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Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Michael S. Virk, John Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Anshit Goyal, Andrew K. Chan, Jian Guan, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Anthony L. Asher and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar decompression without arthrodesis remains a potential treatment option for cases of low-grade spondylolisthesis (i.e., Meyerding grade I). Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have recently been increasingly used because of their touted benefits including lower operating time, blood loss, and length of stay. Herein, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics and postoperative clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between patients undergoing open versus MIS lumbar decompression.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Among more than 200 participating sites, the 12 with the highest enrollment of patients into the lumbar spine module came together to initiate a focused project to assess the impact of fusion on PROs in patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis. For the current study, only patients in this cohort from the 12 highest-enrolling sites who underwent a decompression alone were evaluated and classified as open or MIS (tubular decompression). Outcomes of interest included PROs at 2 years; perioperative outcomes such as blood loss and complications; and postoperative outcomes such as length of stay, discharge disposition, and reoperations.

RESULTS

A total of 140 patients undergoing decompression were selected, of whom 71 (50.7%) underwent MIS and 69 (49.3%) underwent an open decompression. On univariate analysis, the authors observed no significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of PROs at 2-year follow-up, including back pain, leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index score, EQ-5D score, and patient satisfaction. On multivariable analysis, compared to MIS, open decompression was associated with higher satisfaction (OR 7.5, 95% CI 2.41–23.2, p = 0.0005). Patients undergoing MIS decompression had a significantly shorter length of stay compared to the open group (0.68 days [SD 1.18] vs 1.83 days [SD 1.618], p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In this multiinstitutional prospective study, the authors found comparable PROs as well as clinical outcomes at 2 years between groups of patients undergoing open or MIS decompression for low-grade spondylolisthesis.

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Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Kevin T. Foley, Steven D. Glassman, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Jian Guan, Regis W. Haid Jr. and Jonathan R. Slotkin

OBJECTIVE

Return to work (RTW) and satisfaction are important outcome measures after surgery for degenerative spine disease. The authors queried the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) to determine if RTW correlated with patient satisfaction.

METHODS

The QOD was queried for patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. The primary outcome of interest was correlation between RTW and patient satisfaction, as measured by the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index (NASS). Secondarily, data on satisfied patients were analyzed to see what patient factors correlated with RTW.

RESULTS

Of 608 total patients in the QOD spondylolisthesis data set, there were 292 patients for whom data were available on both satisfaction and RTW status. Of these, 249 (85.3%) were satisfied with surgery (NASS score 1–2), and 224 (76.7%) did RTW after surgery. Of the 68 patients who did not RTW after surgery, 49 (72.1%) were still satisfied with surgery. Of the 224 patients who did RTW, 24 (10.7%) were unsatisfied with surgery (NASS score 3–4). There were significantly more people who had an NASS score of 1 in the RTW group than in the non-RTW group (71.4% vs 42.6%, p < 0.05). Failure to RTW was associated with lower level of education, worse baseline back pain (measured with a numeric rating scale), and worse baseline disability (measured with the Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]).

CONCLUSIONS

There are a substantial number of patients who are satisfied with surgery even though they did not RTW. Patients who were satisfied with surgery and did not RTW typically had worse preoperative back pain and ODI and typically did not have a college education. While RTW remains an important measure after surgery, physicians should be mindful that patients who do not RTW may still be satisfied with their outcome.

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Anthony L. Asher, John Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Matthew J. McGirt, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Andrew K. Chan, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Erica F. Bisson, Robert E. Harbaugh and Mohamad Bydon

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), formerly known as the National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD), was established by the NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA) in collaboration with relevant national stakeholders and experts. The overarching goal of this project was to develop a centralized, nationally coordinated effort to allow individual surgeons and practice groups to collect, measure, and analyze practice patterns and neurosurgical outcomes. Specific objectives of this registry program were as follows: “1) to establish risk-adjusted national benchmarks for both the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgical procedures, 2) to allow practice groups and hospitals to analyze their individual morbidity and clinical outcomes in real time, 3) to generate both quality and efficiency data to support claims made to public and private payers and objectively demonstrate the value of care to other stakeholders, 4) to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of neurosurgical and spine procedures, 5) to develop sophisticated ‘risk models’ to determine which subpopulations of patients are most likely to benefit from specific surgical interventions, and 6) to facilitate essential multicenter trials and other cooperative clinical studies.” The NPA has launched several neurosurgical specialty modules in the QOD program in the 7 years since its inception including lumbar spine, cervical spine, and spinal deformity and cerebrovascular and intracranial tumor. The QOD Spine modules, which are the primary subject of this paper, have evolved into the largest North American spine registries yet created and have resulted in unprecedented cooperative activities within our specialty and among affiliated spine care practitioners. Herein, the authors discuss the experience of QOD Spine programs to date, with a brief description of their inception, some of the key achievements and milestones, as well as the recent transition of the spine modules to the American Spine Registry (ASR), a collaboration between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

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Michael M. Safaee, Alexander Tenorio, Joseph A. Osorio, Winward Choy, Dominic Amara, Lillian Lai, Annette M. Molinaro, Yalan Zhang, 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 approaches to the lumbar spine provide wide exposure that facilitates placement of large grafts with high fusion rates. There are limited data on the effects of obesity on perioperative complications.

