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Paul A. Anderson and Brett A. Freedman

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Paul A. Anderson, Brett A. Freedman, Dean Chou, and Timothy Witham

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Shyam J. Kurian, Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Jad Zreik, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Brett A. Freedman, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) and National Readmissions Database (NRD) are two widely used databases for research studies. However, they may not provide generalizable information in regard to individual institutions. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to evaluate 30-day readmissions following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and posterior lumbar fusion (PLF) procedures by using these two national databases and an institutional cohort.

METHODS

The NSQIP and NRD were queried for patients undergoing elective ACDF and PLF, with the addition of an institutional cohort. The outcome of interest was 30-day readmissions following ACDF and PLF, which were unplanned and related to the index procedure. Subsequently, univariable and multivariable analyses were conducted to determine the predictors of 30-day readmissions by using both databases and the institutional cohort.

RESULTS

Among all identified risk factors, only hypertension was found to be a common risk factor between NRD and the institutional cohort following ACDF. NSQIP and the institutional cohort both showed length of hospital stay to be a significant predictor for 30-day related readmission following PLF. There were no overlapping variables among all 3 cohorts for either ACDF or PLF. Additionally, the national databases identified a greater number of risk factors for 30-day related readmissions than did the institutional cohort for both procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, significant differences were seen among all 3 cohorts with regard to top predictors of 30-day unplanned readmissions following ACDF and PLF. The higher quantity of significant predictors found in the national databases may suggest that looking at single-institution series for such analyses may result in underestimation of important variables affecting patient outcomes, and that big data may be helpful in addressing this concern.

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Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Waseem Wahood, Abdullah T. Eissa, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Brett A. Freedman, Benjamin D. Elder, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a biological agent obtained by centrifuging a sample of blood and retrieving a high concentration of platelets and plasma components. The concentrate is then stimulated for platelet secretion of various growth factors and cytokines. Although it is not widely used in clinical practice, its role in augmenting bony union among patients undergoing spinal fusion has been assessed in several clinical studies. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature to determine the efficacy of PRP use in spinal fusion procedures.

METHODS

A comprehensive literature search was conducted using PubMed, Scopus, and EMBASE for studies from all available dates. From eligible studies, data regarding the fusion rate and method of assessing fusion, estimated blood loss (EBL), and baseline and final visual analog scale (VAS) scores were collected as the primary outcomes of interest. Patients were grouped by those undergoing spinal fusion with PRP and bone graft (PRP group) and those only with bone graft (graft-only group).

RESULTS

The literature search resulted in 207 articles. Forty-five full-text articles were screened, of which 11 studies were included, resulting in a meta-analysis including 741 patients. Patients without PRP were more likely to have a successful fusion at the last follow-up compared with those with PRP in their bone grafts (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.34–0.84; p = 0.006). There was no statistically significant difference with regard to change in VAS scores (OR 0.00, 95% CI −2.84 to 2.84; p > 0.99) or change in EBL (OR 3.67, 95% CI −67.13–74.48; p = 0.92) between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

This study found that the additional use of PRP was not associated with any significant improvement in patient-reported outcomes and was actually found to be associated with lower fusion rates compared with standard grafting techniques. Thus, PRP may have a limited role in augmenting spinal fusion.

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Jeffery D. St. Jeor, Taylor J. Jackson, Ashley E. Xiong, Aamir Kadri, Brett A. Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Bradford L. Currier, Ahmad Nassr, Jeremy L. Fogelson, Kurt A. Kennel, Paul A. Anderson, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to compare different recognized definitions of osteoporosis in patients with degenerative lumbar spine pathology undergoing elective spinal fusion surgery to determine which patient population should be considered for preoperative optimization.

METHODS

A retrospective review of patients in whom lumbar spine surgery was planned at 2 academic medical centers was performed, and the rate of osteoporosis was compared based on different recognized definitions. Assessments were made based on dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), CT Hounsfield units (HU), trabecular bone score (TBS), and fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX). The rate of osteoporosis was compared based on different definitions: 1) the WHO definition (T-score ≤ −2.5) at total hip or spine; 2) CT HU of < 110; 3) National Bone Health Alliance (NBHA) guidelines; and 4) “expanded spine” criteria, which includes patients meeting NBHA criteria and/or HU < 110, and/or “degraded” TBS in the setting of an osteopenic T-score. Inclusion criteria were adult patients with a DXA scan of the total hip and/or spine performed within 1 year and a lumbar spine CT scan within 6 months of the physician visit.

