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1.  Risk Factors for the Development and Progression of Atlantoaxial Subluxation in Surgically Treated Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients, Considering the Time Interval between Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis and Surgery 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease that can affect the cervical spine, especially the atlantoaxial region. The present study evaluated the risk factors for atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS) development and progression in patients who have undergone surgical treatment.
We retrospectively analyzed the data of 62 patients with RA and surgically treated AAS between 2002 and 2015. Additionally, we identified 62 patients as controls using propensity score matching of sex and age among 12667 RA patients from a rheumatology registry between 2007 and 2015. We extracted patient data, including sex, age at diagnosis, age at surgery, disease duration, radiographic hand joint changes, and history of methotrexate use, and laboratory data, including presence of rheumatoid factor and the C-reactive protein (CRP) level.
The mean patient age at diagnosis was 38.0 years. The mean time interval between RA diagnosis and AAS surgery was 13.6±7.0 years. The risk factors for surgically treated AAS development were the serum CRP level (p=0.005) and radiographic hand joint erosion (p=0.009). The risk factors for AAS progression were a short time interval between RA diagnosis and radiographic hand joint erosion (p<0.001) and young age at RA diagnosis (p=0.04).
The CRP level at RA diagnosis and a short time interval between RA diagnosis and radiographic hand joint erosion might be risk factors for surgically treated AAS development in RA patients. Additionally, a short time interval between RA diagnosis and radiographic hand joint erosion and young age at RA diagnosis might be risk factors for AAS progression.
PMCID: PMC5106358  PMID: 27847572
Atlantoaxial subluxation; Rheumatoid arthritis; Posterior cervical fusion
2.  Effects of a Temperature-Sensitive, Anti-Adhesive Agent on the Reduction of Adhesion in a Rabbit Laminectomy Model 
A common cause of failure in laminectomy surgery is when epidural, peridural, or perineural adhesion occurs postoperatively. The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of a temperature-sensitive, anti-adhesive agent (TSAA agent), Guardix-SG®, as a mechanical barrier for the prevention or reduction of peridural scar adhesion in a rabbit laminectomy model.
Twenty-six mature rabbits were used for this study. Each rabbit underwent two separate laminectomies at lumbar vertebrae L3 and L6, left empty (the control group) and applied 2 mL of the TSAA agent (the experimental group), respectively. Invasive scar formation or inflammation after laminectomy was quantitatively evaluated by measuring the thickness of the dura, the distance from the surface of dura to the scar tissues, the number of inflammatory cells in the scar tissues at the laminectomy site, and the concentration of collagen in histological sections.
At 6 weeks postsurgery, the dura was significantly thinner and the distance from the surface of dura to the scar tissues was greater in the experimental group than in the control group (p=0.04 and p=0.01). The number of inflammatory cells was not significantly different in the two groups (p=0.08), although the mean number of inflammatory cells was relatively lower in the experimental group than in the control group.
The current study suggests that the TSAA agent, Guardix-SG®, could be useful as an interpositional physical barrier after laminectomy for the prevention or reduction of adhesion.
PMCID: PMC4877548  PMID: 27226857
Laminectomy; Epidural fibrosis; Epidural adhesion; Anti-adhesive agent
3.  Unilateral C1 Lateral Mass and C2 Pedicle Screw Fixation for Atlantoaxial Instability in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: Comparison with the Bilateral Method 
Bilateral C1 lateral mass and C2 pedicle screw fixation (C1LM-C2P) is an ideal technique for correcting atlantoaxial instability (AAI). However, the inevitable situation of vertebral artery injury or unfavorable bone structure may necessitate the use of unilateral C1LM-C2P. This study compares the fusion rates of the C1 lateral mass and C2 pedicle screw in the unilateral and bilateral methods.
Over five years, C1LM-C2P was performed in 25 patients with AAI in our institute. Preoperative studies including cervical X-ray, three-dimensional computed tomography (CT), CT angiogram, and magnetic resonance imaging were performed. To evaluate bony fusion, measurements of the atlanto-dental interval (ADI) and CT scans were performed in the preoperative period, immediate postoperative period, and postoperatively at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.
