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Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Hanna Kemeny, Owoicho Adogwa, Eric W. Sankey, C. Rory Goodwin, Chester K. Yarbrough, Shivanand P. Lad, Isaac O. Karikari and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

In spine surgery, racial disparities have been shown to impact various aspects of surgical care. Previous studies have associated racial disparities with inferior surgical outcomes, including increased complication and 30-day readmission rates after spine surgery. Recently, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and satisfaction measures have been proxies for overall quality of care and hospital reimbursements. However, the influence that racial disparities have on short- and long-term PROs and patient satisfaction after spine surgery is relatively unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of racial disparities on 3- and 12-month PROs and patient satisfaction after elective lumbar spine surgery.

METHODS

This study was designed as a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database. The medical records of adult (age ≥ 18 years) patients who had undergone elective lumbar spine surgery for spondylolisthesis (grade 1), disc herniation, or stenosis at a major academic institution were included in this study. Patient demographics, comorbidities, postoperative complications, and 30-day readmission rates were collected. Patients had prospectively collected outcome and satisfaction measures. Patient-reported outcome instruments—Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale for back pain (VAS-BP), and VAS for leg pain (VAS-LP)—were completed before surgery and at 3 and 12 months after surgery, as were patient satisfaction measures.

RESULTS

The authors identified 345 medical records for 53 (15.4%) African American (AA) patients and 292 (84.6%) white patients. Baseline patient demographics and comorbidities were similar between the two cohorts, with AA patients having a greater body mass index (33.1 ± 6.6 vs 30.2 ± 6.4 kg/m2, p = 0.005) and a higher prevalence of diabetes (35.9% vs 16.1%, p = 0.0008). Surgical indications, operative variables, and postoperative variables were similar between the cohorts. Baseline and follow-up PRO measures were worse in the AA cohort, with patients having a greater baseline ODI (p < 0.0001), VAS-BP score (p = 0.0002), and VAS-LP score (p = 0.0007). However, mean changes from baseline to 3- and 12-month PROs were similar between the cohorts for all measures except the 3-month VAS-BP score (p = 0.046). Patient-reported satisfaction measures at 3 and 12 months demonstrated a significantly lower proportion of AA patients stating that surgery met their expectations (3 months: 47.2% vs 65.5%, p = 0.01; 12 months: 35.7% vs 62.7%, p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

The study data suggest that there is a significant difference in the perception of health, pain, and disability between AA and white patients at baseline and short- and long-term follow-ups, which may influence overall patient satisfaction. Further research is necessary to identify patient-specific factors associated with racial disparities that may be influencing outcomes to adequately measure and assess overall PROs and satisfaction after elective lumbar spine surgery.

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Daniel B. Loriaux, Owoicho Adogwa and Oren N. Gottfried

A true adult spinal lipoma is an exceedingly rare cause of lumbar compression neuropathy. Only 5 cases of true extradural intraforaminal lipomas have been documented in the medical literature. The diagnostic criteria and treatment guidelines for this specific lipoma have yet to be established. This report features 3 histologically confirmed cases of extradural intraforaminal spinal lipomas that recently presented to the authors’ practice. In addition, the literature was surveyed to include the 5 previously reported cases of true adult extradural intraforaminal spinal lipomas. The consistency in presentation, response to surgical intervention, and postoperative recovery in these 8 cases supports surgical intervention at the time of diagnosis. The authors’ findings support elevated clinical suspicion, efficient diagnosis based on MRI, and early surgical intervention for this rare pathological entity. All cases presented in this report were symptomatic and occurred in the absence of other significant pathologies such as general spinal epidural lipomatosis, intradural lesions, tethering, or severe degenerative stenosis or herniated discs. The clinical, neuroradiological, and histological findings characteristic of a true adult extradural intraforaminal lipoma are emphasized to differentiate this lesion from the more common etiologies for lumbar compression neuropathy. Heightened awareness and clinical suspicion for the focal, foraminal spinal lipoma as a cause of radiculopathy symptoms will enable more efficient diagnosis and treatment.

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Joel R. Martin, Owoicho Adogwa, Christopher R. Brown, Maragatha Kuchibhatla, Carlos A. Bagley, Shivanand P. Lad and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECT

Recent studies have reported that the local delivery of vancomycin powder is associated with a decrease in spinal surgical site infection. This retrospective cohort study compares posterior cervical fusion cases before and after the routine application of spinal vancomycin powder to evaluate the ability of local vancomycin powder to prevent deep wound infection after posterior cervical spinal fusion.

METHODS

Posterior cervical fusion spinal surgeries performed at a single institution were reviewed from January 2011 to July 2013. Each cohort's baseline characteristics, operative data, and rates of wound infection were compared. Associations between infection and vancomycin powder, with and without propensity score adjustment for risk factors, were determined using logistic regression.

