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Shunji Tsutsui, Ei Yamamoto, Takuhei Kozaki, Akimasa Murata, and Hiroshi Yamada

OBJECTIVE

Despite improvements in surgical techniques and instruments, high rates of rod fracture following a long spinal fusion in the treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD) remain a concern. Thus, an improved understanding of rod fracture may be valuable for better surgical planning. The authors aimed to investigate mechanical stress on posterior rods in lumbopelvic fixation for the treatment of ASD.

METHODS

Synthetic lumbopelvic bone models were instrumented with intervertebral cages, pedicle screws, S2-alar-iliac screws, and rods. The construct was then placed in a testing device, and compressive loads were applied. Subsequently, the strain on the rods was measured using strain gauges on the dorsal aspect of each rod.

RESULTS

When the models were instrumented using titanium alloy rods at 30° lumbar lordosis and with lateral interbody fusion cages, posterior rod strain was highest at the lowest segment (L5–S1) and significantly higher than that at the upper segment (L2–3) (p = 0.002). Changing the rod contour from 30° to 50° caused a 36% increase in strain at L5–S1 (p = 0.009). Changing the rod material from titanium alloy to cobalt-chromium caused a 140% increase in strain at L2–3 (p = 0.009) and a 28% decrease in strain at L5–S1 (p = 0.016). The rod strain at L5–S1 using a flat bender for contouring was 23% less than that obtained using a French bender (p = 0.016).

CONCLUSIONS

In lumbopelvic fixation in which currently available surgical techniques for ASD are used, the posterior rod strain was highest at the lumbosacral junction, and depended on the contour and material of the rods.

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Jacob L. Goldberg, Ibrahim Hussain, Joseph A. Carnevale, Alexandra Giantini-Larsen, Ori Barzilai, and Mark H. Bilsky

OBJECTIVE

Paraspinal ganglioneuromas are rare tumors that arise from neural crest tissue and can cause morbidity via compression of adjacent organs and neurovascular structures. The authors investigated a case series of these tumors treated at their institution to determine clinical outcomes following resection.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospectively collected cohort of consecutive, pathology-confirmed, surgically treated paraspinal ganglioneuromas from 2001 to 2019 was performed at a tertiary cancer center.

RESULTS

Fifteen cases of paraspinal ganglioneuroma were identified: 47% were female and the median age at the time of surgery was 30 years (range 10–67 years). Resected tumors included 9 thoracic, 1 lumbar, and 5 sacral, with an average maximum tumor dimension of 6.8 cm (range 1–13.5 cm). Two patients had treated neuroblastomas that matured into ganglioneuromas. One patient had a secretory tumor causing systemic symptoms. Surgical approaches were anterior (n = 11), posterior (n = 2), or combined (n = 2). Seven (47%) and 5 (33%) patients underwent gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection with minimal residual tumor, respectively. The complication rate was 20%, with no permanent neurological deficits or deaths. No patient had evidence of tumor recurrence or progression after a median follow-up of 68 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical approaches and extent of resection for paraspinal ganglioneuromas must be heavily weighed against the advantages of aggressive debulking and decompression given the complication risk of these procedures. GTR can be curative, but even patients without complete tumor removal can show evidence of excellent long-term local control and clinical outcomes.

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Aaron Miller, Daniel W. Griepp, Chase Miller, Mousa Hamad, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, and Saikiran G. Murthy

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to determine if a consensus could be reached regarding the effectiveness of endotracheal tube cuff pressure (ETTCP) reduction after retractor placement in reducing postoperative laryngeal dysfunction after anterior cervical fusion surgery.

METHODS

A literature search of MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, Cochrane Central, Google Scholar, and Scopus databases was performed. Quantitative analysis was performed on data from articles comparing groups of patients with either reduced or unadjusted ETTCP after retractor placement in the context of anterior cervical surgery. The incidence and severity of postoperative recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy (RLNP), dysphagia, and dysphonia were compared at several postsurgical time points, ranging from 24 hours to 3 months. Heterogeneity was assessed using the chi-square test, I statistics, and inverted funnel plots. A random-effects model was used to provide a conservative estimate of the level of effect.

