Publications by authors named "Connie Poe-Kochert"

42 Publications

Surgical site infections in early onset scoliosis: what are long-term outcomes in patients with traditional growing rods?

Spine Deform 2021 Sep 18. Epub 2021 Sep 18.

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA.

Purpose: Deep surgical site infections (SSIs) are a common and potentially severe complication in early onset scoliosis (EOS) patients. We sought to identify the long-term outcomes following SSI, specific risk factors associated with recurrent infections, and if instrument retention is a prudent SSI management strategy in EOS.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all EOS patients who underwent traditional growing rod spine procedures from 2003 to 2017. Infections were categorized as single or multiple SSIs. All infections were treated with operative irrigation and debridement (I&D) as well as antibiotics. Univariate analysis was performed using chi-square and ANOVA tests to assess differing factors between patients with single versus multiple infections.

Results: Eighty-one patients underwent 638 growth-friendly traditional growing rod procedures. There were 21 patients (26%) who developed a total of 27 SSIs (4.2% SSI per procedure). Fifteen patients had a single infection and six patients had multiple infections. Demographics were not significantly different between these two groups. Patients with multiple infections had a significant difference in the number of procedures after initial infection (p value = 0.025) and positive preoperative nasal Staphylococcus aureus screen (p value = 0.0021) when compared to those with a single SSI. Of note, these results were not available at the time of pre-operative antibiotic selection. All 21 patients had resolution of their SSIs. Twenty patients reached final instrumented fusion. Two patients, both of whom had multiple infections, underwent complete removal of instrumentation. Reasons included one each, parental request resulting in termination of treatment and infection > 7 years after final fusion.

Conclusion: Most patients who develop SSIs during growing spine treatment are able to remain instrumented. Risk factors associated with developing multiple SSIs include infection earlier in the course of growing spine surgery, a resultant higher number of procedures following the initial infection and having a positive preoperative nasal Staphylococcus aureus screen.

Level Of Evidence: IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-021-00412-5DOI Listing
September 2021

Postoperative Correction in Idiopathic Scoliosis: Which Preoperative Imaging Technique Is Most Predictive?

J Pediatr Orthop 2021 Oct;41(9):e706-e711

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, CaseWestern Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH.

Introduction: Preoperative radiographic assessment of curve flexibility in patients with idiopathic scoliosis is important to determine Lenke classification, operative levels, and potential postoperative correction. However, no consensus exists regarding the optimal technique. We compared measurements from supine side bending (SB) and intraoperative traction radiographs under general anesthesia (TUGA) with actual postoperative correction followed for 1 year.

Methods: We identified 235 patients with idiopathic scoliosis who underwent posterior spinal fusion with pedicle screw instrumentation between 2010 and 2018 who had preoperative and postoperative radiographs including standing posterior-anterior (PA) and lateral radiographs, preoperative SB radiographs, and TUGA radiographs. Curves were categorized into proximal thoracic, main thoracic/thoracolumbar (MT), and distal thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) curves. Flexibility was calculated from SB and TUGA radiographs. Correction rates were calculated from 1 month and 1 year radiographs postoperatively. Bending radiographs that correlated significantly with postoperative correction with P<0.10 were eligible for inclusion. Preoperative demographics, etiology, deformity details, and surgical details were included in the multivariate models.

Results: On univariate analysis, TUGA radiographs correlated with postoperative correction at 1 month and 1 year on MT curves (r=0.214, P=0.001; r=0.209, P=0.001) and TL/L curves (r=0.280, P<0.001; r=0.181, P=0.006). Supine SB radiographs did not correlate with postoperative correction on either MT or T/TL curves. On multivariate analysis, major curve TUGA radiographs were independently associated with postoperative MT curve correction at 1 month (beta: 0.158, 95% confidence interval: 0.035-0.280, P=0.012) and 1 year (beta: 0.195, 95% confidence interval: 0.049-0.340, P=0.009). MT curve SB radiographs were not associated with postoperative major curve correction at 1 month (P=0.088).

Conclusions: TUGA radiographs independently correlated with postoperative main thoracic and distal thoracolumbar/lumbar curve correction at 1 month and 1 year postoperatively. SB radiographs independently correlated only with TL/L curve correction at 1 year postoperatively. However, this correlation was not as strong as TUGA correction (beta of 0.280 vs. beta of 0.092). TUGA radiographs appear superior to SB radiographs at predicting curve correction after surgery.

Level Of Evidence: Level III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001846DOI Listing
October 2021

The safety and efficacy of intrathecal morphine in pediatric spinal deformity surgery: a 25-year single-center experience.

Spine Deform 2021 09 11;9(5):1303-1313. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA.

Purpose: Pre-incision intrathecal morphine (IM) is a popular adjunct in adolescent idiopathic spinal deformity surgery. This study represents our 25-year experience with IM in all diagnostic groups undergoing posterior spinal fusion (PSF) and segmental instrumentation (SI).

Methods: Our prospective Pediatric Orthopaedic Spine Database (1992-2018) identified all patients undergoing PSF and SI. We included patients 21 years of age or less, had a PSF with SSI, and received the recommended IM dose of 9-19 mcg/kg (up to 1 mg) or no IM. We assessed demographics, pain scores, duration of surgery, time to first dose of narcotics, pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission, length of hospital stay, and IM complications (respiratory depression, pruritus, nausea/vomiting).

Results: There were 984 patients who met inclusion criteria: 760 patients received IM, 224 did not (non-IM). They were divided into 5 diagnostic groups: idiopathic, neuromuscular, syndromic, and congenital scoliosis and kyphosis. The mean first post-operative opioid following IM administration was at 16.1 h in the IM group compared to 8.7 h in the non-IM group (p =  < 0.001). The post-operative pain scores in the IM groups were significantly lower (p =  < 0.001). Sixteen patients (2%) in the IM group were admitted to the PICU for observation secondary to respiratory depression, none requiring re-intubation. There were no other complications related to IM.

Conclusion: Pre-incision IM is a safe adjunct for pain management in select children in all diagnostic groups undergoing spinal deformity surgery. There were no serious complications.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-021-00320-8DOI Listing
September 2021

Is There Value in Venous Thromboembolism Chemoprophylaxis After Pediatric Scoliosis Surgery? A 28-Year Single Center Study.

J Pediatr Orthop 2021 Mar;41(3):138-142

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Background: With a recognized increase in the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in children, especially in those with complex, chronic conditions, it is important for patient safety and risk management to identify subgroups that would benefit from prophylactic treatment. The aim of our study was to assess whether scoliosis surgery in children was associated with an increased incidence of VTE, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, and if chemoprophylaxis is warranted.

Methods: We reviewed our institution's Pediatric Orthopaedic Spine Database (1992-2019) to identify patients who had a symptomatic VTE postoperatively.

Results: There were 1471 patients (1035 female, 436 male) with a mean age at surgery of 12.1±3.2 years (range, 1 to 18 y) underwent posterior spinal fusion and instrumentation (2131 procedures). No patients were given pharmacological VTE prophylaxis, and no routine screening for VTE was performed. Two patients had a lower extremity DVT (0.13%) within 6 months following surgery, (range, 55 to 161 d). Neither patient had a subsequent pulmonary embolism. They were 9 and 17 years of age with a diagnosis of neuromuscular scoliosis (1 each postpolio and myelodysplasia). One affected patient had a central venous line inserted perioperatively, a known risk factor for thromboembolism. All DVTs were treated with appropriately dosed anticoagulants. None had a family history of hypercoagulation.

