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  • Author or Editor: George R. Cybulski x
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Mark N. Hadley

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James L. Stone, George R. Cybulski, Justo Rodriguez, Martin E. Gryfinski and Ravi Kant

✓ A retrospective review of the surgical experience in treating 18 patients with osteomyelitis of the cervical spine is reported. The patients ranged in age from 20 to 60 years and all complained of neck pain upon admission. Ten patients had a prior history of intravenous drug abuse, three had previously suffered penetrating injuries of the neck, and one had an extraspinal site of osteomyelitis. Bacteria were isolated in 13 cases and tuberculosis in three. Neurological abnormalities were present in over one-half of the patients, consisting of myelopathy (nine cases) or radiculopathy (four cases). Plain cervical spine films and polytomography demonstrated vertebral and end-plate destruction, spinal instability, and increased paravertebral soft-tissue shadow in all cases. Computerized tomography and, more recently, magnetic resonance imaging have proven helpful in detecting bone involvement and the presence of epidural extension associated with cervical osteomyelitis. The risk of vertebral body collapse, kyphosis, and myelopathy in the osteomyelitic cervical spine has standardized the management of this problem in this institution to consist of skeletal traction, needle aspiration or blood culture for organism identification, anterior cervical debridement, autogenous iliac graft fusion, and intravenous administration of antibiotics. Spinal stability and neurological improvement were achieved in all 18 patients.

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Bobby D. Kim, Timothy R. Smith, Seokchun Lim, George R. Cybulski and John Y. S. Kim


Unplanned hospital readmission represents a large financial burden on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, commercial insurance payers, hospitals, and individual patients, and is a principal target for cost reduction. A large-scale, multi-institutional study that evaluates risk factors for readmission has not been previously performed in patients undergoing lumbar decompression procedures. The goal of this multicenter retrospective study was to find preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative predictive factors that result in unplanned readmission (UR) after lumbar decompression surgery.


The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was retrospectively reviewed to identify all patients who received lumbar decompression procedures in 2011. Risk-adjusted multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate independent predictors of UR.


The overall rate of UR among patients undergoing lumbar decompression was 4.4%. After multivariate logistic regression analysis, anemia (odds ratio [OR] 1.48), dependent functional status (OR 3.03), total operative duration (OR 1.003), and American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Class 4 (OR 3.61) remained as independent predictors of UR. Postoperative complications that were significantly associated with UR included overall complications (OR 5.18), pulmonary embolism (OR 3.72), and unplanned reoperation (OR 56.91).


There were several risk factors for UR after lumbar spine decompression surgery. Identification of high-risk patients and appropriate allocation of resources to reduce postoperative incidence may reduce the readmission rate.

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Ekamjeet S. Dhillon, Ryan Khanna, Michael Cloney, Helena Roberts, George R. Cybulski, Tyler R. Koski, Zachary A. Smith and Nader S. Dahdaleh


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) after spinal surgery is a major cause of morbidity, but chemoprophylactic anticoagulation can prevent it. However, there is variability in the timing and use of chemoprophylactic anticoagulation after spine surgery, particularly given surgeons’ concerns for spinal epidural hematomas. The goal of this study was to provide insight into the safety, efficacy, and timing of anticoagulation therapy after spinal surgery.


The authors retrospectively examined records from 6869 consecutive spinal surgeries performed in their departments at Northwestern University. Data on patient demographics, surgery, hospital course, timing of chemoprophylaxis, and complications, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and spinal epidural hematomas requiring evacuation, were collected. Data from the patients who received chemoprophylaxis (n = 1904) were compared with those of patients who did not (n = 4965). The timing of chemoprophylaxis, the rate of VTEs, and the incidence of spinal epidural hematomas were analyzed.


The chemoprophylaxis group had more risk factors, including greater age (59.70 vs 51.86 years, respectively; p < 0.001), longer surgery (278.59 vs 145.66 minutes, respectively; p < 0.001), higher estimated blood loss (995 vs 448 ml, respectively; p < 0.001), more comorbid diagnoses (2.69 vs 1.89, respectively; p < 0.001), history of VTE (5.8% vs 2.1%, respectively; p < 0.001), and a higher number were undergoing fusion surgery (46.1% vs 24.7%, respectively; p < 0.001). The prevalence of VTE was higher in the chemoprophylaxis group (3.62% vs 2.03%, respectively; p < 0.001). The median time to VTE occurrence was shorter in the nonchemoprophylaxis group (3.6 vs 6.8 days, respectively; p = 0.0003, log-rank test; hazard ratio 0.685 [0.505–0.926]), and the peak prevalence of VTE occurred in the first 3 postoperative days in the nonchemoprophylaxis group. The average time of initiation of chemoprophylaxis was 1.46 days after surgery. The rates of epidural hematoma were 0.20% (n = 4) in the chemoprophylaxis group and 0.18% (n = 9) in the nonchemoprophylaxis group (p = 0.622).


The risks of spinal epidural hematoma among patients who receive chemoprophylaxis and those who do not are low and equivalent. Administering anticoagulation therapy from 1 day before to 3 days after surgery is safe for patients at high risk for VTE.

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Rishi R. Lall, Rohan R. Lall, Jason S. Hauptman, Carlos Munoz, George R. Cybulski, Tyler Koski, Aruna Ganju, Richard G. Fessler and Zachary A. Smith

Spine surgery carries an inherent risk of damage to critical neural structures. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is frequently used to improve the safety of spine surgery by providing real-time assessment of neural structures at risk. Evidence-based guidelines for safe and efficacious use of IONM are lacking and its use is largely driven by surgeon preference and medicolegal issues. Due to this lack of standardization, the preoperative sign-in serves as a critical opportunity for 3-way discussion between the neurosurgeon, anesthesiologist, and neuromonitoring team regarding the necessity for and goals of IONM in the ensuing case. This analysis contains a review of commonly used IONM modalities including somatosensory evoked potentials, motor evoked potentials, spontaneous or free-running electromyography, triggered electromyography, and combined multimodal IONM. For each modality the methodology, interpretation, and reported sensitivity and specificity for neurological injury are addressed. This is followed by a discussion of important IONM-related issues to include in the preoperative checklist, including anesthetic protocol, warning criteria for possible neurological injury, and consideration of what steps to take in response to a positive alarm. The authors conclude with a cost-effectiveness analysis of IONM, and offer recommendations for IONM use during various forms of spine surgery, including both complex spine and minimally invasive procedures, as well as lower-risk spinal operations.