Roger Härtl

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (111)245.03 Total impact


  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Global Spine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The gold standard treatment for degenerative lumbar listhesis is decompression with fusion. According to a SPORT trail, 35% of patients with this condition present with additional symptomatic stenosis most commonly on the adjacent segment. However, the most appropriate surgical technique to treat the stenosis adjacent to the instrumented segment remains controversial. Extended fusion with open decompression could lead to adjacent segment disease; simple decompression without fusion might lead to clinically relevant instability at the index level. To date, there is no study evaluating the biomechanical impact of decompression procedures in this clinical scenario. The presented work is the first to analyze the mechanical effect of minimally invasive (MI) and open decompression procedures adjacent to instrumented segments in the lumbar spine. Material and Methods: Tested conditions: Seven cadaveric lumbar spines were tested. The entire lumbar spine was assessed intact (baseline) and for the following conditions: (1) Instrumented fusion at L4/L5. (2) MI decompression through a tubular retractor at L3/L4 with a unilateral approach for bilateral internal decompression and complete removal of the flavum ligament. (3) Additional bilateral partial facetectomy at L3/L4 (20% of the facet joints). (4) Laminectomy at L3/L4. Mechanical testing: Specimens were carefully cleaned of muscular tissue and potted at T12 and S2–S4. Nonconstraining, nondestructive pure moment (torque) loading (7.5 Nm) was applied to each specimen through a system of cables and pulleys in conjunction with a standard servohydraulic test system. Loads were applied in 1.25 Nm increments until the maximum load was reached. Each condition was tested for flexion extension, lateral bending, left and right axial rotation, and compression. The range of motion (ROM) of each segment was assessed stereophotogrammetrically by capturing the three-dimensional displacement of infrared-emitting markers which were rigidly attached to each vertebra from L1–S1. ROM was measured in degrees and used to quantify spinal stability. One-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by the Fisher least significant difference test were used to compare ROM. Results: All data are shown as normalized ratio. Compared with intact L3/L4 after L4/L5 fusion, MIS decompression significantly increased the L3/L4 ROM by 13% (p = 0.034) for flexion extension (20% more than baseline) and 23% for axial rotation (p = 0.003) (26% more than baseline). Partial facetectomy further increased the ROM by 15% for axial rotation (p = 0.032) (46% more than baseline) but not for flexion extension. Laminectomy further increased the ROM for flexion extension by 12% (p = 0.05) (38% more than baseline) and for axial rotation by 17% (p = 0.023) (58% more than baseline). There were no significant changes for lateral bending or compression tests for any tested condition. Looking at the overall motion of the lumbar spine, L4/L5 fusion decreased flexion extension by 20% (< 0.001) and axial rotation by 19% (p < 0.001). With each decompressive procedure, the overall motion returned to almost normal in a stepwise manner reaching 95% of baseline after laminectomy. Conclusion: Mechanical alterations of MI decompression adjacent to fused segments are comparable to mechanical alterations of these procedures without adjacent fusion shown in other studies. Therefore, adjacent fusion does not significantly increase instability of MI decompression. The preservation of the facet joints is crucial for segmental stability. Laminectomy adjacent to fused segment causes an up to 58% increase in segmental ROM and is therefore not recommended in the presented clinical scenario.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: To optimize intraoperative neuromonitoring during extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) by adding transcranial electrical stimulation with motor evoked potential (TESMEP) to previously described monitoring using spontaneous EMG (sEMG) and peripheral stimulation (triggered EMG: tEMG). Twenty-three patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis had XLIF procedures and were monitored using sEMG, tEMG and TESMEP. Spontaneous and triggered muscle activity, and the MEP of 5 ipsilateral leg muscles, 2 contralateral leg muscles and 1 arm muscle were monitored. During XLIF surgery decreased MEP amplitudes were measured in 9 patients and in 6 