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Ali K. Ozturk, Patricia Zadnik Sullivan and Vincent Arlet

The importance of sagittal spinal balance and lumbopelvic parameters is now well understood. The popularization of various osteotomies, including Smith-Peterson, Ponte, and pedicle subtraction osteotomies (PSOs), as well as vertebral column resections, have greatly enhanced the spine surgeon’s ability to recognize and effectively treat sagittal imbalance. Yet rare circumstances remain, most notably in distal kyphotic deformities and patients with extremely elevated pelvic incidences, where these techniques remain inadequate. In this article, the authors describe a patient with severe sagittal imbalance despite multiple prior anterior and posterior reconstructive surgeries in which a sacral PSO was performed with good results. A description of this technique as well as a brief review of the literature is provided.

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Vivek P. Buch, Peter J. Madsen, Kerry A. Vaughan, Paul F. Koch, David K. Kung and Ali K. Ozturk

Rotational vertebrobasilar insufficiency, or bow hunter's syndrome, is a rare cause of posterior circulation ischemia, which, following rotation of the head, results in episodic vertigo, dizziness, nystagmus, or syncope. While typically caused by dynamic occlusion of the vertebral artery in its V2 and V3 segments, the authors here describe a patient with dynamic occlusion of the vertebral artery secondary to a persistent first intersegmental artery, a rare variant course of the vertebral artery. In this case the vertebral artery coursed under rather than over the posterior arch of the C-1. This patient was also found to have incomplete development of the posterior arch of C-1, as is often seen with this variant. The patient underwent dynamic digital subtraction angiography, which demonstrated occlusion at the variant vertebral artery with head turning. He was then taken for decompression of the vertebral artery through removal of the incomplete arch of C-1 that was causing the dynamic compression. After surgery the patient had a complete resolution of symptoms. In this report, the authors present the details of this case, describe the anatomical variants involved, and provide a discussion regarding the need for atlantoaxial fusion in these patients.

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Implications of anesthetic approach, spinal versus general, for the treatment of spinal disc herniation

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

Nikhil Sharma, Matthew Piazza, Paul J. Marcotte, William Welch, Ali K. Ozturk, H. Isaac Chen, Zarina S. Ali, James Schuster and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

Healthcare costs continue to escalate. Approaches to care that have comparable outcomes and complications are increasingly assessed for quality improvement and, when possible, cost containment. Efforts to identify components of care to reduce length of stay (LOS) have been ongoing. Spinal anesthesia (SA), for select lumbar spine procedures, has garnered interest as an alternative to general anesthesia (GA) that might reduce cost and in-hospital LOS and accelerate recovery. While clinical outcomes with SA or GA have been studied extensively, few authors have looked at the cost-analysis in relation to clinical outcomes. The authors’ objectives were to compare the clinical perioperative outcomes of patients who received SA and GA, as well as the direct costs associated with each modality of care, and to determine which, in a retrospective analysis, can serve as a dominant procedural approach.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed a homogeneous surgical population of 550 patients who underwent hemilaminotomy for disc herniation and who received either SA (n = 91) or GA (n = 459). All clinical and billing data were obtained via each patient’s chart and the hospital’s billing database, respectively. Additionally, the authors prospectively assessed patient-reported outcome measures for a subgroup of consecutively treated patients (n = 75) and compared quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gains between the two cohorts. Furthermore, the authors performed a propensity score–matching analysis to compare the two cohorts (n = 180).

