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Mayur Sharma, Tyler Ball, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Maxwell Boakye, and Joseph S. Neimat

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for medically refractory epilepsy (RE) is an underutilized treatment modality, despite its efficacy. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), which is minimally invasive, is increasingly being utilized for a variety of brain lesions and offers comparable seizure outcomes. The aim of this study was to report the national trends of open surgical procedures for RE with the advent of LITT.

METHODS

Data were extracted using the ICD-9/10 codes from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS, 2012–2016) in this retrospective study. Patients with a primary diagnosis of RE who underwent either open surgeries (lobectomy, partial lobectomy, and amygdalohippocampectomy) or LITT were included. Patient demographics, complications, hospital length of stay (LOS), discharge disposition, and index hospitalization costs were analyzed. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to analyze outcomes.

RESULTS

A cohort of 128,525 in-hospital patients with RE was included and 5.5% (n = 7045) of these patients underwent either open surgical procedures (94.3%) or LITT (5.7%). LITT is increasingly being performed at a rate of 1.09 per 1000 epilepsy admissions/year, while open surgical procedures are decreasing at a rate of 10.4/1000 cases/year. The majority of procedures were elective (92%) and were performed at large-bed-size hospitals (86%). All LITT procedures were performed at teaching facilities and the majority were performed in the South (37%) and West (30%) regions. The median LOS was 1 day for the LITT cohort and 4 days for the open cohort. Index hospitalization charges were significantly lower following LITT compared to open procedures ($108,332 for LITT vs $124,012 for open surgery, p < 0.0001). LITT was associated with shorter median LOS, high likelihood of discharge home, and lower median index hospitalization charges compared to open procedures for RE on PSM analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

LITT is increasingly being performed in favor of open surgical procedures. LITT is associated with a shorter LOS, a higher likelihood of being discharged home, and lower index hospitalization charges compared to open procedures. LITT is a safe treatment modality in carefully selected patients with RE and offers an opportunity to increase the utilization of surgical treatment in patients who may be opposed to open surgery or have contraindications that preclude open surgery.

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Nikhil Jain, Mayur Sharma, Dengzhi Wang, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Doniel Drazin, and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

In degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) pathologies in which there exists a clinical equipoise in approach selection, a randomized controlled trial found that an anterior approach did not significantly improve patient-reported outcomes compared with posterior approaches. In this era of value and bundled payment initiatives, the cost profiles of various surgical approaches will form an important consideration in decision-making. The objective of this study was to compare 90-day and 2-year reimbursements for ≥ 2-level (multilevel) anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (mACDF), anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF), posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (LF), and cervical laminoplasty (LP) performed for DCM.

METHODS

The IBM MarketScan research database (2005–2018) was used to study beneficiaries 30–75 years old who underwent surgery using four approaches (mACDF, ACCF, LF, or LP) for DCM. Demographics, index surgery length of stay (LOS), complications, and discharge disposition were compared. Index admission (surgeon, hospital services, operating room) and postdischarge inpatient (readmission, revision surgery, inpatient rehabilitation), outpatient (imaging, emergency department, office visits, physical therapy), and medication-related payments were described. Ninety-day and 2-year bundled payment amounts were simulated for each procedure. All payments are reported as medians and interquartile ranges (IQRs; Q1–Q3) and were adjusted to 2018 US dollars.

RESULTS

A total of 10,834 patients, with a median age of 54 years, were included. The median 90-day payment was $46,094 (IQR $34,243–$65,841) for all procedures, with LF being the highest ($64,542) and LP the lowest ($37,867). Index hospital payment was 62.4% (surgery/operating room 46.6%) and surgeon payments were 17.5% of the average 90-day bundle. There were significant differences in the index, 90-day, and 2-year reimbursements and their distribution among procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

In a national cohort of patients undergoing surgery for DCM, LP had the lowest complication rate and simulated bundled reimbursements at 90 days and 2 years postoperatively. The lowest quartile 90-day payment for LF was more expensive than median amounts for mACDF, ACCF, and LP. If surgeons encounter scenarios of clinical equipoise in practice, LP is likely to result in maximum value because it is 70% less expensive on average than LF over 90 days.

Free access

Nicholas Dietz, Mayur Sharma, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Miriam A. Nuño, Doniel Drazin, and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

There is increasing emphasis on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to quantitatively evaluate quality outcomes from degenerative spine surgery. However, accurate prediction of PROs is challenging due to heterogeneity in outcome measures, patient characteristics, treatment characteristics, and methodological characteristics. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current landscape of independently validated predictive models for PROs in elective degenerative spinal surgery with respect to study design and model generation, training, accuracy, reliability, variance, and utility.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the current predictive models in PROs by performing a search of the PubMed and Ovid databases using PRISMA guidelines and a PICOS (participants, intervention, comparison, outcomes, study design) model. They assessed the common outcomes and variables used across models as well as the study design and internal validation methods.

