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1.  Short Segment Fixation for Thoracolumbar Burst Fracture Accompanying Osteopenia : A Comparative Study 
The purpose of this study was to compare the results of three types of short segment screw fixation for thoracolumbar burst fracture accompanying osteopenia.
The records of 70 patients who underwent short segment screw fixation for a thoracolumbar burst fracture accompanying osteopenia (-2.5< mean T score by bone mineral densitometry <-1.0) from January 2005 to January 2008 were reviewed. Patients were divided into three groups based on whether or not bone fusion and bone cement augmentation procedure 1) Group I (n=26) : short segment fixation with posterolateral bone fusion; 2) Group II (n=23) : bone cement augmented short segment fixation with posterolateral bone fusion; 3) Group III (n=21) : bone cement augmented, short segment percutaneous screw fixation without bone fusion. Clinical outcomes were assessed using a visual analogue scale and modified MacNab's criteria. Radiological findings, including kyphotic angle and vertebral height, and procedure-related complications, such as screw loosening or pull-out, were analyzed.
No significant difference in radiographic or clinical outcomes was noted between patients managed using the three different techniques at last follow up. However, Group I showed more correction loss of kyphotic deformities and vertebral height loss at final follow-up, and Group I had higher screw loosening and implant failure rates than Group II or III.
Bone cement augmented procedure can be an efficient and safe surgical techniques in terms of achieving better outcomes with minimal complications for thoracolumbar burst fracture accompanying osteopenia.
PMCID: PMC3579078  PMID: 23440679
Burst fracture; Osteopenia; Fusion
2.  Minimally Invasive Multi-Level Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Using a Percutaneously Inserted Spinal Fixation System : Technical Tips, Surgical Outcomes 
There are technical limitations of multi-level posterior pedicle screw fixation performed by the percutaneous technique. The purpose of this study was to describe the surgical technique and outcome of minimally invasive multi-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and to determine its efficacy.
Forty-two patients who underwent mini-open PLIF using the percutaneous screw fixation system were studied. The mean age of the patients was 59.1 (range, 23 to 78 years). Two levels were involved in 32 cases and three levels in 10 cases. The clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Low Back Outcome Score (LBOS). Achievement of radiological fusion, intra-operative blood loss, the midline surgical scar and procedure related complications were also analyzed.
The mean follow-up period was 25.3 months. The mean LBOS prior to surgery was 34.5, which was improved to 49.1 at the final follow up. The mean pain score (VAS) prior to surgery was 7.5 and it was decreased to 2.9 at the last follow up. The mean estimated blood loss was 238 mL (140-350) for the two level procedures and 387 mL (278-458) for three levels. The midline surgical scar was 6.27 cm for two levels and 8.25 cm for three level procedures. Complications included two cases of asymptomatic medial penetration of the pedicle border. However, there were no signs of neurological deterioration or fusion failure.
Multi-level, minimally invasive PLIF can be performed effectively using the percutaneous transpedicular screw fixation system. It can be an alternative to the traditional open procedures.
PMCID: PMC3259464  PMID: 22259691
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion; Percutaneous; Minimally invasive surgery
3.  Sudden Foot Drop Caused by Foraminal Gas Pseudocyst 
A foraminal gas pseudocyst is a rare cause of lumbar radiculopathy. The association with a sudden foot drop has not been previously reported. Here, a 67-year-old woman with sudden foot drop on the left side is reported. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging identified a foraminal gas containing lesion compressing the left L5 root at the L5-S1 foramen. The foraminal gas containing lesion compressing the L5 ganglion was successfully removed by the posterior approach. The histological diagnosis was a gas pseudocyst. This unique case of surgically proven gas pseudocyst indicates that it should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with sudden foot drop.
