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Concept: Spondylolysis

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BACKGROUND Osteoid osteomas are benign bone-forming tumors characterized by local inflammation and pain. They are also characterized by a small osteolytic lesion (nidus). Spondylolysis is a defect of the pars interarticularis, which may lead to stress fractures, and is a common cause of low back pain in adolescence. Osteoid osteoma occurs predominantly in the posterior elements of the spine. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal abnormality suggesting bone marrow edema is a common finding in osteoid osteoma and early-stage spondylolysis without prominent defect. CASE REPORT An 18-year-old male was suffering from low back pain. He was diagnosed with lumbar spondylolysis on initial MRI and computed tomography (CT). Subsequent thin-slice CT demonstrated a nidus at the pars interarticularis, and variously-sliced MRI could detect widespread bone marrow edema. On the diagnosis of an osteoid osteoma, the nidus and surrounding osteosclerosis were resected. The patient’s pain disappeared after surgery. CONCLUSIONS Osteoid osteoma in the pars interarticularis can be difficult to diagnosis, because MRI and CT findings for osteoid osteoma at the pars interarticularis are similar to those of the lumbar spondylolysis. The possibility of osteoid osteoma should be kept in mind when examining adolescents with low back pain.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Medical imaging, Lumbar vertebrae, Brain tumor, Magnetic resonance imaging, Spondylolysis, Pars interarticularis, Osteoma

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Double-level isthmic spondylolisthesis in the lumbar spine is rare. The authors report on 21 cases of double-level isthmic spondylolisthesis treated by posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with cage.

Concepts: Lumbar vertebrae, Vertebral column, Spondylolisthesis, Spondylolysis

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OBJECTIVE Spondylosis with or without spondylolisthesis that does not respond to conservative management has an excellent outcome with direct pars interarticularis repair. Direct repair preserves the segmental spinal motion. A number of operative techniques for direct repair are practiced; however, the procedure of choice is not clearly defined. The present study aims to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of the different operative techniques and their outcomes. METHODS A meta-analysis was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and CINAHL ( Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature). Studies of patients with spondylolysis with or without low-grade spondylolisthesis who underwent direct repair were included. The patients were divided into 4 groups based on the operative technique used: the Buck repair group, Scott repair group, Morscher repair group, and pedicle screw-based repair group. The pooled data were analyzed using the DerSimonian and Laird random-effects model. Tests for bias and heterogeneity were performed. The I2 statistic was calculated, and the results were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed using StatsDirect version 2. RESULTS Forty-six studies consisting of 900 patients were included in the study. The majority of the patients were in their 2nd decade of life. The Buck group included 19 studies with 305 patients; the Scott group had 8 studies with 162 patients. The Morscher method included 5 studies with 193 patients, and the pedicle group included 14 studies with 240 patients. The overall pooled fusion, complication, and outcome rates were calculated. The pooled rates for fusion for the Buck, Scott, Morscher, and pedicle screw groups were 83.53%, 81.57%, 77.72%, and 90.21%, respectively. The pooled complication rates for the Buck, Scott, Morscher, and pedicle screw groups were 13.41%, 22.35%, 27.42%, and 12.8%, respectively, and the pooled positive outcome rates for the Buck, Scott, Morscher, and pedicle screw groups were 84.33%, 82.49%, 80.30%, and 80.1%, respectively. The pedicle group had the best fusion rate and lowest complication rate. CONCLUSIONS The pedicle screw-based direct pars repair for spondylolysis and low-grade spondylolisthesis is the best choice of procedure, with the highest fusion and lowest complication rates, followed by the Buck repair. The Morscher and Scott repairs were associated with a high rate of complication and lower rates of fusion.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Rates, Meta-analysis, Spondylolysis, Pars interarticularis, Scotties Tournament of Hearts

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Lumbar spondylolysis usually occurs as a stress fracture in the pars interarticularis of the vertebra. It is a prevalent sports-related disorder and a common cause of low back pain. We encountered five athletes (4 males, 1 female) with severe low back pain. Mean age was 14.5 years. All five patients were found to have bilateral pars fracture. In all cases, staging based on the findings from computed tomography scan of the right and left pars fracture was different. On short tau inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging (STIR-MRI) of the comparatively newer more recently injured side, high signal intensity changes were obvious and dominant at the intra- and extraosseous area, which would indicate tissue edema and/or bleeding. Furthermore, the imaging findings corresponded to the side of the low back pain. In conclusion, STIR-MRI can effectively distinguish between painful pars fracture and painless pars fracture.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Medical imaging, Radiography, Pain, Acupuncture, Virtopsy, Spondylolysis, Pars interarticularis

