Publications by authors named "Patrick Cahill"

164 Publications

Complete paraplegia 36 h after attempted posterior spinal fusion for severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a case report.

Spinal Cord Ser Cases 2021 Apr 20;7(1):33. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Institute for Spine and Scoliosis, 3100 Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648, USA.

Introduction: The incidence of neurologic complications with spinal surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) has been reported to be 0.69%. This rare complication typically occurs during surgery or immediately postoperatively. We report the occurrence of a delayed neurologic deficit that presented 36 h after the initial surgery of a staged posterior spinal fusion for severe AIS.

Case Presentation: A 12-year-old girl with severe thoracolumbar AIS of 125° underwent attempted posterior spinal fusion from T2-L4. The case was complicated by a transient loss of transcutaneous motor evoked potentials (TcMEP) that resolved with an increase in the mean arterial pressure (MAP) and relaxation of curve correction with rod removal. The patient awoke with normal neurologic function. She had a transient decrease in MAP 36 h post-op and awoke on postoperative day #2 with nearly complete lower extremity paraplegia (American Spinal Injury Association [ASIA] Impairment Scale B). Emergent exploration and removal of the concave apical pedicles resulted in improvement of TcMEPs and return of function.

Discussion: Delayed postoperative neurologic deficit is a very rare phenomenon, with only a few case reports in the literature to date. The delayed neurologic decline of our patient was likely secondary to a transient episode of postoperative hypotension combined with spinal cord compression by the apical concave pedicles. Close monitoring and support of spinal cord perfusion as well as emergent decompression are imperative in the setting of a delayed neurologic deficit. Further multicenter study on this rare occurrence is underway to identify potential causes and improve treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41394-021-00386-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8058337PMC
April 2021

Quantifying lung and diaphragm morphology using radiographs in normative pediatric subjects, and predicting CT-derived lung volume.

Pediatr Pulmonol 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objective: To quantify the effect of age on two-dimensional (2D) radiographic lung and diaphragm morphology and determine if 2D radiographic lung measurements can be used to estimate computer tomography (CT)-derived lung volume in normative pediatric subjects.

Materials And Methods: Digitally reconstructed radiographs (DRRs) were created using retrospective chest CT scans from 77 pediatric male and female subjects aged birth to 19 years. 2D lung and diaphragm measurements were made on the DRRs using custom MATLAB code, and Spearman correlations and exponential regression equations were used to relate 2D measurements with age. In addition, 3D lung volumes were segmented using CT scans, and power regression equations were fitted to predict each lung's CT-derived volume from 2D lung measurements. The coefficient of determination (R ) and standard error of the estimate (SEE) were used to assess the precision of the predictive equations with p < .05 indicating statistical significance.

Results: All 2D radiographic lung and diaphragm measurements showed statistically significant positive correlations with age (p < .01), including lung major axis (Spearman rho ≥  0.90). Precise estimations of CT-derived lung volumes can be made using 2D lung measurements (R  ≥ 0.95), including lung major axis (R  ≥ 0.97).

Interpretations: The reported pediatric age-specific reference data on 2D lung and diaphragm morphology and growth rates could be clinically used to identify lung and diaphragm pathologies during chest X-ray evaluations. The simple, precise, and clinically adaptable radiographic method for estimating CT-derived lung volumes may be used when pulmonary function tests are not readily available or difficult to perform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ppul.25429DOI Listing
April 2021

Rib-based Distraction Device Implantation Before Age 3 Associated With Higher Unplanned Rate of Return to the Operating Room.

J Pediatr Orthop 2021 Mar 29. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Background: Surgical treatment of early-onset scoliosis (EOS) with rib-based implants such as the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) is associated with a high rate of complications including surgical site infection, skin breakdown, and implant migration. Many of these complications warrant the need for unplanned reoperations, increasing the burden on an already vulnerable patient population, and introducing the further risk of infection. To provide insight into the risks of early intervention, we investigate the relationship between initial device implantation before the age of 3 and the rate of unplanned reoperation.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients at a single institution who had undergone VEPTR insertion for EOS with at least a 2-year follow-up from 2007 to 2016. Patients were stratified into the case-cohort (0 to 2 y of age) or the comparison cohort (3 to 10 y of age) based on age at the time of device implantation. Multivariate regression accounting for age and scoliosis etiology was performed to identify factors predictive of unplanned reoperation.

Results: A total of 137 of 185 patients treated with VEPTR were identified with 76 (56%) undergoing at least 1 unplanned reoperation during the study time period. There were 68 and 69 patients in the age 0- to 2-year and 3- to 10-year cohorts, respectively. Patients aged 0 to 2 years underwent a higher number of total procedures compared with those aged 3 to 10 (13.1±6.5 vs. 10.6±4.8, P=0.032). A significant difference was found in the rate of unplanned reoperation between the 2 cohorts with 44 (65%) patients aged 0 to 2 and 32 (46%) patients aged 3 to 10 undergoing at least 1 unplanned reoperation (P=0.031). Binary logistic multivariate regression accounting for age and scoliosis etiology demonstrated that patients aged 0 to 2 had a significantly greater odds of undergoing an unplanned reoperation (odds ratio=3.050; 95% confidence interval: 1.285-7.241; P=0.011) compared with patients aged 3 to 10 years.

Conclusion: Overall, EOS patients aged 0 to 2 at initial VEPTR implantation are up to 3 times higher risk of undergoing an unplanned reoperation compared with those aged 3 to 10.

Level Of Evidence: Level III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001823DOI Listing
March 2021

Growth-friendly surgery results in more growth but a higher complication rate and unplanned returns to the operating room compared to single fusion in neuromuscular early-onset scoliosis: a multicenter retrospective cohort study.

Spine Deform 2021 May 8;9(3):851-858. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, USA.

Purpose: Compare radiographic outcomes, complications, and QoL in neuromuscular early-onset scoliosis (EOS) patients treated with single posterior spinal fusion (PSF) versus growth-friendly surgery and definitive fusion (GFDF).

Methods: In a retrospective cohort study, children with neuromuscular EOS, age 8-11 years at index surgery with PSF or GF devices, with minimum 2-year follow-up after final fusion were identified from a multicenter database.

Results: 16 PSF and 43 GFDF patients were analyzed. Demographics were similar except PSF patients were older at index surgery and had shorter follow-up. PSF patients had greater percentage major curve correction (62% vs 38%, p = 0.001) and smaller major curve at final follow-up (23° vs 40°, p = 0.005). The GFDF group underwent over five times more surgeries (8.7 vs 1.6, p = 0.0001). Four PSF patients (25%) experienced ten complications, resulting in five unplanned returns to the operating room (UPROR) in three patients (19%). 36 GFDF patients (84%) experienced 83 complications, resulting in 45 UPRORs in 24 patients (56%). Poisson regression adjusted for age showed that the GFDF group had more complications (p = 0.001) and UPRORs (p = 0.01). Although the GFDF patients had smaller preoperative T1-T12 and T1-S1 lengths, these were similar to the PSF patients at final follow-up, indicating that the GFDF patients had greater spinal growth. PSF patients had better postoperative EOSQ-24 Financial Impact and Family Burden scores.

