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Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Robert K. Eastlack, Stacie Tran, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Juan S. Uribe, Michael Y. Wang, Khoi D. Than, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Pierce D. Nunley, Neel Anand, Richard G. Fessler, Dean Chou, Mark E. Oppenlander, Praveen V. Mummaneni and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

It is now well accepted that spinopelvic parameters are correlated with clinical outcomes in adult spinal deformity (ASD). The purpose of this study was to determine whether obtaining optimal spinopelvic alignment was absolutely necessary to achieve a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) or substantial clinical benefit (SCB).

METHODS

A multicenter retrospective review of patients who underwent less-invasive surgery for ASD was conducted. Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years and one of the following: coronal Cobb angle > 20°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) > 20°, or pelvic incidence to lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch > 10°. A total of 223 patients who were treated with circumferential minimally invasive surgery or hybrid surgery and had a minimum 2-year follow-up were identified. Based on optimal spinopelvic parameters (PI-LL mismatch ± 10° and SVA < 5 cm), patients were divided into aligned (AL) or malaligned (MAL) groups. The primary clinical outcome studied was the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score.

RESULTS

There were 74 patients in the AL group and 149 patients in the MAL group. Age and body mass index were similar between groups. Although the baseline SVA was similar, PI-LL mismatch (9.9° vs 17.7°, p = 0.002) and PT (19° vs 24.7°, p = 0.001) significantly differed between AL and MAL groups, respectively. As expected postoperatively, the AL and MAL groups differed significantly in PI-LL mismatch (−0.9° vs 13.1°, p < 0.001), PT (14° vs 25.5°, p = 0.001), and SVA (11.8 mm vs 48.3 mm, p < 0.001), respectively. Notably, there was no difference in the proportion of AL or MAL patients in whom an MCID (52.75% vs 61.1%, p > 0.05) or SCB (40.5% vs 46.3%, p > 0.05) was achieved for ODI score, respectively. Similarly, no differences in percentage of patients obtaining an MCID or SCB for visual analog scale back and leg pain score were observed. On multivariate analysis controlling for surgical and preoperative demographic differences, achieving optimal spinopelvic parameters was not associated with achieving an MCID (OR 0.645, 95% CI 0.31–1.33) or an SCB (OR 0.644, 95% CI 0.31–1.35) for ODI score.

CONCLUSIONS

Achieving optimal spinopelvic parameters was not a predictor for achieving an MCID or SCB. Since spinopelvic parameters are correlated with clinical outcomes, the authors’ findings suggest that the presently accepted optimal spinopelvic parameters may require modification. Other factors, such as improvement in neurological symptoms and/or segmental instability, also likely impacted the clinical outcomes.

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Nitin Agarwal, Andrew Faramand, Johanna Bellon, Jeffrey Borrebach, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

The Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) is a standardized patient experience survey that is used to evaluate the quality of care delivered by physicians. The authors sought to determine which factors influenced CG-CAHPS scores for spine surgery, and compare them to their cranial-focused cohorts.

METHODS

A retrospective study of prospectively obtained data was performed to evaluate CG-CAHPS scores. Between May 2013 and May 2017, all patients 18 years of age or older with an outpatient encounter with a neurosurgeon (5 spine-focused neurosurgeons and 20 cranial-focused neurosurgeons) received a CG-CAHPS survey. Three domains were assessed: overall physician rating, likelihood to recommend, and physician communication. Statistical analyses were performed using chi-square tests.

RESULTS

Seven thousand four hundred eighty-five patient surveys (2319 spine and 5166 cranial) were collected from patients presenting to the outpatient offices of an attending neurosurgeon. Analysis of the overall physician rating showed that 81.1% of spine neurosurgeons received a “top-box” score (answers of “yes, definitely”), whereas 86.2% of cranial neurosurgeons received a top-box response (p < 0.001). A similar difference was observed with the domains of “likelihood to recommend” and “physician communication.” Overall physician rating was also significantly influenced by the general and mental health of the patients surveyed (p < 0.001). For spine surgeons seeing patients at more than one facility, the scores with respect to location were also significantly different in all domains for each individual provider (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, spine-focused neurosurgeon ratings differed significantly from those of cranial-focused neurosurgical subspecialty providers. Office location also affected provider ratings for spine neurosurgeons. These results suggest that physician ratings obtained via patient experience surveys may be representative of factors aside from just the quality of physician care provided. This information should be considered as payers, government, and health systems design performance programs based on patient experience scores.

