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Victor Chang, Jason M. Schwalb, David R. Nerenz, Lisa Pietrantoni, Sharon Jones, Michelle Jankowski, Nancy Oja-Tebbe, Stephen Bartol and Muwaffak Abdulhak

OBJECT

Given the scrutiny of spine surgery by policy makers, spine surgeons are motivated to demonstrate and improve outcomes, by determining which patients will and will not benefit from surgery, and to reduce costs, often by reducing complications. Insurers are similarly motivated. In 2013, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) established the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) as a Collaborative Quality Initiative (CQI). MSSIC is one of the newest of 21 other CQIs that have significantly improved—and continue to improve—the quality of patient care throughout the state of Michigan.

METHODS

MSSIC focuses on lumbar and cervical spine surgery, specifically indications such as stenosis, disk herniation, and degenerative disease. Surgery for tumors, traumatic fractures, deformity, scoliosis, and acute spinal cord injury are currently not within the scope of MSSIC. Starting in 2014, MSSIC consisted of 7 hospitals and in 2015 included another 15 hospitals, for a total of 22 hospitals statewide. A standardized data set is obtained by data abstractors, who are funded by BCBSM/BCN. Variables of interest include indications for surgery, baseline patient-reported outcome measures, and medical history. These are obtained within 30 days of surgery. Outcome instruments used include the EQ-5D general health state score (0 being worst and 100 being the best health one can imagine) and EQ-5D-3 L. For patients undergoing lumbar surgery, a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for leg and back pain and the Oswestry Disability Index for back pain are collected. For patients undergoing cervical surgery, a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for arm and neck pain, Neck Disability Index, and the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score are collected. Surgical details, postoperative hospital course, and patient-reported outcome measures are collected at 90-day, 1-year, and 2-year intervals.

RESULTS

As of July 1, 2015, a total of 6397 cases have been entered into the registry. This number reflects 4824 eligible cases with confirmed surgery dates. Of these 4824 eligible cases, 3338 cases went beyond the 120-day window and were considered eligible for the extraction of surgical details, 90-day outcomes, and adverse events. Among these 3338 patients, there are a total of 2469 lumbar cases, 862 cervical cases, and 7 combined procedures that were entered into the registry.

CONCLUSIONS

In addition to functioning as a registry, MSSIC is also meant to be a platform for quality improvement with the potential for future initiatives and best practices to be implemented statewide in order to improve quality and lower costs. With its current rate of recruitment and expansion, MSSIC will provide a robust platform as a regional prospective registry. Its unique funding model, which is supported by BCBSM/BCN, will help ensure its longevity and viability, as has been observed in other CQIs that have been active for several years.

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Hesham Mostafa Zakaria, Azam Basheer, David Boyce-Fappiano, Erinma Elibe, Lonni Schultz, Ian Lee, Farzan Siddiqui, Brent Griffith and Victor Chang

OBJECTIVE

Predicting the survival rate for patients with cancer is currently performed using the TNM Classification of Malignant Tumors (TNM). Identifying accurate prognostic markers of survival would allow better treatment stratification between more aggressive treatment strategies or palliation. This is especially relevant for patients with spinal metastases, who all have identical TNM staging and whose surgical decision-making is potentially complex. Analytical morphometrics quantifies patient frailty by measuring lean muscle mass and can predict risk for postoperative morbidity after lumbar spine surgery. This study evaluates whether morphometrics can be predictive of survival in patients with spinal metastases.

METHODS

Utilizing a retrospective registry of patients with spinal metastases who had undergone stereotactic body radiation therapy, the authors identified patients with primary lung cancer. Morphometric measurements were taken of the psoas muscle using CT of the lumbar spine. Additional morphometrics were taken of the L-4 vertebral body. Patients were stratified into tertiles based on psoas muscle area. The primary outcome measure was overall survival, which was measured from the date of the patient's CT scan to date of death.