patients sEMG was documented. In 4 patients, both events were described. In 30 % of the cases (n = 7), the MEP amplitude decreased immediately after breaking of the table and even before skin incision. After reduction of the table break, the MEP amplitudes recovered to baseline. In two patients, the MEP amplitude deteriorated during distraction of the psoas with the retractor, while no events were reported using sEMG and tEMG. Repositioning of the retractor led to recovery of the MEP. Monitoring the complete nervous system during an XLIF procedure is found to be helpful since nerve roots, lumbar plexus as well as the intradural neural structures may be at risk. TESMEP has additional value to sEMG and tEMG during XLIF procedure: (1) it informed about otherwise unnoticed events, and (2) it confirmed and added information to events measured using sEMG.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · European Spine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Open annular defects compromise the ability of the annulus fibrosus to contain nuclear tissue in the disc space, and therefore lead to disc herniation with subsequent degenerative changes to the entire intervertebral disc. This study reports the use of riboflavin crosslinked high-density collagen gel for the repair of annular defects in a needle-punctured rat-tail model. High-density collagen has increased stiffness and greater hydraulic permeability than conventional low-density gels; riboflavin crosslinking further increases these properties. This study found that treating annular defects with crosslinked high-density collagen inhibited the progression of disc degeneration over 18 weeks compared to untreated control discs. Histological sections of FITC-labeled collagen gel revealed an early tight attachment to host annular tissue. The gel was subsequently infiltrated by host fibroblasts which remodeled it into a fibrous cap that bridged the outer disrupted annular fibers and partially repaired the defect. This repair tissue enhanced retention of nucleus pulposus tissue, maintained physiological disc hydration, and preserved hydraulic permeability, according to MRI, histological, and mechanical assessments. Degenerative changes were partially reversed in treated discs, as indicated by an increase in nucleus pulposus size and hydration between weeks 5 and 18. The collagen gel appeared to work as an instant sealant and by enhancing the intrinsic healing capabilities of the host tissue. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Acta biomaterialia
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    ABSTRACT: Study Design Retrospective case series. Objective StaXx XD (Spine Wave, Inc., Shelton, CT, United States) is an expandable polyaryl-ether-ether-ketone (PEEK) wafer implant utilized in the treatment of lumbar degenerative disease. PEEK implants have been successfully used as interbody devices. Few studies have focused on expandable PEEK devices. The aim of the current study is to determine the radiographic and clinical outcome of expandable PEEK cages utilized for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in patients with lumbar degenerative diseases. Methods Forty-nine patients who underwent lumbar interbody fusion with implantation of expandable PEEK cages and posterior instrumentation were included. The clinical outcome was evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Radiographic parameters including disk height, foraminal height, listhesis, local disk angle of the index level/levels, regional lumbar lordosis, and graft subsidence were measured preoperatively, postoperatively, and at latest follow-up. Results At an average follow-up of 19.3 months, the minimum clinically important difference for the ODI and VAS back, buttock, and leg were achieved in 64, 52, 58, and 52% of the patients, respectively. There was statistically significant improvement in VAS back (6.42 versus 3.11, p < 0.001), VAS buttock (4.66 versus 1.97, p = 0.002), VAS leg (4.55 versus 1.96, p < 0.001), and ODI (21.7 versus 12.1, p < 0.001) scores. There was a significant increase in the average disk height (6.49 versus 8.18 mm, p = 0.037) and foraminal height (15.6 versus 18.53 mm, p = 0.0001), and a significant reduction in the listhesis (5.13 versus 3.15 mm, p = 0.005). The subsidence of 0.66 mm (7.4%) observed at the latest follow-up was not significant (p = 0.35). Conclusions Midterm results indicate that expandable PEEK spacers can effectively and durably restore disk and foraminal height and improve the outcome without significant subsidence.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Global Spine Journal

