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Jinping Liu, Pingguo Duan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Rong Xie, Bo Li, Yinhui Dong, Sigurd Berven, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Conflicting reports exist about whether transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) induces lordosis or kyphosis, ranging from decreasing lordosis by 3.71° to increasing it by 18.8°. In this study, the authors’ aim was to identify factors that result in kyphosis or lordosis after TLIF.

METHODS

A single-center, retrospective study of open TLIF without osteotomy for spondylolisthesis with a minimum 2-year follow-up was undertaken. Preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiographic parameters and cage specifics were collected. TLIFs were considered to be “lordosing” if postoperative induction of lordosis was > 0° and “kyphosing” if postoperative induction of lordosis was ≤ 0°.

RESULTS

A total of 137 patients with an average follow-up of 52.5 months (range 24–130 months) were included. The overall postoperative disc angle (DA) and segmental lordosis (SL) increased by 1.96° and 1.88° (p = 0.003 and p = 0.038), respectively, whereas overall lumbar lordosis remained unchanged (p = 0.133). Seventy-nine patients had lordosing TLIFs with a mean SL increase of 5.72° ± 3.97°, and 58 patients had kyphosing TLIFs with a mean decrease of 3.02° ± 2.98°. Multivariate analysis showed that a lower preoperative DA, lower preoperative SL, and anterior cage placement were correlated with the greatest increase in postoperative SL (p = 0.040, p < 0.001, and p = 0.035, respectively). There was no difference in demographics, cage type or height, or spinopelvic parameters between the groups (p > 0.05). Linear regression showed that the preoperative DA and SL correlated with SL after TLIF (R2 = 0.198, p < 0.001; and R2 = 0.2931, p < 0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Whether a TLIF induces kyphosis or lordosis depends on the preoperative DA, preoperative SL, and cage position. Less-lordotic segments became more lordotic postoperatively, and highly lordotic segments may lose lordosis after TLIF. Cages placed more anteriorly were associated with more lordosis.

Open access

Brenton Pennicooke, Jeremy Guinn, and Dean Chou

BACKGROUND

While performing lateral lumbar interbody fusion surgery, one of the surgical goals is to release the contralateral side with a Cobb elevator, allowing distraction of the interbody space. Many times, there are large osteophytes on the contralateral side, and the osteophytes can be split open with the Cobb or blunt instrument. It is extremely rare for the actual osteophyte to break off from the vertebral body into the contralateral psoas muscle and lumbar plexus.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case of symptomatic lumbar plexopathy caused by an osteophyte fracture after an oblique lumbar interbody fusion requiring a right-sided anterior approach to excise the bony fragment. They illustrate the case with imaging that the radiologist did not comment on, and they also show a video of the surgical excision of the osteophyte through a right-sided anterior lumbar retroperitoneal approach. The authors also show how the patient had spontaneous right-sided electromyography (EMG) firing before excision of the osteophyte and how the EMG firing resolved after excision.

LESSONS

Although the literature is plentiful with regard to ipsilateral approach–related complications, the authors discuss the literature with regard to contralateral complications after minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion.

Free access

Enrique Vargas, Dennis T. Lockney, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Alexander F. Haddad, Joshua Rivera, Xiao Tan, Alysha Jamieson, Yasmine Mahmoudieh, Sigurd Berven, Steve E. Braunstein, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Within the Spine Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS) classification, tumor-related potential spinal instability (SINS 7–12) may not have a clear treatment approach. The authors aimed to examine the proportion of patients in this indeterminate zone who later required surgical stabilization after initial nonoperative management. By studying this patient population, they sought to determine if a clear SINS cutoff existed whereby the spine is potentially unstable due to a lesion and would be more likely to require stabilization.

METHODS

Records from patients treated at the University of California, San Francisco, for metastatic spine disease from 2005 to 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. Seventy-five patients with tumor-related potential spinal instability (SINS 7–12) who were initially treated nonoperatively were included. All patients had at least a 1-year follow-up with complete medical records. A univariate chi-square test and Student t-test were used to compare categorical and continuous outcomes, respectively, between patients who ultimately underwent surgery and those who did not. A backward likelihood multivariate binary logistic regression model was used to investigate the relationship between clinical characteristics and surgical intervention. Recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) and single-variable logistic regression were performed as a function of SINS.