RESULTS

Direct hospital costs for patients receiving SA were 40% higher, in the hundreds of dollars, than for patients who received GA (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, there was a significant difference with regard to LOS (p < 0.0001), where patients receiving SA had a considerably longer hospital LOS (27.6% increase in hours). Patients undergoing SA had more comorbidities (p = 0.0053), specifically diabetes and hypertension. However, metrics of complications, including readmission (p = 0.3038) and emergency department (ED) visits at 30 days (p = 1.0), were no different. Furthermore, in a small pilot group, QALY gains were statistically no different (n = 75, p = 0.6708). Propensity score–matching analysis demonstrated similar results as the univariate analysis: there was no difference between the cohorts regarding 30-day readmission (p = 1.0000); ED within 30 days could not be analyzed as there were no patients in the SA group; and total direct costs and LOS were significantly different between the two cohorts (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0126, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Both SA and GA exhibit the qualities of a good anesthetic, and the utilization of these modalities for lumbar spine surgery is safe and effective. However, this work suggests that SA is associated with increased LOS and higher direct costs, although these differences may not be clinically or fiscally meaningful.

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Chelsea J. Hendow, Alexander Beschloss, Alejandro Cazzulino, Joseph M. Lombardi, Philip K. Louie, Andrew H. Milby, Andrew J. Pugely, Ali K. Ozturk, Steven C. Ludwig and Comron Saifi

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate revision burden and associated demographic and economic data for atlantoaxial (AA) fusion procedures in the US.

METHODS

Patient data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for primary AA fusion were obtained from 1993 to 2015, and for revision AA fusion from 2006 to 2014 using ICD-9 procedure codes. Data from 2006 to 2014 were used in comparisons between primary and revision surgeries. National procedure rates, hospital costs/charges, length of stay (LOS), routine discharge, and mortality rates were investigated.

RESULTS

Between 1993 and 2014, 52,011 patients underwent primary AA fusion. Over this period, there was a 111% increase in annual number of primary surgeries performed. An estimated 1372 patients underwent revision AA fusion between 2006 and 2014, and over this time period there was a 6% decrease in the number of revisions performed annually. The 65–84 year-old age group increased as a proportion of primary AA fusions in the US from 35.9% of all AA fusions in 1997 to 44.2% in 2015, an increase of 23%. The mean hospital cost for primary AA surgery increased 32% between 2006 and 2015, while the mean cost for revision AA surgery increased by 35% between 2006 and 2014. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean hospital charge for primary AA surgery increased by 67%; the mean charge for revision surgery over that same period increased by 57%. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean age for primary AA fusions was 60 years, while the mean age for revision AA fusions was 52 years. The mean LOS for both procedures decreased over the study period, with primary AA fusion decreasing by 31% and revision AA fusion decreasing by 24%. Revision burden decreased by 21% between 2006 and 2014 (mean 4.9%, range 3.2%–6.4%). The inpatient mortality rate for primary AA surgery decreased from 5.3% in 1993 to 2.2% in 2014.

CONCLUSIONS

The number of primary AA fusions between 2006 and 2014 increased 22%, while the number of revision procedures has decreased 6% over the same period. The revision burden decreased by 21%. The inpatient mortality rate decreased 62% (1993–2014) to 2.2%. The increased primary fusion rate, decreased revision burden, and decreased inpatient mortality determined in this study may suggest an improvement in the safety and success of primary AA fusion.

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M. Burhan Janjua, Sumanth Reddy, William C. Welch, Amer F. Samdani, Ali K. Ozturk, Steven W. Hwang, Angela V. Price, Bradley E. Weprin and Dale M. Swift

OBJECTIVE

The risk of readmission after brain tumor resection among pediatric patients has not been defined. The authors’ objective was to evaluate the readmission rates and predictors of readmission after pediatric brain tumor resection.

METHODS

Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) data sets from 2010 to 2014 were searched for unplanned readmissions within 30 days of the discharge date after pediatric brain tumor resection. Patient demographic variables included sex, age, expected payment source (Medicaid or private insurance), and median annual household income. Readmission events for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or further tumor resection were not included.

RESULTS

Of 282 patients (12.7%) readmitted within 30 days of the index event, the median time to readmission was 10 days (IQR 5–19 days). The most common reason for readmission was hydrocephalus, which accounted for 19% of readmission events. Other CNS-related complications (24%), surgical site infections or septicemia (14%), seizures (7%), and hematological disorders (7%) accounted for other major readmission events. The median charge for readmission events was $35,431, and the median length of readmission stay was 4 days. In multivariate regression, factors associated with a significant increase in readmission risk included Medicaid as the primary payor, discharge from the index event with home health services, and fluid and electrolyte disorders during the index event.

