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## Spine-specific skeletal related events and mortality in non–small cell lung cancer patients: a single-institution analysis

### OBJECTIVE

The population prevalence of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) continues to increase; however, data are limited regarding the incidence rate of skeletal related events (SREs) (i.e., surgery to the spinal column, radiation to the spinal column, radiofrequency ablation, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty, spinal cord compression, or pathological vertebral body fractures) and their impact on overall mortality. In this study, the authors sought to estimate the incidence rates of SREs in NSCLC patients and to quantify their impact on overall mortality.

### METHODS

This was a single-institution retrospective study of patients diagnosed with NSCLC between 2002 and 2014. The incidence rates for bone metastasis and subsequent SREs (per 1000 person-years) by time since lung cancer diagnosis were calculated and analyses were stratified separately for each histological type. Incidence rates for mortality at 1, 2, and 3 years from diagnosis stratified by the presence of SREs were also calculated. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed to describe crude survival ratios in patients with spine metastasis and SREs and those with spine metastasis but without SREs. These curves were used to estimate the 1- and 2-year survival rates for each cohort.

### RESULTS

We identified 320 patients with incident NSCLC (median follow-up 9.5 months). The mean ± SD age was 60.65 ± 11.26 years; 94.48% of patients were smokers and 60.12% had a family history of cancer. The majority of first-time SREs were pathological vertebral body compression fractures (77.00%), followed by radiation (35%), surgery (14%), and spinal cord compression (13.04%). Mortality rates were highest in NSCLC patients with spine metastasis who had at least 1 SRE. Stratifying by histological subtype, the incidence rate of mortality in patients with SRE was highest in the large cell cohort, 7.42 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 3.09–17.84 per 1000 person-years); followed by the squamous cell cohort, 2.49 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 1.87–3.32 per 1000 person-years); and lowest in the adenocarcinoma cohort, 1.68 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 1.46–1.94 per 1000 person-years). Surgery for decompression of neural structures and stabilization of the spinal column was required in 6% of patients.

### CONCLUSIONS

SREs in NSCLC patients with bone metastasis are associated with an increased incidence rate of mortality.

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## Comprehensive classification system for multirod constructs across three-column osteotomies: a reliability study

### OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors’ goal was to determine the intra- and interobserver reliability of a new classification system that allows the description of all possible constructs used across three-column osteotomies (3COs) in terms of rod configuration and density.

### METHODS

Thirty-five patients with multirod constructs (MRCs) across a 3CO were classified by two spinal surgery fellows according to the new system, and then were reclassified 2 weeks later. Constructs were classified as follows: the number of rods across the osteotomy site followed by a letter corresponding to the type of rod configuration: “M” is for a main rod configuration, defined as a single rod spanning the osteotomy. “L” is for linked rod configurations, defined as 2 rods directly connected to each other at the osteotomy site. “S” is for satellite rod configurations, which were defined as a short rod independent of the main rod with anchors above and below the 3CO. “A” is for accessory rods, defined as an additional rod across the 3CO attached to main rods but not attached to any anchors across the osteotomy site. “I” is for intercalary rod configurations, defined as a rod connecting 2 separate constructs across the 3CO, without the intercalary rod itself attached to any anchors across the osteotomy site. The intra- and interobserver reliability of this classification system was determined.

### RESULTS

A sample estimation for validation assuming two readers and 35 subjects results in a two-sided 95% confidence interval with a width of 0.19 and a kappa value of 0.8 (SD 0.3). The Fleiss kappa coefficient (κ) was used to calculate the degree of agreement between interrater and intraobserver reliability. The interrater kappa coefficient was 0.3, and the intrarater kappa coefficient was 0.63 (good reliability). This scenario represents a high degree of agreement despite a low kappa coefficient. Correct observations by both observers were 34 of 35 and 33 of 35 at both time points. Misclassification was related to difficulty in determining connectors versus anchors.

