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Alvin Y. Chan, Elliot H. Choi, Michael Y. Oh, Sumeet Vadera, Jefferson W. Chen, Kiarash Golshani, William C. Wilson, and Frank P. K. Hsu

OBJECTIVE

Elective surgical cases generally have lower costs, higher profit margins, and better outcomes than nonelective cases. Investigating the differences in cost and profit between elective and nonelective cases would help hospitals in planning strategies to withstand financial losses due to potential pandemics. The authors sought to evaluate the exact cost and profit margin differences between elective and nonelective supratentorial tumor resections at a single institution.

METHODS

The authors collected economic analysis data in all patients who underwent supratentorial tumor resection at their institution between January 2014 and December 2018. The patients were grouped into elective and nonelective cases. Propensity score matching was used to adjust for heterogeneity of baseline characteristics between the two groups.

RESULTS

There were 143 elective cases and 232 nonelective cases over the 5 years. Patients in the majority of elective cases had private insurance and in the majority of nonelective cases the patients had Medicare/Medicaid (p < 0.01). The total charges were significantly lower for elective cases ($168,800.12) compared to nonelective cases ($254,839.30, p < 0.01). The profit margins were almost 6 times higher for elective than for nonelective cases ($13,025.28 vs $2,128.01, p = 0.04). After propensity score matching, there was still a significant difference between total charges and total cost.

CONCLUSIONS

Elective supratentorial tumor resections were associated with significantly lower costs with shorter lengths of stay while also being roughly 6 times more profitable than nonelective cases. These findings may help future planning for hospital strategies to survive financial losses during future pandemics that require widespread cancellation of elective cases.

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Nolan J. Brown, Elliot H. Choi, Julian L. Gendreau, Vera Ong, Alexander Himstead, Brian V. Lien, Shane Shahrestani, Seth C. Ransom, Katelynn Tran, Ali R. Tafreshi, Ronald Sahyouni, Alvin Chan, and Michael Y. Oh

OBJECTIVE

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic agent associated with reduced blood loss and mortality in a wide range of procedures, including spine surgery, traumatic brain injury, and craniosynostosis. Despite this wide use, the safety and efficacy of TXA in spine surgery has been considered controversial due to a relative scarcity of literature and lack of statistical power in reported studies. However, if TXA can be shown to reduce blood loss in laminectomy with fusion and posterior instrumentation, more surgeons may include it in their armamentarium. The authors aimed to conduct an up-to-date systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of TXA in reducing blood loss in laminectomy and fusion with posterior instrumentation.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis, abiding by PRISMA guidelines, was performed by searching the databases of PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane. These platforms were queried for all studies reporting the use of TXA in laminectomy and fusion with posterior instrumentation. Variables retrieved included patient demographics, surgical indications, involved spinal levels, type of laminectomy performed, TXA administration dose, TXA route of administration, operative duration, blood loss, blood transfusion rate, postoperative hemoglobin level, and perioperative complications. Heterogeneity across studies was evaluated using a chi-square test, Cochran’s Q test, and I2 test performed with R statistical programming software.

RESULTS

A total of 7 articles were included in the qualitative study, while 6 articles featuring 411 patients underwent statistical analysis. The most common route of administration for TXA was intravenous with 15 mg/kg administered preoperatively. After the beginning of surgery, TXA administration patterns were varied among studies. Blood transfusions were increased in non-TXA cohorts compared to TXA cohorts. Patients administered TXA demonstrated a significant reduction in blood loss (mean difference −218.44 mL; 95% CI −379.34 to −57.53; p = 0.018). TXA administration was not associated with statistically significant reductions in operative durations. There were no adverse events reported in either the TXA or non-TXA patient cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

TXA can significantly reduce perioperative blood loss in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar laminectomy and fusion procedures, while demonstrating a minimal complication profile.

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Alvin Y. Chan, Brian V. Lien, Elliot H. Choi, Andrew K. Chan, George Hanna, Alexander M. Lopez, Nolan J. Brown, Sandra Gattas, Lydia Kirillova, David Horton, Gianna Fote, Brian Hanst, Ryan Perry, Yu-Po Lee, Kiarash Golshani, Frank P. K. Hsu, and Michael Y. Oh

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery (MIS ALIF) is a technique that restores disc height and lumbar lordosis through a smaller exposure and less soft-tissue trauma compared to open approaches. The mini-open and laparoscopic assistance techniques are two main forms of MIS ALIF. The authors conducted a systematic review that sought to critically summarize the literature on back pain following MIS ALIF.

METHODS

In March 2020, the authors searched the PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases for studies describing back pain visual analog scale (VAS) outcomes after MIS ALIF. The following exclusion criteria were applied to studies evaluated in full text: 1) the study included fewer than 20 patients, 2) the mean follow-up duration was shorter than 12 months, 3) the study did not report back pain VAS score as an outcome measure, and 4) MIS ALIF was not studied specifically. The methodology for the included studies were evaluated for potential biases and assigned a level of evidence.

RESULTS

There were a total of 552 patients included from 13 studies. The most common biases were selection and interviewer bias. The majority of studies were retrospective. The mean sample size was 42.3 patients. The mean follow-up duration was approximately 41.8 months. The mean postoperative VAS reduction was 5.1 points. The mean VAS reduction for standalone grafts was 5.9 points, and 5.0 points for those augmented with posterior fixation. The most common complications included bladder or urinary dysfunction, infection, and hardware-related complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This was a systematic review of back pain outcomes following MIS ALIF. Back pain VAS score was reduced postoperatively across all studies. The complication rates were low overall. MIS ALIF is safe and effective at reducing back pain in appropriate patient populations.