RESULTS

Seventy-five patients with a total of 292 spinal metastatic sites were included in this study; 26 (34.7%) patients underwent surgical intervention, and 49 (65.3%) did not. There was no difference in age, sex, comorbidities, or lesion location between the groups. However, there were more patients with a SINS of 12 in the surgery group (55.2%) than in the no surgery group (44.8%) (p = 0.003). On multivariate analysis, SINS > 11 (OR 8.09, CI 1.96–33.4, p = 0.004) and Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score < 60 (OR 0.94, CI 0.89–0.98, p = 0.008) were associated with an increased risk of surgery. KPS score was not correlated with SINS (p = 0.4). RPA by each spinal lesion identified an optimal cutoff value of SINS > 10, which were associated with an increased risk of surgical intervention. Patients with a surgical intervention had a higher incidence of complications on multivariable analysis (OR 2.96, CI 1.01–8.71, p = 0.048).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with a mean SINS of 11 or greater may be at increased risk of mechanical instability requiring surgery after initial nonoperative management. RPA showed that patients with a KPS score of 60 or lower and a SINS of greater than 10 had increased surgery rates.

Free access

Charlotte Dandurand, Charles G. Fisher, Laurence D. Rhines, Stefano Boriani, Raphaële Charest-Morin, Alessandro Gasbarrini, Alessandro Luzzati, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Feng Wei, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Chetan Bettegowda, Daniel M. Sciubba, Aron Lazary, Norio Kawahara, Michelle J. Clarke, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Alexander C. Disch, Dean Chou, John H. Shin, Francis J. Hornicek, IIya Laufer, Arjun Sahgal, and Nicolas Dea

OBJECTIVE

Oncological resection of primary spine tumors is associated with lower recurrence rates. However, even in the most experienced hands, the execution of a meticulously drafted plan sometimes fails. The objectives of this study were to determine how successful surgical teams are at achieving planned surgical margins and how successful surgeons are in intraoperatively assessing tumor margins. The secondary objective was to identify factors associated with successful execution of planned resection.

METHODS

The Primary Tumor Research and Outcomes Network (PTRON) is a multicenter international prospective registry for the management of primary tumors of the spine. Using this registry, the authors compared 1) the planned surgical margin and 2) the intraoperative assessment of the margin by the surgeon with the postoperative assessment of the margin by the pathologist. Univariate analysis was used to assess whether factors such as histology, size, location, previous radiotherapy, and revision surgery were associated with successful execution of the planned margins.

RESULTS

Three hundred patients were included. The surgical plan was successfully achieved in 224 (74.7%) patients. The surgeon correctly assessed the intraoperative margins, as reported in the final assessment by the pathologist, in 239 (79.7%) patients. On univariate analysis, no factor had a statistically significant influence on successful achievement of planned margins.

CONCLUSIONS

In high-volume cancer centers around the world, planned surgical margins can be achieved in approximately 75% of cases. The morbidity of the proposed intervention must be balanced with the expected success rate in order to optimize patient management and surgical decision-making.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Ibrahim Hussain, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Robert K. Eastlack, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Juan S. Uribe, Richard G. Fessler, Paul Park, Leslie Robinson, Joshua Rivera, Dean Chou, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Pierce D. Nunley, Michael Y. Wang, Frank La Marca, Khoi D. Than, Kai-Ming Fu, and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for spinal deformity uses interbody techniques for correction, indirect decompression, and arthrodesis. Selection criteria for choosing a particular interbody approach are lacking. The authors created the minimally invasive interbody selection algorithm (MIISA) to provide a framework for rational decision-making in MIS for deformity.

METHODS

A retrospective data set of circumferential MIS (cMIS) for adult spinal deformity (ASD) collected over a 5-year period was analyzed by level in the lumbar spine to identify surgeon preferences and evaluate segmental lordosis outcomes. These data were used to inform a Delphi session of minimally invasive deformity surgeons from which the algorithm was created. The algorithm leads to 1 of 4 interbody approaches: anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), anterior column release (ACR), lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF), and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). Preoperative and 2-year postoperative radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes were compared.

