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John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Rory R. Mayer, Joseph H. Garcia, Brenton Pennicooke, Michael Mann, Sigurd H. Berven, Dean Chou and Praveen V. Mummaneni

The clamshell thoracotomy is often used to access both hemithoraxes and the mediastinum simultaneously for cardiothoracic pathology, but this technique is rarely used for the excision of spinal tumors. We describe the use of a clamshell thoracotomy for en bloc excision of a 3-level upper thoracic chordoma in a 20-year-old patient. The lesion involved T2, T3, and T4, and it invaded both chest cavities and indented the mediastinum. After 2 biopsies to confirm the diagnosis, the patient underwent a posterior spinal fusion followed by bilateral clamshell thoracotomy for 3-level en bloc resection with simultaneous access to both chest cavities and the mediastinum. To demonstrate how the clamshell thoracotomy was used to facilitate the tumor resection, an operative video and illustrations are provided, which show in detail how the clamshell thoracotomy can be used to access both hemithoraxes and the mediastinum.

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Michael M. Safaee, Alexander Tenorio, Joseph A. Osorio, Winward Choy, Dominic Amara, Lillian Lai, Serena S. Hu, Bobby Tay, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven, Vedat Deviren, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Charles M. Eichler, Christopher P. Ames and Aaron J. Clark

OBJECTIVE

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a powerful technique that provides wide access to the disc space and allows for large lordotic grafts. When used with posterior spinal fusion (PSF), the procedures are often staged within the same hospital admission. There are limited data on the perioperative risk profile of ALIF-first versus PSF-first circumferential fusions performed within the same hospital admission. In an effort to understand whether these procedures are associated with different perioperative complication profiles, the authors performed a retrospective review of their institutional experience in adult patients who had undergone circumferential lumbar fusions.

METHODS

The electronic medicals records of patients who had undergone ALIF and PSF on separate days within the same hospital admission at a single academic center were retrospectively analyzed. Patients carrying a diagnosis of tumor, infection, or traumatic fracture were excluded. Demographics, surgical characteristics, and perioperative complications were collected and assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 373 patients, 217 of them women (58.2%), met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of the study cohort was 60 years. Surgical indications were as follows: degenerative disease or spondylolisthesis, 171 (45.8%); adult deformity, 168 (45.0%); and pseudarthrosis, 34 (9.1%). The majority of patients underwent ALIF first (321 [86.1%]) with a mean time of 2.5 days between stages. The mean number of levels fused was 2.1 for ALIF and 6.8 for PSF. In a comparison of ALIF-first to PSF-first cases, there were no major differences in demographics or surgical characteristics. Rates of intraoperative complications including venous injury were not significantly different between the two groups. The rates of postoperative ileus (11.8% vs 5.8%, p = 0.194) and ALIF-related wound complications (9.0% vs 3.8%, p = 0.283) were slightly higher in the ALIF-first group, although the differences did not reach statistical significance. Rates of other perioperative complications were no different.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients undergoing staged circumferential fusion with ALIF and PSF, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of perioperative complications when comparing ALIF-first to PSF-first surgeries.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Clinton J. Devin, Vincent Rossi, Silky Chotai, E. Hunter Dyer, John J. Knightly, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Erica F. Bisson, Steven D. Glassman, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon and Anthony L. Asher

OBJECTIVE

National databases collect large amounts of clinical information, yet application of these data can be challenging. The authors present the NeuroPoint Alliance and Institute for Healthcare Improvement (NPA-IHI) program as a novel attempt to create a quality improvement (QI) tool informed through registry data to improve the quality of care delivered. Reducing the length of stay (LOS) and readmission after elective lumbar fusion was chosen as the pilot module.

METHODS

The NPA-IHI program prospectively enrolled patients undergoing elective 1- to 3-level lumbar fusions across 8 institutions. A three-pronged approach was taken that included the following phases: 1) Research Phase, 2) Development Phase, and 3) Implementation Phase. Primary outcomes were LOS and readmission. From January to June 2017, a learning system was created utilizing monthly conference calls, weekly data submission, and continuous refinement of the proposed QI tool. Nonparametric tests were used to assess the impact of the QI intervention.

