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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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Seokchun Lim, Hsueh-han Yeh, Mohamed Macki, Sameah Haider, Travis Hamilton, Tarek R. Mansour, Edvin Telemi, Lonni Schultz, David R. Nerenz, Jason M. Schwalb, Muwaffak Abdulhak, Paul Park, Ilyas Aleem, Richard Easton, Jad G. Khalil, Miguelangelo Perez-Cruet, and Victor Chang

OBJECTIVE

This study was designed to assess how postoperative opioid prescription dosage could affect patient-reported outcomes after elective spine surgery.

METHODS

Patients enrolled in the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) from January 2020 to September 2021 were included in this study. Opioid prescriptions at discharge were converted to total morphine milligram equivalents (MME). A reference value of 225 MME per week was used as a cutoff. Patients were divided into two cohorts based on prescribed total MME: ≤ 225 MME and > 225 MME. Primary outcomes included patient satisfaction, return to work status after surgery, and whether improvement of the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System 4-question short form for physical function (PROMIS PF) and EQ-5D was met. Generalized estimated equations were used for multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

Regression analysis revealed that patients who had postoperative opioids prescribed with > 225 MME were less likely to be satisfied with surgery (adjusted OR [aOR] 0.81) and achieve PROMIS PF MCID (aOR 0.88). They were also more likely to be opioid dependent at 90 days after elective spine surgery (aOR 1.56).

CONCLUSIONS

The opioid epidemic is a serious threat to national public health, and spine surgeons must practice conscientious postoperative opioid prescribing to achieve adequate pain control. The authors’ analysis illustrates that a postoperative opioid prescription of 225 MME or less is associated with improved patient satisfaction, greater improvement in physical function, and decreased opioid dependence compared with those who had > 225 MME prescribed.

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Christopher T. Martin, Kenneth J. Holton, Benjamin D. Elder, Jeremy L. Fogelson, Anthony L. Mikula, Christopher J. Kleck, David Calabrese, Evalina L. Burger, David Ou-Yang, Vikas V. Patel, Han Jo Kim, Francis Lovecchio, Serena S. Hu, Kirkham B. Wood, Robert Harper, S. Tim Yoon, Dheera Ananthakrishnan, Keith W. Michael, Adam J. Schell, Isador H. Lieberman, Stanley Kisinde, Christopher J. DeWald, Michael T. Nolte, Matthew W. Colman, Frank M. Phillips, Daniel E. Gelb, Jacob Bruckner, Lindsey B. Ross, J. Patrick Johnson, Terrence T. Kim, Neel Anand, Joseph S. Cheng, Zach Plummer, Paul Park, Mark E. Oppenlander, Jonathan N. Sembrano, Kristen E. Jones, and David W. Polly Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There are few prior reports of acute pelvic instrumentation failure in spinal deformity surgery. The objective of this study was to determine if a previously identified mechanism and rate of pelvic fixation failure were present across multiple institutions, and to determine risk factors for these types of failures.

METHODS

Thirteen academic medical centers performed a retrospective review of 18 months of consecutive adult spinal fusions extending 3 or more levels, which included new pelvic screws at the time of surgery. Acute pelvic fixation failure was defined as occurring within 6 months of the index surgery and requiring surgical revision.

RESULTS

Failure occurred in 37 (5%) of 779 cases and consisted of either slippage of the rods or displacement of the set screws from the screw tulip head (17 cases), screw shaft fracture (9 cases), screw loosening (9 cases), and/or resultant kyphotic fracture of the sacrum (6 cases). Revision strategies involved new pelvic fixation and/or multiple rod constructs. Six patients (16%) who underwent revision with fewer than 4 rods to the pelvis sustained a second acute failure, but no secondary failures occurred when at least 4 rods were used. In the univariate analysis, the magnitude of surgical correction was higher in the failure cohort (higher preoperative T1-pelvic angle [T1PA], presence of a 3-column osteotomy; p < 0.05). Uncorrected postoperative deformity increased failure risk (pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch > 10°, higher postoperative T1PA; p < 0.05). Use of pelvic screws less than 8.5 mm in diameter also increased the likelihood of failure (p < 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, a larger preoperative global deformity as measured by T1PA was associated with failure, male patients were more likely to experience failure than female patients, and there was a strong association with implant manufacturer (p < 0.05). Anterior column support with an L5–S1 interbody fusion was protective against failure (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Acute catastrophic failures involved large-magnitude surgical corrections and likely resulted from high mechanical strain on the pelvic instrumentation. Patients with large corrections may benefit from anterior structural support placed at the most caudal motion segment and multiple rods connecting to more than 2 pelvic fixation points. If failure occurs, salvage with a minimum of 4 rods and 4 pelvic fixation points can be successful.

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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.

