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John Paul G. Kolcun, G. Damian Brusko, Gregory W. Basil, Richard Epstein and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Open spinal fusion surgery is often associated with significant blood loss, postoperative pain, and prolonged recovery times. Seeking to minimize surgical and perioperative morbidity, the authors adopted an endoscopic minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) technique performed without general anesthesia. In this report, they present data on the first 100 patients treated with this procedure.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of the first 100 patients who underwent awake endoscopic MIS-TLIF at a single institution between 2014 and 2017. Surgery was performed while the patient was sedated but without intubation or the use of general anesthetic or narcotic agents. Long-lasting (liposomal) bupivacaine was used for local analgesia. The discectomy and placement of an expandable interbody graft were performed endoscopically, followed by percutaneous pedicle screw implantation. Inclusion criteria for the procedure consisted of diagnosis of degenerative disc disease with grade I or II spondylolisthesis and evidence of spinal stenosis or nerve impingement with intractable symptomatology.

RESULTS

Of the first 100 patients, 56 were female and 44 were male. Single-level fusion was performed in 84 patients and two-level fusion in 16 patients. The most commonly fused level was L4–5, representing 77% of all fused levels. The mean (± standard deviation) operative time was 84.5 ± 21.7 minutes for one-level fusions and 128.1 ± 48.6 minutes for two-level procedures. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 65.4 ± 76.6 ml for one-level fusions and 74.7 ± 33.6 ml for two-level fusions. The mean length of hospital stay was 1.4 ± 1.0 days. Four deaths occurred in the 100 patients; all four of those patients died from complications unrelated to surgery. In 82% of the surviving patients, 1-year follow-up Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were available. The mean preoperative ODI score was 29.6 ± 15.3 and the mean postoperative ODI score was 17.2 ± 16.9, which represents a significant mean reduction in the ODI score of −12.3 using a two-tailed paired t-test (p = 0.000001). In four cases, the surgical plan was revised to include general endotracheal anesthesia intraoperatively and was successfully completed. Other complications included two cases of cage migration, one case of osteomyelitis, and one case of endplate fracture; three of these complications occurred in the first 50 cases.

CONCLUSIONS

This series of the first 100 patients to undergo awake endoscopic MIS-TLIF demonstrates outcomes comparable to those reported in our earlier papers. This procedure can provide a safe and efficacious option for lumbar fusion with less morbidity than open surgery. Further refinements in surgical technique and technologies will allow for improved success.

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André Beer-Furlan, Krishna C. Joshi, Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock and Michael Chen

Superior sagittal sinus (SSS) dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are rare and present unique challenges to treatment. Complex, often bilateral, arterial supply and involvement of large volumes of eloquent cortical venous drainage may necessitate multimodality therapy such as endovascular, microsurgical, and stereotactic radiosurgery techniques. The authors present a complex SSS DAVF associated with an occluded/severely stenotic SSS. The patient underwent a successful endovascular transvenous approach with complete obliteration of the SSS. The authors discuss the management challenges faced on this case.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/-rztg0_cBXY.

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Daniel A. Carr, Rajiv Saigal, Fangyi Zhang, Richard J. Bransford, Carlo Bellabarba and Armagan Dagal

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to compare total cost and length of stay (LOS) between spine surgery patients enrolled in an enhanced perioperative care (EPOC) pathway and patients receiving traditional perioperative care (TRDC).

METHODS

All spine surgery candidates were screened for inclusion in the EPOC pathway. This cohort was compared to a retrospective cohort of patients who received TRDC and a concurrent group of patients who met inclusion criteria but did not receive the EPOC (no pathway care [NOPC] group). Direct and indirect costs as well as hospital and intensive care LOSs were analyzed between the 3 groups.

RESULTS

Total costs after pathway implementation decreased by $19,344 in EPOC patients compared to a historical cohort of patients who received TRDC and $5889 in a concurrent cohort of patients who did not receive EPOC (NOPC group). Hospital and intensive care LOS were significantly lower in EPOC patients compared to TRDC and NOPC patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The implementation of a multimodal EPOC pathway decreased LOS and cost in major elective spine surgeries.

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Mazin Elsarrag, Sauson Soldozy, Parantap Patel, Pedro Norat, Jennifer D. Sokolowski, Min S. Park, Petr Tvrdik and M. Yashar S. Kalani

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is a multidimensional approach to improving the care of surgical patients using subspecialty- and procedure-specific evidence-based protocols. The literature provides evidence of the benefits of ERAS implementation, which include expedited functional recovery, decreased postoperative morbidity, reduced costs, and improved subjective patient experience. Although extensively examined in other surgical areas, ERAS principles have been applied to spine surgery only in recent years. The authors examine studies investigating the application of ERAS programs to patients undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS

The authors conducted a systematic review of the PubMed and MEDLINE databases up to November 20, 2018.

RESULTS

Twenty full-text articles were included in the qualitative analysis. The majority of studies were retrospective reviews of nonrandomized data sets or qualitative investigations lacking formal control groups; there was 1 protocol for a future randomized controlled trial. Most studies demonstrated reduced lengths of stay and no increase in rates of readmissions or complications after introduction of an ERAS pathway.

CONCLUSIONS

These introductory studies demonstrate the potential of ERAS protocols, when applied to spine procedures, to reduce lengths of stay, accelerate return of function, minimize postoperative pain, and save costs.

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Marco V. Corniola, Bertrand Debono, Holger Joswig, Jean-Michel Lemée and Enrico Tessitore

The concept of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) entails recovery facilitation of patients who undergo surgery through the implementation of a multidisciplinary and multimodal perioperative care approach. By its application, ERAS improves the overall functional outcome after surgery while maintaining high standards of care. A review of the essential aspects of ERAS in spine surgery was undertaken. Special consideration was given to the risks and benefits for patients and caregivers, as well as the medical and economical aspects of this concept.

