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The 100 most cited articles in metastatic spine disease

Jonathan Cohen, Nima Alan, James Zhou, and D. Kojo Hamilton

OBJECTIVE

Despite the growing neurosurgical literature, a subset of pioneering studies have significantly impacted the field of metastatic spine disease. The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze the 100 most frequently cited articles in the field.

METHODS

A keyword search using the Thomson Reuters Web of Science was conducted to identify articles relevant to the field of metastatic spine disease. The results were filtered based on title and abstract analysis to identify the 100 most cited articles. Statistical analysis was used to characterize journal frequency, past and current citations, citation distribution over time, and author frequency.

RESULTS

The total number of citations for the final 100 articles ranged from 74 to 1169. Articles selected for the final list were published between 1940 and 2009. The years in which the greatest numbers of top-100 studies were published were 1990 and 2005, and the greatest number of citations occurred in 2012. The majority of articles were published in the journals Spine (15), Cancer (11), and the Journal of Neurosurgery (9). Forty-four individuals were listed as authors on 2 articles, 9 were listed as authors on 3 articles, and 2 were listed as authors on 4 articles in the top 100 list. The most cited article was the work by Batson (1169 citations) that was published in 1940 and described the role of the vertebral veins in the spread of metastases. The second most cited article was Patchell's 2005 study (594 citations) discussing decompressive resection of spinal cord metastases. The third most cited article was the 1978 study by Gilbert that evaluated treatment of epidural spinal cord compression due to metastatic tumor (560 citations).

CONCLUSIONS

The field of metastatic spine disease has witnessed numerous milestones and so it is increasingly important to recognize studies that have influenced the field. In this bibliographic study the authors identified and analyzed the most influential articles in the field of metastatic spine disease.

Restricted access

The remarkable medical lineage of the Monro family: contributions of Alexander primus, secundus, and tertius

Historical vignette

Osmond C. Wu, Sunil Manjila, Nima Malakooti, and Alan R. Cohen

Among the families that have influenced the development of modern medicine into what it is today, the Monro lineage stands as one of the most notable. Alexander Monro primus (1697–1767) was the first of 3 generations with the same name, a dynasty that spanned 126 years occupying the Chair of Anatomy one after the other at the University of Edinburgh. After becoming Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh in 1719, Monro primus played a principal role in the establishment of the University of Edinburgh School of Medicine and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. In 1726, he published The Anatomy of the Humane Bones, of which 8 editions were printed during his lifetime. His son, Alexander Monro secundus (1733–1817), arguably the most notable of the 3 men, succeeded him as Professor of Anatomy. A highly regarded lecturer and anatomist, Monro secundus studied under many great physicians, including William Hunter and Johann Friedrich Meckel the Elder, and was also teacher to other well-known figures at the time, such as Joseph Black and Thomas Trotter. His most notable contributions include his work with the lymphatic system, the interventricular foramen (of Monro), and the Monro-Kellie doctrine. Alexander Monro tertius (1773–1859), the last of the dynasty, also succeeded his father as Professor of Anatomy. His work included insights into abdominal aortic aneurysms and the anatomy of the genitourinary system. The prominent association of the Monro family with the University of Edinburgh and the effects of a tenured professorship under the concept of “Ad vitam aut culpam” over successive generations are also described. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this historical review of the Monro family is among the few published in neurosurgical literature. A vivid historical overview of the medical contributions of the most famous and influential dynasty of physicians in Edinburgh at that time is provided, with relevant excerpts from original publications.

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The status of spine surgery in social media platforms: a call to action

Nima Alan, James J. Zhou, S. Harrison Farber, and Juan S. Uribe

Free access

Reduced ventricular shunt rate in very preterm infants with severe intraventricular hemorrhage: an institutional experience

Clinical article

Nima Alan, Sunil Manjila, Nori Minich, Nancy Bass, Alan R. Cohen, Michele Walsh, and Shenandoah Robinson

Object

Although survival for extremely low gestational age newborns (ELGANs) has improved in the past 3 decades, these infants remain prone to complications of prematurity, including intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). The authors reviewed the outcomes for an entire cohort of ELGANs who suffered severe IVH at their institution during the past 12 years to gain a better understanding of the natural history of IVH and frequency of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement in this population.

