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Dominic Amara, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher P. Ames, Bobby Tay, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Many options exist for the surgical management of adult spinal deformity. Radiculopathy and lumbosacral pain from the fractional curve (FC), typically from L4 to S1, is frequently a reason for scoliosis patients to pursue surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of limited fusion of the FC only versus treatment of the entire deformity with long fusions.

METHODS

All adult scoliosis patients treated at the authors’ institution in the period from 2006 to 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. Patients with FCs from L4 to S1 > 10° and radiculopathy ipsilateral to the concavity of the FC were eligible for study inclusion and had undergone three categories of surgery: 1) FC only (FC group), 2) lower thoracic to sacrum (LT group), or 3) upper thoracic to sacrum (UT group). Primary outcomes were the rates of revision surgery and complications. Secondary outcomes were estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, and discharge destination. Spinopelvic parameters were measured, and patients were stratified accordingly.

RESULTS

Of the 99 patients eligible for inclusion in the study, 27 were in the FC group, 46 in the LT group, and 26 in the UT group. There were no significant preoperative differences in age, sex, smoking status, prior operation, FC magnitude, pelvic tilt (PT), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), coronal balance, pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch, or proportion of well-aligned spines (SVA < 5 cm, PI-LL mismatch < 10°, and PT < 20°) among the three treatment groups. Mean follow-up was 30 (range 12–112) months, with a minimum 1-year follow-up. The FC group had a lower medical complication rate (22% [FC] vs 57% [LT] vs 58% [UT], p = 0.009) but a higher rate of extension surgery (26% [FC] vs 13% [LT] vs 4% [UT], p = 0.068). The respective average estimated blood loss (592 vs 1950 vs 2634 ml, p < 0.001), length of hospital stay (5.5 vs 8.3 vs 8.3 days, p < 0.001), and rate of discharge to acute rehabilitation (30% vs 46% vs 85%, p < 0.001) were all lower for FC and highest for UT.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of the FC only is associated with a lower complication rate, shorter hospital stay, and less blood loss than complete scoliosis treatment. However, there is a higher associated rate of extension of the construct to the lower or upper thoracic levels, and patients should be counseled when considering their options.

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Darryl Lau, Andrew K. Chan, Alexander A. Theologis, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Shane Burch, Sigurd Berven, Vedat Deviren and Christopher Ames

OBJECTIVE

Because the surgical strategies for primary and metastatic spinal tumors are different, the respective associated costs and morbidities associated with those treatments likely vary. This study compares the direct costs and 90-day readmission rates between the resection of extradural metastatic and primary spinal tumors. The factors associated with cost and readmission are identified.

METHODS

Adults (age 18 years or older) who underwent the resection of spinal tumors between 2008 and 2013 were included in the study. Patients with intradural tumors were excluded. The direct costs of index hospitalization and 90-day readmission hospitalization were evaluated. The direct costs were compared between patients who were treated surgically for primary and metastatic spinal tumors. The independent factors associated with costs and readmissions were identified using multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 181 patients with spinal tumors were included (63 primary and 118 metastatic tumors). Overall, the mean index hospital admission cost for the surgical management of spinal tumors was $52,083. There was no significant difference in the cost of hospitalization between primary ($55,801) and metastatic ($50,098) tumors (p = 0.426). The independent factors associated with higher cost were male sex (p = 0.032), preoperative inability to ambulate (p = 0.002), having more than 3 comorbidities (p = 0.037), undergoing corpectomy (p = 0.021), instrumentation greater than 7 levels (p < 0.001), combined anterior-posterior approach (p < 0.001), presence of a perioperative complication (p < 0.001), and longer hospital stay (p < 0.001). The perioperative complication rate was 21.0%. Of this cohort, 11.6% of patients were readmitted within 90 days, and the mean hospitalization cost of that readmission was $20,078. Readmission rates after surgical treatment for primary and metastatic tumors were similar (11.1% vs 11.9%, respectively) (p = 0.880). Prior hospital stay greater than 15 days (OR 6.62, p = 0.016) and diagnosis of lung metastasis (OR 52.99, p = 0.007) were independent predictors of readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

Primary and metastatic spinal tumors are comparable with regard to the direct costs of the index surgical hospitalization and readmission rate within 90 days. The factors independently associated with costs are related to preoperative health status, type and complexity of surgery, and postoperative course.

