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Yoji Ogura, Jeffrey L. Gum, Alex Soroceanu, Alan H. Daniels, Breton Line, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Richard A. Hostin, Peter G. Passias, Douglas C. Burton, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Eric O. Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Andrew Harris, Khaled Kebaish, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames, Leah Y. Carreon and the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

OBJECTIVE

The shared decision-making (SDM) process provides an opportunity to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs). The authors aimed to present a concise list of answers to FAQs to aid in SDM for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

From a prospective, multicenter ASD database, patients enrolled between 2008 and 2016 who underwent fusions of 5 or more levels with a minimum 2-year follow-up were included. All deformity types were included to provide general applicability. The authors compiled a list of FAQs from patients undergoing ASD surgery and used a retrospective analysis to provide answers. All responses are reported as either the means or the proportions reaching the minimal clinically important difference at the 2-year follow-up interval.

RESULTS

Of 689 patients with ASD who were eligible for 2-year follow-up, 521 (76%) had health-related quality-of-life scores available at the time of that follow-up. The mean age at the initial surgery was 58.2 years, and 78% of patients were female. The majority (73%) underwent surgery with a posterior-only approach. The mean number of fused levels was 12.2. Revision surgery accounted for 48% of patients. The authors answered 12 FAQs as follows:

1. Will my pain improve? Back and leg pain will both be reduced by approximately 50%.

2. Will my activity level improve? Approximately 65% of patients feel improvement in their activity level.

3. Will I feel better about myself? More than 70% of patients feel improvement in their appearance.

4. Is there a chance I will get worse? 4.1% feel worse at 2 years postoperatively.

5. What is the likelihood I will have a complication? 67.8% will have a major or minor complication, with 47.8% having a major complication.

6. Will I need another surgery? 25.0% will have a reoperation within 2 years.

7. Will I regret having surgery? 6.5% would not choose the same treatment.

8. Will I get a blood transfusion? 73.7% require a blood transfusion.

9. How long will I stay in the hospital? You need to stay 8.1 days on average.

10. Will I have to go to the ICU? 76.0% will have to go to the ICU.

11. Will I be able to return to work? More than 70% will be working at 1 year postoperatively.

12. Will I be taller after surgery? You will be 1.1 cm taller on average.

CONCLUSIONS

The above list provides concise, practical answers to FAQs encountered in the SDM process while counseling patients for ASD surgery.

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Jesse J. McClure, Bhargav D. Desai, Leah M. Shabo, Thomas J. Buell, Chun-Po Yen, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey and Avery L. Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a safe and effective intervention to treat cervical spine pathology. Although these were originally performed as single-level procedures, multilevel ACDF has been performed for patients with extensive degenerative disc disease. To date, there is a paucity of data regarding outcomes related to ACDFs of 3 or more levels. The purpose of this study was to compare surgical outcomes of 3- and 4-level ACDF procedures.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent 3- and 4-level ACDF at the University of Virginia Health System between January 2010 and December 2017. In patients meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, demographics, fusion rates, time to fusion, and reoperation rates were evaluated. Fusion was determined by < 1 mm of change in interspinous distance between individual fused vertebrae on lateral flexion/extension radiographs and lack of radiolucency between the grafts and vertebral bodies. Any procedure requiring a surgical revision was considered a failure.

RESULTS

Sixty-six patients (47 with 3-level and 19 with 4-level ACDFs) met the inclusion/exclusion criteria of having at least one lateral flexion/extension radiograph series ≥ 12 months after surgery. Seventy percent of 3-level patients and 68% of 4-level patients had ≥ 24 months of follow-up. Ninety-four percent of 3-level patients and 100% of 4-level patients achieved radiographic fusion for at least 1 surgical level. Eighty-eight percent and 82% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C3–4; 85% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C4–5; 68% and 89% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C5–6; 44% and 42% of 3- and 4-level patients achieved fusion at C6–7; and no patients achieved fusion at C7–T1. Time to fusion was not significantly different between levels. Revision was required in 6.4% of patients with 3-level and in 16% of patients with 4-level ACDF. The mean time to revision was 46.2 and 45.4 months for 3- and 4-level ACDF, respectively. The most common reason for revision was worsening of initial symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experience with long-segment anterior cervical fusions shows their fusion rates exceeding most of the reported fusion rates for similar procedures in the literature, with rates similar to those reported for short-segment ACDFs. Three-level and 4-level ACDF procedures are viable options for cervical spine pathology, and the authors’ analysis demonstrates an equivalent rate of fusion and time to fusion between 3- and 4-level surgeries.

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Peter A. Christiansen, Shengbin Huang, Justin S. Smith, Mark E. Shaffrey, Juan S. Uribe and Chun-Po Yen

OBJECTIVE

Advancements in less invasive lateral retropleural/retroperitoneal approaches aim to address the limitation of posterolateral approaches and avoid complications associated with anterior open thoracotomy or thoracoabdominal approaches.

METHODS

Consecutive patients treated with a mini-open lateral approach for thoracic or thoracolumbar anterior column pathologies were analyzed in a retrospective case series including clinical and radiographic outcomes. Special attention is given to operative techniques and surgical nuances.

