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Journal: The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society


In today’s healthcare climate, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is often perceived as a commodity - a service where there are no meaningful differences in quality and thus an area in which patients can be advised to select a provider based on price and convenience alone. If this prevailing view is correct, then a patient should expect to receive the same radiological diagnosis regardless of which imaging center he or she visits or which radiologist reviews the examination. Based on their extensive clinical experience, the authors believe that this assumption is not correct and that it can negatively impact patient care, outcomes and costs.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, X-ray, Medical imaging, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Illness, Radiology


Mobilization and manipulation therapies are widely used to benefit patients with chronic low back pain. However, questions remain about their efficacy, dosing, safety, as well as how these approaches compare to other therapies.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain


Various surface modifications, often incorporating roughened or porous surfaces, have recently been introduced to enhance osseointegration of interbody fusion devices. However, these topographical features can be vulnerable to damage during clinical impaction. Despite the potential negative impact of surface damage on clinical outcomes, current testing standards do not replicate clinically relevant impaction loading conditions.



Chronic low back pain (cLBP) represents a major challenge to our health care systems. The relative efficacy of surgery over nonoperative treatment for the treatment of cLBP remains controversial, and little is known of the long-term comparative outcomes.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Epidemiology, Low back pain, Back pain, Randomized controlled trial, Spinal fusion


BACKGROUND CONTEXT: There are rare reports of intraosseous ganglion cysts in the cervical spine. However, to our knowledge, there are no previous reports of these cysts occurring in the lumbar spine. PURPOSE: To report a case of symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis caused by an intraosseous ganglion cyst of the L4 lamina that communicated with the spinal canal. STUDY DESIGN: Case report. METHODS: An 86-year-old woman was referred to our spine service for a 2-year history of anterior thigh and leg pain. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a benign-appearing intraosseous cyst in the left L4 lamina communicating with a posterior epidural cyst at L4-L5 causing marked spinal stenosis. The patient was treated successfully with a laminectomy and resection. RESULTS: The patient underwent partial laminectomies of L4 and L5 preserving the interspinous ligaments between L5-S1 and L3-L4. The cyst was removed en bloc without violation of the cyst wall. Histopathologic examination revealed focal myxoid changes without a cellular lining of the cyst wall, confirming the diagnosis of intraosseous ganglion cyst. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report to describe an intraosseous ganglion cyst occurring in the lumbar spine. Although spinal stenosis is commonly a result of degenerative joint or disc disease, it occasionally may result from more obscure causes. This case illustrates a patient with an intraosseous ganglion cyst within the spinal lamina resulting in spinal stenosis, treated successfully with a laminectomy and resection.

Concepts: Causality, Lumbar vertebrae, Vertebral column, Magnetic resonance imaging, Bones of the torso, Cyst, Cervical vertebrae, Ganglion cyst


Evidence is lacking on the prognosis and prognostic factors for back-related leg pain and sciatica in patients seeing their primary care physicians. This could guide timely appropriate treatment and referral decisions.

Concepts: Medical terms, Physician, Medical diagnosis, Prognosis, Primary care, Primary care physician


The human iliolumbar ligament connects the transverse process of L5 to the iliac crest and contributes to lumbosacral stability and has been associated with low back pain. However, different opinions exist regarding the functional relevance of the ligament.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, Pelvis


BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The lateral transpsoas approach to interbody fusion of the lumbar spine (lateral lumbar interbody fusion [LLIF]) with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) augmentation has been increasingly performed in recent years. Potential side effects and adverse sequelae of BMP-2 in the acute setting remain to be fully elucidated. PURPOSE: To review the literature for reports of complications related to BMP-2 implantation in lumbar spinal surgery and present a case of a contralateral psoas muscle seroma after LLIF with BMP-2 implantation. STUDY DESIGN: Case report and literature review. METHODS: The PubMed database was searched for articles related to adverse events to BMP-2 in lumbar spinal surgery. We report the case of a 57-year-old woman who underwent routine right-sided transpsoas approach for LLIF with the use of BMP-2 at our institution and developed a left-sided psoas muscle fluid accumulation 2 weeks postoperatively. RESULTS: No reports of complications contralateral to an LLIF approach attributable to an inflammatory response to BMP-2 were identified in the English literature. In the presented patient, a large (4.2×6.5×2.7 cm) left-sided sterile intramuscular psoas fluid collection was seen on a magnetic resonance imaging study obtained on postoperative day 14. At a 6-month follow-up, left-sided L5 radiculopathy resulting in 4/5 foot drop was confirmed by electromyography. The patient reported here represents the only case of a contralateral psoas seroma with suspected association to BMP-2 utilization in LLIF encountered at our institution. CONCLUSIONS: A serous psoas muscle fluid accumulation after BMP-2 implantation may rarely occur contralateral to the surgical approach for LLIF. Further characterization of complications related to BMP-2 implantation after lumbar spinal surgery will help guide preoperative informed decision making and the management of this unusual postoperative adverse event.