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The comprehensive anatomical spinal osteotomy and anterior column realignment classification

Presented at the 2018 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Juan S. Uribe, Frank Schwab, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., David S. Xu, Jacob Januszewski, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Serena S. Hu, Deviren Vedat, Robert Eastlack, Pedro Berjano and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Spinal osteotomies and anterior column realignment (ACR) are procedures that allow preservation or restoration of spine lordosis. Variations of these techniques enable different degrees of segmental, regional, and global sagittal realignment. The authors propose a comprehensive anatomical classification system for ACR and its variants based on the level of technical complexity and invasiveness. This serves as a common language and platform to standardize clinical and radiographic outcomes for the utilization of ACR.

METHODS

The proposed classification is based on 6 anatomical grades of ACR, including anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) release, with varying degrees of posterior column release or osteotomies. Additionally, a surgical approach (anterior, lateral, or posterior) was added. Reliability of the classification was evaluated by an analysis of 16 clinical cases, rated twice by 14 different spine surgeons, and calculation of Fleiss kappa coefficients.

RESULTS

The 6 grades of ACR are as follows: grade A, ALL release with hyperlordotic cage, intact posterior elements; grade 1 (ACR + Schwab grade 1), additional resection of the inferior facet and joint capsule; grade 2 (ACR + Schwab grade 2), additional resection of both superior and inferior facets, interspinous ligament, ligamentum flavum, lamina, and spinous process; grade 3 (ACR + Schwab grade 3), additional adjacent-level 3-column osteotomy including pedicle subtraction osteotomy; grade 4 (ACR + Schwab grade 4), 2-level distal 3-column osteotomy including pedicle subtraction osteotomy and disc space resection; and grade 5 (ACR + Schwab grade 5), complete or partial removal of a vertebral body and both adjacent discs with or without posterior element resection. Intraobserver and interobserver reliability were 97% and 98%, respectively, across the 14-reviewer cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed anatomical realignment classification provides a consistent description of the various posterior and anterior column release/osteotomies. This reliability study confirmed that the classification is consistent and reproducible across a diverse group of spine surgeons.

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Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Juan S. Uribe, Michael Y. Wang, Stacie Tran, Adam S. Kanter, Pierce D. Nunley, David O. Okonkwo, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Dean Chou, Robert Eastlack, Neel Anand, Khoi D. Than, Joseph M. Zavatsky, Richard G. Fessler and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Achieving appropriate spinopelvic alignment in deformity surgery has been correlated with improvement in pain and disability. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have been used to treat adult spinal deformity (ASD); however, there is concern for inadequate sagittal plane correction. Because age can influence the degree of sagittal correction required, the purpose of this study was to analyze whether obtaining optimal spinopelvic alignment is required in the elderly to obtain clinical improvement.

METHODS

A multicenter database of ASD patients was queried. Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years; an MIS component as part of the index procedure; at least one of the following: pelvic tilt (PT) > 20°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 50 mm, pelvic incidence to lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch > 10°, or coronal curve > 20°; and minimum follow-up of 2 years. Patients were stratified into younger (< 65 years) and older (≥ 65 years) cohorts. Within each cohort, patients were categorized into aligned (AL) or mal-aligned (MAL) subgroups based on postoperative radiographic measurements. Mal-alignment was defined as a PI-LL > 10° or SVA > 50 mm. Pre- and postoperative radiographic and clinical outcomes were compared.

RESULTS

Of the 185 patients, 107 were in the younger cohort and 78 in the older cohort. Based on postoperative radiographs, 36 (33.6%) of the younger patients were in the AL subgroup and 71 (66.4%) were in the MAL subgroup. The older patients were divided into 2 subgroups based on alignment; there were 26 (33.3%) patients in the AL and 52 (66.7%) in the MAL subgroups. Overall, patients within both younger and older cohorts significantly improved with regard to postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. In the younger cohort, there were no significant differences in postoperative VAS back and leg pain scores between the AL and MAL subgroups. However, the postoperative ODI score of 37.9 in the MAL subgroup was significantly worse than the ODI score of 28.5 in the AL subgroup (p = 0.019). In the older cohort, there were no significant differences in postoperative VAS back and leg pain score or ODI between the AL and MAL subgroups.

CONCLUSIONS

MIS techniques did not achieve optimal spinopelvic alignment in most cases. However, age appears to impact the degree of sagittal correction required. In older patients, optimal spinopelvic alignment thresholds did not need to be achieved to obtain similar symptomatic improvement. Conversely, in younger patients stricter adherence to optimal spinopelvic alignment thresholds may be needed.

https://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2018.4.SPINE171153

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Lateral lumbar interbody fusion in the elderly: a 10-year experience

Presented at the 2018 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Nitin Agarwal, Andrew Faramand, Nima Alan, Zachary J. Tempel, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

Elderly patients, often presenting with multiple medical comorbidities, are touted to be at an increased risk of peri- and postoperative complications following spine surgery. Various minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed and employed to treat an array of spinal conditions while minimizing complications. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is one such approach. The authors describe clinical outcomes in patients over the age of 70 years following stand-alone LLIF.