RESULTS

Eleven surgeons completed 100 cMISs for ASD with 338 interbody devices, with a minimum 2-year follow-up. The type of interbody approach used at each level from L1 to S1 was recorded. The MIISA was then created with substantial agreement. The surgeons generally preferred LLIF for L1–2 (91.7%), L2–3 (85.2%), and L3–4 (80.7%). ACR was most commonly performed at L3–4 (8.4%) and L2–3 (6.2%). At L4–5, LLIF (69.5%), TLIF (15.9%), and ALIF (9.8%) were most commonly utilized. TLIF and ALIF were the most selected approaches at L5–S1 (61.4% and 38.6%, respectively). Segmental lordosis at each level varied based on the approach, with greater increases reported using ALIF, especially at L4–5 (9.2°) and L5–S1 (5.3°). A substantial increase in lordosis was achieved with ACR at L2–3 (10.9°) and L3–4 (10.4°). Lateral interbody arthrodesis without the use of an ACR did not generally result in significant lordosis restoration. There were statistically significant improvements in lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence–LL mismatch, coronal Cobb angle, and Oswestry Disability Index at the 2-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of the MIISA provides consistent guidance for surgeons who plan to perform MIS for deformity. For L1–4, the surgeons preferred lateral approaches to TLIF and reserved ACR for patients who needed the greatest increase in segmental lordosis. For L4–5, the surgeons’ order of preference was LLIF, TLIF, and ALIF, but TLIF failed to demonstrate any significant lordosis restoration. At L5–S1, the surgical team typically preferred an ALIF when segmental lordosis was desired and preferred a TLIF if preoperative segmental lordosis was adequate.

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Dominic Amara, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Shane Burch, Vedat Deviren, Christopher P. Ames, Bobby Tay, Sigurd H. Berven, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Radiculopathy from the fractional curve, usually from L3 to S1, can create severe disability. However, treatment methods of the curve vary. The authors evaluated the effect of adding more levels of interbody fusion during treatment of the fractional curve.

METHODS

A single-institution retrospective review of adult patients treated for scoliosis between 2006 and 2016 was performed. Inclusion criteria were as follows: fractional curves from L3 to S1 > 10°, ipsilateral radicular symptoms concordant on the fractional curve concavity side, patients who underwent at least 1 interbody fusion at the level of the fractional curve, and a minimum 1-year follow-up. Primary outcomes included changes in fractional curve correction, lumbar lordosis change, pelvic incidence − lumbar lordosis mismatch change, scoliosis major curve correction, and rates of revision surgery and postoperative complications. Secondary analysis compared the same outcomes among patients undergoing posterior, anterior, and lateral approaches for their interbody fusion.

RESULTS

A total of 78 patients were included. There were no significant differences in age, sex, BMI, prior surgery, fractional curve degree, pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence, pelvic incidence − lumbar lordosis mismatch, sagittal vertical axis, coronal balance, scoliotic curve magnitude, proportion of patients undergoing an osteotomy, or average number of levels fused among the groups. The mean follow-up was 35.8 months (range 12–150 months). Patients undergoing more levels of interbody fusion had more fractional curve correction (7.4° vs 12.3° vs 12.1° for 1, 2, and 3 levels; p = 0.009); greater increase in lumbar lordosis (−1.8° vs 6.2° vs 13.7°, p = 0.003); and more scoliosis major curve correction (13.0° vs 13.7° vs 24.4°, p = 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences among the groups with regard to postoperative complications (overall rate 47.4%, p = 0.85) or need for revision surgery (overall rate 30.7%, p = 0.25). In the secondary analysis, patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) had a greater increase in lumbar lordosis (9.1° vs −0.87° for ALIF vs transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [TLIF], p = 0.028), but also higher revision surgery rates unrelated to adjacent-segment pathology (25% vs 4.3%, p = 0.046). Higher ALIF revision surgery rates were driven by rod fracture in the majority (55%) of cases.

CONCLUSIONS

More levels of interbody fusion resulted in increased lordosis, scoliosis curve correction, and fractional curve correction. However, additional levels of interbody fusion up to 3 levels did not result in more postoperative complications or morbidity. ALIF resulted in a greater lumbar lordosis increase than TLIF, but ALIF had higher revision surgery rates.