Unilateral C1LM-C2P was performed in 11 patients (44%). The need to perform unilateral C1LM-C2P was due to anomalous course of the vertebral artery in eight patients (73%) and severe degenerative arthritis in three patients (27%). The mean ADI in the bilateral group was 2.09 mm in the immediate postoperative period and 1.75 mm in 12-months postoperatively. The mean ADI in the unilateral group was 1.82 mm in the immediate postoperative period and 1.91 mm in 12-months postoperatively. Comparison of ADI measurements showed no significant differences in either group (p=0.893), and the fusion rate was 100% in both groups.
Although bilateral C1LM-C2P is effective for AAI from a biomechanical perspective, unilateral screw fixation is a useful alternative in patients with anatomical variations.
PMCID: PMC4502245  PMID: 26180616
Atlantoaxial; Bilateral; C1-2; Harm's Technique; Instability; Unilateral
4.  Long-Term Follow-Up Radiologic and Clinical Evaluation of Cylindrical Cage for Anterior Interbody Fusion in Degenerative Cervical Disc Disease 
Various procedures have been introduced for anterior interbody fusion in degenerative cervical disc disease including plate systems with autologous iliac bone, carbon cages, and cylindrical cages. However, except for plate systems, the long-term results of other methods have not been established. In the present study, we evaluated radiologic findings for cylindrical cervical cages over long-term follow up periods.
During 4 year period, radiologic findings of 138 patients who underwent anterior cervical fusion with cylindrical cage were evaluated at 6, 12, 24, and 36 postoperative months using plain radiographs. We investigated subsidence, osteophyte formation (anterior and posterior margin), cage direction change, kyphotic angle, and bone fusion on each radiograph.
Among the 138 patients, a minimum of 36 month follow-up was achieved in 99 patients (mean follow-up : 38.61 months) with 115 levels. Mean disc height was 7.32 mm for preoperative evaluations, 9.00 for immediate postoperative evaluations, and 4.87 more than 36 months after surgery. Osteophytes were observed in 107 levels (93%) of the anterior portion and 48 levels (41%) of the posterior margin. The mean kyphotic angle was 9.87° in 35 levels showing cage directional change. There were several significant findings : 1) related subsidence [T-score (p=0.039) and anterior osteophyte (p=0.009)], 2) accompanying posterior osteophyte and outcome (p=0.05).
Cage subsidence and osteophyte formation were radiologically observed in most cases. Low T-scores may have led to subsidence and kyphosis during bone fusion although severe neurologic aggravation was not found, and therefore cylindrical cages should be used in selected cases.
PMCID: PMC3467367  PMID: 23091668
Cylindrical cage; Kyphosis; Osteophyte; Radiologic; Subsidence
5.  Perioperative Risk Factors Related to Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery in Korean Geriatric Patients 
Life expectancy for humans has increased dramatically and with this there has been a considerable increase in the number of patients suffering from lumbar spine disease. Symptomatic lumbar spinal disease should be treated, even in the elderly, and surgical procedures such as fusion surgery are needed for moderate to severe lumbar spinal disease. However, various perioperative complications are associated with fusion surgery. The aim of this study was to examine perioperative complications and assess risk factors associated with lumbar spinal fusion, focusing on geriatric patients at least 70 years of age in the Republic of Korea.
We retrospectively investigated 489 patients with various lumbar spinal diseases who underwent lumbar spinal fusion surgery between 2003 and 2007 at our institution. Three fusion procedures and the number of fused segments were analyzed in this study. Chronic diseases were also evaluated. Risk factors for complications and their association with age were analyzed.
In this study, 74 patients experienced complications (15%). The rate of perioperative complications was significantly higher in patients 70 years of age or older than in other age groups (univariate analysis, p=0.001; multivariate analysis, p=0.004). However, perioperative complications were not significantly associated with the other factors tested (sex, comorbidities, operation procedures, fusion segments involved).
Increasing age was an important risk factor for perioperative complications in patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion surgery whereas other factors were not significant. We recommend good clinical judgment and careful selection of geriatric patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion surgery.
