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Hiroyuki Yoshihara, Peter G. Passias and Thomas J. Errico

Object

Lateral mass screws (LMS) have been used extensively with a low complication rate in the subaxial spine. Recently, cervical pedicle screws (CPS) have been introduced, and are thought to provide more optimal stabilization of the subaxial spine in certain circumstances. However, because of the concern for neurovascular injury, the routine use of CPS in this location remains controversial. Despite this controversy, however, there are no articles directly comparing screw-related complications of each procedure in the subaxial cervical spine. The purpose of this study was to evaluate screw-related complications of LMS and CPS in the subaxial cervical spine.

Methods

A PubMed/MEDLINE and Cochrane Collaboration Library search was executed, using the key words “lateral mass screw” and “cervical pedicle screw.” Clinical studies evaluating surgical procedures of the subaxial cervical spine in which either LMS or CPS were used and complications were reported were included. Studies in which the number of patients who had subaxial cervical spine surgery and the number of screws placed from C-3 to C-7 could not be specified were excluded. Data on screw-related complications of each study were recorded and compared.

Results

Ten studies of LMS and 12 studies of CPS were included in the analysis. Vertebral artery injuries were slightly but statistically significantly higher with the use of CPS relative to LMS in the subaxial cervical spine. Although the use of LMS was associated with a higher rate of screw loosening, screw pullout, loss of reduction, pseudarthrosis, and revision surgery, this finding was not statistically significant.

Conclusions

Based on the available literature, it appears that perioperative neurological and late biomechanical complication rates, including pseudarthrosis, are similarly low for both LMS and CPS techniques. In contrast, vertebral artery injuries, although statistically significantly more common when using CPS, are extremely rare with both techniques, which may justify their nonroutine use in select cases. Given the paucity of well-designed studies available, this recommendation may be a reflection of deficiencies in the available studies. Surgeons using either technique should have intimate knowledge of cervical anatomy and an adequate preoperative evaluation for each patient, with the final selection based on individual case requirements and anatomical limitations.

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Taemin Oh, Justin K. Scheer, Robert Eastlack, Justin S. Smith, Virginie Lafage, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Peter G. Passias, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Munish Gupta, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECT

Alignment changes in the cervical spine that occur following surgical correction for thoracic deformity remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to evaluate such changes in a cohort of adults with thoracic deformity treated surgically.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis of consecutive patients with thoracic deformity. Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: corrective osteotomy for thoracic deformity, upper-most instrumented vertebra (UIV) between T-1 and T-4, lower-most instrumented vertebra (LIV) at or above L-5 (LIV ≥ L-5) or at the ilium (LIV-ilium), and a minimum radiographic follow-up of 2 years. Sagittal radiographic parameters were assessed preoperatively as well as at 3 months and 2 years postoperatively, including the C-7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), C2–7 cervical lordosis (CL), C2–7 SVA, T-1 slope (T1S), T1S minus CL (T1S-CL), T2–12 thoracic kyphosis (TK), apical TK, lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI), PI-LL, pelvic tilt (PT), and sacral slope (SS).

RESULTS

Fifty-seven patients with a mean age of 49.1 ± 14.6 years met the study inclusion criteria. The preoperative prevalence of increased CL (CL > 15°) was 48.9%. Both 3-month and 2-year apical TK improved from baseline (p < 0.05, statistically significant). At the 2-year follow-up, only the C2–7 SVA increased significantly from baseline (p = 0.01), whereas LL decreased from baseline (p < 0.01). The prevalence of increased CL was 35.3% at 3 months and 47.8% at 2 years, which did not represent a significant change. Postoperative cervical alignment changes were not significantly different from preoperative values regardless of the LIV (LIV ≥ L-5 or LIV-ilium, p > 0.05 for both). In a subset of patients with a maximum TK ≥ 60° (35 patients) and 3-column osteotomy (38 patients), no significant postoperative cervical changes were seen.

