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Laminectomy alone versus fusion for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis in 426 patients from the prospective Quality Outcomes Database

Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Silky Chotai, Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Regis W. Haid, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The AANS launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data to measure the safety and quality of spine surgery. Registry data offer “real-world” insights into the utility of spinal fusion and decompression surgery for lumbar spondylolisthesis. Using the QOD, the authors compared the initial 12-month outcome data for patients undergoing fusion and those undergoing laminectomy alone for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

Data from 12 top enrolling sites were analyzed and 426 patients undergoing elective single-level spine surgery for degenerative grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis were found. Baseline, 3-month, and 12-month follow-up data were collected and compared, including baseline clinical characteristics, readmission rates, reoperation rates, and PROs. The PROs included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), back and leg pain numeric rating scale (NRS) scores, and EuroQol–5 Dimensions health survey (EQ-5D) results.

RESULTS

A total of 342 (80.3%) patients underwent fusion, with the remaining 84 (19.7%) undergoing decompression alone. The fusion cohort was younger (60.7 vs 69.9 years, p < 0.001), had a higher mean body mass index (31.0 vs 28.4, p < 0.001), and had a greater proportion of patients with back pain as a major component of their initial presentation (88.0% vs 60.7%, p < 0.001). There were no differences in 12-month reoperation rate (4.4% vs 6.0%, p = 0.93) and 3-month readmission rates (3.5% vs 1.2%, p = 0.45). At 12 months, both cohorts improved significantly with regard to ODI, NRS back and leg pain, and EQ-5D (p < 0.001, all comparisons). In adjusted analysis, fusion procedures were associated with superior 12-month ODI (β −4.79, 95% CI −9.28 to −0.31; p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis—regardless of treatment strategy—was associated with significant improvements in disability, back and leg pain, and quality of life at 12 months. When adjusting for covariates, fusion surgery was associated with superior ODI at 12 months. Although fusion procedures were associated with a lower rate of reoperation, there was no statistically significant difference at 12 months. Further study must be undertaken to assess the durability of either surgical strategy in longer-term follow-up.

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A comparison of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and decompression alone for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis

Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Jian Guan, Regis W. Haid, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The optimal minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approach for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis is not clearly elucidated. In this study, the authors compared the 24-month patient-reported outcomes (PROs) after MIS transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and MIS decompression for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

A total of 608 patients from 12 high-enrolling sites participating in the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) lumbar spondylolisthesis module underwent single-level surgery for degenerative grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis, of whom 143 underwent MIS (72 MIS TLIF [50.3%] and 71 MIS decompression [49.7%]). Surgeries were classified as MIS if there was utilization of percutaneous screw fixation and placement of a Wiltse plane MIS intervertebral body graft (MIS TLIF) or if there was a tubular decompression (MIS decompression). Parameters obtained at baseline through at least 24 months of follow-up were collected. PROs included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) for back pain, NRS for leg pain, EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) questionnaire, and North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction questionnaire. Multivariate models were constructed to adjust for patient characteristics, surgical variables, and baseline PRO values.

RESULTS

The mean age of the MIS cohort was 67.1 ± 11.3 years (MIS TLIF 62.1 years vs MIS decompression 72.3 years) and consisted of 79 (55.2%) women (MIS TLIF 55.6% vs MIS decompression 54.9%). The proportion in each cohort reaching the 24-month follow-up did not differ significantly between the cohorts (MIS TLIF 83.3% and MIS decompression 84.5%, p = 0.85). MIS TLIF was associated with greater blood loss (mean 108.8 vs 33.0 ml, p < 0.001), longer operative time (mean 228.2 vs 101.8 minutes, p < 0.001), and longer length of hospitalization (mean 2.9 vs 0.7 days, p < 0.001). MIS TLIF was associated with a significantly lower reoperation rate (14.1% vs 1.4%, p = 0.004). Both cohorts demonstrated significant improvements in ODI, NRS back pain, NRS leg pain, and EQ-5D at 24 months (p < 0.001, all comparisons relative to baseline). In multivariate analyses, MIS TLIF—as opposed to MIS decompression alone—was associated with superior ODI change (β = −7.59, 95% CI −14.96 to −0.23; p = 0.04), NRS back pain change (β = −1.54, 95% CI −2.78 to −0.30; p = 0.02), and NASS satisfaction (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12–0.82; p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

