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Brandon A. Sherrod, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Graham Mulvaney, Nitin Agarwal, Andrew K. Chan, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Michael S. Virk, Kai-Ming Fu, Kevin T. Foley, Paul Park, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, John J. Knightly, Mark E. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Khoi D. Than, Michael Y. Wang, Luis M. Tumialán, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, and Erica F. Bisson

OBJECTIVE

Patients who undergo surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) will occasionally develop postoperative neck pain that was not present preoperatively, yet the incidence of this phenomenon is unclear. The authors aimed to elucidate patient and surgical factors associated with new-onset sustained pain after CSM surgery.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data from the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM module. The presence of neck pain was defined using the neck pain numeric rating scale (NRS). Patients with no neck pain at baseline (neck NRS score ≤ 1) were then stratified based on the presence of new postoperative pain development (neck NRS score ≥ 2) at 12 and 24 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

Of 1141 patients in the CSM QOD, 224 (19.6%) reported no neck pain at baseline. Among 170 patients with no baseline neck pain and available 12-month follow-up, 46 (27.1%) reported new postoperative pain. Among 184 patients with no baseline neck pain and available 24-month follow-up, 53 (28.8%) reported new postoperative pain. The mean differences in neck NRS scores were 4.3 for those with new postoperative pain compared with those without at 12 months (4.4 ± 2.2 vs 0.1 ± 0.3, p < 0.001) and 3.9 at 24 months (4.1 ± 2.4 vs 0.2 ± 0.4, p < 0.001). The majority of patients reporting new-onset neck pain reported being satisfied with surgery, but their satisfaction was significantly lower compared with patients without pain at the 12-month (66.7% vs 94.3%, p < 0.001) and 24-month (65.4% vs 90.8%, p < 0.001) follow-ups. The baseline Neck Disability Index (NDI) was an independent predictor of new postoperative neck pain at both the 12-month and 24-month time points (adjusted OR [aOR] 1.04, 95% CI 1.01–1.06; p = 0.002; and aOR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.05; p = 0.026, respectively). The total number of levels treated was associated with new-onset neck pain at 12 months (aOR 1.34, 95% CI 1.09–1.64; p = 0.005), and duration of symptoms more than 3 months was a predictor of 24-month neck pain (aOR 3.22, 95% CI 1.01–10.22; p = 0.048).

CONCLUSIONS

Increased NDI at baseline, number of levels treated surgically, and duration of symptoms longer than 3 months preoperatively correlate positively with the risk of new-onset neck pain following CSM surgery. The majority of patients with new-onset neck pain still report satisfaction from surgery, suggesting that the risk of new-onset neck pain should not hinder indicated operations from being performed.

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Nitin Agarwal, Alexander A. Aabedi, Andrew K. Chan, Vijay Letchuman, Saman Shabani, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Regis W. Haid Jr., Dean Chou, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Prior studies have revealed that a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 is associated with worse outcomes following surgical intervention in grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis. Using a machine learning approach, this study aimed to leverage the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) to identify a BMI threshold for patients undergoing surgical intervention for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis and thus reliably identify optimal surgical candidates among obese patients.

METHODS

Patients with grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis and preoperative BMI ≥ 30 from the prospectively collected QOD lumbar spondylolisthesis module were included in this study. A 12-month composite outcome was generated by performing principal components analysis and k-means clustering on four validated measures of surgical outcomes in patients with spondylolisthesis. Random forests were generated to determine the most important preoperative patient characteristics in predicting the composite outcome. Recursive partitioning was used to extract a BMI threshold associated with optimal outcomes.

RESULTS

The average BMI was 35.7, with 282 (46.4%) of the 608 patients from the QOD data set having a BMI ≥ 30. Principal components analysis revealed that the first principal component accounted for 99.2% of the variance in the four outcome measures. Two clusters were identified corresponding to patients with suboptimal outcomes (severe back pain, increased disability, impaired quality of life, and low satisfaction) and to those with optimal outcomes. Recursive partitioning established a BMI threshold of 37.5 after pruning via cross-validation.

