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David J. Gower, Carol Hollman, K. Stuart Lee, and Michael Tytell

✓ Due to its investiture with bone, the spinal cord can be difficult to study anatomically and histologically. Tissue degradation during immersion fixation or mechanical trauma during extraction of unfixed tissue often produces confusing artifacts. Perfusion fixation eliminates many of these problems, but it is a slow, tedious, and technically demanding procedure. This report demonstrates that microwave irradiation of the spinal cord before its removal from the spine is a rapid and easy method of tissue fixation with an absence of artifacts comparable to that with perfusion fixation.

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David J. Gower, Carol Hollman, K. Stuart Lee, and Michael Tytell

✓ The heat shock or stress response is a highly conserved primary cellular response to injury. Synthesis of stress proteins (also called “heat shock proteins”) is an integral component of this response. Protection from various forms of sublethal stress following increased production of stress proteins has been demonstrated in a number of systems, including the retina. This immunocytochemical study demonstrates the synthesis, accumulation, and redistribution of the 70-kD stress protein following spinal cord injury in rats. The observations confirm that stress protein production is a fundamental feature of the molecular response of the spinal cord to injury, and raise the possibility that augmentation of this response could enhance posttraumatic neuronal survival.

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Lee L. Thibodeau, George R. Prioleau, Elias E. Manuelidis, Maria J. Merino, and Michael D. Heafner

✓ A 20-year-old woman presented with a 3-year history of intermittent focal headaches and a generalized seizure. Computerized tomography demonstrated a hypodense ring-enhancing cystic right parietal lobe lesion. At operation, a chocolate-colored cyst was excised which on histological examination proved to be endometriosis.

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Christopher B. Michael, Andrew G. Lee, James R. Patrinely, Samuel Stal, and J. Bob Blacklock

✓ The authors present a case of visual loss associated with fibrous dysplasia of the anterior skull base and the surgical management of this case. Preoperative computerized tomography scanning in this patient demonstrated a patent optic foramen and a rapidly growing cystic mass within the orbit, which was responsible for the patient's visual loss. A literature review revealed that this case is typical, in that cystic mass lesions of various types are frequently responsible for visual loss associated with fibrous dysplasia. The authors did not find significant evidence in the literature to support the notion that visual loss associated with fibrous dysplasia is the result of progressive optic canal stenosis, thus raising questions about the value of prophylactic optic canal decompression. Instead, as demonstrated by this case and those uncovered in the literature review, most instances of visual loss result from the rapid growth of mass lesions of cystic fibrous dysplasia, mucoceles, or hemorrhage. Findings of the literature review and the present case of fibrous dysplasia of the anterior skull base support a role for extensive surgical resection in these cases and indicate a need for additional prospective analysis of a larger number of patients with this disease.

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Syed K. Mehdi, Vincent J. Alentado, Bryan S. Lee, Thomas E. Mroz, Edward C. Benzel, and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a pathological calcification or ossification of the PLL, predominantly occurring in the cervical spine. Although surgery is often necessary for patients with symptomatic neurological deterioration, there remains controversy with regard to the optimal surgical treatment. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors identified differences in complications and outcomes after anterior or posterior decompression and fusion versus after decompression alone for the treatment of cervical myelopathy due to OPLL.

METHODS

A MEDLINE, SCOPUS, and Web of Science search was performed for studies reporting complications and outcomes after decompression and fusion or after decompression alone for patients with OPLL. A meta-analysis was performed to calculate effect summary mean values, 95% CIs, Q statistics, and I2 values. Forest plots were constructed for each analysis group.