PMCID: PMC3424175  PMID: 22949964
Complication; Elderly patients; Lumbar spinal fusion
6.  Targeting a Safe Entry Point for C2 Pedicle Screw Fixation in Patients with Atlantoaxial Instability 
This investigation was conducted to evaluate a new, safe entry point for the C2 pedicle screw, determined using the anatomical landmarks of the C2 lateral mass, the lamina, and the isthmus of the pars interarticularis.
Fifteen patients underwent bilateral C1 lateral mass-C2 pedicle screw fixation, combined with posterior wiring. The C2 pedicle screw was inserted at the entry point determined using the following method : 4 mm lateral to and 4 mm inferior to the transitional point (from the superior end line of the lamina to the isthmus of the pars interarticularis). After a small hole was made with a high-speed drill, the taper was inserted with a 30 degree convergence in the cephalad direction. Other surgical procedures were performed according to Harm's description. Preoperatively, careful evaluation was performed with a cervical X-ray for C1-C2 alignment, magnetic resonance imaging for spinal cord and ligamentous structures, and a contrast-enhanced 3-dimensional computed tomogram (3-D CT) for bony anatomy and the course of the vertebral artery. A 3-D CT was checked postoperatively to evaluate screw placement.
Bone fusion was achieved in all 15 patients (100%) without screw violation into the spinal canal, vertebral artery injury, or hardware failure. Occipital neuralgia developed in one patient, but this subsided after a C2 ganglion block.
C2 transpedicular screw fixation can be easily and safely performed using the entry point of the present study. However, careful preoperative radiographic evaluation, regardless of methods, is mandatory.
PMCID: PMC3158478  PMID: 21887393
Atlantoaxial instability; C2 pedicle screw; Entry point; Technique
7.  Impact of Early Enteral Nutrition on In-Hospital Mortality in Patients with Hypertensive Intracerebral Hemorrhage 
We conducted this study to evaluate the clinical impact of early enteral nutrition (EN) on in-hospital mortality and outcome in patients with critical hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).
We retrospectively analyzed 123 ICH patients with Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 3-12. We divided the subjects into two groups : early EN group (< 48 hours, n = 89) and delayed EN group (≥ 48 hours, n = 34). Body weight, total intake and output, serum albumin, C-reactive protein, infectious complications, morbidity at discharge and in-hospital mortality were compared with statistical analysis.
The incidence of nosocomial pneumonia and length of intensive care unit stay were significantly lower in the early EN group than in the delayed EN group (p < 0.05). In-hospital mortality was less in the early EN group than in the delayed EN group (10.1% vs. 35.3%, respectively; p = 0.001). By multivariate analysis, early EN [odds ratio (OR) 0.229, 95% CI : 0.066-0.793], nosocomial pneumonia (OR = 5.381, 95% CI : 1.621-17.865) and initial GCS score (OR = 1.482 95% CI : 1.160-1.893) were independent predictors of in-hospital mortality in patients with critical hypertensive ICH.
These findings indicate that early EN is an important predictor of outcome in patients with critical hypertensive ICH.
PMCID: PMC2941869  PMID: 20856655
Enteral nutrition; Intracerebral hemorrhage; Mortality
8.  Rod Migration into the Posterior Fossa after Harms Operation : Case Report and Review of Literatures 
C1 lateral mass and C2 pedicle (C1LM-C2P) fixation is a relatively new technique for atlantoaxial stabilization. Complications from C1LM-C2P fixation have been rarely reported. The authors report unilateral rod migration into the posterior fossa as a rare complication after this posterior C1-C2 stabilization technique. A 23-year-old man suffered severe head trauma and cervical spine injury after vehicle accident. He was unconscious for 2 months and regained consciousness. He underwent C1LM-C2P fixation for stabilization of type II odontoid process fracture described by Harms. The patient recovered without a major complication. Twenty months after operation, brain computed tomogram performed at psychology department for disability evaluation showed rod migration into the right cerebellar hemisphere. The patient had mild occipital headache and dizziness only regarding the misplaced rod. He refused further operation for rod removal. To our knowledge, this complication is the first report regarding rod migration after Harms method. We should be kept in mind the possibility of rod migration, and C1LM-C2P fixation should be performed with meticulous technique and long-term follow-up.