CONCLUSIONS

In this multicenter study, the authors found that a BMI ≤ 37.5 was associated with improved patient outcomes following surgical intervention. These findings may help augment predictive analytics to deliver precision medicine and improve prehabilitation strategies.

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Enrique Vargas, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joshua Rivera, Jeremy Huang, Sigurd H. Berven, Steve E. Braunstein, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Wound complications are a common adverse event following metastatic spine tumor surgery. Some patients with spinal metastases may first undergo radiation but eventually require spinal surgery because of either cord compression or instability. The authors compared wound complication rates in patients who had undergone surgery for metastatic disease and received preoperative radiation treatments, postoperative radiation, or no radiation.

METHODS

Records from patients treated at the University of California, San Francisco, for metastatic spine disease between 2005 and 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline characteristics were collected, including preoperative Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), Spine Instability Neoplastic Score, total radiation dose, indication for surgery, diabetes status, time between radiation and surgery, use of perioperative chemotherapy or steroids, estimated blood loss, extent of fusion, and preoperative albumin level. Wound complication was defined as poor healing, dehiscence, or infection per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, within 6 months of surgery. One-way ANOVA was used to compare means across groups. Cumulative incidence analysis with competing risk methodology was used to adjust for risk of death during follow-up. Statistical analysis was performed using R software.

RESULTS

Two hundred five patients with adequate medical records were identified. Seventy patients had received preoperative radiation, 74 had received postoperative radiation within 6 months after surgery, and 61 had received no radiation at the surgical site. Wound complication rates were similar across the 3 cohorts: 14.3% (n = 10) in the group with preoperative radiation, 10.8% (n = 8) in the group that received postoperative radiation, and 11.5% (n = 7) in the group with no radiation (p = 0.773). Competing risk analysis showed a higher cumulative incidence of wound complications for the preoperative cohort, though this difference was not significant (p = 0.46). Overall, 89 patients were treated with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), whereas 55 received stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). There was no significant difference in wound complications for patients treated with EBRT (11.2%, n = 10) versus SBRT (14.5%, n = 8; p = 0.825). KPS was the only factor correlated with wound complications on univariate analysis (p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Wound complication rates did not differ across the 3 cohorts: patients treated with preoperative radiation, postoperative radiation within 6 months of surgery, or no radiation. The effect size was small for KPS and likely does not represent a clinically significant predictor of wound complications.

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Alexander F. Haddad, Michael M. Safaee, Matheus P. Pereira, Jun Yeop Oh, Darryl Lau, Lee A. Tan, Aaron J. Clark, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Spinal meningiomas pose unique challenges based on the location of their dural attachment. However, there is a paucity of literature investigating the role of dural attachment location on outcomes after posterior-based approach for spinal meningioma resection. The aim of this study was to investigate any differences in outcomes between dural attachment location subgroups in spinal meningioma patients who underwent posterior-based resection.

METHODS

This was a single-institution review of patients who underwent resection of a spinal meningioma from 1997 to 2017. Surgical, oncological, and neurological outcomes were compared between patients with varying dural attachments. Multivariate analysis was utilized.

RESULTS

A total of 141 patients were identified. The mean age was 62 years, and 110 women were included. The sites of dural attachments were as follows: 16 (11.3%) dorsal, 31 (22.0%) dorsolateral, 17 (12.1%) lateral, 40 (28.4%) ventral, and 37 (26.2%) ventrolateral. Most meningiomas were WHO grade I (92.2%) and in the thoracic spine (61.0%). All patients underwent a posterior approach for tumor resection. There were no differences between subgroups in terms of largest diameter of tumor resected (p = 0.201), gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection (p = 0.362), Simpson grade of resection, perioperative complications (p = 0.116), long-term neurological deficit (p = 0.100), or postoperative radiation therapy (p = 0.971). Cervical spine location was associated with reduced incidence of GTR (OR 0.271, 95% CI 0.108–0.684, p = 0.006) on multivariate analysis. The overall incidence of recurrence/progression was 4.6%, with no difference (p = 0.800) between subgroups. Similarly, the average length of follow-up was 28.1 months, with no difference between subgroups (p = 0.413).