RESULTS

Of the 2630 retrieved articles, 32 met the inclusion criteria. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of excellent and good outcomes and of fair and poor outcomes between the decompression and fusion and the decompression-only cohorts. However, the decompression and fusion cohort had a statistically significantly higher recovery rate (63.2% vs 53.9%; p < 0.0001), a higher final Japanese Orthopaedic Association score (14.0 vs 13.5; p < 0.0001), and a lower incidence of OPLL progression (< 1% vs 6.3%; p < 0.0001) compared with the decompression-only cohort. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of complications between the 2 cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

This study represents the only comprehensive review of outcomes and complications after decompression and fusion or after decompression alone for OPLL across a heterogeneous group of surgeons and patients. Based on these results, decompression and fusion is a superior surgical technique compared with posterior decompression alone in patients with OPLL. These results indicate that surgical decompression and fusion lead to a faster recovery, improved postoperative neurological functioning, and a lower incidence of OPLL progression compared with posterior decompression only. Furthermore, decompression and fusion did not lead to a greater incidence of complications compared with posterior decompression only.

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Neil A. Martin, Ravish V. Patwardhan, Michael J. Alexander, Cynthia Zane Africk, Jae Hong Lee, Ehud Shalmon, David A. Hovda, and Donald P. Becker

✓ The extent and timing of posttraumatic cerebral hemodynamic disturbances have significant implications for the monitoring and treatment of patients with head injury. This prospective study of cerebral blood flow (CBF) (measured using 133Xe clearance) and transcranial Doppler (TCD) measurements in 125 patients with severe head trauma has defined three distinct hemodynamic phases during the first 2 weeks after injury. The phases are further characterized by measurements of cerebral arteriovenous oxygen difference (AVDO2) and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). Phase I (hypoperfusion phase) occurs on the day of injury (Day 0) and is defined by a low CBF15 calculated from cerebral clearance curves integrated to 15 minutes (mean CBF15 32.3 ± 2 ml/100 g/minute), normal middle cerebral artery (MCA) velocity (mean VMCA 56.7 ± 2.9 cm/second), normal hemispheric index ([HI], mean HI 1.67 ± 0.11), and normal AVDO2 (mean AVDO2 5.4 ± 0.5 vol%). The CMRO2 is approximately 50% of normal (mean CMRO2 1.77 ± 0.18 ml/100 g/minute) during this phase and remains depressed during the second and third phases. In Phase II (hyperemia phase, Days 1–3), CBF increases (46.8 ± 3 ml/100 g/minute), AVDO2 falls (3.8 ± 0.1 vol%), VMCA rises (86 ± 3.7 cm/second), and the HI remains less than 3 (2.41 ± 0.1). In Phase III (vasospasm phase, Days 4–15), there is a fall in CBF (35.7 ± 3.8 ml/100 g/minute), a further increase in VMCA (96.7 ± 6.3 cm/second), and a pronounced rise in the HI (2.87 ± 0.22).

This is the first study in which CBF, metabolic, and TCD measurements are combined to define the characteristics and time courses of, and to suggest etiological factors for, the distinct cerebral hemodynamic phases that occur after severe craniocerebral trauma. This research is consistent with and builds on the findings of previous investigations and may provide a useful temporal framework for the organization of existing knowledge regarding posttraumatic cerebrovascular and metabolic pathophysiology.

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Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Andrew B. Koo, Megan Lee, Adam J. Kundishora, Christopher S. Hong, Astrid C. Hengartner, Joaquin Camara-Quintana, Kristopher T. Kahle, and Michael L. DiLuna

OBJECTIVE

In the past decade, a gradual transition of health policy to value-based healthcare has brought increased attention to measuring the quality of care delivered. In spine surgery, adolescents with scoliosis are a population particularly at risk for depression, anxious feelings, and impaired quality of life related to back pain and cosmetic appearance of the deformity. With the rising prevalence of mental health ailments, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of concurrent affective disorders on patient care after spinal surgery in adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact that affective disorders have on perioperative complication rates, length of stay (LOS), and total costs in adolescents undergoing elective posterior spinal fusion (PSF) (≥ 4 levels) for idiopathic scoliosis.

METHODS

A retrospective study of the Kids’ Inpatient Database for the year 2012 was performed. Adolescent patients (age range 10–17 years old) with AIS undergoing elective PSF (≥ 4 levels) were selected using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification coding system. Patients were categorized into 2 groups at discharge: affective disorder or no affective disorder. Patient demographics, comorbidities, complications, LOS, discharge disposition, and total cost were assessed. The primary outcomes were perioperative complication rates, LOS, total cost, and discharge dispositions.