CONCLUSION

Increased CL is common in adult spinal deformity patients with thoracic deformities and, unlike after lumbar corrective surgery, does not appear to normalize after thoracic corrective surgery. Cervical sagittal malalignment (C2–7 SVA) also increases postoperatively. Surgeons should be aware that spontaneous cervical alignment normalization might not occur following thoracic deformity correction.

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Anthony J. Boniello, Saqib Hasan, Sun Yang, Cyrus M. Jalai, Nancy Worley and Peter G. Passias

OBJECT

Lenke 1C curves are challenging to manage surgically due to the structural thoracic deformity and nonstructural lumbar curve. Selective thoracic fusion (STF) is considered the standard of care because it preserves motion of the lumbar segment, yet nonselective STF (NSTF) remains prevalent. This study aims to identify baseline patient characteristics that drive treatment and to compare postoperative outcomes for both procedures.

METHODS

Studies that compared baseline and postoperative demographic data, health-related quality of life (HRQL) questionnaires, and radiographic parameters of patients with Lenke 1C curves undergoing STF or NSTF were identified for meta-analysis. The effect measure is expressed as a mean difference (MD) with 95% CI. A positive MD signifies a greater STF value, or a mean increase within the group.

RESULTS

One prospective and 6 retrospective case-control studies with sample size of 488 patients (344 STF and 144 NSTF) were identified. Baseline age, sex, and HRQLs were equivalent, except for better scores in the STF group for the Scoliosis Appearance Questionnaire (SAQ): Unrelated to Deformity item (3.47 vs 3.88, p = 0.01) and the Spine Research Society questionnaire, Item 22: Pain (4.13 vs 3.92, p = 0.04). Radiographic findings were significantly worse in NSTF, as measured by the thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) Cobb angle (MD: −4.29°, p < 0.01) and TL/L apical vertebral translation (AVT) (MD: −6.08, p < 0.01). Radiographic findings significantly improved in STF, as measured in the main thoracic (MT) Cobb angle (MD: −27.78°, p < 0.01), TL/L Cobb angle (MD: −16.24°, p < 0.01), MT:TL/L Cobb ratio (MD: −0.21, p < 0.01), coronal balance (MD: 0.47, p = 0.02), and thoracic kyphosis (MD: 7.87°, p < 0.01); and in NSTF in proximal thoracic (PT) Cobb angle (24° vs 14.1°, p < 0.01), MT Cobb angle (53.5° vs 20.5°, p < 0.01), and TL/L Cobb angle (41.6° vs 16.6°, p < 0.01). Postoperative TL/L Cobb angle (23.1° vs 16.6°, p < 0.01) was significantly higher in STF; but PT Cobb angle, MT Cobb angle, and MT:TL/L Cobb ratio are equivalent.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with larger lumbar compensatory curves displaying a larger degree of coronal translation, as measured by the TL/L AVT, are more likely to undergo an NSTF. Contrary to established guidelines, larger MT curve magnitudes and MT:TL/L Cobb angle ratios have not been found to influence the decision to pursue a selective thoracic fusion. Although overall both STF and NSTF groups are found to have effective postoperative coronal balance, the STF group has only modest improvements in the lumbar curve position as determined by a relatively unchanged TL/L AVT. Furthermore, surgeons may prefer NSTF in patients who may have a worse overall perception of their spinal deformity as measured by HRQL measures of pain and desire for appearance change.