RESULTS

Eleven patients underwent a mini-open lateral retropleural or combined retropleural/retroperitoneal approach for thoracic or thoracolumbar junction lesions. Surgical indications included chronic fracture/deformity (n = 5), acute fracture (n = 2), neoplasm (n = 2), and osteomyelitis (n = 2). The mean length of postoperative hospital stay was 7.2 days (range 2–19 days). All patients ultimately had successful decompression and reconstruction with a mean follow-up of 16.7 months (range 6–29 months). Axial back pain assessed by the visual analog scale improved from a mean score of 8.2 to 2.2. Complications included 1 patient with deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and 1 with pneumonia. One patient developed increased leg weakness, which subsequently improved. One patient undergoing corpectomy with only lateral plate fixation developed cage subsidence requiring posterior stabilization.

CONCLUSIONS

Mini-open lateral retropleural and retroperitoneal corpectomies can safely achieve anterior column reconstruction and spinal deformity correction for various thoracic and thoracolumbar vertebral pathologies.

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Thomas J. Buell and Justin S. Smith

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Justin S. Smith, Thomas J. Buell, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Han Jo Kim, Eric Klineberg, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Peter Passias, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert Eastlack, Vedat Deviren, Michael P. Kelly, Alan H. Daniels, Jeffrey L. Gum, Alex Soroceanu, Munish Gupta, Doug Burton, Richard Hostin, Robert Hart, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Shay Bess and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Although surgical treatment can provide significant improvement of symptomatic adult cervical spine deformity (ACSD), few reports have focused on the associated complications. The objective of this study was to assess complication rates at a minimum 1-year follow-up based on a prospective multicenter series of ACSD patients treated surgically.

METHODS

A prospective multicenter database of consecutive operative ACSD patients was reviewed for perioperative (< 30 days), early (30–90 days), and delayed (> 90 days) complications with a minimum 1-year follow-up. Enrollment required at least 1 of the following: cervical kyphosis > 10°, cervical scoliosis > 10°, C2–7 sagittal vertical axis > 4 cm, or chin-brow vertical angle > 25°.

RESULTS

Of 167 patients, 133 (80%, mean age 62 years, 62% women) had a minimum 1-year follow-up (mean 1.8 years). The most common diagnoses were degenerative (45%) and iatrogenic (17%) kyphosis. Almost 40% of patients were active or past smokers, 17% had osteoporosis, and 84% had at least 1 comorbidity. The mean baseline Neck Disability Index and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores were 47 and 13.6, respectively. Surgical approaches were anterior-only (18%), posterior-only (47%), and combined (35%). A total of 132 complications were reported (54 minor and 78 major), and 74 (56%) patients had at least 1 complication. The most common complications included dysphagia (11%), distal junctional kyphosis (9%), respiratory failure (6%), deep wound infection (6%), new nerve root motor deficit (5%), and new sensory deficit (5%). A total of 4 deaths occurred that were potentially related to surgery, 2 prior to 1-year follow-up (1 cardiopulmonary and 1 due to obstructive sleep apnea and narcotic use) and 2 beyond 1-year follow-up (both cardiopulmonary and associated with revision procedures). Twenty-six reoperations were performed in 23 (17%) patients, with the most common indications of deep wound infection (n = 8), DJK (n = 7), and neurological deficit (n = 6). Although anterior-only procedures had a trend toward lower overall (42%) and major (21%) complications, rates were not significantly different from posterior-only (57% and 33%, respectively) or combined (61% and 37%, respectively) approaches (p = 0.29 and p = 0.38, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

This report provides benchmark rates for ACSD surgery complications at a minimum 1-year (mean 1.8 years) follow-up. The marked health and functional impact of ACSD, the frail population it affects, and the high rates of surgical complications necessitate a careful risk-benefit assessment when contemplating surgery. Collectively, these findings provide benchmarks for complication rates and may prove useful for patient counseling and efforts to improve the safety of care.

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Alex Soroceanu, Justin S. Smith, Darryl Lau, Michael P. Kelly, Peter G. Passias, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Jeffrey L. Gum, Virginie Lafage, Han-Jo Kim, Justin K. Scheer, Munish Gupta, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric O. Klineberg, Douglas Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

It is being increasingly recognized that adult cervical deformity (ACD) is correlated with significant pain, myelopathy, and disability, and that patients who undergo deformity correction gain significant benefit. However, there are no defined thresholds of minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in Neck Disability Index (NDI) and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scores.

METHODS

Patients of interest were consecutive patients with ACD who underwent cervical deformity correction. ACD was defined as C2–7 sagittal Cobb angle ≥ 10° (kyphosis), C2–7 coronal Cobb angle ≥ 10° (cervical scoliosis), C2–7 sagittal vertical axis ≥ 4 cm, and/or chin-brow vertical angle ≥ 25°. Data were obtained from a consecutive cohort of patients from a multiinstitutional prospective database maintained across 13 sites. Distribution-based MCID, anchor-based MCID, and minimally detectable measurement difference (MDMD) were calculated.