Concepts: Medical terms, Lumbar vertebrae, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Vertebral column, Magnetic resonance imaging, Report, Adverse event, Psoas major muscle


BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The rates of pseudoarthrosis after a single-level spinal fusion have been reported up to 35%, and the agents that increase the rate of fusion have an important role in decreasing pseudoarthrosis after spinal fusion. Previous studies have analyzed the effects of local insulin application to an autograft in a rat segmental defect model. Defects treated with a time-released insulin implant had significantly more new bone formation and greater quality of bone compared with controls based on histology and histomorphometry. A time-released insulin implant may have similar effects when applied in a lumbar spinal fusion model. PURPOSE: This study analyzes the effects of a local time-released insulin implant applied to the fusion bed in a rat posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion model. Our hypothesis was twofold: first, a time-released insulin implant applied to the autograft bed in a rat posterolateral lumbar fusion will increase the rate of successful fusion and second, will alter the local environment of the fusion site by increasing the levels of local growth factors. STUDY DESIGN: Animal model (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved): using 40 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. METHODS: Forty skeletally mature Sprague-Dawley rats weighing approximately 500 g each underwent posterolateral intertransverse lumbar fusions with iliac crest autograft from L4 to L5 using a Wiltse-type approach. After exposure of the transverse processes and high-speed burr decortication, a Linplant (Linshin Canada, Inc., ON, Canada) consisting of 95% microrecrystalized palmitic acid and 5% bovine insulin (experimental group) or a sham implant consisting of only palmitic acid (control group) was implanted on the fusion bed with iliac crest autograft. As per the manufacturer, the Linplant has a release rate of 2 U/day for a minimum of 40 days. The transverse processes and autograft beds of 10 animals from the experimental and 10 from the control group were harvested at Day 4 and analyzed for growth factors. The remaining 20 spines were harvested at 8 weeks and underwent a radiographic examination, manual palpation, and microcomputed tomographic (micro-CT) examination. RESULTS: One of the 8-week control animals died on postoperative Day 1, likely due to anesthesia. In the groups sacrificed at Day 4, there was a significant increase in insulinlike growth factor-I (IGF-I) in the insulin treatment group compared with the controls (0.185 vs. 0.129; p=.001). No significant differences were demonstrated in the levels of transforming growth factor beta-1, platelet-derived growth factor-AB, and vascular endothelial growth factor between the groups (p=.461, .452, and .767 respectively). Based on the radiographs, 1 of 9 controls had a solid bilateral fusion mass, 2 of 9 had unilateral fusion mass, 3 of 9 had small fusion mass bilaterally, and 3 of 9 had graft resorption. The treatment group had solid bilateral fusion mass in 6 of 10 and unilateral fusion mass in 4 of 10, whereas a small bilateral fusion mass and graft resorption were not observed. The difference between the groups was significant (p=.0067). Based on manual palpation, only 1 of 9 controls was considered fused, 4 of 9 were partially fused, and 4 of 9 were not fused. In the treatment group, there were 6 of 10 fusions, 3 of 10 partial fusions, and 1 of 10 were not fused. The difference between the groups was significant (p=.0084). Based on the micro-CT, the mean bone volume of the control group was 126.7 mm(3) and 203.8 mm(3) in the insulin treatment group. The difference between the groups was significant (p=.0007). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the potential role of a time-released insulin implant as a bone graft enhancer using a rat posterolateral intertransverse lumbar fusion model. The insulin-treatment group had significantly higher fusion rates based on the radiographs and manual palpation and had significantly higher levels of IGF-I and significantly more bone volume on micro-CT.

Concepts: Immune system, Scientific method, Signal transduction, Angiogenesis, Hormone, Orthopedic surgery, Growth factors, Spinal fusion