RESULTS

There were 3759 adolescents included in this study, of whom 164 (4.4%) were identified with an affective disorder (no affective disorder: n = 3595). Adolescents with affective disorders were significantly older than adolescents with no affective disorders (affective disorder: 14.4 ± 1.9 years vs no affective disorder: 13.9 ± 1.8 years, p = 0.001), and had significantly different proportions of race (p = 0.005). Aside from hospital region (p = 0.016), no other patient- or hospital-level factors differed between the cohorts. Patient comorbidities did not differ significantly between cohorts. The number of vertebral levels involved was similar between the cohorts, with the majority of patients having 9 or more levels involved (affective disorder: 76.8% vs no affective disorder: 79.5%, p = 0.403). Postoperative complications were similar between the cohorts, with no significant difference in the proportion of patients experiencing a postoperative complication (p = 0.079) or number of complications (p = 0.124). The mean length of stay and mean total cost were similar between the cohorts. Moreover, the routine and nonroutine discharge dispositions were also similar between the cohorts, with the majority of patients having routine discharges (affective disorder: 93.9% vs no affective disorder: 94.9%, p = 0.591).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that affective disorders may not have a significant impact on surgical outcomes in adolescent patients undergoing surgery for scoliosis in comparison with adults. Further studies are necessary to elucidate how affective disorders affect adolescent patients with idiopathic scoliosis, which may improve provider approach in managing these patients perioperatively and at follow-up in hopes to better the overall patient satisfaction and quality of care delivered.

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Nathan J. Lee, Michael W. Fields, Venkat Boddapati, Meghan Cerpa, Jalen Dansby, James D. Lin, Zeeshan M. Sardar, Ronald Lehman Jr., and Lawrence Lenke

OBJECTIVE

With the continued evolution of bundled payment plans, there has been a greater focus within orthopedic surgery on quality metrics up to 90 days of care. Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services does not currently penalize hospitals based on their pediatric readmission rates, it is important to understand the drivers for unplanned readmission to improve the quality of care and reduce costs.

METHODS

The National Readmission Database provides a nationally representative sample of all discharges from US hospitals and allows follow-up across hospitals up to 1 calendar year. Adolescents (age 10–18 years) who underwent idiopathic scoliosis surgery from 2012 to 2015 were included. Patients were separated into those with and those without readmission within 30 days or between 31 and 90 days. Demographics, operative conditions, hospital factors, and surgical outcomes were compared using the chi-square test and t-test. Independent predictors for readmissions were identified using stepwise multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

A total of 30,677 patients underwent adolescent idiopathic scoliosis surgery from 2012 to 2015. The rates of 30- and 90-day readmissions were 2.9% and 1.4%, respectively. The mean costs associated with the index admission and 30- and 90-day readmissions were $60,680, $23,567, and $16,916, respectively. Common risk factors for readmissions included length of stay > 5 days, obesity, neurological disorders, and chronic use of antiplatelets or anticoagulants. The index admission complications associated with readmissions were unintended durotomy, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone, and superior mesenteric artery syndrome. Hospital factors, discharge disposition, and operative conditions appeared to be less important for readmission risk. The top reasons for 30-day and 90-day readmissions were wound infection (34.7%) and implant complications (17.3%), respectively. Readmissions requiring a reoperation were significantly higher for those that occurred between 31 and 90 days after the index readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

Readmission rates were low for both 30- and 90-day readmissions for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis surgery patients. Nevertheless, readmissions are costly and appear to be associated with potentially modifiable risk factors, although some risk factors remain potentially unavoidable.

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Sean Pirkle, Sarah Bhattacharjee, Srikanth Reddy, Hector Castillo, Lewis L. Shi, Michael J. Lee, and Mostafa El Dafrawy

OBJECTIVE

Hip-spine syndrome has been well studied since it was first described by Offierski and MacNab in 1983. Today, strong evidence links symptoms of hip and spine pathology to postsurgical outcomes. Recent studies have reported increased rates of hip dislocation in patients previously treated with total hip arthroplasty (THA) who had undergone lumbar fusion procedures. However, the effect of this link on native hip-joint degeneration remains an area of ongoing research. The purpose of this study was to characterize the relationship between use of lumbar fusion procedures and acceleration of hip pathology by analyzing the rate of future THA in patients with preexisting hip osteoarthritis.