### CONCLUSIONS

MRCs across 3COs have variable rod configurations. Currently, no classification system or agreement on nomenclature exists to define the configuration of rods across 3COs. The authors present a new, comprehensive MRC classification system with good inter- and intraobserver reliability and a high degree of agreement that allows for a standardized description of MRCs across 3COs.

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## Association of osteopenia and osteoporosis with higher rates of pseudarthrosis and revision surgery in adult patients undergoing single-level lumbar fusion

### OBJECTIVE

Patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis who require surgery for symptomatic degenerative spondylolisthesis may have higher rates of postoperative pseudarthrosis and need for revision surgery than patients with normal bone mineral densities (BMDs). To this end, the authors compared rates of postoperative pseudarthrosis and need for revision surgery following single-level lumbar fusion in patients with normal BMD with those in patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis. The secondary outcome was to investigate the effects of pretreatment with medications that prevent bone loss (e.g., teriparatide, bisphosphonates, and denosumab) on these adverse outcomes in this patient cohort.

### METHODS

Patients undergoing single-level lumbar fusion between 2007 and 2017 were identified. Based on 1:1 propensity matching for baseline demographic characteristics and comorbidities, 3 patient groups were created: osteopenia (n = 1723, 33.3%), osteoporosis (n = 1723, 33.3%), and normal BMD (n = 1723, 33.3%). The rates of postoperative pseudarthrosis and revision surgery were compared between groups.

### RESULTS

The matched populations analyzed in this study included a total of 5169 patients in 3 groups balanced at baseline, with equal numbers (n = 1723, 33.3%) in each group: patients with a history of osteopenia, those with a history of osteoporosis, and a control group of patients with no history of osteopenia or osteoporosis and with normal BMD. A total of 597 complications were recorded within a 2-year follow-up period, with pseudarthrosis (n = 321, 6.2%) being slightly more common than revision surgery (n = 276, 5.3%). The odds of pseudarthrosis and revision surgery in patients with osteopenia were almost 2-fold (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.26–2.30) and 3-fold (OR 2.73, 95% CI 1.89–3.94) higher, respectively, than those in patients in the control group. Similarly, the odds of pseudarthrosis and revision surgery in patients with osteoporosis were almost 2-fold (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.43–2.59) and > 3-fold (OR 3.25, 95% CI 2.27–4.65) higher, respectively, than those in patients in the control group. Pretreatment with medications to prevent bone loss prior to surgery was associated with lower pseudarthrosis and revision surgery rates, although the differences did not reach statistical significance.

### CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative pseudarthrosis and revision surgery rates following single-level lumbar spinal fusion are significantly higher in patients with osteopenia and osteoporosis than in patients with normal BMD. Pretreatment with medications to prevent bone loss prior to surgery decreased these complication rates, although the observed differences did not reach statistical significance.

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## Comparison of rod fracture rates in long spinal deformity constructs after transforaminal versus anterior lumbar interbody fusions: a single-institution analysis

### OBJECTIVE

Pseudarthrosis is a common complication of long-segment fusions after surgery for correction of adult spinal deformity (ASD). Interbody fusions are frequently used at the caudal levels of long-segment spinal deformity constructs as adjuncts for anterior column support. There is a paucity of literature comparing rod fracture rates (proxy for pseudarthrosis) in patients undergoing transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) versus anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at the caudal levels of the long spinal deformity construct. In this study the authors sought to compare rod fracture rates in patients undergoing surgery for correction of ASD with TLIF versus ALIF at the caudal levels of long spinal deformity constructs.

### METHODS

We reviewed clinical records of patients who underwent surgery for correction of ASD between 2008 and 2014 at a single institution. Data including demographics, comorbidities, and indications for surgery, as well as postoperative variables, were collected for each patient. All patients had a minimum 2-year follow-up. Patients were dichotomized into two groups for comparison on the basis of undergoing a TLIF versus an ALIF procedure at the caudal levels of long spinal deformity constructs. The primary outcome of interest was the rate of rod fractures.