RESULTS

A total of 289 patients (174 untreated and 115 treated with vancomycin powder) were included in the study. The cohorts were similar in terms of baseline and operative variables. No significant change in deep wound infection rate was seen between the control group (6.9%) and intervention group (5.2%, p = 0.563). Logistic regression, with and without propensity score adjustment, demonstrated that the use of vancomycin powder did not impact the development of surgical site infection (OR 0.743 [95% CI 0.270–2.04], p = 0.564) and (OR 0.583 [95% CI 0.198–1.718], p = 0.328), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Within the context of an ongoing debate on the effectiveness of locally administered vancomycin powder, the authors found no significant difference in the incidence of deep wound infection rates after posterior cervical fusion surgery with routine use of locally applied vancomycin powder. Future prospective randomized series are needed to corroborate these results.

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Ranjith Babu, Steven Thomas, Matthew A. Hazzard, Yuliya V. Lokhnygina, Allan H. Friedman, Oren N. Gottfried, Robert E. Isaacs, Maxwell Boakye, Chirag G. Patil, Carlos A. Bagley, Michael M. Haglund and Shivanand P. Lad

Object

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) implemented resident duty-hour restrictions on July 1, 2003, in concern for patient and resident safety. Whereas studies have shown that duty-hour restrictions have increased resident quality of life, there have been mixed results with respect to patient outcomes. In this study, the authors have evaluated the effect of duty-hour restrictions on morbidity, mortality, length of stay (LOS), and charges in patients who underwent spine surgery.

Methods

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was used to evaluate the effect of duty-hour restrictions on complications, mortality, LOS, and charges by comparing the prereform (2000–2002) and postreform (2005–2008) periods. Outcomes were compared between nonteaching and teaching hospitals using a difference-in-differences (DID) method.

Results

A total of 693,058 patients were included in the study. The overall complication rate was 8.6%, with patients in the postreform era having a significantly higher rate than those in the pre–duty-hour restriction era (8.7% vs 8.4%, p < 0.0001). Examination of hospital teaching status revealed complication rates to decrease in nonteaching hospitals (8.2% vs 7.6%, p < 0.0001) while increasing in teaching institutions (8.6% vs 9.6%, p < 0.0001) in the duty-hour reform era. The DID analysis to compare the magnitude in change between teaching and nonteaching institutions revealed that teaching institutions to had a significantly greater increase in complications during the postreform era (p = 0.0002). The overall mortality rate was 0.37%, with no significant difference between the pre– and post–duty-hour eras (0.39% vs 0.36%, p = 0.12). However, the mortality rate significantly decreased in nonteaching hospitals in the postreform era (0.30% vs 0.23%, p = 0.0008), while remaining the same in teaching institutions (0.46% vs 0.46%, p = 0.75). The DID analysis to compare the changes in mortality between groups revealed that the difference between the effects approached significance (p = 0.069). The mean LOS for all patients was 4.2 days, with hospital stay decreasing in nonteaching hospitals (3.7 vs 3.5 days, p < 0.0001) while significantly increasing in teaching institutions (4.7 vs 4.8 days, p < 0.0001). The DID analysis did not demonstrate the magnitude of change for each group to differ significantly (p = 0.26). Total patient charges were seen to rise significantly in the post–duty-hour reform era, increasing from $40,000 in the prereform era to $69,000 in the postreform era. The DID analysis did not reveal a significant difference between the changes in charges between teaching and nonteaching hospitals (p = 0.55).

Conclusions

The implementation of duty-hour restrictions was associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications for patients undergoing spine surgery. Therefore, contrary to its intended purpose, duty-hour reform may have resulted in worse patient outcomes. Additional studies are needed to evaluate strategies to mitigate these effects and assist in the development of future health care policy.

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Owoicho Adogwa, Ryan Owens, Isaac Karikari, Vijay Agarwal, Oren N. Gottfried, Carlos A. Bagley, Robert E. Isaacs and Joseph S. Cheng

Object

Despite advances in technology and understanding in spinal physiology, reoperation for symptomatic adjacent-segment disease (ASD), same-level recurrent stenosis, and pseudarthrosis in elderly patients continues to occur. While revision lumbar surgery is effective, attention has turned to questions on the utility and value of the revision decompression and fusion procedure. To date, an analysis of the cost and health state gain associated with revision lumbar surgery in elderly patients with symptomatic pseudarthrosis, ASD, or same-level recurrent lumbar stenosis has yet to be performed. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term outcomes and cost-effectiveness of revision surgery in elderly patients with recurrent or persistent back and leg pain.

Methods

After reviewing their institutional database, the authors found 69 patients 65 years of age and older who had undergone revision decompression and instrumented fusion for back and leg pain associated with pseudarthrosis (17 patients), same-level recurrent stenosis (24 patients), or ASD (28 patients) and included them in this study. Total 2-year back-related medical resource utilization and health state values (quality-adjusted life years [QALYs], calculated from the EQ-5D, the EuroQol-5D health survey, with US valuation) were assessed. Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts. The mean total 2-year cost per QALY gained after revision surgery was assessed.

Results

The mean (± standard deviation) time between the index surgery and revision surgery was 3.51 ± 3.63 years. A mean cumulative 2-year gain of 0.35 QALY was observed after revision surgery. The mean total 2-year cost of revision surgery was $28,256 ± $3000 (ASD: $28,829 ± $3812, pseudarthrosis: $28,069 ± $2508, same-level recurrent stenosis: $27,871 ± $2375). Revision decompression and extension of fusion was associated with a mean 2-year cost of $80,594 per QALY gained.