PMCID: PMC2851083  PMID: 20379477
Atlantoaxial fixation; Harms technique; Migration; Odontoid process fracture; Rod
9.  Incidence and Risk Factors of Infection Caused by Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus Colonization in Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit Patients 
This study was aimed to identify the incidence and risk factors of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) colonization in neurosurgical practice of field, with particular attention to intensive care unit (ICU).
This retrospective study was carried out on the Neurosurgical ICU (NICU), during the period from January. 2005 to December. 2007, in 414 consecutive patients who had been admitted to the NICU. Demographics and known risk factors were retrieved and assessed by statistical methods.
A total of 52 patients had VRE colonization among 414 patients enrolled, with an overall prevalence rate of 6.1%. E. faecium was the most frequently isolated pathogen, and 92.3% of all VRE were isolated from urine specimen. Active infection was noticed only in 2 patients with bacteremia and meningitis. Relative antibiotic agents were third-generation cephalosporin in 40%, and vancomycin in 23%, and multiple antibiotic usages were also identified in 13% of all cases. Multivariate analyses showed Glasgow coma scale (GCS) score less than 8, placement of Foley catheter longer than 2 weeks, ICU stay over 2 weeks and presence of nearby VRE-positive patients had a significantly independent association with VRE infection.
When managing the high-risk patients being prone to be infected VRE in the NICU, extreme caution should be paid upon. Because prevention and outbreak control is of ultimate importance, clinicians should be alert the possibility of impending colonization and infection by all means available. The most crucial interventions are careful hand washing, strict glove handling, meticulous and active screening, and complete segregation.
PMCID: PMC2744021  PMID: 19763214
Glasgow coma scale score; Intensive care unit; Neurosurgery; Segregation; Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus
10.  Seizures and Epilepsy following Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage : Incidence and Risk Factors 
Although prophylactic antiepileptic drug (AED) use in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a common practice, lack of uniform definitions and guidelines for seizures and AEDs rendered this prescription more habitual instead of evidence-based manner. We herein evaluated the incidence and predictive factors of seizure and complications about AED use.
From July 1999 to June 2007, data of a total of 547 patients with aneurysmal SAH who underwent operative treatments were reviewed. For these, the incidence and risk factors of seizures and epilepsy were assessed, in addition to complications of AEDs.
Eighty-three patients (15.2%) had at least one seizure following SAH. Forty-three patients (7.9%) had onset seizures, 34 (6.2%) had perioperative seizures, and 17 (3.1%) had late epilepsy. Younger age (< 40 years), poor clinical grade, thick hemorrhage, acute hydrocephalus, and rebleeding were related to the occurrence of onset seizures. Cortical infarction and thick hemorrhage were independent risk factors for the occurrence of late epilepsy. Onset seizures were not predictive of late epilepsy. Moreover, adverse drug effects were identified in 128 patients (23.4%) with AEDs.
Perioperative seizures are not significant predictors for late epilepsy. Instead, initial amount of SAH and surgery-induced cortical damage should be seriously considered as risk factors for late epilepsy. Because AEDs can not prevent early postoperative seizures (< 1 week) and potentially cause unexpected side effects, long-term use should be readjusted in high-risk patients.
PMCID: PMC2744032  PMID: 19763209
Aneurysm; Antiepileptic drug; Complication; Epilepsy; Risk factors; Seizure
11.  Unilateral Posterior Atlantoaxial Transarticular Screw Fixation in Patients with Atlantoaxial Instability : Comparison with Bilateral Method 
Bilateral C1-2 transarticular screw fixation (TAF) with interspinous wiring has been the best treatment for atlantoaxial instability (AAI). However, several factors may disturb satisfactory placement of bilateral screws. This study evaluates the usefulness of unilateral TAF when bilateral TAF is not available.
