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Anshit Goyal, Che Ngufor, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Brandon McCutcheon, Curtis Storlie and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Nonhome discharge and unplanned readmissions represent important cost drivers following spinal fusion. The authors sought to utilize different machine learning algorithms to predict discharge to rehabilitation and unplanned readmissions in patients receiving spinal fusion.

METHODS

The authors queried the 2012–2013 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) for patients undergoing cervical or lumbar spinal fusion. Outcomes assessed included discharge to nonhome facility and unplanned readmissions within 30 days after surgery. A total of 7 machine learning algorithms were evaluated. Predictive hierarchical clustering of procedure codes was used to increase model performance. Model performance was evaluated using overall accuracy and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), as well as sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values. These performance metrics were computed for both the imputed and unimputed (missing values dropped) datasets.

RESULTS

A total of 59,145 spinal fusion cases were analyzed. The incidence rates of discharge to nonhome facility and 30-day unplanned readmission were 12.6% and 4.5%, respectively. All classification algorithms showed excellent discrimination (AUC > 0.80, range 0.85–0.87) for predicting nonhome discharge. The generalized linear model showed comparable performance to other machine learning algorithms. By comparison, all models showed poorer predictive performance for unplanned readmission, with AUC ranging between 0.63 and 0.66. Better predictive performance was noted with models using imputed data.

CONCLUSIONS

In an analysis of patients undergoing spinal fusion, multiple machine learning algorithms were found to reliably predict nonhome discharge with modest performance noted for unplanned readmissions. These results provide early evidence regarding the feasibility of modern machine learning classifiers in predicting these outcomes and serve as possible clinical decision support tools to facilitate shared decision making.

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Mohammed Ali Alvi, Redab Alkhataybeh, Waseem Wahood, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Sandy Goncalves, M. Hassan Murad and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Transpsoas lateral interbody fusion is one of the lateral minimally invasive approaches for lumbar spine surgery. Most surgeons insert the interbody cage laterally and then insert pedicle or cortical screw and rod instrumentation posteriorly. However, standalone cages have also been used to avoid posterior instrumentation. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the literature on comparison of the two approaches is sparse.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available literature on transpsoas lateral interbody fusion by an electronic search of the PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases using PRISMA guidelines. They compared patients undergoing transpsoas standalone fusion (TP) with those undergoing transpsoas fusion with posterior instrumentation (TPP).

RESULTS

A total of 28 studies with 1462 patients were included. Three hundred and seventy-four patients underwent TPP, and 956 patients underwent TP. The mean patient age ranged from 45.7 to 68 years in the TP group, and 50 to 67.7 years in the TPP group. The incidence of reoperation was found to be higher for TP (0.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.04–0.11) compared to TPP (0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06; p = 0.057). Similarly, the incidence of cage movement was found to be greater in TP (0.18, 95% CI 0.10–0.26) compared to TPP (0.03, 95% CI 0.00–0.05; p < 0.001). Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores and postoperative transient deficits were found to be comparable between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS

These results appear to suggest that addition of posterior instrumentation to transpsoas fusion is associated with decreased reoperations and cage movements. The results of previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses should be reevaluated in light of these results, which seem to suggest that higher reoperation and subsidence rates may be due to the use of the standalone technique.

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Meghan E. Murphy, Daniel L. Shepherd, Patrick R. Maloney, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohamad Bydon and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

The mechanism by which greater institutional case volume translates into improved outcomes after surgical clipping of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is not well established. The authors thus aimed to assess the effect of case volume on the rate of various types of complications after clipping of UIAs.

METHODS

Using information on the outcomes of inpatient admissions for surgical clipping of UIAs collected within a national database, the relationship of institutional case volume to the incidence of different types of complications after clipping was investigated. Complications were subdivided into different categories, which included all complications, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, medical complications, infectious complications, complications related to anesthesia, and wound complications. The relationship of case volume to different types of complications was assessed using linear regression analysis. The relationships between case volume and overall complication and stroke rates were fit with both linear and quadratic equations. The numerical cutoff for institutional case volume above and below which the authors found the greatest differences in mean overall complication and stroke rate was determined using classification and regression tree (CART) analysis.