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Beejal Y. Amin, Tsung-Hsi Tu, William W. Schairer, Lumine Na, Steven Takemoto, Sigurd Berven, Vedat Deviren, Christopher Ames, Dean Chou and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Administrative databases are increasingly being used to establish benchmarks for quality of care and to compare performance across peer hospitals. As proposals for accountable care organizations are being developed, readmission rates will be increasingly scrutinized. The purpose of the present study was to assess whether the all-cause readmissions rate appropriately reflects the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center hospital's clinically relevant readmission rate for spine surgery patients and to identify predictors of readmission.

Methods

Data for 5780 consecutive patient encounters managed by 10 spine surgeons at UCSF Medical Center from October 2007 to June 2011 were abstracted from the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) using the Clinical Data Base/Resource Manager. Of these 5780 patient encounters, 281 patients (4.9%) were rehospitalized within 30 days of the previous discharge date. The authors performed an independent chart review to determine clinically relevant reasons for readmission and extracted hospital administrative data to calculate direct costs. Univariate logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate possible predictors of readmission. The two-sample t-test was used to examine the difference in direct cost between readmission and nonreadmission cases.

Results

The main reasons for readmission were infection (39.8%), nonoperative management (13.4%), and planned staged surgery (12.4%). The current all-cause readmission algorithm resulted in an artificially high readmission rate from the clinician's point of view. Based on the authors' manual chart review, 69 cases (25% of the 281 total readmissions) should be excluded because 39 cases (13.9%) were planned staged procedures; 16 cases (5.7%) were unrelated to spine surgery; and 14 surgical cases (5.0%) were cancelled or rescheduled at index admission due to unpredictable reasons. When these 69 cases are excluded, the direct cost of readmission is reduced by 29%. The cost variance is in excess of $3 million. Predictors of readmission were admission status (p < 0.0001), length of stay (p = 0.0001), risk of death (p < 0.0001), and age (p = 0.021).

Conclusions

The authors' findings identify the potential pitfalls in the calculation of readmission rates from administrative data sets. Benchmarking algorithms for defining hospitals' readmission rates must take into account planned staged surgery and eliminate unrelated reasons for readmission. When this is implemented in the calculation method, the readmission rate will be more accurate. Current tools overestimate the clinically relevant readmission rate and cost.

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Junseok Bae, Alexander A. Theologis, Russell Strom, Bobby Tay, Shane Burch, Sigurd Berven, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Dean Chou, Christopher P. Ames and Vedat Deviren

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD) is an effective endeavor that can be accomplished using a variety of surgical strategies. Here, the authors assess and compare radiographic data, complications, and health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) outcome scores among patients with ASD who underwent a posterior spinal fixation (PSF)–only approach, a posterior approach combined with lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF+PSF), or a posterior approach combined with anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF+PSF).

METHODS

The medical records of consecutive adults who underwent thoracolumbar fusion for ASD between 2003 and 2013 at a single institution were reviewed. Included were patients who underwent instrumentation from the pelvis to L-1 or above, had a sagittal vertical axis (SVA) of < 10 cm, and underwent a minimum of 2 years’ follow-up. Those who underwent a 3-column osteotomy were excluded. Three groups of patients were compared on the basis of the procedure performed, LLIF+PSF, ALIF+PSF, and PSF only. Perioperative spinal deformity parameters, complications, and HRQoL outcome scores (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], Scoliosis Research Society 22-question Questionnaire [SRS-22], 36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36], visual analog scale [VAS] for back/leg pain) from each group were assessed and compared with each other using ANOVA. The minimal clinically important differences used were −1.2 (VAS back pain), −1.6 (VAS leg pain), −15 (ODI), 0.587/0.375/0.8/0.42 (SRS-22 pain/function/self-image/mental health), and 5.2 (SF-36, physical component summary).

RESULTS

A total of 221 patients (58 LLIF, 91 ALIF, 72 PSF only) met the inclusion criteria. Average deformities consisted of a SVA of < 10 cm, a pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (LL) mismatch of > 10°, a pelvic tilt of > 20°, a lumbar Cobb angle of > 20°, and a thoracic Cobb angle of > 15°. Preoperative SVA, LL, pelvic incidence–LL mismatch, and lumbar and thoracic Cobb angles were similar among the groups. Patients in the PSF-only group had more comorbidities, those in the ALIF+PSF group were, on average, younger and had a lower body mass index than those in the LLIF+PSF group, and patients in the LLIF+PSF group had a significantly higher mean number of interbody fusion levels than those in the ALIF+PSF and PSF-only groups. At final follow-up, all radiographic parameters and the mean numbers of complications were similar among the groups. Patients in the LLIF+PSF group had proximal junctional kyphosis that required revision surgery significantly less often and fewer proximal junctional fractures and vertebral slips. All preoperative HRQoL scores were similar among the groups. After surgery, the LLIF+PSF group had a significantly lower ODI score, higher SRS-22 self-image/total scores, and greater achievement of the minimal clinically important difference for the SRS-22 pain score.

