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Michael L. Martini, Dominic A. Nistal, Brian C. Deutsch and John M. Caridi

OBJECTIVE

The authors set out to conduct the first national-level study assessing the risks and outcomes for different lumbar fusion procedures in patients with opioid use disorders (OUDs) to help guide the future development of targeted enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols for this unique population.

METHODS

Data for patients with or without OUDs who underwent an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), or lateral transverse lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) for lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) were collected from the 2013–2014 National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample database. Multivariable logistic regression was implemented to analyze how OUD status impacted in-hospital complications, length of hospital stay, discharge disposition, and total charges by procedure type.

RESULTS

A total of 139,995 patients with LDD were identified, with 1280 patients (0.91%) also having a concurrent OUD diagnosis. Overall complication rates were higher in OUD patients (48.44% vs 31.01%, p < 0.0001). OUD patients had higher odds of pulmonary (p = 0.0006), infectious (p < 0.0001), and hematological (p = 0.0009) complications. Multivariate regression modeling of outcomes by procedure type showed that after ALIF, OUD patients had higher odds of nonhome discharge (p = 0.0007), extended hospitalization (p = 0.0002), and greater total charges (p = 0.0054). This analysis also revealed that OUD patients faced higher odds of complication (p = 0.0149 and p = 0.0471), extended hospitalization (p = 0.0439 and p = 0.0001), and higher total charges (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.0001) after PLIF and LLIF procedures, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Obtaining a better understanding of the risks and outcomes that OUD patients face perioperatively is a necessary step toward developing more effective ERAS protocols for this vulnerable population. This study, which sought to characterize the outcome profiles for lumbar fusion procedures in OUD patients on a national level, found that this population tended to experience increased odds of complications, extended hospitalization, nonhome discharge, and higher total costs. Results from this study warrant future prospective studies to better the understanding of these associations and to further the development of better ERAS programs that may improve patient care and reduce cost burden.

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Dong Hwa Heo and Choon Keun Park

OBJECTIVE

The aims of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) are to improve surgical outcomes, shorten hospital stays, and reduce complications. The objective of this study was to introduce ERAS with biportal endoscopic transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and to investigate the clinical results.

METHODS

Patients were divided into two groups based on the fusion procedures. Patients who received microscopic TLIF without ERAS were classified as the non-ERAS group, whereas those who received percutaneous biportal endoscopic TLIF with ERAS were classified as the ERAS group. The mean Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores were compared between the two groups. In addition, demographic characteristics, diagnosis, mean operative time, estimated blood loss (EBL), fusion rate, readmissions, and complications were investigated and compared.

RESULTS

Forty-six patients were grouped into the non-ERAS group (microscopic TLIF without ERAS) and 23 patients into the ERAS group (biportal endoscopic TLIF with ERAS). The VAS score for preoperative back pain on days 1 and 2 was significantly higher in the non-ERAS group than in the ERAS group (p < 0.05). The mean operative duration was significantly higher in the ERAS group than in the non-ERAS group, while the mean EBL was significantly lower in the ERAS group than in the non-ERAS group (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in fusion rate between the two groups (p > 0.05). Readmission was required in 2 patients who were from the non-ERAS group. Postoperative complications occurred in 6 cases in the non-ERAS group and in 2 cases in the ERAS group.

CONCLUSIONS

Percutaneous biportal endoscopic TLIF with an ERAS pathway may have good aspects in reducing bleeding and postoperative pain. Endoscopic fusion surgery along with the ERAS concept may help to accelerate recovery after surgery.

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Contemporary concepts of pain surgery

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

Pain surgery is one of the historic foundations of neurological surgery. The authors present a review of contemporary concepts in surgical pain management, with reference to past successes and failures, what has been learned as a subspecialty over the past 50 years, as well as a vision for current and future practice. This subspecialty confronts problems of cancer pain, nociceptive pain, and neuropathic pain. For noncancer pain, ablative procedures such as dorsal root entry zone lesions and rhizolysis for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) should continue to be practiced. Other procedures, such as medial thalamotomy, have not been proven effective and require continued study. Dorsal rhizotomy, dorsal root ganglionectomy, and neurotomy should probably be abandoned. For cancer pain, cordotomy is an important and underutilized method for pain control. Intrathecal opiate administration via an implantable system remains an important option for cancer pain management. While there are encouraging results in small case series, cingulotomy, hypophysectomy, and mesencephalotomy deserve further detailed analysis. Electrical neuromodulation is a rapidly changing discipline, and new methods such as high-frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS), burst SCS, and dorsal root ganglion stimulation may or may not prove to be more effective than conventional SCS. Despite a history of failure, deep brain stimulation for pain may yet prove to be an effective therapy for specific pain conditions. Peripheral nerve stimulation for conditions such as occipital neuralgia and trigeminal neuropathic pain remains an option, although the quality of outcomes data is a challenge to these applications. Based on the evidence, motor cortex stimulation should be abandoned. TN is a mainstay of the surgical treatment of pain, particularly as new evidence and insights into TN emerge. Pain surgery will continue to build on this heritage, and restorative procedures will likely find a role in the armamentarium. The challenge for the future will be to acquire higher-level evidence to support the practice of surgical pain management.