Between January 2003 and December 2007, TAF was performed in 54 patients with AAI. Preoperative studies including cervical x-ray, three dimensional computed tomogram, CT angiogram, and magnetic resonance image were checked. The atlanto-dental interval (ADI) was measured in preoperative period, immediate postoperatively, and postoperative 1, 3 and 6 months.
Unilateral TAF was performed in 27 patients (50%). The causes of unilateral TAF were anomalous course of vertebral artery in 20 patients (74%), severe degenerative arthritis in 3 (11%), fracture of C1 in 2, hemangioblastoma in one, and screw malposition in one. The mean ADI in unilateral group was measured as 2.63 mm in immediate postoperatively, 2.61 mm in 1 month, 2.64 mm in 3 months and 2.61 mm in 6 months postoperatively. The mean ADI of bilateral group was also measured as following; 2.76 mm in immediate postoperative, 2.71 mm in 1 month, 2.73 mm in 3 months, 2.73 mm in 6 months postoperatively. Comparison of ADI measurement showed no significant difference in both groups, and moreover fusion rate was 100% in bilateral and 96.3% in unilateral group (p=0.317).
Even though bilateral TAF is best option for AAI in biomechanical perspectives, unilateral screw fixation also can be a useful alternative in otherwise dangerous or infeasible cases through bilateral screw placement.
PMCID: PMC2666118  PMID: 19352478
Atlatoaxial instability (AAI); Atlantodental interval (ADI); Transarticular screw fixation (TAF); Unilateral; Vertebral artery
12.  Spinal Subdural Hemorrhage as a Cause of Post-Traumatic Delirium 
A 64-year-old man with TBI was admitted to our institute. In following days, he showed unusual behavior of agitation, restlessness, emotional instability and inattention. Post-traumatic delirium was tentatively diagnosed, and donepezil was given for his cognitive dysfunction. Although there was partial relief of agitation, he sustained back pain despite medication. Lumbar magnetic resonance image revealed SDH along the whole lumbar spine, and surgical drainage was followed. Postoperatively, his agitation disappeared and further medication was discontinued. We report a unique case of post-traumatic delirium in a patient with concomitant TBI and spinal subdural hemorrhage (SDH) that resolved with operative drainage of spinal hemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC2588221  PMID: 19096605
Back pain; Delirium; Subdural hematoma; Traumatic brain injury
13.  Incidence and Risk Factors of Acute Postoperative Delirium in Geriatric Neurosurgical Patients 
Postoperative delirium (POD) is characterized by an acute change in cognitive function and can result in longer hospital stays, higher morbidity rates, and more frequent discharges to long-term care facilities. In this study, we investigated the incidence and risk factors of POD in 224 patients older than 70 years of age, who had undergone a neurosurgical operation in the last two years.
Data related to preoperative factors (male gender, >70 years, previous dementia or delirium, alcohol abuse, serum levels of sodium, potassium and glucose, and co morbidities), perioperative factors (type of surgery and anesthesia, and duration of surgery) and postoperative data (length of stay in recovery room, severity of pain and use of opioid analgesics) were retrospectively collected and statistically analyzed.
POD appeared in 48 patients (21.4%) by postoperative day 3. When we excluded 26 patients with previous dementia or delirium, 17 spontaneously recovered by postoperative day 14, while 5 patients recovered by postoperative 2 months with medication, among 22 patients with newly developed POD. The univariate risk factors for POD included previously dementic or delirious patients, abnormal preoperative serum glucose level, pre-existent diabetes, the use of local anesthesia for the operation, longer operation time (>3.2 hr) or recovery room stay (>90 min), and severe pain (VAS>6.8) requiring opioid treatment (p<0.05). Backward regression analysis revealed that previously dementic patients with diabetes, the operation being performed under local anesthesia, and severe postoperative pain treated with opioids were independent risk factors for POD.
Our study shows that control of blood glucose levels and management of pain during local anesthesia and in the immediate postoperative period can reduce unexpected POD and help preventing unexpected medicolegal problems and economic burdens.
PMCID: PMC2588241  PMID: 19096622
Anesthesia; Diabetes; Geriatric; Pain; Postoperative delirium (POD)

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