RESULTS

Nine studies (7 randomized, 1 prospective, and 1 retrospective) were included in the analysis. A total of 1671 patients were included (1073 [64.2%] in the reduced ETTCP group and 598 [35.8%] in the unadjusted ETTCP group). In the reduced ETTCP group, the severity of dysphagia, measured by the Bazaz-Yoo system in 3 randomized studies at 24 hours and at 4–8 weeks, was significantly lower (24 hours [standardized mean difference: −1.83, p = 0.04] and 4–8 weeks [standardized mean difference: −0.40, p = 0.05]). At 24 hours, the odds of developing dysphonia were significantly lower (OR 0.51, p = 0.002). The odds of dysphagia (24 hours: OR 0.77, p = 0.24; 1 week: OR 0.70, p = 0.47; 12 weeks: OR 0.58, p = 0.20) were lower, although not significantly, in the reduced ETTCP group. The odds of a patient having RLNP were significantly lower at all time points (24 hours: OR 0.38, p = 0.01; 12 weeks: OR 0.26, p = 0.03) when 3 randomized and 2 observational studies were analyzed. A subgroup analysis using only randomized studies demonstrated a similar trend in odds of having RLNP, yet without statistical significance (24 hours: OR 0.79, p = 0.60). All other statistically significant findings persisted with removal of any observational data.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the current best available evidence, reduction of ETTCP after retractor placement in anterior cervical surgery may be a protective measure to decrease the severity of dysphagia and the odds of developing RLNP or dysphonia.

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James P. Wondra II, Michael P. Kelly, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Jacob K. Greenberg, Justin S. Smith, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Lawrence G. Lenke, and Keith Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) is a widespread and debilitating subset of adult spinal deformity. Although many patients benefit from operative treatment, surgery entails substantial cost and risk for adverse events. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are patient-centered tools used to evaluate the appropriateness of surgery and to assist in the shared decision-making process. Framing realistic patient expectations should include the possible functional limitation to improvement inherent in surgical intervention, such as multilevel fusion to the sacrum. The authors’ objective was to predict postoperative ASLS PROMs by using clustering analysis, generalized longitudinal regression models, percentile analysis, and clinical improvement analysis of preoperative health-related quality-of-life scores for use in surgical counseling.

METHODS

Operative results from the combined ASLS cohorts were examined. PROM score clustering after surgery investigated limits of surgical improvement. Patients were categorized by baseline disability (mild, moderate, moderate to severe, or severe) according to preoperative Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–22 and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. Responder analysis for patients achieving improvement meeting the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) and substantial clinical benefit (SCB) standards was performed using both fixed-threshold and patient-specific values (MCID = 30% of remaining scale, SCB = 50%). Best (top 5%), worst (bottom 5%), and median scores were calculated across disability categories.

RESULTS

A total of 171/187 (91%) of patients with ASLS achieved 2-year follow-up. Patients rarely achieved a PROM ceiling for any measure, with 33%–43% of individuals clustering near 4.0 for SRS domains. Patients with severe baseline disability (< 2.0) SRS-pain and SRS-function scores were often left with moderate to severe disability (2.0–2.9), unlike patients with higher (≥ 3.0) initial PROM values. Patients with mild disability according to baseline SRS-function score were unlikely to improve. Crippling baseline ODI disability (> 60) commonly left patients with moderate disability (median ODI = 32). As baseline ODI disability increased, patients were more likely to achieve MCID and SCB (p < 0.001). Compared to fixed threshold values for MCID and SCB, patient-specific values were more sensitive to change for patients with minimal ODI baseline disability (p = 0.008) and less sensitive to change for patients with moderate to severe SRS subscore disability (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

These findings suggest that ASLS surgeries have a limit to possible improvement, probably due to both baseline disability and the effects of surgery. The most disabled patients often had moderate to severe disability (SRS < 3, ODI > 30) at 2 years, emphasizing the importance of patient counseling and expectation management.

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Nikhil Jain, Mayur Sharma, Dengzhi Wang, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Doniel Drazin, and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

In degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) pathologies in which there exists a clinical equipoise in approach selection, a randomized controlled trial found that an anterior approach did not significantly improve patient-reported outcomes compared with posterior approaches. In this era of value and bundled payment initiatives, the cost profiles of various surgical approaches will form an important consideration in decision-making. The objective of this study was to compare 90-day and 2-year reimbursements for ≥ 2-level (multilevel) anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (mACDF), anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF), posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (LF), and cervical laminoplasty (LP) performed for DCM.

