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George M. Ghobrial, Michael Y. Wang, Barth A. Green, Howard B. Levene, Glen Manzano, Steven Vanni, Robert M. Starke, George Jimsheleishvili, Kenneth M. Crandall, Marina Dididze and Allan D. Levi

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of 2 common preoperative surgical skin antiseptic agents, ChloraPrep and Betadine, in the reduction of postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) in spinal surgery procedures.

METHODS

Two preoperative surgical skin antiseptic agents—ChloraPrep (2% chlorhexidine gluconate and 70% isopropyl alcohol) and Betadine (7.5% povidone-iodine solution)—were prospectively compared across 2 consecutive time periods for all consecutive adult neurosurgical spine patients. The primary end point was the incidence of SSI.

RESULTS

A total of 6959 consecutive spinal surgery patients were identified from July 1, 2011, through August 31, 2015, with 4495 (64.6%) and 2464 (35.4%) patients treated at facilities 1 and 2, respectively. Sixty-nine (0.992%) SSIs were observed. There was no significant difference in the incidence of infection between patients prepared with Betadine (33 [1.036%] of 3185) and those prepared with ChloraPrep (36 [0.954%] of 3774; p = 0.728). Neither was there a significant difference in the incidence of infection in the patients treated at facility 1 (52 [1.157%] of 4495) versus facility 2 (17 [0.690%] of 2464; p = 0.06). Among the patients with SSI, the most common indication was degenerative disease (48 [69.6%] of 69). Fifty-one (74%) patients with SSI had undergone instrumented fusions in the index operation, and 38 (55%) patients with SSI had undergone revision surgeries. The incidence of SSI for minimally invasive and open surgery was 0.226% (2 of 885 cases) and 1.103% (67 of 6074 cases), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The choice of either ChloraPrep or Betadine for preoperative skin antisepsis in spinal surgery had no significant impact on the incidence of postoperative SSI.

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George M. Ghobrial, Kenneth M. Crandall, Anthony Lau, Seth K. Williams and Allan D. Levi

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to describe the use of a minimally invasive surgical treatment of lumbar spondylolysis in athletes by a fluoroscopically guided direct pars screw placement with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) and to report on clinical and radiographic outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of all patients treated surgically for lumbar spondylolysis via a minimally invasive direct pars repair with cannulated screws. Demographic information, clinical features of presentation, perioperative and intraoperative radiographic imaging, and postoperative data were collected. A 1-cm midline incision was performed for the placement of bilateral pars screws utilizing biplanar fluoroscopy, followed by placement of a fully threaded 4.0-mm-diameter titanium cannulated screw. A tubular table-mounted retractor was utilized for direct pars fracture visualization and debridement through a separate incision. The now-visualized pars fracture could then be decorticated, with care taken not to damage the titanium screw when using a high-speed drill. Local bone obtained from the curettage was then placed in the defect with 1.05 mg rhBMP-2 divided equally between the bilateral pars defects.

RESULTS

Nine patients were identified (mean age 17.7 ± 3.42 years, range 14–25 years; 6 male and 3 female). All patients had bilateral pars fractures of L-4 (n = 4) or L-5 (n = 5). The mean duration of preoperative symptoms was 17.22 ± 13.2 months (range 9–48 months). The mean operative duration was 189 ± 29 minutes (range 151–228 minutes). The mean intraoperative blood loss was 17.5 ± 10 ml (range 10–30 ml). Radiographic follow-up was available in all cases; the mean length of time from surgery to the most recent imaging study was 30.8 ± 23.3 months (range 3–59 months). The mean hospital length of stay was 1.13 ± 0.35 days (range 1–2 days). There were no intraoperative complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Lumbar spondylolysis treatment with a minimally invasive direct pars repair is a safe and technically feasible option that minimizes muscle and soft-tissue dissection, which may particularly benefit adolescent patients with a desire to return to a high level of physical activity.