PMCID: PMC3158487  PMID: 21887402
Gas pseudocyst; Foramen; Foot drop
4.  Isolated Spinal Neurocysticercosis : Unusual Ocular Presentation Mimicking Pseudotumor Cerebri 
Spinal intradural cysticercosis is a rare manifestation of neurocysticercosis. We report a unique patient who showed visual symptoms and normal imaging of the brain caused by isolated spinal neurocysticercosis. A 59-year-old male patient was admitted to the emergency unit with a history of severe headache and progressive blurred vision. Brain computed tomographic scanning and magnetic resonance imaging showed normal cerebral anatomy without hydrocephalus. The fundoscopic evaluation by an ophthalmologist showed bilateral papilledema. Perimetry studies revealed visual field defects in both eyes. With the diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri, a lumbar tap was attempted; however, we could not drain the cerebrospinal fluid in spite of appropriate attempts. Lumbar magnetic resonance imaging revealed multilevel intraspinal lesions that were confirmed histologically to be neurocysticercosis. An intraoperative lumbar puncture revealed an increased opening pressure and cytochemical analysis showed elevated cerebrospinal fluid protein level. The headache resolved immediately after surgery. However, the visual symptoms remained and recovered only marginally despite antihelminthic medications after six months of operation.
PMCID: PMC3115153  PMID: 21716628
Spinal neurocysticercosis; Pseudotumor cerebri; Cerebrospinal spinal fluid
5.  Chronic Spinal Epidural Hematoma Related to Kummell's Disease 
Chronic spinal epidural hematoma related to Kummell's disease is extremely rare. An 82-year-old woman who had been managed conservatively for seven weeks with the diagnosis of a multi-level osteoporotic compression fracture was transferred to our institute. Lumbar spine magnetic resonance images revealed vertebral body collapse with the formation of a cavitary lesion at L1, and a chronic spinal epidural hematoma extending from L1 to L3. Because of intractable back pain, a percutaneous vertebroplasty was performed. The pain improved dramatically and follow-up magnetic resonance imaging obtained three days after the procedure showed a nearly complete resolution of the hematoma. Here, we present the rare case of a chronic spinal epidural hematoma associated with Kummell's disease and discuss the possible mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3098428  PMID: 21607183
Spinal epidural hematoma; Kummell's disease; Percutaneous vertebroplasty
6.  Paraspinal Muscle Sparing versus Percutaneous Screw Fixation : A Prospective and Comparative Study for the Treatment of L5-S1 Spondylolisthesis 
Both the paraspinal muscle sparing approach and percutaneous screw fixation are less traumatic procedures in comparison with the conventional midline approach. These techniques have been used with the goal of reducing muscle injury. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and to compare the safety and efficacy of the paraspinal muscle sparing technique and percutaneous screw fixation for the treatment of L5-S1 spondylolisthesis.
Twenty patients who had undergone posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) at the L5-S1 segment for spondylolisthesis were prospectively studied. They were divided into two groups by screw fixation technique (Group I : paraspinal muscle sparing approach and Group II: percutaneous screw fixation). Clinical outcomes were assessed by Low Back Outcome Score (LBOS) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for back and leg pain at different times after surgery. In addition, modified MacNab's grading criteria were used to assess subjective patients' outcomes 6 months after surgery. Postoperative midline surgical scarring, intraoperative blood loss, mean operation time, and procedure-related complications were analyzed.
Excellent or good results were observed in all patients in both groups 6 months after surgery. Patients in both groups showed marked improvement in terms of LBOSs all over time intervals. Postoperative midline surgical scarring and intraoperative blood loss were lower in Group II compared to Group I although these differences were not statistically significant. Low back pain (LBP) and leg pain in both groups also showed significant improvement when compared to preoperative scores. However, at 7 days and 1 month after surgery, patients in Group II had significantly better LBP scores compared to Group I.
In terms of LBP during the early postoperative period, patients who underwent percutaneous screw fixation showed better results compared to ones who underwent screw fixation via the paraspinal muscle sparing approach. Our results indicate that the percutaneous screw fixation procedure is the preferable minimally invasive technique for reducing LBP associated with L5-S1 spondylolisthesis.