RESULTS

Two hundred forty-four patients were included. The mean age was 68.3 years, with 70.5% female, 96.7% Caucasian, and the mean BMI was 28.8. Fracture history was reported in 53.8% of patients. The proportion of patients identified with osteoporosis on DXA, HUs, NBHA guidelines, and the authors’ proposed “expanded spine” criteria was 25.4%, 36.5%, 75%, and 81.9%, respectively. Of the patients not identified with osteoporosis on DXA, 31.3% had osteoporosis based on HU, 55.1% had osteoporosis with NBHA, and 70.4% had osteoporosis with expanded spine criteria (p < 0.05), with poor correlations among the different assessment tools.

CONCLUSIONS

Limitations in the use of DXA T-scores alone to diagnose osteoporosis in patients with lumbar spondylosis has prompted interest in additional methods of evaluating bone health in the spine, such as CT HU, TBS, and FRAX, to inform guidelines that aim to reduce fracture risk. However, no current osteoporosis assessment was developed with a focus on improving outcomes in spinal surgery. Therefore, the authors propose an expanded spine definition for osteoporosis to identify a more comprehensive cohort of patients with potential poor bone health who could be considered for preoperative optimization, although further study is needed to validate these results in terms of clinical outcomes.

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Independent predictors of vertebral compression fracture following radiation for metastatic spine disease

Presented at the 2022 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Anthony L. Mikula, Zach Pennington, Nikita Lakomkin, Michelle J. Clarke, Peter S. Rose, Mohamad Bydon, Brett Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Lichun Lu, Roman O. Kowalchuk, Kenneth W. Merrell, Jeremy L. Fogelson, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine independent risk factors for vertebral compression fracture (VCF) following radiation for metastatic spine disease, including low bone mineral density as estimated by Hounsfield units (HU).

METHODS

A retrospective chart review identified patients with a single vertebral column metastasis treated with radiation therapy, a pretreatment CT scan, and a follow-up CT scan at least 6 weeks after treatment. Patients with primary spine tumors, preradiation vertebroplasty, preradiation spine surgery, prior radiation to the treatment field, and proton beam treatment modality were excluded. The HU were measured in the vertebral bodies at the level superior to the metastasis, within the tumor and medullary bone of the metastatic level, and at the level inferior to the metastasis. Variables collected included basic demographics, Spine Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS), presenting symptoms, bone density treatment, primary tumor pathology, Weinstein-Boriani-Biagini (WBB) classification, Enneking stage, radiation treatment details, chemotherapy regimen, and prophylactic vertebroplasty.

RESULTS

One hundred patients with an average age of 63 years and average follow-up of 18 months with radiation treatment dates ranging from 2017 to 2020 were included. Fifty-nine patients were treated with external-beam radiation therapy, with a median total dose of 20 Gy (range 8–40 Gy). Forty-one patients were treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy, with a median total dose of 24 Gy (range 18–39 Gy). The most common primary pathologies included lung (n = 22), prostate (n = 21), and breast (n = 14). Multivariable logistic regression analysis (area under the curve 0.89) demonstrated pretreatment HU (p < 0.01), SINS (p = 0.02), involvement of ≥ 3 WBB sectors (p < 0.01), primary pathology other than prostate (p = 0.04), and ongoing chemotherapy treatment (p = 0.04) to be independent predictors of postradiation VCF. Patients with pretreatment HU < 145 (n = 32), 145–220 (n = 31), and > 220 (n = 37) had a fracture rate of 59%, 39%, and 11%, respectively. An HU cutoff of 157 was found to maximize sensitivity (71%) and specificity (75%) in predicting postradiation VCF.

CONCLUSIONS

Low preradiation HU, higher SINS, involvement of ≥ 3 WBB sectors, ongoing chemotherapy, and nonprostate primary pathology were independent predictors of postradiation VCF in patients with metastatic spine disease. Low bone mineral density, as estimated by HU, is a novel and potentially modifiable risk factor for VCF.

