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Owoicho Adogwa, Terence Verla, Paul Thompson, Anirudh Penumaka, Katherine Kudyba, Kwame Johnson, Erin Fulchiero, Timothy Miller Jr., Kimberly B. Hoang, Joseph Cheng and Carlos A. Bagley

Object

Depression and persistent low-back pain (LBP) are common and disabling problems in elderly patients (> 65 years old). Affective disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are also common in elderly patients, with a prevalence ranging from 4% to 16%. Depressive symptoms are consistently associated with functional disability. To date, few studies have assessed the predictive value of baseline depression on outcomes in the setting of revision spine surgery in elderly patients. Therefore, in this study, the authors assessed the predictive value of preoperative depression on 2-year postoperative outcomes.

Methods

A total of 69 patients undergoing revision neural decompression and instrumented fusion for adjacent-segment disease (ASD, n = 28), pseudarthrosis (n = 17), or same-level recurrent stenosis (n = 24) were included in this study. Preoperative Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (ZDS) scores were assessed for all patients. Preoperative and 2-year postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back pain (VAS-BP) and leg pain (VAS-LP) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were also assessed. The association between preoperative ZDS score and 2-year improvement in disability was assessed via multivariate regression analysis.

Results

Compared with preoperative status, 2-year postoperative VAS-BP was significantly improved after surgery for ASD (9 ± 2 vs 4.01 ± 2.56, respectively; p = 0.001), as were pseudarthrosis (7.41 ± 1 vs 5.0 ± 3.08, respectively; p = 0.02) and same-level recurrent stenosis (7 ± 2.00 vs 5.00 ± 2.34, respectively; p = 0.003). Two-year ODI was also significantly improved after surgery for ASD (29 ± 9 vs 23.10 ± 10.18, respectively; p = 0.001), as were pseudarthrosis (28.47 ± 5.85 vs 24.41 ± 7.75, respectively; p = 0.001) and same-level recurrent stenosis (30.83 ± 5.28 vs 26.29 ± 4.10, respectively; p = 0.003). Independent of other factors—age, body mass index, symptom duration, smoking, comorbidities, severity of preoperative pain, and disability—increasing preoperative ZDS score was significantly associated with lower 2-year improvement in disability (ODI) after revision surgery in elderly patients with symptomatic ASD, pseudarthrosis, or recurrent stenosis.

Conclusions

The extent of preoperative depression is an independent predictor of less functional improvement following revision lumbar surgery in elderly patients with symptomatic ASD, pseudarthrosis, or recurrent stenosis. Timely diagnosis and treatment of depression and somatic anxiety in this cohort of patients may contribute to improvement in postoperative functional status.

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Owoicho Adogwa, Scott L. Parker, David Shau, Stephen K. Mendelhall, Joseph Cheng, Oran Aaronson, Clinton J. Devin and Matthew J. McGirt

Object

The number of low-back fusion procedures for the treatment of spine disorders has increased steadily over the past 10 years. Lumbar pseudarthrosis is a potential complication of lumbar arthrodesis and can be associated with significant pain and disability. The aim of this study was to assess, using validated patient-reported outcomes measures, the long-term effectiveness of revision arthrodesis in the treatment of symptomatic pseudarthrosis.

Methods

This is a retrospective study of 47 patients who underwent revision lumbar arthrodesis for pseudarthrosis-associated back pain. Baseline 2-year outcomes were assessed using the following: visual analog scale (VAS) for back pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, time to narcotic independence, time to return to work, EuroQol health-state utility, and physical and mental quality of life (Short Form [SF]–12 Physical and Mental Component Summary scores).

Results

The mean duration of time between prior fusion and development of symptomatic pseudarthrosis was 2.69 years. Bone morphogenetic protein was used in 4 cases (8.5%) of revision arthrodesis. A significant improvement in VAS back pain (7.31 ± 0.81 vs 5.06 ± 2.64, p = 0.001), ODI (29.74 ± 5.35 vs 25.42 ± 6.0, p = 0.001), and physical health SF-12 (23.83 ± 6.89 vs 27.85 ± 8.90, p = 0.001) scores was observed when comparing baseline and 2-year post–revision arthrodesis scores, respectively, with a mean cumulative 2-year gain of 0.35 quality-adjusted life years. The median time to narcotics independence was 12.16 (interquartile range 1.5–24.0) months and the median time to return to work was 4 months (interquartile range 3–5 months). By 2 years after revision surgery, no patients had experienced pseudarthrosis. The SF-12 Mental Component Summary (44.72 ± 7.90 vs 43.46 ± 7.51, p = 0.43) and Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale scores (39.36 ± 7.48 vs 41.39 ± 10.72, p = 0.37) were not significantly improved by 2 years.

Conclusions

The authors' study suggests that revision lumbar arthrodesis for symptomatic pseudarthrosis provides improvement in low-back pain, disability, and quality of life. Revision lumbar arthrodesis should be considered a viable treatment option for patients with pseudarthrosis-related back pain. Mental health symptoms from pseudarthrosis-associated back pain may be more refractory to revision surgery.