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Ping-Guo Duan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Minghao Wang, Andrew K. Chan, Bo Li, Rory Mayer, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors’ aim was to investigate whether obesity affects surgery rates for adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

Patients who underwent single-level TLIF for spondylolisthesis at the University of California, San Francisco, from 2006 to 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. Inclusion criteria were a minimum 2-year follow-up, single-level TLIF, and degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Exclusion criteria were trauma, tumor, infection, multilevel fusions, non-TLIF fusions, or less than a 2-year follow-up. Patient demographic data were collected, and an analysis of spinopelvic parameters was performed. The patients were divided into two groups: mismatched, or pelvic incidence (PI) minus lumbar lordosis (LL) ≥ 10°; and balanced, or PI-LL < 10°. Within the two groups, the patients were further classified by BMI (< 30 and ≥ 30 kg/m2). Patients were then evaluated for surgery for ASD, matched by BMI and PI-LL parameters.

RESULTS

A total of 190 patients met inclusion criteria (72 males and 118 females, mean age 59.57 ± 12.39 years). The average follow-up was 40.21 ± 20.42 months (range 24–135 months). In total, 24 patients (12.63% of 190) underwent surgery for ASD. Within the entire cohort, 82 patients were in the mismatched group, and 108 patients were in the balanced group. Within the mismatched group, adjacent-segment surgeries occurred at the following rates: BMI < 30 kg/m2, 2.1% (1/48); and BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, 17.6% (6/34). Significant differences were seen between patients with BMI ≥ 30 and BMI < 30 (p = 0.018). A receiver operating characteristic curve for BMI as a predictor for ASD was established, with an AUC of 0.69 (95% CI 0.49–0.90). The optimal BMI cutoff value determined by the Youden index is 29.95 (sensitivity 0.857; specificity 0.627). However, in the balanced PI-LL group (108/190 patients), there was no difference in surgery rates for ASD among the patients with different BMIs (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In patients who have a PI-LL mismatch, obesity may be associated with an increased risk of surgery for ASD after TLIF, but in obese patients without PI-LL mismatch, this association was not observed.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Julie Ann Sosa, Errol P. Lobo, Valli P. Mummaneni, Sheila Antrum, Sigurd H. Berven, Michael S. Conte, Sarah B. Doernberg, Andrew N. Goldberg, Christopher P. Hess, Steven W. Hetts, S. Andrew Josephson, Maureen P. Kohi, C. Benjamin Ma, Vaikom S. Mahadevan, Annette M. Molinaro, Andrew H. Murr, Sirisha Narayana, John P. Roberts, Marshall L. Stoller, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Thomas P. Vail, Sandra Wienholz, Michael A. Gropper, Adrienne Green and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

During the COVID-19 pandemic, quaternary-care facilities continue to provide care for patients in need of urgent and emergent invasive procedures. Perioperative protocols are needed to streamline care for these patients notwithstanding capacity and resource constraints.

METHODS

A multidisciplinary panel was assembled at the University of California, San Francisco, with 26 leaders across 10 academic departments, including 7 department chairpersons, the chief medical officer, the chief operating officer, infection control officers, nursing leaders, and resident house staff champions. An epidemiologist, an ethicist, and a statistician were also consulted. A modified two-round, blinded Delphi method based on 18 agree/disagree statements was used to build consensus. Significant disagreement for each statement was tested using a one-sided exact binomial test against an expected outcome of 95% consensus using a significance threshold of p < 0.05. Final triage protocols were developed with unblinded group-level discussion.

RESULTS

Overall, 15 of 18 statements achieved consensus in the first round of the Delphi method; the 3 statements with significant disagreement (p < 0.01) were modified and iteratively resubmitted to the expert panel to achieve consensus. Consensus-based protocols were developed using unblinded multidisciplinary panel discussions. The final algorithms 1) quantified outbreak level, 2) triaged patients based on acuity, 3) provided a checklist for urgent/emergent invasive procedures, and 4) created a novel scoring system for the allocation of personal protective equipment. In particular, the authors modified the American College of Surgeons three-tiered triage system to incorporate more urgent cases, as are often encountered in neurosurgery and spine surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Urgent and emergent invasive procedures need to be performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The consensus-based protocols in this study may assist healthcare providers to optimize perioperative care during the pandemic.

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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.