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Is single-level cervical disc arthroplasty associated with a lower reoperation rate than anterior cervical discectomy and fusion?

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Alexander Tuchman, Ida Chen, Corey T. Walker, Linda E. Kanim, Hyun W. Bae, and David L. Skaggs

OBJECTIVE

Long-term meta-analysis of cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) trials report lower rates of subsequent cervical spine surgical procedures with CDA compared with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). The objective of this study was to compare the rate of subsequent cervical spine surgery in single-level CDA–treated patients to that of a matched cohort of single-level ACDF–treated patients by using records from 2010 to 2021 included in a large national administrative claims database (PearlDiver).

METHODS

This retrospective matched-cohort study used a large national insurance claims database; 525,510 patients who had undergone a single-level ACDF or CDA between 2010 and 2021 were identified. Patients with other same-day spine procedures, as well as those for trauma, infection, or tumor, were excluded, yielding 148,531 patients. ACDF patients were matched 2:1 to CDA patients on the basis of clinical and demographic characteristics. The primary outcome was the overall incidence of all-cause cervical reoperation after index surgery. Secondary outcomes included readmission, any adverse event within 90 days, and overall reintervention after index surgery. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were adjusted for covariates and were employed to estimate the effect of the index ACDF or CDA procedure on patient outcomes. Survival was assessed using Kaplan-Meier estimation, and differences between ACDF- and CDA-treated patients were compared using log-rank tests.

RESULTS

After the patients were matched, 28,795 ACDF patients to 14,504 CDA patients were included. ACDF patients had higher rates of 90-day adverse events (18.4% vs 14.6%, adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.77, 95% CI 0.73–0.82, p < 0.001) and readmission (11.5% vs 9.7%, aOR 0.87, 95% CI 0.81–0.93, p < 0.001). Over a mean 4.3 years of follow-up, 5.0% of ACDF patients and 5.4% of CDA patients underwent reoperation (aOR 1.09, 95% CI 1.00–1.19, p = 0.059). The rate of aggregate reintervention was higher in CDA patients than in ACDF patients (11.7% vs 10.7%, aOR 1.10, p = 0.002). The Kaplan-Meier 10-year reoperation-free survival rate was worse for CDA than ACDF (91.0% vs 92.0%, p = 0.05), as was the rate of reintervention-free survival (81.2% vs 82.0%, p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS

Single-level CDA was associated with a similar rate of reoperation and higher rate of subsequent injections when compared with a matched cohort that underwent single-level ACDF. CDA was associated with lower rates of 90-day adverse events and readmissions.

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Letter to the Editor. Expanding the scope of mHealth in spine surgery: beyond smartphones

Yuudai Kobayashi, Tadatsugu Morimoto, Tomohito Yoshihara, Takaomi Kobayashi, and Masaaki Mawatari

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A quantitative analysis of surgical smoke–derived particulate matter and formaldehyde exposure during spine surgery: a possible occupational hazard

Seung Jin Choi, Dongmin Seo, Chang Hwa Ham, Joo Han Kim, and Woo-Keun Kwon

OBJECTIVE

Since its introduction, electrocautery has served as a valuable surgical tool, enabling precise tissue cutting and effective hemostasis in spine surgery. While there have been numerous efforts to elucidate the possible hazardous effects of surgical smoke in various surgical fields, there has been very little discussion in the context of spine surgery. The objective of this study was to measure and conduct a quantitative analysis of the particulate matter (PM) of different sizes and of formaldehyde (HCHO) generated by smoke during spine surgeries.

METHODS

This study included a consecutive series of patients who underwent 1- or 2-level lumbar spinal fusion surgery between June and November 2021. Particle counts were measured using a particle counter, specifically focusing on six different sizes of PM (0.3, 0.5, 1, 2.5, 5, and 10 µm). Additionally, measurements were taken for HCHO in parts per million (ppm). Monopolar cautery was used in the surgical setting. Systematic measurements were conducted at specific time points during the surgical procedures to assess the levels of PM and HCHO. Furthermore, the efficacy of surgical smoke suction was evaluated by comparing the PM levels with and without adjacent placement of suction.

