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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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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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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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James Mooney, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Daniel Zeitouni, Sally El Sammak, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Michael Y. Wang, Domagoj Coric, Andrew K. Chan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon Sherrod, Regis W. Haid Jr., John J. Knightly, Clinton J. Devin, Brenton H. Pennicooke, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery represents an ideal target for healthcare cost reduction efforts, with outpatient surgery resulting in significant cost savings. With an increased focus on value-based healthcare delivery, lumbar decompression surgery has been increasingly performed in the outpatient setting when appropriate. The aim of this study was to compare clinical and patient-reported outcomes following outpatient and inpatient lumbar decompression surgery.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients undergoing elective one- or two-level lumbar decompression (laminectomy or laminotomy with or without discectomy) for degenerative spine disease. Patients were grouped as outpatient if they had a length of stay (LOS) < 24 hours and as inpatient if they stayed in the hospital ≥ 24 hours. Patients with ≥ 72-hour stay were excluded from the comparative analysis to increase baseline comparability between the two groups. To create two highly homogeneous groups, optimal matching was performed at a 1:1 ratio between the two groups on 38 baseline variables, including demographics, comorbidities, symptoms, patient-reported scores, indications, and operative details. Outcomes of interest were readmissions and reoperations at 30 days and 3 months after surgery, overall satisfaction, and decrease in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), back pain, and leg pain at 3 months after surgery. Satisfaction was defined as a score of 1 or 2 in the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index. Noninferiority of outpatient compared with inpatient surgery was defined as risk difference of < 1.5% at a one-sided 97.5% confidence interval.

RESULTS

A total of 18,689 eligible one- and two-level decompression surgeries were identified. The matched study cohorts consisted of 5016 patients in each group. Nonroutine discharge was slightly less common in the outpatient group (0.6% vs 0.3%, p = 0.01). The 30-day readmission rates were 4.4% and 4.3% for the outpatient and inpatient groups, respectively, while the 30-day reoperation rates were 1.4% and 1.5%. The 3-month readmission rates were 6.3% for both groups, and the 3-month reoperation rates were 3.1% for the outpatient cases and 2.9% for the inpatient cases. Overall satisfaction at 3 months was 88.8% for the outpatient group and 88.4% for the inpatient group. Noninferiority of outpatient surgery was documented for readmissions, reoperations, and patient-reported satisfaction from surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Outpatient lumbar decompression surgery demonstrated slightly lower nonroutine discharge rates in comparison with inpatient surgery. Noninferiority in clinical outcomes at 30 days and 3 months after surgery was documented for outpatient compared with inpatient decompression surgery. Additionally, outpatient decompression surgery performed noninferiorly to inpatient surgery in achieving patient satisfaction from surgery.

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Hasan S. Ahmad, Shikha Singh, Kenneth Jiao, Gregory W. Basil, Andrew I. Yang, Michael Y. Wang, William C. Welch, and Jang W. Yoon

OBJECTIVE

Treatment of degenerative lumbar spine pathologies typically escalates to surgical intervention when symptoms begin to significantly impair patients’ functional status. Currently, surgeons rely on subjective patient assessments through patient-reported outcome measures to estimate the decline in patient wellness and quality of life. In this analysis, the authors sought to use smartphone-based accelerometry data to provide an objective, continuous measurement of physical activity that might aid in effective characterization of preoperative functional decline in different lumbar spine surgical indications.

METHODS

Up to 1 year of preoperative activity data (steps taken per day) from 14 patients who underwent lumbar decompression and 15 patients who underwent endoscopic lumbar fusion were retrospectively extracted from patient smartphones. A data-driven algorithm was constructed based on 10,585 unique activity data points to identify and characterize the functional decline of patients preceding surgical intervention. Algorithmic estimation of functional decline onset was compared with reported symptom onset in clinical documentation across patients who presented acutely (≤ 5 months of symptoms) or chronically (> 5 months of symptoms).

RESULTS

The newly created algorithm identified a statistically significant decrease in physical activity during measured periods of functional decline (p = 0.0020). To account for the distinct clinical presentation phenotypes of patients requiring lumbar decompression (71.4% acute and 28.6% chronic) and those requiring lumbar fusion (6.7% acute and 93.3% chronic), a variable threshold for detecting clinically significant reduced physical activity was implemented. The algorithm characterized functional decline (i.e., acute or chronic presentation) in patients who underwent lumbar decompression with 100% accuracy (sensitivity 100% and specificity 100%), while characterization of patients who underwent lumbar fusion was less effective (accuracy 26.7%, sensitivity 21.4%, and specificity 100%). Adopting a less-permissive detection threshold in patients who underwent lumbar fusion, which rendered the algorithm robust to minor fluctuations above or below the chronically decreased level of preoperative activity in most of those patients, increased functional decline classification accuracy of patients who underwent lumbar fusion to 66.7% (sensitivity 64.3% and specificity 100%).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors found that smartphone-based accelerometer data successfully characterized functional decline in patients with degenerative lumbar spine pathologies. The accuracy and sensitivity of functional decline detection were much lower when using non–surgery-specific detection thresholds, indicating the effectiveness of smartphone-based mobility analysis in characterizing the unique physical activity fingerprints of different lumbar surgical indications. The results of this study highlight the potential of using activity data to detect symptom onset and functional decline in patients, enabling earlier diagnosis and improved prognostication.

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

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Davide M. Croci, Brandon Sherrod, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Andrew K. Chan, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, 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, Khoi D. Than, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Michael S. Virk, and Erica F. Bisson

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a common progressive spine disorder affecting predominantly middle-aged and elderly populations. With increasing life expectancy, the incidence of CSM is expected to rise further. The outcomes of elderly patients undergoing CSM surgery and especially their quality of life (QOL) postoperatively remain undetermined. This study retrospectively reviewed patients to identify baseline differences and validated postoperative patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures in elderly patients undergoing CSM surgery.

METHODS

The multi-institutional, neurosurgery-specific NeuroPoint Quality Outcomes Database was queried to identify CSM patients treated surgically at the 14 highest-volume sites from January 2016 to December 2018. Patients were divided into three groups: young (< 65 years), early elderly (65–74 years), and late elderly (≥ 75 years). Demographic and PRO measures (Neck Disability Index [NDI] score, modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] score, EQ-5D score, EQ-5D visual analog scale [VAS] score, arm pain VAS, and neck pain VAS) were compared among the groups at baseline and 3 and 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

A total of 1151 patients were identified: 691 patients (60%) in the young, 331 patients (28.7%) in the early elderly, and 129 patients (11.2%) in the late elderly groups. At baseline, younger patients presented with worse NDI scores (p < 0.001) and lower EQ-5D VAS (p = 0.004) and EQ-5D (p < 0.001) scores compared with early and late elderly patients. No differences among age groups were found in the mJOA score. An improvement of all QOL scores was noted in all age groups. On unadjusted analysis at 3 months, younger patients had greater improvement in arm pain VAS, NDI, and EQ-5D VAS compared with early and late elderly patients. At 12 months, the same changes were seen, but on adjusted analysis, there were no differences in PROs between the age groups.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results indicate that elderly patients undergoing CSM surgery achieved QOL outcomes that were equivalent to those of younger patients at the 12-month follow-up.

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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.