RESULTS

The novel QI tool included the following three areas of intervention: 1) preoperative discharge assessment (location, date, and instructions), 2) inpatient changes (LOS rounding checklist, daily huddle, and pain assessments), and 3) postdischarge calls (pain, primary care follow-up, and satisfaction). A total of 209 patients were enrolled, and the most common procedure was a posterior laminectomy/fusion (60.2%). Seven patients (3.3%) were readmitted during the study period. Preoperative discharge planning was completed for 129 patients (61.7%). A shorter median LOS was seen in those with a known preoperative discharge date (67 vs 80 hours, p = 0.018) and clear discharge instructions (71 vs 81 hours, p = 0.030). Patients with a known preoperative discharge plan also reported significantly increased satisfaction (8.0 vs 7.0, p = 0.028), and patients with increased discharge readiness (scale 0–10) also reported higher satisfaction (r = 0.474, p < 0.001). Those receiving postdischarge calls (76%) had a significantly shorter LOS than those without postdischarge calls (75 vs 99 hours, p = 0.020), although no significant relationship was seen between postdischarge calls and readmission (p = 0.342).

CONCLUSIONS

The NPA-IHI program showed that preoperative discharge planning and postdischarge calls have the potential to reduce LOS and improve satisfaction after elective lumbar fusion. It is our hope that neurosurgical providers can recognize how registries can be used to both develop and implement a QI tool and appreciate the importance of QI implementation as a separate process from data collection/analysis.

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Enrique Vargas, Matthew S. Susko, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Steve E. Braunstein and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is utilized to deliver highly conformal, dose-escalated radiation to a target while sparing surrounding normal structures. Spinal SBRT can allow for durable local control and palliation of disease while minimizing the risk of damage to the spinal cord; however, spinal SBRT has been associated with an increased risk of vertebral body fractures. This study sought to compare the fracture rates between SBRT and conventionally fractionated external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) in patients with metastatic spine tumors.

METHODS

Records from patients treated at the University of California, San Francisco, with radiation therapy for metastatic spine tumors were retrospectively reviewed. Vertebral body fracture and local control rates were compared between SBRT and EBRT. Ninety-six and 213 patients were identified in the SBRT and EBRT groups, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified the need to control for primary tumor histology (p = 0.003 for prostate cancer, p = 0.0496 for renal cell carcinoma). The patient-matched EBRT comparison group was created by matching SBRT cases using propensity scores for potential confounders, including the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS), the number and location of spine levels treated, sex, age at treatment, duration of follow-up (in months) after treatment, and primary tumor histology. Covariate balance following group matching was confirmed using the Student t-test for unequal variance. Statistical analysis, including propensity score matching and multivariate analysis, was performed using R software and related packages.

RESULTS

A total of 90 patients met inclusion criteria, with 45 SBRT and 45 EBRT matched cases. Balance of the covariates, SINS, age, follow-up time, and primary tumor histology after the matching process was confirmed between groups (p = 0.062, p = 0.174, and 0.991, respectively, along with matched tumor histology). The SBRT group had a higher 5-year rate of vertebral body fracture at 22.22% (n = 10) compared with 6.67% (n = 3) in the EBRT group (p = 0.044). Survival analysis was used to adjust for uneven follow-up time and showed a significant difference in fracture rates between the two groups (p = 0.044). SBRT also was associated with a higher rate of local control (86.67% vs 77.78%).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with metastatic cancer undergoing SBRT had higher rates of vertebral body fractures compared with patients undergoing EBRT, and this difference held up after survival analysis. SBRT also had higher rates of initial local control than EBRT but this difference did not hold up after survival analysis, most likely because of a high percentage of radiosensitive tumors in the EBRT cohort.