RESULTS

This study involved 35 patients, with measurements of both PM and HCHO taken in 27 cases. The remaining 8 cases had measurements only for PM. In this study, statistically significant quantitative changes in various PM sizes were observed when electrocautery was used during spine surgery (12.3 ± 1.7 vs 1975.7 ± 422.8, 3.4 ± 0.5 vs 250.1 ± 45.7, and 1.9 ± 0.2 vs 78.1 ± 13.3, respectively, for 2.5-, 5-, and 10-µm PM; p < 0.05). The level of HCHO was also significantly higher (0.085 ± 0.006 vs 0.131 ± 0.014 ppm, p < 0.05) with electrocautery use. Utilization of adjacent suction of surgical smoke during electrocautery demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in PM levels.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings of this study highlight the potential surgical smoke–related hazards that spine surgeons may be exposed to in the operating room. Implementing simple interventions, such as utilizing nearby suction, can effectively minimize the amount of toxic surgical smoke and mitigate these risks.

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Sacral Tarlov perineurial cysts: a systematic review of treatment options

Jan Alberto Paredes Mogica, Frank Feigenbaum, Julie G. Pilitsis, Rudolph J. Schrot, Anne Louise Oaklander, and Elise J. B. De

Tarlov perineurial spinal cysts (TCs) are an underrecognized cause of spinal neuropathic symptoms. TCs form within the sensory nerve root sleeves, where CSF extends distally and can accumulate pathologically. Typically, they develop at the sacral dermatomes where the nerve roots are under the highest hydrostatic pressure and lack enclosing vertebral foramina. In total, 90% of patients are women, and genetic disorders that weaken connective tissues, e.g., Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, convey considerable risk. Most small TCs are asymptomatic and do not require treatment, but even incidental visualizations should be documented in case symptoms develop later. Symptomatic TCs most commonly cause sacropelvic dermatomal neuropathic pain, as well as bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Large cysts routinely cause muscle atrophy and weakness by compressing the ventral motor roots, and multiple cysts or multiroot compression by one large cyst can cause even greater cauda equina syndromes. Rarely, giant cysts erode the sacrum or extend as intrapelvic masses. Disabling TCs require consideration for surgical intervention. The authors’ systematic review of treatment analyzed 31 case series of interventional percutaneous procedures and open surgical procedures. The surgical series were smaller and reported somewhat better outcomes with longer term follow-up but slightly higher risks. When data were lacking, authorial expertise and case reports informed details of the specific interventional and surgical techniques, as well as medical, physical, and psychological management. Cyst-wrapping surgery appeared to offer the best long-term outcomes by permanently reducing cyst size and reconstructing the nerve root sleeves. This curtails ongoing injury to the axons and neuronal death, and may also promote axonal regeneration to improve somatic and autonomic sacral nerve function.

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Assessing the impact of obesity on full endoscopic spine surgery: surgical site infections, surgery durations, early complications, and short-term functional outcomes

Jannik Leyendecker, Braeden Benedict, Chayanne Gumbs, Peer Eysel, Jan Bredow, Albert Telfeian, Peter Derman, Osama Kashlan, Anubhav Amin, Sanjay Konakondla, Christoph P. Hofstetter, and John Ogunlade

OBJECTIVE

An increasing number of obese patients undergoing elective spine surgery has been reported. Obesity has been associated with a substantially higher number of surgical site infections and a longer surgery duration. However, there is a lack of research investigating the intersection of obesity and full endoscopic spine surgery (FESS) in terms of functional outcomes and complications. The aim of this study was to evaluate wound site infections and functional outcomes following FESS in obese patients.

METHODS

Patients undergoing lumbar FESS at the participating institutions from March 2020 to March 2023 for degenerative pathologies were included in the analysis. Patients were divided into obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2) and nonobese (BMI 18–30 kg/m2) groups. Data were collected prospectively using an approved smartphone application for 3 months postsurgery. Parameters included demographics, surgical details, a virtual wound checkup, the visual analog scale for back and leg pain, and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) as a functional outcome measure.