CONCLUSIONS

Satisfactory radiographic outcomes can be achieved similarly and adequately with these 3 surgical approaches for patients with ASD with mild to moderate sagittal deformity. Compared with patients treated with an ALIF+PSF or PSF-only surgical strategy, patients who underwent LLIF+PSF had lower rates of proximal junctional kyphosis and mechanical failure at the upper instrumented vertebra and less back pain, less disability, and better SRS-22 scores.

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Yoon Ha, Keishi Maruo, Linda Racine, William W. Schairer, Serena S. Hu, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Bobby Tay, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher P. Ames and Sigurd H. Berven

Object

Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is a common and significant complication after corrective spinal deformity surgery. The object of this study was to compare—based on clinical outcomes, postoperative proximal junctional kyphosis rates, and prevalence of revision surgery—proximal thoracic (PT) and distal thoracic (DT) upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) in adults who underwent spine fusion to the sacrum for the treatment of spinal deformity.

Methods

In this retrospective study the authors evaluated clinical and radiographic data from consecutive adults (age > 21 years) with a deformity treated using long instrumented posterior spinal fusion to the sacrum in the period from 2007 to 2009. The PT group included patients in whom the UIV was between T-2 and T-5, whereas the DT group included patients in whom the UIV level was between T-9 and L-1. Perioperative surgical data were compared between the PT and DT groups. Additionally, segmental, regional, and global spinal alignments, as well as the sagittal Cobb angle at the proximal junction, were analyzed on preoperative, early postoperative, and final standing 36-in. radiographs. Patient-reported outcome measurements (visual analog scale, Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire-22, Oswestry Disability Index, and the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) were compared.

Results

Eighty-nine patients, 22 males and 67 females, had a minimum follow-up of 2 years, and thus were eligible for participation in this study. Sixty-seven patients were in the DT group and 22 were in the PT group. Operative time (p = 0.387) and estimated blood loss (p < 0.05) were slightly higher in the PT group. The overall rate of revision surgery was 48.0% and 54.5% in the DT and PT groups, respectively (p = 0.629). The prevalence of PJK according to radiological criteria was 34% in the DT group and 27% in the PT group (p = 0.609). The percent of patients with PJK that required surgical correction (surgical PJK) was 11.9% (8 of 67) in the DT group and 9.1% (2 of 22) in the PT group (p = 1.0). The onset of surgical PJK was significantly earlier than radiological PJK in the DT group (p < 0.01). The types of PJK were different in the PT and DT groups. Compression fracture at the UIV was more prevalent in the DT group, whereas subluxation was more prevalent in the PT group. Postoperatively, the PT group had less thoracic kyphosis (p = 0.02), less sagittal imbalance (p < 0.01), and less pelvic tilt (p = 0.04). In the DT group, early postoperative radiographs demonstrated that the proximal junctional angle of patients with surgical PJK was greater than in those without PJK and those with radiological PJK (p < 0.01). Clinical outcomes were significantly improved in both groups, and there was no significant difference between the groups.

Conclusions

Both PT and DT UIVs improve segmental and global sagittal plane alignment as well as patient-reported quality of life in those treated for adult spinal deformity. The prevalence of PJK was not different in the PT and DT groups. However, compression fracture was the mechanism more frequently observed with DT PJK, and subluxation was the mechanism more frequently observed in PT PJK. Strategies to avoid PJK may include vertebral augmentation to prevent fracture at the DT spine and mechanical means to prevent vertebral subluxation at the PT spine.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Justin K. Scheer, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Bertrand Moal, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Eric Klineberg, Douglas C. Burton, Robert Hart, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors' objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.

Methods

A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.

Results

The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.

Conclusions

The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.