### RESULTS

A total of 198 patients (TLIF 133 patients; ALIF 65 patients) underwent a long-segment fusion to the sacrum with iliac fixation. The mean ± standard deviation follow-up period was 62.23 ± 29.26 months. Baseline demographic variables were similar in both patient groups. There were no significant differences between groups in the severity of the baseline sagittal plane deformity (i.e., baseline lumbar-pelvic parameters) or the final deformity correction achieved. Mean total recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) dose for L1–sacrum fusion was significantly higher in the ALIF (100 mg) than in the TLIF (62 mg) group. The overall rod failure rate (cases with rod fracture/total cases) within this case series was 19.19% (38/198); 10.60% (21/198) were unilateral rod fractures and 8.58% (17/198) were bilateral rod fractures. At last clinical follow-up, there were no statistically significant differences in bilateral rod fracture rates between the group of patients who had a TLIF procedure and the group who had an ALIF procedure at the caudal levels of the long spinal deformity constructs (TLIF 10.52% vs ALIF 4.61%, p = 0.11). However, the incidence rate (cases per patient follow-up years) for bilateral rod fractures was significantly higher in the TLIF than in the ALIF cohort (TLIF 2.20% vs ALIF 0.70%, p < 0.0001). The reoperation rate for rod fractures was similar between the patient groups (p = 0.40).

### CONCLUSIONS

Although both ALIF and TLIF procedures at the caudal levels of long spinal deformity constructs achieved similar and satisfactory deformity correction, ALIFs were associated with a lower rod fracture incidence rate. There were no differences between groups in the prevalence of rod fracture or revision surgery, however, and both groups had low bilateral rod fracture prevalence and incidence rates. One technique is not clearly superior to the other.

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## A comparison of readmission and complication rates and charges of inpatient and outpatient multiple-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgeries in the Medicare population

### OBJECTIVE

This study aims to assess the relationship of comorbidities and postoperative complications to rates of readmission for geriatric patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) involving more than 2 levels on an inpatient or outpatient basis. With the rising costs of healthcare in the United States, understanding the safety and efficacy of performing common surgical interventions (including ACDF) as outpatient procedures could prove to be of great economic impact.Objective This study aims to assess the effect of comorbidities and postoperative complications on the rates of readmission of geriatric patients undergoing multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedures (i.e., ACDF involving 3 or more levels) on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Same-day surgery has been demonstrated to be a safe and cost-effective alternative to the traditional inpatient option for many surgical interventions. With the rising costs of healthcare, understanding the safety and efficacy of performing common surgical interventions as outpatient procedures could prove to be of great economic impact.

### METHODS

The study population included total of 2492 patients: 2348 inpatients and 144 outpatients having ACDF procedures involving 3 or more levels in the Medicare Standard Analytical Files database. Age, sex, comorbidities, postoperative complications, readmission rates, and surgical procedure charges were compared between both cohorts. For selected variables, logistic regression was used to model odds ratios for various comorbidities against readmission rates for both inpatient and outpatient cohorts. Chi-square tests were also calculated to compare these comorbidities with readmission in each cohort.

### RESULTS

Overall complication rates within 30 postoperative days were greater for inpatients than for outpatients (44.2% vs 12.5%, p < 0.001). More inpatients developed postoperative urinary tract infection (7.9% vs 0%, p < 0.001), and the inpatient cohort had increased risk of readmission with comorbidities of anemia (OR 1.52, p < 0.001), smoking (OR 2.12, p < 0.001), and BMI ≥ 30 (OR 1.43, p < 0.001). Outpatients had increased risk of readmission with comorbidities of anemia (OR 2.78, p = 0.047), diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2 (OR 3.25, p = 0.033), and BMI ≥ 30 (OR 3.95, p = 0.008). Inpatients also had increased readmission risk with a postoperative complication of surgical site infection (OR 2.38, p < 0.001). The average charges for inpatient multilevel ACDF were significantly higher than for multilevel ACDF performed on an outpatient basis ($12,734.27 vs$12,152.18, p = 0.0019).

### CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that ACDF surgery involving 3 or more levels performed as an outpatient procedure in the geriatric population may be associated with lower rates of readmissions, complications, and surgical charges.

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## Outpatient and inpatient readmission rates of 3- and 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgeries

### OBJECTIVE

With the costs related to the United States medical system constantly rising, efforts are being made to turn traditional inpatient procedures into outpatient same-day surgeries. In this study the authors looked at the various comorbidities and perioperative complications and their impact on readmission rates of patients undergoing outpatient versus inpatient 3- and 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

### METHODS

This was a retrospective study of 337 3- and 4- level ACDF procedures in 332 patients (5 patients had both primary and revision surgeries that were included in this total of 337 procedures) between May 2012 and June 2017. In total, 331 procedures were analyzed, as 6 patients were lost to follow-up. Outpatient surgery was performed for 299 procedures (102 4-level procedures and 197 3-level procedures), and inpatient surgery was performed for 32 procedures (11 4-level procedures and 21 3-level procedures). Age, sex, comorbidities, number of fusion levels, pain level, and perioperative complications were compared between both cohorts.

### RESULTS

Analysis was performed for 331 3- and 4-level ACDF procedures done at 6 different hospitals. The overall 30-day readmission rate was 1.2% (outpatient 3 [1.0%] vs inpatient 1 [3.1%], p = 0.847). Outpatients had increased readmission risk, with comorbidities of coronary artery disease (OR 1.058, p = 0.039), autoimmune disease (OR 1.142, p = 0.006), diabetes (OR 1.056, p = 0.001), and chronic kidney disease (OR 0.933, p = 0.035). Perioperative complications of delirium (OR 2.709, p < 0.001) and surgical site infection (OR 2.709, p < 0.001) were associated with increased risk of 30-day hospital readmission in outpatients compared to inpatients.

### CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of 3- and 4-level ACDF surgery, although various comorbidities and perioperative complications may lead to higher readmission rates. Patient selection for outpatient 3- and 4-level ACDF cases might play a role in the safety of performing these procedures in the ambulatory setting, but further studies are needed to accurately identify which factors are most pertinent for appropriate selection.

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## Correlation of 2-year SRS-22r and ODI patient-reported outcomes with 5-year patient-reported outcomes after complex spinal fusion: a 5-year single-institution study of 118 patients

### OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are often measured up to 2 years after surgery; however, prospective collection of longitudinal outcomes for 5 years postoperatively can be challenging due to lack of patient follow-up. The aim of this study was to determine whether PROs collected at 2-year follow-up accurately predict long-term PROs 5 years after complex spinal fusion (≥ 5 levels).

### METHODS

This was an ambispective study of 118 adult patients (≥ 18 years old) undergoing ≥ 5-level spinal arthrodesis to the sacrum with iliac fixation from January 2002 to December 2011. Patient demographics and radiographic parameters as well as intraoperative variables were collected. PRO instruments (Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]-22r function, self-image, mental health, pain, and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]) were completed before surgery then at 2 and 5 years after surgery. Primary outcome investigated in this study was the correlation between SRS-22r domains and ODI collected at 2- and 5-year follow-up.