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If the articular facets of the vertebra grow in an asymmetric manner, the developed bone geometry causes an asymmetry of loading. When the loading environment is altered by way of increased activity, the likelihood of acquiring a stress fracture may be increased. The combination of geometric asymmetry and increased activity is hypothesised to be the precursor to the stress fracture under investigation in this study, spondylolysis. This vertebral defect is an acquired fracture with 7% prevalence in the paediatric population. This value increases to 21% among athletes who participate in hyperextension sports. Tests were carried out on porcine lumbar vertebrae, on which the effect of facet angle asymmetry was simulated by offsetting the load laterally by 7mm from the mid-point. Strain in the vertebral laminae was recorded using six 3-element stacked rosette strain gauges placed bilaterally. Specimens were loaded cyclically at a rate of 2Hz. Fatigue cycles; strain, creep, secant modulus and hysteresis were measured. The principal conclusions of this paper are that differences in facet angle lead to an asymmetry of loading in the facet joints; this in turn leads to an initial increase in strain on the side with the more coronally orientated facet. The strain amplitude, which is the driving force for crack propagation, is greater on this side at all times up to fracture, the significance of this can be observed in the increased steady state creep rate (p = 0.036) and the increase in yielding and toughening mechanisms taking place, quantified by the force-displacement hysteresis (p = 0.026).

Concepts: Vertebra, Spondylolysis, Pars interarticularis

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Thoracic and lumbar cortical bone trajectory pedicle screws have been described in adult spine surgery. They have likewise been described in pediatric CT-based morphometric studies; however, clinical experience in the pediatric age group is limited. The authors here describe the use of cortical bone trajectory pedicle screws in posterior instrumented spinal fusions from the upper thoracic to the lumbar spine in 12 children. This dedicated study represents the initial use of cortical screws in pediatric spine surgery. The authors retrospectively reviewed the demographics and procedural data of patients who had undergone posterior instrumented fusion using thoracic, lumbar, and sacral cortical screws in children for the following indications: spondylolysis and/or spondylolisthesis (5 patients), unstable thoracolumbar spine trauma (3 patients), scoliosis (2 patients), and tumor (2 patients). Twelve pediatric patients, ranging in age from 11 to 18 years (mean 15.4 years), underwent posterior instrumented fusion. Seventy-six cortical bone trajectory pedicle screws were placed. There were 33 thoracic screws and 43 lumbar screws. Patients underwent surgery between April 29, 2015, and February 1, 2016. Seven (70%) of 10 patients with available imaging achieved a solid fusion, as assessed by CT. Mean follow-up time was 16.8 months (range 13-22 months). There were no intraoperative complications directly related to the cortical bone trajectory screws. One patient required hardware revision for caudal instrumentation failure and screw-head fracture at 3 months after surgery. Mean surgical time was 277 minutes (range 120-542 minutes). Nine of the 12 patients received either a 12- or 24-mg dose of recombinant human bone morphogenic protein 2. Average estimated blood loss was 283 ml (range 25-1100 ml). In our preliminary experience, the cortical bone trajectory pedicle screw technique seems to be a reasonable alternative to the traditional trajectory pedicle screw placement in children. Cortical screws seem to offer satisfactory clinical and radiographic outcomes, with a low complication profile.

Concepts: Bone, Skeletal system, Lumbar vertebrae, Vertebral column, Physician, Thoracic vertebrae, Bone morphogenetic protein, Spondylolysis

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To examine the effect of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) on early-stage spondylolysis in young athletes.

Concepts: Lumbar vertebrae, Spondylolysis

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Spondylolysis with and without anterolisthesis are the most common causes of structural back pain in children and adolescents, but few predictive factors have been confirmed. An association between abnormal sacro-pelvic orientation and both spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis has been supported in the literature. Sacral slope and other sacro-pelvic measurements are easily accessible variables that could aid clinicians in assessing active adolescents with low back pain, particularly when the diagnosis of spondylolysis is suspected.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, High school, Spondylolisthesis, Skeletal disorders, Spondylolysis, Spinal fusion

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Since 1968, many surgical techniques used in repairing the pars defect of the vertebra have been reported. Technological advances are giving rise to new ways of obtaining the best outcome using less invasive methods, which are more accurate, simple and effective. To treat cases of spondylolysis such as pseudarthrosis, we used neuro-navigation and microscopy through a 2.5-cm skin incision to approach the pars defect, freshen the fracture and place a type of screw that, until now, has never been used for this purpose. This is a novel technique, which guarantees prolonged compression and sufficient stability to facilitate the prompt healing of the vertebra. We present 2 cases of L5 spondylolysis treated with our technique, a modification of Buck’s technique. A detailed description of the screw selection, surgical technical details, follow-up and outcome are discussed.

Concepts: Creativity techniques, Vertebra, Technology, Debut albums, Spondylolysis, Pars interarticularis

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The accurate diagnosis of spondylolysis is widely made with CT scan considered as the gold standard. However, CT represents significant radiation exposure particularly substantial in a young and sometimes still growing population. Although the role of MRI in identifying edema/inflammation within the pars as an active lesion is proved, its ability to demonstrate and classify pars fracture line as same as CT is still controversial. This meta-analysis aimed to determine sensitivity and specificity of MRI in the direct visualisation of the pars defect.

Concepts: Sensitivity and specificity, Spondylolysis, Pars interarticularis