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Vikram B. Chakravarthy, Hammad A. Khan, Shaarada Srivatsa, Todd Emch, Samuel T. Chao, and Ajit A. Krishnaney

OBJECTIVE

Separation surgery followed by spine stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) has been shown to achieve favorable rates of local tumor control and patient-reported outcomes in patients with metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC). However, rates and factors associated with adjacent-level tumor progression (ALTP) in this population have not yet been characterized. The present study aimed to identify factors associated with ALTP and examine its association with overall survival (OS) in patients receiving surgery followed by radiosurgery for MESCC.

METHODS

Thirty-nine patients who underwent separation surgery followed by SSRS for MESCC were identified using a prospectively collected database and were retrospectively reviewed. Radiological measurements were collected from preoperative, postoperative, and post-SSRS MRI. Statistical analysis was conducted using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method and Cox proportional hazards test. Subgroup analysis was conducted for patients who experienced ALTP into the epidural space (ALTP-E).

RESULTS

The authors’ cohort included 39 patients with a median OS of 14.7 months (range 2.07–96.3 months). ALTP was observed in 16 patients (41.0%) at a mean of 6.1 ± 5.4 months postradiosurgery, of whom 4 patients (10.3%) experienced ALTP-E. Patients with ALTP had shorter OS (13.0 vs 17.1 months, p = 0.047) compared with those without ALTP. Factors associated with an increased likelihood of ALTP included the amount of bone marrow infiltrated by tumor at the index level, amount of residual epidural disease following separation surgery, and prior receipt of radiotherapy at the index level (p < 0.05). Subgroup analysis revealed that primary tumor type, amount of preoperative epidural disease, time elapsed between surgery and radiosurgery, and prior receipt of radiotherapy at the index level were significantly associated with ALTP-E (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

To the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to identify possible risk factors for ALTP, and they suggest that it may be associated with shorter OS in patients receiving surgery followed by radiosurgery for MESCC. Future studies with higher power should be conducted to further characterize factors associated with ALTP in this population.

Free access

Nicholas M. Rabah, Hammad A. Khan, Robert D. Winkelman, Jay M. Levin, Thomas E. Mroz, and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) was developed as a result of the value-based purchasing initiative by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It allows patients to rate their experience with their provider in the outpatient setting. These ratings are then reported in aggregate and made publicly available, allowing patients to make informed choices during physician selection. In this study, the authors sought to elucidate the primary drivers of patient satisfaction in the office-based spine surgery setting as represented by the CG-CAHPS.

METHODS

All patients who underwent lumbar spine surgery between 2009 and 2017 and completed a patient experience survey were studied. The satisfied group comprised patients who selected a top-box score (9 or 10) for overall provider rating (OPR) on the CG-CAHPS, while the unsatisfied group comprised the remaining patients. Demographic and surgical characteristics were compared using the chi-square test for categorical variables and the Student t-test for continuous variables. A multivariable logistic regression model was developed to analyze the association of patient and surgeon characteristics with OPR. Survey items were then added to the baseline model individually, adjusting for covariates.

RESULTS

The study population included 647 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery. Of these patients, 564 (87%) selected an OPR of 9 or 10 on the CG-CAHPS and were included in the satisfied group. Patient characteristics were similar between the two groups. The two groups did not differ significantly regarding patient-reported health status measures. After adjusting for potential confounders, the following survey items were associated with the greatest odds of selecting a top-box OPR: did this provider show respect for what you had to say? (OR 21.26, 95% CI 9.98–48.10); and did this provider seem to know the important information about your medical history? (OR 20.93, 95% CI 11.96–45.50).

CONCLUSIONS

The present study sought to identify the key drivers of patient satisfaction in the postoperative office-based spine surgery setting and found several important associations. After adjusting for potential confounders, several items relating to physician communication were found to be the strongest predictors of patient satisfaction. This highlights the importance of effective communication in the patient-provider interaction and elucidates avenues for quality improvement efforts in the spine care setting.

Free access

Nicholas M. Rabah, Hammad A. Khan, Jay M. Levin, Robert D. Winkelman, Thomas E. Mroz, and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

The Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) survey was developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a result of their value-based purchasing initiative. It allows patients to rate their experience with their provider in the outpatient setting. This presents a unique situation in healthcare in which the patient experience drives the marketplace, and since its creation, providers have sought to improve patient satisfaction. Within the spine surgery setting, however, the question remains whether improved patient satisfaction correlates with improved outcomes.