RESULTS

A total of 73 patients met inclusion criteria and had sufficient 1-year follow-up. In the cohort, 42 patients (57.5%) were female. The mean age at the time of surgery was 62.23 years, and average body mass index was 29.28. The mean preoperative NDI was 46.49 and mJOA was 13.17. There was significant improvement in NDI at 1 year (46.49 vs 37.04; p = 0.0001). There was no significant difference in preoperative and 1-year mJOA (13.17 vs 13.7; p = 0.12). Using multiple techniques to yield MCID thresholds specific to the ACD population, the authors obtained values of 5.42 to 7.48 for the NDI, and 1.00 to 1.39 for the mJOA. The MDMD was 6.4 for the NDI, and 1.8 for the mJOA. Therefore, based on their results, the authors recommend using an MCID threshold of 1.8 for the mJOA, and 7.0 for the NDI in patients with ACD.

CONCLUSIONS

The ACD-specific MCID thresholds for NDI and mJOA are similar to the reported MCID following surgery for degenerative cervical disease. Additional studies are needed to verify these findings. Nonetheless, the findings here will be useful for future studies evaluating the success of surgery for patients with ACD undergoing deformity correction.

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Zoher Ghogawala, Shekar Kurpad, Asdrubal Falavigna, Michael W. Groff, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jau-Ching Wu, Paul Park, Sigurd Berven, Daniel J. Hoh, Erica F. Bisson, Michael P. Steinmetz, Marjorie C. Wang, Dean Chou, Charles A. Sansur, Justin S. Smith and Luis M. Tumialán

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Thomas J. Buell, Ulas Yener, Tony R. Wang, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Sacral insufficiency fracture after lumbosacral (LS) arthrodesis is an uncommon complication. The objective of this study was to report the authors’ operative experience managing this complication, review pertinent literature, and propose a treatment algorithm.

METHODS

The authors analyzed consecutive adult patients treated at their institution from 2009 to 2018. Patients who underwent surgery for sacral insufficiency fractures after posterior instrumented LS arthrodesis were included. PubMed was queried to identify relevant articles detailing management of this complication.

RESULTS

Nine patients with a minimum 6-month follow-up were included (mean age 73 ± 6 years, BMI 30 ± 6 kg/m2, 56% women, mean follow-up 35 months, range 8–96 months). Six patients had osteopenia/osteoporosis (mean dual energy x-ray absorptiometry hip T-score −1.6 ± 0.5) and 3 received treatment. Index LS arthrodesis was performed for spinal stenosis (n = 6), proximal junctional kyphosis (n = 2), degenerative scoliosis (n = 1), and high-grade spondylolisthesis (n = 1). Presenting symptoms of back/leg pain (n = 9) or lower extremity weakness (n = 3) most commonly occurred within 4 weeks of index LS arthrodesis, which prompted CT for fracture diagnosis at a mean of 6 weeks postoperatively. All sacral fractures were adjacent or involved S1 screws and traversed the spinal canal (Denis zone III). H-, U-, or T-type sacral fracture morphology was identified in 7 patients. Most fractures (n = 8) were Roy-Camille type II (anterior displacement with kyphosis). All patients underwent lumbopelvic fixation via a posterior-only approach; mean operative duration and blood loss were 3.3 hours and 850 ml, respectively. Bilateral dual iliac screws were utilized in 8 patients. Back/leg pain and weakness improved postoperatively. Mean sacral fracture anterolisthesis and kyphotic angulation improved (from 8 mm/11° to 4 mm/5°, respectively) and all fractures were healed on radiographic follow-up (mean duration 29 months, range 8–90 months). Two patients underwent revision for rod fractures at 1 and 2 years postoperatively. A literature review found 17 studies describing 87 cases; potential risk factors were osteoporosis, longer fusions, high pelvic incidence (PI), and postoperative PI-to–lumbar lordosis (LL) mismatch.

CONCLUSIONS

A high index of suspicion is needed to diagnose sacral insufficiency fracture after LS arthrodesis. A trial of conservative management is reasonable for select patients; potential surgical indications include refractory pain, neurological deficit, fracture nonunion with anterolisthesis or kyphotic angulation, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, and spinopelvic malalignment. Lumbopelvic fixation with iliac screws may be effective salvage treatment to allow fracture healing and symptom improvement. High-risk patients may benefit from prophylactic lumbopelvic fixation at the time of index LS arthrodesis.

Open access

Rebecca M. Burke, Thomas J. Buell, Dominic M. Maggio, Ulas Yener, Chun-Po Yen, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients treated with spinal fusion may develop adjacent segment disease and curve progression into adulthood. Revision operations can be challenging, especially for adult patients treated with outdated instrumentation such as sublaminar hooks and/or wires. The authors demonstrate revision lumbar spine surgery in a 38-year-old female with scoliosis progression from junctional degeneration below a prior T5–L3 posterior instrumented arthrodesis with a hook-and-rod wire system. They also demonstrate safe application of an ultrasonic bone scalpel for completion of a Smith-Petersen osteotomy. The patient provided written, informed consent for all material presented in this case demonstration.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/3PmaFtNcqKc.

Open access

Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Michael Wang, Mohamad Bydon and Lawrence Lenke