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A selection of current topics relevant to spine surgery  |  JUNE 2013
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Magnetically controlled rods

A new procedure to treat scoliosis in children

Magnetically controlled growing rods are showing promise in correcting curvature in children’s spines caused by scoliosis. What makes this idea revolutionary? After initial surgery to install the device, all future adjustments are made externally. The technology shows big potential to lessen treatment risks and account for growth—both attractive benefits when working with children. … Read more



New tool measures level of nerve compression

Hoping to take some of the guesswork out of decompression surgery, orthopedic surgeon Dr Stephen Bartol performed a study on 42 patients at Henry Ford Hospital. “Traditionally, when we operated on someone who has nerve decompression, it was basically wait and see after the patient recovered.” He has shown that mechanomyography (MMG), which applies sensors to the skin, can assess nerve response, allowing surgeons to “differentiate between normal and compressed nerves, and gauge the severity of the compression.” Unlike another nerve monitoring technique called electromyography (EMG), MMG is not susceptible to operating room electrical interference, making it a good candidate for further study on larger populations.“



Lowering lumbar spine CT radiation by 40 %

Thanks to a new study, Dr Junghyun Lim’s spine patients at Seoul's Yeouido St Mary's Hospital are now receiving less radiation during CT scans. The study involving 107 patients used semi-automated attenuation-based tube potential selection at 100 kilovoltage, not the standard 120 kilovoltage. By employing an algorithm that factored in the size of the patient, the radiation dose could be lowered by 41%. Musculoskeletal radiologists scored the lower radiation images and found that diagnostic quality was obtained no matter how the images were reconstructed—standard filtered back projection or iterative reconstruction, which are two approaches used to reduce image noise. Dr. Lim notes that his facility performs between 140-150 lumbar CT exams each month. Based on the results of this study, "the routine lumbar spine CT exam is now conducted at 100 kilovoltage using filtered back projection, he says.


Regional association plots and recombination rates at the AIS susceptibility locus on chromosome 6q24.1.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis gene found?

After comparing genomes of thousands of Japanese individuals with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) to genomes of Japanese people without AIS, scientists from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Tokio have identified a gene related to susceptibility to the condition. The association has been repeated in Caucasian and Han Chinese populations. Located on chromosome 6, the GPR126 gene is expressed in cartilage and contributes to human height and trunk length. Experiments to limit the gene in zebrafish caused delayed ossification of the developing spine. The authors wrote, “Our finding suggests the interesting possibility that GPR126 may affect both AIS susceptibility and height through abnormal spinal development and growth.“



White coats, white lies!

Misstating a medical condition so patients can claim health insurance

Healthcare fraud can be committed by anyone: policyholder, insurance company, or healthcare professional. A significant, though underestimated, fraud factor is the “white lie” told by physicians. Are doctors putting patients first or just working the system for their own benefit? … Read more


AOSpine events

Key regional events Jun–Aug 2013


Complex Spine Surgery: Innovations in Practice (A Hands-on Bioskills Workshop)

registerChicago, IL—August 2–3, 2013



AOSpine Advances Symposium in Spinal Deformit

registerNanjing, China—August 31–September 1, 2013



AOSpine Principles Specimen Course

registerLucerne, Switzerland—June 27 or June 28, 2013



Pan Arab Spine Society: AOSpine Symposium—Complications in Spine Surgery

register Morocco—June 29, 2013



Simposio Avanzado AOSpine: Patología Degenerativa—
Controversias en el manejo actual

registerBuenos Aires, Argentina—July 5–July 6, 2013



Click here for a listing of all events


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