Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Kirsten E. Stoner, Kingsley O. Abode-Iyamah, Vincent A. Magnotta, Matthew A. Howard III and Nicole M. Grosland
Cervical myelopathy (CM) is a common and debilitating form of spinal cord injury caused by chronic compression; however, little is known about the in vivo mechanics of the healthy spinal cord during motion and how these mechanics are altered in CM. The authors sought to measure 3D in vivo spinal cord displacement and strain fields from MR images obtained during physiological motion of healthy individuals and cervical myelopathic patients.
Nineteen study participants, 9 healthy controls and 10 CM patients, were enrolled in the study. All study participants had 3T MR images acquired of the cervical spine in neutral, flexed, and extended positions. Displacement and strain fields and corresponding principal strain were obtained from the MR images using image registration.
The healthy spinal cord displaces superiorly in flexion and inferiorly in extension. Principal strain is evenly distributed along the spinal cord. The CM spinal cord displaces less than the healthy cord and the magnitude of principal strain is higher, at the midcervical levels.
Increased spinal cord compression during cervical myelopathy limits motion of the spinal cord and increases spinal cord strain during physiological motion. Future studies are needed to investigate how treatment, such as surgical intervention, affects spinal cord mechanics.
Vincent C. Traynelis, Kingsley O. Abode-Iyamah, Katie M. Leick, Sarah M. Bender and Jeremy D. W. Greenlee
The primary goal of this study was to review the immediate postoperative neurological function in patients surgically treated for symptomatic cervical spine disease without intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. The secondary goal was to assess the economic impact of intraoperative monitoring (IOM) in this patient population.
This study is a retrospective review of 720 consecutively treated patients who underwent cervical spine procedures. The patients were identified and the data were collected by individuals who were not involved in their care.
A total of 1534 cervical spine levels were treated in 720 patients using anterior, posterior, and combined (360°) approaches. Myelopathy was present preoperatively in 308 patients. There were 185 patients with increased signal intensity within the spinal cord on preoperative T2-weighted MR images, of whom 43 patients had no clinical evidence of myelopathy. Three patients (0.4%) exhibited a new neurological deficit postoperatively. Of these patients, 1 had a preoperative diagnosis of radiculopathy, while the other 2 were treated for myelopathy. The new postoperative deficits completely resolved in all 3 patients and did not require additional treatment. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for IOM during cervical decompression include 95925 and 95926 for somatosensory evoked potential monitoring of the upper and lower extremities, respectively, as well as 95928 and 95929 for motor evoked potential monitoring of the upper and lower extremities. In addition to the charge for the baseline [monitoring] study, patients are charged hourly for ongoing electrophysiology testing and monitoring using the CPT code 95920. Based on these codes and assuming an average of 4 hours of monitoring time per surgical case, the savings realized in this group of patients was estimated to be $1,024,754.
With the continuing increase in health care costs, it is our responsibility as providers to minimize expenses when possible. This should be accomplished without compromising the quality of care to patients. This study demonstrates that decompression and reconstruction for symptomatic cervical spine disease without IOM may reduce the cost of treatment without adversely impacting patient safety.
Beejal Y. Amin and Praveen V. Mummaneni