Conclusions: The risk of symptomatic VTE is extraordinarily low after pediatric spinal deformity surgery. Mechanical prophylaxis is sufficient in most cases. Further multi-center studies may help identify patient specific risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001746DOI Listing
March 2021

Risk Factors for Reoperation Following Final Fusion After the Treatment of Early-Onset Scoliosis with Traditional Growing Rods.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2020 Oct;102(19):1672-1678

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Although there is a high rate of reoperation after final fusion following the treatment of early-onset scoliosis with use of traditional growing rods, the risk factors for reoperation are unknown. The purpose of the present study was to identify risk factors associated with the need for reoperation after final fusion for the treatment of early-onset scoliosis.

Methods: A multicenter database for patients with early-onset scoliosis was retrospectively analyzed. Patients managed with traditional growing rods and final fusion were identified (n = 248). The inclusion criteria were ≥1 lengthening procedure with traditional growing rods and ≥2 years of follow-up after final fusion or revision surgery within 2 years after final fusion (167 patients; 67%). Patients requiring reoperation following final fusion were compared with patients who did not require reoperation. The data that were analyzed included demographic characteristics, comorbidities, spinal deformity characteristics, radiographic measurements, perioperative details, and complications during all stages of treatment. A multivariate regression model was used to identify independent risk factors.

Results: The mean duration of follow-up from the initial visit to the latest visit was 10.7 ± 4.1 years, and the mean duration of follow-up after final fusion was 4.9 ± 3.1 years. Thirty-two (19%) of the 167 patients required reoperation following final fusion. Curve progression requiring revision surgery during lengthening with traditional growing rods (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 21.137 per event; p = 0.028), the number of levels spanned with traditional growing rods (aOR, 1.378 per level; p = 0.007), and the duration of treatment with traditional growing rods (aOR, 1.220 per year; p = 0.035) were independently associated with revision surgery after final fusion.

Conclusions: Independent risk factors for curve progression requiring reoperation during lengthening with traditional growing rods that require operative intervention include increasing number of levels spanned with traditional growing rods and longer duration of treatment with traditional growing rods. These findings may help with patient counseling and potentially guide surgeon decision-making.

Level Of Evidence: Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.20.00312DOI Listing
October 2020

One stage or two? A cohort analysis of anterior-posterior spinal fusions for severe pediatric scoliosis.

Spine Deform 2020 10 12;8(5):939-949. Epub 2020 May 12.

Division of Pediatric Orthopedics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospitals/ University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective case-series study of prospectively collected data.

Objective: We sought to identify the differences in outcomes between one-stage (single surgical episode) and two-stage (separate day) anterior and posterior spinal fusion and segmental spinal instrumentation surgeries in severe non-idiopathic and idiopathic scoliosis cases.

Background: Patients with severe pediatric spine deformity may require combined anterior and posterior fusion procedures. Given their increased complexity and morbidity, surgeons may consider staging these procedures on separate days.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed on a prospective Pediatric Spine Database. Patients 21 years of age or under with pediatric scoliosis who underwent primary anterior and posterior spinal deformity correction surgery either through a one-stage or planned two-stage sequence with greater than 2-year follow-up were included. Differences in demographics, comorbidities, surgical details, perioperative morbidity, complications, and outcomes were assessed based on scoliosis etiology. Multivariate models were utilized to control for confounders.

Results: There were 70 non-idiopathic (14 two-stage vs. 56 one-stage) and 65 idiopathic scoliosis (8 two-stage vs. 57 one-stage) patients. Mean follow-up was 90.1  ± 54.7 months. In non-idiopathic scoliosis patients, two-stage surgery was independently associated with a 140-min increased surgical time (95% confidence interval: 52-229 min, p = 0.002) and an 8.2-day (95% confidence interval: 2.3-14.1 days, p = 0.007) increased hospital length of stay. In idiopathic scoliosis patients, two-stage surgery was independently associated with a 2108 ml increase in crystalloid use (95% confidence interval: 834-3381 ml p = 0.002) and a 5.3-day increased hospital length of stay (95% confidence interval: 4.0-6.5 days, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in blood loss, transfusions, complications, or post-operative curves on multivariate analysis between one-stage and two-stage surgery cohorts in either non-idiopathic or idiopathic scoliosis patient groups.

Conclusion: Two-stage surgery was associated with increased crystalloid use in idiopathic scoliosis patients and longer operative times in non-idiopathic scoliosis patients, and longer hospital length of stay in both populations, without significant difference in complications or deformity correction. In the appropriate patient, one-stage anterior-posterior scoliosis surgery may be preferable to two-stage surgery.

Level Of Evidence: Level III Retrospective Comparative Study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00128-yDOI Listing
October 2020

Surgical site infection prevention protocol for pediatric spinal deformity surgery: does it make a difference?

Spine Deform 2020 10 30;8(5):931-938. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective.

Objective: Can a standardized, hospital-wide care bundle decrease surgical site infection (SSI) rate in pediatric spinal deformity surgery? SSI is a major concern in pediatric spinal deformity surgery.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of our primary scoliosis surgeries between 1999 and 2017. In 2008, we implemented a standardized infection reduction bundle. Interventions included preoperative nares screening for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus 2 weeks preoperatively, and treatment with intranasal mupirocin when positive, a bath or shower the night before surgery, a preoperative chlorohexidine scrub, timing of standardized antibiotic administration, standardized intraoperative re-dosing of antibiotics, limiting operating room traffic, and standardized postoperative wound care. In 2011, we added intrawound vancomycin powder at wound closure. Our inclusion criteria were patients 21 years of age or less with idiopathic, neuromuscular, syndromic, or congenital scoliosis who had a primary spinal fusion or a same day anterior and posterior spine fusion with segmental spinal instrumentation of six levels or more. We compared the incidence of early (within 90 days of surgery) and late (> 91 days) SSI during the first postoperative year.

Results: There were 804 patients who met inclusion criteria: 404 in the non-bundle group (NBG) for cases prior to protocol change and 400 in the bundle group (BG) for cases after the protocol change. Postoperatively, there were 29 infections (7.2% of total cases) in the NBG: 9 early (2.2%) and 20 late (5.0%) while in the BG there were only 10 infection (2.5%): 6 early (1.5%) and 4 late (1.0%). The reduction in overall SSIs was statistically significant (p = 0.01). There was a trend toward decreased early infections in the BG, without reaching statistical significance (p = 0.14).

Conclusion: Standardized care bundles appear effective in reducing the incidence of postoperative pediatric spine SSIs.

Level Of Evidence: Level III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00120-6DOI Listing
October 2020

Intrathecal Morphine in the Presence of a Syrinx in Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery.

