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John Paul G. Kolcun, G. Damian Brusko, Gregory W. Basil, Richard Epstein and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Open spinal fusion surgery is often associated with significant blood loss, postoperative pain, and prolonged recovery times. Seeking to minimize surgical and perioperative morbidity, the authors adopted an endoscopic minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) technique performed without general anesthesia. In this report, they present data on the first 100 patients treated with this procedure.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of the first 100 patients who underwent awake endoscopic MIS-TLIF at a single institution between 2014 and 2017. Surgery was performed while the patient was sedated but without intubation or the use of general anesthetic or narcotic agents. Long-lasting (liposomal) bupivacaine was used for local analgesia. The discectomy and placement of an expandable interbody graft were performed endoscopically, followed by percutaneous pedicle screw implantation. Inclusion criteria for the procedure consisted of diagnosis of degenerative disc disease with grade I or II spondylolisthesis and evidence of spinal stenosis or nerve impingement with intractable symptomatology.

RESULTS

Of the first 100 patients, 56 were female and 44 were male. Single-level fusion was performed in 84 patients and two-level fusion in 16 patients. The most commonly fused level was L4–5, representing 77% of all fused levels. The mean (± standard deviation) operative time was 84.5 ± 21.7 minutes for one-level fusions and 128.1 ± 48.6 minutes for two-level procedures. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 65.4 ± 76.6 ml for one-level fusions and 74.7 ± 33.6 ml for two-level fusions. The mean length of hospital stay was 1.4 ± 1.0 days. Four deaths occurred in the 100 patients; all four of those patients died from complications unrelated to surgery. In 82% of the surviving patients, 1-year follow-up Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were available. The mean preoperative ODI score was 29.6 ± 15.3 and the mean postoperative ODI score was 17.2 ± 16.9, which represents a significant mean reduction in the ODI score of −12.3 using a two-tailed paired t-test (p = 0.000001). In four cases, the surgical plan was revised to include general endotracheal anesthesia intraoperatively and was successfully completed. Other complications included two cases of cage migration, one case of osteomyelitis, and one case of endplate fracture; three of these complications occurred in the first 50 cases.

CONCLUSIONS

This series of the first 100 patients to undergo awake endoscopic MIS-TLIF demonstrates outcomes comparable to those reported in our earlier papers. This procedure can provide a safe and efficacious option for lumbar fusion with less morbidity than open surgery. Further refinements in surgical technique and technologies will allow for improved success.

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Michael Y. Wang, Enrico Tessitore, Neil Berrington and Andrew Dailey

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G. Damian Brusko, John Paul G. Kolcun, Julie A. Heger, Allan D. Levi, Glen R. Manzano, Karthik Madhavan, Timur Urakov, Richard H. Epstein and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar fusion is typically associated with high degrees of pain and immobility. The implementation of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) approach has been successful in speeding the recovery after other surgical procedures. In this paper, the authors examined the results of early implementation of ERAS for lumbar fusion.

METHODS

Beginning in March 2018 at the authors’ institution, all patients undergoing posterior, 1- to 3-level lumbar fusion surgery by any of 3 spine surgeons received an intraoperative injection of liposomal bupivacaine, immediate single postoperative infusion of 1-g intravenous acetaminophen, and daily postoperative visits from the authors’ multidisciplinary ERAS care team. Non–English- or non–Spanish-speaking patients and those undergoing nonelective or staged procedures were excluded. Reviews of medical records were conducted for the ERAS cohort of 57 patients and a comparison group of 40 patients who underwent the same procedures during the 6 months before implementation.

RESULTS

Groups did not differ significantly with regard to sex, age, or BMI (all p > 0.05). Length of stay was significantly shorter in the ERAS cohort than in the control cohort (2.9 days vs 3.8 days; p = 0.01). Patients in the ERAS group consumed significantly less oxycodone-acetaminophen than the controls on postoperative day (POD) 0 (408.0 mg vs 1094.7 mg; p = 0.0004), POD 1 (1320.0 mg vs 1708.4 mg; p = 0.04), and POD 3 (1500.1 mg vs 2105.4 mg; p = 0.03). Postoperative pain scores recorded by the physical therapy and occupational therapy teams and nursing staff each day were lower in the ERAS cohort than in controls, with POD 1 achieving significance (4.2 vs 6.0; p = 0.006). The total amount of meperidine (8.8 mg vs 44.7 mg; p = 0.003) consumed was also significantly decreased in the ERAS group, as was ondansetron (2.8 mg vs 6.0 mg; p = 0.02). Distance ambulated on each POD was farther in the ERAS cohort, with ambulation on POD 1 (109.4 ft vs 41.4 ft; p = 0.002) achieving significance.

CONCLUSIONS

In this very initial implementation of the first phase of an ERAS program for short-segment lumbar fusion, the authors were able to demonstrate substantial positive effects on the early recovery process. Importantly, these effects were not surgeon-specific and could be generalized across surgeons with disparate technical predilections. The authors plan additional iterations to their ERAS protocols for continued quality improvements.

