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Francis Lovecchio, Jeffrey G. Stepan, Ajay Premkumar, Michael E. Steinhaus, Maria Sava, Peter Derman, Han Jo Kim, and Todd Albert

OBJECTIVE

Patients with lumbar spine pathology are at high risk for opioid misuse. Standardizing prescribing practices through an institutional intervention may reduce the overprescribing of opiates, leading to a decrease in the risk for opioid misuse and the number of pills available for diversion. Without quantitative data on the “minimum necessary quantity” of opioids appropriate for postdischarge prescriptions, the optimal method for changing existing prescribing practices is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine whether mandatory provider education and prescribing guidelines could modify prescriber behavior and lead to a decreased amount of opioids prescribed at hospital discharge following lumbar spine surgery.

METHODS

Qualified staff were required to attend a mandatory educational conference, and a consensus method among the spine service was used to publish qualitative prescribing guidelines. Prescription data for 2479 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery were captured and compared based on the timing of surgery. The preintervention group consisted of 1177 patients who had undergone spine surgery in the period before prescriber education and guidelines (March 1, 2016–November 1, 2016). The postintervention group consisted of 1302 patients who had undergone spine surgery after the dissemination of the guidelines (February 1, 2017–October 1, 2017). Surgeries were classified as decompression or fusion procedures. Patients who had undergone surgeries for infection and patients on long-acting opioids were excluded.

RESULTS

For all lumbar spine surgeries (decompression and fusion), the mean amount of opioids prescribed at discharge was lower after the educational program and distribution of prescribing guidelines (629 ± 294 oral morphine equivalent [OME] preintervention vs 490 ± 245 OME postintervention, p < 0.001). The mean number of prescribed pills also decreased (81 ± 26 vs 66 ± 22, p < 0.001). Prescriptions for 81 or more tablets dropped from 65.5% to 25.5%. Tramadol was prescribed more frequently after prescriber education (9.9% vs 18.6%, p < 0.001). Refill rates within 6 weeks were higher after the institutional intervention (7.6% vs 12.4%, p < 0.07).

CONCLUSIONS

Qualitative guidelines and prescriber education are effective in reducing the amount of opioids prescribed at discharge and encouraging the use of weaker opioids. Coupling provider education with prescribing guidelines is likely synergistic in achieving larger reductions. The sustainability of these changes is yet to be determined.

Free access

Francis C. Lovecchio, Avani S. Vaishnav, Michael E. Steinhaus, Yahya A. Othman, Catherine Himo Gang, Sravisht Iyer, Steven J. McAnany, Todd J. Albert, and Sheeraz A. Qureshi

OBJECTIVE

In an effort to prevent loss of segmental lordosis (SL) with minimally invasive interbody fusions, manufacturers have increased the amount of lordosis that is built into interbody cages. However, the relationship between cage lordotic angle and actual SL achieved intraoperatively remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine if the lordotic angle manufactured into an interbody cage impacts the change in SL during minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for lumbar interbody fusion (LIF) done for degenerative pathology.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of a single-surgeon database of adult patients who underwent primary LIF between April 2017 and December 2018. Procedures were performed for 1–2-level lumbar degenerative disease using contemporary MIS techniques, including transforaminal LIF (TLIF), lateral LIF (LLIF), and anterior LIF (ALIF). Surgical levels were classified on lateral radiographs based on the cage lordotic angle (6°–8°, 10°–12°, and 15°–20°) and the position of the cage in the disc space (anterior vs posterior). Change in SL was the primary outcome of interest. Subgroup analyses of the cage lordotic angle within each surgical approach were also conducted.

RESULTS

A total of 116 surgical levels in 98 patients were included. Surgical approaches included TLIF (56.1%), LLIF (32.7%), and ALIF (11.2%). There were no differences in SL gained by cage lordotic angle (2.7° SL gain with 6°–8° cages, 1.6° with 10°–12° cages, and 3.4° with 15°–20° cages, p = 0.581). Subgroup analysis of LLIF showed increased SL with 15° cages only (p = 0.002). The change in SL was highest after ALIF (average increase 9.8° in SL vs 1.8° in TLIF vs 1.8° in LLIF, p < 0.001). Anterior position of the cage in the disc space was also associated with a significantly greater gain in SL (4.2° vs −0.3°, p = 0.001), and was the only factor independently correlated with SL gain (p = 0.016).

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with cage lordotic angle, cage position and approach play larger roles in the generation of SL in 1–2-level MIS for lumbar degenerative disease.

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Philip K. Louie, Basel Sheikh Alshabab, Michael H. McCarthy, Sohrab Virk, James E. Dowdell, Michael E. Steinhaus, Francis Lovecchio, Andre M. Samuel, Kyle W. Morse, Frank J. Schwab, Todd J. Albert, Sheeraz A. Qureshi, Sravisht Iyer, Yoshihiro Katsuura, Russel C. Huang, Matthew E. Cunningham, Yu-Cheng Yao, Karen Weissmann, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, and Han Jo Kim

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to initially validate a recent morphological classification of cervical spine deformity pathology.

METHODS

The records of 10 patients for each of the 3 classification subgroups (flat neck, focal deformity, and cervicothoracic), as well as for 8 patients with coronal deformity only, were extracted from a prospective multicenter database of patients with cervical deformity (CD). A panel of 15 physicians of various training and professional levels (i.e., residents, fellows, and surgeons) categorized each patient into one of the 4 groups. The Fleiss kappa coefficient was utilized to evaluate intra- and interrater reliability. Accuracy, defined as properly selecting the main driver of deformity, was reported overall, by morphotype, and by reviewer experience.

RESULTS

The overall classification demonstrated a moderate to substantial agreement (round 1: interrater Fleiss kappa = 0.563, 95% CI 0.559–0.568; round 2: interrater Fleiss kappa = 0.612, 95% CI 0.606–0.619). Stratification by level of training demonstrated similar mean interrater coefficients (residents 0.547, fellows 0.600, surgeons 0.524). The mean intrarater score was 0.686 (range 0.531–0.823). A substantial agreement between rounds 1 and 2 was demonstrated in 81.8% of the raters, with a kappa score > 0.61. Stratification by level of training demonstrated similar mean intrarater coefficients (residents 0.715, fellows 0.640, surgeons 0.682). Of 570 possible questions, reviewers provided 419 correct answers (73.5%). When considering the true answer as being selected by at least one of the two main drivers of deformity, the overall accuracy increased to 86.0%.

CONCLUSIONS

This initial validation of a CD morphological classification system reiterates the importance of dynamic plain radiographs for the evaluation of patients with CD. The overall reliability of this CD morphological classification has been demonstrated. The overall accuracy of the classification system was not impacted by rater experience, demonstrating its simplicity.