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Matthew J. Tormenti, Matthew B. Maserati, Christopher M. Bonfield, Peter C. Gerszten, John J. Moossy, Adam S. Kanter, Richard M. Spiro and David O. Okonkwo

Object

Since its original description in 1982, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has grown in popularity as a means for achieving circumferential fusion. The authors sought to define the perioperative complication rates of the TLIF procedure at a large academic medical center.

Methods

For all eligible patients from a consecutive series of 531 TLIF procedures, the institution's complication database and the medical record were reviewed to identify complications. Medical, nonprocedure-related complications such as myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism were excluded due to inconsistency in the recording of these complications in the database. Rates were calculated for each type of complication, and subgroup analysis was performed to investigate the effect of previous lumbar surgery, and of multilevel versus single-level interbody fusion on complication rates. Odds ratios were calculated and evaluated using chi-square analysis.

Results

Five hundred thirty-one patients underwent a TLIF procedure during the study period. Two hundred forty-four patients (46%) had undergone a previous lumbar operation. Interbody fusion was performed at 1 level in 317 patients, at 2 levels in 188 patients, at 3 levels in 24 patients, and at 4 levels in 2 patients. One hundred thirty-five patients (25.4%) had at least one procedure-related complication. The most common complications were durotomy (14.3% of patients) and infection (3.8% of patients). Symptomatic screw misplacement (2.1% of patients) and interbody cage migration (1.8% of patients) were less common complications. The overall complication rate was greater in those patients who had undergone a previous operation (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.18–2.59; p < 0.01) and in those who had multilevel surgery (OR 1.54, 95 % CI 1.04–2.28; p = 0.03), and the incidence of durotomy was higher in patients who had a previous operation (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.07–2.87; p = 0.03). These differences were statistically significant. Durotomy also occurred more frequently in patients who had multilevel interbody fusion (OR 1.49, 95% CI 0.92–2.43; p = 0.13). A trend toward higher infection rates in those patients who underwent multilevel interbody fusion was observed (OR 1.5, 95% CI 0.62–3.68; p = 0.49), but this was not statistically significant. Infection rates did not differ between revision and first-time surgeries.

Conclusions

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion has gained widespread popularity as a procedure for achieving arthrodesis in the lumbar spine. Complications occurred more often in patients undergoing revision surgery or multilevel interbody fusion. Durotomy and infection were the most common complications in this series.

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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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The effect of vancomycin powder on human dural fibroblast culture and its implications for dural repair during spine surgery

Presented at the 2016 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Jorge Rasmussen, Joseph D. Chabot, Gurpreet Gandhoke, Emilia Luzzi, Lina Merlotti, Romina Proni, Mónica Loresi, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a major source of morbidity after spinal surgery. Several recent studies have described the finding that applying vancomycin powder to the surgical bed may reduce the incidence of SSI. However, applying vancomycin in high concentrations has been shown in vitro to inhibit osteoblast proliferation and to induce cell death. Vancomycin may have a deleterious effect on dural healing after repair of an intentional or unintentional durotomy. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the effect of different concentrations of vancomycin on a human dura mater cell culture.

METHODS

Human dura intended for disposal after decompressive craniectomy was harvested. Explant primary cultures and subcultures were subsequently performed. Cells were characterized through common staining and immunohistochemistry. A growth curve was performed to assess the effect of different concentrations of vancomycin (40, 400, and 4000 μg/ml) on cell count. The effect of vancomycin on cellular shape, intercellular arrangement, and viability was also evaluated.

RESULTS

All dural tissue samples successfully developed into fusiform cells, demonstrating pseudopod projections and spindle formation. The cells demonstrated vimentin positivity and also had typical features of fibroblasts. When applied to the cultures, the highest dose of vancomycin induced generalized cell death within 24 hours. The mean (± SD) cell counts for control, 40, 400, and 4000 μg/ml were 38.72 ± 15.93, 36.28 ± 22.87, 19.48 ± 6.53, and 4.07 ± 9.66, respectively (p < 0.0001, ANOVA). Compared with controls, vancomycin-exposed cells histologically demonstrated a smaller cytoplasm and decreased pseudopodia formation resulting in the inhibition of normal spindle intercellular arrangement.

CONCLUSIONS

When vancomycin powder is applied locally, dural cells are exposed to a concentration several times greater than when delivered systemically. In this in vitro model, vancomycin induced dural cell death, inhibited growth, and altered cellular morphology in a concentration-dependent fashion. Defining a safe vancomycin concentration that is both bactericidal and also does not inhibit normal dural healing is necessary.