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Global Spine Journal

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Global Spine Journal

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Global Spine Journal

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Global Spine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Asymmetric loss of disc height in adult deformity patients may lead to unilateral vertical foraminal stenosis and radiculopathy. The current study aimed to investigate whether restoration of foraminal height on the symptomatic side using extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) would alleviate unilateral radiculopathy. In a retrospective study, patients with single-level unilateral vertical foraminal stenosis and corresponding radicular pain undergoing XLIF were included. Functional data (visual analog scale (VAS) for buttock, leg and back, as well as Oswestry Disability Index (ODI)) and radiographic measurements (bilateral foraminal height, disc height, segmental coronal Cobb angle and regional lumbar lordosis) were collected preoperatively, postoperatively and at the last follow-up. Twenty-three patients were included, among whom 61 % had degenerative scoliosis. History of previous surgery at the level of index was present in 43 % of patients. Additional instrumentation was performed in 91 %. The foraminal height on the stenotic side was significantly increased postoperatively (p < 0.001), and remained significantly increased at the last follow-up of 11 ± 3.7 months (p < 0.001). Additionally, VAS buttock and leg on the stenotic side, VAS back and ODI were significantly improved postoperatively and at the last follow-up (p ≤ 0.001 for all parameters). The foraminal height on the stenotic side showed correlation with the VAS leg on the stenotic side, both postoperatively and the last follow-up (r = -0.590; p = 0.013, and r = -0.537; p = 0.022, respectively). Single-level XLIF is an effective procedure for treatment of symptomatic unilateral foraminal stenosis leading to radiculopathy. In deformity patients with radicular pain caused by nerve compression at a single level, when not associated with other symptoms attributable to general scoliosis, treatment with single-level XLIF can result in short- and mid-term satisfactory outcome.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · European Spine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECT: The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) provides a minimally invasive corridor through which the cervicomedullary junction can be decompressed with reduced morbidity rates compared to those with the classic transoral approaches. The limit of the EEA is its inferior extent, and preoperative estimation of its reach is vital for determining its suitability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the actual inferior limit of the EEA in a surgical series of patients and develop an accurate and reliable predictor that can be used in planning endonasal odontoidectomies.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Neurosurgical FOCUS
  • Roger Haertl · Marjan Alimi

