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  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine x
  • By Author: Ames, Christopher x
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Renaud Lafage, Ibrahim Obeid, Barthelemy Liabaud, Shay Bess, Douglas Burton, Justin S. Smith, Cyrus Jalai, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher Ames, Han Jo Kim, Eric Klineberg, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The surgical correction of adult spinal deformity (ASD) often involves modifying lumbar lordosis (LL) to restore ideal sagittal alignment. However, corrections that include large changes in LL increase the risk for development of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). Little is known about the impact of cranial versus caudal correction in the lumbar spine on the occurrence of PJK. The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of the location of the correction on acute PJK development.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of a prospective multicenter database. Surgically treated ASD patients with early follow-up evaluations (6 weeks) and fusions of the full lumbosacral spine were included. Radiographic parameters analyzed included the classic spinopelvic parameters (pelvic incidence [PI], pelvic tilt [PT], PI−LL, and sagittal vertical axis [SVA]) and segmental correction. Using Glattes’ criteria, patients were stratified into PJK and noPJK groups and propensity matched by age and regional lumbar correction (ΔPI−LL). Radiographic parameters and segmental correction were compared between PJK and noPJK patients using independent t-tests.

RESULTS

After propensity matching, 312 of 483 patients were included in the analysis (mean age 64 years, 76% women, 40% with PJK). There were no significant differences between PJK and noPJK patients at baseline or postoperatively, or between changes in alignment, with the exception of thoracic kyphosis (TK) and ΔTK. PJK patients had a decrease in segmental lordosis at L4-L5-S1 (−0.6° vs 1.6°, p = 0.025), and larger increases in segmental correction at cranial levels L1-L2-L3 (9.9° vs 7.1°), T12-L1-L2 (7.3° vs 5.4°), and T11-T12-L1 (2.9° vs 0.7°) (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Although achievement of an optimal sagittal alignment is the goal of realignment surgery, dramatic lumbar corrections appear to increase the risk of PJK. This study was the first to demonstrate that patients who developed PJK underwent kyphotic changes in the L4–S1 segments while restoring LL at more cranial levels (T12–L3). These findings suggest that restoring lordosis at lower lumbar levels may result in a decreased risk of developing PJK.

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Blake N. Staub, Renaud Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Douglas Burton, Lawrence Lenke, Munish C. Gupta, Christopher Ames, Eric Klineberg, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Numerous studies have attempted to delineate the normative value for T1S−CL (T1 slope minus cervical lordosis) as a marker for both cervical deformity and a goal for correction similar to how PI-LL (pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis) mismatch informs decision making in thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD). The goal of this study was to define the relationship between T1 slope (T1S) and cervical lordosis (CL).

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospective database. Surgical ASD cases were initially analyzed. Analysis across the sagittal parameters was performed. Linear regression analysis based on T1S was used to provide a clinically applicable equation to predict CL. Findings were validated using the postoperative alignment of the ASD patients. Further validation was then performed using a second, normative database. The range of normal alignment associated with horizontal gaze was derived from a multilinear regression on data from asymptomatic patients.

RESULTS

A total of 103 patients (mean age 54.7 years) were included. Analysis revealed a strong correlation between T1S and C0–7 lordosis (r = 0.886), C2–7 lordosis (r = 0.815), and C0–2 lordosis (r = 0.732). There was no significant correlation between T1S and T1S−CL. Linear regression analysis revealed that T1S−CL assumed a constant value of 16.5° (R2 = 0.664, standard error 2°). These findings were validated on the postoperative imaging (mean absolute error [MAE] 5.9°). The equation was then applied to the normative database (MAE 6.7° controlling for McGregor slope [MGS] between −5° and 15°). A multilinear regression between C2–7, T1S, and MGS demonstrated a range of T1S−CL between 14.5° and 26.5° was necessary to maintain horizontal gaze.

