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Anshit Goyal, Che Ngufor, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Brandon McCutcheon, Curtis Storlie and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Nonhome discharge and unplanned readmissions represent important cost drivers following spinal fusion. The authors sought to utilize different machine learning algorithms to predict discharge to rehabilitation and unplanned readmissions in patients receiving spinal fusion.

METHODS

The authors queried the 2012–2013 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) for patients undergoing cervical or lumbar spinal fusion. Outcomes assessed included discharge to nonhome facility and unplanned readmissions within 30 days after surgery. A total of 7 machine learning algorithms were evaluated. Predictive hierarchical clustering of procedure codes was used to increase model performance. Model performance was evaluated using overall accuracy and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), as well as sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values. These performance metrics were computed for both the imputed and unimputed (missing values dropped) datasets.

RESULTS

A total of 59,145 spinal fusion cases were analyzed. The incidence rates of discharge to nonhome facility and 30-day unplanned readmission were 12.6% and 4.5%, respectively. All classification algorithms showed excellent discrimination (AUC > 0.80, range 0.85–0.87) for predicting nonhome discharge. The generalized linear model showed comparable performance to other machine learning algorithms. By comparison, all models showed poorer predictive performance for unplanned readmission, with AUC ranging between 0.63 and 0.66. Better predictive performance was noted with models using imputed data.

CONCLUSIONS

In an analysis of patients undergoing spinal fusion, multiple machine learning algorithms were found to reliably predict nonhome discharge with modest performance noted for unplanned readmissions. These results provide early evidence regarding the feasibility of modern machine learning classifiers in predicting these outcomes and serve as possible clinical decision support tools to facilitate shared decision making.

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Alexander A. Gatskiy, Ihor B. Tretyak, Albina I. Tretiakova and Yaroslav V. Tsymbaliuk

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was clinical assessment of the reduction of pathological motor phenomena with the recovery of long toe extensors, and evaluation of functional outcome with simultaneous nerve and tendon transfer in cases of common peroneal nerve (CPN) injuries.

METHODS

Seven male patients (mean age 26.4 years) received a partial tibial nerve transfer to the extensor hallucis longus muscle (MEHL) and extensor digitorum longus muscle (MEDL) motor branches, after a mean of 2.7 months following a traction-type injury to the CPN. Tibialis posterior muscle (MTP) tendon transfer through the interosseous route was performed on the same day. The follow-up period included a clinical neurological examination, a modified Stanmore System questionnaire (MSSQ), electromyographic examination of the interference pattern, and a video-based analysis of the gait biomechanics in the 3rd and 12th months. Video analysis of the gait investigated the presence or reduction of “stair-climbing maneuver” (SCM), foot slap (FS), and foot stability during the gait cycle.

RESULTS

The average range of active dorsiflexion in the 3rd month was 0.85°. SCM accompanied walking in 6 patients (86%). FS accompanied walking in 3 patients (43%) and 3 patients (43%) avoided FS by planting the entire foot on the ground. All patients required orthopedic support (shoe inserts) to compensate for mediolateral foot instability. The average MSSQ score was 80.4 points. The average duration for the effective recovery of function (≥ 4 points on the Medical Research Council grading system) of long toe extensors was 11.2 months. The average range of active dorsiflexion in the 12th month increased to 4.4°. A reduction of FS was observed in 5 patients (71%). Excessive foot eversion was reduced in 4 patients (57%). Another 3 patients (43%) required no specific orthopedic shoe inserts. Reduction of pathological motor phenomena with recovery of the long toe extensors resulted in an increase of functional outcome. The average MSSQ score after 12 months was 92.4 points.

CONCLUSIONS

Partial tibial nerve transfer to the motor branches of the extensor hallucis longus and the long toe extensors along with the simultaneous tibialis posterior tendon transfer produce the reduction of FS and bring mediolateral stability to the foot, i.e., improved gait biomechanics. The reduction of pathological motor phenomena at the time of recovery of the long toe extensors is reflected in an increase in patients’ functional perception of the injured lower extremity during daily walking.