Conclusion: While there was a difference in age at index surgery, PSF may be more effective than GFDF at controlling neuromuscular EOS. GFDF patients achieved more spinal growth but eight times more complications and nine times more UPRORs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00270-7DOI Listing
May 2021

Could have tethered: predicting the proportion of scoliosis patients most appropriate for thoracic anterior spinal tethering.

Spine Deform 2021 Feb 3. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Division of Orthopaedics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3401 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Posterior spinal fusion (PSF) has proven to be a safe, reliable technique to treat spinal deformities in adolescents. In recent early reports, vertebral body tethering (VBT) is showing promise as a method to modulate growth, driving scoliosis correction, while offering the potential added benefit of maintaining some flexibility in the instrumented segment. With recent FDA humanitarian device exemption (HDE) approval, VBT is poised to become more widely available as a treatment for a subset of current PSF candidates. Our aim was to use approved criteria from a recent FDA IDE to determine who could have been tethered in the years preceding approval.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed of patients with idiopathic scoliosis treated with PSF or VBT at a large pediatric spine center from 1/1/2016 to 6/25/2019. Tethering indications followed the criteria outlined by an ongoing FDA IDE: age 8-16, Sanders bone age ≤ 4, primary thoracic curve between 35° and 60°, and lumbar curve < 35°. Risser sign and triradiate cartilage status were also employed to ascertain skeletal maturity in the absence of Sanders score.

Results: Of the 359 patients (78.6% female) who underwent PSF or VBT for idiopathic scoliosis, 75 (20.9%) met IDE criteria for VBT (57 had PSF and 18 had VBT). 284 were not appropriate for thoracic VBT: 77 (21.4%) had a non-thoracic primary curve, 80 (22.3%) were too mature at presentation, 36 (10.0%) had a lumbar curve > 34°, 9 (2.5%) had a main thoracic curve out of range, and 1 had a proximal thoracic curve > 40°. 81 patients (22.6%) had multiple exclusionary criteria.

Conclusions: After decades with a successful treatment for AIS (PSF), we are at an inflection point: VBT is conditionally approved by the FDA as an HDE device, unleashing more widespread use. Many pediatric spine surgeons will want to know what proportion of PSFs will someday be VBTs. If FDA IDE criteria are used to ensure that a VBT candidate has an appropriate maturity stage and scoliosis deformity pattern, 20.9% of our 359 surgical range patients would have qualified for thoracic VBT.

Level Of Evidence: Level III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-021-00296-5DOI Listing
February 2021

Residual lumbar hyperlordosis is associated with worsened hip status 5 years after scoliosis correction in non-ambulant patients with cerebral palsy.

Spine Deform 2021 Feb 1. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a static encephalopathy with progressive musculoskeletal pathology. Non-ambulant children (GMFCS IV and V) with CP have high rates of spastic hip disease and neuromuscular scoliosis. The effect of spinal fusion and spinal deformity on hip dislocation following total hip arthroplasty has been well studied, however in CP this remains largely unknown. This study aimed to identify factors associated with worsening postoperative hip status (WHS) following corrective spinal fusion in children with GMFCS IV and V CP.

Methods: Retrospective review of GMFSC IV and V CP patients in a prospective multicenter database undergoing spinal fusion, with 5 years follow-up. WHS was determined by permutations of baseline (BL), 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years hip status and defined by a change from an enlocated hip at BL that became subluxated, dislocated or resected post-op, or a subluxated hip that became dislocated or resected. Hip status was analyzed against patient demographics, hip position, surgical variables, and coronal and sagittal spinal alignment parameters. Cutoff values for parameters at which the relationship with hip status was significant was determined using receiver operating characteristic curves. Logistic regression determined odds ratios for predictors of WHS.

Results: Eighty four patients were included. 37 (44%) had WHS postoperatively. ROC analysis and logistic regression demonstrated that the only spinopelvic alignment parameter that significantly correlated with WHS was lumbar hyperlordosis (T12-L5) > 60° (p = 0.028), OR = 2.77 (CI 1.10-6.94). All patients showed an increase in pre-to-postop LL. Change in LL pre-to-postop was no different between groups (p = 0.318), however the WHS group was more lordotic at BL and postop (pre44°/post58° vs pre32°/post51° in the no change group). Age, sex, Risser, hip position, levels fused, coronal parameters, global sagittal alignment (SVA), thoracic kyphosis, and reoperation were not associated with WHS.

Conclusion: Postoperative hyperlordosis(> 60°) is a risk factor for WHS at 5 years after spinal fusion in non-ambulant CP patients. WHS likely relates to anterior pelvic tilt and functional acetabular retroversion due to hyperlordosis, as well as loss of protective lumbopelvic motion causing anterior femoracetabular impingement.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00281-4DOI Listing
February 2021

A seat at the table: an invitation to the SRS podium via the study group.

Spine Deform 2021 Jan 27. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Division of Orthopaedics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Purpose: The SRS annual meeting (SRS-AM) represents the pinnacle of research in the field of spinal deformity. Spine surgery research was historically based on single-surgeon experience, but an increasing number of abstracts presented at SRS-AM are conducted by multicenter study groups, which may have improved the quality of literature available to surgeons. We sought to determine the proportion of SRS-AM podium presentations (PP) resulting from study groups over a 15-year period.

Methods: 1874 PP from the 2005-2019 SRS-AM were reviewed to determine if they resulted from a study group or multicenter collaboration. Abstracts were also classified as pediatric- or adult-focused. Pearson correlations were calculated to analyze changes in the proportion of study group or multicenter PP.

Results: The number of SRS PP increased from 102 to 171 from 2005 to 2019. 381 (20.3%) PP were identified as a study group product, while 536 (28.6%) resulted from multicenter collaboration. The proportion of study group PP increased by 0.9% annually from 8.8 to 26.9% (r = 0.44, p = 0.007), while multicenter PP increased by 1.2% annually from 11.8 to 40.9% (r = 0.51, p = 0.003). A greater proportion of study group PP were level of evidence I or II studies compared to those not resulting from the work of study groups (53.8 vs 19.3%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: SRS-AM PP resulting from research study groups and multicenter collaborations increased over threefold from 2005 to 2019. Spine surgeons are taking a more proactive approach to produce more generalizable research with higher level of evidence through multicenter study groups, allowing them to make more informed decisions to ultimately improve surgical outcomes for patients.

Level Of Evidence: V.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-021-00290-xDOI Listing
January 2021

Concomitant procedures with early-onset scoliosis rib-based surgeries.