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Justin K. Scheer, Peter G. Passias, Alexandra M. Sorocean, Anthony J. Boniello, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Munish Gupta, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

A high prevalence of cervical deformity (CD) has been identified among adult patients with thoracolumbar spinal deformity undergoing surgical treatment. The clinical impact of this is uncertain. This study aimed to quantify the differences in patient-reported outcomes among patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) based on presence of CD prior to treatment.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of a multicenter prospective database of patients with ASD who underwent surgical treatment with 2-year follow-up. Patients were grouped by the presence of preoperative CD: 1) cervical positive sagittal malalignment (CPSM) C2–7 sagittal vertical axis ≥ 4 cm; 2) cervical kyphosis (CK) C2–7 angle > 0; 3) CPSM and CK (BOTH); and 4) no baseline CD (NONE). Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores included the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary (PCS and MCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22), and minimum clinically important difference (MCID) of these scores at 2 years. Standard radiographic measurements were conducted for cervical, thoracic, and thoracolumbar parameters.

RESULTS

One hundred eighty-two patients were included in this study: CPSM, 45; CK, 37; BOTH, 16; and NONE, 84. Patients with preoperative CD and those without had similar baseline thoracolumbar radiographic measurements and similar correction rates at 2 years. Patients with and without preoperative CD had similar baseline HRQOL and on average both groups experienced some HRQOL improvement. However, those with preoperative CPSM had significantly worse postoperative ODI, PCS, SRS-22 Activity, SRS-22 Appearance, SRS-22 Pain, SRS-22 Satisfaction, and SRS-22 Total score, and were less likely to meet MCID for ODI, PCS, SRS-22 Activity, and SRS-22 Pain scores with the following ORs and 95% CIs: ODI 0.19 (0.07–0.58), PCS 0.17 (0.06–0.47), SRS-22 Activity 0.23 (0.09–0.62), SRS-22 Pain 0.20 (0.08–0.53), and SRS-22 Appearance 0.34 (0.12–0.94). Preoperative CK did not have an effect on outcomes. Interestingly, despite correction of the thoracolumbar deformity, 53.3% and 51.4% of patients had persistent CPSM and persistent CK, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with thoracolumbar deformity without preoperative CD are likely to have greater improvements in HRQOL after surgery than patients with concomitant preoperative CD. Cervical positive sagittal alignment in adult patients with thoracolumbar deformity is strongly associated with inferior outcomes and failure to reach MCID at 2-year follow-up despite having similar baseline HRQOL to patients without CD. This was the first study to assess the impact of concomitant preoperative cervical malalignment in adult patients with thoracolumbar deformity. These results can help surgeons educate patients at risk for inferior outcomes and direct future research to identify an etiology and improve patient outcomes. Investigation into the etiology of the baseline cervical malalignment may be warranted in patients who present with thoracolumbar deformity.

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Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Amit Jain, Khaled M. Kebaish, Ali Bydon, Peter G. Passias and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to compare inpatient morbidity and mortality after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery in teaching versus nonteaching hospitals in the US.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was used to identify surgical patients with ASD between 2002 and 2011. Only patients > 21 years old and elective cases were included. Patient characteristics, inpatient morbidity, and inpatient mortality were compared between teaching and nonteaching hospitals. A multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the effect of hospital teaching status on surgical outcomes.

RESULTS

A total of 7603 patients were identified, with 61.2% (n = 4650) in the teaching hospital group and 38.8% (n = 2953) in the nonteaching hospital group. The proportion of patients undergoing revision procedures was significantly different between groups (5.2% in teaching hospitals vs 3.9% in nonteaching hospitals, p = 0.008). Likewise, complex procedures (defined as fusion of 8 or more segments and/or osteotomy) were more common in teaching hospitals (27.3% vs 21.7%, p < 0.001). Crude overall complication rates were similar in teaching hospitals (47.9%) compared with nonteaching hospitals (49.8%, p = 0.114). After controlling for patient characteristics, case complexity, and revision status, patients treated at teaching hospitals were significantly less likely to develop a complication when compared with patients treated at a nonteaching hospital (OR 0.89; 95% CI 0.82–0.98). The mortality rate was 0.4% in teaching hospitals and < 0.4% in nonteaching hospitals (p = 0.210).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who undergo surgery for ASD at a teaching hospital may have significantly lower odds of complication development compared with patients treated at a nonteaching hospital.