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Overlapping single-level lumbar fusion and adverse short-term outcomes

Ali S. Farooqi, Donald K. E. Detchou, Gregory Glauser, Krista Strouz, Scott D. McClintock, and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

There is a paucity of research on the safety of overlapping surgery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of overlapping surgery on a homogenous population of exactly matched patients undergoing single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed case data of 3799 consecutive adult patients who underwent single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion during a 6-year period (June 7, 2013, to April 29, 2019) at a multihospital university health system. Outcomes included 30-day emergency department (ED) visit, readmission, reoperation, and morbidity and mortality following surgery. Thereafter, coarsened exact matching was used to match patients with and without overlap on key demographic factors, including American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, sex, and body mass index (BMI), among others. Patients were subsequently matched by both demographic data and by the specific surgeon performing the operation. Univariate analysis was carried out on the whole population, the demographically matched cohort, and the surgeon-matched cohort, with significance set at a p value < 0.05.

RESULTS

There was no significant difference in morbidity or any short-term outcome, including readmission, reoperation, ED evaluation, and mortality. Among the demographically matched cohort and surgeon-matched cohort, there was no significant difference in age, sex, history of prior surgery, ASA class, or CCI score. Overlapping surgery patients in both the demographically matched cohort and the matched cohort limited by surgeon had longer durations of surgery (p < 0.01), but no increased morbidity or mortality was noted. Patients selected for overlap had fewer prior surgeries and lower ASA class and CCI score (p < 0.01). Patients with overlap also had a longer duration of surgery (p < 0.01) but not duration of closure.

CONCLUSIONS

Exactly matched patients undergoing overlapping single-level lumbar fusion procedures had no increased short-term morbidity or mortality; however, duration of surgery was 20 minutes longer on average for overlapping operations. Further studies should assess long-term patient outcomes and the impact of overlap in this and other surgical procedures.

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Overlapping single-level lumbar fusion and adverse short-term outcomes

Ali S. Farooqi, Donald K. E. Detchou, Gregory Glauser, Krista Strouz, Scott D. McClintock, and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

There is a paucity of research on the safety of overlapping surgery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of overlapping surgery on a homogenous population of exactly matched patients undergoing single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed case data of 3799 consecutive adult patients who underwent single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion during a 6-year period (June 7, 2013, to April 29, 2019) at a multihospital university health system. Outcomes included 30-day emergency department (ED) visit, readmission, reoperation, and morbidity and mortality following surgery. Thereafter, coarsened exact matching was used to match patients with and without overlap on key demographic factors, including American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, sex, and body mass index (BMI), among others. Patients were subsequently matched by both demographic data and by the specific surgeon performing the operation. Univariate analysis was carried out on the whole population, the demographically matched cohort, and the surgeon-matched cohort, with significance set at a p value < 0.05.

RESULTS

There was no significant difference in morbidity or any short-term outcome, including readmission, reoperation, ED evaluation, and mortality. Among the demographically matched cohort and surgeon-matched cohort, there was no significant difference in age, sex, history of prior surgery, ASA class, or CCI score. Overlapping surgery patients in both the demographically matched cohort and the matched cohort limited by surgeon had longer durations of surgery (p < 0.01), but no increased morbidity or mortality was noted. Patients selected for overlap had fewer prior surgeries and lower ASA class and CCI score (p < 0.01). Patients with overlap also had a longer duration of surgery (p < 0.01) but not duration of closure.

CONCLUSIONS

Exactly matched patients undergoing overlapping single-level lumbar fusion procedures had no increased short-term morbidity or mortality; however, duration of surgery was 20 minutes longer on average for overlapping operations. Further studies should assess long-term patient outcomes and the impact of overlap in this and other surgical procedures.

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Simple and actionable preoperative prediction of postoperative healthcare needs of single-level lumbar fusion patients

Austin J. Borja, Ali S. Farooqi, Joshua L. Golubovsky, Gregory Glauser, Krista Strouz, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Scott D. McClintock, and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative prediction of a patient’s postoperative healthcare utilization is challenging, and limited guidance currently exists. The objective of the present study was to assess the capability of individual risk-related patient characteristics, which are available preoperatively, that may predict discharge disposition prior to lumbar fusion.

METHODS

In total, 1066 consecutive patients who underwent single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion at a university health system were enrolled. Patients were prospectively asked 4 nondemographic questions from the Risk Assessment and Prediction Tool during preoperative office visits to evaluate key risk-related characteristics: baseline walking ability, use of a gait assistive device, reliance on community supports (e.g., Meals on Wheels), and availability of a postoperative home caretaker. The primary outcome was discharge disposition (home vs skilled nursing facility/acute rehabilitation). Logistic regression was performed to analyze the ability of each risk-related characteristic to predict likelihood of home discharge.