For symptomatic, single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis, MIS TLIF was associated with a lower reoperation rate and superior outcomes for disability, back pain, and patient satisfaction compared with posterior MIS decompression alone. This finding may aid surgical decision-making when considering MIS for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

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Research using the Quality Outcomes Database: accomplishments and future steps toward higher-quality real-world evidence

Anthony L. Asher, Regis W. Haid, Ann R. Stroink, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, A. Yohan Alexander, Daniel Zeitouni, Andrew K. Chan, Michael S. Virk, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Luis M. Tumialán, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming G. Fu, John J. Knightly, Katie O. Orrico, Michael Y. Wang, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was established in 2012 by the NeuroPoint Alliance, a nonprofit organization supported by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Currently, the QOD has launched six different modules to cover a broad spectrum of neurosurgical practice—namely lumbar spine surgery, cervical spine surgery, brain tumor, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), functional neurosurgery for Parkinson’s disease, and cerebrovascular surgery. This investigation aims to summarize research efforts and evidence yielded through QOD research endeavors.

METHODS

The authors identified all publications from January 1, 2012, to February 18, 2023, that were produced by using data collected prospectively in a QOD module without a prespecified research purpose in the context of quality surveillance and improvement. Citations were compiled and presented along with comprehensive documentation of the main study objective and take-home message.

RESULTS

A total of 94 studies have been produced through QOD efforts during the past decade. QOD-derived literature has been predominantly dedicated to spinal surgical outcomes, with 59 and 22 studies focusing on lumbar and cervical spine surgery, respectively, and 6 studies focusing on both. More specifically, the QOD Study Group—a research collaborative between 16 high-enrolling sites—has yielded 24 studies on lumbar grade 1 spondylolisthesis and 13 studies on cervical spondylotic myelopathy, using two focused data sets with high data accuracy and long-term follow-up. The more recent neuro-oncological QOD efforts, i.e., the Tumor QOD and the SRS Quality Registry, have contributed 5 studies, providing insights into the real-world neuro-oncological practice and the role of patient-reported outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Prospective quality registries are an important resource for observational research, yielding clinical evidence to guide decision-making across neurosurgical subspecialties. Future directions of the QOD efforts include the development of research efforts within the neuro-oncological registries and the American Spine Registry—which has now replaced the inactive spinal modules of the QOD—and the focused research on high-grade lumbar spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy.

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Three-level ACDF versus 3-level laminectomy and fusion: are there differences in outcomes? An analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database cervical spondylotic myelopathy cohort

Vardhaan S. Ambati, Mohamed Macki, Andrew K. Chan, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Vivian P. Le, Alysha B. Jamieson, Dean Chou, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Brandon A. Sherrod, Regis W. Haid Jr., Mohamad Bydon, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to compare 3-level anterior with posterior fusion surgical procedures for the treatment of multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

The authors analyzed prospective data from the 14 highest enrolling sites of the Quality Outcomes Database CSM module. They compared 3-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (PCF) surgical procedures, excluding surgical procedures crossing the cervicothoracic junction. Rates of reaching the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were compared at 24 months postoperatively. Multivariable analyses adjusted for potential confounders elucidated in univariable analysis.