PMCID: PMC3085812  PMID: 21556236
Spondylolisthesis; Paraspinal muscle sparing approach; Percutaneous screw fixation; Back pain
7.  Ligamentum Flavum Hematoma in the Adjacent Segment after a long Level Fusion 
Ligamentum flavum hematoma (LFH) is a very rare condition of dural compression; most are observed in the mobile cervical and lumbar spine regions. A 67-year-old man who had a long level interbody fusion at L3-S1 four years ago presented with symptoms suggestive of dural compression. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a posterior semicircular mass located at the adjacent L2-L3 level. After decompression of the spinal canal and removal of the mass lesion, pathological examination of the surgical specimen revealed a hematoma within the ligamentum. The patient fully recovered to normal status after surgery. Here, we report our experience with a LFH in the adjacent segment after a long level fusion procedure and discuss the possible associated mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3070897  PMID: 21494365
Ligamentum flavum; Hematoma; Adjacent segment
8.  The Role of Bone Cement Augmentation in the Treatment of Chronic Symptomatic Osteoporotic Compression Fracture 
Bone cement augmentation procedures such as percutaneous vertebroplasty and balloon kyphoplasty have been shown to be effective treatment for acute or subacute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of bone cement augmentation procedures for long standing osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture with late vertebral collapse and persistent back pain.
Among 278 single level osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures that were treated by vertebral augmentation procedures at our institute, 18 consecutive patients were included in this study. Study inclusion was limited to initially, minimal compression fractures, but showing a poor prognosis due to late vertebral collapse, intravertebral vacuum clefts and continuous back pain despite conservative treatment for more than one year. The subjects included three men and 15 women. The mean age was 70.7 with a range from 64 to 85 years of age. After postural reduction for two days, bone cement augmentation procedures following intraoperative pressure reduction were performed. Imaging and clinical findings, including the level of the vertebra involved, vertebral height restoration, injected cement volume, local kyphosis, clinical outcome and complications were analyzed.
The mean follow-up period after bone cement augmentation procedures was 14.3 months (range 12-27 months). The mean injected cement volume was 4.1 mL (range 2.4-5.9 mL). The unipedicular approach was possible in 15 patients. The mean pain score (visual analogue scale) prior to surgery was 7.1, which decreased to 3.1 at 7 days after the procedure. The pain relief was maintained at the final follow up. The kyphotic angle improved significantly from 21.2 ± 4.9° before surgery to 10.4 ± 3.8° after surgery. The fraction of vertebral height increased from 30% to 60% after bone cement augmentation, and the restored vertebral height was maintained at the final follow up. There were no serious complications related to cement leakage.
In the management of even long-standing osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture for over one year, bone cement augmentation procedures following postural reduction were considered safe and effective treatment in cases of non-healing evidence.
PMCID: PMC3053542  PMID: 21430974
Long standing; Compression fracture; Osteoporosis; Bone cement
9.  Comparison of the Results of Balloon Kyphoplasty Performed at Different Times after Injury 
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that is mainly performed for refractory pain due to osteoporotic compression fractures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of balloon kyphoplasty performed at different times after an injury.
In this retrospective study, the records of 99 patients who underwent one level of balloon kyphoplasty between January 2005 and December 2007 were reviewed. The patients were divided into three groups : 21 patients treated within 3 weeks of an injury (the acute group), 49 treated within 3 weeks to 2 months of an injury (the subacute group), and 29 patients treated at more than 2 months after an injury (the chronic group). Clinical outcomes were assessed using a visual analogue scale (VAS). In addition, modified MacNab's grading criteria was used to assess the subjective patient outcome. The radiology findings, including vertebral height restoration and procedure related complications, were analyzed based on the different time intervals after the injury.
Patients in all three groups achieved marked pain relief in terms of the VAS within 7 days of the procedure. Good or excellent results were achieved by most patients in all three groups. However, the height restoration, the main advantage to performing a balloon kyphoplasty, was not achieved in the chronic group. Moreover, evidence of complications including cement leakage was observed significantly less frequently in the subacute group compared to the other two groups.
Although balloon kyphoplasty is an effective treatment for osteoporotic compression fractures, with regard to pain relief, the subacute stage appears to be optimal for treating patients with a balloon kyphoplasty in terms of achieving the best outcomes with minimal complications.
PMCID: PMC2851090  PMID: 20379472
Balloon kyphoplasty; Osteoporosis; Compression fracture
10.  Combined Anterior and Posterior En Bloc Vertebrectomy for Lumbar Chordoma 
Chordoma is a rare bone tumor derived from remnants of the notochord. The majority of chordomas involve the sacrum or skull base. We report a rare case of a L4 vertebral body chordoma treated with anterior en bloc vertebrectomy and posterior stabilization. No tumor recurrence was observed at the 5 year follow-up examination.