CONCLUSIONS

Normative CL can be predicted via the formula CL = T1S − 16.5° ± 2°. This implies a threshold of deformity and aids in providing a goal for surgical correction. Just as pelvic incidence (PI) can be used to determine the ideal LL, T1S can be used to predict ideal CL. This formula also implies that a kyphotic cervical alignment is to be expected for individuals with a T1S < 16.5°.

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Jacqueline Nguyen, Bryant Chu, Calvin C. Kuo, Jeremi M. Leasure, Christopher Ames and Dimitriy Kondrashov

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with or without partial uncovertebral joint resection (UVR) and posterior keyhole foraminotomy are established operative procedures to treat cervical disc degeneration and radiculopathy. Studies have demonstrated reliable results with each procedure, but none have compared the change in neuroforaminal area between indirect and direct decompression techniques. The purpose of this study was to determine which cervical decompression method most consistently increases neuroforaminal area and how that area is affected by neck position.

METHODS

Eight human cervical functional spinal units (4 each of C5–6 and C6–7) underwent sequential decompression. Each level received the following surgical treatment: bilateral foraminotomy, ACDF, ACDF + partial UVR, and foraminotomy + ACDF. Multidirectional pure moment flexibility testing combined with 3D C-arm imaging was performed after each procedure to measure the minimum cross-sectional area of each foramen in 3 different neck positions: neutral, flexion, and extension.

RESULTS

Neuroforaminal area increased significantly with foraminotomy versus intact in all positions. These area measurements did not change in the ACDF group through flexion-extension. A significant decrease in area was observed for ACDF in extension (40 mm2) versus neutral (55 mm2). Foraminotomy + ACDF did not significantly increase area compared with foraminotomy in any position. The UVR procedure did not produce any changes in area through flexion-extension.

CONCLUSIONS

All procedures increased neuroforaminal area. Foraminotomy and foraminotomy + ACDF produced the greatest increase in area and also maintained the area in extension more than anterior-only procedures. The UVR procedure did not significantly alter the area compared with ACDF alone. With a stable cervical spine, foraminotomy may be preferable to directly decompress the neuroforamen; however, ACDF continues to play an important role for indirect decompression and decompression of more centrally located herniated discs. These findings pertain to bony stenosis of the neuroforamen and may not apply to soft disc herniation. The key points of this study are as follows. Both ACDF and foraminotomy increase the foraminal space. Foraminotomy was most successful in maintaining these increases during neck motion. Partial UVR was not a significant improvement over ACDF alone. Foraminotomy may be more efficient at decompressing the neuroforamen. Results should be taken into consideration only with stable spines.

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Alexander A. Theologis, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Stacie Nguyen, David O. Okonkwo, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Richard Fessler, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Bassel G. Diebo, Douglas Burton, Robert Hart, Vedat Deviren and Christopher Ames

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of supplementing long thoracolumbar posterior instrumented fusion (posterior spinal fusion, PSF) with lateral interbody fusion (LIF) of the lumbar/thoracolumbar coronal curve apex in adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