RESULTS

Overall, 199 patients met the inclusion criteria: 123 ACDF (61.8%) and 76 PCF (38.2%) patients. The 24-month follow-up rates were similar (ACDF 90.2% vs PCF 92.1%, p = 0.67). Preoperatively, ACDF patients were younger (60.8 ± 10.2 vs 65.0 ± 10.3 years, p < 0.01), and greater proportions were privately insured (56.1% vs 36.8%, p = 0.02), actively employed (39.8% vs 22.8%, p = 0.04), and independently ambulatory (14.6% vs 31.6%, p < 0.01). Otherwise, the cohorts had equivalent baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA), Neck Disability Index (NDI), numeric rating scale (NRS)–arm pain, NRS–neck pain, and EQ-5D scores (p > 0.05). ACDF patients had reduced hospitalization length (1.6 vs 3.9 days, p < 0.01) and a greater proportion had nonroutine discharge (7.3% vs 22.8%, p < 0.01), but they had a higher rate of postoperative dysphagia (13.5% vs 3.5%, p = 0.049). Compared with baseline values, both groups demonstrated improvements in all outcomes at 24 months (p < 0.05). In multivariable analyses, after controlling for age, insurance payor, employment status, ambulation status, and other potential clinically relevant confounders, ACDF was associated with a greater proportion of patients with maximum satisfaction on the North American Spine Society Patient Satisfaction Index (NASS) (NASS score of 1) at 24 months (69.4% vs 53.7%, OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.17–5.09, adjusted p = 0.02). Otherwise, the cohorts shared similar 24-month outcomes in terms of reaching the MCID for mJOA, NDI, NRS–arm pain, NRS–neck pain, and EQ-5D score (adjusted p > 0.05). There were no differences in the 3-month readmission (ACDF 4.1% vs PCF 3.9%, p = 0.97) and 24-month reoperation (ACDF 13.5% vs PCF 18.6%, p = 0.36) rates.

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort limited to 3-level fusion surgical procedures, ACDF was associated with reduced blood loss, shorter hospitalization length, and higher routine home discharge rates; however, PCF resulted in lower rates of postoperative dysphagia. The procedures yielded comparably significant improvements in functional status (mJOA score), neck and arm pain, neck pain–related disability, and quality of life at 3, 12, and 24 months. ACDF patients had significantly higher odds of maximum satisfaction (NASS score 1). Given comparable outcomes, patients should be counseled on each approach’s complication profile to aid in surgical decision-making.

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Does the number of social factors affect long-term patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction in those with cervical myelopathy? A QOD study

Christine Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon A. Sherrod, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Nitin Agarwal, Andrew K. Chan, Dean Chou, Nauman S. Chaudhry, Regis W. Haid Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni, Georgios D. Michalopoulos, Mohamad Bydon, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

It is not clear whether there is an additive effect of social factors in keeping patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) from achieving both a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in outcomes and satisfaction after surgery. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of multiple social factors on postoperative outcomes and satisfaction.

METHODS

This was a multiinstitutional, retrospective study of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM cohort, which included patients aged 18 years or older who were diagnosed with primary CSM and underwent operative management. Social factors included race (White vs non-White), education (high school or below vs above), employment (employed vs not), and insurance (private vs nonprivate). Patients were considered to have improved from surgery if the following criteria were met: 1) they reported a score of 1 or 2 on the North American Spine Society index, and 2) they met the MCID in patient-reported outcomes (i.e., visual analog scale [VAS] neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index [NDI], and EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D]).

RESULTS

Of the 1141 patients included in the study, 205 (18.0%) had 0, 347 (30.4%) had 1, 334 (29.3%) had 2, and 255 (22.3%) had 3 social factors. The 24-month follow-up rate was > 80% for all patient-reported outcomes. After adjusting for all relevant covariates (p < 0.02), patients with 1 or more social factors were less likely to improve from surgery in all measured outcomes including VAS neck pain (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83–0.99) and arm pain (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80–0.96); NDI (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83–0.98); and EQ-5D (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83–0.97) (all p < 0.05) compared to those without any social factors. Patients with 2 social factors (outcomes: neck pain OR 0.86, arm pain OR 0.81, NDI OR 0.84, EQ-5D OR 0.81; all p < 0.05) or 3 social factors (outcomes: neck pain OR 0.84, arm pain OR 0.84, NDI OR 0.84, EQ-5D OR 0.84; all p < 0.05) were more likely to fare worse in all outcomes compared to those with only 1 social factor.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared to those without any social factors, patients who had at least 1 social factor were less likely to achieve MCID and feel satisfied after surgery. The effect of social factors is additive in that patients with a higher number of factors are less likely to improve compared to those with only 1 social factor.

