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Zachary D. Rethorn, Chad E. Cook, Christine Park, Tamara Somers, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Andrew K. Chan, Brenton H. Pennicooke, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, Avery L. Buchholz, Mohamad Bydon, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Domagoj Coric, Kevin T. Foley, Kai-Ming Fu, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Luis Tumialan, Jay D. Turner, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Michael Y. Wang, and Oren Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

Combinations of certain social risk factors of race, sex, education, socioeconomic status (SES), insurance, education, employment, and one’s housing situation have been associated with poorer pain and disability outcomes after lumbar spine surgery. To date, an exploration of such factors in patients with cervical spine surgery has not been conducted. The objective of the current work was to 1) define the social risk phenotypes of individuals who have undergone cervical spine surgery for myelopathy and 2) analyze their predictive capacity toward disability, pain, quality of life, and patient satisfaction–based outcomes.

METHODS

The Cervical Myelopathy Quality Outcomes Database was queried for the period from January 2016 to December 2018. Race/ethnicity, educational attainment, SES, insurance payer, and employment status were modeled into unique social phenotypes using latent class analyses. Proportions of social groups were analyzed for demonstrating a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of 30% from baseline for disability, neck and arm pain, quality of life, and patient satisfaction at the 3-month and 1-year follow-ups.

RESULTS

A total of 730 individuals who had undergone cervical myelopathy surgery were included in the final cohort. Latent class analysis identified 2 subgroups: 1) high risk (non-White race and ethnicity, lower educational attainment, not working, poor insurance, and predominantly lower SES), n = 268, 36.7% (class 1); and 2) low risk (White, employed with good insurance, and higher education and SES), n = 462, 63.3% (class 2). For both 3-month and 1-year outcomes, the high-risk group (class 1) had decreased odds (all p < 0.05) of attaining an MCID score in disability, neck/arm pain, and health-related quality of life. Being in the low-risk group (class 2) resulted in an increased odds of attaining an MCID score in disability, neck/arm pain, and health-related quality of life. Neither group had increased or decreased odds of being satisfied with surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Although 2 groups underwent similar surgical approaches, the social phenotype involving non-White race/ethnicity, poor insurance, lower SES, and poor employment did not meet MCIDs for a variety of outcome measures. This finding should prompt surgeons to proactively incorporate socially conscience care pathways within healthcare systems, as well as to optimize community-based resources to improve outcomes and personalize care for populations at social risk.

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Zachary D. Rethorn, Chad E. Cook, Christine Park, Tamara Somers, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Andrew K. Chan, Brenton H. Pennicooke, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, Avery L. Buchholz, Mohamad Bydon, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Domagoj Coric, Kevin T. Foley, Kai-Ming Fu, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Luis Tumialan, Jay D. Turner, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Michael Y. Wang, and Oren Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

Combinations of certain social risk factors of race, sex, education, socioeconomic status (SES), insurance, education, employment, and one’s housing situation have been associated with poorer pain and disability outcomes after lumbar spine surgery. To date, an exploration of such factors in patients with cervical spine surgery has not been conducted. The objective of the current work was to 1) define the social risk phenotypes of individuals who have undergone cervical spine surgery for myelopathy and 2) analyze their predictive capacity toward disability, pain, quality of life, and patient satisfaction–based outcomes.

METHODS

The Cervical Myelopathy Quality Outcomes Database was queried for the period from January 2016 to December 2018. Race/ethnicity, educational attainment, SES, insurance payer, and employment status were modeled into unique social phenotypes using latent class analyses. Proportions of social groups were analyzed for demonstrating a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of 30% from baseline for disability, neck and arm pain, quality of life, and patient satisfaction at the 3-month and 1-year follow-ups.