J Pediatr Orthop 2020 Apr;40(4):e272-e276

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

Background: Intrathecal morphine (IM) is a popular adjunct for pain relief during pediatric spinal deformity surgery. There is no literature regarding its usefulness and safety in the presence of a spinal cord syrinx for patients undergoing spinal instrumentation. Anesthesiologists have previously been reluctant to use IM in the presence of any syrinx.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with a preoperatively diagnosed spinal cord syrinx undergoing spinal deformity surgery who received IM and did not receive IM (non-IM). We recorded location of the syrinx, surgical time, length of stay, unexpected pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission, IM related complications (neurological, respiratory depression, or pruritus, nausea/vomiting), and reason for no IM administration. Patients with a syrinx and myelodysplasia (8), tethered spinal cord (4), paraplegia (1), holocord (1), neuroblastoma (1), and spinal cord glioma (1) were not given IM. Other reasons included a failed attempt (1), expectedly short surgical time (1), and anesthesiologist declined (2).

Results: There were 42 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-two patients received IM, while 20 patients did not. Patients receiving IM had 4 cervical, 5 cervicothoracic, 12 thoracic syrinxes, and 1 holocord syrinx. The non-IM group had 8 cervicothoracic, 6 thoracic, 4 holocord syrinxes, and 2 had unclassified locations. There were no neurological complications in the IM group, and 1 patient experienced respiratory depression following a shorter than expected surgery and was observed overnight in the PICU. One patient in the non-IM group with a holocord syrinx had temporary lower extremity weakness postoperatively that completely resolved and 4 patients were unexpectedly admitted to the PICU. Pruritus and nausea/vomiting was mild and similar in both groups.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that with careful preoperative evaluation, most patients with a spinal cord syrinx can safely be given IM. Certain patients, such as those with a spinal holocord syrinx may have anatomic reasons to avoid IM, but those who are deemed appropriate for IM can receive it safely.

Level Of Evidence: Level III-therapeutic study; retrospective comparative study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001495DOI Listing
April 2020

Seromas Following Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery: Is Operative Management Necessary?

J Pediatr Orthop 2020 Apr;40(4):e277-e282

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH.

Background: Seromas are known complications after pediatric spinal deformity surgery. Although many surgeons perform an early debridement to prevent deep surgical site infections (SSIs), a less invasive approach to seroma management has not been studied. We hypothesized that a conservative approach to seroma management would be safe and yield equivalent outcomes.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients who developed a postoperative seroma with or without nonpurulent drainage. Inclusion criteria were patients below 21 years who underwent primary posterior spinal fusion from 1996 to 2016 and developed a postoperative wound seroma. Seromas were clinically defined as an afebrile patient with a fluid collection that was soft and nontender to palpation and without induration or erythema. Growing spine surgeries and revision procedures were excluded from this study.

Results: Twenty-five of 790 total patients with a mean follow-up of 57.8 months (±48.5 mo) developed a seroma. Seromas were identified at a mean of 13.6 days postoperatively and resolved after a mean of 12.2 days following the presentation. Seromas occurred in 12 patients with idiopathic scoliosis, 12 with neuromuscular scoliosis, and 1 patient with Scheuermann kyphosis. All cases were managed conservatively with monitoring of the incision without an operative procedure. In cases of spontaneous drainage, a sterile dressing was applied to the wound and changed as needed until drainage ceased. Two patients underwent bedside needle aspiration and 5 patients received prophylactic antibiotics at the treating surgeon's discretion. All cases resolved spontaneously without development of an acute SSI. Three cases subsequently developed a late SSI (range, 18 to 38 mo postoperatively). Two had idiopathic scoliosis and 1 had neuromuscular scoliosis. None of these seromas drained spontaneously.

Conclusions: Conservative management of postoperative seromas after pediatric spinal deformity surgery is appropriate. It is unclear if seromas contributed to the development of the 3 late infections. Further studies are needed regarding the relationship of late infections in seroma patients.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV-case series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001496DOI Listing
April 2020

Incidence of complete spinal instrumentation removal following surgery for spinal deformity: a 22-year single institution study.

J Pediatr Orthop B 2019 Jul;28(4):380-384

School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University.

The aim of this study was to define the incidence of complete implant removal following surgical correction of spinal deformity in pediatric patients over a 22-year period and identify possible risk factors. A retrospective review of our Pediatric Orthopedic Spine Database between 1992 and 2016 was performed. We included patients undergoing complete implant removal following scoliosis correction surgery with a minimum of 2-year follow-up. Medical charts were reviewed to determine initial patient diagnosis and the indication for implant removal. Statistical analysis was carried out to determine the associations between sex and factors such as primary diagnosis and indication for removal. A review of 1117 procedures in 1114 patients identified complete instrument removal in 52 (4.7%) patients (34 females and 18 males). Mean time to removal following surgery was 2.3 years (range: 0-5.9 years). Removal occurred in 24 of 548 (4.4%) patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, four of 117 (3.4%) patients with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, 11 of 287 (3.8%) patients with neuromuscular scoliosis, and three of 79 (3.8%) patients with syndromic scoliosis. Infection was the most common indication for complete implant removal [24 (46%) patients], followed by persistent pain [8 (15%) patients], and metal intolerance [8 (15%) patients]. There were two cases of early infection (<1 year following surgery) and 22 late infections (≥1 year following surgery). The overall 22-year incidence of complete implant removal following spinal correction surgery for scoliosis was 4.7%. Infection continues to be the most common indication, followed by pain and metal intolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPB.0000000000000605DOI Listing
July 2019

Risk Factors for Early Infection in Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery: A Multivariate Analysis.

Spine Deform 2019 05;7(3):410-416

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospitals/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective case-control study.

Objectives: To identify risk factors for early deep surgical site infections (SSIs; within three months of index procedure) following pediatric spinal deformity surgery.

Background: Deep surgical site infections (SSIs) following pediatric spinal deformity surgery are a source of significant morbidity. We sought to identify independent risk factors for early infection following primary, definitive single-stage pediatric posterior spinal fusion and instrumentation (PSFI).

Methods: A total of 616 consecutive patients (2001-2016) from an institutional prospectively maintained Pediatric Orthopaedic Spine database were identified that met inclusion criteria of definitive single-stage PSFI. Early deep SSI was defined as infection within three months of index procedure requiring surgical intervention. A multivariate analysis of demographics, comorbidities, and perioperative factors was performed and independent risk factors were identified.

Results: Eleven patients (1.6%) developed an early deep SSI. Independent risk factors for SSI identified were nonidiopathic (neuromuscular, syndromic, and congenital) etiologies of scoliosis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 8.384, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.784-39.386, p = .007) and amount of intraoperative crystalloids (aOR: 1.547 per additional liter of fluid, 95% CI: 1.057-2.263, p = .025). Mean crystalloid administered in the SSI group was 3.3 ± 1.2 L versus 2.4 ± 1.0 L in the noninfected group (p = .019). On univariate analysis, there was no significant difference in weight of patients between cohorts (p = .869) or surgery time (p = .089). There was also no significant difference in infection rates from redosing of antibiotics intraoperatively after 3 hours of surgery (p = .231).

Conclusions: Nonidiopathic scoliosis and amount of intraoperative crystalloids were independently associated with early postoperative SSI. Further investigation into intraoperative fluid management may identify modifiable risk factors for early postoperative SSI in primary pediatric spinal deformity posterior spinal fusion patients.

