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Open access

Chih-Chang Chang, Joshua Rivera, Brenton Pennicooke, Dean Chou, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) is an increasing disease entity as the population ages. An emerging minimally invasive surgery (MIS) option for the treatment of ASD is the oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF), which allows indirect foraminal decompression of stenosis as well as segmental deformity correction (DiGiorgio et al., 2017). The authors utilize computer-assisted navigation with OLIF to reduce radiation exposure and improve time efficiency. The authors present a video of navigated oblique lumbar interbody fusion at L3–5 followed by open posterior screw-rod fixation.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/zKDT7PhMYf8.

Free access

Minghao Wang, Dean Chou, Chih-Chang Chang, Ankit Hirpara, Yilin Liu, Andrew K. Chan, Brenton Pennicooke, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Both structural allograft and PEEK have been used for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). There are reports that PEEK has a higher pseudarthrosis rate than structural allograft. The authors compared pseudarthrosis, revision, subsidence, and loss of lordosis rates in patients with PEEK and structural allograft.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who were treated with ACDF at their hospital between 2005 and 2017. Inclusion criteria were adult patients with either PEEK or structural allograft, anterior plate fixation, and a minimum 2-year follow-up. Exclusion criteria were hybrid PEEK and allograft cases, additional posterior surgery, adjacent corpectomies, infection, tumor, stand-alone or integrated screw and cage devices, bone morphogenetic protein use, or lack of a minimum 2-year follow-up. Demographic variables, number of treated levels, interbody type (PEEK cage vs structural allograft), graft packing material, pseudarthrosis rates, revision surgery rates, subsidence, and cervical lordosis changes were collected. These data were analyzed by Pearson’s chi-square test (or Fisher’s exact test, according to the sample size and expected value) and Student t-test.

RESULTS

A total of 168 patients (264 levels total, mean follow-up time 39.5 ± 24.0 months) were analyzed. Sixty-one patients had PEEK, and 107 patients had structural allograft. Pseudarthrosis rates for 1-level fusions were 5.4% (PEEK) and 3.4% (allograft) (p > 0.05); 2-level fusions were 7.1% (PEEK) and 8.1% (allograft) (p > 0.05); and ≥ 3-level fusions were 10% (PEEK) and 11.1% (allograft) (p > 0.05). There was no statistical difference in the subsidence magnitude between PEEK and allograft in 1-, 2-, and ≥ 3-level ACDF (p > 0.05). Postoperative lordosis loss was not different between cohorts for 1- and 2-level surgeries.

CONCLUSIONS

In 1- and 2-level ACDF with plating involving the same number of fusion levels, there was no statistically significant difference in the pseudarthrosis rate, revision surgery rate, subsidence, and lordosis loss between PEEK cages and structural allograft.

Restricted access

Chih-Chang Chang, Dean Chou, Brenton Pennicooke, Joshua Rivera, Lee A. Tan, Sigurd Berven, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Potential advantages of using expandable versus static cages during transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) are not fully established. The authors aimed to compare the long-term radiographic outcomes of expandable versus static TLIF cages.

METHODS

A retrospective review of 1- and 2-level TLIFs over a 10-year period with expandable and static cages was performed at the University of California, San Francisco. Patients with posterior column osteotomy (PCO) were subdivided. Fusion assessment, cage subsidence, anterior and posterior disc height, foraminal dimensions, pelvic incidence (PI), segmental lordosis (SL), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (PI-LL), pelvic tilt (PT), sacral slope (SS), and sagittal vertical axis (SVA) were assessed.

RESULTS

A consecutive series of 178 patients (with a total of 210 levels) who underwent TLIF using either static (148 levels) or expandable cages (62 levels) was reviewed. The mean patient age was 60.3 ± 11.5 years and 62.8 ± 14.1 years for the static and expandable cage groups, respectively. The mean follow-up was 42.9 ± 29.4 months for the static cage group and 27.6 ± 14.1 months for the expandable cage group. Within the 1-level TLIF group, the SL and PI-LL improved with statistical significance regardless of whether PCO was performed; however, the static group with PCOs also had statistically significant improvement in LL and SVA. The expandable cage with PCO subgroup had significant improvement in SL only. All of the foraminal parameters improved with statistical significance, regardless of the type of cages used; however, the expandable cage group had greater improvement in disc height restoration. The incidence of cage subsidence was higher in the expandable group (19.7% vs 5.4%, p = 0.0017). Within the expandable group, the unilateral facetectomy-only subgroup had a 5.6 times higher subsidence rate than the PCO subgroup (26.8% vs 4.8%, p = 0.04). Four expandable cages collapsed over time.