Spine Deform 2021 Jan 25. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Division of Orthopaedics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3401 Civic Center Blvd. 2nd Floor Wood Building, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Objective: To determine if additional procedures can be safely performed under the same anesthesia as early-onset scoliosis (EOS) rib-based surgeries. EOS patients with rib-based implants often require repeated invasive surgery to treat their spinal deformity, with associated risks of cognitive development impairment from multiple anesthetic exposures. Many of these patients have comorbidities that require additional procedures, possibly increasing the risk of adverse outcomes.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of EOS patients treated with rib-based implants with at least 2 year follow up at a single institution. Patients were divided into two cohorts: Group A included patients who never had another procedure in conjunction with a rib-based implant insertion, expansion, and/or revision surgery throughout their treatment and Group B included patients who had at least one other procedure operate in conjunction with rib-based implant surgery. Univariate analysis was performed to compare demographics, surgical parameters, and incidence of complication between the two groups. A subanalysis of patients who experienced an infection requiring surgery in Group A and Group B was also performed to further analyze the impact of concomitant procedures.

Results: 147 EOS patients underwent rib-based growing instrumentation at our institution. 98 patients (Group A) did not have another procedure occur under the same anesthetic as a rib-based implant surgery and 49 patients (Group B) had another procedure performed in conjunction with a rib-based implant surgery. Gender, etiology, BMI, length of follow up and number of rib-based implant procedures were similar between both cohorts (p = 0.91, 0.24, 0.28, 0.91, 0.77, respectively). The total surgical and anesthesia time was significantly longer in the patients undergoing concomitant procedures (Group B) (p < 0.0001, p  < 0.0001, respectively). Among the patients in Group B, Otolaryngology was the most common department adding surgical care, followed by non-spine orthopaedics and general surgery. Mircrolaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy were performed most often (24 procedures), followed by cerumen removal under anesthesia (22 procedures), ear tube insertion (19 procedures) and bronchoscopy (19 procedures). Infection requiring irrigation and debridement was the most common complication found in both cohorts. Although Group B had a significantly lower number of patients who experienced complications (p = 0.002), the complication rate per procedure was 14% in Group A and 16% in Group B. When performing a subanalysis on patients who experienced an infection requiring irrigation and debridement surgery among Group A (47 patients) and Group B (8 patients), gender, etiology, BMI, length of follow up, and number of rib-based implant procedures were similar (p = 0.71, 0.26, 0.06, 0.69, 0.84 and, respectively). The total surgical and anesthesia time were similar (p = 0.11 and 0.13, respectively). In addition, the number of irrigation and debridement surgeries needed to treat each infection even was similar between the two groups (p = 0.59).

Conclusion: There was no difference in complication rate per procedure when other services operate in conjunction with rib-based implant surgery.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-021-00285-8DOI Listing
January 2021

Part 2. Review and meta-analysis of studies on modulation of longitudinal bone growth and growth plate activity: A micro-scale perspective.

J Orthop Res 2021 May 29;39(5):919-928. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Macro-scale changes in longitudinal bone growth resulting from mechanical loading were shown in Part 1 of this review to depend on load magnitude, anatomical location, and species. While no significant effect on longitudinal growth was observed by varying frequency and amplitude of cyclic loading, such variations, in addition to loading duration and species, were shown to affect the morphology, viability, and gene and protein expression within the growth plate. Intermittent compression regimens were shown to preserve or increase growth plate height while stimulating increased chondrocyte presence in the hypertrophic zone relative to persistent and static loading regimens. Gene and protein expressions related to matrix synthesis and degradation, as well as regulation of chondrocyte apoptosis were shown to exhibit magnitude-, frequency-, and duration-dependent responses to loading regimen. Chondrocyte viability was shown to be largely preserved within physiological bounds of magnitude, frequency, amplitude, and duration. Persistent static loading was shown to be associated with overall growth plate height in tension only, reducing it in compression, while affecting growth plate zone heights differently across species and encouraging mineralization relative to intermittent cyclic loading. Lateral loading of the growth plate, as well as microfluidic approaches are relatively understudied, and age, anatomical location, and species effects within these approaches are undefined. Understanding the micro-scale effects of varied loading regimes can assist in the development of growth modulation methods and device designs optimized for growth plate viability preservation or mineralization stimulation based on patient age and anatomical location.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.24992DOI Listing
May 2021

Thoracic vertebral morphology in normal and scoliosis deformity in skeletally immature rabbits: A Longitudinal study.

JOR Spine 2020 Dec 17;3(4):e1118. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA.

Objective: To measure age-related changes in thoracic vertebral body heights (VBH) in skeletally immature normative and scoliotic rabbits to assess how VBH change during growth. To examine the potential link between the moment-arm of the rib tether and vertebral wedging as well as the sum of the curvature angles at the apical level (T7). To assess the correlation between the magnitude of initial spine curve and final spine curve in the scoliotic group.

Methods: Eight healthy, skeletally immature normative New Zealand rabbits and ten skeletally immature scoliotic rabbits which underwent unilateral rib tethering were included retrospectively. Each rabbit was scanned at two to four time points (at 7, 11, 14 and 28 weeks). Three dimensional bone models of thoracic vertebrae (T1-T12) were digitally segmented and reconstructed. VBH were calculated using surface landmark points from each thoracic vertebra. Apical level (T7) ± 2 levels in scoliotic rabbits were compared to their corresponding levels and time points in the normative group. The moment-arms between the centroids of 2D projections of T3-T9 vertebral bodies and the line which connects the centroids of the end levels were calculated.

Results: Bilateral left-right (L-R) symmetry and anterior-posterior (A-P) asymmetry were observed in normative VBH. Bilateral concave-convex (CC-CX) asymmetry and (A-P) asymmetry were observed in scoliotic VBH. No significant differences in growth rates were found between the normative and scoliotic groups. Vertebral wedging as well as curvature magnitude were positively correlated with the moment-arms.

Conclusion: Unilateral rib tether applies compressive forces on both concave and convex sides, whereas compressive forces are lower on the latter. Knowing the amount of vertebral wedging or curve magnitude would enable us to predict the applied force (moment-arms), which is important for planning a corrective surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsp2.1118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7770206PMC
December 2020

Part 1. Review and meta-analysis of studies on modulation of longitudinal bone growth and growth plate activity: A macro-scale perspective.