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George M. Ghobrial and Michael Y. Wang

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Lorenzo Nigro, Pasquale Donnarumma, Roberto Tarantino, Marika Rullo, Antonio Santoro and Roberto Delfini

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Matthew J. Viereck, George M. Ghobrial, Sara Beygi and James S. Harrop

OBJECTIVE

Resection significantly improves the clinical symptoms and functional outcomes of patients with intradural extramedullary tumors. However, patient quality of life following resection has not been adequately investigated. The aim in this retrospective analysis of prospectively collected quality of life outcomes is to analyze the efficacy of resection of intradural extramedullary spinal tumors in terms of quality of life markers.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a single institutional neurosurgical administrative database was conducted to analyze clinical data. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, and the EQ-5D-3 L descriptive system were used to analyze quality of life preoperatively, less than 1 month postoperatively, 1–3 months postoperatively, 3–12 months postoperatively, and more than 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

The ODI scores increased perioperatively at the < 1-month follow-up from 36 preoperatively to 47. Relative to preoperative values, the ODI score decreased significantly at 1–3, 3–12, and > 12 months to 23, 17, and 20, respectively. VAS scores significantly decreased from 6.1 to 3.5, 2.4, 2.0, and 2.9 at the < 1-month, 1- to 3-, 3- to 12-, and > 12-month follow-ups, respectively. EQ-5D mobility significantly worsened at the < 1-month follow-up but improved at the 3- to 12-and > 12-month follow-ups. EQ-5D self-care significantly worsened at the < 1-month follow-up but significantly improved by the 3- to 12-month follow-up. EQ-5D usual activities improved at the 1- to 3-, 3- to 12-, and > 12-month follow-ups. EQ-5D pain and discomfort significantly improved at all follow-up points. EQ-5D anxiety and depression significantly improved at 1- to 3-month and 3- to 12-month follow-ups.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection of intradural extramedullary spine tumors appears to significantly improve patient quality of life by decreasing patient disability and pain and by improving each of the EQ-5D domains.

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Anthony N. Grieff, George M. Ghobrial and Jack Jallo

OBJECTIVE

The aim in this paper was to evaluate the efficacy of long-acting liposomal bupivacaine in comparison with bupivacaine hydrochloride for lowering postoperative analgesic usage in the management of posterior cervical and lumbar decompression and fusion.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort-matched chart review of 531 consecutive cases over 17 months (October 2013 to February 2015) for posterior cervical and lumbar spinal surgery procedures performed by a single surgeon (J.J.) was performed. Inclusion criteria for the analysis were limited to those patients who received posterior approach decompression and fusion for cervical or lumbar spondylolisthesis and/or stenosis. Patients from October 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, received periincisional injections of bupivacaine hydrochloride, whereas after January 1, 2014, liposomal bupivacaine was solely administered to all patients undergoing posterior approach cervical and lumbar spinal surgery through the duration of treatment. Patients were separated into 2 groups for further analysis: posterior cervical and posterior lumbar spinal surgery.

RESULTS

One hundred sixteen patients were identified: 52 in the cervical cohort and 64 in the lumbar cohort. For both cervical and lumbar cases, patients who received bupivacaine hydrochloride required approximately twice the adjusted morphine milligram equivalent (MME) per day in comparison with the liposomal bupivacaine groups (5.7 vs 2.7 MME, p = 0.27 [cervical] and 17.3 vs 7.1 MME, p = 0.30 [lumbar]). The amounts of intravenous rescue analgesic requirements were greater for bupivacaine hydrochloride in comparison with liposomal bupivacaine in both the cervical (1.0 vs 0.39 MME, p = 0.31) and lumbar (1.0 vs 0.37 MME, p = 0.08) cohorts as well. None of these differences was found to be statistically significant. There were also no significant differences in lengths of stay, complication rates, or infection rates. A subgroup analysis of both cohorts of opiate-naive versus opiate-dependent patients found that those patients who were naive had no difference in opiate requirements. In chronic opiate users, there was a trend toward higher opiate requirements for the bupivacaine hydrochloride group than for the liposomal bupivacaine group; however, this trend did not achieve statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS

Liposomal bupivacaine did not appear to significantly decrease perioperative narcotic use or length of hospitalization, although there was a trend toward decreased narcotic use in comparison with bupivacaine hydrochloride. While the results of this study do not support the routine use of liposomal bupivacaine, there may be a benefit in the subgroup of patients who are chronic opiate users. Future prospective randomized controlled trials, ideally with dose-response parameters, must be performed to fully explore the efficacy of liposomal bupivacaine, as the prior literature suggests that clinically relevant effects require a minimum tissue concentration.

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Sanjay Yadla, George M. Ghobrial, Peter G. Campbell, Mitchell G. Maltenfort, James S. Harrop, John K. Ratliff and Ashwini D. Sharan

OBJECT

Complications after spine surgery have an impact on overall outcome and health care expenditures. The increased cost of complications is due in part to associated prolonged hospital stays. The authors propose that certain complications have a greater impact on length of stay (LOS) than others and that those complications should be the focus of future targeted prevention efforts. They conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database to identify complications with the greatest impact on LOS as well as the predictive value of these complications with respect to 90-day readmission rates.

METHODS

Data on 249 patients undergoing spine surgery at Thomas Jefferson University from May to December 2008 were collected by a study auditor. Any complications occurring within 30 days of surgery were recorded as was overall LOS for each patient. Stepwise regression analysis was performed to determine whether specific complications had a statistically significant effect on LOS. For correlation, all readmissions within 90 days were recorded and organized by complication for comparison with those complications affecting LOS.

RESULTS

The mean LOS for patients without postoperative complications was 6.9 days. Patients who developed pulmonary complications had an associated increase in LOS of 11.1 days (p < 0.005). The development of a urinary tract infection (UTI) was associated with an increase in LOS of 3.4 days (p = 0.002). A new neurological deficit was associated with an increase in LOS of 8.2 days (p = 0.004). Complications requiring return to the operating room (OR) showed a trend toward an increase in LOS of 4.7 days (p = 0.09), as did deep wound infections (3.3 days, p = 0.08). The most common reason for readmission was for wound drainage (n = 21; surgical drainage was required in 10 [4.01%] of these 21 cases). The most common diagnoses for readmission, in decreasing order of incidence, were categorized as hardware malpositioning (n = 4), fever (n = 4), pulmonary (n = 2), UTI (n = 2), and neurological deficit (n = 1). Complications affecting LOS were not found to be predictive of readmission (p = 0.029).

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative complications in patients who have undergone spine surgery are not uncommon and are associated with prolonged hospital stays. In the current cohort, the occurrence of pulmonary complications, UTI, and new neurological deficit had the greatest effect on overall LOS. Further study is required to determine the causative factors affecting readmission. These specific complications may be high-yield targets for cost reduction and/or prevention efforts.

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George M. Ghobrial, David W. Cadotte, Kim Williams Jr., Michael G. Fehlings and James S. Harrop

OBJECT

The use of intrawound vancomycin is rapidly being adopted for the prevention of surgical site infection (SSI) in spinal surgery. At operative closure, the placement of vancomycin powder in the wound bed—in addition to standard infection prophylaxis—can provide high concentrations of antibiotics with minimal systemic absorption. However, despite its popularity, to date the majority of studies on intrawound vancomycin are retrospective, and there are no prior reports highlighting the risks of routine treatment.

METHODS

A MEDLINE search for pertinent literature was conducted for studies published between 1966 and May 2015 using the following MeSH search terms: “intrawound vancomycin,” “operative lumbar spine complications,” and “nonoperative lumbar spine complications.” This was supplemented with references and known literature on the topic.