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Alexander A. Theologis, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Stacie Nguyen, David O. Okonkwo, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Richard Fessler, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Bassel G. Diebo, Douglas Burton, Robert Hart, Vedat Deviren and Christopher Ames

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of supplementing long thoracolumbar posterior instrumented fusion (posterior spinal fusion, PSF) with lateral interbody fusion (LIF) of the lumbar/thoracolumbar coronal curve apex in adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

Two multicenter databases were evaluated. Adults who had undergone multilevel LIF of the coronal curve apex in addition to PSF with L5–S1 interbody fusion (LS+Apex group) were matched by number of posterior levels fused with patients who had undergone PSF with L5–S1 interbody fusion without LIF (LS-Only group). All patients had at least 2 years of follow-up. Percutaneous PSF and 3-column osteotomy (3CO) were excluded. Demographics, perioperative details, radiographic spinal deformity measurements, and HRQoL data were analyzed.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients were matched (LS+Apex: 16; LS: 16) (6 men, 26 women; mean age 63 ± 10 years). Overall, the average values for measures of deformity were as follows: Cobb angle > 40°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 6 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) > 25°, and mismatch between pelvic incidence (PI) and lumbar lordosis (LL) > 15°. There were no significant intergroup differences in preoperative radiographic parameters, although patients in the LS+Apex group had greater Cobb angles and less LL. Patients in the LS+Apex group had significantly more anterior levels fused (4.6 vs 1), longer operative times (859 vs 379 minutes), and longer length of stay (12 vs 7.5 days) (all p < 0.01). For patients in the LS+Apex group, Cobb angle, pelvic tilt (PT), lumbar lordosis (LL), PI-LL (lumbopelvic mismatch), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain improved significantly (p < 0.05). For patients in the LS-Only group, there were significant improvements in Cobb angle, ODI score, and VAS scores for back and leg pain. The LS+Apex group had better correction of Cobb angles (56% vs 33%, p = 0.02), SVA (43% vs 5%, p = 0.46), LL (62% vs 13%, p = 0.35), and PI-LL (68% vs 33%, p = 0.32). Despite more LS+Apex patients having major complications (56% vs 13%; p = 0.02) and postoperative leg weakness (31% vs 6%, p = 0.07), there were no intergroup differences in 2-year outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Long open posterior instrumented fusion with or without multilevel LIF is used to treat a variety of coronal and sagittal adult thoracolumbar deformities. The addition of multilevel LIF to open PSF with L5–S1 interbody support in this small cohort was often used in more severe coronal and/or lumbopelvic sagittal deformities and offered better correction of major Cobb angles, lumbopelvic parameters, and SVA than posterior-only operations. As these advantages came at the expense of more major complications, more leg weakness, greater blood loss, and longer operative times and hospital stays without an improvement in 2-year outcomes, future investigations should aim to more clearly define deformities that warrant the addition of multilevel LIF to open PSF and L5–S1 interbody fusion.

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Michael Y. Wang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Neel Anand, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Frank La Marca, Richard Fessler, Juan Uribe, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Raqeeb M. Haque, Vedat Deviren and Gregory M. Mundis Jr.

Object

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) options for the treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD) have advanced significantly over the past decade. However, a wide array of options have been described as being MIS or less invasive. In this study the authors investigated a multiinstitutional cohort of patients with ASD who were treated with less invasive methods to determine the extent of deformity correction achieved.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of multicenter prospectively collected data in 85 consecutive patients with ASD undergoing MIS surgery. Inclusion criteria were as follows: age older than 45 years; minimum 20° coronal lumbar Cobb angle; and 1 year of follow-up. Procedures were classified as follows: 1) stand-alone (n = 7); 2) circumferential MIS (n = 43); or 3) hybrid (n = 35).

Results

An average of 4.2 discs (range 3–7) were fused, with a mean follow-up duration of 26.1 months in this study. For the stand-alone group the preoperative Cobb range was 22°–51°, with 57% greater than 30° and 28.6% greater than 50°. The mean Cobb angle improved from 35.7° to 30°. A ceiling effect of 23° for curve correction was observed, regardless of preoperative curve severity. For the circumferential MIS group the preoperative Cobb range was 19°–62°, with 44% greater than 30° and 5% greater than 50°. The mean Cobb angle improved from 32° to 12°. A ceiling effect of 34° for curve correction was observed. For the hybrid group the preoperative Cobb range was 23°–82°, with 74% greater than 30° and 23% greater than 50°. The mean Cobb angle improved from 43° to 15°. A ceiling effect of 55° for curve correction was observed.

Conclusions

Specific procedures for treating ASD have particular limitations for scoliotic curve correction. Less invasive techniques were associated with a reduced ability to straighten the spine, particularly with advanced curves. These data can guide preoperative technique selection when treating patients with ASD.

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Juan S. Uribe, Armen R. Deukmedjian, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Robert Eastlack, Michael Y. Wang, Neel Anand, Richard G. Fessler, Frank La Marca, Paul Park, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Shay Bess and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

It is hypothesized that minimally invasive surgical techniques lead to fewer complications than open surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD). The goal of this study was to analyze matched patient cohorts in an attempt to isolate the impact of approach on adverse events.