RESULTS

A total of 7 articles met the inclusion criteria, including a total of 17 validated predictive models of PROs after adult degenerative spine surgery. National registry databases were used in 4 of the studies. Validation cohorts were used in 2 studies for model verification and 5 studies used other methods, including random sample bootstrapping techniques. Reported c-index values ranged from 0.47 to 0.79. Two studies report the area under the curve (0.71–0.83) and one reports a misclassification rate (9.9%). Several positive predictors, including high baseline pain intensity and disability, demonstrated high likelihood of favorable PROs.

CONCLUSIONS

A limited but effective cohort of validated predictive models of spine surgical outcomes had proven good predictability for PROs. Instruments with predictive accuracy can enhance shared decision-making, improve rehabilitation, and inform best practices in the setting of heterogeneous patient characteristics and surgical factors.

Free access

Mayur Sharma, Nicholas Dietz, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Doniel Drazin, and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) in patients with spine infections is controversial. The purpose of this study was to identify long-term complications, reoperations, and healthcare utilization associated with rhBMP-2 use in patients with spine infections.

METHODS

This retrospective study extracted data using ICD-9/10 and CPT codes from MarketScan (2000–2016). Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups (rhBMP-2, no rhBMP-2) based on whether rhBMP-2 was used during fusion surgery for spinal infections. Outcomes of interest were reoperation rates (index level, other levels), readmission rates, discharge disposition, length of stay, complications, and healthcare resource utilization at the index hospitalization and 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following discharge. Outcomes were compared using nonparametric 2-group tests and generalized linear regression models.

RESULTS

The database search identified 2762 patients with > 24 months’ follow-up; rhBMP-2 was used in 8.4% of their cases. The patients’ median age was 53 years, 52.43% were female, and 15.11% had an Elixhauser Comorbidity Index ≥ 3. Patients in the rhBMP-2 group had higher comorbidity indices, incurred higher costs at index hospitalization, were discharged home in most cases, and had lower complication rates than those in the no–rhBMP-2 group. There was no statistically significant between-groups difference in complication rates 1 month following discharge or in reoperation rates at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following the procedure. Patients in the no–rhBMP-2 group incurred higher utilization of outpatient services and medication refill costs at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients undergoing surgery for spine infection, rhBMP-2 use was associated with lower complication rates and higher median payments during index hospitalization compared to cases in which rhBMP-2 was not used. There was no significant between-groups difference in reoperation rates (index and other levels) at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after the index operation. Patients treated with rhBMP-2 incurred lower utilization of outpatient services and overall payments. These results indicate that rhBMP-2 can be used safely in patients with spine infections with cost-effective utilization of healthcare resources and without an increase in complications or reoperation rates.

Free access

Nicholas Dietz, Mayur Sharma, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Miriam Nuño, Doniel Drazin, and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Spine infection including vertebral osteomyelitis, discitis, paraspinal musculoskeletal infection, and spinal abscess refractory to medical management poses significant challenges to the treating physician. Surgical management is often required in patients suffering neurological deficits or spinal deformity with significant pain. To date, best practices have not been elucidated for the optimization of health outcomes and resource utilization in the setting of surgical intervention for spinal infection. The authors conducted the present study to assess the magnitude of reoperation rates in both fusion and nonfusion groups as well as overall health resource utilization following surgical decompression for spine infection.

METHODS

The authors performed an analysis using MarketScan (2001–2015) to identify health outcomes and healthcare utilization metrics of spine infection following surgical intervention with decompression alone or combined with fusion. Adult patients underwent surgical management for primary or secondary spinal infection and were followed up for at least 12 months postoperatively. Assessed outcomes included reoperation, healthcare utilization and payment at the index hospitalization and within 12 months after discharge, postoperative complications, and infection recurrence.

RESULTS

A total of 2662 patients in the database were eligible for inclusion in this study. Rehospitalization for infection was observed in 3.99% of patients who had undergone fusion and in 11.25% of those treated with decompression alone. Reoperation was needed in 12.7% of the patients without fusion and 8.16% of those with fusion. Complications within 30 days were more common in the nonfusion group (24.64%) than in the fusion group (16.49%). Overall postoperative payments after 12 months totaled $33,137 for the nonfusion group and $23,426 for the fusion group.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large cohort study with a 12-month follow-up, the recurrence of infection, reoperation rates, and complications were higher in patients treated with decompression alone than in those treated with decompression plus fusion. These findings along with imaging characteristics, disease severity, extent of bony resection, and the presence of instability may help surgeons decide whether to include fusion at the time of initial surgery. Further studies that control for selection bias in appropriately matched cohorts are necessary to determine the additive benefits of fusion in spinal infection management.