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Lateral lumbar interbody fusion in the elderly: a 10-year experience

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

Nitin Agarwal, Andrew Faramand, Nima Alan, Zachary J. Tempel, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

Elderly patients, often presenting with multiple medical comorbidities, are touted to be at an increased risk of peri- and postoperative complications following spine surgery. Various minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed and employed to treat an array of spinal conditions while minimizing complications. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is one such approach. The authors describe clinical outcomes in patients over the age of 70 years following stand-alone LLIF.

METHODS

A retrospective query of a prospectively maintained database was performed for patients over the age of 70 years who underwent stand-alone LLIF. Patients with posterior segmental fixation and/or fusion were excluded. The preoperative and postoperative values for the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were analyzed to compare outcomes after intervention. Femoral neck t-scores were acquired from bone density scans and correlated with the incidence of graft subsidence.

RESULTS

Among the study cohort of 55 patients, the median age at the time of surgery was 74 years (range 70–87 years). Seventeen patients had at least 3 medical comorbidities at surgery. Twenty-three patients underwent a 1-level, 14 a 2-level, and 18 patients a 3-level or greater stand-alone lateral fusion. The median estimated blood loss was 25 ml (range 5–280 ml). No statistically significant relationship was detected between volume of blood loss and the number of operative levels. The median length of hospital stay was 2 days (range 1–4 days). No statistically significant relationship was observed between the length of hospital stay and age at the time of surgery. There was one intraoperative death secondary to cardiac arrest, with a mortality rate of 1.8%. One patient developed a transient femoral nerve injury. Five patients with symptomatic graft subsidence subsequently underwent posterior instrumentation. A lower femoral neck t-score < −1.0 correlated with a higher incidence of graft subsidence (p = 0.006). The mean ODI score 1 year postoperatively of 31.1 was significantly (p = 0.003) less than the mean preoperative ODI score of 46.2.

CONCLUSIONS

Stand-alone LLIF can be safely and effectively performed in the elderly population. Careful evaluation of preoperative bone density parameters should be employed to minimize risk of subsidence and need for additional surgery. Despite an association with increased comorbidities, age alone should not be a deterrent when considering stand-alone LLIF in the elderly population.

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Nitin Agarwal, Andrew Faramand, Johanna Bellon, Jeffrey Borrebach, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

The Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) is a standardized patient experience survey that is used to evaluate the quality of care delivered by physicians. The authors sought to determine which factors influenced CG-CAHPS scores for spine surgery, and compare them to their cranial-focused cohorts.

METHODS

A retrospective study of prospectively obtained data was performed to evaluate CG-CAHPS scores. Between May 2013 and May 2017, all patients 18 years of age or older with an outpatient encounter with a neurosurgeon (5 spine-focused neurosurgeons and 20 cranial-focused neurosurgeons) received a CG-CAHPS survey. Three domains were assessed: overall physician rating, likelihood to recommend, and physician communication. Statistical analyses were performed using chi-square tests.

RESULTS

Seven thousand four hundred eighty-five patient surveys (2319 spine and 5166 cranial) were collected from patients presenting to the outpatient offices of an attending neurosurgeon. Analysis of the overall physician rating showed that 81.1% of spine neurosurgeons received a “top-box” score (answers of “yes, definitely”), whereas 86.2% of cranial neurosurgeons received a top-box response (p < 0.001). A similar difference was observed with the domains of “likelihood to recommend” and “physician communication.” Overall physician rating was also significantly influenced by the general and mental health of the patients surveyed (p < 0.001). For spine surgeons seeing patients at more than one facility, the scores with respect to location were also significantly different in all domains for each individual provider (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, spine-focused neurosurgeon ratings differed significantly from those of cranial-focused neurosurgical subspecialty providers. Office location also affected provider ratings for spine neurosurgeons. These results suggest that physician ratings obtained via patient experience surveys may be representative of factors aside from just the quality of physician care provided. This information should be considered as payers, government, and health systems design performance programs based on patient experience scores.