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Ping-Guo Duan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joshua Rivera, Jeremy M. V. Guinn, Minghao Wang, Zhuo Xi, Bo Li, Hao-Hua Wu, Christopher P. Ames, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Patients undergoing long-segment fusions from the lower thoracic (LT) spine to the sacrum for adult spinal deformity (ASD) correction are at risk for proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). One mechanism of PJK is fracture of the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) or higher (UIV+1), which may be related to bone mineral density (BMD). Because Hounsfield units (HUs) on CT correlate with BMD, the authors evaluated whether HU values were correlated with PJK after long fusions for ASD.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study of patients older than 50 years who had undergone ASD correction from the LT spine to the sacrum in the period from October 2007 to January 2018 and had a minimum 2-year follow-up. Demographic and spinopelvic parameters were measured. HU values were measured on preoperative CT at the UIV, UIV+1, and UIV+2 (2 levels above the UIV) levels and were assessed for correlations with PJK.

RESULTS

The records of 127 patients were reviewed. Fifty-four patients (19 males and 35 females) with a mean age of 64.91 years and mean follow-up of 3.19 years met the study inclusion criteria; there were 29 patients with PJK and 25 patients without. There was no statistically significant difference in demographics or follow-up between these two groups. Neither was there a difference between the groups with regard to postoperative pelvic incidence (PI), sacral slope (SS), lumbar lordosis (LL), PI minus LL (PI-LL), thoracic kyphosis (TK), or sagittal vertical axis (SVA; all p > 0.05). Postoperative pelvic tilt (p = 0.003) and T1 pelvic angle (p = 0.014) were significantly higher in patients with PJK than in those without. Preoperative HUs at UIV, UIV+1, and UIV+2 were 120.41, 124.52, and 129.28 in the patients with PJK, respectively, and 152.80, 155.96, and 160.00 in the patients without PJK, respectively (p = 0.011, 0.02, and 0.018). Three receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for preoperative HU values at the UIV, UIV+1, and UIV+2 as a predictor for PJK were established, with areas under the ROC curve of 0.710 (95% CI 0.574–0.847), 0.679 (95% CI 0.536–0.821), and 0.681 (95% CI 0.539–0.824), respectively. The optimal HU value by Youden index was 104 HU at the UIV (sensitivity 0.840, specificity 0.517), 113 HU at the UIV+1 (sensitivity 0.720, specificity 0.517), and 110 HU at the UIV+2 (sensitivity 0.880, specificity 0.448).

CONCLUSIONS

In patients undergoing long-segment fusions from the LT spine to the sacrum for ASD, PJK was associated with lower HU values on CT at the UIV, UIV+1, and UIV+2. The measurement of HU values on preoperative CTs may be a useful adjunct for ASD surgery planning.

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Zhuo Xi, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Minghao Wang, Huibing Ruan, Shane Burch, Vedat Deviren, Aaron J. Clark, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

One vexing problem after lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) surgery is cage subsidence. Low bone mineral density (BMD) may contribute to subsidence, and BMD is correlated with Hounsfield units (HUs) on CT. The authors investigated if lower HU values correlated with subsidence after LLIF.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients undergoing single-level LLIF with pedicle screw fixation for degenerative conditions at the University of California, San Francisco, by 6 spine surgeons was performed. Data on demographics, cage parameters, preoperative HUs on CT, and postoperative subsidence were collected. Thirty-six–inch standing radiographs were used to measure segmental lordosis, disc space height, and subsidence; data were collected immediately postoperatively and at 1 year. Subsidence was graded using a published grade of disc height loss: grade 0, 0%–24%; grade I, 25%–49%; grade II, 50%–74%; and grade III, 75%–100%. HU values were measured on preoperative CT from L1 to L5, and each lumbar vertebral body HU was measured 4 separate times.