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Chih-Chang Chang, Dean Chou, Brenton Pennicooke, Joshua Rivera, Lee A. Tan, Sigurd Berven, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Potential advantages of using expandable versus static cages during transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) are not fully established. The authors aimed to compare the long-term radiographic outcomes of expandable versus static TLIF cages.

METHODS

A retrospective review of 1- and 2-level TLIFs over a 10-year period with expandable and static cages was performed at the University of California, San Francisco. Patients with posterior column osteotomy (PCO) were subdivided. Fusion assessment, cage subsidence, anterior and posterior disc height, foraminal dimensions, pelvic incidence (PI), segmental lordosis (SL), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (PI-LL), pelvic tilt (PT), sacral slope (SS), and sagittal vertical axis (SVA) were assessed.

RESULTS

A consecutive series of 178 patients (with a total of 210 levels) who underwent TLIF using either static (148 levels) or expandable cages (62 levels) was reviewed. The mean patient age was 60.3 ± 11.5 years and 62.8 ± 14.1 years for the static and expandable cage groups, respectively. The mean follow-up was 42.9 ± 29.4 months for the static cage group and 27.6 ± 14.1 months for the expandable cage group. Within the 1-level TLIF group, the SL and PI-LL improved with statistical significance regardless of whether PCO was performed; however, the static group with PCOs also had statistically significant improvement in LL and SVA. The expandable cage with PCO subgroup had significant improvement in SL only. All of the foraminal parameters improved with statistical significance, regardless of the type of cages used; however, the expandable cage group had greater improvement in disc height restoration. The incidence of cage subsidence was higher in the expandable group (19.7% vs 5.4%, p = 0.0017). Within the expandable group, the unilateral facetectomy-only subgroup had a 5.6 times higher subsidence rate than the PCO subgroup (26.8% vs 4.8%, p = 0.04). Four expandable cages collapsed over time.

CONCLUSIONS

Expandable TLIF cages may initially restore disc height better than static cages, but they also have higher rates of subsidence. Unilateral facetectomy alone may result in more subsidence with expandable cages than using bilateral PCO, potentially because of insufficient facet release. Although expandable cages may have more power to induce lordosis and restore disc height than static cages, subsidence and endplate violation may negate any significant gains compared to static cages.

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Andrew K. Chan, Michele Santacatterina, Brenton Pennicooke, Shane Shahrestani, Alexander M. Ballatori, Katie O. Orrico, John F. Burke, Geoffrey T. Manley, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Michael C. Huang, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Anthony M. DiGiorgio

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery is especially susceptible to malpractice claims. Critics of the US medical liability system argue that it drives up costs, whereas proponents argue it deters negligence. Here, the authors study the relationship between malpractice claim density and outcomes.

METHODS

The following methods were used: 1) the National Practitioner Data Bank was used to determine the number of malpractice claims per 100 physicians, by state, between 2005 and 2010; 2) the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried for spinal fusion patients; and 3) the Area Resource File was queried to determine the density of physicians, by state. States were categorized into 4 quartiles regarding the frequency of malpractice claims per 100 physicians. To evaluate the association between malpractice claims and death, discharge disposition, length of stay (LOS), and total costs, an inverse-probability-weighted regression-adjustment estimator was used. The authors controlled for patient and hospital characteristics. Covariates were used to train machine learning models to predict death, discharge disposition not to home, LOS, and total costs.

RESULTS

Overall, 549,775 discharges following spinal fusions were identified, with 495,640 yielding state-level information about medical malpractice claim frequency per 100 physicians. Of these, 124,425 (25.1%), 132,613 (26.8%), 130,929 (26.4%), and 107,673 (21.7%) were from the lowest, second-lowest, second-highest, and highest quartile states, respectively, for malpractice claims per 100 physicians. Compared to the states with the fewest claims (lowest quartile), surgeries in states with the most claims (highest quartile) showed a statistically significantly higher odds of a nonhome discharge (OR 1.169, 95% CI 1.139–1.200), longer LOS (mean difference 0.304, 95% CI 0.256–0.352), and higher total charges (mean difference [log scale] 0.288, 95% CI 0.281–0.295) with no significant associations for mortality. For the machine learning models—which included medical malpractice claim density as a covariate—the areas under the curve for death and discharge disposition were 0.94 and 0.87, and the R2 values for LOS and total charge were 0.55 and 0.60, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal fusion procedures from states with a higher frequency of malpractice claims were associated with an increased odds of nonhome discharge, longer LOS, and higher total charges. This suggests that medicolegal climate may potentially alter practice patterns for a given spine surgeon and may have important implications for medical liability reform. Machine learning models that included medical malpractice claim density as a feature were satisfactory in prediction and may be helpful for patients, surgeons, hospitals, and payers.