Open access

Michael J. Strong, Joseph R. Linzey, Mark M. Zaki, Rushikesh S. Joshi, Ayobami Ward, Timothy J. Yee, Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Yamaan S. Saadeh, and Paul Park

Retropleural, retrodiaphragmatic, and retroperitoneal approaches are utilized to access difficult thoracolumbar junction (T10–L2) pathology. The authors present a 58-year-old man with chronic low-back pain who failed years of conservative therapy. Preoperative radiographs demonstrated significant levoconvex scoliosis with coronal and sagittal imbalance. He underwent a retrodiaphragmatic/retroperitoneal approach for T12–L1, L1–2, L2–3, and L3–4 interbody release and fusion in conjunction with second-stage facet osteotomies, L4–5 TLIF, and T10–iliac posterior instrumented fusion. This video focuses on the retrodiaphragmatic approach assisted by 3D navigation.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.3.FOCVID2215

Free access

Connor Berlin, Alexandria C. Marino, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Juan Uribe, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay Turner, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Erica F. Bisson, Mark Shaffrey, Oren Gottfried, Khoi D. Than, Kai-Ming Fu, Kevin Foley, Andrew K. Chan, Mohamad Bydon, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Anthony Asher, Eric A. Potts, John Knightly, Scott Meyer, and Avery Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

While surgical decompression is an important treatment modality for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), it remains unclear if the severity of preoperative myelopathy status affects potential benefit from surgical intervention and when maximum postoperative improvement is expected. This investigation sought to determine if retrospective analysis of prospectively collected patient-reported outcomes (PROs) following surgery for CSM differed when stratified by preoperative myelopathy status. Secondary objectives included assessment of the minimal clinically important difference (MCID).

METHODS

A total of 1151 patients with CSM were prospectively enrolled from the Quality Outcomes Database at 14 US hospitals. Baseline demographics and PROs at baseline and 3 and 12 months were measured. These included the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score, Neck Disability Index (NDI), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) from the EQ-5D, and visual analog scale from the EQ-5D (EQ-VAS). Patients were stratified by preoperative myelopathy severity using criteria established by the AO Spine study group: mild (mJOA score 15–17), moderate (mJOA score 12–14), or severe (mJOA score < 12). Univariate analysis was used to identify demographic variables that significantly varied between myelopathy groups. Then, multivariate linear regression and linear mixed regression were used to model the effect of severity and time on PROs, respectively.

RESULTS

For NDI, EQ-VAS, and QALY, patients in all myelopathy cohorts achieved significant, maximal improvement at 3 months without further improvement at 12 months. For mJOA, moderate and severe myelopathy groups demonstrated significant, maximal improvement at 3 months, without further improvement at 12 months. The mild myelopathy group did not demonstrate significant change in mJOA score but did maintain and achieve higher PRO scores overall when compared with more advanced myelopathy cohorts. The MCID threshold was reached in all myelopathy cohorts at 3 months for mJOA, NDI, EQ-VAS, and QALY, with the only exception being mild myelopathy QALY at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS

As assessed by statistical regression and MCID analysis, patients with cervical myelopathy experience maximal improvement in their quality of life, neck disability, myelopathy score, and overall health by 3 months after surgical decompression, regardless of their baseline myelopathy severity. An exception was seen for the mJOA score in the mild myelopathy cohort, improvement of which may have been limited by ceiling effect. The data presented here will aid surgeons in patient selection, preoperative counseling, and expected postoperative time courses.

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Optimal timing of referral for nerve transfer surgery for postoperative C5 palsy

Presented at the 2022 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Yamaan S. Saadeh, Zoey Chopra, Eric Olsen, Brandon W. Smith, Osama N. Kashlan, Lynda J. S. Yang, and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Cervical nerve 5 palsy can occur following surgery for cervical spine pathology. The prognosis of C5 palsy is generally favorable, and most patients recover useful function. However, some patients do not recover useful strength. Nerve transfers are a potential effective treatment of postoperative severe C5 palsy. This study aimed to further delineate the natural history of recovery from postoperative C5 palsy, determine whether lack of recovery at specific time points predicts poor recovery prognosis, and thereby determine a reasonable time point for referral to a complex peripheral nerve specialist.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 72 patients who underwent surgery for cervical spondylosis and stenosis complicated by C5 palsy. Medical Research Council (MRC) motor strength grades were recorded preoperatively; immediately postoperatively; at discharge; and at 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months postoperatively. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify demographic and clinical risk factors associated with recovery of useful strength after severe C5 palsy.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 62.5 years, and 36.1% of patients were female. Thirty patients (41.7%) experienced severe C5 palsy with less than antigravity strength (MRC grade 2 or less) at discharge. Twenty-one (70%) of these patients recovered useful strength (MRC grade 3 or greater) at 12 months postoperatively, and 9 patients (30%) did not recover useful strength at 12 months. Of those patients with persistent severe C5 palsy at 3 months postoperatively, 50% recovered useful strength at 12 months. Of those patients with persistent severe C5 palsy at 6 months postoperatively, 25% recovered useful strength at 12 months. No patient with MRC grade 0 or 1 strength at 6 months postoperatively recovered useful strength. A history of diabetes was associated with the occurrence of severe C5 palsy. On multivariate analysis, female sex was associated with recovery of useful strength.

CONCLUSIONS

Most patients with severe C5 palsy recover useful strength in their C5 myotome within 12 months of onset. However, at 3 months postoperatively, patients with persistent severe C5 palsy had only a 50% chance of recovering useful strength by 12 months. Lack of recovery of useful strength at 3 months postoperatively is a reasonable time point for referral to a complex peripheral nerve center to establish care and to determine candidacy for nerve transfer surgery if severe C5 palsy persists.

Free access

Katherine G. Holste, Zoey Chopra, Sara Saleh, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Paul Park, and Cormac O. Maher

Free access

Michael Y. Wang, Jang W. Yoon, Gelareh Zadeh, Paul Park, Erica F. Bisson, and Daniel M. Sciubba