Level Of Evidence: Level III, case-control study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jspd.2018.09.011DOI Listing
May 2019

Does Vancomycin Powder Decrease Surgical Site Infections in Growing Spine Surgery?: A Preliminary Study.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2018 Mar;100(6):466-471

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: Vancomycin powder has been demonstrated to be safe in children, and yet there are no data on its use to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) in surgery for early-onset scoliosis.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of our patients treated for early-onset scoliosis in the period of 2010 to 2016. In 2010, we updated our standardized perioperative growing spine care path. The only later change was the gradual introduction of intrawound vancomycin powder. Procedures were categorized into either the control group (without vancomycin powder) or the experimental group (with vancomycin powder), with otherwise identical perioperative management. Initial insertion, revision, and lengthening procedures and final fusions were included. We compared the rate of postoperative SSIs per procedure between the groups.

Results: Thirty-six patients who underwent 191 procedures met the inclusion criteria. The clinical and radiographic data were essentially the same between the groups. During the study period, 14 (39%) of the 36 patients developed ≥1 deep SSI. Only 2 patients had multiple acute infections. There were 87 procedures with 12 infections in the control group (SSI rate of 13.8% per procedure), while there were 104 procedures with 5 infections in the vancomycin group (4.8% per procedure). The difference in the SSI rate per procedure was significant (p = 0.038). The number of individual procedures needed to be performed using vancomycin to prevent an SSI was 10.9.

Conclusions: The use of vancomycin powder in growing spine surgery for early-onset scoliosis is associated with a significant decreased risk of SSI. It appears to be effective even when previous surgeries have been performed without its use.

Level Of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.17.00459DOI Listing
March 2018

Bipolar Sealer Devices Used in Posterior Spinal Fusion for Neuromuscular Scoliosis Reduce Blood Loss and Transfusion Requirements.

J Pediatr Orthop 2018 Feb;38(2):e78-e82

Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

Background: Reducing perioperative blood loss and the need for transfusions in patients undergoing spinal surgery is especially important for those with neuromuscular disorders. These patients require extensive spino-pelvic exposure and are often medically fragile. We have used Amicar to decrease blood loss since 2001. As an effort to further reduce blood loss and transfusions, we use a bipolar sealer device (Aquamantys) as an adjunct to electrocautery. We present the results of our first 64 neuromuscular patients to show the efficacy of the device.

Methods: Using a prospectively maintained database we reviewed the operative time, estimated perioperative blood loss, cell saver use, and intraoperative and postoperative transfusion rate in patients who underwent posterior spinal fusion for neuromuscular scoliosis. Sixty-four patients were identified who fit these criteria since the use of the bipolar sealer device was instituted.We compared these patients with a control group of the preceding 65 patients in whom this device was not used for hemostasis. All patients, including those in the study group, received Amicar (infusion of 100 mg/kg over 15 to 20 min, then 10 mg/kg/h throughout the remainder of the procedure). The surgical technique did not differ between the 2 groups.

Results: Baseline characteristics between the 2 groups were similar except for the number of patients having an all-screw construct which was larger in the investigational group (25% vs. 8%, P=0.03). There were no significant differences in operative time or duration of hospital stay. Intraoperative blood loss was lower in the study group (741 mL) as compared with the control group (1052 mL, P=0.003). Total perioperative blood loss, however, showed no significant difference. Thirty-five (55%) patients in the study group and 50 (77%) patients in the control group required additional intraoperative or postoperative transfusions (P=0.01). The number of packed red cell units transfused per patient was 0.81 in the study group and 1.57 in the control group (P=0.001). Although the intraoperative cell saver transfusion was same, the total blood volume transfused, which includes cell saver and any other transfusions, was significantly lower in the study group, 425 mL versus 671 mL (P=0.002).

Conclusions: Use of a bipolar sealer device in posterior spinal fusion for neuromuscular scoliosis significantly reduced intraoperative blood loss and transfusion rate when compared with a control group in this retrospective review.

Level Of Evidence: Level III-retrospective comparative study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001097DOI Listing
February 2018

Final Fusion After Growing-Rod Treatment for Early Onset Scoliosis: Is It Really Final?

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2016 Nov;98(22):1913-1917

Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Final fusion is thought to be the end point for patients with early onset scoliosis following treatment with the use of growing rods. But is it? The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and cause of any reoperation after final fusion.

Methods: A multicenter database of patients with early onset scoliosis was retrospectively analyzed to identify patients treated with growing rods with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up after final fusion. All reoperations were recorded. Reoperation was defined as a return to the operating room for any complication related to the final fusion surgery or etiology of the spinal deformity.

Results: One hundred (84%) of 119 patients met the inclusion criteria: for 38 of the patients, the etiology of scoliosis was neuromuscular; for 31, syndromic; for 22, idiopathic; and for 9, congenital. The mean age at final fusion was 12.2 years (range, 8.5 to 18.7 years). The mean follow-up after final fusion was 4.3 years (range, 2 to 11.2 years). Twenty (20%) of the patients had 30 complications requiring reoperation (57 procedures). There was a mean of 1.5 complications per patient after final fusion. Eight patients with neuromuscular scoliosis, 8 with syndromic, 4 with idiopathic, and no patient with congenital scoliosis required reoperation. Nine (9%) of the patients experienced infection (33 reoperation procedures); 6 (6%) had instrumentation failure (8 procedures); 5 (5%) had painful or prominent instrumentation (6 procedures); 3 (3%) each had coronal deformity (3 procedures), pseudarthrosis (3 procedures), or sagittal deformity (3 procedures); and 1 (1%) had progressive crankshaft chest wall deformity requiring a thoracoplasty (1 procedure).

Conclusions: A higher-than-anticipated percentage of patients treated with growing rods required unplanned reoperation following final fusion. Long-term follow-up after final fusion is necessary to determine true final results. Patients and parents need to be counseled regarding the possibility of further surgery after final fusion.

Level Of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.15.01334DOI Listing
November 2016

Low Pelvic Incidence Is Associated With Proximal Junctional Kyphosis in Patients Treated With Growing Rods.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2016 May;41(9):792-7

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Case Western Reserve University, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH.

Study Design: Retrospective review of a prospectively collected pediatric orthopedic spine database.

Objective: To investigate whether pelvic incidence (PI) changes during growing rod treatment and to report the effects of PI, if any, on complications during treatment.

Summary Of Background Data: Growing rods have been demonstrated to correct spinal deformity in early onset scoliosis while allowing for spinal growth. There has been little investigation into the potential effects, if any, of abnormal PI on complications, especially proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK).

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed clinical and surgical data from our prospectively collected pediatric orthopedic spine database. Our final cohort of 48 patients had at least one lateral radiograph throughout the course of treatment containing the femoral heads and sacral endplate, and a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Defined failures were identified prospectively. Radiographs were measured for PI and development of PJK.

Results: Mean age at initial treatment was 6.9 years (range 2.8-10.8 yr), with 35 females and 13 males. The mean length of follow-up was 8.1 years (range 2.0-22.1 yr). No statistical change in PI was observed throughout this study (P = 0.655). Development of any failure as well as total number of failures was associated with younger age at initial treatment (P < 0.0005 for both). Development of PJK was associated with younger age at initial treatment (P = 0.030), female sex (P = 0.002), and lower mean PI (P = 0.042).

Conclusion: PI remains constant throughout growth and the course of treatment with growing rods. Low PI was associated with increased PJK. When using growing rods in early onset scoliosis patients with decreased PI, increased attention should be paid to sagittal plane balance in an attempt to avoid PJK.