METHODS

Data from consecutive patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) from 2007 to 2016 at a single academic center were analyzed. The primary outcome was any perioperative complication. Complications were divided into those occurring intraoperatively and those occurring postoperatively. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association of obesity and other variables with these complications. An estimation table was used to identify a body mass index (BMI) threshold associated with increased risk of postoperative complication.

RESULTS

A total of 938 patients were identified, and the mean age was 57 years; 511 were females (54.5%). The mean BMI was 28.7 kg/m2, with 354 (37.7%) patients classified as obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Forty patients (4.3%) underwent a lateral transthoracic approach, while the remaining 898 (95.7%) underwent a transabdominal retroperitoneal approach. Among patients undergoing transabdominal retroperitoneal ALIF, complication rates were higher for obese patients than for nonobese patients (37.0% vs 28.7%, p = 0.010), a difference that was driven primarily by postoperative complications (36.1% vs 26.0%, p = 0.001) rather than intraoperative complications (3.2% vs 4.3%, p = 0.416). Obese patients had higher rates of ileus (11.7% vs 7.2%, p = 0.020), wound complications (11.4% vs 3.4%, p < 0.001), and urinary tract infections (UTI) (5.0% vs 2.5%, p = 0.049). In a multivariate model, age, obesity, and number of ALIF levels fused were associated with an increased risk of postoperative complication. An estimation table including 19 candidate cut-points, odds ratios, and adjusted p values found a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 to have the highest association with postoperative complication (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS

Obesity is associated with increased postoperative complications in ALIF, including ileus, wound complications, and UTI. ALIF is a safe and effective procedure. However, patients with a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 should be counseled on their increased risks and warrant careful preoperative medical optimization and close monitoring in the postoperative setting.

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Zhuo Xi, Shane Burch, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Rory Richard Mayer, Charles Eichler and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Obese patients have been shown to have longer operative times and more complications from surgery. However, for obese patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery, these differences may not be as significant. In the lateral position, it is thought that obesity is less of an issue because gravity pulls the visceral fat away from the spine; however, this observation is primarily anecdotal and based on expert opinion. The authors performed oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF) and they report on the perioperative morbidity in obese and nonobese patients.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of patients who underwent OLIF performed by 3 spine surgeons and 1 vascular surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, from 2013 to 2018. Data collected included demographic variables; approach-related factors such as operative time, blood loss, and expected temporary approach-related sequelae; and overall complications. Patients were categorized according to their body mass index (BMI). Obesity was defined as a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, and severe obesity was defined as a BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2.

RESULTS

There were 238 patients (95 males and 143 females). There were no significant differences between the obese and nonobese groups in terms of sex, levels fused, or smoking status. For the entire cohort, there was no difference in operative time, blood loss, or complications when comparing obese and nonobese patients. However, a subset analysis of the 77 multilevel OLIFs that included L5–S1 demonstrated that the operative times for the nonobese group was 223.55 ± 57.93 minutes, whereas it was 273.75 ± 90.07 minutes for the obese group (p = 0.004). In this subset, the expected approach-related sequela rate was 13.2% for the nonobese group, whereas it was 33.3% for the obese group (p = 0.039). However, the two groups had similar blood loss (p = 0.476) and complication rates (p = 0.876).

CONCLUSIONS

Obesity and morbid obesity generally do not increase the operative time, blood loss, approach-related sequelae, or complications following OLIF. However, obese patients who undergo multilevel OLIF that includes the L5–S1 level do have longer operative times or a higher rate of expected approach-related sequelae. Obesity should not be considered a contraindication to multilevel OLIF, but patients should be informed of potentially increased morbidity if the L5–S1 level is to be included.

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Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, John Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Anshit Goyal, Andrew K. Chan, Jian Guan, Michael Biase, Andrea Strauss, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric Potts, Mark Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Anthony L. Asher and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Loss to follow-up has been shown to bias outcomes assessment among studies utilizing clinical registries. Here, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics of patients captured with those lost to follow-up at 2 years.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Only those patients enrolled in a multisite study investigating the impact of fusion on clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) among patients with grade I spondylolisthesis were evaluated.

RESULTS

Of the 608 patients enrolled in the study undergoing 1- or 2-level decompression (23.0%, n = 140) or 1-level fusion (77.0%, n = 468), 14.5% (n = 88) were lost to follow-up at 2 years. Patients who were lost to follow-up were more likely to be younger (59.6 ± 13.5 vs 62.6 ± 11.7 years, p = 0.031), be employed (unemployment rate: 53.3% [n = 277] for successful follow-up vs 40.9% [n = 36] for those lost to follow-up, p = 0.017), have anxiety (26.1% [n = 23] vs 16.3% [n = 85], p = 0.026), have higher back pain scores (7.4 ± 2.9 vs 6.6 ± 2.8, p = 0.010), have higher leg pain scores (7.4 ± 2.5 vs 6.4 ± 2.9, p = 0.003), have higher Oswestry Disability Index scores (50.8 ± 18.7 vs 46 ± 16.8, p = 0.018), and have lower EQ-5D scores (0.481 ± 0.2 vs 0.547 ± 0.2, p = 0.012) at baseline.

