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Morsi Khashan, Micheal Raad, Mostafa H. El Dafrawy, Varun Puvanesarajah and Khaled M. Kebaish

OBJECTIVE

The authors evaluated the neurological outcomes of adult spinal deformity patients after 3-column osteotomy (3CO), including severity and long-term improvement of neurological complications, as well as risk factors for neurological deficit at 1 year postoperatively. Although 3CO is effective for correcting rigid spinal deformity, it is associated with a high complication rate. Neurological deficits, in particular, cause disability and dissatisfaction.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively queried a prospective database of adult spinal deformity patients who underwent vertebral column resection or pedicle subtraction osteotomy between 2004 and 2014 by one surgeon at a tertiary care center. The authors included 199 adults with at least 1-year follow-up. The primary outcome measure was change in lower-extremity motor scores (LEMSs), which were obtained preoperatively, within 2 weeks postoperatively, and at 6 and 12 months postoperatively. To identify risk factors for persistent neurological deficit, the authors compared patient and surgical characteristics with a declined LEMS at 12-month follow-up (n = 10) versus those with an improved/maintained LEMS at 12-month follow-up (n = 189).

RESULTS

At the first postoperative assessment, the LEMS had improved in 15% and declined in 10% of patients compared with preoperative scores. At the 6-month follow-up, 6% of patients continued to have a decline in LEMS, and 16% had improvement. At 12 months, LEMS had improved in 17% and declined in 5% of patients compared with preoperative scores. The only factor significantly associated with a decline in 12-month LEMS was high-grade spondylolisthesis as an indication for surgery (OR 13, 95% CI 3.2–56).

CONCLUSIONS

Although the LEMS declined in 10% of patients immediately after 3CO, at 12 months postoperatively, only 5% of patients had neurological motor deficits. A surgical indication of high-grade spondylolisthesis was the only factor associated with neurological deficit at 12 months postoperatively.

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Micheal Raad, Andrew B. Harris, Varun Puvanesarajah, Mostafa H. El Dafrawy, Floreana N. Kebaish, Brian J. Neuman, Richard L. Skolasky, David B. Cohen and Khaled M. Kebaish

OBJECTIVE

Patients’ expectations for pain relief are associated with patient-reported outcomes after treatment, although this has not been examined in patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). The aim of this study was to identify associations between patients’ preoperative expectations for pain relief after ASD surgery and patient-reported pain at the 2-year follow-up.

METHODS

The authors analyzed surgically treated ASD patients at a single institution who completed a survey question about expectations for back pain relief. Five ordinal answer choices to “I expect my back pain to improve” were used to categorize patients as having low or high expectations. Back pain was measured using the 10-point numeric rating scale (NRS) and Scoliosis Research Society–22r (SRS-22r) patient survey. Preoperative and postoperative pain were compared using analysis of covariance.

RESULTS

Of 140 ASD patients eligible for 2-year follow-up, 105 patients (77 women) had pre- and postoperative data on patient expectations, 85 of whom had high expectations. The mean patient age was 59 ± 12 years, and 46 patients (44%) had undergone previous spine surgery. The high-expectations and low-expectations groups had similar baseline demographic and clinical characteristics (p > 0.05), except for lower SRS-22r mental health scores in those with low expectations. After controlling for baseline characteristics and mental health, the mean postoperative NRS score was significantly better (lower) in the high-expectations group (3.5 ± 3.5) than in the low-expectations group (5.4 ± 3.7) (p = 0.049). The mean postoperative SRS-22r pain score was significantly better (higher) in the high-expectations group (3.3 ± 1.1) than in the low-expectations group (2.6 ± 0.94) (p = 0.019).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite similar baseline characteristics, patients with high preoperative expectations for back pain relief reported less pain 2 years after ASD surgery than patients with low preoperative expectations.

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Micheal Raad, Jay S. Reidler, Mostafa H. El Dafrawy, Raj M. Amin, Amit Jain, Brian J. Neuman, Lee H. Riley III, Daniel M. Sciubba, Khaled M. Kebaish and Richard L. Skolasky

OBJECTIVE

It is important to identify differences in the treatment of common diseases over time and across geographic regions. Several studies have reported increased use of arthrodesis to treat lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). The purpose of this study was to investigate geographic variations in the treatment of LSS by US region.

METHODS

The authors reviewed inpatient and outpatient medical claims from 2010 to 2014 using the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database (Truven Health Analytics), which includes data on commercially insured members younger than 65 years. ICD-9 code 724.02 was used to identify patients aged ≥ 40 and < 65 years who underwent surgery for “spinal stenosis of the lumbar region” and for whom LSS was the only principal diagnosis. The primary outcome was the performance of spinal arthrodesis as part of the procedure. Geographic regions were based on patient residence and defined according to the US Census Bureau as the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West.