Methods

Data from the neonatal ICU (NICU) database, neurosurgery operative log, and medical records were used to identify and follow up all ELGANs who suffered a severe IVH between 1997 and 2008. Trends between Period 1 (1997–2001) and Period 2 (2004–2008) were analyzed using the Pearson chi-square test.

Results

Between 1997 and 2008, 1335 ELGANs were admitted to the NICU at the authors' institution within 3 days of birth, and 111 (8.3%) of these infants suffered a severe IVH. Survival to 2 years, incidence of severe IVH, neonatal risk factors (gestational age, birth weight, and incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis), ventriculomegaly on cranial ultrasonography, and use of serial lumbar punctures for symptomatic hydrocephalus were all stable. Infants from Period 2 had a significantly lower incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and sepsis than infants from Period 1 (both p < 0.001). All ELGANs with severe IVH and ventriculomegaly underwent long-term follow-up to identify shunt status at late follow-up. Twenty-two ELGANs (20%) with severe IVH required a temporary ventriculosubgaleal (VSG) shunt. Three infants with VSG shunts showed spontaneous hydrocephalus resolution, and 2 infants died of unrelated causes during the neonatal admission. The temporary VSG shunt complication rate was 20% (12% infection and 8% malfunction). Sixteen percent of all ELGANs (18 of 111) with severe IVH eventually required permanent ventricular shunt insertion. Six (35%) of 17 infants with a permanent VP shunt required at least 1 permanent shunt revision during the 1st year. The proportion of ELGANs with severe IVH who required a temporary VSG (35%) or permanent VP shunt (30%) during Period 1 decreased by more than 60% in Period 2 (10% [p = 0.005] and 8.3% [p = 0.009], respectively).

Conclusions

The authors report for the first time a marked reduction over the past 12 years in the proportion of ELGANs with severe IVH who required surgical intervention for hydrocephalus. Using the NICU database, the authors were able to identify and follow all ELGANs with severe IVH and ventriculomegaly. They speculate that the reduction in ventricular shunt rate results from improved neonatal medical care, including reduced infection, improved bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and postnatal steroid avoidance, which may aid innate repair mechanisms. Multicenter prospective trials and detailed analyses of NICU parameters of neonatal well-being are needed to understand how perinatal factors influence the propensity to require ventricular shunting.

Free access

Patient satisfaction reviews for 967 spine neurosurgeons on Healthgrades

Arjun Gupta, Radhika Gupta, Michael D. White, Vamsi Reddy, Yue-Fang Chang, Prateek Agarwal, Nima Alan, and Nitin Agarwal

OBJECTIVE

Patients are increasingly relying on independent physician rating websites (PRWs) to obtain information about healthcare providers. Healthgrades.com is a widely used PRW that allows patients to rate physicians on various metrics of performance and quality of care. This study categorically investigated the correlations between demographics of spine neurosurgeons and online ratings on Healthgrades to better understand the factors driving patient satisfaction in spine surgery in the United States.

METHODS

In August–December 2019, the authors performed a retrospective data analysis using Healthgrades. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) membership database was used to identify spine neurosurgeons in the United States and extract biographical and career data. Individuals with an academic practice were further investigated for academic rank, leadership, and fellowship training. Scores from eight patient satisfaction metrics (PSMs) were collected for each surgeon from Healthgrades.

RESULTS

A total of 967 spine neurosurgeons were included in the study cohort. Patient satisfaction did not correlate with sex, PhD acquisition, academic status, or academic rank. Among those who were academic surgeons, completion of fellowship training was associated with higher ratings. Geographical location of practice did not influence patient satisfaction. Prolonged wait time was an independent predictor of decreased patient satisfaction and was a key confounding variable underlying trends seen with advanced career duration and age.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, patients rated spine neurosurgeons highly favorably on the Healthgrades website. Due to the emerging role of PRWs in locating and assessing providers, it is important for both patients and clinicians to understand the factors that impact patient experience.

Free access

Incidence of adjacent-segment surgery following stand-alone lateral lumbar interbody fusion

Gautam Nayar, Souvik Roy, Waseem Lutfi, Nitin Agarwal, Nima Alan, Alp Ozpinar, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo, and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

Adjacent-segment disease (ASD) requiring operative intervention is a relatively common long-term consequence of lumbar fusion surgery. Although the incidence of ASD requiring reoperation is well described for traditional posterior lumbar approaches (2.5%–3.9% per year), it remains poorly characterized for stand-alone lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF). In this study, the authors report their institutional experience with ASD requiring reoperation after LLIF over an extended follow-up period of 4 years.