RESULTS

Regression analysis demonstrated that improved baseline walking ability (OR 3.17), ambulation without a gait assistive device (OR 3.13), and availability of a postoperative home caretaker (OR 1.99) each significantly predicted an increased likelihood of home discharge (all p < 0.0001). However, reliance on community supports did not significantly predict discharge disposition (p = 0.94).

CONCLUSIONS

Patient mobility and the availability of a postoperative caretaker, when determined preoperatively, strongly predict a patient’s healthcare utilization in the setting of single-level, posterior lumbar fusion. These findings may help surgeons to streamline preoperative clinic workflow and support the patients at highest risk in a targeted fashion.

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Postoperative outcomes and the association with overlap before or after the critical step of lumbar fusion

Ali S. Farooqi, Austin J. Borja, Donald K. E. Detchou, Gregory Glauser, Kaitlyn Shultz, Scott D. McClintock, and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

This study assesses how degree of overlap, either before or after the critical operative portion, affects lumbar fusion outcomes.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied 3799 consecutive patients undergoing single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion over 6 years (2013–2019) at a university health system. Outcomes recorded within 30–90 and 0–90 postoperative days included emergency department (ED) visit, readmission, reoperation, overall morbidity, and mortality. Furthermore, morbidity and mortality were recorded for the duration of follow-up. The amount of overlap that occurred before or after the critical portion of surgery was calculated as a percentage of total beginning or end operative time. Subsequent to initial whole-population analysis, coarsened exact-matched cohorts of patients were created with the least and most amounts of either beginning or end overlap. Univariate analysis was performed on both beginning and end overlap exact-matched cohorts, with significance set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

Equivalent outcomes were observed when comparing exact-matched patients. Among the whole population, the degree of beginning overlap was correlated with reduced ED visits within 30–90 and 0–90 days (p = 0.007, p = 0.009; respectively), and less 0–90 day morbidity (p = 0.037). Degree of end overlap was correlated with fewer 30–90 day ED visits (p = 0.015). When comparing only patients with overlap, degree of beginning overlap was correlated with fewer 0–90 day reoperations (p = 0.022), and no outcomes were correlated with degree of end overlap.

CONCLUSIONS

The degree of overlap before or after the critical step of surgery does not lead to worse outcomes after lumbar fusion.

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Use of the Global Alignment and Proportion score to predict postoperative health-related quality of life in adult spinal deformity surgery

Jichao Ye, Tsung-Cheng Yin, Sachin Gupta, Ali S. Farooqi, Wenbing Wan, Caglar Yilgor, Brenda A. Sides, and Munish C. Gupta

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to validate the Global Alignment and Proportion (GAP) score as a predictor of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes for patients undergoing adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with ASD undergoing long-segment spine fusions (≥ 5 vertebrae fused) at a single institution over a 2-year period (n = 85). Radiographic parameters were measured at preoperative, 6-week postoperative, 1-year postoperative, and 2-year postoperative visits. GAP scores were calculated using 4 sagittal parameters: relative pelvic version, relative lumbar lordosis, lordosis distribution index, and relative spinopelvic alignment. Patients were stratified into 3 GAP categories at each time point: proportioned (score 0–2), moderately disproportioned (score 3–6), and severely disproportioned (score ≥ 7). HRQOL outcomes were collected at preoperative, 1-year postoperative, and 2-year postoperative visits; these measures included patient self-reported outcome measures (i.e., PROMIS), Scoliosis Research Society-22 spinal deformity questionnaire (SRS-22), and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores.

RESULTS

Overall, 42% of cases were revision surgeries and 96.5% of patients underwent fusion to the sacrum. The mean preoperative GAP score significantly improved from preoperative (7.84) to immediate postoperative (3.31) assessment (p < 0.001). Similarly, the percentage of patients categorized as proportioned improved from 9.4% at preoperative to 45.9% at immediate postoperative evaluation. The preoperative GAP score or category was not significantly associated with any preoperative HRQOL outcome metrics. The immediate postoperative GAP score was not correlated with any 1-year HRQOL outcomes. However, the immediate postoperative GAP score was significantly associated with 2-year SRS-22 outcomes, including SRS-22 function (r = −0.35, p < 0.01), self-image (r = −0.27, p = 0.044), and subtotal (r = −0.35, p < 0.01) scores. As compared to severely disproportioned patients, proportioned patients had better SRS-22 pain (4.08 vs 3.17, p = 0.04), satisfaction (4.40 vs 3.50, p = 0.02), and subtotal (4.01 vs 3.27, p = 0.036) scores. The immediate postoperative GAP score was also significantly associated with 2-year PROMIS outcomes, including PROMIS pain (r = 0.31, p = 0.023) and physical function (r = −0.35, p < 0.01) scores. As compared to severely disproportioned patients, proportioned patients had better PROMIS pain (53.18 vs 63.60, p = 0.025) and physical function (41.66 vs 34.18, p = 0.017) scores. Postoperative GAP score or category did not predict any ODI outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

The postoperative GAP score is a predictor of long-term HRQOL outcomes following ASD surgery, and proportioned patients are more likely to have less pain and be satisfied with their surgery. However, the postoperative GAP score does not predict outcomes as measured by ODI.