RESULTS

An advanced MEDLINE search conducted on May 6, 2015, using the search string “intrawound vancomycin” found 22 results. After a review of all abstracts for relevance to intrawound vancomycin use in spinal surgery, 10 studies were reviewed in detail. Three meta-analyses were evaluated from the initial search, and 2 clinical studies were identified. After an analysis of all of the identified manuscripts, 3 additional studies were included for a total of 16 studies. Fourteen retrospective studies and 2 prospective studies were identified, resulting in a total of 9721 patients. A total of 6701 (68.9%) patients underwent treatment with intrawound vancomycin. The mean SSI rate among the control and vancomycin-treated patients was 7.47% and 1.36%, respectively. There were a total of 23 adverse events: nephropathy (1 patient), ototoxicity resulting in transient hearing loss (2 patients), systemic absorption resulting in supratherapeutic vancomycin exposure (1 patient), and culture-negative seroma formation (19 patients). The overall adverse event rate for the total number of treated patients was 0.3%.

CONCLUSIONS

Intrawound vancomycin use appears to be safe and effective for reducing postoperative SSIs with a low rate of morbidity. Study disparities and limitations in size, patient populations, designs, and outcomes measures contribute significant bias that could not be fully rectified by this systematic review. Moreover, care should be exercised in the use of intrawound vancomycin due to the lack of well-designed, prospective studies that evaluate the efficacy of vancomycin and include the appropriate systems to capture drug-related complications.

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George M. Ghobrial, Thana Theofanis, Bruce V. Darden, Paul Arnold, Michael G. Fehlings and James S. Harrop

OBJECT

Unintended durotomy is a common occurrence during lumbar spinal surgery, particularly in surgery for degenerative spinal conditions, with the reported incidence rate ranging from 0.3% to 35%. The authors performed a systematic literature review on unintended lumbar spine durotomy, specifically aiming to identify the incidence of durotomy during spinal surgery for lumbar degenerative conditions. In addition, the authors analyzed the incidence of durotomy when minimally invasive surgical approaches were used as compared with that following a traditional midline open approach.

METHODS

A MEDLINE search using the term “lumbar durotomy” (under the 2015 medical subject heading [MeSH] “cerebrospinal fluid leak”) was conducted on May 13, 2015, for English-language medical literature published in the period from January 1, 2005, to May 13, 2015. The resulting papers were categorized into 3 groups: 1) those that evaluated unintended durotomy rates during open-approach lumbar spinal surgery, 2) those that evaluated unintended durotomy rates during minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), and 3) those that evaluated durotomy rates in comparable cohorts undergoing MISS versus open-approach lumbar procedures for similar lumbar pathology.

RESULTS

The MEDLINE search yielded 116 results. A review of titles produced 22 potentially relevant studies that described open surgical procedures. After a thorough review of individual papers, 19 studies (comprising 15,965 patients) pertaining to durotomy rates during open-approach lumbar surgery were included for analysis. Using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) ranking criteria, there were 7 Level 3 prospective studies and 12 Level 4 retrospective studies. In addition, the authors also included 6 studies (with a total of 1334 patients) that detailed rates of durotomy during minimally invasive surgery for lumbar degenerative disease. In the MISS analysis, there were 2 prospective and 4 retrospective studies. Finally, the authors included 5 studies (with a total of 1364 patients) that directly compared durotomy rates during open-approach versus minimally invasive procedures. Studies of open-approach surgery for lumbar degenerative disease reported a total of 1031 durotomies across all procedures, for an overall durotomy rate of 8.11% (range 2%–20%). Prospectively designed studies reported a higher rate of durotomy than retrospective studies (9.57% vs 4.32%, p = 0.05). Selected MISS studies reported a total of 93 durotomies for a combined durotomy rate of 6.78%. In studies of matched cohorts comparing open-approach surgery with MISS, the durotomy rates were 7.20% (34 durotomies) and 7.02% (68), respectively, which were not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal surgery for lumbar degenerative disease carries a significant rate of unintended durotomy, regardless of the surgical approach selected by the surgeon. Interpretation of unintended durotomy rates for lumbar surgery is limited by a lack of prospective and cohort-matched controlled studies.