J Orthop Res 2021 May 13;39(5):907-918. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Growth modulation is an emerging method for treatment of angular skeletal deformities such as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). The Hueter-Volkmann law, by which growth is stimulated in tension and inhibited in compression, is widely understood, and applied in current growth-modulating interventions such as anterior vertebral body tethering (AVBT) for AIS. However, without quantification of the growth rate effects of tension or compression, the possibility of under- or over- correction exists. A definitive mechanical growth modulation relationship relating to treatment of such skeletal deformities is yet to exist, and the mechanisms by which growth rate is regulated and altered are not fully defined. Review of current literature demonstrates that longitudinal (i.e., lengthwise) growth rate in multiple animal models depend on load magnitude, anatomical location, and species. Additionally, alterations in growth plate morphology and viability vary by loading parameters such as magnitude, frequency, and whether the load was applied persistently or intermittently. The aggregate findings of the reviewed studies will assist in work towards increasingly precise and clinically successful growth modulation methods. Part 1 of this review focuses on the effects of mechanical loading, species, age, and anatomical location on the macro-scale alterations in longitudinal bone growth, as well as factors that affect growth plate material properties. Part 2 considers the effects on micro-scale alterations in growth plate morphology such as zone heights and proportions, chondrocyte viability, and related gene and protein expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.24976DOI Listing
May 2021

Correlation of Pulmonary Function to Novel Radiographic Parameters of Collapsing Parasol Deformity in Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Orthopedics 2020 Dec 29:1-7. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease with manifestations of scoliosis, pulmonary function decline, and, uniquely, collapse of the ribs. Methods to quantify rib deformity and its impact on pulmonary function are sparse. The authors propose new radiographic measurements to quantify the aspect of SMA known as collapsing parasol deformity and correlate these measurements with pulmonary function. Twenty-eight full-spine radiographs of pediatric SMA patients were measured twice by 3 independent investigators, with 2 weeks separating each measurement. Radiographic measurements, demographics, spirometry results, and assisted ventilation rating were obtained. Twenty-one patients with spirometry metrics were assessed to correlate pulmonary function and spinal measurements. The intrarater intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for the measurements ranged from 0.706 to 0.99, and the interrater ICC ranged from 0.64 to 0.97. Eighteen of 19 variables had ICC values greater than 0.75 for inter- and intrarater reliability. Twenty-one patients with forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity were assessed in terms of these measurements. Ratio of the concave hemithoracic width at T6/convex hemithoracic width at T6 (P=.004) and ratio of convex vertical rib displacement at the apical rib/concave vertical rib displacement (P=.021) were both significantly correlated with decreased pulmonary function. No significant correlation was found examining the average vertical rib displacement at the apical rib. High inter-and intrarater reliability can be obtained in a variety of spinal measurements of SMA patients. Various measurements are correlated to diminished pulmonary function, specifically variables showing asymmetric changes in the chest cavity. [Orthopedics. 2021;44(x):xx-xx.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/01477447-20201216-05DOI Listing
December 2020

Results of Conservative and Surgical Management in Children with Idiopathic and Nonidiopathic Os Odontoideum.

World Neurosurg 2021 Mar 15;147:e324-e333. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Objective: The outcomes of conservative and operative treatment of os odontoideum in children remain unclear. Our objective was to study the outcomes of conservative and surgical treatment of idiopathic os odontoideum in children and compare these outcomes in age- and treatment-matched nonidiopathic children with os odontoideum.

Methods: A retrospective multicenter review identified 102 children with os odontoideum, of whom 44 were idiopathic with minimum 2-year follow-up. Ten patients were treated conservatively, and 34 underwent spinal arthrodesis. Both groups were matched with nonidiopathic patients by age and type of treatment. Cervical arthrodesis was recommended for patients with increased atlantoaxial distance or reduced space available for the cord in flexion-extension radiographs.

Results: All 20 children undergoing conservative treatment remained asymptomatic during follow-up, but 1 nonidiopathic patient developed cervical instability. The idiopathic group had significantly less severe radiographic cervical instability and less neurologic complications than the nonidiopathic group (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). Thirty-three (97%) patients in the idiopathic group and 32 (94%) patients in the nonidiopathic group (94%) had spinal fusion at final follow-up (P = 0.55). The risk of complications (15% vs. 41%; odds ratio 0.234, 95% confidence interval 0.072-0.757, P = 0.015) and nonunion (6% vs. 24%; odds ratio 0.203, 95% confidence interval 0.040-0.99, P = 0.040) were significantly lower in the idiopathic than in the nonidiopathic group. Idiopathic children undergoing rigid fixation achieved spinal fusion.

Conclusions: Idiopathic patients with stable atlantoaxial joint at presentation remained asymptomatic and intact during conservative treatment. Idiopathic children with os odontoideum undergoing spinal arthrodesis had significantly fewer complications and nonunion than nonidiopathic children.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.12.043DOI Listing
March 2021

Long-term Patient Perception Following Surgery for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis if Dissatisfied at 2-year Follow-up.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Apr;46(8):507-511

Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA.

Study Design: Longitudinal.

Objectives: To evaluate whether the rate of patients who report low health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores at 2 years following surgical correction of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) improves by 5 years postoperatively.

Summary Of Background Data: HRQOL scores are dependent upon a number of factors and even in instances of good surgical correction of a spinal deformity, are not guaranteed to be high postoperatively. Understanding how a low HRQOL score varies over the postoperative period can help surgeons more effectively counsel patients and temper expectations.

Methods: A multicenter database was reviewed for patients with both 2 and 5-year follow-up after spinal fusion and instrumentation for AIS. From a cohort of 916 patients, 52 patients with low HRQOL scores at their 2-year follow-up were identified and reevaluated at 5-year follow-up. A low HRQOL outcome was defined as having SRS-22 domain or total scores less than 2 standard deviations below the mean score. Reoperations were also evaluated to determine if they were associated with HRQOL scores.

Results: Of those patients with low SRS-22 HRQOL scores at 2 years postoperatively, improvements were seen in all SRS-22 domains and total scores at the 5-year time point. The greatest change was seen in the satisfaction category where 41 patients showed improvement. The rate of reoperations during this period did not significantly impact patient-reported outcomes.

Conclusions: Having a low HRQOL score 2 years after surgery for AIS does not guarantee a low score 5 years after surgery. Promisingly, most patients demonstrate some improvement in all domains for patient-reported SRS-22 scores at 5-year compared to 2-year follow-up. Understanding the longer term postoperative evolution in patient-reported outcomes may help surgeons to effectively manage and counsel patients who are dissatisfied in the short term.Level of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003828DOI Listing
April 2021

Patient-Reported Outcomes Are Equivalent in Patients Who Receive Vertebral Body Tethering Versus Posterior Spinal Fusion in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

Orthopedics 2021 Jan 25;44(1):24-28. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Anterior vertebral body tethering (AVBT), or spinal growth tethering, is an emerging technology that recently received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval through a humanitarian device exemption designation to treat idiopathic scoliosis patients with remaining growth. This study compared patients who underwent AVBT with those treated with standard-of-care posterior spinal fusion (PSF) to determine inherent differences in patients and families who seek cutting-edge treatments. The authors reviewed 62 PSF patients from a multicenter registry and 20 AVBT patients from an FDA-approved investigational clinical trial. The authors examined demographics, preoperative clinical and radiographic variables, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). All included patients preoperatively were classified as Lenke type 1 or 2 with a thoracic curve of 35° to 60°, a lumbar curve less than 35°, and a skeletal maturity score of Risser sign 0 or Sanders bone age of 4 or less. Idiopathic scoliosis patients treated with surgical intervention were primarily White females who were 12 years old. No differences in demographics, clinical variables, and radiographic measures were detected between the PSF and AVBT cohorts. The AVBT group showed more thoracic flexibility on bending radiographs, correcting on average 59% compared with 43% for PSF patients (P=.005). Patients had similar HRQOL total scores and scores across each of the 5 domains of the Scoliosis Research Society Questionnaire Version 22. The percentage of patients scoring below 4.0 within each domain was comparable between cohorts. Scoliosis patients who underwent vertebral tethering at a level of deformity magnitude and maturity similar to those who underwent posterior fusion did not differ at baseline regarding demographics, clinical variables, and HRQOL. [Orthopedics. 2021;44(1):24-28.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/01477447-20201119-02DOI Listing
January 2021

Interobserver and intraobserver reliability of determining the deformity angular ratio in severe pediatric deformity curves.