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Ellen M. Soffin, Douglas S. Wetmore, Lauren A. Barber, Avani S. Vaishnav, James D. Beckman, Todd J. Albert, Catherine H. Gang and Sheeraz A. Qureshi

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathways are associated with improved outcomes, lower morbidity and complications, and higher patient satisfaction in multiple surgical subspecialties. Despite these gains, there are few data to guide the application of ERAS concepts to spine surgery. The authors report the development and implementation of the first ERAS pathway for patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA).

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of prospectively collected data. The authors created a multidisciplinary pathway based on best available evidence for interventions that positively influence outcomes after anterior cervical spine surgery. Patients were followed prospectively up to postoperative day 90. Patient data were collected via electronic medical record review and included demographics, comorbidities, baseline and perioperative opioid use, postoperative complications, and length of hospital stay (LOS). ERAS process measures and compliance with pathway elements were also tracked.

RESULTS

Thirty-three patients were cared for under the pathway (n = 25 ACDF; n = 8 CDA). The median LOS was 416 minutes (interquartile range [IQR] 210–1643 minutes). Eight patients required an extended stay—longer than 23 hours. Reasons for extended admission included pain (n = 4), dyspnea (n = 1), hypoxia (n = 1), hypertension (n = 1), and dysphagia (n = 1). The median LOS for the 8 patients who required extended monitoring prior to discharge was 1585 minutes (IQR 1423–1713 minutes). Overall pathway compliance with included process measures was 85.6%. The median number of ERAS process elements delivered to each patient was 18. There was no strong association between LOS and number of ERAS process elements provided (Pearson’s r = −0.20). Twelve percent of the cohort was opioid tolerant on the day of surgery. There were no significant differences between total intraoperatively or postanesthesia care unit–administered opioid, or LOS, between opioid-tolerant and opioid-naïve patients. There were no complications requiring readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

An ERAS pathway for anterior cervical spine surgery facilitates safe, prompt discharge. The ERAS pathway was associated with minimal complications, and no readmissions within 90 days of surgery. Pain and respiratory compromise were both linked with extended LOS in this cohort. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm the potential benefits of ERAS for anterior cervical spine surgery, including longer-term complications, cost, and functional outcomes.

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The evolution of surgical management for vertebral column tumors

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Jared Fridley and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Surgery for the resection of vertebral column tumors has undergone a remarkable evolution over the past several decades. Multiple advancements in surgical techniques, spinal instrumentation, technology, radiation therapy, and medical therapy have led to improved patient survival, function, and decreased morbidity. In this review, the authors discuss major changes in each of these areas in further detail.

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Varun R. Kshettry, Nina Z. Moore and Mark Bain

This video demonstrates the diagnosis and surgical ligation of a C1 dural arteriovenous fistula via a far lateral, transcondylar approach. The patient’s dural arteriovenous fistula was identified by MRI signal changes in the spinal cord and a cerebrospinal angiogram demonstrating an abnormal hypertrophied early venous drainage pattern suggestive of a C1 vessel origin. Indocyanine green was used to verify surgical treatment of the fistula intraoperatively. A postoperative angiogram and MR image demonstrate fistula occlusion and resolution of the spinal cord edema. Anatomic details and technical nuances of the approach are demonstrated.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/zSd0vuov8xk.

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Victor E. Staartjes, Marlies P. de Wispelaere and Marc L. Schröder

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) has led to a paradigm shift in various surgical specialties. Its application can result in substantial benefits in perioperative healthcare utilization through preoperative physical and mental patient optimization and modulation of the recovery process. Still, ERAS remains relatively new to spine surgery. The authors report their 5-year experience, focusing on ERAS application to a broad population of patients with degenerative spine conditions undergoing elective surgical procedures, including anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF).

METHODS

A multimodal ERAS protocol was applied between November 2013 and October 2018. The authors analyze hospital stay, perioperative outcomes, readmissions, and adverse events obtained from a prospective institutional registry. Elective tubular microdiscectomy and mini-open decompression as well as minimally invasive (MI) anterior or posterior fusion cases were included. Their institutional ERAS protocol contains 22 pre-, intra-, and postoperative elements, including preoperative patient counseling, MI techniques, early mobilization and oral intake, minimal postoperative restrictions, and regular audits.

RESULTS

A total of 2592 consecutive patients were included, with 199 (8%) undergoing fusion. The mean hospital stay was 1.1 ± 1.2 days, with 20 (0.8%) 30-day and 36 (1.4%) 60-day readmissions. Ninety-four percent of patients were discharged after a maximum 1-night hospital stay. Over the 5-year period, a clear trend toward a higher proportion of patients discharged home after a 1-night stay was observed (p < 0.001), with a concomitant decrease in adverse events in the overall cohort (p = 0.025) and without increase in readmissions. For fusion procedures, the rate of 1-night hospital stays increased from 26% to 85% (p < 0.001). Similarly, the average length of hospital stay decreased steadily from 2.4 ± 1.2 days to 1.5 ± 0.3 days (p < 0.001), with a notable concomitant decrease in variance, resulting in an estimated reduction in nursing costs of 46.8%.

CONCLUSIONS

Application of an ERAS protocol over 5 years to a diverse population of patients undergoing surgical procedures, including ALIF, for treatment of degenerative spine conditions was safe and effective, without increase in readmissions. The data from this large case series stress the importance of the multidisciplinary, iterative improvement process to overcome the learning curve associated with ERAS implementation, and the importance of a dedicated perioperative care team. Prospective trials are needed to evaluate spinal ERAS on a higher level of evidence.