RESULTS

A total of 118 patients were included in the analysis, with 53 patients in the obese group and 65 in the nonobese group. Group homogeneity was satisfactory regarding patient age (obese vs nonobese: 55.5 ± 14.7 years vs 59.1 ± 17.1 years, p = 0.25) and sex (p = 0.85). No surgical site infection requiring operative revision was reported for either group. No significant differences for blood loss per level (obese vs nonobese: 9.7 ± 16.8 ml vs 8.0 ± 13.3 ml, p = 0.49) or duration of surgery per level (obese vs nonobese: 91.2 ± 57.7 minutes vs 76.8 ± 39.2 minutes, p = 0.44) were reported between groups. Obese patients showed significantly faster improvement regarding ODI (−3.0 ± 9.8 vs 0.7 ± 11.3, p = 0.01) and leg pain (−4.4 ± 3.2 vs −2.9 ± 3.7, p = 0.03) 7 days postsurgery. This effect was no longer significant 90 days postsurgery for either ODI (obese vs nonobese: −11.4 ± 11.4 vs −9.1 ± 9.6, p = 0.24) or leg pain (obese vs nonobese: −4.3 ± 3.9 vs −3.5 ± 3.8, p = 0.28).

CONCLUSIONS

The results highlight the effectiveness and safety of lumbar FESS in obese patients. Unlike with open spine surgery, obese patients did not experience significant increases in surgery time or postoperative complications. Interestingly, obese patients demonstrated faster early recovery, as indicated by significantly greater improvements in ODI and leg pain at 7 days after surgery. However, there was no difference in improvement between the groups at 90 days after surgery.

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Comparison of lumbar microdiscectomy and unilateral biportal endoscopic discectomy outcomes: a single-center experience

Mehmet İlker Özer and Oğuz Kağan Demirtaş

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar microdiscectomy (LMD) is still the gold-standard treatment for lumbar disc herniations with progressive neurological deficits that are refractory to conservative treatment. With improvement of endoscopic systems in recent years, endoscopic discectomy techniques have been developed as an alternative to LMD. The unilateral biportal endoscopic discectomy (UBE) technique is one of these endoscopic techniques, and its popularity has increased in recent years because it does not require high-cost specialized endoscopes, many microsurgical instruments are compatible with this system, and it is similar to LMD in terms of anatomical orientation. This study compared results between LMD and UBE techniques in patients with lumbar disc herniations performed by the same spine surgeons at a single center.

METHODS

The data of patients with lumbar disc herniation who were operated on with LMD and UBE techniques were retrospectively reviewed. The data obtained were statistically evaluated. The operative video of one of the patients who underwent UBE was edited for demonstration.

RESULTS

Between January 2021 and June 2022, 93 patients were operated on for lumbar disc herniation. LMD was performed in 39 patients, and UBE was performed in 54 patients. There were no significant differences in the complications, recurrence, postoperative back and leg pain, patient satisfaction rates, and quality of life index results of the patients in the two groups. The operation time was shorter in the LMD group. In the UBE group, estimated blood loss was lower and postoperative hospitalization was shorter.

CONCLUSIONS

Although LMD is still the gold-standard treatment for lumbar disc herniation, the results of UBE are comparable to those of LMD, and it may be a good alternative for spine surgeons who prefer minimally invasive surgery.

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The iterative implementation of a comprehensive enhanced recovery after surgery protocol in all spinal surgery in Korea: a comparative analysis of clinical outcomes and medical costs between primary spinal tumors and degenerative spinal diseases

Woon Tak Yuh, Jun-Hoe Kim, Junghoon Han, Tae-Shin Kim, Young Il Won, Yunhee Choi, Hyun Jung Noh, Chang-Hyun Lee, Chi Heon Kim, and Chun Kee Chung

OBJECTIVE

Most studies on the enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol in spine surgery have focused on patients with degenerative spinal diseases (DSDs), resulting in a lack of evidence for a comprehensive ERAS protocol applicable to patients with primary spine tumors (PSTs) and other spinal diseases. The authors had developed and gradually adopted components of the comprehensive ERAS protocol for all spine surgical procedures from 2003 to 2011, and then the current ERAS protocol was fully implemented in 2012. This study aimed to evaluate the impact and the applicability of the comprehensive ERAS protocol across all spine surgical procedures and to compare outcomes between the PST and DSD groups.