Two multicenter databases were evaluated. Adults who had undergone multilevel LIF of the coronal curve apex in addition to PSF with L5–S1 interbody fusion (LS+Apex group) were matched by number of posterior levels fused with patients who had undergone PSF with L5–S1 interbody fusion without LIF (LS-Only group). All patients had at least 2 years of follow-up. Percutaneous PSF and 3-column osteotomy (3CO) were excluded. Demographics, perioperative details, radiographic spinal deformity measurements, and HRQoL data were analyzed.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients were matched (LS+Apex: 16; LS: 16) (6 men, 26 women; mean age 63 ± 10 years). Overall, the average values for measures of deformity were as follows: Cobb angle > 40°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 6 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) > 25°, and mismatch between pelvic incidence (PI) and lumbar lordosis (LL) > 15°. There were no significant intergroup differences in preoperative radiographic parameters, although patients in the LS+Apex group had greater Cobb angles and less LL. Patients in the LS+Apex group had significantly more anterior levels fused (4.6 vs 1), longer operative times (859 vs 379 minutes), and longer length of stay (12 vs 7.5 days) (all p < 0.01). For patients in the LS+Apex group, Cobb angle, pelvic tilt (PT), lumbar lordosis (LL), PI-LL (lumbopelvic mismatch), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain improved significantly (p < 0.05). For patients in the LS-Only group, there were significant improvements in Cobb angle, ODI score, and VAS scores for back and leg pain. The LS+Apex group had better correction of Cobb angles (56% vs 33%, p = 0.02), SVA (43% vs 5%, p = 0.46), LL (62% vs 13%, p = 0.35), and PI-LL (68% vs 33%, p = 0.32). Despite more LS+Apex patients having major complications (56% vs 13%; p = 0.02) and postoperative leg weakness (31% vs 6%, p = 0.07), there were no intergroup differences in 2-year outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Long open posterior instrumented fusion with or without multilevel LIF is used to treat a variety of coronal and sagittal adult thoracolumbar deformities. The addition of multilevel LIF to open PSF with L5–S1 interbody support in this small cohort was often used in more severe coronal and/or lumbopelvic sagittal deformities and offered better correction of major Cobb angles, lumbopelvic parameters, and SVA than posterior-only operations. As these advantages came at the expense of more major complications, more leg weakness, greater blood loss, and longer operative times and hospital stays without an improvement in 2-year outcomes, future investigations should aim to more clearly define deformities that warrant the addition of multilevel LIF to open PSF and L5–S1 interbody fusion.

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Calvin C. Kuo, Audrey Martin, Connor Telles, Jeremi Leasure, Alex Iezza, Christopher Ames and Dimitriy Kondrashov

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the forces placed on posterior fusion instrumentation by 3 commonly used intraoperative techniques to restore lumbar lordosis: 1) cantilever bending; 2) in situ bending; and 3) compression and/or distraction of screws along posterior fusion rods.

METHODS

Five cadaveric torsos were instrumented with pedicle screws at the L1–5 levels. Specimens underwent each of the 3 lordosis restoration procedures. The pedicle screw pullout force was monitored in real time via strain gauges that were mounted unilaterally at each level. The degree of correction was noted through fluoroscopic imaging. The peak loads experienced on the screws during surgery, total demand on instrumentation, and resting loads after corrective maneuvers were measured.

RESULTS

A mean overall lordotic correction of 10.9 ± 4.7° was achieved. No statistically significant difference in lordotic correction was observed between restoration procedures. In situ bending imparted the largest loads intraoperatively with an average of 1060 ± 599.9 N, followed by compression/distraction (971 ± 534.1 N) and cantilever bending (705 ± 413.0 N). In situ bending produced the largest total demand and postoperative loads at L-1 (1879 ± 1064.1 and 487 ± 118.8 N, respectively), which were statistically higher than cantilever bending and compression/distraction (786 ± 272.1 and 138 ± 99.2 N, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

In situ bending resulted in the highest mechanical demand on posterior lumbar instrumentation, as well as the largest postoperative loads at L-1. These results suggest that the forces generated with in situ bending indicate a greater chance of intraoperative instrumentation failure and postoperative proximal pedicle screw pullout when compared with cantilever bending and/or compression/distraction options. The results are aimed at optimizing correction and fusion strategies in lordosis restoration cases.

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Darryl Lau, Andrew K. Chan, Alexander A. Theologis, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Shane Burch, Sigurd Berven, Vedat Deviren and Christopher Ames

OBJECTIVE

Because the surgical strategies for primary and metastatic spinal tumors are different, the respective associated costs and morbidities associated with those treatments likely vary. This study compares the direct costs and 90-day readmission rates between the resection of extradural metastatic and primary spinal tumors. The factors associated with cost and readmission are identified.