Level Of Evidence: 4.
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May 2016

Intrathecal morphine attenuates acute opioid tolerance secondary to remifentanil infusions during spinal surgery in adolescents.

J Pain Res 2015 22;8:637-40. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.

Introduction: The unique pharmacokinetic properties of remifentanil with a context-sensitive half-life unaffected by length of infusion contribute to its frequent use during anesthetic management during posterior spinal fusion in children and adolescents. However, its intraoperative administration can lead to increased postoperative analgesic requirements, which is postulated to be the result of acute opioid tolerance with enhancement of spinal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor function. Although strategies to prevent or reduce tolerance have included the coadministration of longer acting opioids or ketamine, the majority of these studies have demonstrated little to no benefit. The current study retrospectively evaluates the efficacy of intrathecal morphine (ITM) in preventing hyperalgesia following a remifentanil infusion.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 54 patients undergoing posterior spinal fusion with segmental spinal instrumentation, to evaluate the effects of ITM on hyperalgesia from remifentanil. Patients were divided into two groups based on whether they did or did not receive remifentanil during the surgery: no remifentanil (control group) (n=27) and remifentanil (study group) (n=27). Data included demographics, remifentanil dose and duration, Wong-Baker visual analog scale postoperative pain scores, and postoperative intravenous morphine consumption in the first 48 postoperative hours.

Results: The demographics of the two study groups were similar. There were no differences in the Wong-Baker visual analog scale pain scores in the postanesthesia care unit and on postoperative days 1 and 3. Pain scores were higher in the remifentanil group on postoperative day 2 (2.9 vs 3.8). Postoperative morphine requirements were similar between the two groups (0.029 vs 0.017 mg/kg/48 h for the control group and the study group, respectively).

Conclusion: In patients receiving preincisional ITM during spinal surgery, intraoperative remifentanil does not increase postoperative analgesic requirements.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590583PMC
October 2015

Comparison of Growing Rod Instrumentation Versus Serial Cast Treatment for Early-Onset Scoliosis.

Spine Deform 2013 Sep 25;1(5):339-342. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Growing Spine Foundation, Milwaukee, 555 E. Wells Street, Suite 1100, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA.

Study Design: A comparison of 2 methods of early-onset scoliosis treatment using radiographic measures and complication rates.

Objectives: To determine whether a delaying tactic (serial casting) has comparable efficacy to a surgical method (insertion of growing rod instrumentation [GRI]) in the initial phase of early-onset deformity management.

Summary Of Background Data: Serial casts are used in experienced centers to delay operative management of curves of surgical magnitude (greater than 50°) in children up to age 6 years.

Methods: A total of 27 casted patients from 3 institutions were matched with 27 patients from a multicenter database according to age (within 6 months of each other), curve magnitude (within 10° of each other), and diagnosis. Outcomes were compared according to major curve magnitude, spine length (T1-S1), duration and number of treatment encounters, and complications.

Results: There was no difference in age (5.5 years) or initial curve magnitude (65°) between groups, which reflects the accuracy of the matching process. Six pairs of patients had neuromuscular diagnoses, 11 had idiopathic deformities, and 10 had syndromic scoliosis. Growing rod instrumentation patients had smaller curves (45.9° vs. 64.9°; p = .002) at follow-up, but there was no difference in absolute spine length (GRI = 32.0 cm; cast = 30.6 cm; p = .26), even though GRI patients had been under treatment for a longer duration (4.5 vs. 2.4 years; p < .0001) and had undergone a mean of 5.5 lengthenings compared with 4.0 casts. Growing rod instrumentation patients had a 44% complication rate, compared with 1 cast complication. Of 27 casted patients, 15 eventually had operative treatment after a mean delay of 1.7 years after casting.

Conclusions: Cast treatment is a valuable delaying tactic for younger children with early-onset scoliosis. Spine deformity is adequately controlled, spine length is not compromised, and surgical complications associated with early GRI treatment are avoided.
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September 2013

Early onset scoliosis: the value of serial risser casts.

J Pediatr Orthop 2013 Dec;33(8):775-80

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

Background: Treatment of early onset scoliosis (EOS) is challenging. In many cases, bracing will not be effective and growing rod surgery may be inappropriate. Serial, Risser casts may be an effective intermediate method of treatment.

Methods: We studied 20 consecutive patients with EOS who received serial Risser casts under general anesthesia between 1999 and 2011. Analyses included diagnosis, sex, age at initial cast application, major curve severity, initial curve correction, curve magnitude at the time of treatment change or latest follow-up for those still in casts, number of casts per patient, the type of subsequent treatment, and any complications.

Results: There were 8 patients with idiopathic scoliosis, 6 patients with neuromuscular scoliosis, 5 patients with syndromic scoliosis, and 1 patient with skeletal dysplasia. Fifteen patients were female and 5 were male. The mean age at first cast was 3.8±2.3 years (range, 1 to 8 y), and the mean major curve magnitude was 74±18 degrees (range, 40 to 118 degrees). After initial cast application, the major curve measured 46±14 degrees (range, 25 to 79 degrees). At treatment change or latest follow-up for those still in casts, the major curve measured 53±24 degrees (range, 13 to 112 degrees). The mean time in casts was 16.9±9.1 months (range, 4 to 35 mo). The mean number of casts per patient was 4.7±2.2 casts (range, 1 to 9 casts). At the time of this study, 7 patients had undergone growing rod surgery, 6 patients were still undergoing casting, 5 returned to bracing, and 2 have been lost to follow-up. Four patients had minor complications: 2 patients each with superficial skin irritation and cast intolerance.

Conclusions: Serial Risser casting is a safe and effective intermediate treatment for EOS. It can stabilize relatively large curves in young children and allows the child to reach a more suitable age for other forms of treatment, such as growing rods.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV; case series.
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December 2013

Bipolar sealer device reduces blood loss and transfusion requirements in posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

J Pediatr Orthop 2013 Oct-Nov;33(7):700-6

University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH.

Background: Reducing perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements is important in the operative treatment of idiopathic scoliosis. This can be achieved with special frames, cell saver systems, pharmacologic aspects, and other techniques. Recently there has been interest in bipolar sealer devices as an adjunct to traditional monopolar electrocautery. However, there is limited information on this device in pediatric spinal deformity surgery. We reviewed our experience with this device in a setting of a standard institutional operative carepath.

Methods: Perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements of 50 consecutive patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis undergoing a posterior spinal fusion and segmental spinal instrumentation and who had a bipolar sealer device used during their surgery was compared with a control group of the 50 preceding consecutive patients who did not. Anesthesia, surgical technique, use of intraoperative epsilon aminocaproic acid (Amicar), postoperative protocol, and indications for transfusions (hemoglobin≤7.0 g/dL) were identical in both groups.

Results: The preoperative demographics for the patients in both groups were statistically the same. The bipolar sealer group demonstrated a significant reduction in intraoperative estimated blood loss, total perioperative blood loss, volume of blood products transfused, and overall transfusion rate when compared with the control group. When subgroups consisting of only hybrid or all-pedicle screw constructs were considered individually, these findings remained consistent. There were no complications associated with the use of this device.

Conclusions: Using the bipolar sealer device is a significant adjunct in decreasing perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements in patients undergoing surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Level Of Evidence: Level III-retrospective comparative study.
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May 2014

Obesity negatively affects spinal surgery in idiopathic scoliosis.