METHODS

Adult spine surgical procedures were conducted from 2003 to 2021 at the Seoul National University Hospital Spine Center and data were retrospectively reviewed. The author divided the study periods into the developing ERAS (2003–2011) and post-current ERAS (2012–2021) periods, and outcomes were compared between the two periods. Surgical procedures for metastatic cancer, infection, and trauma were excluded. Interrupted time series analysis (ITSA) was used to assess the impact of the ERAS protocol on medical costs and clinical outcomes, including length of stay (LOS) and rates of 30-day readmission, reoperation, and surgical site infection (SSI). Subgroup analyses were conducted on the PST and DSD groups in terms of LOS and medical costs.

RESULTS

The study included 7143 surgical procedures, comprising 1494 for PSTs, 5340 for DSDs, and 309 for other spinal diseases. After ERAS protocol implementation, spine surgical procedures showed significant reductions in LOS and medical costs by 22% (p = 0.008) and 22% (p < 0.001), respectively. The DSD group demonstrated a 16% (p < 0.001) reduction in LOS, whereas the PST group achieved a 28% (p < 0.001) reduction, noting a more pronounced LOS reduction in PST surgical procedures (p = 0.003). Medical costs decreased by 23% (p < 0.001) in the DSD group and 12% (p = 0.054) in the PST group, with a larger cost reduction for DSD surgical procedures (p = 0.021). No statistically significant differences were found in the rates of 30-day readmission, reoperation, and SSI between the developing and post-current ERAS implementation periods (p = 0.65, p = 0.59, and p = 0.52, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Comprehensive ERAS protocol implementation significantly reduced LOS and medical costs in all spine surgical procedures, while maintaining comparable 30-day readmission, reoperation, and SSI rates. These findings suggest that the ERAS protocol is equally applicable to all spine surgical procedures, with a more pronounced effect on reducing LOS in the PST group and on reducing medical costs in the DSD group.

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Localization of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas from the spatial relationships of perimedullary vessels on standard MRI

Ali Moosavi, Paul Kalapos, Ephraim W. Church, Kevin M. Cockroft, and Krishnamoorthy Thamburaj

OBJECTIVE

The goal in this study was to explore the spatial relationship of perimedullary vessels visualized on MRI to localize the side and the site of spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (SDAVF).

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of 30 consecutive patients diagnosed with SDAVF on MRI was undertaken. Two experienced reviewers blinded to all reports and angiographic images analyzed T2-weighted as well as postcontrast T1-weighted sequences. A focal prominent zone of perimedullary vessels with lateralization to one side in the thecal space was evaluated to locate the side and the site of the fistula. Spinal digital subtraction angiography served as the gold standard technique.

RESULTS

Good interrater agreement (κ = 0.77) was shown for the diagnosis of SDAVF with perimedullary vessels on T2-weighted MRI. Flow voids on T2-weighted MRI demonstrated a sensitivity of 1.0 (95% CI 1.0–1.0) and an accuracy of 0.87 (95% CI 0.79–0.95) to identify the presence of fistula. The flow voids on T2-weighted MRI also demonstrated 0.88 (95% CI 0.71–1.03) sensitivity and 0.81 (95% CI 0.70–0.92) accuracy to identify the side of SDAVF. Furthermore, flow voids on T2-weighted MRI showed 0.87 (95% CI 0.71–1.03) sensitivity and 0.87 (95% CI 0.79–0.95) accuracy to identify the site of SDAVF within 3 vertebral levels above or below the actual site. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve demonstrated significant results (0.87 [95% CI 0.73–1.0]; p < 0.001) for flow voids on T2-weighted MRI to identify the site of shunts within 3 vertebral levels in the cranial or caudal direction.

CONCLUSIONS

Spatial distribution of perimedullary vessels observed on standard MRI show promise to locate the side and the site of fistula in patients with SDAVF.

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Postoperative quality of life in patients with ankylosing spondylitis and thoracolumbar kyphosis: risk factors and personalized sagittal reconstruction strategy

Xin Lv, Renyuan Huang, Ziliang Zeng, Di Zhang, Bo Li, Yuhong Lin, Zhilei Zhang, Qiwei Wang, Yelidana Nuertai, Zhihao Huang, Zheyu Wang, Canchun Yang, Haolin Yan, Xiaoshuai Peng, Qiancheng Zhao, Wenpeng Li, Xu Jiang, Xumin Hu, and Liangbin Gao

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the factors affecting postoperative quality of life in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and thoracolumbar kyphosis (TLK), and establish a personalized sagittal reconstruction strategy.