Spine Deform 2021 Mar 17;9(2):435-440. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Orthopaedics, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Study Design: Cross-sectional reliability study.

Objective: The deformity angular ratio (DAR) is a means of quantifying magnitude of the coronal (C-DAR) and sagittal (S-DAR) plane of deformity curves to produce a total DAR (T-DAR). It has been shown to predict the risk of spinal cord monitoring alerts and actual neurologic deficits. We sought to assess the reliability of determining the C-DAR and S-DAR among pediatric spinal deformity surgeons.

Methods: Twelve preoperative anterior-posterior (AP) and lateral X-rays from the Fox multi-center pediatric deformity study were de-identified and sent to7 pediatric spinal deformity surgeons. Each surgeon measured: coronal/sagittal Cobb angles, upper/lower endplate vertebrae (UEV/LEV), apices, and number of vertebrae included in the main curve. The C-DAR and S-DAR were then calculated by dividing the Cobb angles by the number of vertebrae included in the curve. Intra- and interobserver reliability was calculated using interclass correlation (ICC).

Results: The mean C-DAR was 14.9 (range 1.3-51.5) with a mean Cobb angle of 88.8° (range 15.0-163.0) over a mean of 7.5 (range 2.0-14.0) levels. The mean S-DAR was 8.6 (range 1.0-19.6), with a mean Cobb angle of 68.0° (range 10.0-137.0) over a mean of 7.5 (range 3-11) levels. The intraobserver reliability of the C-DAR was ICC = 0.908 (range 0.846-0.960) and the S-DAR 0.914 (range 0.815-0.961). The interobserver reliability of the C-DAR was ICC = 0.868 (range 0.846-0.938), and the S-DAR was ICC = 0.848 (range 0.815-0.961). Despite poor reliability among UEV, LEV, and apex selection (aggregated range 0.340-0.724), the C-DAR and S-DAR were demonstrated to be reliable in our study CONCLUSIONS: Reliability was good to excellent for C-DAR and S-DAR, despite poor to moderate reliability among UEV, LEV, and apex selection. These data support the use of the C-DAR, S-DAR, and combined T-DAR as a means of quantifying deformity magnitude.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00239-6DOI Listing
March 2021

Sinister! The high pre-op left shoulder is less likely to be radiographically balanced at 2 years post-op.

Spine Deform 2021 Mar 17;9(2):451-460. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Purpose: AIS patients consider shoulder balance an important cosmetic outcome after surgery. We examined the impact of preoperative left shoulder elevation (LSE) and choice of upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) on postoperative shoulder imbalance (PostSI).

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study utilizing a prospective AIS database. Patients had Lenke type 1-4 curves and preoperative shoulder height ≥ 1.0 cm. Patients with preoperative LSE and right shoulder elevation (RSE) were compared. Shoulder height difference < 1 cm was considered 'mild', 1-2 cm was 'moderate', and ≥ 2.0 cm was 'severe'.

Results: 407 patients had ≥ 1.0 cm imbalance preoperatively, with 88 (21.6%) LSE. There were no differences in gender (p = 0.855) or age (p = 0.477). Patients with LSE more frequently had Lenke type 2 curves (43.2% vs 16.3%, p < 0.001), while preoperative RSE averaged 1.9 ± 0.9 cm versus 1.6 ± 0.5 cm for LSE (p < 0.001). Those with LSE more often had severe PostSI at 2 years (30.7% vs 5.0%, p < 0.001), and only 26.1% of patients with severe preoperative LSE corrected to mild. In contrast, most patients with RSE had mild PostSI regardless of initial imbalance. When examining only LSE patients, there was no difference in preoperative SH by final UIV (p = 0.101). Further, UIV choice did not impact the proportion of severely unbalanced patients postoperatively (p = 0.446). A PTC > 34.5° was predictive of PostSI ≥ 2.0 cm for patients with preoperative LSE.

Conclusion: AIS patients with preoperative LSE are less likely to achieve level shoulders postoperatively. Choice of higher UIV did not affect postoperative shoulder imbalance in this cohort. A PTC > 34.5° was predictive of severe PostSI in patients with preoperative LSE.

Level Of Evidence: II.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00236-9DOI Listing
March 2021

Hand Bone Age Radiography: Comparison Between Slot-scanning and Conventional Techniques.

J Pediatr Orthop 2021 Feb;41(2):e167-e173

Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Background: Determination and longitudinal monitoring of progressive skeletal maturity are essential in the management of children with scoliosis. Although different methods for determining skeletal maturity exists, the most widely practiced method relies on the ossification pattern of the bones of the hand and wrist, which is traditionally acquired using conventional techniques and after the acquisition of the spine using the low-dose slot-scanning technique. Whereas the existing published literature has published promising results on the use of the slot-scanning technique to acquire these hand and wrist radiographs, image quality and radiation dose have not been systematically compared between these techniques. Thus, the objective of our study is to compare image quality, interpretation reliability, and radiation dose of hand bone age radiographs between slot-scanning and conventional techniques using age- and sex-matched children.

Methods: This retrospective study included children who underwent hand radiographs using slot-scanning between October 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019; and matched children who underwent conventional radiography. Blinded to technique, 5 readers reviewed all radiographs after randomization to rate image quality and to determine bone age using the Greulich and Pyle classification. Dose area product was recorded. Mann-Whitney and t tests were used to compare variables between techniques and intraclass correlation (ICC) to determine observer agreement.

Results: Our study cohort of 194 children (128 girls, 66 boys; mean age: 13.7±2.3 y) included 97 slot-scanning and 97 conventional radiographs. One (1%) slot-scanning and no conventional radiograph was rated poor in image quality. There was almost perfect interpretation reliability with slot-scanning with high interobserver (ICC=0.948) and intraobserver (ICC=0.996) agreements, comparable with conventional radiographs (ICCs=0.919 and 0.996, respectively). Dose area product (n=158) was lower (P<0.002) with slot-scanning than with conventional techniques.

Conclusion: Almost perfect interobserver reliability and intraobserver reproducibility with slot-scanning radiographs (performed using significantly lower radiation doses) suggest that this technique for hand bone age determination can be a reliable adjunct to scoliosis monitoring.

Level Of Evidence: Level III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001710DOI Listing
February 2021

Morphology and growth of the pediatric lumbar vertebrae.