METHODS

Adults (age 18 years or older) who underwent the resection of spinal tumors between 2008 and 2013 were included in the study. Patients with intradural tumors were excluded. The direct costs of index hospitalization and 90-day readmission hospitalization were evaluated. The direct costs were compared between patients who were treated surgically for primary and metastatic spinal tumors. The independent factors associated with costs and readmissions were identified using multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 181 patients with spinal tumors were included (63 primary and 118 metastatic tumors). Overall, the mean index hospital admission cost for the surgical management of spinal tumors was $52,083. There was no significant difference in the cost of hospitalization between primary ($55,801) and metastatic ($50,098) tumors (p = 0.426). The independent factors associated with higher cost were male sex (p = 0.032), preoperative inability to ambulate (p = 0.002), having more than 3 comorbidities (p = 0.037), undergoing corpectomy (p = 0.021), instrumentation greater than 7 levels (p < 0.001), combined anterior-posterior approach (p < 0.001), presence of a perioperative complication (p < 0.001), and longer hospital stay (p < 0.001). The perioperative complication rate was 21.0%. Of this cohort, 11.6% of patients were readmitted within 90 days, and the mean hospitalization cost of that readmission was $20,078. Readmission rates after surgical treatment for primary and metastatic tumors were similar (11.1% vs 11.9%, respectively) (p = 0.880). Prior hospital stay greater than 15 days (OR 6.62, p = 0.016) and diagnosis of lung metastasis (OR 52.99, p = 0.007) were independent predictors of readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

Primary and metastatic spinal tumors are comparable with regard to the direct costs of the index surgical hospitalization and readmission rate within 90 days. The factors independently associated with costs are related to preoperative health status, type and complexity of surgery, and postoperative course.

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Dominic Maggio, Tamir T. Ailon, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Regis W. Haid Jr., Themistocles Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Justin K. Scheer, Shay Bess, Paul M. Arnold, Jens Chapman, Michael G. Fehlings, Christopher Ames, AOSpine North America and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

The associations among global spinal alignment, patient-reported disability, and surgical outcomes have increasingly gained attention. The assessment of global spinal alignment requires standing long-cassette anteroposterior and lateral radiographs; however, spine surgeons routinely rely only on short-segment imaging when evaluating seemingly isolated lumbar pathology. This may prohibit adequate surgical planning and may predispose surgeons to not recognize associated pathology in the thoracic spine and sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. The authors used a case-based survey questionnaire to evaluate if including long-cassette radiographs led to changes to respondents' operative plans as compared with their chosen plan when cases contained standard imaging of the involved lumbar spine only.

METHODS

A case-based survey was distributed to AOSpine International members that consisted of 15 cases of lumbar spine pathology and lumbar imaging only. The same 15 cases were then shuffled and presented a second time with additional long-cassette radiographs. Each case required participants to select a single operative plan with 5 choices ranging from least to most extensive. The cases included 5 “control” cases with normal global spinal alignment and 10 “test” cases with significant sagittal and/or coronal malalignment. Mean scores were determined for each question with higher scores representing more invasive and/or extensive operative plans.

RESULTS

Of 712 spine surgeons who started the survey, 316 (44%) completed the entire series, including 68% of surgeons with spine fellowship training and representation from more than 40 countries. For test cases, but not for control cases, there were significantly higher average surgical invasiveness scores for cases presented with long-cassette radiographs (4.2) as compared with those cases with lumbar imaging only (3.4; p = 0.002). The addition of long-cassette radiographs resulted in 82.1% of respondents recommending instrumentation up to the thoracic spine, a 23.2% increase as compared with the same cases presented with lumbar imaging only (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates the importance of maintaining a low threshold for performing standing long-cassette imaging when assessing seemingly isolated lumbar pathology. Such imaging is necessary for the assessment of spinopelvic and global spinal alignment, which can be important in operative planning. Deformity, particularly positive sagittal malalignment, may go undetected unless one maintains a high index of suspicion and obtains long-cassette radiographs. It is recommended that spine surgeons recognize the prevalence and importance of such deformity when contemplating operative intervention.