RESULTS

After identifying 138 patients who underwent LLIF, 68 met the study inclusion criteria. All patients had single-level LLIF with pedicle screw fixation. The mean follow-up duration was 25.3 ± 10.4 months. There were 40 patients who had grade 0 subsidence, 15 grade I, 9 grade II, and 4 grade III. There were no significant differences in age, sex, BMI, or smoking. There were no significant differences in cage sizes, cage lordosis, and preoperative disc height. The mean segmental HU (the average HU value of the two vertebrae above and below the LLIF) was 169.5 ± 45 for grade 0, 130.3 ± 56.2 for grade I, 100.7 ± 30.2 for grade II, and 119.9 ± 52.9 for grade III (p < 0.001). After using a receiver operating characteristic curve to establish separation criteria between mild and severe subsidence, the most appropriate threshold of HU value was 135.02 between mild and severe subsidence (sensitivity 60%, specificity 92.3%). After univariate and multivariate analysis, preoperative segmental HU value was an independent risk factor for severe cage subsidence (p = 0.017, OR 15.694, 95% CI 1.621–151.961).

CONCLUSIONS

Lower HU values on preoperative CT are associated with cage subsidence after LLIF. Measurement of preoperative HU values on CT may be useful when planning LLIF surgery.

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Suyash Singh, Jayesh Sardhara, Anant Mehrotra and Sanjay Behari

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Joseph Laratta, Leah Y. Carreon, Avery L. Buchholz, Andrew Y. Yew, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni and Steven D. Glassman

OBJECTIVE

Medical comorbidities, particularly preoperatively diagnosed anxiety, depression, and obesity, may influence how patients perceive and measure clinical benefit after a surgical intervention. The current study was performed to define and compare the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) thresholds in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity who underwent spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients who underwent lumbar fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis during the period from January 2014 to August 2017. Collected patient-reported outcomes (PROs) included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), health status (EQ-5D), and numeric rating scale (NRS) scores for back pain (NRS-BP) and leg pain (NRS-LP). Both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for MCID calculation were employed.

RESULTS

Of 462 patients included in the prospective registry who underwent a decompression and fusion procedure, 356 patients (77.1%) had complete baseline and 12-month PRO data and were included in the study. The MCID values for ODI scores did not significantly differ in patients with and those without a preoperative diagnosis of obesity (20.58 and 20.69, respectively). In addition, the MCID values for ODI scores did not differ in patients with and without a preoperative diagnosis of anxiety or depression (24.72 and 22.56, respectively). Similarly, the threshold MCID values for NRS-BP, NRS-LP, and EQ-5D scores were not statistically different between all groups. Based on both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for determination of MCID thresholds, there were no statistically significant differences between all cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

MCID thresholds were similar for ODI, EQ-5D, NRS-BP, and NRS-LP in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity undergoing spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis. Preoperative clinical and shared decision-making may be improved by understanding that preoperative medical comorbidities may not affect the way patients experience and assess important clinical changes postoperatively.

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Paul Park, Khoi D. Than, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Pierce D. Nunley, Robert K. Eastlack, Juan S. Uribe, Michael Y. Wang, Vivian Le, Richard G. Fessler, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Neel Anand, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Alexander F. Haddad, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory M. Mundis Jr. and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Surgical decision-making and planning is a key factor in optimizing outcomes in adult spinal deformity (ASD). Minimally invasive spinal (MIS) strategies for ASD have been increasingly used as an option to decrease postoperative morbidity. This study analyzes factors involved in the selection of either a traditional open approach or a minimally invasive approach to treat ASD in a prospective, nonrandomized multicenter trial. All centers had at least 5 years of experience in minimally invasive techniques for ASD.

METHODS

The study enrolled 268 patients, of whom 120 underwent open surgery and 148 underwent MIS surgery. Inclusion criteria included age ≥ 18 years, and at least one of the following criteria: coronal curve (CC) ≥ 20°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) > 25°, or thoracic kyphosis (TK) > 60°. Surgical approach selection was made at the discretion of the operating surgeon. Preoperative significant differences were included in a multivariate logistic regression analysis to determine odds ratios (ORs) for approach selection.