### RESULTS

Of the 118 patients, 111 patients had baseline PROs, 105 patients had 2-year follow-up data, and 91 patients had 5-year follow-up PRO data with 72% undergoing revision surgery. The average pre- and postoperative major coronal curve Cobb angles for the cohort were 32.1° ± 23.7° and 19.8° ± 19.3°, respectively. There was a strong correlation between 2- and 5-year ODI (r2 = 0.80, p < 0.001) and between 2- and 5-year SRS-22r domains, including function (r2 = 0.79, p < 0.001), self-image (r2 = 0.82, p < 0.001), mental health (r2 = 0.77, p < 0.001), and pain (r2 = 0.79, p < 0.001). Of the PROs, ODI showed the greatest absolute change from baseline to 2- and 5-year follow-up (2-year Δ 17.6 ± 15.9; 5-year Δ 16.5 ± 19.9) followed by SRS-22r self-image (2-year Δ 1.4 ± 0.96; 5-year Δ 1.3 ± 1.0), pain (2-year Δ 0.94 ± 0.97; 5-year Δ 0.80 ± 1.0), function (2-year Δ 0.60 ± 0.62; 5-year Δ 0.49 ± 0.79), and mental health (2-year Δ 0.49 ± 0.77; 5-year Δ 0.38 ± 0.84).

### CONCLUSIONS

Patient-reported outcomes collected at 2-year follow-up may accurately predict long-term PROs (5-year follow-up).

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## Influence of racial disparities on patient-reported satisfaction and short- and long-term perception of health status after elective lumbar spine surgery

### OBJECTIVE

In spine surgery, racial disparities have been shown to impact various aspects of surgical care. Previous studies have associated racial disparities with inferior surgical outcomes, including increased complication and 30-day readmission rates after spine surgery. Recently, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and satisfaction measures have been proxies for overall quality of care and hospital reimbursements. However, the influence that racial disparities have on short- and long-term PROs and patient satisfaction after spine surgery is relatively unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of racial disparities on 3- and 12-month PROs and patient satisfaction after elective lumbar spine surgery.

### METHODS

This study was designed as a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database. The medical records of adult (age ≥ 18 years) patients who had undergone elective lumbar spine surgery for spondylolisthesis (grade 1), disc herniation, or stenosis at a major academic institution were included in this study. Patient demographics, comorbidities, postoperative complications, and 30-day readmission rates were collected. Patients had prospectively collected outcome and satisfaction measures. Patient-reported outcome instruments—Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale for back pain (VAS-BP), and VAS for leg pain (VAS-LP)—were completed before surgery and at 3 and 12 months after surgery, as were patient satisfaction measures.

### RESULTS

The authors identified 345 medical records for 53 (15.4%) African American (AA) patients and 292 (84.6%) white patients. Baseline patient demographics and comorbidities were similar between the two cohorts, with AA patients having a greater body mass index (33.1 ± 6.6 vs 30.2 ± 6.4 kg/m2, p = 0.005) and a higher prevalence of diabetes (35.9% vs 16.1%, p = 0.0008). Surgical indications, operative variables, and postoperative variables were similar between the cohorts. Baseline and follow-up PRO measures were worse in the AA cohort, with patients having a greater baseline ODI (p < 0.0001), VAS-BP score (p = 0.0002), and VAS-LP score (p = 0.0007). However, mean changes from baseline to 3- and 12-month PROs were similar between the cohorts for all measures except the 3-month VAS-BP score (p = 0.046). Patient-reported satisfaction measures at 3 and 12 months demonstrated a significantly lower proportion of AA patients stating that surgery met their expectations (3 months: 47.2% vs 65.5%, p = 0.01; 12 months: 35.7% vs 62.7%, p = 0.007).

### CONCLUSIONS

The study data suggest that there is a significant difference in the perception of health, pain, and disability between AA and white patients at baseline and short- and long-term follow-ups, which may influence overall patient satisfaction. Further research is necessary to identify patient-specific factors associated with racial disparities that may be influencing outcomes to adequately measure and assess overall PROs and satisfaction after elective lumbar spine surgery.