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior-based approaches for resection of spinal meningiomas are safe and effective, regardless of dural attachment location, with similar surgical, oncological, and neurological outcomes. Comparison of long-term recurrence rates between dural attachment subgroups is required.

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Andrew K. Chan, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Christine Park, Khoi D. Than, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Brandon A. Sherrod, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Regis W. Haid Jr., and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine whether multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) or posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (PCLF) is superior for patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and high preoperative neck pain.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study of prospectively collected data using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM module. Patients who received a subaxial fusion of 3 or 4 segments and had a visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain score of 7 or greater at baseline were included. The 3-, 12-, and 24-month outcomes were compared for patients undergoing ACDF with those undergoing PCLF.

RESULTS

Overall, 1141 patients with CSM were included in the database. Of these, 495 (43.4%) presented with severe neck pain (VAS score > 6). After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, we compared 65 patients (54.6%) undergoing 3- and 4-level ACDF and 54 patients (45.4%) undergoing 3- and 4-level PCLF. Patients undergoing ACDF had worse Neck Disability Index scores at baseline (52.5 ± 15.9 vs 45.9 ± 16.8, p = 0.03) but similar neck pain (p > 0.05). Otherwise, the groups were well matched for the remaining baseline patient-reported outcomes. The rates of 24-month follow-up for ACDF and PCLF were similar (86.2% and 83.3%, respectively). At the 24-month follow-up, both groups demonstrated mean improvements in all outcomes, including neck pain (p < 0.05). In multivariable analyses, there was no significant difference in the degree of neck pain change, rate of neck pain improvement, rate of pain-free achievement, and rate of reaching minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in neck pain between the two groups (adjusted p > 0.05). However, ACDF was associated with a higher 24-month modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale (mJOA) score (β = 1.5 [95% CI 0.5–2.6], adjusted p = 0.01), higher EQ-5D score (β = 0.1 [95% CI 0.01–0.2], adjusted p = 0.04), and higher likelihood for return to baseline activities (OR 1.2 [95% CI 1.1–1.4], adjusted p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

Severe neck pain is prevalent among patients undergoing surgery for CSM, affecting more than 40% of patients. Both ACDF and PCLF achieved comparable postoperative neck pain improvement 3, 12, and 24 months following 3- or 4-segment surgery for patients with CSM and severe neck pain. However, multilevel ACDF was associated with superior functional status, quality of life, and return to baseline activities at 24 months in multivariable adjusted analyses.

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Rong Xie, Jinping Liu, Minghao Wang, Yinhui Dong, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative dysphagia after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) has many contributing factors, and long-term data are sparse. The authors evaluated dysphagia after ACDF based on levels fused and cervical sagittal parameters.

METHODS

Patients who underwent ACDF between 2009 and 2018 at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), were retrospectively studied. Dysphagia was evaluated preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at last follow-up using the UCSF dysphagia score. Dysphagia was categorized as normal (level 7), mild (levels 5 and 6), moderate (levels 3 and 4), and severe (levels 1 and 2). The UCSF mild dysphagia score was further classified as "minimal dysphagia," while moderate and severe dysphagia were classified as "significant dysphagia." "Any dysphagia" included any dysphagia, regardless of grade. Cervical sagittal parameters were measured preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at last follow-up.