Clin Orthop Relat Res 2013 Apr;471(4):1230-5

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Background: Are obese patients with idiopathic scoliosis undergoing spinal surgery at higher risk for perioperative complications? This is not clearly understood. One previous study showed a greater preoperative thoracic kyphosis but no increase in perioperative complications.

Questions/purposes: We asked whether obese adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis have more perioperative complications and decreased curve correction.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 478 patients with idiopathic scoliosis operated on from 1998 to 2010. There were 236 (187 females, 49 males) with a mean age of 14 years (range, 11-22 years) who met the inclusion criteria. Demographic data, radiographic measurements, perioperative data, and major and minor complications were recorded. The BMI percentile (BMI%) defined two patient groups: healthy weight (BMI%<85) (n=181) and obese (BMI%≥85) (n=55). The preoperative curves were similar in the two groups. Minimum followup was 2 years (mean, 6 years; range, 2-14 years).

Results: Postoperatively, the mean major curve was smaller for healthy-weight patients (20°; range, 8°-36°) than for obese patients (23.2°; range, 12°-56°), as was the mean kyphosis (31.1° [range, 10°-56°]) versus 36° [range, 15°-33°], respectively). The postoperative lordosis was similar in both groups. Increased BMI% correlated with increased operative time, intraoperative blood loss, amount of intraoperative crystalloids, and difficulty with administration of spinal anesthesia.

Conclusions: Obese patients are at higher risk for perioperative complications when undergoing spinal deformity surgery. Counseling should be done with the patient and family and weight loss recommended before surgery.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV, prognostic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11999-012-2696-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586037PMC
April 2013

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension following spinal deformity surgery in children.

Neurosurg Focus 2011 Oct;31(4):E20

Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, The Neurological Institute, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) after pediatric spinal deformity surgery has not been previously reported. The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of more than 1500 pediatric spinal surgeries performed between 1992 and 2011. From their analysis, they report on 3 adolescent patients who underwent uncomplicated segmental spinal instrumentation for pediatric spinal deformity correction and subsequently developed features of IIH. The common variables in these 3 patients were adolescent age, spinal deformity, being overweight, symptom onset within 2 weeks postoperatively, significant estimated blood loss, and intraoperative use of ε-aminocaproic acid (antifibrinolytic) injection. The authors postulate that the development of IIH could be the result of venous outflow obstruction due to derangement of the epidural venous plexus during surgery. The use of ε-aminocaproic acid could potentially have the risk of causing IIH, probably mediated through hyperfibrinogenemia, although there have not been published cases in the neurosurgical, orthopedic, cardiac, or general surgical literature. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension after spinal deformity correction is a condition that should be recognized by neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, because appropriate intervention with early medical therapy can lead to a satisfactory clinical outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2011.7.FOCUS11160DOI Listing
October 2011

Growing rod fractures: risk factors and opportunities for prevention.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011 Sep;36(20):1639-44

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Study Design: Review of a prospectively collected growing rod database.

Objective: To define risk factors for and characterize the nature of growing rod fractures.

Summary Of Background Data: Rod fracture is a common complication of growing rod treatment. The project sought to analyze risk factors for rod breakage and develop preventive strategies.

Methods: Records of 327 patients in a prospectively collected growing rod database were studied. Risk factors studied were studied as patient-related and rod-related. Multivariate analysis was performed.

Results: Eighty-six rod fractures occurred in 49 patients (49 of 327, 15%). Sixteen patients had repeat fractures with eight patients having more than two fractures (maximum six). The most common fracture locations were above or below the tandem connectors (34 of 86) and near the thoracolumbar junction (35 of 86). Other locations were adjacent to anchors (12 of 86) and cross-links (2 of 86). Syndromic diagnoses had the highest rate of fracture; significantly greater than neuromuscular diagnoses (14% vs. 2%, P = 0.01). Patients who were ambulatory had a higher fracture rate (21% vs. 8.7%, P = 0.01). Single rods had a higher fracture rate than dual rods (36% vs. 11%, P < 0.001). Repeat fracture was also more common in patients with single rods (13% vs. 2%, P = 0.0002). In dual-rod constructs, the incidence of both rods breaking at the same time was 26% (7 of 27). Stainless steel rods had a higher fracture rate than titanium rods (29% vs. 18%, P = 0.02). The nonfracture group had larger diameter rods than the fracture group (P = 0.01). The fracture group had shorter tandem connectors than the nonfracture group (P < 0.001). Neither the size of preoperative scoliosis (P = 0.2) nor kyphosis (P = 0.4) was a risk factor for fracture. Length of instrumentation (P = 0.9), anchor type (P = 0.6), and pelvic fixation (P = 0.38) had no significant effect on fracture rates. Eight wound complications were reported, including three cases of skin breakdown at the rod fracture site.

Conclusion: Risk factors for rod fractures include prior fracture, single rods, stainless steel rods, small diameter rods, proximity to tandem connectors, short tandem connectors, and preoperative ambulation. Repeat fractures are common, especially with single rods. Rod replacement, with larger diameter rods if appropriate, may be a preferred strategy over connecting the broken rods as fractures signal fatigue of the rod.
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September 2011

Intrathecal morphine analgesia in idiopathic scoliosis surgery: does sex or racial group affect optimal dosing?

J Pediatr Orthop 2011 Jul-Aug;31(5):489-95

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Background: We previously determined the intrathecal morphine optimal dose to maximize analgesia in patients undergoing idiopathic scoliosis surgery while minimizing adverse effects. Our purpose was to determine if this protocol was equally effective across sex and racial groups.

Methods: We studied 287 patients given a moderate dose of intrathecal morphine of 9 to 19 μg/kg (mean 14 μg/kg): 240 female and 47 male patients and 224 White (W) and 63 African-American (AA) patients. Factors analyzed included postoperative visual analog pain scores (VAS), time to first opioid dose, total morphine over the first 48 hours, and postoperative complications of respiratory depression requiring pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission, nausea/vomiting and pruritis.

Results: For female and male patients, mean VAS pain scores in postanesthesia care unit (PACU) were 0.48 ± 1.14 and 0.56 ± 1.16, mean times to first opioid dose were 16.65 ± 4.38 and 16.72 ± 4.97 hours, and total morphine over the first 48 hours were 1.49 ± 0.53 and 1.49 ± 0.58 mg/kg, respectively. Respiratory depression and PICU admission occurred in 10 of 240 female (4.1%) and 3 of 47 male (6.4%) patients. Minor complications of nausea/vomiting and pruritis occurred in 78 of 240 female (31.7%) and 12 of 47 male (25.5%) patients. For W and AA patients, mean VAS pain scores in PACU were 0.48 ± 1.10 and 0.46 ± 1.13, mean times to first opioid dose were 16.53 ± 3.77 and 17.12 ± 6.05 hours, and total morphine over the first 48 hours were 1.54 ± 0.53 and 1.30 ± 0.53 mg/kg, respectively. Respiratory depression and PICU admission occurred in 9 of 224 W (4.0%) and 4 of 63 AA (6.3%) patients. Nausea/vomiting and pruritis occurred in 77 of 224 W (34.4%) and 11 of 63 AA (17.5%) patients, respectively.