Spine J 2021 Apr 3;21(4):682-697. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St, Bossone 718, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:

Background Context: The majority of existing literature describing pediatric lumbar vertebral morphology are limited to characterization of the vertebral bodies, pedicles, and spinal canal and no study has described the rates of growth for any lumbar vertebral structure. While it is known that growth of the lumbar vertebrae results in changes in vertebral shape, the dimension ratios used to quantify these shape changes do not represent the 3D morphology of the vertebral structures. Additionally, many of the previous evaluations of growth and shape are purely descriptive and do not investigate sexual dimorphism or variations across vertebral levels.

Purpose: This study aims to establish a database of pediatric lumbar vertebra dimension, growth, and shape data for subjects between and ages of 1 and 19 years.

Study Design: A retrospective study of computed tomography (CT) data.

Methods: Retrospective, abdominal, CT scans of 102 skeletally normal pediatric subjects (54 males, 48 females) between the ages of 1 and 19 years were digitally reconstructed and manually segmented. Thirty surface landmark points (LMPs), 30 vertebral measurements, the centroid size, centroid location, and the local orientation were collected for each lumbar vertebra along with the centroid size of the LMPs comprising each subject's full lumbar spine and their intervertebral disc (IVD) heights. Nonparametric statistics were used to compare dimension values across vertebral levels and between sexes. Linear models with age as the independent variable were used to characterize dimension growth for each sex and vertebral level. Age-dependent quadratic equations were fit to LMP distributions resulting from a generalized Procrustes analysis (GPA) of the vertebrae and fixed effects models were used to investigate differences in model coefficients across levels and between sexes.

Results: Intervertebral level dimension differences were observed across all vertebral structures in both sexes while pedicle widths and IVDs heights were the only measurements found to be sexually dimorphic. Dimension growth rates generally varied across vertebral levels and the growth rates of males were typically larger than those of females. Differences between male and female vertebral shapes were also found for all lumbar vertebral structures.

Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to report growth rates for the majority of pediatric lumbar vertebral structures and the first to describe the 3D age-dependent shapes of the pediatric lumbar spine and vertebrae. In addition to providing a quantitative database, the dimension, growth, and shape data reported here would have applications in medical device design, surgical planning, surgical training, and biomechanical modeling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2020.10.029DOI Listing
April 2021

American football is the youth sporting activity most commonly associated with acute vertebral fractures.

Phys Sportsmed 2020 Oct 28:1-7. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Objectives: Athletics confer cardiovascular fitness and improved cognitive processing in pediatric populations. However, one risk of sports participation is acute vertebral fracture, an injury with significant morbidity. It is currently unknown which sports represent the highest risk of acute vertebral fracture in pediatric populations. This study seeks to identify the youth sporting activities most commonly associated with acute vertebral fractures presenting to United States (U.S.) emergency departments (EDs).

Methods: This cross-sectional, retrospective study queries the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database to report national weighted estimates and demographic characteristics of pediatric patients with acute vertebral fractures presenting to U.S. EDs.

Results: The mean annual incidence of estimated acute vertebral fractures over the study period was 1,672 (C.I. 1,217-2,126). From 2000-2001 (N = 4,030; C.I. 2,934-5,125) to 2016-2017 (N = 2,559; C.I. 1,681-3,438), there was no significant change in the estimated rate of sports-related acute vertebral fractures in pediatric patients (p = 0.09). American football was identified as the sport most frequently associated with acute vertebral fractures (23.4%; C.I. 17.6-29.3%). We found no appreciable change in the rate of football-related acute vertebral fractures over time, with 48.2% (C.I. 37.3-59.0%) occurring from 2000 to 2008 and 51.8% (C.I. 41.0-62.7%) from 2009 to 2017.

Conclusions: While sports-related acute vertebral fractures remain rare injuries in pediatric populations, we identify youth football as the sport associated with the highest risk of such injuries. Despite decreasing football participation rates over our study period, the annual incidence of football-associated acute vertebral fractures has not exhibited a proportional decline. Our findings raise concern that the relative risk of acute vertebral fracture associated with youth football has not significantly decreased over time. Elimination of dangerous tackling technique, improvement in helmet fit and technology, and availability of on-site medical care may contribute to decreased estimates in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00913847.2020.1838874DOI Listing
October 2020

Automatic labeling of respiratory phases and detection of abnormal respiratory signals in free-breathing thoracic dynamic MR image acquisitions based on deep learning.

Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng 2020 Feb 16;11315. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Wyss Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, United States.

4D thoracic images constructed from free-breathing 2D slice acquisitions based on dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) provide clinicians the capability of examining the dynamic function of the left and right lungs, left and right hemi-diaphragms, and left and right chest wall separately for thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS) treatment [1]. There are two shortcomings of the existing 4D construction methods [2]: a) the respiratory phase corresponding to end expiration (EE) and end inspiration (EI) need to be manually identified in the dMRI sequence; b) abnormal breathing signals due to non-tidal breathing cannot be detected automatically which affects the construction process. Since the typical 2D dynamic MRI acquisition contains ~3000 slices per patient, handling these tasks manually is very labor intensive. In this study, we propose a deep-learning-based framework for addressing both problems via convolutional neural networks (CNNs) [3] and Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) [4] models. A CNN is used to extract the motion characteristics from the respiratory dMRI sequences to automatically identify contiguous sequences of slices representing exhalation and inhalation processes. EE and EI annotations are subsequently completed by comparing the changes in the direction of motion of the diaphragm. A LSTM network is used for detecting abnormal respiratory signals by exploiting the non-uniform motion feature sequence of abnormal breathing motions. Experimental results show the mean error of labeling EE and EI is ~0.3 dMRI time point unit (much less than one time point). The accuracy of abnormal cycle detection reaches 80.0%. The proposed approach achieves results highly comparable to manual labeling in accuracy but with close to full automation of the whole process. The framework proposed here can be readily adapted to other modalities and dynamic imaging applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2549983DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7550858PMC
February 2020

4D image construction from free-breathing MRI slice acquisitions of the thorax based on a concept of flux.

Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng 2020 Feb 16;11312. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States.

Retrospective 4D image construction from continuously acquired 2D slices is a necessary step to achieve high-quality 4D images. Self-gating methods, which extract breathing signals only from image information without any external gating technology, have much potential, such as in pediatric patients with thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS) who suffer from extreme malformations of the chest wall, diaphragm, and spine, leading to breathing that is very complex with lots of abnormal respiration cycles, including very deep or shallow cycles. Existing methods do not work well in this clinical scenario and most are not fully automatic, requiring some manual interactive operations. In this paper, we propose a fully automatic 4D dMRI construction method based on the concept of flux to address the 4D image construction from 2D slices of subjects with complex respiration. Firstly, we extract the breathing signal for each location based on the flux of the optical flow vector field of the body region from the image series. Then, we give a full analysis for all cycles and extract several normal ones and map them to one cosine respiration model for each location. After that, we re-sample one normal cycle from the respiration model for each location independently. All of these resampled normal cycles form the final constructed 4D image. Qualitative and quantitative evaluations on 25 subjects show that the proposed method can handle datasets from subjects with more complex respiration and achieves good self-consistency results while maintaining time and space continuity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2550040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7549188PMC
February 2020

Restoration of Thoracic Kyphosis in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Over a Twenty-year Period: Are We Getting Better?