RESULTS

A total of 131 patients met inclusion criteria. The mean follow-up was 43.89 (24–142) months. Seventy-eight patients (59.5%) reported dysphagia immediately postoperatively, and 44 patients (33.6%) reported some dysphagia at last follow-up (p < 0.001). The rates of moderate dysphagia were 13.0% immediately postoperatively and 1.5% at the last follow-up (p < 0.001). Twenty-two patients (16.8%) had significant dysphagia immediately postoperatively, and 2 patients (1.5%) had significant dysphagia at last follow-up (p < 0.001). Patients with immediate postoperative dysphagia had less C2–7 preoperative lordosis (−9.35°) compared with patients without (−14.15°, p = 0.029), but there was no association between C2–7 lordosis and dysphagia at last follow-up (p = 0.232). The prevalence rates of immediate postoperative dysphagia and long-term dysphagia were 87.5% and 58.3% in ≥ 3-level ACDF; 64.0% and 40.0% in 2-level ACDF; and 43.9% and 17.5% in 1-level ACDF, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The realistic incidence of any dysphagia after ACDF was 59.5% immediately postoperatively and 33.6% at the minimum 2-year follow-up, higher than previously published rates. However, most dysphagia was not severe. The number of fused levels was the most important risk factor for long-term dysphagia, but not for immediate postoperative dysphagia. Loss of preoperative C2–7 lordosis was associated with immediate postoperative dysphagia, but not long-term dysphagia. ACDF segmental lordosis and cervical sagittal vertical axis were not associated with long-term dysphagia in ACDF.

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Bo Li, Gregory A. Kuzmik, Saman Shabani, Nitin Agarwal, Alysha Jamieson, Thomas Wozny, Simon Ammanuel, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Dean Chou

It can be difficult to avoid violating the pleura during the retropleural approach to the thoracolumbar spine. In this video, the authors resect a short segment of rib to allow more room for pleural dissection during a minimally invasive (MIS) lateral retropleural approach. After a lateral MIS skin incision, the rib is dissected and removed, clearly identifying the retropleural space. The curvature of the rib can then be followed, decreasing the risk of pleural violation. The pleura can then be mobilized ventrally until the spine is accessed. Managing the diaphragm is also illustrated by separating the fibers without a traditional cut through the muscle.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.3.FOCVID21138

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Khoi D. Than, Vikram A. Mehta, Vivian Le, Jonah R. Moss, Paul Park, Juan S. Uribe, Robert K. Eastlack, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Neel Anand, Peter G. Passias, Christopher I. Shaffrey, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Pierce Nunley, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard G. Fessler, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for adult spinal deformity (ASD) can offer deformity correction with less tissue manipulation and damage. However, the impact of obesity on clinical outcomes and radiographic correction following MIS for ASD is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to determine the role, if any, that obesity has on radiographic correction and health-related quality-of-life measures in MIS for ASD.

METHODS

Data were collected from a multicenter database of MIS for ASD. This was a retrospective review of a prospectively collected database. Patient inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years and coronal Cobb angle ≥ 20°, pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch ≥ 10°, or sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm. A group of patients with body mass index (BMI) < 30 kg/m2 was the control cohort; BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 was used to define obesity. Obesity cohorts were categorized into BMI 30–34.99 and BMI ≥ 35. All patients had at least 1 year of follow-up. Preoperative and postoperative health-related quality-of-life measures and radiographic parameters, as well as complications, were compared via statistical analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 106 patients were available for analysis (69 control, 17 in the BMI 30–34.99 group, and 20 in the BMI ≥ 35 group). The average BMI was 25.24 kg/m2 for the control group versus 32.46 kg/m2 (p < 0.001) and 39.5 kg/m2 (p < 0.001) for the obese groups. Preoperatively, the BMI 30–34.99 group had significantly more prior spine surgery (70.6% vs 42%, p = 0.04) and worse preoperative numeric rating scale leg scores (7.71 vs 5.08, p = 0.001). Postoperatively, the BMI 30–34.99 cohort had worse Oswestry Disability Index scores (33.86 vs 23.55, p = 0.028), greater improvement in numeric rating scale leg scores (−4.88 vs −2.71, p = 0.012), and worse SVA (51.34 vs 26.98, p = 0.042) at 1 year postoperatively. Preoperatively, the BMI ≥ 35 cohort had significantly worse frailty (4.5 vs 3.27, p = 0.001), Oswestry Disability Index scores (52.9 vs 44.83, p = 0.017), and T1 pelvic angle (26.82 vs 20.71, p = 0.038). Postoperatively, after controlling for differences in frailty, the BMI ≥ 35 cohort had significantly less improvement in their Scoliosis Research Society–22 outcomes questionnaire scores (0.603 vs 1.05, p = 0.025), higher SVA (64.71 vs 25.33, p = 0.015) and T1 pelvic angle (22.76 vs 15.48, p = 0.029), and less change in maximum Cobb angle (−3.93 vs −10.71, p = 0.034) at 1 year. The BMI 30–34.99 cohort had significantly more infections (11.8% vs 0%, p = 0.004). The BMI ≥ 35 cohort had significantly more implant complications (30% vs 11.8%, p = 0.014) and revision surgery within 90 days (5% vs 1.4%, p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS

Obese patients who undergo MIS for ASD have less correction of their deformity, worse quality-of-life outcomes, more implant complications and infections, and an increased rate of revision surgery compared with their nonobese counterparts, although both groups benefit from surgery. Appropriate counseling should be provided to obese patients.

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Sudheesha Perera, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Ernest J. Barthélemy, Alexander F. Haddad, Dario A. Marotta, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Geoffrey T. Manley, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Michael C. Huang, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Katie O. Orrico, and Anthony M. DiGiorgio

OBJECTIVE

This study attempts to use neurosurgical workforce distribution to uncover the social determinants of health that are associated with disparate access to neurosurgical care.

METHODS

Data were compiled from public sources and aggregated at the county level. Socioeconomic data were provided by the Brookings Institute. Racial and ethnicity data were gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research. Physician density was retrieved from the Health Resources and Services Administration Area Health Resources Files. Catchment areas were constructed based on the 628 counties with neurosurgical coverage, with counties lacking neurosurgical coverage being integrated with the nearest covered county based on distances from the National Bureau of Economic Research’s County Distance Database. Catchment areas form a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive breakdown of the entire US population and licensed neurosurgeons.

Socioeconomic factors, race, and ethnicity were chosen as independent variables for analysis. Characteristics for each catchment area were calculated as the population-weighted average across all contained counties. Linear regression analysis modeled two outcomes of interest: neurosurgeon density per capita and average distance to neurosurgical care. Coefficient estimates (CEs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated and scaled by 1 SD to allow for comparison between variables.

RESULTS

Catchment areas with higher poverty (CE = 0.64, 95% CI 0.34–0.93) and higher prime age employment (CE = 0.58, 95% CI 0.40–0.76) were significantly associated with greater neurosurgeon density. Among categories of race and ethnicity, catchment areas with higher proportions of Black residents (CE = 0.21, 95% CI 0.06–0.35) were associated with greater neurosurgeon density. Meanwhile, catchment areas with higher proportions of Hispanic residents displayed lower neurosurgeon density (CE = −0.17, 95% CI −0.30 to −0.03). Residents of catchment areas with higher housing vacancy rates (CE = 2.37, 95% CI 1.31–3.43), higher proportions of Native American residents (CE = 4.97, 95% CI 3.99–5.95), and higher proportions of Hispanic residents (CE = 2.31, 95% CI 1.26–3.37) must travel farther, on average, to receive neurosurgical care, whereas people living in areas with a lower income (CE = −2.28, 95% CI −4.48 to −0.09) or higher proportion of Black residents (CE = −3.81, 95% CI −4.93 to −2.68) travel a shorter distance.

CONCLUSIONS

Multiple factors demonstrate a significant correlation with neurosurgical workforce distribution in the US, most notably with Hispanic and Native American populations being associated with greater distances to care. Additionally, higher proportions of Hispanic residents correlated with fewer neurosurgeons per capita. These findings highlight the interwoven associations among socioeconomics, race, ethnicity, and access to neurosurgical care nationwide.