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Anthony L. Mikula, Jeremy L. Fogelson, Soliman Oushy, Zachariah W. Pinter, Pierce A. Peters, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Arjun S. Sebastian, Brett Freedman, Bradford L. Currier, David W. Polly, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

Pelvic incidence (PI) is a commonly utilized spinopelvic parameter in the evaluation and treatment of patients with spinal deformity and is believed to be a fixed parameter. However, a fixed PI assumes that there is no motion across the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which has been disputed in recent literature. The objective of this study was to determine if patients with SI joint vacuum sign have a change in PI between the supine and standing positions.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review identified patients with a standing radiograph, supine radiograph, and CT scan encompassing the SI joints within a 6-month period. Patients were grouped according to their SI joints having either no vacuum sign, unilateral vacuum sign, or bilateral vacuum sign. PI was measured by two independent reviewers.

RESULTS

Seventy-three patients were identified with an average age of 66 years and a BMI of 30 kg/m2. Patients with bilateral SI joint vacuum sign (n = 27) had an average absolute change in PI of 7.2° (p < 0.0001) between the standing and supine positions compared to patients with unilateral SI joint vacuum sign (n = 20) who had a change of 5.2° (p = 0.0008), and patients without an SI joint vacuum sign (n = 26) who experienced a change of 4.1° (p = 0.74). ANOVA with post hoc Tukey test showed a statistically significant difference in the change in PI between patients with the bilateral SI joint vacuum sign and those without an SI joint vacuum sign (p = 0.023). The intraclass correlation coefficient between the two reviewers was 0.97 for standing PI and 0.96 for supine PI (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with bilateral SI joint vacuum signs had a change in PI between the standing and supine positions, suggesting there may be increasing motion across the SI joint with significant joint degeneration.

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Atiq ur Rehman Bhatti, Joseph Cesare, Waseem Wahood, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Chiduziem E. Onyedimma, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Oluwatoyin Akinnusotu, Sally El Sammak, Brett A. Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Anterior-to-psoas lumbar interbody fusion (ATP-LIF), more commonly referred to as oblique lateral interbody fusion, and lateral transpsoas lumbar interbody fusion (LTP-LIF), also known as extreme lateral interbody fusion, are the two commonly used lateral approaches for performing a lumbar fusion procedure. These approaches help overcome some of the technical challenges associated with traditional approaches for lumbar fusion. In this systematic review and indirect meta-analysis, the authors compared operative and patient-reported outcomes between these two select approaches using available studies.

METHODS

Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach, the authors conducted an electronic search using the PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases for studies published before May 1, 2019. Indirect meta-analysis was conducted on fusion rate, cage movement (subsidence plus migration), permanent deficits, and transient deficits; results were depicted as forest plots of proportions (effect size [ES]).

RESULTS

A total of 63 studies were included in this review after applying the exclusion criteria, of which 26 studies investigated the outcomes of ATP-LIF, while 37 studied the outcomes of LTP-LIF. The average fusion rate was found to be similar between the two groups (ES 0.97, 95% CI 0.84–1.00 vs ES 0.94, 95% CI 0.91–0.97; p = 0.561). The mean incidence of cage movement was significantly higher in the ATP-LIF group compared with the LTP-LIF group (stand-alone: ES 0.15, 95% CI 0.06–0.27 vs ES 0.09, 95% CI 0.04–0.16 [p = 0.317]; combined: ES 0.18, 95% CI 0.07–0.32 vs ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.00–0.05 [p = 0.002]). The mean incidence of reoperations was significantly higher in patients undergoing ATP-LIF than in those undergoing LTP-LIF (ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.01–0.03 vs ES 0.04, 95% CI 0.02–0.07; p = 0.012). The mean incidence of permanent deficits was similar between the two groups (stand-alone: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.05, 95% CI 0.01–0.12 [p = 0.204]; combined: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.00–0.08 [p = 0.595]). The postoperative changes in visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were both found to be higher for ATP-LIF relative to LTP-LIF (VAS: weighted average 4.11 [SD 2.03] vs weighted average 3.75 [SD 1.94] [p = 0.004]; ODI: weighted average 28.3 [SD 5.33] vs weighted average 24.3 [SD 4.94] [p < 0.001]).