    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Neurosurgery Spine
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    ABSTRACT: We report the case of a 73-year-old female with severe degenerative scoliosis and back and leg pain that was successfully treated with stand- alone cages via an extreme lateral transpsoas approach. This patient had declined open surgery and instrumentation due to her advanced age concerns about potential side effects.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015
  • Halinder S. Mangat · Roger Härtl
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperosmolar agents are commonly used as an initial treatment for the management of raised intracranial pressure (ICP) after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). They have an excellent adverse-effect profile compared to other therapies, such as hyperventilation and barbiturates, which carry the risk of reducing cerebral perfusion. The hyperosmolar agent mannitol has been used for several decades to reduce raised ICP, and there is accumulating evidence from pilot studies suggesting beneficial effects of hypertonic saline (HTS) for similar purposes. An ideal therapeutic agent for ICP reduction should reduce ICP while maintaining cerebral perfusion (pressure). While mannitol can cause dehydration over time, HTS helps maintain normovolemia and cerebral perfusion, a finding that has led to a large amount of pilot data being published on the benefits of HTS, albeit in small cohorts. Prophylactic therapy is not recommended with mannitol, although it may be beneficial with HTS. To date, no large clinical trial has been performed to directly compare the two agents. The best current evidence suggests that mannitol is effective in reducing ICP in the management of traumatic intracranial hypertension and carries mortality benefit compared to barbiturates. Current evidence regarding the use of HTS in severe TBI is limited to smaller studies, which illustrate a benefit in ICP reduction and perhaps mortality. © 2015 New York Academy of Sciences.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Object: Surgical decompression is the intervention of choice for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) when nonoperative treatment has failed. Standard open laminectomy is an effective procedure, but minimally invasive laminectomy through tubular retractors is an alternative. The aim of this retrospective case series was to evaluate the clinical and radiographic outcomes of this procedure in patients who underwent LSS and to compare outcomes in patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis. Methods: Patients with LSS without spondylolisthesis and with stable Grade I spondylolisthesis who had undergone minimally invasive tubular laminectomy between 2004 and 2011 were included in this analysis. Demographic, perioperative, and radiographic data were collected. Clinical outcome was evaluated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores, as well as Macnab's criteria. Results: Among 110 patients, preoperative spondylolisthesis at the level of spinal stenosis was present in 52.5%. At a mean follow-up of 28.8 months, scoring revealed a median improvement of 16% on the ODI, 2.75 on the VAS back, and 3 on the VAS leg, compared with the preoperative baseline (p < 0.0001). The reoperation rate requiring fusion at the same level was 3.5%. Patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis had no significant differences in their clinical outcome or reoperation rate. Conclusions: Minimally invasive laminectomy is an effective procedure for the treatment of LSS. Reoperation rates for instability are lower than those reported after open laminectomy. Functional improvement is similar in patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis. This procedure can be an alternative to open laminectomy. Routine fusion may not be indicated in all patients with LSS and spondylolisthesis.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Global Spine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: A herniated intervertebral disc often causes back pain when disc tissue is displaced through a damaged annulus fibrosus. Currently the only methods available for annulus fibrosus repair involve mechanical closure of defect, which does little to address biological healing in the damaged tissue. Collagen hydrogels are injectable and have been used to repair annulus defects in vivo. In this study, high-density collagen hydrogels at 5, 10 and 15 mg/ml were used to repair defects made to intact rat caudal intervertebral discs in vitro. A group of gels at 15 mg/ml were also crosslinked with riboflavin at 0.03 mM, 0.07 mM or 0.10 mM. These crosslinked, high-density collagen gels maintained presence in the defect under loading and contributed positively to the mechanical response of damaged discs. Discs exhibited increases to 95% of undamaged effective equilibrium and instantaneous moduli as well as up to four fold decreases in effective hydraulic permeability from the damaged discs. These data suggest that high density collagen gels may be effective at restoring mechanical function of injured discs as well as potential vehicles for delivery of biological agents such as cells or growth factors that may aid in the repair of the annulus fibrosus. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A
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    ABSTRACT: METHODS: The Brain Trauma Foundation TBI-trac New York State database was used for this retrospective study. Patients with severe TBI and intracranial hypertension who received only 1 type of hyperosmotic agent, mannitol or HTS, were included. Patients in the 2 groups were individually matched for Glasgow Coma Scale score (GCS), pupillary reactivity, craniotomy, occurrence of hypotension on Day 1, and the day of ICP monitor insertion. Patients with missing or erroneous data were excluded. Cumulative and daily ICP burdens were used as primary outcome measures. The cumulative ICP burden was defined as the total number of days with an ICP of > 25 mm Hg, expressed as a percentage of the total number of days of ICP monitoring. The daily ICP burden was calculated as the mean daily duration of an ICP of > 25 mm Hg, expressed as the number of hours per day. The numbers of intensive care unit (ICU) days, numbers of days with ICP monitoring, and 2-week mortality rates were also compared between the groups. A 2-sample t-test or chi-square test was used to compare independent samples. The Wilcoxon signed-rank or Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test was used for comparing matched samples.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Neurosurgery
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECT: The gold-standard surgical approach to the odontoid is via the transoral route. This approach necessitates opening of the oropharynx and is associated with risks of infection, and swallowing and breathing complications. The endoscopic endonasal approach has the potential to reduce these complications as the oral cavity is avoided. There are fewer than 25 such cases reported to date. The authors present a consecutive, single-institution series of 9 patients who underwent the endonasal endoscopic approach to the odontoid.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Neurological Surgery, Part B: Skull Base