METHODS

Medical records were reviewed for 276 consecutive patients who underwent stand-alone LLIF by a single surgeon for degenerative spinal disorders. Inclusion criteria (single-stage, stand-alone LLIF without posterior supplementation, with no prior lumbar instrumentation, and a minimum of 4 years of follow-up) were met by 182 patients, who were analyzed for operative ASD incidence (per-year rate), demographics, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score. Operative ASD was strictly defined as new-onset pathology following index surgery at directly adjacent levels to the prior construct. Operative, rather than symptomatic or radiographic, ASD was analyzed to provide a consistent and impactful endpoint while avoiding retrospective diagnosis.

RESULTS

The study cohort of 182 patients had an operative ASD rate of 3.3% (n = 6 procedures) over 4 years of follow-up, for an incidence on Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of 0.88% (95% CI 0.67%–1.09%) per year. In comparing patients with operative ASD with those without, there were no significant differences in mean age (53.7 vs 56.2 years), male sex (33.3% vs 44.9%), smoking status (16.7% vs 25.0%), or number of levels fused (mean 1.33 vs 1.46). The operative ASD cohort had a greater mean BMI (37.3 vs 30.2, p < 0.01). Operative ASD patients had lower baseline ODI scores (33.8 vs 48.3, p = 0.02); however, no difference was observed in ODI at 6 weeks (34.0 vs 39.0) or 3 months (16.0 vs 32.8) postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of ASD in LLIF for degenerative lumbar etiologies in this cohort was 0.88% (95% CI 0.67%–1.09%) per year. Meanwhile, the reported reoperation rates for ASD in posterior spinal approaches was 2.5% to 3.9% per year, which implies that LLIF may be preferable for well-selected patients.

Free access

Patient perception of scoliosis correction surgery on Instagram

Nitin Agarwal, Amaan Rahman, Rachel Jacobs, Tavis Taylor, Nallammai Muthiah, Nima Alan, Alp Ozpinar, Daryl Fields, and David Kojo Hamilton

OBJECTIVE

Patient feedback surveys provide important insight into patient outcomes, satisfaction, and perioperative needs. Recent critiques have questioned provider-initiated surveys and their capacity to accurately gauge patient perspectives due to intrinsic biases created by question framing. In this study, the authors sought to evaluate provider-independent, patient-controlled social media Instagram posts in order to better understand the patient experience following scoliosis correction surgery.

METHODS

Twitter and Instagram were queried for posts with two tagged indicators, #scoliosissurgery or @scoliosissurgery, resulting in no relevant Twitter posts and 25,000 Instagram posts. Of the initial search, 24,500 Instagram posts that did not directly involve the patient’s own experience were eliminated. Posts were analyzed and coded for the following criteria: the gender of the patient, preoperative or postoperative timing discussed in the post, and classified themes related to the patient’s experiences with scoliosis correction surgery.

RESULTS

Females made 87.6% of the Instagram posts about their experience following scoliosis correction surgery. The initial postoperative stage of surgery was mentioned in 7.6% of Instagram posts. The most common theme on Instagram involved offering or seeking online support from other patients, which constituted 85.2% of all posts. Other common themes included concern about the surgical scar (31.8%), discussing the results of treatment (28.8%), and relief regarding results (21.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

Social media provided a platform to analyze unprompted feedback from patients. Patients were most concerned with their scoliosis correction surgery in the period of time 2 weeks or more after surgery. Themes that were most commonly found on Instagram posts were offering or seeking online support from other patients and concern about the surgical scar. Patient-controlled social media platforms, like Instagram, may provide a useful mechanism for healthcare providers to understand the patient experience following scoliosis correction surgery. Such platforms may help in evaluating postoperative satisfaction and improving postoperative quality of care.