RESULTS

A total of 730 individuals who had undergone cervical myelopathy surgery were included in the final cohort. Latent class analysis identified 2 subgroups: 1) high risk (non-White race and ethnicity, lower educational attainment, not working, poor insurance, and predominantly lower SES), n = 268, 36.7% (class 1); and 2) low risk (White, employed with good insurance, and higher education and SES), n = 462, 63.3% (class 2). For both 3-month and 1-year outcomes, the high-risk group (class 1) had decreased odds (all p < 0.05) of attaining an MCID score in disability, neck/arm pain, and health-related quality of life. Being in the low-risk group (class 2) resulted in an increased odds of attaining an MCID score in disability, neck/arm pain, and health-related quality of life. Neither group had increased or decreased odds of being satisfied with surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Although 2 groups underwent similar surgical approaches, the social phenotype involving non-White race/ethnicity, poor insurance, lower SES, and poor employment did not meet MCIDs for a variety of outcome measures. This finding should prompt surgeons to proactively incorporate socially conscience care pathways within healthcare systems, as well as to optimize community-based resources to improve outcomes and personalize care for populations at social risk.

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Chad E. Cook, Steven Z. George, Anthony L. Asher, Erica F. Bisson, Avery L. Buchholz, Mohamad Bydon, Andrew K. Chan, Regis W. Haid, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Luis M. Tumialan, Michael Y. Wang, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

High-impact chronic pain (HICP) is a recently proposed metric that indicates the presence of a severe and troubling pain-related condition. Surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is designed to halt disease transition independent of chronic pain status. To date, the prevalence of HICP in individuals with CSM and their HICP transition from presurgery is unexplored. The authors sought to define HICP prevalence, transition, and outcomes in patients with CSM who underwent surgery and identify predictors of these HICP transition groups.

METHODS

CSM surgical recipients were categorized as HICP at presurgery and 3 months if they exhibited pain that lasted 6–12 months or longer with at least one major activity restriction. HICP transition groups were categorized and evaluated for outcomes. Multivariate multinomial modeling was used to predict HICP transition categorization.

RESULTS

A majority (56.1%) of individuals exhibited HICP preoperatively; this value declined to 15.9% at 3 months (71.6% reduction). The presence of HICP was also reflective of other self-reported outcomes at 3 and 12 months, as most demonstrated notable improvement. Higher severity in all categories of self-reported outcomes was related to a continued HICP condition at 3 months. Both social and biological factors predicted HICP translation, with social factors being predominant in transitioning to HICP (from none preoperatively).

CONCLUSIONS

Many individuals who received CSM surgery changed HICP status at 3 months. In a surgical population where decisions are based on disease progression, most of the changed status went from HICP preoperatively to none at 3 months. Both social and biological risk factors predicted HICP transition assignment.

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Chad E. Cook, Steven Z. George, Anthony L. Asher, Erica F. Bisson, Avery L. Buchholz, Mohamad Bydon, Andrew K. Chan, Regis W. Haid, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Luis M. Tumialan, Michael Y. Wang, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

High-impact chronic pain (HICP) is a recently proposed metric that indicates the presence of a severe and troubling pain-related condition. Surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is designed to halt disease transition independent of chronic pain status. To date, the prevalence of HICP in individuals with CSM and their HICP transition from presurgery is unexplored. The authors sought to define HICP prevalence, transition, and outcomes in patients with CSM who underwent surgery and identify predictors of these HICP transition groups.

METHODS

CSM surgical recipients were categorized as HICP at presurgery and 3 months if they exhibited pain that lasted 6–12 months or longer with at least one major activity restriction. HICP transition groups were categorized and evaluated for outcomes. Multivariate multinomial modeling was used to predict HICP transition categorization.

RESULTS

A majority (56.1%) of individuals exhibited HICP preoperatively; this value declined to 15.9% at 3 months (71.6% reduction). The presence of HICP was also reflective of other self-reported outcomes at 3 and 12 months, as most demonstrated notable improvement. Higher severity in all categories of self-reported outcomes was related to a continued HICP condition at 3 months. Both social and biological factors predicted HICP translation, with social factors being predominant in transitioning to HICP (from none preoperatively).