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    ABSTRACT: Object: Anterior cervical plating decreases the risk of pseudarthrosis following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Dysphagia is a common complication of ACDF, with the anterior plate implicated as a potential contributor. A zero-profile, stand-alone polyetheretherketone (PEEK) interbody spacer has been postulated to minimize soft-tissue irritation and postoperative dysphagia, but studies are limited. The object of the present study was to determine the clinical and radiological outcomes for patients who underwent ACDF using a zero-profile integrated plate and spacer device, with a focus on the course of postoperative prevertebral soft-tissue thickness and the incidence of dysphagia. Methods: Using a surgical database, the authors conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients who had undergone ACDF between August 2008 and October 2011. All patients received a Zero-P implant (DePuy Synthes Spine). The Neck Disability Index (NDI) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for arm and neck pain were documented. Dysphagia was determined using the Bazaz criteria. Prevertebral soft-tissue thickness, spinal alignment, and subsidence were assessed as well. Results: Twenty-two male and 19 female consecutive patients, with a mean age of 58.4 ± 14.68, underwent ACDF (66 total operated levels) in the defined study period. The mean clinical follow-up in 36 patients was 18.6 ± 9.93 months. Radiological outcome in 37 patients was assessed at a mean follow-up of 9.76 months (range 7.2-19.7 months). There were significant improvements in neck and arm VAS scores and the NDI following surgery. The neck VAS score improved from a median of 6 (range 0-10) to 0 (range 0-8; p < 0.001). The arm VAS score improved from a median of 2 (range 0-10) to 0 (range 0-7; p = 0.006). Immediate postoperative dysphagia was experienced by 58.4% of all patients. Complete resolution was demonstrated in 87.8% of affected patients at the latest follow-up. The overall median Bazaz score decreased from 1 (range 0-3) immediately postoperatively to 0 (range 0-2; p < 0.001) at the latest follow-up. Prevertebral soft-tissue thickness significantly decreased across all levels from a mean of 15.8 ± 4.38 mm to 10.1 ± 2.93 mm. Postoperative lordosis was maintained at the latest follow-up. Mean subsidence from the immediate postoperative to the latest follow-up was 4.1 ± 4.7 mm (p < 0.001). Radiographic fusion was achieved in 92.6% of implants. No correlation was found between prevertebral soft-tissue thickness and Bazaz dysphagia score. Conclusions: A zero-profile integrated plate and spacer device for ACDF surgery produces clinical and radiological outcomes that are comparable to those for nonintegrated plate and spacer constructs. Chronic dysphagia rates are comparable to or better than those for previously published case series.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of Neurosurgery Spine
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    ABSTRACT: Object: Extreme lateral interbody fusion (ELIF) is a popular technique for anterior fixation of the thoracolumbar spine. Clinical and radiological outcome studies are required to assess safety and efficacy. The aim of this study was to describe the functional and radiological impact of ELIF in a degenerative disc disease population with a longer follow-up and to assess the durability of this procedure. Methods: Demographic and perioperative data for all patients who had undergone ELIF for degenerative lumbar disorders between 2007 and 2011 were collected. Trauma and tumor cases were excluded. For radiological outcome, the preoperative, immediate postoperative, and latest follow-up coronal Cobb angle, lumbar sagittal lordosis, bilateral foraminal heights, and disc heights were measured. Pelvic incidence (PI) and PI-lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch were assessed in scoliotic patients. Clinical outcome was evaluated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS), as well as the Macnab criteria. Results: One hundred forty-five vertebral levels were surgically treated in 90 patients. Pedicle screw and rod constructs and lateral plates were used to stabilize fixation in 77% and 13% of cases, respectively. Ten percent of cases involved stand-alone cages. At an average radiological follow-up of 12.6 months, the coronal Cobb angle was 10.6° compared with 23.8° preoperatively (p < 0.0001). Lumbar sagittal lordosis increased by 5.3° postoperatively (p < 0.0001) and by 2.9° at the latest follow-up (p = 0.014). Foraminal height and disc height increased by 4 mm (p < 0.0001) and 3.3 mm (p < 0.0001), respectively, immediately after surgery and remained significantly improved at the last follow-up. Separate evaluation of scoliotic patients showed no statistically significant improvement in PI and PI-LL mismatch either immediately postoperatively or at the latest follow-up. Clinical evaluation at an average follow-up of 17.6 months revealed an improvement in the ODI and the VAS scores for back, buttock, and leg pain by 21.1% and 3.7, 3.6, and 3.7 points, respectively (p < 0.0001). According to the Macnab criteria, 84.8% of patients had an excellent, good, or fair functional outcome. New postoperative thigh numbness and weakness was detected in 4.4% and 2.2% of the patients, respectively, which resolved within the first 3 months after surgery in all but 1 case. Conclusions: This study provides what is to the authors' knowledge the most comprehensive set of radiological and clinical outcomes of ELIF in a fairly large population at a midterm follow-up. Extreme lateral interbody fusion showed good clinical outcomes with a low complication rate. The procedure allows for at least midterm clinically effective restoration of disc and foraminal heights. Improvement in coronal deformity and a small but significant increase in sagittal lordosis were observed. Nonetheless, no significant improvement in the PI-LL mismatch was achieved in scoliotic patients.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of neurosurgery. Spine

Publication Stats

2k Citations
245.03 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2007-2015
    • New York Presbyterian Hospital
      • Department of Neurological Surgery
      New York, New York, United States
  • 1995-2015
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • • Department of Neurological Surgery
      • • Department of Surgery
      New York, New York, United States
  • 1996-2013
    • Cornell University
      • • Department of Biomedical Engineering
      • • Department of Neurological Surgery
      • • Department of Public Health
      Итак, New York, United States
  • 2006
    • Barrow Neurological Institute
      • Department of Neurosurgery
      Phoenix, Arizona, United States
  • 1997-1998
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      • Department of Biology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1993
    • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
      • Department of Neurosurgery
      München, Bavaria, Germany