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Ping-Guo Duan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Jeremy M. V. Guinn, Joshua Rivera, Sigurd H. Berven, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate whether fat infiltration of the lumbar multifidus (LM) muscle affects revision surgery rates for adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after L4–5 transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

A total of 178 patients undergoing single-level L4–5 TLIF for spondylolisthesis (2006 to 2016) were retrospectively analyzed. Inclusion criteria were a minimum 2-year follow-up, preoperative MR images and radiographs, and single-level L4–5 TLIF for degenerative spondylolisthesis. Twenty-three patients underwent revision surgery for ASD during the follow-up. Another 23 patients without ASD were matched with the patients with ASD. Demographic data, Roussouly curvature type, and spinopelvic parameter data were collected. The fat infiltration of the LM muscle (L3, L4, and L5) was evaluated on preoperative MRI using the Goutallier classification system.

RESULTS

A total of 46 patients were evaluated. There were no differences in age, sex, BMI, or spinopelvic parameters with regard to patients with and those without ASD (p > 0.05). Fat infiltration of the LM was significantly greater in the patients with ASD than in those without ASD (p = 0.029). Fat infiltration was most significant at L3 in patients with ASD than in patients without ASD (p = 0.017). At L4 and L5, there was an increasing trend of fat infiltration in the patients with ASD than in those without ASD, but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.354 for L4 and p = 0.077 for L5).

CONCLUSIONS

Fat infiltration of the LM may be associated with ASD after L4–5 TLIF for spondylolisthesis. Fat infiltration at L3 may also be associated with ASD at L3–4 after L4–5 TLIF.

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Ping-Guo Duan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Minghao Wang, Andrew K. Chan, Bo Li, Rory Mayer, Sigurd H. Berven, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors’ aim was to investigate whether obesity affects surgery rates for adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

Patients who underwent single-level TLIF for spondylolisthesis at the University of California, San Francisco, from 2006 to 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. Inclusion criteria were a minimum 2-year follow-up, single-level TLIF, and degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Exclusion criteria were trauma, tumor, infection, multilevel fusions, non-TLIF fusions, or less than a 2-year follow-up. Patient demographic data were collected, and an analysis of spinopelvic parameters was performed. The patients were divided into two groups: mismatched, or pelvic incidence (PI) minus lumbar lordosis (LL) ≥ 10°; and balanced, or PI-LL < 10°. Within the two groups, the patients were further classified by BMI (< 30 and ≥ 30 kg/m2). Patients were then evaluated for surgery for ASD, matched by BMI and PI-LL parameters.

RESULTS

A total of 190 patients met inclusion criteria (72 males and 118 females, mean age 59.57 ± 12.39 years). The average follow-up was 40.21 ± 20.42 months (range 24–135 months). In total, 24 patients (12.63% of 190) underwent surgery for ASD. Within the entire cohort, 82 patients were in the mismatched group, and 108 patients were in the balanced group. Within the mismatched group, adjacent-segment surgeries occurred at the following rates: BMI < 30 kg/m2, 2.1% (1/48); and BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, 17.6% (6/34). Significant differences were seen between patients with BMI ≥ 30 and BMI < 30 (p = 0.018). A receiver operating characteristic curve for BMI as a predictor for ASD was established, with an AUC of 0.69 (95% CI 0.49–0.90). The optimal BMI cutoff value determined by the Youden index is 29.95 (sensitivity 0.857; specificity 0.627). However, in the balanced PI-LL group (108/190 patients), there was no difference in surgery rates for ASD among the patients with different BMIs (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In patients who have a PI-LL mismatch, obesity may be associated with an increased risk of surgery for ASD after TLIF, but in obese patients without PI-LL mismatch, this association was not observed.