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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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Karthik Madhavan, Lee Onn Chieng, Valerie L. Armstrong and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Discitis and osteomyelitis are seen in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients due to repeated vascular access for hemodialysis and urinary tract infections leading to recurrent bacteremia. Discitis and osteomyelitis are underdiagnosed due to the nonspecific initial presentation of back pain. In this article, we review the literature for better understanding of the problem and the importance of early diagnosis by primary care physicians and nephrologists. In addition, we discuss the decision-making, follow-up, management, and neurological outcomes.

METHODS

A detailed PubMed search was performed using the following terms: “end stage renal disease (ESRD)” and “chronic renal failure (CRF),” combined with “spine infections,” “spondylodiscitis,” “discitis,” and “osteomyelitis.” Search results were limited to articles written in English, case reports, and case series from 1973 to 2012. Editorials, reviews, and commentaries were excluded. Only studies involving human patients were included. The authors also included 4 patients from their own patient population.

RESULTS

A total of 30 articles met the inclusion criteria. Including the 4 patients from the authors’ patient population, 212 patients with spine infections and maintenance dialysis were identified. The patients’ ages ranged from 38 to 78 years. The duration of dialysis ranged from a few days to 16 years. The time from onset of back pain to diagnosis ranged from 3 days to 6 months. The most common causative organism was Staphylococcus aureus, followed by Staphylococcus epidermidis and gram-negative bacteria. Most of the patients were treated with antibiotics alone (76.8%), although surgery was indicated when patients presented with neurological deficits (p < 0.011). Approximately one-quarter of the patients developed neurological deficits, with devastating consequences. Fever and neurological deficits at presentation, culture positive for methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and age > 65 years were highly correlated with mortality in our analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Several risk factors lead to failure of antibiotics and progression of disease in patients with ESRD. Challenges to diagnosis include vague presenting symptoms, co-existing destructive spondyloarthropathy, poor immune response, chronic elevations of inflammatory markers, and recurrent bacteremia. Infectious processes are more likely to cause permanent neurological deficits than transient deficits. The authors recommend close observation and serial imaging of these patients for early signs of neurological deficits. Any signs of disease progression will require aggressive surgical debridement.

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The evolution of minimally invasive spine surgery

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Jang W. Yoon and Michael Y. Wang

The field of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) has rapidly evolved over the past 3 decades. This review follows the evolution of techniques and principles that have led to significant advances in the field. While still representing only a subset of spine surgeries, MISS’s goals of reducing soft-tissue trauma and mitigating the morbidity of surgery are being realized, translating into more rapid recovery, lower infection rates, and higher cost savings. Future advances in technology and techniques can be anticipated.

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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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Chester J. Donnally III, Johnathon R. McCormick, Deborah J. Li, James A. Maguire Jr., Grant P. Barker, Augustus J. Rush III and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of certain demographics, social media usage, and physician review website variables for spine surgeons across Healthgrades.com (Healthgrades), Vitals.com (Vitals), and Google.com (Google).

METHODS

Through a directory of registered North American Spine Society (NASS) physicians, we identified spine surgeons practicing in Texas (107 neurosurgery trained, 192 orthopedic trained). Three physician rating websites (Healthgrades, Vitals, Google) were accessed to obtain surgeon demographics, training history, practice setting, number of ratings/reviews, and overall score (January 2, 2018–January 16, 2018). Using only the first 10 search results from Google.com, we then identified whether the surgeon had a website presence or an accessible social media account on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

RESULTS

Physicians with either a personal or institutional website had a higher overall rating on Healthgrades compared to those who did not have a website (p < 0.01). Nearly all spine surgeons had a personal or institutional website (90.3%), and at least 1 accessible social media account was recorded for 43.5% of the spine surgeons in our study cohort (39.5% Facebook, 10.4% Twitter, 2.7% Instagram). Social media presence was not significantly associated with overall ratings across all 3 sites, but it did significantly correlate with more comments on Healthgrades. In multivariable analysis, increasing surgeon age was significantly associated with a lower overall rating across all 3 review sites (p < 0.05). Neurosurgeons had higher overall ratings on Vitals (p = 0.04). Longer wait times were significantly associated with a lower overall rating on Healthgrades (p < 0.0001). Overall ratings from all 3 websites correlated significantly with each other, indicating agreement between physician ratings across different platforms.

CONCLUSIONS

Longer wait times, increasing physician age, and the absence of a website are indicative of lower online review scores for spine surgeons. Neurosurgery training correlated with a higher overall review score on Vitals. Having an accessible social media account does not appear to influence scores, but it is correlated with increased patient feedback on Healthgrades. Identification of ways to optimize patients’ perception of care are important in the future of performance-based medicine.

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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