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Dec;45(23):1625-1633

Orthopedics and Scoliosis Division, Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA.

Study Design: A multicenter, prospectively collected database of 20 years of operatively treated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) was utilized to retrospectively examine pre- and postoperative thoracic kyphosis at 2-year follow-up.

Objective: To determine if the adoption of advanced three-dimensional correction techniques has led to improved thoracic kyphosis correction in AIS.

Summary Of Background Data: Over the past 20 years, there has been an evolution of operative treatment for AIS, with more emphasis on sagittal and axial planes. Thoracic hypokyphosis was well treated with an anterior approach, but this was not addressed sufficiently in early posterior approaches. We hypothesized that patients with preoperative thoracic hypokyphosis prior to 2000 would have superior thoracic kyphosis restoration, but the learning curve with pedicle screws would reflect initially inferior restoration and eventual improvement.

Methods: From 1995 to 2015, 1063 patients with preoperative thoracic hypokyphosis (<10°) were identified. A validated formula for assessing three-dimensional sagittal alignment using two-dimensional kyphosis and thoracic Cobb angle was applied. Patients were divided into 1995-2000 (Period 1, primarily anterior), 2001-2009 (Period 2, early thoracic pedicle screws), and 2010-2015 (Period 3, modern posterior) cohorts. Two-way repeated measures analysis of variance and post-hoc Bonferroni corrections were utilized with P < 0.05 considered significant.

Results: Significant differences were demonstrated. Period 1 had excellent restoration of thoracic kyphosis, which worsened in Period 2 and improved to near Period 1 levels during Period 3. Period 3 had superior thoracic kyphosis restoration compared with Period 2.

Conclusion: Although the shift from anterior to posterior approaches in AIS was initially associated with worse thoracic kyphosis restoration, this improved with time. The proportion of patients restored to >20° kyphosis with a contemporary posterior approach has steadily improved to that of the era when anterior approaches were more common.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003659DOI Listing
December 2020

Impact of growth friendly interventions on spine and pulmonary outcomes of patients with spinal muscular atrophy.

Eur Spine J 2021 Mar 18;30(3):768-774. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Division of Orthopaedics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3401 Civic Center Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Purpose: Patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) are often treated with growth friendly devices such as vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib(VEPTR) and magnetically controlled growing rods(MCGR) to correct spinal deformity and improve pulmonary function. There is limited data on this topic, and the purpose of this study was to assess the effect of these constructs and the addition of chest wall support (CWS) on spinal deformity, thorax morphology and pulmonary outcomes.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data. We included patients with chest wall deformity and scoliosis secondary to SMA who were treated with growth friendly interventions and had two-year follow-up. Descriptive statistics and univariate analyses were performed.

Results: This study included 66 patients (25% MCGR, 73% VEPTR, 2% unknown). Approximately 23% of constructs included CWS. The average Cobb angle improved from 67° (SD: 27°) to 50° (SD: 26°) at 2 years in patients with CWS (p = 0.02), and from 59° (SD: 20°) to 46° (SD: 15°) at 2 years in patients without CWS (p < 0.01). Hemithorax height improved in patients treated with and without CWS (p = 0.01), but hemithorax width only improved in patients with CWS (p = 0.01). One patient with CWS and two patients without CWS required additional respiratory support at 2 years. The rates of postoperative complications were not significantly different in patients treated with and without CWS (p = 0.31).

Conclusions: Growth friendly constructs improve spinal deformity and may be effective in altering the progression toward respiratory failure in patients with SMA. Patients treated with CWS have significant improvements in thorax morphology compared to patients without CWS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00586-020-06564-8DOI Listing
March 2021

Improvement of Pulmonary Function Measured by Patient-reported Outcomes in Patients With Spinal Muscular Atrophy After Growth-friendly Instrumentation.

J Pediatr Orthop 2021 Jan;41(1):1-5

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.

Background: Children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) sustain a progressive reduction in pulmonary function (PF) related to both muscular weakness and the concomitant effects of spinal deformity on the thorax. Growth-friendly instrumentation is commonly utilized for younger patients with scoliosis and SMA to halt the progression of spinal curvature, but its effect on PF in these patients has not previously been investigated. Using the change in Early Onset Scoliosis 24-Item Questionnaire (EOSQ-24) PF subdomain scores, the authors will investigate whether PF improves in patients with SMA after a growth-friendly intervention.

Methods: This was a multicenter retrospective cohort study from 2 international registries of patients with SMA undergoing spinal deformity surgery from 2005 to 2015. Data collected were age, sex, degree of major coronal curve, type of growth-friendly construct, forced vital capacity (FVC), and EOSQ-24 scores at the patient's preoperative, 1-year postoperative, and 2-year postoperative visits. Differences in EOSQ-24 PF scores and FVC between baseline and postoperative assessment were examined by paired tests.

Results: A total of 74 patients were identified (mean age, 7.6±2.3 y, major curve 68.1±22.4 degrees, 51.4% female individuals). The mean EOSQ-24 PF scores improved significantly from 70.6 preoperatively to 83.6 at 1 year (P=0.092) and 86.5 at 2 years postoperatively (P=0.020). The scores in patients with rib-based constructs showed steeper increases at 1-year assessments than those in patients with spine-based constructs. The mean paired FVC value decreased from 63.9% predicted preoperatively, to 57.6% predicted at 1 year postoperatively (P=0.035), and 61.9% predicted preoperatively, to 56.3% predicted at 2 years postoperatively (P=0.178).

Conclusions: Patients with SMA who received growth-friendly instrumentation did experience improvements in PF as measured by EOSQ-24 assessing the caregivers' perception. Given the uncertain reliability of PFTs in this young population, EOSQ-24 is an important tool for measuring improvements in health-related quality of life.

Level Of Evidence: Level III-retrospective study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001656DOI Listing
January 2021

Lengthening Less Than 7 Months Leads to Greater Spinal Height Gain With Rib-based Distraction.

J Pediatr Orthop 2020 Sep;40(8):e747-e752

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Background: Severe early-onset scoliosis (EOS) has been associated with a multitude of comorbidities, chief among them being deficient thoracic spine growth and pulmonary complications. EOS management with rib-based instrumentation involves repeated lengthening. Despite expansion practice patterns, there is limited literature and no evidence-based guidelines for optimal expansion intervals. Our study evaluates clinical outcomes in relation to lengthening intervals with the aim of optimizing the timing of surgical expansion in EOS patients.

Methods: A single-institution retrospective review of 60 EOS patients treated with rib-based growth instrumentation with a minimum of 3-year follow-up and 3 expansion/revision surgeries. Patients were separated into 2 expansion cohorts: (1) more frequent lengthening [MFL group (≤7 mo)] and (2) less frequent lengthening [LFL group (>7 mo)]. Demographic information and clinical factors were recorded. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed.