CONCLUSIONS

More than 10% of pediatric brain tumor patients have unplanned readmission events within 30 days of discharge after tumor resection. Medicaid patients and those with preoperative or early postoperative fluid and electrolyte disturbances may benefit from early or frequent outpatient visits after tumor resection.

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Zarina S. Ali, Tracy M. Flanders, Ali K. Ozturk, Neil R. Malhotra, Lena Leszinsky, Brendan J. McShane, Diana Gardiner, Kristin Rupich, H. Isaac Chen, James Schuster, Paul J. Marcotte, Michael J. Kallan, M. Sean Grady, Lee A. Fleisher and William C. Welch

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols address pre-, peri-, and postoperative factors of a patient’s surgical journey. The authors sought to assess the effects of a novel ERAS protocol on clinical outcomes for patients undergoing elective spine or peripheral nerve surgery.

METHODS

The authors conducted a prospective cohort analysis comparing clinical outcomes of patients undergoing elective spine or peripheral nerve surgery after implementation of the ERAS protocol compared to a historical control cohort in a tertiary care academic medical center. Patients in the historical cohort (September–December 2016) underwent traditional surgical care. Patients in the intervention group (April–June 2017) were enrolled in a unique ERAS protocol created by the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Primary objectives were as follows: opioid and nonopioid pain medication consumption, need for opioid use at 1 month postoperatively, and patient-reported pain scores. Secondary objectives were as follows: mobilization and ambulation status, Foley catheter use, need for straight catheterization, length of stay, need for ICU admission, discharge status, and readmission within 30 days.

RESULTS

A total of 201 patients underwent surgical care via an ERAS protocol and were compared to a total of 74 patients undergoing traditional perioperative care (control group). The 2 groups were similar in baseline demographics. Intravenous opioid medications postoperatively via patient-controlled analgesia was nearly eliminated in the ERAS group (0.5% vs 54.1%, p < 0.001). This change was not associated with an increase in the average or daily pain scores in the ERAS group. At 1 month following surgery, a smaller proportion of patients in the ERAS group were using opioids (38.8% vs 52.7%, p = 0.041). The ERAS group demonstrated greater mobilization on postoperative day 0 (53.4% vs 17.1%, p < 0.001) and postoperative day 1 (84.1% vs 45.7%, p < 0.001) compared to the control group. Postoperative Foley use was decreased in the ERAS group (20.4% vs 47.3%, p < 0.001) without an increase in the rate of straight catheterization (8.1% vs 11.9%, p = 0.51).

CONCLUSIONS

Implementation of this novel ERAS pathway safely reduces patients’ postoperative opioid requirements during hospitalization and 1 month postoperatively. ERAS results in improved postoperative mobilization and ambulation.

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Patricia Zadnik Sullivan, Ahmed Albayar, Ashwin G. Ramayya, Brendan McShane, Paul Marcotte, Neil R. Malhotra, Zarina S. Ali, H. Isaac Chen, M. Burhan Janjua, Comron Saifi, James Schuster, M. Sean Grady, Joshua Jones and Ali K. Ozturk

OBJECTIVE

Multidisciplinary treatment including medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical consultation is necessary to provide comprehensive therapy for patients with spinal metastases. The goal of this study was to review the use of radiation therapy and/or surgical intervention and their impact on patient outcomes.