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What factors influence surgical decision-making in anterior versus posterior surgery for cervical myelopathy? A QOD analysis

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Christine Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Sally El Sammak, Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon A. Sherrod, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay Turner, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Nauman S. Chaudhry, Regis W. Haid Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to explore the preoperative patient characteristics that affect surgical decision-making when selecting an anterior or posterior operative approach in patients diagnosed with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

This was a multi-institutional, retrospective study of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy module. Patients aged 18 years or older diagnosed with primary CSM who underwent multilevel (≥ 2-level) elective surgery were included. Demographics and baseline clinical characteristics were collected.

RESULTS

Of the 841 patients with CSM in the database, 492 (58.5%) underwent multilevel anterior surgery and 349 (41.5%) underwent multilevel posterior surgery. Surgeons more often performed a posterior surgical approach in older patients (mean 64.8 ± 10.6 vs 58.5 ± 11.1 years, p < 0.001) and those with a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists class (class III or IV: 52.4% vs 46.3%, p = 0.003), a higher rate of motor deficit (67.0% vs 58.7%, p = 0.014), worse myelopathy (mean modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score 11.4 ± 3.1 vs 12.4 ± 2.6, p < 0.001), and more levels treated (4.3 ± 1.3 vs 2.4 ± 0.6, p < 0.001). On the other hand, surgeons more frequently performed an anterior surgical approach when patients were employed (47.2% vs 23.2%, p < 0.001) and had intervertebral disc herniation as an underlying pathology (30.7% vs 9.2%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The selection of approach for patients with CSM depends on patient demographics and symptomology. Posterior surgery was performed in patients who were older and had worse systemic disease, increased myelopathy, and greater levels of stenosis. Anterior surgery was more often performed in patients who were employed and had intervertebral disc herniation.

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Women fare best following surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: a comparison of the most and least satisfied patients utilizing data from the Quality Outcomes Database

Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Silky Chotai, Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Alvin Y. Chan, Regis W. Haid, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data, to measure the safety and quality of neurosurgical procedures, including spinal surgery. Differing results from recent randomized controlled trials have established a need to clarify the groups that would most benefit from surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. In the present study, the authors compared patients who were the most and the least satisfied following surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

This was a retrospective analysis of a prospective, national longitudinal registry including patients who had undergone surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. The most and least satisfied patients were identified based on an answer of “1” and “4,” respectively, on the North American Spine Society (NASS) Satisfaction Questionnaire 12 months postoperatively. Baseline demographics, clinical variables, surgical parameters, and outcomes were collected. Patient-reported outcome measures, including the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for back pain, NRS for leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and EQ-5D (the EuroQol health survey), were administered at baseline and 3 and 12 months after treatment.

RESULTS

Four hundred seventy-seven patients underwent surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis in the period from July 2014 through December 2015. Two hundred fifty-five patients (53.5%) were the most satisfied and 26 (5.5%) were the least satisfied. Compared with the most satisfied patients, the least satisfied ones more often had coronary artery disease (CAD; 26.9% vs 12.2%, p = 0.04) and had higher body mass indices (32.9 ± 6.5 vs 30.0 ± 6.0 kg/m2, p = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis, female sex (OR 2.9, p = 0.02) was associated with the most satisfaction. Notably, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, smoking, psychiatric comorbidity, and employment status were not significantly associated with satisfaction. Although there were no significant differences at baseline, the most satisfied patients had significantly lower NRS back and leg pain and ODI scores and a greater EQ-5D score at 3 and 12 months postoperatively (p < 0.001 for all).