CONCLUSIONS

To execute future, high-quality studies, it is important to identify patients undergoing surgery for spondylolisthesis who might be lost to follow-up. In a large, prospective registry, the authors found that those lost to follow-up were more likely to be younger, be employed, have anxiety disorder, and have worse PRO scores.

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Can Zhang, Chih-Chang Chang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Chenghua Yuan, Sanjay Dhall, Fengzeng Jian, Nalin Gupta and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Recurrent tethered cord syndrome (TCS), believed to result from tension on the distal portion of the spinal cord, causes a constellation of neurological symptoms. Detethering surgery has been the traditional treatment for TCS. However, in cases of recurrent TCS, there is a risk of new neurological deficits developing, and subsequent retethering is difficult to prevent. Spinal column shortening has been proposed as an alternative technique to reduce the tension on the spinal cord without incurring the morbidity of revision surgery on the spinal cord. The authors compared the perioperative outcomes and morbidity of patients who were treated with one or the other procedure.

METHODS

The medical records of 16 adult patients with recurrent TCS who were treated between 2005 and 2018 were reviewed. Eight patients underwent spinal column shortening, and 8 patients underwent revision detethering surgery. Patient demographics, clinical outcomes, and perioperative factors were analyzed. The authors include a video to illustrate their technique of spinal column shortening.

RESULTS

Within the spinal column shortening group, no patients experienced any complications, and all 8 patients either improved or stabilized with regard to lower-extremity and bowel and bladder function. Within the revision detethering group, 2 patients had worsening of lower-extremity strength, 3 patients had worsening of bowel and bladder function, and 1 patient had improvement in bladder function. Also, 3 patients had wound-related complications. The median estimated blood loss was 731 ml in the shortening group and 163 ml in the revision detethering group. The median operative time was 358 minutes in the shortening group and 226 minutes in the revision detethering group.

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical outcomes were comparable between the groups, but none of the spinal column shortening patients experienced worsening, whereas 3 of the revision detethering patients did and also had wound-related complications. Although the operative times and blood loss were higher in the spinal column shortening group, this procedure may be an alternative to revision detethering in extremely scarred or complex wound revision cases.

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Andrew K. Chan, Rory R. Mayer, Praveen V. Mummaneni and Dean Chou

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Daehyun Park, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Ratnesh Mehra, Yonguk Kwon, Sungtae Kim, Hui Bing Ruan and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to evaluate factors that are associated with the need for additional posterior direct decompressive surgery after anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) or lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF).

METHODS

Eighty-six adult patients who underwent ALIF or LLIF for degenerative spondylolisthesis and foraminal stenosis were enrolled. Patient factors (age, sex, number of surgery levels, and visual analog scale [VAS] score for leg and back pain); procedure-related factors (cage height and lordosis); and radiographic measurements (disc height [DH]; foraminal height [FH], foraminal area [FA], central canal diameter [CCD], and facet joint degeneration [FD]) were analyzed. All patients underwent staged surgery on 2 different days, with the anterior portion first, followed by the posterior portion.

RESULTS

Of 86 patients, 62 underwent posterior decompression and 24 had no posterior decompression. There were no significant differences between groups with regard to age, sex, preoperative VAS score for back pain, cage height, cage angulation, preoperative DH, FH, FA, CCD, and FD (p > 0.05). The group that underwent posterior decompression showed statistically different numbers of treated segments (1.92 vs 1.21, p < 0.01), preoperative VAS leg score (7.9 vs 6.3), symptom duration (14.2 months vs 9.4 months), postoperative DH improvement (61.3% vs 96.2%), postoperative FH improvement (21.5% vs 32.1%), postoperative FA improvement (24.1% vs 36.9%), and cage height minus preoperative DH (5.3 mm vs 7.5 mm) compared with the nondecompression group.

CONCLUSIONS

There appears to be some correlation between the need for posterior decompression and the number of treated segments, VAS leg scores, symptom duration, FH, FA, and difference between the cage height and preoperative DH. In selected patients undergoing staged surgery, indirect decompression without direct decompression may be a reasonable option in treating degenerative spinal conditions.

Open access

Chih-Chang Chang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joshua Rivera, Rory Mayer and Dean Chou

Iatrogenic flat back deformity generally can be treated with a pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) (Chan et al., 2018; Lu and Chou, 2007). One of the difficulties with PSO is that a controlled closure can sometimes be problematic in that there may be translation of the spine, manual pushing of the spine, and significant stress on the pedicle screws, which may risk loosening. The authors present a video of their surgical technique for PSO closed by passive closure using an open-bottom hinged table. This allows the osteotomy to be closed without any force on the screws and without significant manual forces on the spinal column.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/pUECEjKdmSk.