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## Geriatric comanagement reduces perioperative complications and shortens duration of hospital stay after lumbar spine surgery: a prospective single-institution experience

### OBJECTIVE

Geriatric patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery have unique needs due to the physiological changes of aging. They are at risk for adverse outcomes such as delirium, infection, and iatrogenic complications, and these complications, in turn, contribute to the risk of functional decline, nursing home admission, and death. Whether preoperative and perioperative comanagement by a geriatrician reduces the incidence of in-hospital complications and length of in-hospital stay after elective lumbar spine surgery remains unknown.

### METHODS

A unique model of comanagement for elderly patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery was implemented at a major academic medical center. The Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) program was launched with the aim of improving outcomes in elderly patients (> 65 years old) undergoing complex lumbar spine surgery. In this model, a geriatrician evaluates elderly patients preoperatively, in addition to performing routine preoperative anesthesia surgical screening, and comanages them daily throughout the course of their hospital stay to manage medical comorbid conditions and coordinate multidisciplinary rehabilitation along with the neurosurgical team. The first 100 cases were retrospectively reviewed after initiation of the POSH protocol and compared with the immediately preceding 25 cases to assess the incidence of perioperative complications and clinical outcomes.

### RESULTS

One hundred twenty-five patients undergoing lumbar decompression and fusion were enrolled in this pilot program. Baseline characteristics were similar between both cohorts. The mean length of in-hospital stay was 30% shorter in the POSH cohort (6.13 vs 8.72 days; p = 0.06). The mean duration of time between surgery and patient mobilization was significantly shorter in the POSH cohort compared with the non-POSH cohort (1.57 days vs 2.77 days; p = 0.02), and the number of steps ambulated on day of discharge was 2-fold higher in the POSH cohort (p = 0.04). Compared with the non-POSH cohort, the majority of patients in the POSH cohort were discharged to home (24% vs 54%; p = 0.01).

### CONCLUSIONS

Geriatric comanagement reduces the incidence of postoperative complications, shortens the duration of in-hospital stay, and contributes to improved perioperative functional status in elderly patients undergoing elective spinal surgery for the correction of adult degenerative scoliosis.

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## Association between baseline cognitive impairment and postoperative delirium in elderly patients undergoing surgery for adult spinal deformity

### OBJECTIVE

Postoperative delirium is common in elderly patients undergoing spine surgery and is associated with a longer and more costly hospital course, functional decline, postoperative institutionalization, and higher likelihood of death within 6 months of discharge. Preoperative cognitive impairment may be a risk factor for the development of postoperative delirium. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between baseline cognitive impairment and postoperative delirium in geriatric patients undergoing surgery for degenerative scoliosis.

### METHODS

Elderly patients 65 years and older undergoing a planned elective spinal surgery for correction of adult degenerative scoliosis were enrolled in this study. Preoperative cognition was assessed using the validated Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) examination. SLUMS comprises 11 questions, with a maximum score of 30 points. Mild cognitive impairment was defined as a SLUMS score between 21 and 26 points, while severe cognitive impairment was defined as a SLUMS score of ≤ 20 points. Normal cognition was defined as a SLUMS score of ≥ 27 points. Delirium was assessed daily using the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) and rated as absent or present on the basis of CAM. The incidence of delirium was compared in patients with and without baseline cognitive impairment.

### RESULTS

Twenty-two patients (18%) developed delirium postoperatively. Baseline demographics, including age, sex, comorbidities, and perioperative variables, were similar in patients with and without delirium. The length of in-hospital stay (mean 5.33 days vs 5.48 days) and 30-day hospital readmission rates (12.28% vs 12%) were similar between patients with and without delirium, respectively. Patients with preoperative cognitive impairment (i.e., a lower SLUMS score) had a higher incidence of postoperative delirium. One- and 2-year patient reported outcomes scores were similar in patients with and without delirium.

### CONCLUSIONS

Cognitive impairment is a risk factor for the development of postoperative delirium. Postoperative delirium may be associated with decreased preoperative cognitive reserve. Cognitive impairment assessments should be considered in the preoperative evaluations of elderly patients prior to surgery.