Conclusions: Intrathecal morphine results in safe and effective for postoperative pain relief in patients undergoing surgery for idiopathic scoliosis irregardless of sex or race.

Level Of Evidence: III, retrospective comparative study.
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December 2011

Wound infections after surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis: risk factors and treatment outcomes.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011 Feb;36(3):E179-85

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective, case-control study.

Objective: Determine risk factors for postoperative wound infections after surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis as well as the causative organisms and the results of treatment.

Summary Of Background Data: Wound infection after surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis is more common than that for idiopathic scoliosis. A variety of potential risk factors have been identified, but few have demonstrated statistical significance.

Methods: The Pediatric Orthopedic Spine Database identified 151 patients with neuromuscular scoliosis who underwent surgery and had a follow-up of minimum of 2 years. A total of eight patients (5.3% prevalence) developed a postoperative wound infection. Nine patients without an infection were matched by year and type of surgery, for each patient with an infection and selected as controls (n = 72). Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors were analyzed for an association with wound infection by using stepwise logistic regression. In addition, causative organisms as well as the methods and results of treatment were recorded for each patient. RESULTS.: The control group consisted of 32 males and 40 females with a mean age of 13.3 years (range, 7-21 years) and a mean follow-up of 4.6 years (range, 2.0-20.9 years) at surgery. The infection group (n = 8) consisted of four males and four females with a mean age of 12.5 years (range, 11-14 years) and a mean follow-up of 5.1 year (range, 2.0-12.3 years) at surgery. There were five early and three late wound infections. The presence of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt before surgery was the only factor statistically associated with an increased risk for wound infection (P < 0.01). In addition, infection was associated with pseudarthrosis (P < 0.01) and an increased length of hospitalization (P < 0.01). The most common causative species was staphylococcus and the majority (88%) of infections required surgical intervention with a mean of 2.1 debridements (range, 1-4 debridements).

Conclusions: The presence of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt is a statistically significant risk factor for wound infection after corrective surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis. Wound infection is associated with pseudarthrosis and prolonged hospitalization.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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February 2011

Safety and efficacy of growing rod technique for pediatric congenital spinal deformities.

J Pediatr Orthop 2011 Jan-Feb;31(1):1-5

Growing Spine Study Group, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Sihhiye, Ankara.

Background: Growing rod surgery is a modern alternative treatment for young children with early onset scoliosis. This is the first study focused on its use in progressive congenital spinal deformities.

Methods: A retrospective study of 19 patients from the international multicenter Growing Spine Study Group with progressive congenital spinal deformities undergoing growing rod surgery who had a minimum of 2 years follow-up. We analyzed demographic and radiographic data including age at initial surgery, number of abnormal vertebrae per patient, number of lengthenings postoperatively, Cobb angle of the major curve preoperative, postoperative initial and at last follow-up, T1-S1 length, space available for the lung (SAL), length of follow up, and complications.

Results: The mean age at surgery was 6.9 years (range: 3.2 to 10.7 y). The mean number of affected vertebrae per patient was 5.2 (range: 2 to 9 vertebrae). The mean number of lengthening was 4.2 (range: 1 to 10 lengthening) per patient. The major Cobb angle improved from 66 degrees (range: 40 to 95 degrees) preoperatively to 45 degrees (range: 13 to 79 degrees) initial postoperative and 47 degrees (range: 18 to 78 degrees) at the last follow-up. The mean T1-S1 length increased from 268.3 mm (range: 192 to 322 mm) postoperatively to a mean of 315.4 mm (range: 261 to 357 mm) at last follow-up. The mean T1-S1 length increase was 11.7 mm/y. The SAL ratio increased from 0.81 preoperatively to 0.94 at latest follow-up. The mean postoperative follow-up was 4 years (range: 2 to 6.6 y). Five patients (38%) had undergone final fusion and 14 are still under treatment. Complications have occurred in 8 patients (42%). There were 14 (14%) complications in 100 procedures: 11 implant related, 2 pulmonary, and 1 postoperative infection. There were no neurological complications.

Conclusions: Growing rods are a safe and effective treatment technique in selected patients with congenital spinal deformities. The deformity, spinal growth, and the SAL improved. The incidence of complication was relatively low.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV, case series.
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April 2011

Complications of growing-rod treatment for early-onset scoliosis: analysis of one hundred and forty patients.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2010 Nov 1;92(15):2533-43. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, 1721 East 19th Avenue, Suite 244, Denver, CO 80218, USA.

Background: Previous reports have indicated high complication rates associated with non-fusion surgery in patients with early-onset scoliosis. This study was performed to evaluate the clinical and radiographic complications associated with growing-rod treatment.

Methods: Data from the multicenter Growing Spine Study Group database were evaluated. Inclusion criteria were growing-rod treatment for early-onset scoliosis and a minimum of two years of follow-up. Patients were divided into treatment groups according to rod type (single or dual) and rod location (subcutaneous or submuscular). Complications were categorized as wound, implant, alignment, and general (surgical or medical). Surgical procedures were classified as planned and unplanned.

Results: Between 1987 and 2005, 140 patients met the inclusion criteria and underwent a total of 897 growing-rod procedures. The mean age at the initial surgery was six years, and the mean duration of follow-up was five years. Eighty-one (58%) of the 140 patients had a minimum of one complication. Nineteen (27%) of the seventy-one patients with a single rod had unplanned procedures because of implant complications, compared with seven (10%) of the sixty-nine patients with dual rods (p ≤ 0.05). Thirteen (26%) of the fifty-one patients with subcutaneous rod placement had wound complications compared with nine of the eighty-eight patients (10%) with submuscular rod placement (p ≤ 0.05). The patients with subcutaneous dual rods had more wound complications, more prominent implants, and more unplanned surgical procedures than did those with submuscular dual rods (p ≤ 0.05). The risk of complications occurring during the treatment period decreased by 13% for each year of increased patient age at the initiation of treatment. The complication risk increased by 24% for each additional surgical procedure performed.

Conclusions: Regardless of treatment modality, the management of early-onset scoliosis is prolonged; therefore, complications are frequent and should be expected. Complications can be reduced by delaying initial implantation of the growing rods if possible, using dual rods, and limiting the number of lengthening procedures. Submuscular placement reduces wound and implant-prominence complications and reduces the number of unplanned operations.
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November 2010

Risk factors for major complications after surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011 Apr;36(7):564-71

Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective, case series.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of major complications and to identify factors that increase the risk of complications in patients undergoing surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis.

Summary Of Background Data: Complications after surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis are more prevalent than in idiopathic scoliosis. However, the associated risk factors have not been statistically significant.

Methods: Our computerized Pediatric Orthopedic Spine Database identified 131 consecutive patients with neuromuscular scoliosis, excluding those with myelodysplasia, who underwent surgery and had a minimum of 2 years of follow-up. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors were analyzed for any association with major complications and length of stay using stepwise logistic and multiple regression analyses. Odds ratios were calculated for significant dichotomous variables, and receiver operator characteristic curves were created for significant continuous variables.

