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Jonathan Huang, Erik E. Rabin, Geoffrey P. Stricsek, and Kevin N. Swong

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) may be used to treat degenerative spinal pathologies while reducing risks associated with open procedures. As an increasing number of lumbar fusions are performed in the aging United States population, MIS-TLIF has been widely adopted into clinical practice in recent years. However, its complication rate and functional outcomes in elderly patients remain poorly characterized. The objective of this study was to assess complication rates and functional outcomes in elderly patients (≥ 65 years old) undergoing MIS-TLIF.

METHODS

The PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases were searched for relevant records in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed original research; English language; full text available; use of MIS-TLIF; and an elderly cohort of at least 5 patients. Risk of bias was assessed using the ROBINS-I (Risk of Bias in Nonrandomized Studies—of Interventions) tool. Pooled complication rates were calculated for elderly patients, with subgroup analyses performed for single versus multiple-level fusions. Complication rates in elderly compared to nonelderly patients were also assessed. Postoperative changes in patient-reported outcomes, including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) back pain (BP) and leg pain (LP) scores, were calculated.

RESULTS

Twelve studies were included in the final analysis. Compared to nonelderly patients, MIS-TLIF in elderly patients resulted in significantly higher rates of major (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.07–4.34) and minor (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.22–3.95) complications. The pooled major complication rate in elderly patients was 0.05 (95% CI 0.03–0.08) and the pooled minor complication rate was 0.20 (95% CI 0.13–0.30). Single-level MIS-TLIF had lower major and minor complication rates than multilevel MIS-TLIF, although not reaching significance. At a minimum follow-up of 6 months, the postoperative change in ODI (−30.70, 95% CI −41.84 to −19.55), VAS-BP (−3.87, 95% CI −4.97 to −2.77), and VAS-LP (−5.11, 95% CI −6.69 to −3.53) in elderly patients all exceeded the respective minimum clinically important difference. The pooled rate of fusion was 0.86 (95% CI 0.80–0.90).

CONCLUSIONS

MIS-TLIF in elderly patients results in a high rate of fusion and significant improvement of patient-reported outcomes, but has significantly higher complication rates than in nonelderly patients. Limitations of this study include heterogeneity in the definition of elderly and limited reporting of risk factors among included studies. Further study of the impact of complications and the factors predisposing elderly patients to poor outcomes is needed.

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Francis Lovecchio, Renaud Lafage, Jonathan Charles Elysee, Alex Huang, Bryan Ang, Mathieu Bannwarth, Han Jo Kim, Frank Schwab, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

Supine radiographs have successfully been used for preoperative planning of lumbar deformity corrections. However, they have not been used to assess thoracic flexibility, which has recently garnered attention as a potential contributor to proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). The purpose of this study was to compare supine to standing radiographs to assess thoracic flexibility and to determine whether thoracic flexibility is associated with PJK.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted of a single-institution database of patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). Sagittal alignment parameters were compared between standing and supine and between pre- and postoperative radiographs. Thoracic flexibility was determined as the change between preoperative standing thoracic kyphosis (TK) and preoperative supine TK, and these changes were measured over the overall thoracic spine and the fused portion of the thoracic spine (i.e., TK fused). A case-control analysis was performed to compare thoracic flexibility between patients with PJK and those without (no PJK). The cohort was also stratified into three groups based on thoracic flexibility: kyphotic change (increased TK), lordotic change (decreased TK), and no change. The PJK rate was compared between the cohorts.

RESULTS

A total of 101 patients (mean 63 years old, 82.2% female, mean BMI 27.4 kg/m2) were included. Preoperative Scoliosis Research Society–Schwab ASD classification showed moderate preoperative deformity (pelvic tilt 27.7% [score ++]; pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch 44.6% [score ++]; sagittal vertical axis 42.6% [score ++]). Postoperatively, the average offset from age-adjusted alignment goals demonstrated slight overcorrection in the study sample (−8.5° ± 15.6° pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, −29.2 ± 53.1 mm sagittal vertical axis, −5.4 ± 10.8 pelvic tilt, and −7.6 ± 11.7 T1 pelvic angle). TK decreased between standing and supine radiographs and increased postoperatively (TK fused: −25.3° vs −19.6° vs −29.9°; all p < 0.001). The overall rate of radiographic PJK was 23.8%. Comparisons between PJK and no PJK demonstrated that offsets from age-adjusted alignment goals were similar (p > 0.05 for all). There was a significant difference in the PJK rate when stratified by thoracic flexibility cohorts (kyphotic: 0.0% vs no change: 18.4% vs lordotic: 35.0%; p = 0.049). Logistic regression revealed thoracic flexibility (p = 0.045) as the only independent correlate of PJK.

CONCLUSIONS

Half of patients with ASD experienced significant changes in TK during supine positioning, a quality that may influence surgical strategy. Increased thoracic flexibility is associated with PJK, possibly secondary to fusing the patient’s spine in a flattened position intraoperatively.

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Meng Huang, Avery Buchholz, Anshit Goyal, Erica Bisson, Zoher Ghogawala, Eric Potts, John Knightly, Domagoj Coric, Anthony Asher, Kevin Foley, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Mark Shaffrey, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan Slotkin, Steven Glassman, Mohamad Bydon, and Michael Wang

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment for degenerative spondylolisthesis has been proven to be clinically challenging and cost-effective. However, there is a range of thresholds that surgeons utilize for incorporating fusion in addition to decompressive laminectomy in these cases. This study investigates these surgeon- and site-specific factors by using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD).