Open access

Transitioning from lateral to the prone transpsoas approach: flatten the learning curve by knowing the nuances

Nima Alan, Jared J. Kanter, Lauren Puccio, Sharath Kumar Anand, and Adam S. Kanter

Prone transpsoas lateral lumbar interbody fusion is the newest frontier in surgical approach to the lumbar spine. Prone positioning facilitates segmental lordosis and facile posterior segmental fixation. However, even in experienced hands, transitioning from a lateral decubitus to prone position necessitates alterations to the traditional technique. In this video, the authors highlight the nuances of adopting the prone transpsoas lateral lumbar interbody fusion technique and strategies to overcome them.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.3.FOCVID2224

Free access

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion in the elderly: a 10-year experience

Presented at the 2018 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Nitin Agarwal, Andrew Faramand, Nima Alan, Zachary J. Tempel, D. Kojo Hamilton, David O. Okonkwo, and Adam S. Kanter

OBJECTIVE

Elderly patients, often presenting with multiple medical comorbidities, are touted to be at an increased risk of peri- and postoperative complications following spine surgery. Various minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed and employed to treat an array of spinal conditions while minimizing complications. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is one such approach. The authors describe clinical outcomes in patients over the age of 70 years following stand-alone LLIF.

METHODS

A retrospective query of a prospectively maintained database was performed for patients over the age of 70 years who underwent stand-alone LLIF. Patients with posterior segmental fixation and/or fusion were excluded. The preoperative and postoperative values for the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were analyzed to compare outcomes after intervention. Femoral neck t-scores were acquired from bone density scans and correlated with the incidence of graft subsidence.

RESULTS

Among the study cohort of 55 patients, the median age at the time of surgery was 74 years (range 70–87 years). Seventeen patients had at least 3 medical comorbidities at surgery. Twenty-three patients underwent a 1-level, 14 a 2-level, and 18 patients a 3-level or greater stand-alone lateral fusion. The median estimated blood loss was 25 ml (range 5–280 ml). No statistically significant relationship was detected between volume of blood loss and the number of operative levels. The median length of hospital stay was 2 days (range 1–4 days). No statistically significant relationship was observed between the length of hospital stay and age at the time of surgery. There was one intraoperative death secondary to cardiac arrest, with a mortality rate of 1.8%. One patient developed a transient femoral nerve injury. Five patients with symptomatic graft subsidence subsequently underwent posterior instrumentation. A lower femoral neck t-score < −1.0 correlated with a higher incidence of graft subsidence (p = 0.006). The mean ODI score 1 year postoperatively of 31.1 was significantly (p = 0.003) less than the mean preoperative ODI score of 46.2.

CONCLUSIONS

Stand-alone LLIF can be safely and effectively performed in the elderly population. Careful evaluation of preoperative bone density parameters should be employed to minimize risk of subsidence and need for additional surgery. Despite an association with increased comorbidities, age alone should not be a deterrent when considering stand-alone LLIF in the elderly population.

Restricted access

Risks associated with preoperative anemia and perioperative blood transfusion in open surgery for intracranial aneurysms

Andreea Seicean, Nima Alan, Sinziana Seicean, Duncan Neuhauser, Warren R. Selman, and Nicholas C. Bambakidis

OBJECT

Preoperative anemia may be treated with a blood transfusion. Both are associated with adverse outcomes in various surgical procedures, but this has not been clearly elucidated in surgery for cerebral aneurysms. In this study the authors assessed the association of preoperative anemia and perioperative blood transfusion, separately, on 30-day morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing open surgery for ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms.

METHODS

The authors identified 668 cases (including 400 unruptured and 268 unruptured intracranial aneurysms) of open surgery for treatment of intracranial aneurysms in the 2006–2012 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, a validated and reproducible prospective clinical database. Anemia was defined as a hematocrit level less than 39% in males and less than 36% in females. Perioperative transfusion was defined as at least 1 unit of packed or whole red blood cells given at any point between the start of surgery to 72 hours postoperatively. The authors separately compared surgical outcome between patients with (n = 198) versus without (n = 470) anemia, and those who underwent (n = 78) versus those who did not receive (n = 521) a transfusion, using a 1:1 match on propensity score.

RESULTS

In the matched cohorts, all observed covariates were comparable between anemic (n = 147) versus nonanemic (n = 147) and between transfused (n = 67) versus nontransfused patients (n = 67). Anemia was independently associated with prolonged hospital length of stay (LOS; odds ratio [OR] 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–4.5), perioperative complications (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.1), and return to the operating room (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–4.5). Transfusion was also independently associated with perioperative complications (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1–5.3).

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative anemia and transfusion are each independent risk factors for perioperative complications in patients undergoing surgery for cerebral aneurysms. Perioperative anemia is also associated with prolonged hospital LOS and 30-day return to the operating room.