RESULTS

A total of 168 patients were identified, with 54% male and 54% having multiple-level metastases. The median survival for all patients was 185.5 days (95% confidence interval [CI] 146–228 days). Survival was not associated with age, sex, or the number of levels of metastasis. Patients in the smallest tertile for the left psoas area had significantly shorter survival compared with a combination of the other two tertiles: 139 days versus 222 days, respectively, hazard ratio (HR) 1.47, 95% CI 1.06–2.04, p = 0.007. Total psoas tertiles were not predictive of mortality, but patients whose total psoas size was below the median size had significantly shorter survival compared with those greater than the median size: 146 days versus 253.5 days, respectively, HR 1.43, 95% CI 1.05–1.94, p = 0.025. To try to differentiate small body habitus from frailty, the ratio of psoas muscle area to vertebral body area was calculated. Total psoas size became predictive of mortality when normalized to vertebral body ratio, with patients in the lowest tertile having significantly shorter survival (p = 0.017). Left psoas to vertebral body ratio was also predictive of mortality in patients within the lowest tertile (p = 0.021). Right psoas size was not predictive of mortality in any calculations.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with lung cancer metastases to the spine, morphometric analysis of psoas muscle and vertebral body size can be used to identify patients who are at risk for shorter survival. This information should be used to select patients who are appropriate candidates for surgery and for the tailoring of oncological treatment regimens.

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Giacomo Pacchiarotti, Michael Y. Wang, John Paul G. Kolcun, Ken Hsuan-kan Chang, Motasem Al Maaieh, Victor S. Reis and Dao M. Nguyen

Solitary paravertebral schwannomas in the thoracic spine and lacking an intraspinal component are uncommon. These benign nerve sheath tumors are typically treated using complete resection with an excellent outcome. Resection of these tumors is achieved by an anterior approach via open thoracotomy or minimally invasive thoracoscopy, by a posterior approach via laminectomy, or by a combination of both approaches. These tumors most commonly occur in the midthoracic region, for which surgical removal is usually straightforward. The authors of this report describe 2 cases of paravertebral schwannoma at extreme locations of the posterior mediastinum, one at the superior sulcus and the other at the inferior sulcus of the thoracic cavity, for which the usual surgical approaches for safe resection can be challenging. The tumors were completely resected with robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. This report suggests that single-stage anterior surgery for this type of tumor in extreme locations is safe and effective with this novel minimally invasive technique.

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Lara W. Massie, Hesham Mostafa Zakaria, Lonni R. Schultz, Azam Basheer, Morenikeji Ayodele Buraimoh and Victor Chang

OBJECTIVE

The inability to significantly improve sagittal parameters has been a limitation of minimally invasive surgery for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF). Traditional cages have a limited capacity to restore lordosis. This study evaluates the use of a crescent-shaped articulating expandable cage (Altera) for MIS TLIF.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of 1- and 2-level MIS TLIF. Radiographic outcomes included differences in segmental and lumbar lordosis, disc height, evidence of fusion, and any endplate violations. Clinical outcomes included the numeric rating scale for leg and back pain and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for low-back pain.

RESULTS

Thirty-nine patients underwent single-level MIS TLIF, and 5 underwent 2-level MIS TLIF. The mean age was 63.1 years, with 64% women. On average, spondylolisthesis was corrected by 4.3 mm (preoperative = 6.69 mm, postoperative = 2.39 mm, p < 0.001), the segmental angle was improved by 4.94° (preoperative = 5.63°, postoperative = 10.58°, p < 0.001), and segmental height increased by 3.1 mm (preoperative = 5.09 mm, postoperative = 8.19 mm, p < 0.001). At 90 days after surgery the authors observed the following: a smaller postoperative sagittal vertical axis was associated with larger changes in back pain at 90 days (r = −0.558, p = 0.013); a larger decrease in spondylolisthesis was associated with greater improvements in ODI and back pain scores (r = −0.425, p = 0.043, and r = −0.43, p = 0.031, respectively); and a larger decrease in pelvic tilt (PT) was associated with greater improvements in back pain (r = −0.548, p = 0.043). For the 1-year PROs, the relationship between the change in PT and changes in ODI and numeric rating scale back pain were significant (r = 0.612, p = 0.009, and r = −0.803, p = 0.001, respectively) with larger decreases in PT associated with larger improvements in ODI and back pain. Overall for this study there was a 96% fusion rate.