METHODS

This population-level, retrospective cohort study was conducted by using the PearlDiver research program. The initial patient cohort was defined by the presence of diagnosis codes for hip osteoarthritis. Patients were categorized according to use of lumbar fusion after diagnosis of hip pathology. Survival curves with respect to THA were generated by comparison of the no lumbar fusion cohort with the lumbar fusion cohort. To assess the impact of fusion construct length, the lumbar fusion cohort was then stratified according to the number of levels treated (1–2, 3–7, or ≥ 8 levels). Hazard ratios (HRs) were then calculated for the risk factors of number of levels treated, patient age, and sex.

RESULTS

A total of 2,275,683 patients matched the authors’ inclusion criteria. Log-rank analysis showed no significant difference in the rates of THA over time between the no lumbar fusion cohort (2,239,946 patients) and lumbar fusion cohort (35,737 patients; p = 0.40). When patients were stratified according to number of levels treated, again no differences in the incidence rates of THA over the study period were determined (p = 0.30). Patients aged 70–74 years (HR 0.871, p < 0.001), 75–79 years (HR 0.733, p < 0.001), 80–84 years (HR 0.557, p < 0.001), and ≥ 85 years (HR = 0.275, p < 0.001) were less likely to undergo THA relative to the reference group (patients aged 65–69 years).

CONCLUSIONS

Although lumbar fusion was initially hypothesized to have a significant effect on rate of THA, lumbar fusion was not associated with increased need for future THA in patients with preexisting hip osteoarthritis. Additionally, there was no relationship between fusion construct length and rate of THA. Although lumbar fusion reportedly increases the risk of hip dislocation in patients with prior THA, these data suggest that lumbar fusion may not clinically accelerate native hip degeneration.

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Varun R. Kshettry, Michael L. Kelly, Benjamin P. Rosenbaum, Andreea Seicean, Lee Hwang, and Robert J. Weil

Object

Myelomeningocele repair is an uncommonly performed surgical procedure. The volume of operations has been decreasing in the past 2 decades, probably as the result of public health initiatives for folate supplementation. Because of the rarity of myelomeningocele, data on patient or hospital factors that may be associated with outcome are scarce. To determine these factors, the authors investigated the trends in myelomeningocele surgical repair in the United States over a 23-year period and examined patient and hospital characteristics that were associated with outcome.

Methods

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database for 1988–2010 was queried for hospital admissions for myelomeningocele repair. This database reports patient, hospital, and admission characteristics and surgical trends. The authors used univariate and multivariate logistic regression to assess associations between patient and hospital characteristics and in-hospital deaths, nonroutine discharge, long hospital stay, and shunt placement.

Results

There were 4034 hospitalizations for surgical repair of myelomeningocele. The annual volume decreased since 1988 but plateaued in the last 4 years of the study. The percentages of myelomeningocele patients with low income (30.8%) and Medicaid insurance (48.2%) were disproportionately lower than those for the overall live-born population (p < 0.0001). More operations per 10,000 live births were performed for Hispanic patients (3.2) than for white (2.0) or black (1.5) patients (p < 0.0001). Overall, 56.6% of patients required shunt placement during the same hospital stay as for surgical repair; 95.0% of patients were routinely discharged; and the in-hospital mortality rate was 1.4%. Nonwhite race was associated with increased in-hospital risk for death (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2–6.3) independent of socioeconomic or insurance status.

Conclusions

Overall, the annual surgical volume of myelomeningocele repairs decreased after public health initiatives were introduced but has more recently plateaued. The most disproportionately represented populations are Hispanic, low-income, and Medicaid patients. Among nonwhite patients, increased risk for in-hospital death may represent a disparity in care or a difference in disease severity.