PMCID: PMC2682122  PMID: 19444352
Lumbar chordoma; Anterior and posterior en bloc vertebrectomy
11.  Sacral Perineural Cyst Accompanying Disc Herniation 
Although most of sacral perineural cysts are asymptomatic, some may produce symptoms. Specific radicular pain may be due to distortion, compression, or stretching of nerve root by a space occupying cyst. We report a rare case of S1 radiculopathy caused by sacral perineural cyst accompanying disc herniation. The patient underwent a microscopic discectomy at L5-S1 level. However, the patient's symptoms did not improved. The hypesthesia persisted, as did the right leg pain. Cyst-subarachnoid shunt was set to decompress nerve root and to equalize the cerebrospinal fluid pressure between the cephalad thecal sac and cyst. Immediately after surgery, the patient had no leg pain. After 6 months, the patient still remained free of leg pain.
PMCID: PMC2666123  PMID: 19352483
Sacral perineural cyst; Disc herniation
12.  Primary Intradural Extraosseous Ewing's Sarcoma 
Ewing's sarcoma usually arises from skeletal bone, but rarely may have an extraskeletal origin. However, Ewing's sarcoma that originates around the spinal column, especially, the intradural extramedullary type is extremely rare. We report a rare case of primary intraspinal extraskeletal Ewing's sarcoma.
PMCID: PMC2666121  PMID: 19352481
Extraskeletal Ewing's sarcoma; Intradural extramedullary type
13.  Efficacy of Spinal Implant Removal After Thoracolumbar Junction Fusion 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of spinal implant removal and to determine the possible mechanisms of pain relief.
Fourteen patients with an average of 42 years (from 22 to 67 years) were retrospectively evaluated. All patients had posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion, who later developed recurrent back pain or persistent back pain despite a solid fusion mass. Patients' clinical charts, operative notes, and preoperative x-rays were evaluated. Relief of pain was evaluated by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) pain change after implant removal. Clinical outcome using VAS and modified MacNab's criteria was assessed on before implant removal, 1 month after implant removal and at the last clinical follow-up. Radiological analysis of sagittal alignment was also assessed.
Average follow-up period was 18 months (from 12 to 25 months). There were 4 patients who had persistent back pain at the surgical site and 10 patients who had recurrent back pain. The median time after the first fusion operation and the recurrence of pain was 6.5 months (from 3 to 13 months). All patients except one had palpation pain at operative site. The mean blood loss was less than 100ml and there were no major complications. The mean pain score before screw removal and at final follow up was 6.4 and 2.9, respectively (p<0.005). Thirteen of the 14 patients were graded as excellent and good according to modified MacNab's criteria. Overall 5.9 degrees of sagittal correction loss was observed at final follow up, but was not statistically significant.
For the patients with persistent or recurrent back pain after spinal instrumentation, removal of the spinal implant may be safe and an efficient procedure for carefully selected patients who have palpation pain and are unresponsive to conservative treatment.
PMCID: PMC2588244  PMID: 19096621
Spinal implant removal; Back pain
14.  Complete Cord Injury after Minimal Trauma in a Patient with Forestier's Disease Accompanying Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament 
Forestier's disease is a systemic rheumatological abnormality in which exuberant ossification occurs along ligaments throughout the body, but most notably the anterior longitudinal ligament of the spine. This disease is usually asymptomatic; however dysphagia, dyspnea, and peripheral nerve entrapment have all been documented in association with the disorder. We report a rare case of catastrophic neurologic damage caused by Forestier's disease accompanying ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament.
PMCID: PMC2588174  PMID: 19096596
Forestier's disease; Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament
15.  Endoscopic Discectomy for the Cauda Equina Syndrome During Third Trimester of Pregnancy 
Low back pain is common during pregnancy. However, the prevalence of symtomatic lumbar disc herniation is rare, and cauda equina syndrome due to disc herniation during pregnancy is even rarer. We report a rare case of lumbar disc herniation causing cauda equina syndrome during third trimester of pregnancy which successfully treated by endoscopic discectomy. This case shows that endoscopic discectomy can be the treatment option for the lumbar disc herniation during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC2588184  PMID: 19096583
Lumbar disc herniation; Pregnancy; Endoscopic discectomy

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