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that some patient factors differ between those who report the most and those who report the least satisfaction after surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Patients reporting the least satisfaction tended to have CAD or were obese. Female sex was associated with the most satisfaction when adjusting for potential covariates. These findings highlight several key factors that could aid in setting expectations for outcomes following surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

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Defining the minimum clinically important difference for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: insights from the Quality Outcomes Database

Anthony L. Asher, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Clinton J. Devin, Kristin R. Archer, Silky Chotai, Andrew K. Chan, Michael S. Virk, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) play a pivotal role in defining the value of surgical interventions for spinal disease. The concept of minimum clinically important difference (MCID) is considered the new standard for determining the effectiveness of a given treatment and describing patient satisfaction in response to that treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the MCID associated with surgical treatment for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry from July 2014 through December 2015 for patients who underwent posterior lumbar surgery for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis. Recorded PROs included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, and numeric rating scale (NRS) for leg pain (NRS-LP) and back pain (NRS-BP). Anchor-based (using the North American Spine Society satisfaction scale) and distribution-based (half a standard deviation, small Cohen’s effect size, standard error of measurement, and minimum detectable change [MDC]) methods were used to calculate the MCID for each PRO.

RESULTS

A total of 441 patients (80 who underwent laminectomies alone and 361 who underwent fusion procedures) from 11 participating sites were included in the analysis. The changes in functional outcome scores between baseline and the 1-year postoperative evaluation were as follows: 23.5 ± 17.4 points for ODI, 0.24 ± 0.23 for EQ-5D, 4.1 ± 3.5 for NRS-LP, and 3.7 ± 3.2 for NRS-BP. The different calculation methods generated a range of MCID values for each PRO: 3.3–26.5 points for ODI, 0.04–0.3 points for EQ-5D, 0.6–4.5 points for NRS-LP, and 0.5–4.2 points for NRS-BP. The MDC approach appeared to be the most appropriate for calculating MCID because it provided a threshold greater than the measurement error and was closest to the average change difference between the satisfied and not-satisfied patients. On subgroup analysis, the MCID thresholds for laminectomy-alone patients were comparable to those for the patients who underwent arthrodesis as well as for the entire cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

The MCID for PROs was highly variable depending on the calculation technique. The MDC seems to be a statistically and clinically sound method for defining the appropriate MCID value for patients with grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Based on this method, the MCID values are 14.3 points for ODI, 0.2 points for EQ-5D, 1.7 points for NRS-LP, and 1.6 points for NRS-BP.

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Cervical spondylotic myelopathy with severe axial neck pain: is anterior or posterior approach better?

Andrew K. Chan, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Christine Park, Khoi D. Than, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Brandon A. Sherrod, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Regis W. Haid Jr., and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine whether multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) or posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (PCLF) is superior for patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and high preoperative neck pain.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study of prospectively collected data using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM module. Patients who received a subaxial fusion of 3 or 4 segments and had a visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain score of 7 or greater at baseline were included. The 3-, 12-, and 24-month outcomes were compared for patients undergoing ACDF with those undergoing PCLF.

RESULTS

Overall, 1141 patients with CSM were included in the database. Of these, 495 (43.4%) presented with severe neck pain (VAS score > 6). After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, we compared 65 patients (54.6%) undergoing 3- and 4-level ACDF and 54 patients (45.4%) undergoing 3- and 4-level PCLF. Patients undergoing ACDF had worse Neck Disability Index scores at baseline (52.5 ± 15.9 vs 45.9 ± 16.8, p = 0.03) but similar neck pain (p > 0.05). Otherwise, the groups were well matched for the remaining baseline patient-reported outcomes. The rates of 24-month follow-up for ACDF and PCLF were similar (86.2% and 83.3%, respectively). At the 24-month follow-up, both groups demonstrated mean improvements in all outcomes, including neck pain (p < 0.05). In multivariable analyses, there was no significant difference in the degree of neck pain change, rate of neck pain improvement, rate of pain-free achievement, and rate of reaching minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in neck pain between the two groups (adjusted p > 0.05). However, ACDF was associated with a higher 24-month modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale (mJOA) score (β = 1.5 [95% CI 0.5–2.6], adjusted p = 0.01), higher EQ-5D score (β = 0.1 [95% CI 0.01–0.2], adjusted p = 0.04), and higher likelihood for return to baseline activities (OR 1.2 [95% CI 1.1–1.4], adjusted p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