Results: There were 81 male and 50 female patients with a mean age at surgery of 13.4 years (range, 6-21 years). The majority of patients (n = 75) had cerebral palsy. Eighty-eight patients (67%) underwent posterior spinal fusion and segmental spinal instrumentation (only), whereas 43 patients (33%) underwent an anterior spinal fusion followed by a posterior spinal fusion with segmental spinal instrumentation. Seventy-seven patients (59%) were fused to the pelvis using the Galveston technique. The mean follow-up was 3.9 years (range, 2-16.9 years). There were 46 major complications in 37 patients (28% prevalence), including 2 deaths.Nonambulatory status (P < 0.05) and preoperative curve magnitude (P < 0.01) were associated with an increased prevalence of major complications. Nonambulatory patients (n = 94) were almost 4 times more likely to have a major complication (odds ratio of 3.8, P < 0.05) in comparison with ambulatory patients. A preoperative major curve magnitude of ≥ 60° (P < 0.01) was the most accurate indicator for an increased risk for a major complication.

Conclusion: Nonambulatory status and a preoperative curve magnitude (≥ 60°) are directly associated with an increased risk for major complications and indirectly associated with increased length of stay. As such, we recommend operative intervention in neuromuscular scoliosis before curve progression to ≥ 60°. Level of Evidence. Level III.
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April 2011

Continuous intravenous morphine infusion for postoperative analgesia following posterior spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2010 Apr;35(7):754-7

Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Study Design: A retrospective study of postoperative pain management.

Objective: Evaluate the efficacy and safety of continuous intravenous morphine infusion for postoperative pain management in patients with idiopathic scoliosis (IS) undergoing posterior spinal fusion (PSF) and segmental spinal instrumentation (SSI).

Summary Of Background Data: Postoperative pain is a common problem following surgery for IS. There are no published reports regarding the use of a continuous intravenous morphine infusion for this patient population.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed data regarding 339 consecutive patients with IS who underwent PSF and SSI between 1992 and 2006. All patients received intrathecal morphine after the induction of general anesthesia. Following surgery, preordered morphine infusion (0.01 mg/kg/h) was started at first reported pain. The infusion rate was titrated based on vital signs, visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores (0-10), and clinical status. It was continued until patients were able to take oral analgesics. We reviewed intrathecal morphine dosage, VAS pain scores through the third postoperative day, interval to start of morphine infusion, total morphine requirements in the first 48 hours, and any adverse reactions (nausea/vomiting, pruritus, respiratory depression, and pediatric intensive care unit admission).

Results: Mean intrathecal morphine dose was 15.5 +/- 3.9 microg/kg and mean interval to start of the intravenous morphine infusion was 17.5 +/- 5 hours. Mean VAS pain scores were 3.1, 4.5, 4.5, and 4.6 at 12 hours, 1, 2, and 3 days after surgery, respectively.The total mean morphine dose in the first 48 hours postoperatively was 0.03 +/- 0.01 mg/kg/h. Total morphine received was 1.44 +/- 0.5 mg/kg. Nausea/vomiting and pruritus, related to the morphine infusion occurred in 45 patients (13.3%) and 14 patients (4.1%), respectively. No patients had respiratory depression or required Pediatric Intensive Care Unit admission.

Conclusion: A low frequency of adverse events and a mean postoperative VAS pain score of 5 or less demonstrate that a continuous postoperative morphine infusion is a safe and effective method of pain management in patients with IS following PSF and SSI.
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April 2010

Comparison of supine bending, push-prone, and traction under general anesthesia radiographs in predicting curve flexibility and postoperative correction in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2010 Feb;35(4):416-22

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Study Design: A prospective study comparing supine bending, push-prone, and traction under general anesthesia (UGA) radiographs in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of 3 different flexibility methods on structural and nonstructural main thoracic (MT) and thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) curves.

Summary Of Background Data: Supine side bending radiographs are the major method for determining curve reducibility. Push-prone radiographs show structural and compensatory curves on the same radiograph, but have not shown comparative reducibility in recent studies. Traction UGA is a relatively new modality which may offer similar or improved flexibility, while also showing structural and compensatory curves on the same radiograph.

Methods: Fifty-eight patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis were prospectively studied with standing PA and lateral, supine bending and push-prone radiographs before surgery; traction UGA radiographs intraoperatively; and standing PA and lateral radiographs after surgery.

Results: Traction UGA demonstrated equal flexibility to supine bending in structural MT and TL/L curves, with a trend towards more flexibility in severe MT curves > or = 60 degrees, while push-prone demonstrated significantly less flexibility. Each of the methods showed significantly less flexibility than postoperative correction in MT curves, while traction UGA and supine bending were not significantly different than postoperative correction in TL/L curves. Analysis of nonstructural TL/L curves showed that traction UGA and push-prone were not significantly different than postoperative correction, while supine bending overestimated postoperative correction.

Conclusion: Traction UGA offers flexibility equivalent to supine bending for structural MT and TL/L curves, and flexibility comparable with push-prone for nonstructural TL/L curves. Traction UGA also shows both structural and compensatory curves on the same radiograph, and ultimately may provide a better estimate of spinal balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b3564aDOI Listing
February 2010

Pelvic fixation of growing rods: comparison of constructs.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2009 Jul;34(16):1706-10

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-0881, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective review.

Objective: To analyze outcomes and complications of growing rods fixed to the pelvis.

Summary Of Background Data: Growing systems with pelvic foundations are used for neuromuscular/syndromic scoliosis. There is little data comparing different constructs. This project analyzed the outcomes and complications of this population.

Methods: Records/radiographs of 36 patients from the Growing Spine database with growing rods anchored in the pelvis were studied. Diagnoses included spinal muscular atrophy-6, cerebral palsy-5, myelomeningocele-5, congenital-4, arthrogryposis-1, and miscellaneous/syndromic-15. Age at surgery was 6.8 +/- 3 years. Preoperative curve was 86 degrees +/- 22 degrees and pelvic obliquity was 27 degrees +/- 11 degrees . Follow-up was 40 +/- 23 months. Rod breakage rate was compared to that of 299 patients not fixed to the pelvis.

Results: Iliac screws were used in 20 patients, iliac rods in 10, S-rods in 3, and sacral fixation in 6. Dual rods were used in 30 patients; single in 6. At follow-up, mean Cobb improved to 48 degrees +/- 20 degrees and pelvic obliquity improved to 11 degrees +/- 7 degrees . Iliac screws achieved significantly better Cobb and pelvic obliquity correction than sacral fixation (47% vs. 29%, P = 0.04, 66% vs. 40%, P = 0.001). Pelvic obliquity correction exceeded major curve correction (P < 0.001). Total gain in T1-S1 length was 8.6 +/- 4.3 cm; gain during lengthenings was 4.0 +/- 4.7 cm. Bilateral rods provided better correction of both pelvic obliquity (67% vs. 44%, P = 0.006) and major curve (47% vs. 25%, P = 0.02) than unilateral rods. Six patients have undergone final fusion at mean 3.3 +/- 1.8 years after initial surgery. Five patients developed deep infections. There were 6 rod breakages; this rate did not differ from constructs not anchored in the pelvis (P = 0.36). There were 5 breakages of iliac screws and none of other anchors (P = 0.035).

Conclusion: Growing rods can include pelvic fixation to correct pelvic obliquity or obtain adequate fixation. Dual iliac fixation provides the best correction. Both iliac screws and rods provide satisfactory distal fixation; iliac screws had a higher rate of breakage. Growing rods with pelvic fixation are effective in deformity correction and achieving growth.
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July 2009
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