CONCLUSIONS

Many individuals who received CSM surgery changed HICP status at 3 months. In a surgical population where decisions are based on disease progression, most of the changed status went from HICP preoperatively to none at 3 months. Both social and biological risk factors predicted HICP transition assignment.

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Jason I. Liounakos, Asham Khan, Karen Eliahu, Jennifer Z. Mao, Christopher R. Good, John Pollina, Colin M. Haines, Jeffrey L. Gum, Thomas C. Schuler, Ehsan Jazini, Richard V. Chua, Eiman Shafa, Avery L. Buchholz, Martin H. Pham, Kornelis A. Poelstra, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Robotics is a major area for research and development in spine surgery. The high accuracy of robot-assisted placement of thoracolumbar pedicle screws is documented in the literature. The authors present the largest case series to date evaluating 90-day complication, revision, and readmission rates for robot-assisted spine surgery using the current generation of robotic guidance systems.

METHODS

An analysis of a retrospective, multicenter database of open and minimally invasive thoracolumbar instrumented fusion surgeries using the Mazor X or Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic guidance systems was performed. Patients 18 years of age or older and undergoing primary or revision surgery for degenerative spinal conditions were included. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates of malpositioned screws requiring revision, as well as overall complication, revision, and readmission rates within 90 days.

RESULTS

In total, 799 surgical cases (Mazor X: 48.81%; Mazor X Stealth Edition: 51.19%) were evaluated, involving robot-assisted placement of 4838 pedicle screws. The overall intraoperative complication rate was 3.13%. No intraoperative implant-related complications were encountered. Postoperatively, 129 patients suffered a total of 146 complications by 90 days, representing an incidence of 16.1%. The rate of an unrecognized malpositioned screw resulting in a new postoperative radiculopathy requiring revision surgery was 0.63% (5 cases). Medical and pain-related complications unrelated to hardware placement accounted for the bulk of postoperative complications within 90 days. The overall surgical revision rate at 90 days was 6.63% with 7 implant-related revisions, representing an implant-related revision rate of 0.88%. The 90-day readmission rate was 7.13% with 2 implant-related readmissions, representing an implant-related readmission rate of 0.25% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this multicenter case series and literature review suggest current-generation robotic guidance systems are associated with low rates of intraoperative and postoperative implant-related complications, revisions, and readmissions at 90 days. Future outcomes-based studies are necessary to evaluate complication, revision, and readmission rates compared to conventional surgery.

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David T. Asuzu, Jonathan J. Yun, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Andrew K. Chan, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Erica F. Bisson, Jay D. Turner, Jack J. Knightly, Kai-Ming Fu, Kevin T. Foley, Luis Tumialan, Mark Shaffrey, Mohamad Bydon, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Scott Meyer, Anthony L. Asher, Oren N. Gottfried, Khoi D. Than, Michael Y. Wang, and Avery L. Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) results in significant morbidity. The duration of symptoms prior to surgical intervention may be associated with postoperative surgical outcomes and functional recovery. The authors’ objective was to investigate whether delayed surgical treatment for DCM is associated with worsened postoperative outcomes.

METHODS

Data from 1036 patients across 14 surgical centers in the Quality Outcomes Database were analyzed. Baseline demographic characteristics and findings of preoperative and postoperative symptom evaluations, including duration of symptoms, were assessed. Postoperative functional outcomes were measured using the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale. Symptom duration was classified as either less than 12 months or 12 months or greater. Univariable and multivariable regression were used to evaluate for the associations between symptom duration and postoperative outcomes.

RESULTS

In this study, 513 patients (49.5%) presented with symptom duration < 12 months, and 523 (50.5%) had symptoms for 12 months or longer. Patients with longer symptom duration had higher BMI and higher prevalence of anxiety and diabetes (all p < 0.05). Symptom duration ≥ 12 months was associated with higher average baseline NDI score (41 vs 36, p < 0.01). However, improvements in NDI scores from baseline were not significantly different between groups at 3 months (p = 0.77) or 12 months (p = 0.51). Likewise, the authors found no significant differences between groups in changes in mJOA scores from baseline to 3 months or 12 months (both p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical intervention resulted in improved mJOA and NDI scores at 3 months, and this improvement was sustained in both patients with short and longer initial symptom duration. Patients with DCM can still undergo successful surgical management despite delayed presentation.

