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Michael Y. Wang, Enrico Tessitore, Neil Berrington and Andrew Dailey

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Doniel Drazin, Jens R. Chapman, Andrew Dailey and John Street

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Spencer Twitchell, Michael Karsy, Jared Reese, Jian Guan, William T. Couldwell, Andrew Dailey and Erica F. Bisson

OBJECTIVE

Efforts to examine the value of care—combining both costs and quality—are gaining importance in the current health care climate. This thrust is particularly evident in treating common spinal disease where both incidences and costs are generally high and practice patterns are variable. It is often challenging to obtain direct surgical costs for these analyses, which hinders the understanding of cost drivers and cost variation. Using a novel tool, the authors sought to understand the costs of posterior lumbar arthrodesis with interbody devices.

METHODS

The Value Driven Outcomes (VDO) database at the University of Utah was used to evaluate the care of patients who underwent open or minimally invasive surgery (MIS), 1- and 2-level lumbar spine fusion (Current Procedural Terminology code 22263). Patients treated from January 2012 through June 2017 were included.

RESULTS

A total of 276 patients (mean age 58.9 ± 12.4 years) were identified; 46.7% of patients were men. Most patients (82.2%) underwent 1-level fusion. Thirteen patients (4.7%) had major complications and 11 (4.1%) had minor complications. MIS (β = 0.16, p = 0.002), length of stay (β = 0.47, p = 0.0001), and number of operated levels (β = 0.37, p = 0.0001) predicted costs in a multivariable analysis. Supplies and implants (55%) and facility cost (36%) accounted for most of the expenditure. Other costs included pharmacy (7%), laboratory (1%), and imaging (1%).

CONCLUSIONS

These results provide direct cost accounting for lumbar fusion procedures using the VDO database. Efforts to improve the value of lumbar surgery should focus on high cost areas, i.e., facility and supplies/implant.

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Todd McCall, Jeroen Coppens, William Couldwell and Andrew Dailey

A paracondylar process is a bony exostosis that arises from the skull base lateral to the occipital condyle and extends inferiorly toward the transverse process of the atlas. This congenital anomaly can vary in size from a small protuberance to an elongated process articulating with an epitransverse process arising from C-1. Typically, a paracondylar process is an incidental finding described in anatomical studies. The authors report on a patient with a symptomatic paracondylar process articulating with an epitransverse process that caused occipitocervical pain. Resection of the paracondylar and epitransverse processes completely relieved the patient's pain.

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Alpesh A. Patel, Andrew Dailey, Darrel S. Brodke, Michael Daubs, James Harrop, Peter G. Whang, Alexander R. Vaccaro and the Spine Trauma Study Group

Object

The aim of this study was to review the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification and Severity Score (TLICS) and to demonstrate its application through a series of spine trauma cases.

Methods

The Spine Trauma Study Group collaborated to create and report the TLICS system. The TLICS system is reviewed and applied to 3 cases of thoracolumbar spine trauma.

Results

The TLICS system identifies 3 major injury characteristics to describe thoracolumbar spine injuries: injury morphology, posterior ligamentous complex integrity, and neurological status. In addition, minor injury characteristics such as injury level, confounding variables (such as ankylosing spondylitis), multiple injuries, and chest wall injuries are also identified. Each major characteristic is assigned a numerical score, weighted by severity of injury, which is then summated to yield the injury severity score. The TLICS system has demonstrated initial success and its use is increasing. Limitations of the TLICS system exist and, in some instances, have yet to be addressed. Despite these limitations, the severity score may provide a basis to judge spinal stability and the need for surgical intervention.

Conclusions

By addressing both the posterior ligamentous integrity and the patient's neurological status, the TLICS system attempts to overcome the limitations of prior thoracolumbar classification systems. The TLICS system has demonstrated both validity and reliability and has also been shown to be readily learned and incorporated into clinical practice.