Severe neck pain is prevalent among patients undergoing surgery for CSM, affecting more than 40% of patients. Both ACDF and PCLF achieved comparable postoperative neck pain improvement 3, 12, and 24 months following 3- or 4-segment surgery for patients with CSM and severe neck pain. However, multilevel ACDF was associated with superior functional status, quality of life, and return to baseline activities at 24 months in multivariable adjusted analyses.

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Cervical laminoplasty versus laminectomy and posterior cervical fusion for cervical myelopathy: propensity-matched analysis of 24-month outcomes from the Quality Outcomes Database

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Eunice Yang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Dean Chou, Mohamad Bydon, Erica F. Bisson, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Brandon A. Sherrod, Nitin Agarwal, Regis W. Haid Jr., and Andrew K. Chan

OBJECTIVE

Compared with laminectomy with posterior cervical fusion (PCF), cervical laminoplasty (CL) may result in different outcomes for those operated on for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). The aim of this study was to compare 24-month patient-reported outcomes (PROs) for laminoplasty versus PCF by using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM data set.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study using an augmented data set from the prospectively collected QOD Registry Cervical Module. Patients undergoing laminoplasty or PCF for CSM were included. Using the nearest-neighbor method, the authors performed 1:1 propensity matching based on age, operated levels, and baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) and visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain scores. The 24-month PROs, i.e., mJOA, Neck Disability Index (NDI), VAS neck pain, VAS arm pain, EQ-5D, EQ-VAS, and North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction scores, were compared. Only cases in the subaxial cervical region were included; those that crossed the cervicothoracic junction were excluded.

RESULTS

From the 1141 patients included in the QOD CSM data set who underwent anterior or posterior surgery for cervical myelopathy, 946 (82.9%) had 24 months of follow-up. Of these, 43 patients who underwent laminoplasty and 191 who underwent PCF met the inclusion criteria. After matching, the groups were similar for baseline characteristics, including operative levels (CL group: 4.0 ± 0.9 vs PCF group: 4.2 ± 1.1, p = 0.337) and baseline PROs (p > 0.05), except for a higher percentage involved in activities outside the home in the CL group (95.3% vs 81.4%, p = 0.044). The 24-month follow-up for the matched cohorts was similar (CL group: 88.4% vs PCF group: 83.7%, p = 0.534). Patients undergoing laminoplasty had significantly lower estimated blood loss (99.3 ± 91.7 mL vs 186.7 ± 142.7 mL, p = 0.003), decreased length of stay (3.0 ± 1.6 days vs 4.5 ± 3.3 days, p = 0.012), and a higher rate of routine discharge (88.4% vs 62.8%, p = 0.006). The CL cohort also demonstrated a higher rate of return to activities (47.2% vs 21.2%, p = 0.023) after 3 months. Laminoplasty was associated with a larger improvement in 24-month NDI score (−19.6 ± 18.9 vs −9.1 ± 21.9, p = 0.031). Otherwise, there were no 3- or 24-month differences in mJOA, mean NDI, VAS neck pain, VAS arm pain, EQ-5D, EQ-VAS, and distribution of NASS satisfaction scores (p > 0.05) between the cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with PCF, laminoplasty was associated with decreased blood loss, decreased length of hospitalization, and higher rates of home discharge. At 3 months, laminoplasty was associated with a higher rate of return to baseline activities. At 24 months, laminoplasty was associated with greater improvements in neck disability. Otherwise, laminoplasty and PCF shared similar outcomes for functional status, pain, quality of life, and satisfaction. Laminoplasty and PCF achieved similar neck pain scores, suggesting that moderate preoperative neck pain may not necessarily be a contraindication for laminoplasty.