CONCLUSIONS

These analyses indicate that while both approaches are associated with similar fusion rates, ATP-LIF may be related to higher odds of cage movement and reoperations as compared with LTP-LIF. Furthermore, there is no difference in rates of permanent deficits between the two procedures.

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Anthony L. Mikula, Nikita Lakomkin, Zach Pennington, Zachariah W. Pinter, Ahmad Nassr, Brett Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Mohamad Bydon, Christopher P. Ames, Jeremy L. Fogelson, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to analyze risk factors and avoidance techniques for proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) and proximal junctional failure (PJF) in the upper thoracic spine with an emphasis on bone mineral density (BMD) as estimated by Hounsfield units (HU).

METHODS

A retrospective chart review identified patients at least 50 years of age who underwent instrumented fusion extending from the pelvis to an upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) between T1 and T6 and had a preoperative CT, pre- and postoperative radiographs, and a minimum follow-up of 12 months. HU were measured in the UIV, the vertebral body cephalad to the UIV (UIV+1), and the L3 and L4 vertebral bodies. Numerous perioperative variables were collected, including basic demographics, smoking and steroid use, preoperative osteoporosis treatment, multiple frailty indices, use of a proximal junctional tether, UIV soft landing, preoperative dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, spinopelvic parameters, UIV screw tip distance to the superior endplate, UIV pedicle screw/pedicle diameter ratio, lumbar lordosis distribution, and postoperative spinopelvic parameters compared with age-adjusted normal values.

RESULTS

Eighty-one patients were included in the study (21 men and 60 women) with a mean (SD) age of 66 years (6.9 years), BMI of 29 (5.5), and follow-up of 38 months (25 months). Spinal fusion constructs at the time of surgery extended from the pelvis to a UIV of T1 (5%), T2 (15%), T3 (25%), T4 (33%), T5 (21%), and T6 (1%). Twenty-seven patients (33%) developed PJK and/or PJF; 21 (26%) had PJK and 15 (19%) had PJF. Variables associated with PJK/PJF with p < 0.05 were included in the multivariable analysis, including HU at the UIV/UIV+1, HU at L3/L4, DXA femoral neck T-score, UIV screw tip distance to the superior endplate, UIV pedicle screw/pedicle diameter ratio, and postoperative lumbar lordosis distribution. Multivariable analysis (area under the curve = 0.77) demonstrated HU at the UIV/UIV+1 to be the only independent predictor of PJK and PJF with an OR of 0.96 (p = 0.005). Patients with < 147 HU (n = 27), 147–195 HU (n = 27), and > 195 HU (n = 27) at the UIV/UIV+1 had PJK/PJF rates of 59%, 33%, and 7%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with upper thoracic–to-pelvis spinal reconstruction, lower HU at the UIV and UIV+1 were independently associated with PJK and PJF, with an optimal cutoff of 159 HU that maximizes sensitivity and specificity.

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Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Ryan Jarrah, Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Arjun S. Sebastian, Brett A. Freedman, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Hybrid surgery (HS) is the combination of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) at different levels in the same operation. The aim of this study was to investigate perioperative variables, 30-day postoperative outcomes, and complications of HS in comparison with those of CDA and ACDF.

METHODS

The authors queried the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) registry for patients who underwent multilevel primary HS, CDA, and ACDF for degenerative disc disease from 2015 to 2019. The authors compared these three operations in terms of 30-day postoperative outcomes, specifically readmission and reoperation rates, discharge destination, and complications.

RESULTS

This analysis included 439 patients who underwent HS, 976 patients who underwent CDA, and 27,460 patients who underwent ACDF. Patients in the HS and CDA groups were younger, had fewer comorbidities, and myelopathy was less often the indication for surgery compared with patients who underwent ACDF. For the HS group, the unplanned readmission rate was 0.7%, index surgery–related reoperation rate was 0.3%, and nonroutine discharge rate was 2.1%. Major and minor complications were also rare, with rates of 0.2% for each. The mean length of stay in the HS group was 1.5 days. The association of HS with better outcomes in univariate analysis was not evident after adjustment for confounding factors.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that HS was noninferior to ACDF and CDA in terms of early postoperative outcomes among patients treated for degenerative disc disease.