What’s New in Spine Surgery 2021 

Every month, JBJS publishes a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies reported in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 14 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all such OrthoBuzz specialty-update summaries. 

This month, co-author Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, MS summarizes the 5 most compelling findings from the studies highlighted in the recently published “What’s New in Spine Surgery.” 

Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

–In a multicenter, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized phase-3 trial, investigators found no additional benefit from riluzole use with regard to functional outcome scores among patients who underwent decompression and fusion for cervical myelopathy1. The primary outcome of interest was the change in the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score at 6 months. 

Dysphagia After Multilevel ACDF

–A Level-I double-blinded randomized controlled trial demonstrated a significant decrease in the severity of dysphagia after multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) among patients who received local intraoperative corticosteroids (56 in the treatment group vs 53 in the control group)2. 

Preop. Epidural Steroid Injection and Postop. Infection 

–A retrospective study of patients who underwent lumbar spine surgical procedures for radiculopathy and/or spinal stenosis3 found that: 

  • In the decompression group, there was no significant difference in the postoperative infection rate between those who had a preoperative epidural steroid injection (2,957 of 9,903) and those who did not.  
  • Among those who underwent fusion, there was a significantly higher rate of infection (2.68%) for those who had preoperative epidural steroid injection (1,383 of 5,108) vs those who did not (1.69%).  
  • In the fusion group, there was a significantly higher rate of infection for those who had a steroid injection within 30 days or >90 days preoperatively, but patients with injection between 30 and 90 days preoperatively had no increased risk of postoperative infection. 

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS)

–In a Level-IV study, investigators examined the relationship between thoracic morphology and pulmonary function in patients with AIS (mean age, 15.6 years)4. They found a strong positive correlation between the costophrenic angle distance and forced vital capacity, FEV1, vital capacity, and total lung capacity, suggesting that the costophrenic angle distance can be used to assess pulmonary function outcome. Their findings also suggest that an apical vertebral deviation ratio of >0.2 is associated with moderate to severe impairment of lung function. 

Early-Onset Scoliosis (EOS) 

–In a cross-sectional study of prospectively enrolled patients across multiple centers, investigators examined the influence of the classification of EOS etiology, radiographic parameters, and medical comorbidities on the Early Onset Scoliosis Questionnaire (EOSQ), a measure of health-related quality of life. Scores were lower in many EOSQ domains for patients with neuromuscular and syndromic etiologies. The total and subdomain scores were similar between patients with congenital and idiopathic EOS.  

References 

  1. Fehlings MG, Badhiwala JH, Ahn H, Farhadi HF, Shaffrey CI, Nassr A, Mummaneni P, Arnold PM, Jacobs WB, Riew KD, Kelly M, Brodke DS, Vaccaro AR, Hilibrand AS, Wilson J, Harrop JS, Yoon ST, Kim KD, Fourney DR, Santaguida C, Massicotte EM, Kopjar B. Safety and efficacy of riluzole in patients undergoing decompressive surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy (CSM-Protect): a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, phase 3 trial. Lancet Neurol. 2021 Feb;20(2):98-106. Epub 2020 Dec 22. 
  2. Kim HJ, Alluri R, Stein D, Lebl D, Huang R, Lafage R, Bennett T, Lafage V, Albert T. Effect of topical steroid on swallowing following ACDF: results of a prospective double-blind randomized control trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Apr 1;46(7):413-20.  
  3. Kreitz TM, Mangan J, Schroeder GD, Kepler CK, Kurd MF, Radcliff KE, Woods BI, Rihn JA, Anderson DG, Vaccaro AR, Hilibrand AS. Do preoperative epidural steroid injections increase the risk of infection after lumbar spine surgery? Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Feb 1;46(3):E197-202. 
  4. Deng Z, Luo M, Zhou Q, Yang X, Liu L, Song Y. Relationship between pulmonary function and thoracic morphology in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a new index, the “apical vertebra deviation ratio”, as a predictive factor for pulmonary function impairment. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Jan 15;46(2):87-94. 

 

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