Fourteen patients were noted to have endplate violation on intraoperative fluoroscopy during placement of the cage. Only 3 of these had progression of their subsidence, with an overall subsidence rate of 6% (3 of 49) visible on postoperative CT.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of this expandable, articulating, lordotic, or hyperlordotic interbody cage for MIS TLIF provides a significant restoration of segmental height and segmental lordosis, with associated improvements in sagittal balance parameters. Patients treated with this technique had acceptable levels of fusion and significant reductions in pain and disability.

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Hesham Mostafa Zakaria, Michael Bazydlo, Lonni Schultz, Markian A. Pahuta, Jason M. Schwalb, Paul Park, Ilyas Aleem, David R. Nerenz, Victor Chang and for the MSSIC Investigators

OBJECTIVE

The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) is a statewide, multicenter quality improvement initiative. Using MSSIC data, the authors sought to identify 90-day adverse events and their associated risk factors (RFs) after cervical spine surgery.

METHODS

A total of 8236 cervical spine surgery cases were analyzed. Multivariable generalized estimating equation regression models were constructed to identify RFs for adverse events; variables tested included age, sex, diabetes mellitus, disc herniation, foraminal stenosis, central stenosis, American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Classification System (ASA) class > II, myelopathy, private insurance, anterior versus posterior approach, revision procedures, number of surgical levels, length of procedure, blood loss, preoperative ambulation, ambulation day of surgery, length of hospital stay, and discharge disposition.

RESULTS

Ninety days after cervical spine surgery, adverse events identified included radicular findings (11.6%), readmission (7.7%), dysphagia requiring dietary modification (feeding tube or nothing by mouth [NPO]) (6.4%), urinary retention (4.7%), urinary tract infection (2.2%), surgical site hematoma (1.1%), surgical site infection (0.9%), deep vein thrombosis (0.7%), pulmonary embolism (0.5%), neurogenic bowel/bladder (0.4%), myelopathy (0.4%), myocardial infarction (0.4%), wound dehiscence (0.2%), claudication (0.2%), and ileus (0.2%). RFs for dysphagia included anterior approach (p < 0.001), fusion procedures (p = 0.030), multiple-level surgery when considering anterior procedures only (p = 0.037), and surgery duration (p = 0.002). RFs for readmission included ASA class > II (p < 0.001), while preoperative ambulation (p = 0.001) and private insurance (p < 0.001) were protective. RFs for urinary retention included increasing age (p < 0.001) and male sex (p < 0.001), while anterior-approach surgery (p < 0.001), preoperative ambulation (p = 0.001), and ambulation day of surgery (p = 0.001) were protective. Preoperative ambulation (p = 0.010) and anterior approach (p = 0.002) were protective of radicular findings.

CONCLUSIONS

A multivariate analysis from a large, multicenter, prospective database identified the common adverse events after cervical spine surgery, along with their associated RFs. This information can lead to more informed surgeons and patients. The authors found that early mobilization after cervical spine surgery has the potential to significantly decrease adverse events.

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Timothy J. Yee, Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Jay K. Nathan, Elyne N. Kahn, Siri S. Khalsa, Kelsey J. Fearer, Michael J. Kirsch, David R. Nerenz, Victor Chang, Jason M. Schwalb, Muwaffak M. Abdulhak and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is one of the most commonly used patient-reported outcome instruments, but completion of this 10-question survey can be cumbersome. Tools from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) are an alternative, and potentially more efficient, means of assessing physical, mental, and social outcomes in spine surgery. Authors of this retrospective study assessed whether scores on the 4-item surveys of function and pain from the PROMIS initiative correlate with those on the ODI in lumbar spine surgery.