METHODS

A retrospective query of a prospectively maintained database was performed for patients over the age of 70 years who underwent stand-alone LLIF. Patients with posterior segmental fixation and/or fusion were excluded. The preoperative and postoperative values for the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were analyzed to compare outcomes after intervention. Femoral neck t-scores were acquired from bone density scans and correlated with the incidence of graft subsidence.

RESULTS

Among the study cohort of 55 patients, the median age at the time of surgery was 74 years (range 70–87 years). Seventeen patients had at least 3 medical comorbidities at surgery. Twenty-three patients underwent a 1-level, 14 a 2-level, and 18 patients a 3-level or greater stand-alone lateral fusion. The median estimated blood loss was 25 ml (range 5–280 ml). No statistically significant relationship was detected between volume of blood loss and the number of operative levels. The median length of hospital stay was 2 days (range 1–4 days). No statistically significant relationship was observed between the length of hospital stay and age at the time of surgery. There was one intraoperative death secondary to cardiac arrest, with a mortality rate of 1.8%. One patient developed a transient femoral nerve injury. Five patients with symptomatic graft subsidence subsequently underwent posterior instrumentation. A lower femoral neck t-score < −1.0 correlated with a higher incidence of graft subsidence (p = 0.006). The mean ODI score 1 year postoperatively of 31.1 was significantly (p = 0.003) less than the mean preoperative ODI score of 46.2.

CONCLUSIONS

Stand-alone LLIF can be safely and effectively performed in the elderly population. Careful evaluation of preoperative bone density parameters should be employed to minimize risk of subsidence and need for additional surgery. Despite an association with increased comorbidities, age alone should not be a deterrent when considering stand-alone LLIF in the elderly population.

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David J. Salvetti, Zachary J. Tempel, Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Nicole A. Colwell, Federico Angriman, David M. Panczykowski, Nitin Agarwal, Adam S. Kanter and David O. Okonkwo

OBJECTIVE

Nutritional deficiency negatively affects outcomes in many health conditions. In spine surgery, evidence linking preoperative nutritional deficiency to postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) has been limited to small retrospective studies. Authors of the current study analyzed a large consecutive cohort of patients who had undergone elective spine surgery to determine the relationship between a serum biomarker of nutritional status (preoperative prealbumin levels) and SSI.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of the electronic medical charts of patients who had undergone posterior spinal surgeries and whose preoperative prealbumin level was available. Additional data pertinent to the risk of SSI were also collected. Patients who developed a postoperative SSI were identified, and risk factors for postoperative SSI were analyzed. Nutritional deficiency was defined as a preoperative serum prealbumin level ≤ 20 mg/dl.

RESULTS

Among a consecutive series of 387 patients who met the study criteria for inclusion, the infection rate for those with preoperative prealbumin ≤ 20 mg/dl was 17.8% (13/73), versus 4.8% (15/314) for those with preoperative prealbumin > 20 mg/dl. On univariate and multivariate analysis a low preoperative prealbumin level was a risk factor for postoperative SSI with a crude OR of 4.29 (p < 0.01) and an adjusted OR of 3.28 (p = 0.02). In addition, several previously known risk factors for infection, including diabetes, spinal fusion, and number of operative levels, were significant for the development of an SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

In this consecutive series, preoperative prealbumin levels, a serum biomarker of nutritional status, correlated with the risk of SSI in elective spine surgery. Prehabilitation before spine surgery, including strategies to improve nutritional status in patients with nutritional deficiencies, may increase value and improve spine care.

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Nitin Agarwal, Prateek Agarwal, Ashley Querry, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Zachary J. Tempel, Robert M. Friedlander, Peter C. Gerszten, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of infection prevention protocols in reducing infection rates. This study investigated the effects of the development and implementation of an infection prevention protocol that was augmented by increased physician awareness of spinal fusion surgical site infection (SSI) rates and resultant cost savings.

METHODS

A cohort clinical investigation over a 10-year period was performed at a single tertiary spine care academic institution. Preoperative infection control measures (chlorohexidine gluconate bathing, Staphylococcus aureus nasal screening and decolonization) followed by postoperative infection control measures (surgical dressing care) were implemented. After the implementation of these infection control measures, an awareness intervention was instituted in which all attending and resident neurosurgeons were informed of their individual, independently adjudicated spinal fusion surgery infection rates and rankings among their peers. During the course of these interventions, the overall infection rate was tracked as well as the rates for those neurosurgeons who complied with the preoperative and postoperative infection control measures (protocol group) and those who did not (control group).