METHODS

The IBM MarketScan research database (2005–2018) was used to study beneficiaries 30–75 years old who underwent surgery using four approaches (mACDF, ACCF, LF, or LP) for DCM. Demographics, index surgery length of stay (LOS), complications, and discharge disposition were compared. Index admission (surgeon, hospital services, operating room) and postdischarge inpatient (readmission, revision surgery, inpatient rehabilitation), outpatient (imaging, emergency department, office visits, physical therapy), and medication-related payments were described. Ninety-day and 2-year bundled payment amounts were simulated for each procedure. All payments are reported as medians and interquartile ranges (IQRs; Q1–Q3) and were adjusted to 2018 US dollars.

RESULTS

A total of 10,834 patients, with a median age of 54 years, were included. The median 90-day payment was $46,094 (IQR $34,243–$65,841) for all procedures, with LF being the highest ($64,542) and LP the lowest ($37,867). Index hospital payment was 62.4% (surgery/operating room 46.6%) and surgeon payments were 17.5% of the average 90-day bundle. There were significant differences in the index, 90-day, and 2-year reimbursements and their distribution among procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

In a national cohort of patients undergoing surgery for DCM, LP had the lowest complication rate and simulated bundled reimbursements at 90 days and 2 years postoperatively. The lowest quartile 90-day payment for LF was more expensive than median amounts for mACDF, ACCF, and LP. If surgeons encounter scenarios of clinical equipoise in practice, LP is likely to result in maximum value because it is 70% less expensive on average than LF over 90 days.

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John Michael Duff, Patrick Omoumi, Lukas Bobinski, Amani Belouaer, Sonia Plaza Wuthrich, Fabio Zanchi, and Rodolfo Maduri

OBJECTIVE

The authors previously described the image merge tailored access resection (IMTAR) technique for resection of spinal intradural lesions (SIDLs). The authors reported their updated experience with the IMTAR technique and compared surgical results between patients who underwent operations with 2D or 3D fluoroscopic guidance.

METHODS

The authors reviewed 60 patients who underwent SIDL resection with transtubular techniques over a 14-year period. The earlier patients in the series underwent operations with 2D fluoroscopic image guidance. The latter patients underwent operations with the IMTAR technique based on 3D image guidance. The results of both techniques were analyzed.

RESULTS

Sixty patients were included: 27 females (45%) and 33 males (55%). The median (range) age was 50.5 (19–92) years. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 52 patients (86.7%). Subtotal resection was accomplished in 5 patients (8.3%). Neurological complications occurred in 3 patients (5%), and tumor recurrence occurred in 1 patient (1.7%). The non-IMTAR and IMTAR cohorts showed similar postoperative Nurick scale scores and rates of neurological complications and GTR. The median (interquartile range) bone resection surface area at the index level was 89.5 (51–147) mm2 in the non-IMTAR cohort and 35.5 (11–71) mm2 in the IMTAR cohort, with a statistically significant difference (p = 0.0112).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery for SIDLs may be challenging, and meticulous surgical planning is crucial to optimize tumor access, maximize resection, and minimize risk of complications. Image-guided transtubular resection is an additional surgical technique for SIDLs and facilitates microsurgical tumor removal of ventrally located lesions with a posterolateral approach, without requiring potentially destabilizing bone resection.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Christopher S. Lai, Yong Shen, Meghan Cerpa, Nathan J. Lee, Mena G. Kerolus, Alex S. Ha, Ian A. Buchanan, Eric Leung, Ronald A. Lehman, and Lawrence G. Lenke

OBJECTIVE

This study had 3 objectives: 1) to describe pelvic obliquity (PO) and leg-length discrepancy (LLD) and their relationship with coronal malalignment (CM); 2) to report rates of isolated PO and PO secondary to LLD; and 3) to assess the importance of preoperative PO and LLD in postoperative complications, readmission, reoperation, and patient-reported outcomes.