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Vijay Letchuman, Leonel Ampie, Winward Choy, Joseph D. DiDomenico, Hasan R. Syed, and Avery L. Buchholz

Pediatric spinal fusions have been associated with nonunion rates of approximately 25%, putting patients at risk for neurological complications while simultaneously incurring significant costs for revision surgery. In an effort to decrease nonunion rates, various bone grafts and biologics have been developed to increase osseous formation and arthrosis. The current gold-standard bone graft is autologous bone taken from the iliac crest or ribs, but this procedure is associated with significant morbidity and postoperative pain due to an additional graft harvesting procedure. Other bone graft substitutes and biologics include allografts, demineralized bone matrix, bone morphogenetic protein, and bioactive glass. Ultimately, these substitutes have been studied more extensively in the adult population, and there is a paucity of strong evidence for the use of these agents within the pediatric population. In this review, the authors will discuss in detail the characteristics of the various bone graft substitutes, their fusion efficacy, and their safety profile in this subpopulation.

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Jesse J. McClure, Bhargav D. Desai, Leah M. Shabo, Thomas J. Buell, Chun-Po Yen, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey, and Avery L. Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a safe and effective intervention to treat cervical spine pathology. Although these were originally performed as single-level procedures, multilevel ACDF has been performed for patients with extensive degenerative disc disease. To date, there is a paucity of data regarding outcomes related to ACDFs of 3 or more levels. The purpose of this study was to compare surgical outcomes of 3- and 4-level ACDF procedures.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent 3- and 4-level ACDF at the University of Virginia Health System between January 2010 and December 2017. In patients meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, demographics, fusion rates, time to fusion, and reoperation rates were evaluated. Fusion was determined by < 1 mm of change in interspinous distance between individual fused vertebrae on lateral flexion/extension radiographs and lack of radiolucency between the grafts and vertebral bodies. Any procedure requiring a surgical revision was considered a failure.

RESULTS

Sixty-six patients (47 with 3-level and 19 with 4-level ACDFs) met the inclusion/exclusion criteria of having at least one lateral flexion/extension radiograph series ≥ 12 months after surgery. Seventy percent of 3-level patients and 68% of 4-level patients had ≥ 24 months of follow-up. Ninety-four percent of 3-level patients and 100% of 4-level patients achieved radiographic fusion for at least 1 surgical level. Eighty-eight percent and 82% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C3–4; 85% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C4–5; 68% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C5–6; 44% and 42% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C6–7; and no patients achieved fusion at C7–T1. Time to fusion was not significantly different between levels. Revision was required in 6.4% of patients with 3-level and in 16% of patients with 4-level ACDF. The mean time to revision was 46.2 and 45.4 months for 3- and 4-level ACDF, respectively. The most common reason for revision was worsening of initial symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experience with long-segment anterior cervical fusions shows their fusion rates exceeding most of the reported fusion rates for similar procedures in the literature, with rates similar to those reported for short-segment ACDFs. Three-level and 4-level ACDF procedures are viable options for cervical spine pathology, and the authors’ analysis demonstrates an equivalent rate of fusion and time to fusion between 3- and 4-level surgeries.

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Joseph Laratta, Leah Y. Carreon, Avery L. Buchholz, Andrew Y. Yew, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Steven D. Glassman

OBJECTIVE

Medical comorbidities, particularly preoperatively diagnosed anxiety, depression, and obesity, may influence how patients perceive and measure clinical benefit after a surgical intervention. The current study was performed to define and compare the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) thresholds in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity who underwent spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients who underwent lumbar fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis during the period from January 2014 to August 2017. Collected patient-reported outcomes (PROs) included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), health status (EQ-5D), and numeric rating scale (NRS) scores for back pain (NRS-BP) and leg pain (NRS-LP). Both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for MCID calculation were employed.

