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Journal: Global spine journal


Study Design Literature review. Objective The aim of this literature review was to detail the effects of smoking in spine surgery and examine whether perioperative smoking cessation could mitigate these risks. Methods A review of the relevant literature examining the effects of smoking and cessation on surgery was conducted using PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane databases. Results Current smokers are significantly more likely to experience pseudarthrosis and postoperative infection and to report lower clinical outcomes after surgery in both the cervical and lumbar spines. Smoking cessation can reduce the risks of these complications depending on both the duration and timing of tobacco abstinence. Conclusion Smoking negatively affects both the objective and subjective outcomes of surgery in the lumbar and cervical spine. Current literature supports smoking cessation as an effective tool in potentially mitigating these unwanted outcomes. Future investigations in this field should be directed toward developing a better understanding of the complex relationship between smoking and poorer outcomes in spine surgery as well as developing more efficacious cessation strategies.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Lumbar vertebrae, Vertebral column, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Cervical vertebrae, Thoracic vertebrae


Study Design Case report. Objective Present a case of Foix-Alajouanine syndrome that presented as acute cauda equina syndrome and discuss the pathophysiology and management. Methods An adult male patient developed sudden onset of back pain and leg pain with weakness of the lower limbs and bladder/bowel dysfunction typical of cauda equina syndrome. Emergency magnetic resonance imaging revealed no compressive lesion in the spine but showed tortuous flow voids and end-on blood vessels in the peridural region suggesting spinal arteriovenous malformation resulting in Foix-Alajouanine syndrome. Results The case was managed by endovascular embolization with excellent results. The pathophysiology, imaging features, management, and literature review of the syndrome is discussed. Conclusion The authors conclude that this condition may be an important differential diagnosis for cauda equina syndrome.

Concepts: Medical terms, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Radiology, Differential diagnosis, Cauda equina, Arteriovenous malformation, Cauda equina syndrome


Study Design Pilot study using the rabbit model. Objective Low back pain is often associated with disk degeneration. Cell therapy for degenerating disks may promote tissue regeneration and repair. Human dermal fibroblasts, obtained from the patient’s skin tissue or donated tissue, may be a promising cell therapy option for degenerating disks. The objective of these studies is to determine the effects of intradiscal transplantation of neonatal human dermal fibroblasts (nHDFs) on intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration by measuring disk height, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal intensity, gene expression, and collagen immunostaining. Methods New Zealand white rabbits (n = 16) received an annular puncture to induce disk degeneration and were treated with nHDFs or saline 4 weeks later. At 2 and 8 weeks post-treatment, X-ray and MRI images were obtained. IVDs were isolated and examined for changes in collagen staining and gene expression. Results In the nHDF-treated group, there was a 10% increase in the disk height index after 8 weeks of treatment (p ≤ 0.05), and there was no significant difference in the saline-treated group. When compared with the saline-treated disks, disks treated with nHDFs showed reduced expression of inflammatory markers, a higher ratio of collagen type II over collagen type I gene expression, and more intense immunohistochemical staining for both collagen types I and II. Conclusions Human dermal fibroblast introduction into the disk reduced inflammation and promoted tissue rich in both type I and type II collagens. The results of this study suggest that nHDFs would be a feasible cell therapy option for disk degeneration.

Concepts: Gene, Cell, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Fibroblast, Cellular differentiation, Magnetic resonance imaging, Type-I collagen



Study Design Retrospective case series. Objective To determine the effect of obesity on the resource utilization and cost in 3270 consecutive patients undergoing elective noninstrumented decompressive surgeries for degenerative spine disease at Mayo Clinic Rochester between 2005 and 2012. Methods Groups were assessed for baseline differences (age, gender, and American Society of Anesthesiologists [ASA] classification, procedure type, and number of operative levels). Outcome variables included the transfusion requirements during surgery, the total anesthesia and surgical times, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, standardized costs, as well as the ICU and hospital length of stay (LOS). Regression analysis was used to evaluate for strength of association between obesity and outcome variables. Results Baseline differences between the groups (nonobese: n = 1,853; obese: n = 1,417) were found with respect to age, ASA class, gender, procedure type, and number of operative levels. After correcting for differences, we found significant associations between obesity and surgical (p < 0.0001) and anesthesia times (p < 0.0001) and hospital LOS (p < 0.0001). Additionally, ICU admission rates (p = 0.02) and requirement for postoperative ventilation (p = 0.048) were significantly higher in obese patients. Finally, mean difference in total cost ($1,632, p < 0.0001) was significantly higher for the obese cohort. Conclusion Obesity is associated with increased resource utilization and cost in patients undergoing a noninstrumented decompressive surgery for degenerative spine disease.

Concepts: Cancer, Hospital, Surgery, Anesthesia, Al-Andalus, Degenerative disc disease, ASA physical status classification system, Anesthesiologist


As exponential expansion of computing capacity converges with unsustainable health care spending, a hopeful opportunity has emerged: the use of artificial intelligence to enhance health care quality and safety. These computer-based algorithms can perform the intricate and extremely complex mathematical operations of classification or regression on immense amounts of data to detect intricate and potentially previously unknown patterns in that data, with the end result of creating predictive models that can be utilized in clinical practice. Such models are designed to distinguish relevant from irrelevant data regarding a particular patient; choose appropriate perioperative care, intervention or surgery; predict cost of care and reimbursement; and predict future outcomes on a variety of anchored measures. If and when one is brought to fruition, an artificial intelligence platform could serve as the first legitimate clinical decision-making tool in spine care, delivering on the value equation while serving as a source for improving physician performance and promoting appropriate, efficient care in this era of financial uncertainty in health care.