RESULTS

Between October 2012 and September 2015, 125 health care institutions reported patient outcomes from a total of 6040 cases of clipping of UIAs. On linear regression analysis, increasing case volume was negatively correlated to both overall complications (r2 = 0.046, p = 0.0234) and stroke (r2 = 0.029, p = 0.0557) rate, although the relationship of case volume to the complication (r2 = 0.092) and stroke (r2 = 0.067) rate was better fit with a quadratic equation. On CART analysis, the cutoff for the case number that yielded the greatest difference in overall complications and stroke rate between higher- or lower-volume centers was 6 cases/year and 3 cases/year, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the authors confirm that increasing case volume is associated with reduced complications after clipping of UIAs, their results suggest that the relationship between case volume and complications is not necessarily linear. Moreover, these results indicate that the effect of case volume on outcome is most evident between very-low-volume centers relative to centers with a medium-to-high volume.

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Mohammed Adeeb Sebai, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Jang Won Yoon, Robert J. Spinner and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Spinal peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNSTs) are a group of rare tumors originating from the nerve and its supporting structures. Standard surgical management typically entails laminectomy with or without facetectomy to gain adequate tumor exposure. Arthrodesis is occasionally performed to maintain spinal stability and mitigate the risk of postoperative deformity, pain, or neurological deficit. However, the factors associated with the need for instrumentation in addition to PNST resection in the same setting remain unclear.

METHODS

An institutional tumor registry at a tertiary care center was queried for patients treated surgically for a primary diagnosis of spinal PNST between 2002 and 2016. An analysis focused on patients in whom a facetectomy was performed during the resection. The addition of arthrodesis at the index procedure comprised the primary outcome. The authors also recorded baseline demographics, tumor characteristics, and surgery-related variables. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with increased risk of fusion surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 163 patients were identified, of which 56 (32 had facetectomy with fusion, 24 had facetectomy alone) were analyzed. The median age was 48 years, and 50% of the cohort was female. Age, sex, and race, as well as tumor histology and size, were evenly distributed between patients who received facetectomy alone and those who had facetectomy and fusion. On univariate analysis, total versus subtotal facetectomy (OR 9.0, 95% CI 2.01–64.2; p = 0.009) and cervicothoracic versus other spinal region (OR 9.0, 95% CI 1.51–172.9; p = 0.048) were significantly associated with increased odds of performing immediate fusion. On multivariable analysis, only the effect of total facetectomy remained statistically significant (OR 6.75, 95% CI 1.47–48.8; p = 0.025).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that total facetectomy and cervicothoracic involvement may be highly associated with the need for concomitant arthrodesis at the time of index surgery. These findings may help surgeons to determine the best surgical planning for patients with PNST.

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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Sanjeet S. Grewal, Matthew Stead, Brian Nils Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Britton, Cheolsu Shin, Gregory D. Cascino, Benjamin H. Brinkmann, Gregory A. Worrell and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Epilepsy surgery is effective for lesional epilepsy, but it can be associated with significant morbidity when seizures originate from eloquent cortex that is resected. Here, the objective was to describe chronic subthreshold cortical stimulation and evaluate its early surgical safety profile in adult patients with epilepsy originating from seizure foci in cortex that is not amenable to resection.

METHODS

Adult patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsy underwent intracranial electroencephalography monitoring for evaluation of resection. Those with seizure foci in eloquent cortex were not candidates for resection and were offered a short therapeutic trial of continuous subthreshold cortical stimulation via intracranial monitoring electrodes. After a successful trial, electrodes were explanted and permanent stimulation hardware was implanted.