METHODS

All patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery between 2009 and 2017 and who completed a CG-CAHPS survey after their procedure were studied. Demographic and surgical characteristics were then obtained. The primary outcomes of this study include patient-reported health outcomes measures such as the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health (PROMIS-GH) surveys for both mental health (PROMIS-GH-MH) and physical health (PROMIS-GH-PH), and the visual analog scale for back pain (VAS-BP). A multivariable linear regression analysis was used to assess whether patient satisfaction with their provider was associated with changes in each health status measure after adjusting for potential confounders.

RESULTS

The study population included 647 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery. Of these, 564 (87%) indicated that they were satisfied with the care they received. Demographic and surgical characteristics were largely similar between the two groups. Multivariable linear regression demonstrated that patient satisfaction with their provider was not a significant predictor of change in two of the three patient-reported outcomes (PROMIS-GH-MH and PROMIS-GH-PH) assessed at 1 year. However, top-box patient satisfaction with their provider was a significant predictor of improvement in VAS-BP scores at 1 year.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that after adjusting for patient-level covariates such as age, diagnosis of disc displacement, self-reported mental health, self-reported overall health, and preoperative patient-reported outcome measure status, a significant association was observed between top-box overall provider rating and 1-year improvement in VAS-BP, but no such association was observed for PROMIS-GH-PH and PROMIS-GH-MH. This suggests that pain-related outcome measures may serve as better predictors of patients’ satisfaction with their spine surgeons. Furthermore, this suggests that the current method by which patient satisfaction is being assessed and publicly reported may not necessarily correlate with validated measures that are used within the spine surgery setting to assess surgical efficacy.

Free access

Sean N. Neifert, Hammad A. Khan, David B. Kurland, Nora C. Kim, Kaleb Yohay, Devorah Segal, Amer Samdani, Steven Hwang, and Darryl Lau

OBJECTIVE

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) dystrophic scoliosis is an early-onset, rapidly progressive multiplanar deformity. There are few studies on the surgical management of this patient population. Specifically, perioperative morbidity, instrument-related complications, and quality-of-life outcomes associated with surgical management have not been systematically evaluated. In this study, the authors aimed to perform a systematic review on the natural history, management options, and surgical outcomes in patients who underwent NF1 dystrophic scoliosis surgery.

METHODS

A PubMed search for articles with “neurofibromatosis” and either “dystrophic” or “scoliosis” in the title or abstract was performed. Articles with 10 or more patients undergoing surgery for NF1 dystrophic scoliosis were included. Data regarding indications, treatment details, morbidity, and outcomes were summarized and analyzed with descriptive statistics.

RESULTS

A total of 310 articles were identified, 48 of which were selected for full-text review; 30 studies describing 761 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age ranged from 7 to 22 years, and 99.7% of patients were younger than 18 years. The mean preoperative coronal Cobb angle was 75.2°, and the average correction achieved was 40.3°. The mean clinical follow-up in each study was at least 2 years (range 2.2–19 years). All patients underwent surgery with the intent of deformity correction. The scoliosis regions addressed were thoracic curves (69.6%) and thoracolumbar (11.1%) and lumbar (14.3%) regions. The authors reported on a variety of approaches: posterior-only, combined anterior-posterior, and growth-friendly surgery. For fixation techniques, 42.5% of patients were treated with hybrid constructs, 51.5% with pedicle screw–only constructs, and 6.0% with hook-based constructs. Only 0.9% of patients underwent a vertebral column resection. The nonneurological complication rate was 14.0%, primarily dural tears and wound infections. The immediate postoperative neurological deficit rate was 2.1%, and the permanent neurological deficit rate was 1.2%. Ultimately, 21.5% required revision surgery, most commonly for implant-related complications. Loss of correction in both the sagittal and coronal planes commonly occurred at follow-up. Five papers supplied validated patient-reported outcome measures, showing improvement in the mental health, self-image, and activity domains.

CONCLUSIONS

Data on the surgical outcomes of dystrophic scoliosis correction are heterogeneous and sparse. The perioperative complication rate appears to be high, although reported rates of neurological deficits appear to be lower than clinically observed and may be underreported. The incidence of implant-related failures requiring revision surgery is high. There is a great need for multicenter prospective studies of this complex type of deformity.