611555  PMID: 11716018
Osteoinduction Osteoconduction Plaster of Paris Replamineform coralline Intervertebral fusion
8.  Chemonucleolysis: the state of the art 
European Spine Journal  2001;10(3):192-202.
Abstract.
This review presents the history of chemonucleolysis, the techniques, indications, contraindications, and complications. Presenting an historical overview and comparison of success rates with surgical discectomy may provide a fresh understanding of the controversy surrounding chemonucleolysis and establish its efficacy in relation to more invasive treatments. A review of the literature from 1973 through 1998 for chemonucleolysis, open discectomy, and microdiscectomy provided published success rates for these procedures, and a mean rate with standard deviation was determined. In the experience and opinion of the authors, chemonucleolysis remains a viable alternative for patients who have exhausted all conservative means of treatment. Proper patient selection leads to success rates comparable to open discectomy and microdiscectomy.
doi:10.1007/s005860000234
PMCID: PMC3611493  PMID: 11469729
Chemonucleolysis Open discectomy Microdiscectomy Chymopapain

Results 1-8 (8)