RESULTS

With the implementation of postoperative surgical dressing infection control measures and physician awareness, the postoperative spine surgery infection rate decreased by 45% from 3.8% to 2.1% (risk ratio 0.55; 95% CI 0.32–0.93; p = 0.03) for those in the protocol cohort, resulting in an estimated annual cost savings of $291,000. This reduction in infection rate was not observed for neurosurgeons in the control group, although the overall infection rate among all neurosurgeons decreased by 54% from 3.3% to 1.5% (risk ratio 0.46; 95% CI 0.28–0.73; p = 0.0013).

CONCLUSIONS

A novel paradigm for spine surgery infection control combined with physician awareness methods resulted in significantly decreased SSI rates and an associated cost reduction. Thus, information sharing and physician engagement as a supplement to formal infection control measures result in improvements in surgical outcomes and costs.

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Zachary J. Tempel, Michael M. McDowell, David M. Panczykowski, Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a less invasive surgical option commonly used for a variety of spinal conditions, including in high-risk patient populations. LLIF is often performed as a stand-alone procedure, and may be complicated by graft subsidence, the clinical ramifications of which remain unclear. The aim of this study was to characterize further the sequelae of graft subsidence following stand-alone LLIF.

METHODS

A retrospective review of prospectively collected data was conducted on consecutive patients who underwent stand-alone LLIF between July 2008 and June 2015; 297 patients (623 levels) met inclusion criteria. Imaging studies were examined to grade graft subsidence according to Marchi criteria, and compared between those who required revision surgery and those who did not. Additional variables recorded included levels fused, DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) T-score, body mass index, and routine demographic information. The data were analyzed using the Student t-test, chi-square analysis, and logistic regression analysis to identify potential confounding factors.

RESULTS

Of 297 patients, 34 (11.4%) had radiographic evidence of subsidence and 18 (6.1%) required revision surgery. The median subsidence grade for patients requiring revision surgery was 2.5, compared with 1 for those who did not. Chi-square analysis revealed a significantly higher incidence of revision surgery in patients with high-grade subsidence compared with those with low-grade subsidence. Seven of 18 patients (38.9%) requiring revision surgery suffered a vertebral body fracture. High-grade subsidence was a significant predictor of the need for revision surgery (p < 0.05; OR 12, 95% CI 1.29–13.6), whereas age, body mass index, T-score, and number of levels fused were not. This relationship remained significant despite adjustment for the other variables (OR 14.4; 95% CI 1.30–15.9).

CONCLUSIONS

In this series, more than half of the patients who developed graft subsidence following stand-alone LLIF required revision surgery. When evaluating patients for LLIF, supplemental instrumentation should be considered during the index surgery in patients with a significant risk of graft subsidence.

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Khoi D. Than, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Kelly J. Bridges, Stacie Tran, Paul Park, Dean Chou, Frank La Marca, Juan S. Uribe, Todd D. Vogel, Pierce D. Nunley, Robert K. Eastlack, Neel Anand, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter and Gregory M. Mundis Jr.

OBJECTIVE

High-quality studies that compare outcomes of open and minimally invasively placed pedicle screws for adult spinal deformity are needed. Therefore, the authors compared differences in complications from a circumferential minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgery and those from a hybrid surgery.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a multicenter database of patients with spinal deformity who were treated with an MIS surgery was performed. Database inclusion criteria included an age of ≥ 18 years and at least 1 of the following: a coronal Cobb angle of > 20°, a sagittal vertical axis of > 5 cm, a pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis angle of > 10°, and/or a pelvic tilt of > 20°. Patients were propensity matched according to the levels instrumented.

RESULTS

In this database, a complete data set was available for 165 patients, and after those who underwent 3-column osteotomy were excluded, 137 patients were available for analysis; 76 patients remained after propensity matching (MIS surgery group 38 patients, hybrid surgery group 38 patients). The authors found no difference in demographics, number of levels instrumented, or preoperative and postoperative radiographic results. At least 1 complication was suffered by 55.3% of patients in the hybrid surgery group and 44.7% of those in the MIS surgery group (p = 0.359). Patients in the MIS surgery group had significantly fewer neurological, operative, and minor complications than those in the hybrid surgery group. The reoperation rates in both groups were similar. The most common complication category for the MIS surgery group was radiographic and for the hybrid surgery group was neurological. Patients in both groups experienced postoperative improvement in their Oswestry Disability Index and visual analog scale (VAS) back and leg pain scores (all p < 0.05); however, MIS surgery provided a greater reduction in leg pain according to VAS scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall complication rates in the MIS and hybrid surgery groups were similar. MIS surgery resulted in significantly fewer neurological, operative, and minor complications. Reoperation rates in the 2 groups were similar, and despite complications, the patients reported significant improvement in their pain and function.