RESULTS

Significant preoperative differences (p < 0.05) between open and MIS groups were noted for age (61.9 vs 66.7 years), numerical rating scale (NRS) back pain score (7.8 vs 7), CC (36° vs 26.1°), PT (26.4° vs 23°), T1 pelvic angle (TPA; 25.8° vs 21.7°), and pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL; 19.6° vs 14.9°). No significant differences in BMI (29 vs 28.5 kg/m2), NRS leg pain score (5.2 vs 5.7), Oswestry Disability Index (48.4 vs 47.2), Scoliosis Research Society 22-item questionnaire score (2.7 vs 2.8), PI (58.3° vs 57.1°), LL (38.9° vs 42.3°), or SVA (73.8 mm vs 60.3 mm) were found. Multivariate analysis found that age (OR 1.05, p = 0.002), VAS back pain score (OR 1.21, p = 0.016), CC (OR 1.03, p < 0.001), decompression (OR 4.35, p < 0.001), and TPA (OR 1.09, p = 0.023) were significant factors in approach selection.

CONCLUSIONS

Increasing age was the primary driver for selecting MIS surgery. Conversely, increasingly severe deformities and the need for open decompression were the main factors influencing the selection of traditional open surgery. As experience with MIS surgery continues to accumulate, future longitudinal evaluation will reveal if more experience, use of specialized treatment algorithms, refinement of techniques, and technology will expand surgeon adoption of MIS techniques for adult spinal deformity.

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Zhuo Xi, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Huibing Ruan, Charles Eichler, Chih-Chang Chang and Shane Burch

OBJECTIVE

In adult spinal deformity and degenerative conditions of the spine, interbody fusion to the sacrum often is performed to enhance arthrodesis, induce lordosis, and alleviate stenosis. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) has traditionally been performed, but minimally invasive oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF) may or may not cause less morbidity because less retraction of the abdominal viscera is required. The authors evaluated whether there was a difference between the results of ALIF and OLIF in multilevel anterior or lateral interbody fusion to the sacrum.

METHODS

Patients from 2013 to 2018 who underwent multilevel ALIF or OLIF to the sacrum were retrospectively studied. Inclusion criteria were adult spinal deformity or degenerative pathology and multilevel ALIF or OLIF to the sacrum. Demographic, implant, perioperative, and radiographic variables were collected. Statistical calculations were performed for significant differences.

RESULTS

Data from a total of 127 patients were analyzed (66 OLIF patients and 61 ALIF patients). The mean follow-up times were 27.21 (ALIF) and 24.11 (OLIF) months. The mean surgical time was 251.48 minutes for ALIF patients and 234.48 minutes for OLIF patients (p = 0.154). The mean hospital stay was 7.79 days for ALIF patients and 7.02 days for OLIF patients (p = 0.159). The mean time to being able to eat solid food was 4.03 days for ALIF patients and 1.30 days for OLIF patients (p < 0.001). After excluding patients who had undergone L5–S1 posterior column osteotomy, 54 ALIF patients and 41 OLIF patients were analyzed for L5–S1 radiographic changes. The mean cage height was 14.94 mm for ALIF patients and 13.56 mm for OLIF patients (p = 0.001), and the mean cage lordosis was 15.87° in the ALIF group and 16.81° in the OLIF group (p = 0.278). The mean increases in anterior disc height were 7.34 mm and 4.72 mm for the ALIF and OLIF groups, respectively (p = 0.001), and the mean increases in posterior disc height were 3.35 mm and 1.24 mm (p < 0.001), respectively. The mean change in L5–S1 lordosis was 4.33° for ALIF patients and 4.59° for OLIF patients (p = 0.829).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who underwent multilevel OLIF and ALIF to the sacrum had comparable operative times. OLIF was associated with a quicker ileus recovery and less blood loss. At L5–S1, ALIF allowed larger cages to be placed, resulting in a greater disc height change, but there was no significant difference in L5–S1 segmental lordosis.