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Saman Shabani, Mayank Kaushal, Matthew Budde, Brian Schmit, Marjorie C. Wang and Shekar Kurpad

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a common cause of spinal cord dysfunction. Recently, it has been shown that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) may be a better biomarker than T2-weighted signal intensity (T2SI) on MRI for CSM. However, there is very little literature on a comparison between the quantitative measurements of DTI and T2SI in the CSM patient population to determine disease severity and recovery.

METHODS

A prospective analysis of 46 patients with both preoperative DTI and T2-weighted MRI was undertaken. Normalized T2SI (NT2SI), regardless of the presence or absence of T2SI at the level of maximum compression (LMC), was determined by calculating the T2SI at the LMC/T2SI at the level of the foramen magnum. Regression analysis was performed to determine the relationship of fractional anisotropy (FA), a quantitative measure derived from DTI, and NT2SI individually as well their combination with baseline preoperative modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score and ∆mJOA score at the 3-, 6-, 12-, and 24-month follow-ups. Goodness-of-fit analysis was done using residual diagnostics. In addition, mixed-effects regression analysis was used to evaluate the impact of FA and NT2SI individually. A p value < 0.05 was selected to indicate statistical significance.

RESULTS

Regression analysis showed a significant positive correlation between FA at the LMC and preoperative mJOA score (p = 0.041) but a significant negative correlation between FA at the LMC and the ΔmJOA score at the 12-month follow-up (p = 0.010). All other relationships between FA at the LMC and the baseline preoperative mJOA score or ∆mJOA score at the 3-, 6-, and 24-month follow-ups were not statistically significant. For NT2SI and the combination of FA and NT2SI, no significant relationships with preoperative mJOA score or ∆mJOA at 3, 6, and 24 months were seen on regression analysis. However, there was a significant correlation of combined FA and NT2SI with ∆mJOA score at the 12-month follow-up. Mixed-effects regression revealed that FA measured at the LMC was the only significant predictor of ΔmJOA score (p = 0.03), whereas NT2SI and time were not. Goodness-of-fit analysis did not show any evidence of lack of fit.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large prospective study of CSM patients, FA at LMC appears to be a better biomarker for determining long-term outcomes following surgery in CSM patients than NT2SI or the combination values at LMC.

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Syed I. Khalid, Ryan Kelly, Rita Wu, Akhil Peta, Adam Carlton and Owoicho Adogwa

OBJECTIVE

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

METHODS

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

RESULTS

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

CONCLUSIONS

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

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Shelly D. Timmons, Dana Waltzman, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Theodore J. Spinks and Kelly Sarmiento

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Adip G. Bhargav, Cody L. Nesvick, Giuseppe Lanzino and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

Although ventricular shunting is an effective therapy for idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), the effect of shunt valve type on the incidence of revision surgery is not well defined. To address this issue, shunt revision rates between patients with iNPH receiving a fixed-setting valve (FSV) versus a programmable valve (PV) were compared.

METHODS

Patients with iNPH treated with ventricular shunting between 2001 and 2017 were included for analysis. The incidence of shunt revision was noted and risk factors for revision were identified using a Cox proportional hazards model. Costs associated with admission for ventricular shunt procedures were obtained from the Vizient national database.

RESULTS

There were 348 patients included for analysis, with 98 patients (28.1%) receiving a PV. Shunt revision occurred in 73 patients (21.0%), with 12 patients (3.4%) undergoing multiple revisions. Overall revision rates were lower in patients receiving a PV (13.3% vs 24.0%; p = 0.027), as was the incidence of multiple revisions (0.0% vs 4.8%; p = 0.023). Patients with initial placement of an FSV were also more likely to undergo valve exchange during follow-up (12.4% vs 2.0%; p = 0.003). Patients with a PV were less likely to undergo revision due to persistent symptoms without obstruction (2.0% vs 8.8%; p = 0.031) and distal obstruction (1.0% vs 6.8%; p = 0.030). In a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, initial placement of a PV was associated with reduced risk of revision due to persistent symptoms without obstruction (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.04–0.93; p = 0.036). PVs were associated with more frequent shunt series (1.3 vs 0.6; p < 0.001) and head CT scans (3.6 vs 2.7; p = 0.038) during follow-up. There was no significant difference in mean total costs between patients receiving an FSV and a PV ($24,282.50 vs $24,396.90; p = 0.937).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results suggest that PVs lead to reduced rates of shunt revision in patients with iNPH, and decreased risk of revision due to persistent symptoms of iNPH, thereby justifying the higher upfront cost of PVs despite similar overall treatment costs between these devices.