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Adam S. Kanter, Alfa O. Diallo, John A. Jane Jr., Jason P. Sheehan, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Rod J. Oskouian, David O. Okonkwo, Charles A. Sansur, Mary Lee Vance, Alan D. Rogol and EdwardR. Laws Jr

Object

Despite ongoing advances in surgical and radiotherapeutic techniques, pediatric Cushing's disease remains a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. The authors report on the results of a single-center retrospective review of 33 pediatric patients with Cushing's disease, providing details with respect to clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation, therapeutic course, complications, and outcomes.

Methods

There were 17 female and 16 male patients whose mean age was 13 years (range 5–19 years) in whom a diagnosis of Cushing's disease was based on clinical and biochemical criteria. Typical symptoms included weight gain (91%), prepubertal growth delay (83%), round facies (61%), hirsutism (58%), headache (45%), abdominal striae (42%), acne (33%), amenorrhea (24%), and hypertension (24%). In 67% of the cases, preoperative magnetic resonance images revealed a pituitary lesion and in 82% of the cases the imaging studies effectively predicted lateralization. Inferior petrosal sinus sampling was performed in seven patients (21%), and in all of these cases lateralization was 100% reliable. Fifty-five percent underwent selective adenomectomies and 45% underwent subtotal hypophysectomies.

Complications included one case of diabetes insipidus, one of persistent hypocortisolemia necessitating prolonged glucocorticoid replacement therapy, and one minor vascular injury that did not necessitate postoperative management modification or cause sequelae. There were no surgery-related deaths and no cases of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage or meningitis. During a mean follow-up period of 44 months, clinical remission was ultimately achieved in 91% of patients: 76% after transsphenoidal surgery alone and an additional 15% after adjuvant radiosurgery and/or adrenalectomy following surgical failure. Three patients (12%) experienced disease recurrence and underwent a second surgical procedure at 18, 81, and 92 months, respectively; based on clinical and biochemical criteria a second remission was achieved in all. Three patients (9%) remain with persistent disease.

Conclusions

Pediatric Cushing's disease is a rare condition, often requiring a multidisciplinary diagnostic and a multimodal therapeutic approach for successful long-term remission.

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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.

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Pierce D. Nunley, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard G. Fessler, Paul Park, Joseph M. Zavatsky, Juan S. Uribe, Robert K. Eastlack, Dean Chou, Michael Y. Wang, Neel Anand, Kelly A. Frank, Marcus B. Stone, Adam S. Kanter, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Praveen V. Mummaneni and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to educate medical professionals about potential financial impacts of improper diagnosis-related group (DRG) coding in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

Medicare’s Inpatient Prospective Payment System PC Pricer database was used to collect 2015 reimbursement data for ASD procedures from 12 hospitals. Case type, hospital type/location, number of operative levels, proper coding, length of stay, and complications/comorbidities (CCs) were analyzed for effects on reimbursement. DRGs were used to categorize cases into 3 types: 1) anterior or posterior only fusion, 2) anterior fusion with posterior percutaneous fixation with no dorsal fusion, and 3) combined anterior and posterior fixation and fusion.

RESULTS

Pooling institutions, cases were reimbursed the same for single-level and multilevel ASD surgery. Longer stay, from 3 to 8 days, resulted in an additional $1400 per stay. Posterior fusion was an additional $6588, while CCs increased reimbursement by approximately $13,000. Academic institutions received higher reimbursement than private institutions, i.e., approximately $14,000 (Case Types 1 and 2) and approximately $16,000 (Case Type 3). Urban institutions received higher reimbursement than suburban institutions, i.e., approximately $3000 (Case Types 1 and 2) and approximately $3500 (Case Type 3). Longer stay, from 3 to 8 days, increased reimbursement between $208 and $494 for private institutions and between $1397 and $1879 for academic institutions per stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Reimbursement is based on many factors not controlled by surgeons or hospitals, but proper DRG coding can significantly impact the financial health of hospitals and availability of quality patient care.

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Rod J. Oskouian Jr., Christopher I. Shaffrey, Richard Whitehill, Charles A. Sansur, Nader Pouratian, Adam S. Kanter, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Aaron S. Dumont, Jason P. Sheehan, W. Jeffrey Elias and Mark E. Shaffrey

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results obtained in patients who underwent anterior stabilization for three-column thoracolumbar fractures.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed available clinical and radiographic data (1997–2006) to classify three-column thoracolumbar fractures according to the Association for the Study of Internal Fixation (AO) system, neurological status, spinal canal compromise, pre- and postoperative segmental angulation, and arthrodesis rate.

The mean computed tomography–measured preoperative spinal canal compromise was 48.3% (range 8–92%), and the mean vertebral body height loss was 39.4%. The mean preoperative kyphotic deformity of 14.9° improved to 4.6° at the final follow-up examination. Although this angulation had increased a mean of 1.8° during the follow-up period, the extent of correction was still significant compared with the preoperative angulation (p < 0.01). There were no cases of vascular complication or neurological deterioration.

