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Steven W. Hwang, Amer F. Samdani, Baron S. Lonner, Michelle C. Marks, Tracey P. Bastrom, Randal R. Betz and Patrick J. Cahill

Object

In the surgical management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), patients are often preoperatively informed that they will gain height as a result of their surgery. However, current estimations conflict significantly and do not have any clinical correlation. The authors developed a formula that would predict postoperative gains in height after deformity correction in AIS.

Methods

A large, multicenter, prospective database was retrospectively queried for AIS patients with Lenke Type 1, 2, or 3 curves having undergone posterior spinal fusion alone. A univariate and multivariate analysis was performed to identify which factors contributed significantly to changes in height.

Results

Four hundred forty-seven patients were included in the series. Factors correlating with changes in postoperative height included: upper thoracic curve magnitude, main thoracic curve magnitude, lumbar curve magnitude, T2–12 kyphosis, T5–12 kyphosis, curve flexibility, number of levels fused, presence of Ponte osteotomies, total preoperative coronal Cobb angle, change in coronal curve magnitude, total preoperative sagittal curvature, change in sagittal curvature, and thoracic curve correction.

When combined in a multivariate regression analysis the following variables remained significant: thoracic curve magnitude (p < 0.01), number of levels fused (p < 0.01), change in total sagittal curvature (p < 0.01), and the presence of osteotomies (p = 0.03). The contribution from the thoracic curve magnitude was significantly greater than any of the other parameters identified (R2 = 0.140). Change in height (in cm) = ([thoracic curve magnitude × 0.039] + [number of levels fused × 0.193] − [change in sagittal curvature × 0.033] + [x × 0.375]) − 1.858, where x = 1 if 1 or more osteotomies were performed and x = 0 if no osteotomy was performed.

Conclusions

The authors' results suggest that changes in the coronal plane contribute more significantly to height changes than those in the sagittal plane and approximately 0.39 cm of height gain can be expected for each 10° of coronal curve preoperatively. Unfortunately, a significant fraction of the postoperative height changes cannot be predicted by currently measured parameters.

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A. Noelle Larson, David W. Polly Jr., Stacey J. Ackerman, Charles G. T. Ledonio, Baron S. Lonner, Suken A. Shah, John B. Emans, B. Stephens Richards III and Minimize Implants Maximize Outcomes Study Group

OBJECT

There is substantial heterogeneity in the number of screws used per level fused in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) surgery. Assuming equivalent clinical outcomes, the potential cost savings of using fewer pedicle screws were estimated using a medical decision model with sensitivity analysis.

METHODS

Descriptive analyses explored the annual costs for 5710 AIS inpatient stays using discharge data from the 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), which is a national all-payer inpatient database. Patients between 10 and 17 years of age were identified using the ICD-9-CM code for idiopathic scoliosis (737.30). All inpatient stays were assumed to represent 10-level fusions with pedicle screws for AIS. High screw density was defined at 1.8 screws per level fused, and the standard screw density was defined as 1.48 screws per level fused. The surgical return for screw malposition was set at $23,762. A sensitivity analysis was performed by varying the cost per screw ($600–$1000) and the rate of surgical revisions for screw malposition (0.117%–0.483% of screws; 0.8%–4.3% of patients). The reported outcomes include estimated prevented malpositioned screws (set at 5.1%), averted revision surgeries, and annual cost savings in 2009 US dollars, assuming similar clinical outcomes (rates of complications, revision) using a standard- versus high-density pattern.

RESULTS

The total annual costs for 5710 AIS hospital stays was $278 million ($48,900 per patient). Substituting a high for a standard screw density yields 3.2 fewer screws implanted per patient, with 932 malpositioned screws prevented and 21 to 88 revision surgeries for implant malposition averted, and a potential annual cost savings of $11 million to $20 million (4%–7% reduction in the total cost of AIS hospitalizations).

CONCLUSIONS

Reducing the number of screws used in scoliosis surgery could potentially decrease national AIS hospitalization costs by up to 7%, which may improve the safety and efficiency of care. However, such a screw construct must first be proven safe and effective.