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Jacob R. Joseph, Zishaan Farooqui, Brandon W. Smith, Elyne N. Kahn, Xilin Liu, Frank La Marca and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Obesity and low-back pain associated with degenerative spondylosis or spondylolisthesis are common comorbid conditions. Many patients report that the pain and disability associated with degenerative lumbar disease are key factors in their inability to lose weight. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine if there is an association between improved functional status and weight loss following a successful transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) procedure.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent single-level TLIF was performed. Inclusion criteria were preoperative body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2, achievement of minimum clinically important difference in the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI, defined as improvement of 15 points), and minimum 1-year postoperative followup BMI. Preoperative and postoperative BMI, ODI, and visual analog scale (VAS) scores were compared. A subgroup analysis of patients who achieved substantial clinical benefit (SCB, defined as a net improvement of 18.8 points on the ODI) was also performed.

RESULTS

A total of 56 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of the study population was 55.6 ± 13.7 years. The mean preoperative BMI was 34.8 ± 4.6 kg/m2, the mean preoperative ODI was 66.2 ± 10.1, and the mean preoperative VAS score was 7.1 ± 1.7. The mean change in ODI was −33.1 ± 13.5 (p < 0.01) and the mean change in the VAS score was −4.1 ± 2.1 (p < 0.01). The mean change in BMI was +0.15 ± 2.1 kg/m2 (range −4.2 to +6.5 kg/m2; p = 0.6). SCB was achieved in 46 patients on the ODI. The mean preoperative BMI for patients with SCB was 34.8 ± 4.8 kg/m2, and the mean postoperative BMI was 34.7 ± 5.0 kg/m2. The mean change in BMI was −0.03 ± 1.9 kg/m2 (p = 0.9).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite successful surgical intervention via TLIF with achievement of improved function and pain, obese patients did not have significant change in weight postoperatively.

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Elyne N. Kahn, Chandy Ellimoottil, James M. Dupree, Paul Park and Andrew M. Ryan

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery is expensive and marked by high variation across regions and providers. Bundled payments have potential to reduce unwarranted spending associated with spine surgery. This study is a cross-sectional analysis of commercial and Medicare claims data from January 2012 through March 2015 in the state of Michigan. The objective was to quantify variation in payments for spine surgery in adult patients, document sources of variation, and determine influence of patient-level, surgeon-level, and hospital-level factors.

METHODS

Hierarchical regression models were used to analyze contributions of patient-level covariates and influence of individual surgeons and hospitals. The primary outcome was price-standardized 90-day episode payments. Intraclass correlation coefficients—measures of variability accounted for by each level of a hierarchical model—were used to quantify sources of spending variation.

RESULTS

The authors analyzed 17,436 spine surgery episodes performed by 195 surgeons at 50 hospitals. Mean price-standardized 90-day episode payments in the highest spending quintile exceeded mean payments for episodes in the lowest cost quintile by $42,953 (p < 0.001). Facility payments for index admission and post-discharge payments were the greatest contributors to overall variation: 39.4% and 32.5%, respectively. After accounting for patient-level covariates, the remaining hospital-level and surgeon-level effects accounted for 2.0% (95% CI 1.1%–3.8%) and 4.0% (95% CI 2.9%–5.6%) of total variation, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant variation exists in total episode payments for spine surgery, driven mostly by variation in post-discharge and facility payments. Hospital and surgeon effects account for relatively little of the observed variation.

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Timothy J. Yee, Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Jay K. Nathan, Elyne N. Kahn, Siri S. Khalsa, Kelsey J. Fearer, Michael J. Kirsch, David R. Nerenz, Victor Chang, Jason M. Schwalb, Muwaffak M. Abdulhak and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is one of the most commonly used patient-reported outcome instruments, but completion of this 10-question survey can be cumbersome. Tools from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) are an alternative, and potentially more efficient, means of assessing physical, mental, and social outcomes in spine surgery. Authors of this retrospective study assessed whether scores on the 4-item surveys of function and pain from the PROMIS initiative correlate with those on the ODI in lumbar spine surgery.

METHODS

Patients evaluated in the adult neurosurgery spine clinic at a single institution completed the ODI, PROMIS Short Form v2.0 Physical Function 4a (PROMIS PF), and PROMIS Short Form v1.0 Pain Interference 4a (PROMIS PI) at various time points in their care. Score data were retrospectively analyzed using linear regressions with calculation of the Pearson correlation coefficient.

RESULTS

Three hundred forty-three sets of surveys (ODI, PROMIS PF, and PROMIS PI) were obtained from patients across initial visits (n = 147), 3-month follow-ups (n = 107), 12-month follow-ups (n = 52), and 24-month follow-ups (n = 37). ODI scores strongly correlated with PROMIS PF t-scores at baseline (r = −0.72, p < 0.0001), 3 months (r = −0.79, p < 0.0001), 12 months (r = −0.85, p < 0.0001), and 24 months (r = −0.89, p < 0.0001). ODI scores also correlated strongly with PROMIS PI t-scores at baseline (r = 0.71, p < 0.0001), at 3 months (r = 0.82, p < 0.0001), at 12 months (r = 0.86, p < 0.0001), and at 24 months (r = 0.88, p < 0.0001). Changes in ODI scores moderately correlated with changes in PROMIS PF t-scores (r = −0.68, p = 0.0003) and changes in PROMIS PI t-scores (r = 0.57, p = 0.0047) at 3 months postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

A strong correlation was found between the ODI and the 4-item PROMIS PF/PI at isolated time points for patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery. Large cohort studies are needed to determine longitudinal accuracy and precision and to assess possible benefits of time savings and improved rates of survey completion.