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Peter J. Madsen, Vivek P. Buch, Jennifer E. Douglas, Arjun K. Parasher, David K. Lerner, Erin Alexander, Alan D. Workman, James N. Palmer, Shih-Shan Lang, Benjamin C. Kennedy, Arastoo Vossough, Nithin D. Adappa and Phillip B. Storm

OBJECTIVE

Craniopharyngioma represents up to 10% of pediatric brain tumors. Although these lesions are benign, attempts at gross-total resection (GTR) can lead to serious complications. More conservative approaches have emerged but require adjuvant radiation. Endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) aimed at GTR has the potential to result in fewer complications, but there has been limited comparison to open surgery. The authors performed a review of these two approaches within their institution to elucidate potential benefits and complication differences.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of pediatric patients undergoing resection of craniopharyngioma at their institution between 2001 and 2017. Volumetric analysis of tumor size and postoperative ischemic injury was performed. Charts were reviewed for a number of outcome measures.

RESULTS

A total of 43 patients with an average age of 8.2 years were identified. Open surgery was the initial intervention in 15 and EES in 28. EES was performed in patients 3–17 years of age. EES has been the only approach used since 2011. In the entire cohort, GTR was more common in the EES group (85.7% vs 53.3%, p = 0.03). Recurrence rate (40% vs 14.2%, p = 0.13) and need for adjuvant radiation (20.0% vs 10.7%, p = 0.71) were higher in the open surgical group, although not statistically significant. Pseudoaneurysm development was only observed in the open surgical group. Volumetric imaging analysis showed a trend toward larger preoperative tumor volumes in the open surgical group, so a matched cohort analysis was performed with the largest tumors from the EES group. This revealed no difference in residual tumor volume (p = 0.28), but the volume of postoperative ischemia was still significantly larger in the open group (p = 0.004). Postoperative weight gain was more common in the open surgical group, a statistically significant finding in the complete patient group that trended toward significance in the matched cohort groups. Body mass index at follow-up correlated with volume of ischemic injury in regression analysis of the complete patient cohort (p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

EES was associated with similar, if not better, extent of resection and significantly less ischemic injury than open surgery. Pseudoaneurysms were only seen in the open surgical group. Weight gain was also less prevalent in the EES cohort and appears be correlated with extent of ischemic injury at time of surgery.

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Sehan Park, Dong-Ho Lee, Saemin Hwang, Soohyun Oh, Do-yon Hwang, Jae Hwan Cho, Chang Ju Hwang and Choon Sung Lee

OBJECTIVE

Local bone dust has been used previously as a substitute cage filling material for iliac bone grafts during anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). However, the impacts of local bone dust on fusion rate and clinical results remain unclear. Extragraft bone bridging (ExGBB) is a reliable CT finding indicating segmental fusion. This study was conducted to compare fusion rates for the use of local bone dust or an iliac auto bone graft during ACDF surgery and to evaluate the effect of implanting bone graft outside the cage.

METHODS

Ninety-three patients who underwent ACDF at a single institution were included. An iliac bone graft was used as the polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cage filling graft material in 43 patients (iliac crest [IC] group). In the IC group, bone graft material was inserted only inside the cage. Local bone dust was used in 50 patients (local bone [LB] group). Bone graft material was inserted both inside and outside the cage in the LB group. Segmental fusion was assessed by 1) interspinous motion (ISM), 2) intragraft bone bridging (InGBB), and 3) ExGBB. Fusion rates, visual analog scale (VAS) scores for neck and arm pain, and Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores were compared between the 2 groups.

RESULTS

The neck and arm pain VAS scores and NDI score improved significantly in both groups. Fusion rates assessed by ISM and InGBB did not differ significantly between the groups. However, the fusion rate in the LB group was significantly higher than that in the IC group when assessed by ExGBB (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Using local bone dust as cage filling material resulted in fusion rates similar to those for an iliac bone graft, while avoiding potential complications and pain caused by iliac bone harvesting. A higher rate of extragraft bone bridge formation was achieved by implanting local bone dust outside the cage.