METHODS

The QOD was queried for all cases that had undergone surgery for grade 1 spondylolisthesis from database inception to February 2019. In addition to patient-specific covariates, surgeon-specific covariates included age, sex, race, years in practice (0–10, 11–20, 21–30, > 30 years), and fellowship training. Site-specific variables included hospital location (rural, suburban, urban), teaching versus nonteaching status, and hospital type (government, nonfederal; private, nonprofit; private, investor owned). Multivariable regression and predictor importance analyses were performed to identify predictors of the treatment performed (decompression alone vs decompression and fusion). The model was clustered by site to account for site-specific heterogeneity in treatment selection.

RESULTS

A total of 12,322 cases were included with 1988 (16.1%) that had undergone decompression alone. On multivariable regression analysis clustered by site, adjusting for patient-level clinical covariates, no surgeon-specific factors were found to be significantly associated with the odds of selecting decompression alone as the surgery performed. However, sites located in suburban areas (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.09–4.84, p = 0.03) were more likely to perform decompression alone (reference = urban). Sites located in rural areas had higher odds of performing decompression alone than hospitals located in urban areas, although the results were not statistically significant (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.59–2.61, p = 0.49). Nonteaching status was independently associated with lower odds of performing decompression alone (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19–0.97, p = 0.04). Predictor importance analysis revealed that the most important determinants of treatment selection were dominant symptom (Wald χ2 = 34.7, accounting for 13.6% of total χ2) and concurrent diagnosis of disc herniation (Wald χ2 = 31.7, accounting for 12.4% of total χ2). Hospital teaching status was also found to be relatively important (Wald χ2 = 4.2, accounting for 1.6% of total χ2) but less important than other patient-level predictors.

CONCLUSIONS

Nonteaching centers were more likely to perform decompressive laminectomy with supplemental fusion for spondylolisthesis. Suburban hospitals were more likely to perform decompression only. Surgeon characteristics were not found to influence treatment selection after adjustment for clinical covariates. Further large database registry experience from surgeons at high-volume academic centers at which surgically and medically complex patients are treated may provide additional insight into factors associated with treatment preference for degenerative spondylolisthesis.

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Adham M. Khalafallah, Maureen Rakovec, Katemanee Burapachaisri, Shirley Fung, Sharon L. Kozachik, Benita Valappil, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, Georgios A. Zenonos, Paul A. Gardner, Mustafa K. Baskaya, David Dornbos III, Garret Choby, Edward C. Kuan, Christopher Roxbury, Jonathan B. Overdevest, David A. Gudis, Victoria S. Lee, Joshua M. Levy, Andrew Thamboo, Rodney J. Schlosser, Judy Huang, Chetan Bettegowda, Nyall R. London Jr., Nicholas R. Rowan, Albert W. Wu, and Debraj Mukherjee

OBJECTIVE

Suprasellar meningioma resection via either the transcranial approach (TCA) or the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) is an area of controversy and active evaluation. Skull base surgeons increasingly consider patient-reported outcomes (PROs) when choosing an approach. No PRO measure currently exists to assess quality of life for suprasellar meningiomas.

METHODS

Adult patients undergoing suprasellar meningioma resection between 2013 and 2019 via EEA (n = 14) or TCA (n = 14) underwent semistructured interviews. Transcripts were coded using a grounded theory approach to identify themes as the basis for a PRO measure that includes all uniquely reported symptoms. To assess content validity, 32 patients and 15 surgeons used a Likert scale to rate the relevance of items on the resulting questionnaire and the general Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System–29 (PROMIS29). The mean scores were calculated for all items and compared for TCA versus EEA patient cohorts by using unpaired t-tests. Items on either questionnaire with mean scores ≥ 2.0 from patients were considered meaningful and were aggregated to form the novel Suprasellar Meningioma Patient-Reported Outcome Survey (SMPRO) instrument.

RESULTS

Qualitative analyses resulted in 55 candidate items. Relative to patients who underwent the EEA, those who underwent the TCA reported significantly worse future outlook before surgery (p = 0.01), tiredness from medications 2 weeks after surgery (p = 0.001), and word-finding and memory difficulties 3 months after surgery (p = 0.05 and < 0.001, respectively).

The items that patients who received a TCA were most concerned about included medication-induced lethargy after surgery (2.9 ± 1.3), blurry vision before surgery (2.7 ± 1.5), and difficulty reading due to blurry vision before surgery (2.7 ± 2.7). Items that patients who received an EEA were most concerned about included blurry vision before surgery (3.5 ± 1.3), difficulty reading due to blurry vision before surgery (2.4 ± 1.3), and problems with smell postsurgery (2.9 ± 1.3). Although surgeons overall overestimated how concerned patients were about questionnaire items (p < 0.0005), the greatest discrepancies between patient and surgeon relevance scores were for blurry vision pre- and postoperatively (p < 0.001 and < 0.001, respectively) and problems with taste postoperatively (p < 0.001). Seventeen meningioma-specific items were considered meaningful, supplementing 8 significant PROMIS29 items to create the novel 25-item SMPRO.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors developed a disease- and approach-specific measure for suprasellar meningiomas to compare quality of life by operative approach. If demonstrated to be reliable and valid in future studies, this instrument may assist patients and providers in choosing a personalized surgical approach.