RESULTS

Ten patients (6 males) who underwent chronic subthreshold cortical stimulation between 2014 and 2016 were included. Based on radiographic imaging, intracranial pathologies included cortical dysplasia (n = 3), encephalomalacia (n = 3), cortical tubers (n = 1), Rasmussen encephalitis (n = 1), and linear migrational anomaly (n = 1). The duration of intracranial monitoring ranged from 3 to 20 days. All patients experienced an uneventful postoperative course and were discharged home with a median length of stay of 10 days. No postoperative surgical complications developed (median follow-up length 7.7 months). Seizure severity and seizure frequency improved in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ institutional experience with this small group shows that chronic subthreshold cortical stimulation can be safely and effectively performed in appropriately selected patients without postoperative complications. Future investigation will provide further insight to recently published results regarding mechanism and efficacy of this novel and promising intervention.

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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Brandon McCutcheon, Meghan E. Murphy, Kenan R. Rajjoub, Daniel Ubl, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Gregory Worrell, Mohamad Bydon and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Temporal lobectomy is a well-established treatment modality for the management of medically refractory epilepsy in appropriately selected patients. The aim of this study was to assess 30-day morbidity and mortality after temporal lobectomy in cases registered in a national database.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted using a multiinstitutional surgical registry compiled between 2006 and 2014. The authors identified patients who underwent anterior temporal lobectomy and/or amygdalohippocampectomy for a primary diagnosis of intractable epilepsy. Univariate and multivariable analyses with regard to patient demographics, comorbidities, operative characteristics, and 30-day outcomes were applied.

RESULTS

A total of 216 patients were included in the study. The median age was 38 years and 46% of patients were male. The median length of stay was 3 days and the 30-day mortality rate was 1.4%. Fourteen patients (6.5%) developed at least one major complication. Return to the operating room was observed in 7 patients (3.2%). Readmission within 30 days and discharge to a location other than home were available for 2011–2014 (n = 155) and occurred in 11% and 10.3% of patients, respectively. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that increasing age was an independent predictor of discharge disposition other than home and that male sex was a significant risk factor for the development of a major complication. Interestingly, the presence of the attending neurosurgeon and a resident during the procedure was significantly associated with decreased odds of prolonged length of stay (i.e., > 75th percentile [5 days]) and discharge to a location other than home.

CONCLUSIONS

Using a multiinstitutional surgical registry, 30-day outcome data after temporal lobectomy for medically intractable epilepsy demonstrates a mortality rate of 1.4%, a major complication rate of 6.5%, and a readmission rate of 11%. Temporal lobectomy is an extremely effective therapy for seizures originating there—however, surgical intervention must be weighed against its morbidity and mortality outcomes.

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Benjamin F. Mundell, Marcus J. Gates, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Brett A. Freedman, Ahmad Nassr, Samuel F. Hohmann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

From 1994 to 2006 outpatient spinal surgery increased 5-fold. The perceived cost savings with outcomes comparable to or better than those achieved with inpatient admission for the same procedures are desirable in an era where health expenditures are scrutinized. The increase in outpatient spine surgery is also driven by the proliferation of ambulatory surgery centers. In this study, the authors hypothesized that the total savings in outpatient spine surgery is largely driven by patient selection and biases toward healthier patients.

METHODS

A meta-analysis assessed patient selection factors and outcomes associated with outpatient spine procedures. Pooled odds ratios and mean differences were calculated using a Bayesian random-effects model. The authors extended this analysis in a novel way by using the results of the meta-analysis to examine cost data from an administrative database of academically affiliated hospitals. A Bayesian approach with priors informed by the meta-analysis was used to compare costs for inpatient and outpatient performance of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and lumbar laminectomy.