CONCLUSIONS

Expandable TLIF cages may initially restore disc height better than static cages, but they also have higher rates of subsidence. Unilateral facetectomy alone may result in more subsidence with expandable cages than using bilateral PCO, potentially because of insufficient facet release. Although expandable cages may have more power to induce lordosis and restore disc height than static cages, subsidence and endplate violation may negate any significant gains compared to static cages.

Free access

John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Rory R. Mayer, Joseph H. Garcia, Brenton Pennicooke, Michael Mann, Sigurd H. Berven, Dean Chou, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

The clamshell thoracotomy is often used to access both hemithoraxes and the mediastinum simultaneously for cardiothoracic pathology, but this technique is rarely used for the excision of spinal tumors. We describe the use of a clamshell thoracotomy for en bloc excision of a 3-level upper thoracic chordoma in a 20-year-old patient. The lesion involved T2, T3, and T4, and it invaded both chest cavities and indented the mediastinum. After 2 biopsies to confirm the diagnosis, the patient underwent a posterior spinal fusion followed by bilateral clamshell thoracotomy for 3-level en bloc resection with simultaneous access to both chest cavities and the mediastinum. To demonstrate how the clamshell thoracotomy was used to facilitate the tumor resection, an operative video and illustrations are provided, which show in detail how the clamshell thoracotomy can be used to access both hemithoraxes and the mediastinum.

Free access

Andrew K. Chan, Michele Santacatterina, Brenton Pennicooke, Shane Shahrestani, Alexander M. Ballatori, Katie O. Orrico, John F. Burke, Geoffrey T. Manley, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Michael C. Huang, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Anthony M. DiGiorgio

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery is especially susceptible to malpractice claims. Critics of the US medical liability system argue that it drives up costs, whereas proponents argue it deters negligence. Here, the authors study the relationship between malpractice claim density and outcomes.

METHODS

The following methods were used: 1) the National Practitioner Data Bank was used to determine the number of malpractice claims per 100 physicians, by state, between 2005 and 2010; 2) the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried for spinal fusion patients; and 3) the Area Resource File was queried to determine the density of physicians, by state. States were categorized into 4 quartiles regarding the frequency of malpractice claims per 100 physicians. To evaluate the association between malpractice claims and death, discharge disposition, length of stay (LOS), and total costs, an inverse-probability-weighted regression-adjustment estimator was used. The authors controlled for patient and hospital characteristics. Covariates were used to train machine learning models to predict death, discharge disposition not to home, LOS, and total costs.

RESULTS

Overall, 549,775 discharges following spinal fusions were identified, with 495,640 yielding state-level information about medical malpractice claim frequency per 100 physicians. Of these, 124,425 (25.1%), 132,613 (26.8%), 130,929 (26.4%), and 107,673 (21.7%) were from the lowest, second-lowest, second-highest, and highest quartile states, respectively, for malpractice claims per 100 physicians. Compared to the states with the fewest claims (lowest quartile), surgeries in states with the most claims (highest quartile) showed a statistically significantly higher odds of a nonhome discharge (OR 1.169, 95% CI 1.139–1.200), longer LOS (mean difference 0.304, 95% CI 0.256–0.352), and higher total charges (mean difference [log scale] 0.288, 95% CI 0.281–0.295) with no significant associations for mortality. For the machine learning models—which included medical malpractice claim density as a covariate—the areas under the curve for death and discharge disposition were 0.94 and 0.87, and the R2 values for LOS and total charge were 0.55 and 0.60, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal fusion procedures from states with a higher frequency of malpractice claims were associated with an increased odds of nonhome discharge, longer LOS, and higher total charges. This suggests that medicolegal climate may potentially alter practice patterns for a given spine surgeon and may have important implications for medical liability reform. Machine learning models that included medical malpractice claim density as a feature were satisfactory in prediction and may be helpful for patients, surgeons, hospitals, and payers.