METHODS

Patients with AS and TLK who underwent pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) from February 2009 to May 2019 were retrospectively included. Quality of life and spinal sagittal radiographic parameters were collected before surgery and at the last follow-up. Patients were divided into two groups based on the attainment of minimal clinically important difference (MCID) on the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index and Oswestry Disability Index. Comparisons of radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes were conducted between and within groups. Regression analysis was used to identify the risk factors within the missing MCID cohort. Sagittal reconstruction equations were established using the pelvic incidence (PI) and thoracic inlet angle (TIA) in the reached MCID cohort.

RESULTS

The study comprised 82 participants. Significant improvements were observed in most radiographic parameters and all quality-of-life indicators during the final follow-up compared with the preoperative measures (p < 0.05). Factors including cervical lordosis (CL) ≥ 18° (OR 9.75, 95% CI 2.26–58.01, p = 0.005), chin-brow vertical angle (CBVA) ≥ 25° (OR 14.7, 95% CI 3.29–91.21, p = 0.001), and pelvic tilt (PT) ≥ 33° (OR 21.77, 95% CI 5.92–103.44, p < 0.001) independently correlated with a failure to attain MCID (p < 0.05). Sagittal realignment targets were constructed as follows: sacral slope (SS) = 0.84 PI − 17.4° (R2 = 0.81, p < 0.001), thoracic kyphosis (TK) = 0.51 PI + 10.8° (R2 = 0.46, p = 0.002), neck tilt (NT) = 0.52 TIA − 5.8° (R2 = 0.49, p < 0.001), and T1 slope (T1S) = 0.48 TIA + 5.8° (R2 = 0.45, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

PSO proved efficacious in treating AS complicated by TLK, yielding favorable outcomes. CBVA ≥ 25°, CL ≥ 18°, and PT ≥ 33° were the primary factors affecting postoperative quality of life in patients with AS. The personalized sagittal reconstruction strategy in this study focused on the subjective sensations and daily needs of patients with AS, which were delineated by the equations SS = 0.84 PI − 17.4°, TK = 0.51 PI + 10.8°, NT = 0.52 TIA − 5.8°, and T1S = 0.48 TIA + 5.8°.

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Risk factors for not reaching minimal clinically important difference at 90 days and 1 year after elective lumbar spine surgery: a cohort study

Travis Hamilton, Seokchun Lim, Edvin Telemi, Ho Jun Yun, Mohamed Macki, Lonni Schultz, Hsueh-Han Yeh, Kylie Springer, Kevin Taliaferro, Miguelangelo Perez-Cruet, Ilyas Aleem, Paul Park, Richard Easton, David R. Nerenz, Jason M. Schwalb, Muwaffak Abdulhak, and Victor Chang

OBJECTIVE

Patient-perceived functional improvement is a core metric in lumbar surgery for degenerative disease. It is important to identify both modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors that can be evaluated and possibly optimized prior to elective surgery. This case-control study was designed to study risk factors for not achieving the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Function 4-item Short Form (PROMIS PF) score.

METHODS

The authors queried the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative database to identify patients who underwent elective lumbar surgical procedures with PROMIS PF scores. Cases were divided into two cohorts based on whether patients achieved MCID at 90 days and 1 year after surgery. Patient characteristics and operative details were analyzed as potential risk factors.

RESULTS

The authors captured 10,922 patients for 90-day follow-up and 4453 patients (40.8%) did not reach MCID. At the 1-year follow-up period, 7780 patients were identified and 2941 patients (37.8%) did not achieve MCID. The significant demographic characteristic–adjusted relative risks (RRs) for both groups (RR 90 day, RR 1 year) included the following: symptom duration > 1 year (1.34, 1.41); previous spine surgery (1.25, 1.30); African American descent (1.25, 1.20); chronic opiate use (1.23, 1.25); and less than high school education (1.20, 1.34). Independent ambulatory status (0.83, 0.88) and private insurance (0.91, 0.85) were associated with higher likelihood of reaching MCID at 90 days and 1 year, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Several key unique demographic risk factors were identified in this cohort study that precluded optimal postoperative functional outcomes after elective lumbar spine surgery. With this information, appropriate preoperative counseling can be administered to assist in shaping patient expectations.