RESULTS

Sixteen studies with a total of 370,195 patients met the inclusion criteria. Outpatient procedures were associated with younger patient age (mean difference [MD] −2.34, 95% credible interval [CrI] −4.39 to −0.34) and no diabetes diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] 0.78, 95% CrI 0.54–0.97). Outpatient procedures were associated with a lower likelihood of reoperation (OR 0.42, 95% CrI 0.16–0.80), 30-day readmission (OR 0.39, 95% CrI 0.16–0.74), and complications (OR 0.29, 95% CrI 0.15–0.50) and with lower overall costs (MD −$121,392.72, 95% CrI −$216,824.81 to −$23,632.92). Additional analysis of the national administrative data revealed more modest cost savings than those found in the meta-analysis for outpatient spine surgeries relative to inpatient spine surgeries. Estimated cost savings for both younger patients ($555 for those age 30–35 years [95% CrI −$733 to −$374]) and older patients ($7290 for those age 65–70 years [95% CrI −$7380 to −$7190]) were less than the overall cost savings found in the meta-analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared to inpatient spine surgery, outpatient spine surgery was associated with better short-term outcomes and an initial reduction in direct costs. A selection bias for outpatient procedures toward younger, healthier patients may confound these results. The additional analysis of the national database suggests that cost savings in the outpatient setting may be less than previously reported and a result of outpatient procedures being offered more frequently to younger and healthier individuals.

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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Daniel S. Ubl, Kristine T. Hanson, William E. Krauss, Fredric B. Meyer, Robert J. Spinner, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes have been increasingly mandated by regulators and payers to evaluate hospital and physician performance. The purpose of this study is to delineate the differences in patient-reported experience of hospital care for cranial and spinal operations.

METHODS

The authors selected all patients who underwent inpatient, elective cranial or spinal procedures and completed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey at a single, high-volume, tertiary care institution between October 2012 and September 2015. The association of the surgical procedure and diagnosis with various HCAHPS composite measures, calculated across 9 domains using standard top-box methodology, was investigated. Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted for outcomes that were significant with procedure type and diagnosis group on univariate analysis, adjusting for age, sex, case complexity, overall health rating, and education level.

RESULTS

A total of 1484 patients met criteria and returned an HCAHPS survey. Overall, patients undergoing a cranial procedure gave top-box (most favorable) scores more often in pain management measure (66.3% vs 59.6%, p = 0.01) compared with those undergoing spine surgery. Furthermore, despite better discharge scores (93.1% vs 87.1%, p < 0.001), spinal patients were less likely to report excellent health (7.4% vs 12.7%). Lastly, patients with a primary diagnosis of brain or spinal tumor compared with those with degenerative spinal disease and those with other neurosurgical diagnoses provided top-box scores more often regarding communication with doctors (82.7% vs 76.4% vs 75.2%, p = 0.04), pain management (71.8% vs 60.9% vs 59.1%, p = 0.002), and global rating (90.4% vs 84.0% vs 87.3%, p = 0.02). On multivariable analysis, spinal patients had significantly lower odds of reporting top-box scores in pain management (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.52–0.85; p = 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.53–0.87; p = 0.002), and global rating (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.42–0.82; p = 0.002), and significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in discharge information (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.45–3.18; p < 0.001) than cranial patients. Similarly, brain tumor cases were associated with significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in communication with doctors (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01–2.12; p = 0.04), pain management (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.29–2.55; p < 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.33–2.66; p < 0.001), and global rating (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.26–3.17; p = 0.003) compared with degenerative spine cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant differences in patient-reported experience with hospital care exist across different cranial and spine surgery patient populations. Overall, spinal patients, particularly those with degenerative spine disease, rated their health and their hospital experience lower relative to cranial patients. Identifying weaker areas of hospital performance in target populations can stimulate quality initiatives that aim to increase the overall hospital score.

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Clinton J. Devin, Mohamad Bydon, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Inamullah Khan, Ahilan Sivaganesan, Matthew J. McGirt, Kristin R. Archer, Kevin T. Foley, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, John J. Knightly, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Anthony L. Asher

OBJECTIVE

Back pain and neck pain are two of the most common causes of work loss due to disability, which poses an economic burden on society. Due to recent changes in healthcare policies, patient-centered outcomes including return to work have been increasingly prioritized by physicians and hospitals to optimize healthcare delivery. In this study, the authors used a national spine registry to identify clinical factors associated with return to work at 3 months among patients undergoing a cervical spine surgery.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry for information collected from April 2013 through March 2017 for preoperatively employed patients undergoing cervical spine surgery for degenerative spine disease. Covariates included demographic, clinical, and operative variables, and baseline patient-reported outcomes. Multiple imputations were used for missing values and multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with higher odds of returning to work. Bootstrap resampling (200 iterations) was used to assess the validity of the model. A nomogram was constructed using the results of the multivariable model.