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Alex Soroceanu, Douglas C. Burton, Bassel Georges Diebo, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Christopher Ames, Thomas J. Errico, Shay Bess, Munish C. Gupta, Robert A. Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery is known for its high complication rate. This study examined the impact of obesity on complication rates, infection, and patient-reported outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for ASD.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of a multicenter prospective database of patients with ASD who were treated surgically. Patients with available 2-year follow-up data were included. Obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2. Data collected included complications (total, minor, major, implant-related, radiographic, infection, revision surgery, and neurological injury), estimated blood loss (EBL), operating room (OR) time, length of stay (LOS), and patient-reported questionnaires (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], Short Form-36 [SF-36], and Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]) at baseline and at 6 weeks, 1 year, and 2 years postoperatively. The impact of obesity was studied using multivariate modeling, accounting for confounders.

RESULTS

Of 241 patients who satisfied inclusion criteria, 175 patients were nonobese and 66 were obese. Regression models showed that obese patients had a higher overall incidence of major complications (IRR 1.54, p = 0.02) and wound infections (odds ratio 4.88, p = 0.02). Obesity did not increase the number of minor complications (p = 0.62), radiographic complications (p = 0.62), neurological complications (p = 0.861), or need for revision surgery (p = 0.846). Obesity was not significantly correlated with OR time (p = 0.23), LOS (p = 0.9), or EBL (p = 0.98). Both groups experienced significant improvement overtime, as measured on the ODI (p = 0.0001), SF-36 (p = 0.0001), and SRS (p = 0.0001) questionnaires. However, the overall magnitude of improvement was less for obese patients (ODI, p = 0.0035; SF-36, p = 0.0012; SRS, p = 0.022). Obese patients also had a lower rate of improvement over time (SRS, p = 0.0085; ODI, p = 0.0001; SF-36, p = 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that obese patients have an increased risk of complications following ASD correction. Despite these increased complications, obese patients do benefit from surgical intervention; however, their improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQL) is less than that of nonobese patients.

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Beejal Y. Amin, Tsung-Hsi Tu, William W. Schairer, Lumine Na, Steven Takemoto, Sigurd Berven, Vedat Deviren, Christopher Ames, Dean Chou and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Administrative databases are increasingly being used to establish benchmarks for quality of care and to compare performance across peer hospitals. As proposals for accountable care organizations are being developed, readmission rates will be increasingly scrutinized. The purpose of the present study was to assess whether the all-cause readmissions rate appropriately reflects the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center hospital's clinically relevant readmission rate for spine surgery patients and to identify predictors of readmission.

Methods

Data for 5780 consecutive patient encounters managed by 10 spine surgeons at UCSF Medical Center from October 2007 to June 2011 were abstracted from the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) using the Clinical Data Base/Resource Manager. Of these 5780 patient encounters, 281 patients (4.9%) were rehospitalized within 30 days of the previous discharge date. The authors performed an independent chart review to determine clinically relevant reasons for readmission and extracted hospital administrative data to calculate direct costs. Univariate logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate possible predictors of readmission. The two-sample t-test was used to examine the difference in direct cost between readmission and nonreadmission cases.

Results

The main reasons for readmission were infection (39.8%), nonoperative management (13.4%), and planned staged surgery (12.4%). The current all-cause readmission algorithm resulted in an artificially high readmission rate from the clinician's point of view. Based on the authors' manual chart review, 69 cases (25% of the 281 total readmissions) should be excluded because 39 cases (13.9%) were planned staged procedures; 16 cases (5.7%) were unrelated to spine surgery; and 14 surgical cases (5.0%) were cancelled or rescheduled at index admission due to unpredictable reasons. When these 69 cases are excluded, the direct cost of readmission is reduced by 29%. The cost variance is in excess of $3 million. Predictors of readmission were admission status (p < 0.0001), length of stay (p = 0.0001), risk of death (p < 0.0001), and age (p = 0.021).

Conclusions

The authors' findings identify the potential pitfalls in the calculation of readmission rates from administrative data sets. Benchmarking algorithms for defining hospitals' readmission rates must take into account planned staged surgery and eliminate unrelated reasons for readmission. When this is implemented in the calculation method, the readmission rate will be more accurate. Current tools overestimate the clinically relevant readmission rate and cost.