METHODS

Patients undergoing surgery (≥ 6-level fusions) for adult spinal deformity at a single institution were reviewed. Variables evaluated were as follows: 1) PO, angle between the horizontal plane and a line touching bilateral iliac crests; and 2) LLD, distance from the head to the tibial plafond. Coronal vertical axis (CVA) and sagittal vertical axis measurements were collected, both from C7. The cutoff for CM was CVA > 3 cm. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was collected preoperatively and at 2 years.

RESULTS

Of 242 patients undergoing surgery for adult spinal deformity, 90 (37.0%) had preoperative CM. Patients with preoperative CM had a higher PO (2.8° ± 3.2° vs 2.0° ± 1.7°, p = 0.013), a higher percentage of patients with PO > 3° (35.6% vs 23.5%, p = 0.044), and higher a percentage of patients with LLD > 1 cm (21.1% vs 9.8%, p = 0.014). Whereas preoperative PO was significantly positively correlated with CVA (r = 0.26, p < 0.001) and maximum Cobb angle (r = 0.30, p < 0.001), preoperative LLD was only significantly correlated with CVA (r = 0.14, p = 0.035). A total of 12.2% of patients with CM had significant PO and LLD, defined as follows: PO ≥ 3°; LLD ≥ 1 cm. Postoperatively, preoperative PO was significantly associated with both postoperative CM (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.05–1.40, p = 0.008) and postoperative CVA (β = 0.14, 95% CI 0.06–0.22, p < 0.001). A higher preoperative PO was independently associated with postoperative complications after multivariate logistic regression (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.05–1.45, p = 0.010); however, 2-year ODI scores were not. Preoperative LLD had no significant relationship with postoperative CM, CVA, ODI, or complications.

CONCLUSIONS

A PO ≥ 3° or LLD ≥ 1 cm was seen in 44.1% of patients with preoperative CM and in 23.5% of patients with normal coronal alignment. Preoperative PO was significantly associated with preoperative CVA and maximum Cobb angle, whereas preoperative LLD was only associated with preoperative CVA. The direction of PO and LLD showed no consistent pattern with CVA. Preoperative PO was independently associated with complications but not with 2-year ODI scores.

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Jamal Bech Bouknaitir, Leah Y. Carreon, Stig Brorson, and Mikkel Østerheden Andersen

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ objective was to investigate whether sagittal balance improves in patients with spinal stenosis after decompression alone.

METHODS

This prospective longitudinal cohort study compared preoperative and 6-month postoperative 36-inch full-length radiographs in patients aged older than 60 years. Patients underwent decompression alone for central lumbar spinal stenosis with either a minimally invasive bilateral laminotomy for central decompression, unilateral laminectomy as an over-the-top procedure for bilateral decompression, or traditional wide laminectomy with removal of the spinous processes on both sides. The following radiographic parameters were measured: sagittal vertical axis (SVA), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic tilt (PT), pelvic incidence (PI), PI-LL mismatch, coronal Cobb angle, and sacral slope (SS). Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were collected, including scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS) for leg and back pain, and EQ-5D.

RESULTS

Forty-five patients (24 males) with a mean ± SD age of 71.8 ± 5.6 years were included. Sagittal balance showed statistically significant improvement, with the mean SVA decreasing from 52.3 mm preoperatively to 33.9 mm postoperatively (p = 0.0001). The authors found an increase in LL, from mean −41.5° preoperatively to −43.9° postoperatively, but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.055). A statistically significant decrease in PI-LL mismatch from mean 8.4° preoperatively to 5.8° postoperatively was found (p = 0.002). All PROM scores showed significant improvement after spinal decompression surgery. The correlations between SVA and all PROMs were statistically significant at both preoperative and postoperative time points, although most correlations were weak except for those between preoperative SVA and ODI (r = 0.55) and between SVA and VAS for leg pain (r = 0.58).

CONCLUSIONS

Sagittal balance and PROMs show improvement at short-term follow-up evaluations in patients who have undergone decompression alone for lumbar spinal stenosis.

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Pavitra Ravishankar, Edward Barksdale III, Robert D. Winkelman, Michael D. Kavanaugh, Dominic W. Pelle, Edward C. Benzel, Thomas E. Mroz, and Michael P. Steinmetz