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Predictive role of global spinopelvic alignment and upper instrumented vertebra level in symptomatic proximal junctional kyphosis in adult spinal deformity

Jichao Ye, Sachin Gupta, Ali S. Farooqi, Tsung Yin, Alex Soroceanu, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Michael P. Kelly, Khaled Kebaish, Richard Hostin, Jeffrey L. Gum, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Eric O. Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Robert A. Hart, D. Kojo Hamilton, Christopher P. Ames, and Munish C. Gupta

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study sought to evaluate the predictive role of global sagittal alignment and upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) level in symptomatic proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) among patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

Data on ASD patients who had undergone fusion of ≥ 5 vertebrae from 2008 to 2018 and with a minimum follow-up of 1 year were obtained from a prospectively collected multicenter database and evaluated (n = 1312). Radiographs were obtained preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years postoperatively. The 22-Item Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire Revised (SRS-22r) scores were collected preoperatively, 1 year postoperatively, and 2 years postoperatively. Symptomatic PJK was defined as a kyphotic increase > 20° in the Cobb angle from the UIV to the UIV+2. At 6 weeks postoperatively, sagittal parameters were evaluated and patients were categorized by global alignment and proportion (GAP) score/category and SRS-Schwab sagittal modifiers. Patients were stratified by UIV level: upper thoracic (UT) UIV ≥ T8 or lower thoracic (LT) UIV ≤ T9.

RESULTS

Patients who developed symptomatic PJK (n = 260) had worse 1-year postoperative SRS-22r mental health (3.70 vs 3.86) and total (3.56 vs 3.67) scores, as well as worse 2-year postoperative self-image (3.45 vs 3.65) and satisfaction (4.03 vs 4.22) scores (all p ≤ 0.04). In the whole study cohort, patients with PJK had less pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch (−0.24° vs 3.29°, p < 0.001) but no difference in their GAP score/category or SRS-Schwab sagittal modifiers compared with the patients without PJK. Regression showed a higher risk of PJK with a pelvic tilt (PT) grade ++ (OR 2.35) and less risk with a PI-LL grade ++ (OR 0.35; both p < 0.01). When specifically analyzing the LT UIV cohort, patients with PJK had a higher GAP score (5.66 vs 4.79), greater PT (23.02° vs 20.90°), and less PI-LL mismatch (1.61° vs 4.45°; all p ≤ 0.02). PJK patients were less likely to be proportioned postoperatively (17.6% vs 30.0%, p = 0.015), and regression demonstrated a greater PJK risk with severe disproportion (OR 1.98) and a PT grade ++ (OR 3.15) but less risk with a PI-LL grade ++ (OR 0.45; all p ≤ 0.01). When specifically evaluating the UT UIV cohort, the PJK patients had less PI-LL mismatch (−2.11° vs 1.45°) but no difference in their GAP score/category. Regression showed a greater PJK risk with a PT grade + (OR 1.58) and a decreased risk with a PI-LL grade ++ (OR 0.21; both p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Symptomatic PJK leads to worse patient-reported outcomes and is associated with less postoperative PI-LL mismatch and greater postoperative PT. A worse postoperative GAP score and disproportion are only predictive of symptomatic PJK in patients with an LT UIV.

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Use of multiple rods and proximal junctional kyphosis in adult spinal deformity surgery

Jichao Ye, Sachin Gupta, Ali S. Farooqi, Tsung-Cheng Yin, Alex Soroceanu, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Michael P. Kelly, Khaled Kebaish, Richard Hostin, Jeffrey L. Gum, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Eric O. Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Robert A. Hart, D. Kojo Hamilton, Christopher P. Ames, and Munish C. Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Multiple rods are utilized in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery to increase construct stiffness. However, the impact of multiple rods on proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is not well established. This study aimed to investigate the impact of multiple rods on PJK incidence in ASD patients.

METHODS

ASD patients from a prospective multicenter database with a minimum follow-up of 1 year were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical and radiographic data were collected preoperatively, at 6 weeks postoperatively, at 6 months postoperatively, at 1 year postoperatively, and at every subsequent year postoperatively. PJK was defined as a kyphotic increase of > 10° in the Cobb angle from the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) to UIV+2 as compared with preoperative values. Demographic data, radiographic parameters, and PJK incidence were compared between the multirod and dual-rod patient cohorts. PJK-free survival analysis was performed using Cox regression to control for demographic characteristics, comorbidities, level of fusion, and radiographic parameters.