Conclusions

Revision decompression and fusion provided a significant gain in health state utility for elderly patients with symptomatic pseudarthrosis, same-level recurrent stenosis, or ASD, with a mean 2-year cost of $80,594 per QALY gained. When indicated, revision surgery for symptomatic ASD, same-level recurrent stenosis, and pseudarthrosis is a valuable treatment option for elderly patients experiencing persistent back and leg pain. Findings in this study provided a value measure of surgery that can be compared with future cost-per-QALY-gained studies of medical management or alternative surgical approaches.

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Isaac O. Karikari, Ankit I. Mehta, Can Solakoglu, Carlos A. Bagley, Michael C. Ain and Oren N. Gottfried

Object

Spinopelvic parameters in children with achondroplasia have not been described. Because they observed a unique sagittal spinopelvic phenotype in some achondroplastic children with very horizontal sacrums, the authors sought to quantify the spinopelvic parameters in a pediatric patient population.

Methods

A retrospective review was performed to identify all children (age range 1 month–10 years) with a diagnosis of achondroplasia between 2004 and 2009. Clinical and radiographic data were analyzed for age, sex, lumbar lordosis (LL), thoracic kyphosis (TK), thoracolumbar kyphosis (TLK), sacral slope (SS), pelvic tilt (PT), and pelvic incidence (PI). Differences among these variables were analyzed using a 2-tailed, unpaired Student t-test.

Results

Forty children, 23 males and 17 females, with achondroplasia were identified during the study period. The mean age was 2.6 years. Two groups of patients were identified based on PT (that is, negative or positive tilt and horizontal or not horizontal sacrum). A negative PT was identified in all children with an extremely horizontal sacrum. Seventeen children had a negative PT (mean −16.6°), and the mean parameters in this group were 65.4° for LL, 31.7° for TLK, 18.5° for TK, 43.3° for SS, and 26.4° for PI. Twenty-three children had a positive PT (mean 17.9°), and the mean parameters in this group were 53.4° for LL, 41.5° for TLK, 9.6° for TK, 30.8° for SS, and 43.8° for PI. A statistically significant difference was observed for LL (p = 0.01), TLK (p = 0.05), SS (p = 0.006), PT (p = 0.006), and PI (0.0002).

Conclusions

Spinopelvic parameters in achondroplasia are potentially dichotomous. The future implications of this observation are not known and will need to be explored in future long-term studies that follow pediatric patients with achondroplasia through adulthood.

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Oren N. Gottfried, Ibrahim Omeis, Vivek A. Mehta, Can Solakoglu, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Jean-Paul Wolinsky

Object

Pelvic incidence (PI) directly regulates lumbar lordosis and is a key determinant of sagittal spinal balance in normal and diseased states. Pelvic incidence is defined as the angle between the line perpendicular to the S-1 endplate at its midpoint and the line connecting this point to a line bisecting the center of the femoral heads. It reflects an anatomical value that increases with growth during childhood but remains constant in adulthood. It is not altered by changes in patient position or after traditional lumbosacral spinal surgery. There are only 2 reports of PI being altered in adults, both in cases of sacral fractures resulting in lumbopelvic dissociation and sacroiliac (SI) joint instability. En bloc sacral amputation and sacrectomy are surgical techniques used for resection of certain bony malignancies of the sacrum. High, mid, and low sacral amputations result in preservation of some or the entire SI joint. Total sacrectomy results in complete disruption of the SI joint. The purpose of this study was to determine if PI is altered as a result of total or subtotal sacral resection.

Methods

The authors reviewed a series of 42 consecutive patients treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between 2004 and 2009 for sacral tumors with en bloc resection. The authors evaluated immediate pre- and postoperative images for modified pelvic incidence (mPI) using the L-5 inferior endplate, as the patients undergoing a total sacrectomy are missing the S-1 endplate postoperatively. The authors compared the results of total versus subtotal sacrectomies.

Results

Twenty-two patients had appropriate images to measure pre- and postoperative mPI; 17 patients had high, mid, or low sacral amputations with sparing of some or the entire SI joint, and 5 patients underwent a total sacrectomy, with complete SI disarticulation. The mean change in mPI was statistically different (p < 0.001) for patients undergoing subtotal versus those undergoing total sacrectomy (1.6° ± 0.9° vs 13.6° ± 4.9° [± SD]). There was no difference between patients who underwent a high sacral amputation (partial SI resection, mean 1.6°) and mid or low sacral amputation (SI completely intact, mean 1.6°).

Conclusions

The PI is altered during total sacrectomy due to complete disarticulation of the SI joint and discontinuity of the spine and pelvis, but it is not changed if any of the joint is preserved. Changes in PI influence spinopelvic balance and may have postoperative clinical importance. Thus, the authors encourage attention to spinopelvic alignment during lumbopelvic reconstruction and fixation after tumor resection. Long-term studies are needed to evaluate the impact of the change in PI on sagittal balance, pain, and ambulation after total sacrectomy.