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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.

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André Beer-Furlan, Krishna C. Joshi, Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock and Michael Chen

Superior sagittal sinus (SSS) dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are rare and present unique challenges to treatment. Complex, often bilateral, arterial supply and involvement of large volumes of eloquent cortical venous drainage may necessitate multimodality therapy such as endovascular, microsurgical, and stereotactic radiosurgery techniques. The authors present a complex SSS DAVF associated with an occluded/severely stenotic SSS. The patient underwent a successful endovascular transvenous approach with complete obliteration of the SSS. The authors discuss the management challenges faced on this case.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/-rztg0_cBXY.

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Daniel A. Carr, Rajiv Saigal, Fangyi Zhang, Richard J. Bransford, Carlo Bellabarba and Armagan Dagal

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to compare total cost and length of stay (LOS) between spine surgery patients enrolled in an enhanced perioperative care (EPOC) pathway and patients receiving traditional perioperative care (TRDC).

METHODS

All spine surgery candidates were screened for inclusion in the EPOC pathway. This cohort was compared to a retrospective cohort of patients who received TRDC and a concurrent group of patients who met inclusion criteria but did not receive the EPOC (no pathway care [NOPC] group). Direct and indirect costs as well as hospital and intensive care LOSs were analyzed between the 3 groups.

RESULTS

Total costs after pathway implementation decreased by $19,344 in EPOC patients compared to a historical cohort of patients who received TRDC and $5889 in a concurrent cohort of patients who did not receive EPOC (NOPC group). Hospital and intensive care LOS were significantly lower in EPOC patients compared to TRDC and NOPC patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The implementation of a multimodal EPOC pathway decreased LOS and cost in major elective spine surgeries.