RESULTS

Overall, 307/1300 (23.62%) cases utilized multiple rods. Cases with multiple rods were more likely to be revisions (68.4% vs 46.5%, p < 0.001), to be posterior only (80.7% vs 61.5%, p < 0.001), involve more levels of fusion (mean 11.73 vs 10.60, p < 0.001), and include 3-column osteotomy (42.9% vs 17.1%, p < 0.001). Patients with multiple rods also had greater preoperative pelvic retroversion (mean pelvic tilt 27.95° vs 23.58°, p < 0.001), greater thoracolumbar junction kyphosis (−15.9° vs −11.9°, p = 0.001), and more severe sagittal malalignment (C7–S1 sagittal vertical axis 99.76 mm vs 62.23 mm, p < 0.001), all of which corrected postoperatively. Patients with multiple rods had similar incidence rates of PJK (58.6% vs 58.1%) and revision surgery (13.0% vs 17.7%). The PJK-free survival analysis demonstrated equivalent PJK-free survival durations among the patients with multiple rods (HR 0.889, 95% CI 0.745–1.062, p = 0.195) after controlling for demographic and radiographic parameters. Further stratification based on implant metal type demonstrated noninferior PJK incidence rates with multiple rods in the titanium (57.1% vs 54.6%, p = 0.858), cobalt chrome (60.5% vs 58.7%, p = 0.646), and stainless steel (20% vs 63.7%, p = 0.008) cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Multirod constructs for ASD are most frequently utilized in revision, long-level reconstructions with 3-column osteotomy. The use of multiple rods in ASD surgery does not result in an increased incidence of PJK and is not affected by rod metal type.

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Spinopelvic sagittal compensation in adult cervical deformity

Jichao Ye, Sean M. Rider, Renaud Lafage, Sachin Gupta, Ali S. Farooqi, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Peter G. Passias, Justin S. Smith, Virginie Lafage, Han-Jo Kim, Eric O. Klineberg, Khaled M. Kebaish, Justin K. Scheer, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Alex Soroceanu, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Munish C. Gupta, and on behalf of the International Spine Study Group (ISSG)

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate spinopelvic sagittal alignment and spinal compensatory changes in adult cervical kyphotic deformity.

METHODS

A database composed of 13 US spine centers was retrospectively reviewed for adult patients who underwent cervical reconstruction with radiographic evidence of cervical kyphotic deformity: C2–7 sagittal vertical axis > 4 cm, chin-brow vertical angle > 25°, or cervical kyphosis (T1 slope [T1S] cervical lordosis [CL] > 15°) (n = 129). Sagittal parameters were evaluated preoperatively and in the early postoperative window (6 weeks to 6 months postoperatively) and compared with asymptomatic control patients. Adult cervical deformity patients were further stratified by degree of cervical kyphosis (severe kyphosis, C2–T3 Cobb angle ≤ −30°; moderate kyphosis, ≤ 0°; and minimal kyphosis, > 0°) and severity of sagittal malalignment (severe malalignment, sagittal vertical axis T3–S1 ≤ −60 mm; moderate malalignment, ≤ 20 mm; and minimal malalignment > 20 mm).

RESULTS

Compared with asymptomatic control patients, cervical deformity was associated with increased C0–2 lordosis (32.9° vs 23.6°), T1S (33.5° vs 28.0°), thoracolumbar junction kyphosis (T10–L2 Cobb angle −7.0° vs −1.7°), and pelvic tilt (PT) (19.7° vs 15.9°) (p < 0.01). Cervicothoracic kyphosis was correlated with C0–2 lordosis (R = −0.57, p < 0.01) and lumbar lordosis (LL) (R = −0.20, p = 0.03). Cervical reconstruction resulted in decreased C0–2 lordosis, increased T1S, and increased thoracic and thoracolumbar junction kyphosis (p < 0.01). Patients with severe cervical kyphosis (n = 34) had greater C0–2 lordosis (p < 0.01) and postoperative reduction of C0–2 lordosis (p = 0.02) but no difference in PT. Severe cervical kyphosis was also associated with a greater increase in thoracic and thoracolumbar junction kyphosis postoperatively (p = 0.01). Patients with severe sagittal malalignment (n = 52) had decreased PT (p = 0.01) and increased LL (p < 0.01), as well as a greater postoperative reduction in LL (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Adult cervical deformity is associated with upper cervical hyperlordotic compensation and thoracic hypokyphosis. In the setting of increased kyphotic deformity and sagittal malalignment, thoracolumbar junction kyphosis and lumbar hyperlordosis develop to restore normal center of gravity. There was no consistent compensatory pelvic retroversion or anteversion among the adult cervical deformity patients in this cohort.