METHODS

Patients evaluated in the adult neurosurgery spine clinic at a single institution completed the ODI, PROMIS Short Form v2.0 Physical Function 4a (PROMIS PF), and PROMIS Short Form v1.0 Pain Interference 4a (PROMIS PI) at various time points in their care. Score data were retrospectively analyzed using linear regressions with calculation of the Pearson correlation coefficient.

RESULTS

Three hundred forty-three sets of surveys (ODI, PROMIS PF, and PROMIS PI) were obtained from patients across initial visits (n = 147), 3-month follow-ups (n = 107), 12-month follow-ups (n = 52), and 24-month follow-ups (n = 37). ODI scores strongly correlated with PROMIS PF t-scores at baseline (r = −0.72, p < 0.0001), 3 months (r = −0.79, p < 0.0001), 12 months (r = −0.85, p < 0.0001), and 24 months (r = −0.89, p < 0.0001). ODI scores also correlated strongly with PROMIS PI t-scores at baseline (r = 0.71, p < 0.0001), at 3 months (r = 0.82, p < 0.0001), at 12 months (r = 0.86, p < 0.0001), and at 24 months (r = 0.88, p < 0.0001). Changes in ODI scores moderately correlated with changes in PROMIS PF t-scores (r = −0.68, p = 0.0003) and changes in PROMIS PI t-scores (r = 0.57, p = 0.0047) at 3 months postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

A strong correlation was found between the ODI and the 4-item PROMIS PF/PI at isolated time points for patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery. Large cohort studies are needed to determine longitudinal accuracy and precision and to assess possible benefits of time savings and improved rates of survey completion.

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Hesham Mostafa Zakaria, Tarek R. Mansour, Edvin Telemi, Karam Asmaro, Mohamed Macki, Michael Bazydlo, Lonni Schultz, David R. Nerenz, Muwaffak Abdulhak, Jason M. Schwalb, Paul Park and Victor Chang

OBJECTIVE

The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) is a prospective, longitudinal, multicenter, quality-improvement collaborative. Using MSSIC, the authors sought to identify the relationship between a positive Patient Health Questionnaire–2 (PHQ-2) screening, which is predictive of depression, and patient satisfaction, return to work, and achieving Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) minimal clinically important difference (MCID) scores up to 2 years after lumbar fusion.

METHODS

Data from a total of 8585 lumbar fusion patients were analyzed. Patient satisfaction was measured by the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index. A positive PHQ-2 score is one that is ≥ 3, which has an 82.9% sensitivity and 90.0% specificity in detecting major depressive disorder. Generalized estimating equation models were constructed; variables tested include age, sex, race, past medical history, severity of surgery, and preoperative opioid usage.

RESULTS

Multivariate analysis was performed. Patients with a positive PHQ-2 score (i.e., ≥ 3) were less likely to be satisfied after lumbar fusion at 90 days (relative risk [RR] 0.93, p < 0.001), 1 year (RR 0.92, p = 0.001), and 2 years (RR 0.92, p = 0.028). A positive PHQ-2 score was also associated with decreased likelihood of returning to work at 90 days (RR 0.76, p < 0.001), 1 year (RR 0.85, p = 0.001), and 2 years (RR 0.82, p = 0.031). A positive PHQ-2 score was predictive of failure to achieve an ODI MCID at 90 days (RR 1.07, p = 0.005) but not at 1 year or 2 years after lumbar fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

A multivariate analysis based on information from a large, multicenter, prospective database on lumbar fusion patients was performed. The authors found that a positive score (≥ 3) on the PHQ-2, which is a simple and accurate screening tool for depression, predicts an inability to return to work and worse satisfaction up to 2 years after lumbar fusion. Depression is a treatable condition, and so in the same way that patients are medically optimized before surgery to decrease postoperative morbidity, perhaps patients should have preoperative psychiatric optimization to improve postoperative functional outcomes.