METHODS

In this retrospective series, the authors identified at their institution those patients with spinal metastases who had received radiation therapy alone or had undergone surgery with or without radiation therapy within a 6-year period. Data on patient age, chemotherapy, surgical procedure, radiation therapy, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), primary tumor pathology, Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS), and survival after treatment were collected from the patient electronic medical records. N − 1 chi-square testing was used for comparisons of proportions. The Student t-test was used for comparisons of means. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. A survival analysis was completed using a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS

Two hundred thirty patients with spinal metastases were identified, 109 of whom had undergone surgery with or without radiation therapy. Among the 104 patients for whom the surgical details were reviewed, 34 (33%) had a history of preoperative radiation to the surgical site but ultimately required surgical intervention. In this surgical group, a significantly increased frequency of death within 30 days was noted for the SINS unstable patients (23.5%) as compared to that for the SINS stable patients (2.3%; p < 0.001). The SINS was a significant predictor of time to death among surgical patients (HR 1.11, p = 0.037). Preoperative KPS was not independently associated with decreased survival (p > 0.5) on univariate analysis. One hundred twenty-six patients met the criteria for inclusion in the radiation-only analysis. Ninety-eight of these patients (78%) met the criteria for potential instability (PI) at the time of treatment, according to the SINS system. Five patients (5%) with PI in the radiation therapy group had a documented neurosurgical or orthopedic surgery consultation prior to radiation therapy.

CONCLUSIONS

At the authors’ institution, patients with gross mechanical instability per the SINS system had an increased rate of 30-day postoperative mortality, which remained significant when controlling for other factors. Surgical consultation for metastatic spine patients receiving radiation oncology consultation with PI is low. The authors describe an institutional pathway to encourage multidisciplinary treatment from the initial encounter in the emergency department to expedite surgical evaluation and collaboration.

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Ashwin G. Ramayya, H. Isaac Chen, Paul J. Marcotte, Steven Brem, Eric L. Zager, Benjamin Osiemo, Matthew Piazza, Nikhil Sharma, Scott D. McClintock, James M. Schuster, Zarina S. Ali, Patrick Connolly, Gregory G. Heuer, M. Sean Grady, David K. Kung, Ali K. Ozturk, Donald M. O’Rourke and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

Although it is known that intersurgeon variability in offering elective surgery can have major consequences for patient morbidity and healthcare spending, data addressing variability within neurosurgery are scarce. The authors performed a prospective peer review study of randomly selected neurosurgery cases in order to assess the extent of consensus regarding the decision to offer elective surgery among attending neurosurgeons across one large academic institution.

METHODS

All consecutive patients who had undergone standard inpatient surgical interventions of 1 of 4 types (craniotomy for tumor [CFT], nonacute redo CFT, first-time spine surgery with/without instrumentation, and nonacute redo spine surgery with/without instrumentation) during the period 2015–2017 were retrospectively enrolled (n = 9156 patient surgeries, n = 80 randomly selected individual cases, n = 20 index cases of each type randomly selected for review). The selected cases were scored by attending neurosurgeons using a need for surgery (NFS) score based on clinical data (patient demographics, preoperative notes, radiology reports, and operative notes; n = 616 independent case reviews). Attending neurosurgeon reviewers were blinded as to performing provider and surgical outcome. Aggregate NFS scores across various categories were measured. The authors employed a repeated-measures mixed ANOVA model with autoregressive variance structure to compute omnibus statistical tests across the various surgery types. Interrater reliability (IRR) was measured using Cohen’s kappa based on binary NFS scores.

RESULTS

Overall, the authors found that most of the neurosurgical procedures studied were rated as “indicated” by blinded attending neurosurgeons (mean NFS = 88.3, all p values < 0.001) with greater agreement among neurosurgeon raters than expected by chance (IRR = 81.78%, p = 0.016). Redo surgery had lower NFS scores and IRR scores than first-time surgery, both for craniotomy and spine surgery (ANOVA, all p values < 0.01). Spine surgeries with fusion had lower NFS scores than spine surgeries without fusion procedures (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

There was general agreement among neurosurgeons in terms of indication for surgery; however, revision surgery of all types and spine surgery with fusion procedures had the lowest amount of decision consensus. These results should guide efforts aimed at reducing unnecessary variability in surgical practice with the goal of effective allocation of healthcare resources to advance the value paradigm in neurosurgery.