IntroductionThough open lumbar disc surgery is still the most frequent and the most important intervention in spine, in the last two decades more papers about other procedures such as percutaneous intradiscal therapy or instrumented fusion have been published. One reason may be that there have been no significant developments concerning this operation in the last years. Another factor may be that industry has little interest in open disc surgery because there is nothing to inject or to implant. Once you have the microscope and instruments you are equipped for a life time.Only a few publications consider the complications and side effects of open disc surgery; these topics are mainly to be found in books by experienced spine surgeons [11,13]. The last multicenter studies of any great value in this field took place many years ago [14,15,20]. Studies about complications in lumbar spine surgery are very important, because poor patient selection and intraoperative complications mostly end up in failed back surgery syndrome.Open lumbar disc surgery is known not to be life threatening, but is nevertheless risky. In our European Spine Society questionnaire  to evaluate a risk and value score for different diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in spine, open discectomy had the highest effectivity rate but a negative overall risk value score because of complications and poor results. Our studies in the past years considered different factors that influenced the outcome of open lumbar disc surgery with reference to the predictors for failed back surgery syndrome [4,8].Abstract Complications and side effects in any kind of surgery, especially in spine surgery, should be evaluated to prevent those problems in the future. Since retrospective studies are of minor value and randomized controlled studies for complications are impossible to perform because of ethical and legal reasons, so-called "expert opinion" has to take their place in evidence-based medicine. On the basis of an analysis of the results of three spine centers together with the opinions of experienced spine surgeons, the authors have drawn up a classification of complications in open lumbar disc surgery and recommendations on how to manage common complications such as excessive bleeding, dural opening, nerve root lesions and recurrent disc herniation. The man-agement of intraoperative complications should have the same training in microdiscectomy instructional courses as the operation itself.
Sacral insufficiency fractures (SIF) usually occur in elderly women and are secondary to various conditions, mainly postmenopausal or steroid-induced osteoporosis and radiation therapy. They are often overlooked or confused clinically and radiographically with metastatic disease. We report a case of a 72-year-old woman who presented to our department with severe low-back pain. She was thoroughly investigated for the cause of her back pain. Plain X-rays did not reveal any abnormality, but magnetic resonance (MR) scan revealed marked oedema within both sides of the sacrum, suggesting a neoplastic lesion. Bone scintigraphy did show a hyperfixation pattern forming an 'H' in the sacrum which is a characteristic sign of SIF. Computed tomography (CT) confirmed sclerotic changes interpreted as insufficiency fractures through both sacral alae. Increased awareness of these fractures may help to avoid unnecessary investigations and treatment. Bed rest and analgesia followed by rehabilitation provide good relief of symptoms.
We report a case of intra-articular migration of the proximal part of a broken polylactic acid screw from the tibial site of anterior cruciate ligament-reconstruction with quadrupled semi-tendinosus tendon. Five months after initially successful ACL surgery the patient felt a sudden locking of the knee without another injury. MRI showed intra-articular migration of one-half of the polylactic acid screw, and standard radiographs a widening of the proximal tibial tunnel. At revision arthroscopy the broken part was easily removed. The patient had full recovery. This case demonstrates the problem of "bioscrew" breakage in ACL surgery.
Intramuscular botulinum toxin A injections are beneficial for the treatment of functional shortening of the iliopsoas muscle, but it is difficult to achieve precise needle positioning and injection. As a solution to this we present an ultrasound-guided injection technique for the iliopsoas muscle using an anterior approach from the groin. The procedure was performed 26 times in 13 patients (seven males, six females; mean age 11 years, SD 9 years 8 months; age range 4 to 31 years), 10 times bilaterally. Indications were functional iliopsoas shortening due to cerebral palsy (17 hips), hereditary spastic paraplegia (four hips), and Perthes disease (five hips). In all cases the iliopsoas muscle was identified easily by ultrasound; the placement of the injection needle and injection into the site of interest were observed during real time. No complications were encountered. Botulinum toxin A (BTX-A) injections have become established as a standard procedure for the treatment of functional shortening of different muscles in persons with spasticity or dystonia (Kessler et al. 1999, Bakheit et al. 2001, Kirschner et al. 2001). Optimal needle placement is essential to avoid severe side effects and to assess lack of response to the drug or incorrect region of injection. While injection into superficial, very palpable muscles is quite easy, the approach to other muscles such as the iliopsoas muscle may be more difficult and the placement of the needle for an optimal injection site is harder to control. As a solution to this, we present an ultrasound-guided injection technique. The main indications for BTX-A injections in the iliopsoas muscle are dynamic hip flexion deformities mostly due to spastic conditions which may compromise walking (increased anterior pelvic tilt during the whole gait cycle, decreased hip extension at terminal stance, increased peak hip flexion during swing; Molenaers et al. 1999. Another indication might be decentration of the femoral head (as part of an injection programme which also includes other muscles like the adductors and the medial hamstrings) for pain relief, reducing care difficulties and, possibly, prevention of further decentration (Porta 2000, Foster et al. 2001, Deleplanque et al. 2002, Lubik et al. 2002). In Perthes disease, BTX-A injections in the iliopsoas muscle and the adductors may prevent a fixed deformity, which is a negative prognostic factor.
In view of the number of inadequate reductions in plaster casts, we recommend verifying the position of the hip joint by MRI. This MRI documentation should be established as a standard examination post-reduction.
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