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Vikram B. Chakravarthy, Hana Yokoi, Daniel J. Coughlin, Mariel R. Manlapaz and Ajit A. Krishnaney

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols have been shown to be effective at reducing perioperative morbidity and costs while improving outcomes. To date, spine surgery protocols have been limited in scope, focusing only on specific types of procedures or specific parts of the surgical episode. The authors describe the creation and implementation of one of the first comprehensive ERAS protocols for spine surgery. The protocol is unique in that it has a comprehensive perioperative paradigm encompassing the entire surgical period that is tailored based on the complexity of each individual spine patient.

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Ebru Tarıkçı Kılıç, Tuncay Demirbilek and Sait Naderi

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is a multimodal approach that aims to improve perioperative surgical outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the benefits of ERAS in terms of cost-effectiveness and postoperative outcomes in single-level lumbar microdiscectomy.

METHODS

This study was a single-center retrospective comparing costs and outcomes before and after implementation of the ERAS pathway. Data were collected from the electronic medical records of patients who had undergone single-level lumbar microdiscectomy during 2 time periods—during the 2 years preceding implementation of the ERAS pathway (pre-ERAS group) and after implementation of the ERAS pathway (ERAS group). Each group consisted of 60 patients with an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Physical Status Classification of class 1. Patients were excluded if their physical status was classified as ASA class II–V or if they were younger than 18 years or older than 65.

Groups were compared in terms of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), perioperative hemodynamics, operation time, intraoperative blood loss, intraoperative fluid administration, intraoperative opioid administration, time to first oral intake, time to first mobilization, postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), difference between preoperative and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores, postoperative analgesic requirements, length of hospital stay, and cost of anesthesia.

RESULTS

The ERAS and pre-ERAS groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, and BMI. Operation time, intraoperative blood loss, intraoperative opioid administration, and intraoperative fluid administration were all less in the ERAS group. First oral intake and first mobilization were earlier in the ERAS group. The incidence of PONV was less in the ERAS group. Postoperative analgesic requirements and postoperative VAS scores were significantly less in the ERAS group. The length of hospital stay was found to be shorter in the ERAS group. The ERAS approach was found to be cost-effective.

CONCLUSIONS

ERAS had clinical and economic benefits and is associated with improved outcomes in lumbar microdiscectomy.

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Marcus D. Mazur and Andrew T. Dailey

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John Paul G. Kolcun, G. Damian Brusko, Gregory W. Basil, Richard Epstein and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Open spinal fusion surgery is often associated with significant blood loss, postoperative pain, and prolonged recovery times. Seeking to minimize surgical and perioperative morbidity, the authors adopted an endoscopic minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) technique performed without general anesthesia. In this report, they present data on the first 100 patients treated with this procedure.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of the first 100 patients who underwent awake endoscopic MIS-TLIF at a single institution between 2014 and 2017. Surgery was performed while the patient was sedated but without intubation or the use of general anesthetic or narcotic agents. Long-lasting (liposomal) bupivacaine was used for local analgesia. The discectomy and placement of an expandable interbody graft were performed endoscopically, followed by percutaneous pedicle screw implantation. Inclusion criteria for the procedure consisted of diagnosis of degenerative disc disease with grade I or II spondylolisthesis and evidence of spinal stenosis or nerve impingement with intractable symptomatology.

RESULTS

Of the first 100 patients, 56 were female and 44 were male. Single-level fusion was performed in 84 patients and two-level fusion in 16 patients. The most commonly fused level was L4–5, representing 77% of all fused levels. The mean (± standard deviation) operative time was 84.5 ± 21.7 minutes for one-level fusions and 128.1 ± 48.6 minutes for two-level procedures. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 65.4 ± 76.6 ml for one-level fusions and 74.7 ± 33.6 ml for two-level fusions. The mean length of hospital stay was 1.4 ± 1.0 days. Four deaths occurred in the 100 patients; all four of those patients died from complications unrelated to surgery. In 82% of the surviving patients, 1-year follow-up Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were available. The mean preoperative ODI score was 29.6 ± 15.3 and the mean postoperative ODI score was 17.2 ± 16.9, which represents a significant mean reduction in the ODI score of −12.3 using a two-tailed paired t-test (p = 0.000001). In four cases, the surgical plan was revised to include general endotracheal anesthesia intraoperatively and was successfully completed. Other complications included two cases of cage migration, one case of osteomyelitis, and one case of endplate fracture; three of these complications occurred in the first 50 cases.

CONCLUSIONS

This series of the first 100 patients to undergo awake endoscopic MIS-TLIF demonstrates outcomes comparable to those reported in our earlier papers. This procedure can provide a safe and efficacious option for lumbar fusion with less morbidity than open surgery. Further refinements in surgical technique and technologies will allow for improved success.