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Stephen Johnson, Hideyuki Kano, Andrew Faramand, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Optimizing outcomes in the management of patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs) requires consideration of the patient’s goals. Earlier recognition of VS by imaging has led to an evolution in management. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has emerged as a frequently used strategy designed to reduce management risks, obtain long-term tumor control, and preserve current neurological function. The authors analyzed features that impact hearing preservation rates in patients with serviceable hearing prior to SRS.

METHODS

The study included 307 patients who had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson hearing scale [GR] grade 1 or 2, speech discrimination score ≥ 50%, pure tone average ≤ 50 dB) at the time of SRS. The authors evaluated parameters that included age, tumor volume, hearing status, disequilibrium, tinnitus, Koos class, sex, and tumor margin dose. The Pittsburgh Hearing Prediction Score (PHPS) was evaluated as a method to predict long-term hearing outcomes in these cases.

RESULTS

At a median of 7.6 years after SRS (range 1–23 years), tumor control was achieved in 95% of patients. The overall serviceable hearing preservation rate was 77.8% at 3 years, 68.8% at 5 years, and 51.8% at 10 years. The PHPS assigns a total of 5 points based on patient age (1 point if < 45 years, 2 points if 45–59 years, and 3 points if ≥ 60 years), tumor volume (0 points if < 1.2 cm3, 1 point if ≥ 1.2 cm3), and GR grade (0 points if grade 1 hearing, 1 point if grade 2 hearing) The serviceable hearing preservation rate was 92.3% at 10 years in patients whose score total was 1. In contrast, none of the patients whose PHPS was 5 maintained serviceable hearing at 10 years (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

SRS resulted in a high rate of long-term tumor control and cranial nerve preservation. The PHPS helped to predict long-term hearing preservation rates in patients who underwent SRS when they still had serviceable hearing. The best long-term hearing preservation rates were found in younger patients with smaller tumor volumes.

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Kyung-Jae Park, Hideyuki Kano, Aditya Iyer, Xiaomin Liu, Daniel A. Tonetti, Craig Lehocky, Andrew Faramand, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study evaluate the long-term outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for cavernous sinus meningioma (CSM).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively assessed treatment outcomes 5–18 years after SRS in 200 patients with CSM. The median patient age was 57 years (range 22–83 years). In total, 120 (60%) patients underwent Gamma Knife SRS as primary management, 46 (23%) for residual tumors, and 34 (17%) for recurrent tumors after one or more surgical procedures. The median tumor target volume was 7.5 cm3 (range 0.1–37.3 cm3), and the median margin dose was 13.0 Gy (range 10–20 Gy).

RESULTS

Tumor volume regressed in 121 (61%) patients, was unchanged in 49 (25%), and increased over time in 30 (15%) during a median imaging follow-up of 101 months. Actuarial tumor control rates at the 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups were 92%, 84%, and 75%, respectively. Of the 120 patients who had undergone SRS as a primary treatment (primary SRS), tumor progression was observed in 14 (11.7%) patients at a median of 48.9 months (range 4.8–120.0 months) after SRS, and actuarial tumor control rates were 98%, 93%, 85%, and 85% at the 1-, 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups post-SRS. A history of tumor progression after microsurgery was an independent predictor of an unfavorable response to radiosurgery (p = 0.009, HR = 4.161, 95% CI 1.438–12.045). Forty-four (26%) of 170 patients who had presented with at least one cranial nerve (CN) deficit improved after SRS. Development of new CN deficits after initial microsurgical resection was an unfavorable factor for improvement after SRS (p = 0.014, HR = 0.169, 95% CI 0.041–0.702). Fifteen (7.5%) patients experienced permanent CN deficits without evidence of tumor progression at a median onset of 9 months (range 2.3–85 months) after SRS. Patients with larger tumor volumes (≥ 10 cm3) were more likely to develop permanent CN complications (p = 0.046, HR = 3.629, 95% CI 1.026–12.838). Three patients (1.5%) developed delayed pituitary dysfunction after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

This long-term study showed that Gamma Knife radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control for most patients with CSM. Patients who underwent SRS for progressive tumors after prior microsurgery had a greater chance of tumor growth than the patients without prior surgery or those with residual tumor treated after microsurgery.