RESULTS

Of 462 patients included in the prospective registry who underwent a decompression and fusion procedure, 356 patients (77.1%) had complete baseline and 12-month PRO data and were included in the study. The MCID values for ODI scores did not significantly differ in patients with and those without a preoperative diagnosis of obesity (20.58 and 20.69, respectively). In addition, the MCID values for ODI scores did not differ in patients with and without a preoperative diagnosis of anxiety or depression (24.72 and 22.56, respectively). Similarly, the threshold MCID values for NRS-BP, NRS-LP, and EQ-5D scores were not statistically different between all groups. Based on both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for determination of MCID thresholds, there were no statistically significant differences between all cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

MCID thresholds were similar for ODI, EQ-5D, NRS-BP, and NRS-LP in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity undergoing spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis. Preoperative clinical and shared decision-making may be improved by understanding that preoperative medical comorbidities may not affect the way patients experience and assess important clinical changes postoperatively.

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Thomas J. Buell, Ulas Yener, Tony R. Wang, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Sacral insufficiency fracture after lumbosacral (LS) arthrodesis is an uncommon complication. The objective of this study was to report the authors’ operative experience managing this complication, review pertinent literature, and propose a treatment algorithm.

METHODS

The authors analyzed consecutive adult patients treated at their institution from 2009 to 2018. Patients who underwent surgery for sacral insufficiency fractures after posterior instrumented LS arthrodesis were included. PubMed was queried to identify relevant articles detailing management of this complication.

RESULTS

Nine patients with a minimum 6-month follow-up were included (mean age 73 ± 6 years, BMI 30 ± 6 kg/m2, 56% women, mean follow-up 35 months, range 8–96 months). Six patients had osteopenia/osteoporosis (mean dual energy x-ray absorptiometry hip T-score −1.6 ± 0.5) and 3 received treatment. Index LS arthrodesis was performed for spinal stenosis (n = 6), proximal junctional kyphosis (n = 2), degenerative scoliosis (n = 1), and high-grade spondylolisthesis (n = 1). Presenting symptoms of back/leg pain (n = 9) or lower extremity weakness (n = 3) most commonly occurred within 4 weeks of index LS arthrodesis, which prompted CT for fracture diagnosis at a mean of 6 weeks postoperatively. All sacral fractures were adjacent or involved S1 screws and traversed the spinal canal (Denis zone III). H-, U-, or T-type sacral fracture morphology was identified in 7 patients. Most fractures (n = 8) were Roy-Camille type II (anterior displacement with kyphosis). All patients underwent lumbopelvic fixation via a posterior-only approach; mean operative duration and blood loss were 3.3 hours and 850 ml, respectively. Bilateral dual iliac screws were utilized in 8 patients. Back/leg pain and weakness improved postoperatively. Mean sacral fracture anterolisthesis and kyphotic angulation improved (from 8 mm/11° to 4 mm/5°, respectively) and all fractures were healed on radiographic follow-up (mean duration 29 months, range 8–90 months). Two patients underwent revision for rod fractures at 1 and 2 years postoperatively. A literature review found 17 studies describing 87 cases; potential risk factors were osteoporosis, longer fusions, high pelvic incidence (PI), and postoperative PI-to–lumbar lordosis (LL) mismatch.

CONCLUSIONS

A high index of suspicion is needed to diagnose sacral insufficiency fracture after LS arthrodesis. A trial of conservative management is reasonable for select patients; potential surgical indications include refractory pain, neurological deficit, fracture nonunion with anterolisthesis or kyphotic angulation, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, and spinopelvic malalignment. Lumbopelvic fixation with iliac screws may be effective salvage treatment to allow fracture healing and symptom improvement. High-risk patients may benefit from prophylactic lumbopelvic fixation at the time of index LS arthrodesis.