Results: Both the MFL group (35 patients) and LFL group (25 patients) were similar in sex distribution, diagnosis, preoperative parameters of interest, and treatment duration. The mean follow-up was 6.0 years. There was an increase in postoperative T1-S1 spine height gained in the MFL group (P=0.006) as well as a higher percent expected spine growth based on normative values (P=0.03) when compared with the LFL group. The MFL group had more expansion/revision surgeries (P=0.003) but no increase in the number of complications (P=0.86).

Conclusions: More frequent lengthenings were associated with statistically significant overall spinal height gain and percent expected growth without a significant increase in complication rates. It was shown that change in major curve and space available for the lungs was not associated with the lengthening intervals.

Level Of Evidence: Level III-a comparative retrospective study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001625DOI Listing
September 2020

Thoracic Quantitative Dynamic MRI to Understand Developmental Changes in Normal Ventilatory Dynamics.

Chest 2021 Feb 6;159(2):712-723. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

The Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Background: A database of normative quantitative measures of regional thoracic ventilatory dynamics, which is essential to understanding better thoracic growth and function in children, does not exist.

Research Question: How to quantify changes in the components of ventilatory pump dynamics during childhood via thoracic quantitative dynamic MRI (QdMRI)?

Study Design And Methods: Volumetric parameters were derived via 51 dynamic MRI scans for left and right lungs, hemidiaphragms, and hemichest walls during tidal breathing. Volume-based symmetry and functional coefficients were defined to compare left and right sides and to compare contributions of the hemidiaphragms and hemichest walls with tidal volumes (TVs). Statistical analyses were performed to compare volume components among four age-based groups.

Results: Right thoracic components were significantly larger than left thoracic components, with average ratios of 1.56 (95% CI, 1.41-1.70) for lung TV, 1.81 (95% CI, 1.60-2.03) for hemidiaphragm excursion TV, and 1.34 (95% CI, 1.21-1.47) for hemichest wall excursion TV. Right and left lung volumes at end-expiration showed, respectively, a 44% and 48% increase from group 2 (8 ≤ age < 10) to group 3 (10 ≤ age < 12). These numbers from group 3 to group 4 (12 ≤ age ≤ 14) were 24% and 28%, respectively. Right and left hemichest wall TVs exhibited, respectively, 48% and 45% increases from group 3 to group 4.

Interpretation: Normal right and left ventilatory volume components have considerable asymmetry in morphologic features and dynamics and change with age. Chest wall and diaphragm contributions vary in a likewise manner. Thoracic QdMRI can provide quantitative data to characterize the regional function and growth of the thorax as it relates to ventilation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.07.066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7856528PMC
February 2021

Major complications following surgical correction of spine deformity in 257 patients with cerebral palsy.

Spine Deform 2020 12 27;8(6):1305-1312. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Division of Orthopedics and Scoliosis, Rady Children's Hospital, 3020 Children's Way, MC 5062, San Diego, CA, 92123, USA.

Study Design: Observational.

Objectives: To report on the rate of major complications following spinal fusion and instrumentation to treat spinal deformity in patients with cerebral palsy (CP). Understanding the risk of major complications following the surgical treatment of spine deformities in patients with CP is critical.

Methods: A prospectively collected, multicenter database of patients with CP who had surgical correction of their spinal deformity (scoliosis or kyphosis) was reviewed for all major complications. Patients with ≥ 2 year follow-up or who died ≤ 2 years of surgery were included. A complication was defined as major if it resulted in reoperation, re-admission to the hospital, prolongation of the hospital stay, was considered life-threatening, or resulted in residual disability. Overall complication and revision rates were calculated for the perioperative (Peri-op; occurring ≤ 90 days postoperative) and delayed postoperative (Delayed; > 90 days) time periods.

Results: Two hundred and fifty-seven patients met inclusion. Seventy-eight (30%) patients had a major complication, 18 (7%) had > 1. There were 92 (36%) major complications; 64 (24.9%) occurred Peri-op. The most common Peri-op complications were wound (n = 16, 6.2%) and pulmonary issues (n = 28, 10.9%), specifically deep infections (n = 12, 4.7%) and prolonged ventilator support (n = 21, 8.2%). Delayed complications (n = 28, 10.9%) were primarily deep infections (n = 8, 3.1%) and instrumentation-related (n = 6, 2.3%). There were 42 additional surgeries for an overall unplanned return to the operating room rate of 16% (Peri-op: 8.6%, Delayed: 7.8%). Thirty-six (14.0%) reoperations were spine related surgeries (wound or instrumentation-related). Eleven (4.3%) patients died between 3 months to 5.6 years postoperatively; 4 occurred ≤ 1 year of surgery. Two deaths were directly related to the spinal deformity surgery.

Conclusion: Spinal deformity surgery in CP patients with greater than 2 years of follow-up have a postoperative major complication rate of 36% with a spine-related reoperation rate of 14.0%.

Level Of Evidence: Therapeutic-IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00165-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7384279PMC
December 2020

The Impact of Posterior Spinal Fusion (PSF) on Coronal Balance in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS): A New Classification and Trends in the Postoperative Period.

J Pediatr Orthop 2020 Oct;40(9):e788-e793

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Introduction: One of the primary goals of scoliosis surgery is to balance the head over the pelvis (or avoid creating imbalance). Historically, a normal coronal balance was defined as the C7 plumb line (C7PL) within 2 cm of the central sacral vertical line (CSVL); however, there is limited published information regarding the speed/magnitude and success/failure of balancing, rebalancing, or unbalancing in the postoperative period. The purpose of this study is to classify and quantify coronal plane balance postoperatively in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis when using pedicle screw instrumentation.

Methods: Evaluated patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who had a posterior spinal fusion withstanding 2-view, posteroanterior and lateral radiographs of the entire spine performed at first erect visit, 6, 12, and 24 months. To measure coronal balance, a C7PL was measured and compared with the CSVL. A negative value denotes the leftward deviation of the C7PL and a positive value a rightward deviation. The authors then created a novel coronal balance classification system.

Results: A total of 954 patients met the inclusion criteria. There was a strong trend toward improving coronal balance, especially between first erect and 6 months; the proportion of out of balance patients declined throughout the 2-year period: preoperative 372 of 954 (39%), first erect 297 of 954 (31.1%), 6 months 167 of 954 (17.5%), 1 year 136 of 954 (14.3%), and 2 years 115 of 954 (12.0%). Analyzing the patients most out of balance immediately after posterior spinal fusion, 35 of 50 (70%) in group 3 regained balance by 2 years. Out of the remaining 15 patients, 12 corrected to group 1 (24%), 2 patients to group 2 (4%), and 1 patient remained in group 3 (2%).

Conclusions: This large, longitudinal postoperative study of coronal balance documents a strong trend toward postoperative rebalancing, with the largest gains between first erect image and 6 months. The 31% of patients out of balance at first erect declined to only 12.1% at 2 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0000000000001622DOI Listing
October 2020

What's Important: Managing the Impact of Coronavirus on Pediatric Spine Surgery.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2020 08;102(16):e94

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.20.00641DOI Listing
August 2020