RESULTS

A total of 4689 patients were analyzed, of whom 82.2% (n = 3854) returned to work at 3 months postoperatively. Among previously employed and working patients, 89.3% (n = 3443) returned to work compared to 52.3% (n = 411) among those who were employed but not working (e.g., were on a leave) at the time of surgery (p < 0.001). On multivariable logistic regression the authors found that patients who were less likely to return to work were older (age > 56–65 years: OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.57–0.85, p < 0.001; age > 65 years: OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.43–0.97, p = 0.02); were employed but not working (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.20–0.29, p < 0.001); were employed part time (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.42–0.76, p < 0.001); had a heavy-intensity (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.32–0.54, p < 0.001) or medium-intensity (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.46–0.76, p < 0.001) occupation compared to a sedentary occupation type; had workers’ compensation (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.28–0.53, p < 0.001); had a higher Neck Disability Index score at baseline (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.51–0.70, p = 0.017); were more likely to present with myelopathy (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.42–0.63, p < 0.001); and had more levels fused (3–5 levels: OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.35–0.61, p < 0.001). Using the multivariable analysis, the authors then constructed a nomogram to predict return to work, which was found to have an area under the curve of 0.812 and good validity.

CONCLUSIONS

Return to work is a crucial outcome that is being increasingly prioritized for employed patients undergoing spine surgery. The results from this study could help surgeons identify at-risk patients so that preoperative expectations could be discussed more comprehensively.

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Meghan E. Murphy, Hannah Gilder, Patrick R. Maloney, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Daniel Shepherd, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Daniel S. Ubl, Cynthia S. Crowson, William E. Krauss, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

With improving medical therapies for chronic conditions, elderly patients increasingly present as candidates for operative intervention for degenerative diseases of the spine. To date, there is a paucity of studies examining complications in lumbar decompression, without fusion, that include patients older than 80 years. Using a multicenter national database, the authors of this study evaluated lumbar decompression in the elderly, including octogenarians, to evaluate for associations between age and patient outcomes.

METHODS

The 2011–2013 American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set was queried for patients 65 years and older with diagnosis and procedure codes inclusive of degenerative spine disease and lumbar decompression without fusion. Morbidity and mortality within the 30-day postoperative period were the primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes of interest included unplanned readmission within 30 days or discharge to a nonhome facility. Outcomes and operative characteristics were compared using chi-square tests, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and multivariable logistic regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 8744 patients were identified; of these patients 4573 (52.30%) were 65 years and older. Elderly patients were stratified into 3 age categories: 85 years or older (n = 314), 75–84 years (n = 1663), and 65–74 years (n = 2596). Univariate analysis showed that, compared with age younger than 65 years, increased age was associated with the number of levels (≥ 3), readmissions within 30 days, nonhome discharge, any complication, length of stay, and blood transfusion (all p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis and with younger than 65 years as the reference, increased age was associated with any minor complication (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.69–7.13; 75–84 years: OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.45–3.78; and 65–74 years: OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.94–2.20), as well as discharge location other than home (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 13.59, 95% CI 9.47–19.49; 75–84 years: OR 5.64, 95% CI 4.33–7.34; and 65–74 years: OR 2.61, 95% CI 2.05–3.32).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' high-powered, multicenter analysis of lumbar decompression without fusion in the elderly, specifically including patients older than 80 years, demonstrates that increased age is associated with more extensive operations, resulting in longer hospital stays, increased rates of nonhome discharge, and minor complications.