Conclusions

Contemporary anterior spinal reconstruction techniques can allow certain types of unstable three-column thoracolumbar fractures to be treated via an anterior approach alone. Compared with traditional posterior approaches, the anterior route spares lumbar motion segments and obviates the need for harvesting of the iliac crest.

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Nitin Agarwal, Federico Angriman, Ezequiel Goldschmidt, James Zhou, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Peter G. Passias, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Christopher Ames, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Douglas Burton, D. Kojo Hamilton and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Obesity, a condition that is increasing in prevalence in the United States, has previously been associated with poorer outcomes following deformity surgery, including higher rates of perioperative complications such as deep and superficial infections. To date, however, no study has examined the relationship between preoperative BMI and outcomes of deformity surgery as measured by spine parameters such as the sagittal vertical axis (SVA), as well as health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures such as the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and Scoliosis Research Society–22 patient questionnaire (SRS-22). To this end, the authors sought to clarify the relationship between BMI and postoperative change in SVA as well as HRQoL outcomes.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of a prospectively managed multicenter adult spinal deformity database collected and maintained by the International Spine Study Group (ISSG) between 2009 and 2014. The primary independent variable considered was preoperative BMI. The primary outcome was the change in SVA at 1 year after deformity surgery. Postoperative ODI and SRS-22 outcome measures were evaluated as secondary outcomes. Generalized linear models were used to model the primary and secondary outcomes at 1 year as a function of BMI at baseline, while adjusting for potential measured confounders.

RESULTS

Increasing BMI (compared to BMI < 18) was not associated with change of SVA at 1 year postsurgery. However, BMIs in the obese range of 30 to 34.9 kg/m2, compared to BMI < 18 at baseline, were associated with poorer outcomes as measured by the SRS-22 score (estimated change −0.47, 95% CI −0.93 to −0.01, p = 0.04). While BMIs > 30 appeared to be associated with poorer outcomes as determined by the ODI, this correlation did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS

Baseline BMI did not affect the achievable SVA at 1 year postsurgery. Further studies should evaluate whether even in the absence of a change in SVA, baseline BMIs in the obese range are associated with worsened HRQoL outcomes after spinal surgery.

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Michael Y. Wang, Stacie Tran, G. Damian Brusko, Robert Eastlack, Paul Park, Pierce D. Nunley, Adam S. Kanter, Juan S. Uribe, Neel Anand, David O. Okonkwo, Khoi D. Than, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni and the MIS-ISSG Group

OBJECTIVE

The past decade has seen major advances in techniques for treating more complex spinal disorders using minimally invasive surgery (MIS). While appealing from the standpoint of patient perioperative outcomes, a major impediment to adoption has been the significant learning curve in utilizing MIS techniques.

METHODS

Data were retrospectively analyzed from a multicenter series of adult spinal deformity surgeries treated at eight tertiary spine care centers in the period from 2008 to 2015. All patients had undergone a less invasive or hybrid approach for a deformity correction satisfying the following inclusion criteria at baseline: coronal Cobb angle ≥ 20°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm, or pelvic tilt > 20°. Analyzed data included baseline demographic details, severity of deformity, surgical metrics, clinical outcomes (numeric rating scale [NRS] score and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]), radiographic outcomes, and complications. A minimum follow-up of 2 years was required for study inclusion.

RESULTS

Across the 8-year study period, among 222 patients, there was a trend toward treating increasingly morbid patients, with the mean age increasing from 50.7 to 62.4 years (p = 0.013) and the BMI increasing from 25.5 to 31.4 kg/m2 (p = 0.12). There was no statistical difference in the severity of coronal and sagittal deformity treated over the study period. With regard to radiographic changes following surgery, there was an increasing emphasis on sagittal correction and, conversely, less coronal correction. There was no statistically significant difference in clinical outcomes over the 8-year period, and meaningful improvements were seen in all years (ODI range of improvement: 15.0–26.9). Neither were there statistically significant differences in major complications; however, minor complications were seen less often as the surgeons gained experience (p = 0.064). Operative time was decreased on average by 47% over the 8-year period.

Trends in surgical practice were seen as well. Total fusion construct length was unchanged until the last year when there was a marked decrease in conjunction with a decrease in interbody levels treated (p = 0.004) while obtaining a higher degree of sagittal correction, suggesting more selective but powerful interbody reduction methods as reflected by an increase in the lateral and anterior column resection techniques being utilized.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of minimally invasive methods for adult spinal deformity surgery has evolved over the past decade. Experienced surgeons are treating older and more morbid patients with similar outcomes. A reliance on selective, more powerful interbody approaches is increasing as well.

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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.