RESULTS

Rates of arthrodesis, as opposed to decompression alone, varied significantly by region, from 48% in the South, to 42% in the Midwest, 36% in the Northeast, and 31% in the West. After controlling for patient age, sex, and Charlson Comorbidity Index values, the differences remained significant. Compared with patients in the Northeast, those in the South (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.50–1.75) and Midwest (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.18–1.41) were significantly more likely to undergo spinal arthrodesis. On multivariate analysis, patients in the West were significantly less likely to have a prolonged hospital stay (> 3 days) than those in the Northeast (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75–0.94). Compared with the rate in the Northeast, the rates of discharge to a skilled nursing facility were lower in the South (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.31–0.55) and West (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.53–0.98). The 30-day readmission rate was significantly lower in the West (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.65–0.98) than in the Northeast and similar between the other regions. Mean payments were significantly higher in the Midwest (mean difference $5503, 95% CI $4279–$6762), South (mean difference $6187, 95% CI $5041–$7332), and West (mean difference $7732, 95% CI $6384–$9080) than in the Northeast.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of spinal arthrodesis, as well as surgical outcomes and payments for the treatment of LSS, varies significantly by US region. This highlights the importance of developing national recommendations for the treatment of LSS.

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Micheal Raad, Callum J. Donaldson, Mostafa H. El Dafrawy, Daniel M. Sciubba, Lee H. Riley III, Brian J. Neuman, Khaled M. Kebaish and Richard L. Skolasky

OBJECTIVE

Recommendations for the surgical treatment of isolated lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) (i.e., in the absence of concomitant scoliosis or spondylolisthesis) are unclear. The aims of this study were to investigate trends in the surgical treatment of isolated LSS in US adults and determine implications for outcomes.

METHODS

The authors analyzed inpatient and outpatient claims from the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database for 20,279 patients aged 40–64 years who underwent surgery for LSS between 2010 and 2014. Only patients with continuous 12-month insurance coverage after surgery were included. The rates of decompression with arthrodesis versus decompression only and of simple (1- or 2-level, single-approach) versus complex (> 2-level or combined-approach) arthrodesis were analyzed by year and geographic region. These trends were further analyzed with respect to complications, length of hospital stay, payments made to the hospital, and patient discharge status. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

The proportion of patients who underwent decompression with arthrodesis compared with decompression only increased significantly and linearly from 2010 to 2014 (OR 1.08; 95% CI 1.06–1.10). Arthrodesis was more likely to be complex rather than simple with each subsequent year (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.33–1.49). This trend was accompanied by an increased likelihood of postoperative complications (OR 1.11; 95% CI 1.02–1.21), higher costs (payments increased by a mean of US$1633 per year; 95% CI 1327–1939), and greater likelihood of being discharged to a skilled nursing facility as opposed to home (OR 1.11; 95% CI 1.03–1.20). The South and Midwest regions of the US had the highest proportions of patients undergoing arthrodesis (48% and 42%, respectively). The mean length of hospital stay did not change significantly (p = 0.324).

CONCLUSIONS

From 2010 to 2014, the proportion of adults undergoing decompression with arthrodesis versus decompression only for the treatment of LSS increased, especially in the South and Midwest regions of the US. A greater proportion of these fusions were complex and were associated with more complications, higher costs, and a greater likelihood of being discharged to a skilled nursing facility.

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Micheal Raad, Brian J. Neuman, Amit Jain, Hamid Hassanzadeh, Peter G. Passias, Eric Klineberg, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Emily K. Miller, Justin S. Smith, Virginie Lafage, D. Kojo Hamilton, Shay Bess, Khaled M. Kebaish, Daniel M. Sciubba and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Given the recent shift in health care toward quality reporting requirements and a greater emphasis on a cost-quality approach, patient stratification with respect to long-term outcomes and the use of health care resources is of increasing value. Stratification tools may be effective if they are simple and evidence based. The authors hypothesize that preoperative patient-reported activity levels might independently predict postoperative outcomes in patients with adult spinal deformity.

METHODS

This is a retrospective cohort. A total of 575 patients in a prospective adult spinal deformity surgical database were identified with complete data regarding the preoperative level of activity. Answers to question 5 of the Scoliosis Research Society-22r Patient Questionnaire (SRS-22r) were used to stratify patients into active and inactive groups. Outcomes were length of hospital stay (LOS), level of activity, and reaching the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) for SRS-22r domains and the Physical Component Summary (PCS) of the SF-36 at 2 years postoperatively. The 2 groups were compared with respect to several potential confounders. Covariates with p < 0.1 were controlled for. The impact of activity on LOS was assessed using multivariate negative binomial regression analysis. Multivariate logistic regression models additionally controlling for the respective baseline health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores were used to assess the association between preoperative activity levels and reaching the MCID at 2 years postoperatively.

RESULTS

A total of 420 (73%) of the 575 patients who met the inclusion criteria had complete data at 2 years postoperatively. The inactive group was more likely to be significantly older, have a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index, worse baseline radiographic deformity, and greater correction of most radiographic parameters. After controlling for possible confounders, the active group had a significantly shorter LOS (incidence risk ratio 0.91, p = 0.043). After adding respective baseline HRQOL scores to the models, active patients were significantly more likely to reach the MCID for the SRS-22r pain domain (OR 1.72, p = 0.026) and PCS (OR 1.94, p = 0.013). Active patients were also significantly more likely to be active at 2 years postoperatively on multivariate analysis (OR 8.94, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results show that patients who belong to the inactive group are likely to have a longer LOS and lower odds of reaching the MCID in HRQOL or being active at 2 years postoperatively. Inquiring about patients’ preoperative activity levels might be a reliable and simple stratification tool in terms of long- and short-term outcomes in ASD patients.