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Liang Xu, Benlong Shi, Yong Qiu, Zhonghui Chen, Xi Chen, Song Li, Changzhi Du, Qingshuang Zhou, Zezhang Zhu and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to quantify the response of the cervical spine to the surgical correction of Scheuermann’s kyphosis (SK) and to postoperative proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK).

METHODS

Fifty-nine patients (mean age 14.6 ± 2.3 years) were enrolled in the study: 35 patients in a thoracic SK (T-SK) group and 24 in a thoracolumbar SK (TL-SK) group. The mean follow-up period was 47.2 ± 17.6 months. Radiographic data, PJK-related complications, and patient-reported outcomes were compared between groups.

RESULTS

The global kyphosis significantly decreased postoperatively, and similar correction rates were observed between the two groups (mean 47.1% ± 8.6% [T-SK] vs 45.8% ± 9.4% [TL-SK], p = 0.585). The cervical lordosis (CL) in the T-SK group notably decreased from 21.4° ± 13.3° to 13.1° ± 12.4° after surgery and was maintained at 14.9° ± 10.7° at the latest follow-up, whereas in the TL-SK group, CL considerably increased from 7.2° ± 10.7° to 11.7° ± 11.1° after surgery and to 13.8° ± 8.9° at the latest follow-up. PJK was identified in 16 patients (27.1%). Its incidence in the TL-SK group was notably higher than it was in the T-SK group (41.6% [n = 10] vs 17.1% [n = 6], p = 0.037). Compared with non-PJK patients, PJK patients had greater CL and lower pain scores on the Scoliosis Research Society–22 questionnaire (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Hyperkyphosis correction eventually resulted in reciprocal changes in the cervical spine, with CL notably decreased in the T-SK group but significantly increased in the TL-SK group. Patients developing PJK have increased CL, which seems to have a negative effect on patients’ health-related quality of life.

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Travis J. Atchley, Nicholas M. B. Laskay, Brandon A. Sherrod, A. K. M. Fazlur Rahman, Harrison C. Walker and Barton L. Guthrie

OBJECTIVE

Infection and erosion following implantable pulse generator (IPG) placement are associated with morbidity and cost for patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems. Here, the authors provide a detailed characterization of infection and erosion events in a large cohort that underwent DBS surgery for movement disorders.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed consecutive IPG placements and replacements in patients who had undergone DBS surgery for movement disorders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham between 2013 and 2016. IPG procedures occurring before 2013 in these patients were also captured. Descriptive statistics, survival analyses, and logistic regression were performed using generalized linear mixed effects models to examine risk factors for the primary outcomes of interest: infection within 1 year or erosion within 2 years of IPG placement.

RESULTS

In the study period, 384 patients underwent a total of 995 IPG procedures (46.4% were initial placements) and had a median follow-up of 2.9 years. Reoperation for infection occurred after 27 procedures (2.7%) in 21 patients (5.5%). No difference in the infection rate was observed for initial placement versus replacement (p = 0.838). Reoperation for erosion occurred after 16 procedures (1.6%) in 15 patients (3.9%). Median time to reoperation for infection and erosion was 51 days (IQR 24–129 days) and 149 days (IQR 112–285 days), respectively. Four patients with infection (19.0%) developed a second infection requiring a same-side reoperation, two of whom developed a third infection. Intraoperative vancomycin powder was used in 158 cases (15.9%) and did not decrease the infection risk (infected: 3.2% with vancomycin vs 2.6% without, p = 0.922, log-rank test). On logistic regression, a previous infection increased the risk for infection (OR 35.0, 95% CI 7.9–156.2, p < 0.0001) and a lower patient BMI was a risk factor for erosion (BMI ≤ 24 kg/m2: OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1–8.6, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

IPG-related infection and erosion following DBS surgery are uncommon but clinically significant events. Their respective timelines and risk factors suggest different etiologies and thus different potential corrective procedures.