Methods

Two multicenter databases queried for patients with ASD treated via surgery and at least 1 year of follow-up revealed 280 patients who had undergone minimally invasive surgery (MIS) or a hybrid procedure (HYB; n = 85) or open surgery (OPEN; n = 195). These patients were divided into 3 separate groups based on the approach performed and were propensity matched for age, preoperative sagittal vertebral axis (SVA), number of levels fused posteriorly, and lumbar coronal Cobb angle (CCA) in an attempt to neutralize these patient variables and to make conclusions based on approach only. Inclusion criteria for both databases were similar, and inclusion criteria specific to this study consisted of an age > 45 years, CCA > 20°, 3 or more levels of fusion, and minimum of 1 year of follow-up. Patients in the OPEN group with a thoracic CCA > 75° were excluded to further ensure a more homogeneous patient population.

Results

In all, 60 matched patients were available for analysis (MIS = 20, HYB = 20, OPEN = 20). Blood loss was less in the MIS group than in the HYB and OPEN groups, but a significant difference was only found between the MIS and the OPEN group (669 vs 2322 ml, p = 0.001). The MIS and HYB groups had more fused interbody levels (4.5 and 4.1, respectively) than the OPEN group (1.6, p < 0.001). The OPEN group had less operative time than either the MIS or HYB group, but it was only statistically different from the HYB group (367 vs 665 minutes, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the duration of hospital stay among the groups. In patients with complete data, the overall complication rate was 45.5% (25 of 55). There was no significant difference in the total complication rate among the MIS, HYB, and OPEN groups (30%, 47%, and 63%, respectively; p = 0.147). No intraoperative complications were reported for the MIS group, 5.3% for the HYB group, and 25% for the OPEN group (p < 0.03). At least one postoperative complication occurred in 30%, 47%, and 50% (p = 0.40) of the MIS, HYB, and OPEN groups, respectively. One major complication occurred in 30%, 47%, and 63% (p = 0.147) of the MIS, HYB, and OPEN groups, respectively. All patients had significant improvement in both the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale scores after surgery (p < 0.001), although the MIS group did not have significant improvement in leg pain. The occurrence of complications had no impact on the ODI.

Conclusions

Results in this study suggest that the surgical approach may impact complications. The MIS group had significantly fewer intraoperative complications than did either the HYB or OPEN groups. If the goals of ASD surgery can be achieved, consideration should be given to less invasive techniques.

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Khoi D. Than, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Stacie Nguyen, Michael Y. Wang, Dean Chou, Pierce D. Nunley, Neel Anand, Richard G. Fessler, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Vedat Deviren, Juan S. Uribe, Frank La Marca, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques are increasingly used to treat adult spinal deformity. However, standard minimally invasive spinal deformity techniques have a more limited ability to restore sagittal balance and match the pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) than traditional open surgery. This study sought to compare “best” versus “worst” outcomes of MIS to identify variables that may predispose patients to postoperative success.

METHODS

A retrospective review of minimally invasive spinal deformity surgery cases was performed to identify parameters in the 20% of patients who had the greatest improvement in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores versus those in the 20% of patients who had the least improvement in ODI scores at 2 years' follow-up.

RESULTS

One hundred four patients met the inclusion criteria, and the top 20% of patients in terms of ODI improvement at 2 years (best group, 22 patients) were compared with the bottom 20% (worst group, 21 patients). There were no statistically significant differences in age, body mass index, pre- and postoperative Cobb angles, pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence, levels fused, operating room time, and blood loss between the best and worst groups. However, the mean preoperative ODI score was significantly higher (worse disability) at baseline in the group that had the greatest improvement in ODI score (58.2 vs 39.7, p < 0.001). There was no difference in preoperative PI-LL mismatch (12.8° best vs 19.5° worst, p = 0.298). The best group had significantly less postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA; 3.4 vs 6.9 cm, p = 0.043) and postoperative PI-LL mismatch (10.4° vs 19.4°, p = 0.027) than the worst group. The best group also had better postoperative visual analog scale back and leg pain scores (p = 0.001 and p = 0.046, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors recommend that spinal deformity surgeons using MIS techniques focus on correcting a patient's PI-LL mismatch to within 10° and restoring SVA to < 5 cm. Restoration of these parameters seems to impact which patients will attain the greatest degree of improvement in ODI outcomes, while the spines of patients who do the worst are not appropriately corrected and may be fused into a fixed sagittal plane deformity.