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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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Shenglin Wang, Yinglun Tian, Bassel G. Diebo, Samantha R. Horn and Peter G. Passias

OBJECTIVE

Most cervical fixations for atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) are bilateral and symmetric; however, in the setting of osseous and vascular deformity at the craniovertebral junction, asymmetrical and hybrid fixations are used as “salvage” techniques. Because of the rarity of these cases, hybrid cervical fixations for AAD have not been fully explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical feasibility and outcomes of posterior hybrid cervical fixations for AAD.

METHODS

Twenty-one AAD cases were retrospectively studied; 18 had cervical myelopathy with Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores ranging from 9 to 16 (mean 13.5). Hybrid fixation techniques included unilateral pedicle screws, transarticular screws, C-2 laminar screws, cervical lateral mass screws, and spinous process screws. During the same period, 82 AAD cases, treated using symmetric traditional fixations, were analyzed as controls.

RESULTS

Atlantoaxial fixation was performed in 11 cases, while occiput-cervical fixation was used in 10 cases. All cases achieved solid osseous fusion. Anatomical reduction was achieved in 20 cases (95.2%). All 18 cases with myelopathy showed postoperative improvement, with JOA scores ranging from 13 to 17 (mean 15.5). Three cases (14.2%) experienced complications, including delayed wound healing, CSF leakage, and fixation loosening. Hybrid fixation techniques showed significantly greater estimated blood loss when compared with controls (208.1 ± 19.30 ml vs 139.63 ± 8.75 ml, p = 0.001). Operative duration (125.38 ± 6.29 min vs 119.41 ± 3.77 min, p = 0.464), complication rates (14.3% vs 4.9%, p = 0.148), and JOA improvement rates (61% ± 7% vs 49% ± 4%, p = 0.161) showed no significant differences.

CONCLUSIONS

For ADD with osseous or vascular deformity, posterior cervical reduction and stabilization can be achieved using hybrid techniques, resulting in comparable clinical results to symmetric traditional fixation.

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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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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.

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Peter G. Passias, Bassel G. Diebo, Bryan J. Marascalchi, Cyrus M. Jalai, Samantha R. Horn, Peter L. Zhou, Karen Paltoo, Olivia J. Bono, Nancy Worley, Gregory W. Poorman, Vincent Challier, Anant Dixit, Carl Paulino and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

It is becoming increasingly necessary for surgeons to provide evidence supporting cost-effectiveness of surgical treatment for cervical spine pathology. Anticipating surgical risk is critical in accurately evaluating the risk/benefit balance of such treatment. Determining the risk and cost-effectiveness of surgery, complications, revision procedures, and mortality rates are the most significant limitations. The purpose of this study was to determine independent risk factors for medical complications (MCs), surgical complications (SCs), revisions, and mortality rates following surgery for patients with cervical spine pathology. The most relevant risk factors were used to structure an index that will help quantify risk and anticipate failure for such procedures.

METHODS

The authors of this study performed a retrospective review of the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for patients treated surgically for cervical spine pathology between 2001 and 2010. Multivariate models were performed to calculate the odds ratio (OR) of the independent risk factors that led to MCs and repeated for SCs, revisions, and mortality. The models controlled for age (< and > 65 years old), sex, race, revision status (except for revision analysis), surgical approach, number of levels fused/re-fused (2–3, 4–8, ≥ 9), and osteotomy utilization. ORs were weighted based on their predictive category: 2 times for revision surgery predictors and 4 times for mortality predictors. Fifty points were distributed among the predictors based on their cumulative OR to establish a risk index.

RESULTS

Discharges for 362,989 patients with cervical spine pathology were identified. The mean age was 52.65 years, and 49.47% of patients were women. Independent risk factors included medical comorbidities, surgical parameters, and demographic factors. Medical comorbidities included the following: pulmonary circulation disorder, coagulopathy, metastatic cancer, renal failure, congestive heart failure, alcohol abuse, neurological disorder, nonmetastatic cancer, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis/collagen vascular diseases, and chronic blood loss/anemia. Surgical parameters included posterior approach to fusion/re-fusion, ≥ 9 levels fused/re-fused, corpectomy, 4–8 levels fused/re-fused, and osteotomy; demographic variables included age ≥ 65 years. These factors increased the risk of at least 1 of MC, SC, revision, or mortality (risk of death). A total of 50 points were distributed among the factors based on the cumulative risk ratio of every factor in proportion to the total risk ratios.

CONCLUSIONS

This study proposed an index to quantify the potential risk of morbidity and mortality prior to surgical intervention for patients with cervical spine pathology. This index may be useful for surgeons in patient counseling efforts as well as for health insurance companies and future socioeconomics studies in assessing surgical risks and benefits for patients undergoing surgical treatment of the cervical spine.

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Paraspinal muscle size as an independent risk factor for proximal junctional kyphosis in patients undergoing thoracolumbar fusion

Presented at the 2019 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Zach Pennington, Ethan Cottrill, A. Karim Ahmed, Peter Passias, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Brian Neuman, Khaled M. Kebaish, Jeff Ehresman, Erick M. Westbroek, Matthew L. Goodwin and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is a structural complication of spinal fusion in 5%–61% of patients treated for adult spinal deformity. In nearly one-third of these cases, PJK is progressive and requires costly surgical revision. Previous studies have suggested that patient body habitus may predict risk for PJK. Here, the authors sought to investigate abdominal girth and paraspinal muscle size as risk factors for PJK.

METHODS

All patients undergoing thoracolumbosacral fusion greater than 2 levels at a single institution over a 5-year period with ≥ 6 months of radiographic follow-up were considered for inclusion. PJK was defined as kyphosis ≥ 20° between the upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) and two supra-adjacent vertebrae. Operative and radiographic parameters were recorded, including pre- and postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA), sacral slope (SS), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence (PI), and absolute value of the pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch (|PI-LL|), as well as changes in LL, |PI-LL|, and SVA. The authors also considered relative abdominal girth and the size of the paraspinal muscles at the UIV.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty-nine patients met inclusion criteria. On univariate analysis, PJK was associated with a larger preoperative SVA (p < 0.001) and |PI-LL| (p = 0.01), and smaller SS (p = 0.004) and LL (p = 0.001). PJK was also associated with more positive postoperative SVA (p = 0.01), ΔSVA (p = 0.01), Δ|PI-LL| (p < 0.001), and ΔLL (p < 0.001); longer construct length (p = 0.005); larger abdominal girth–to-muscle ratio (p = 0.007); and smaller paraspinal muscles at the UIV (p < 0.001). Higher postoperative SVA (OR 1.1 per cm), smaller paraspinal muscles at the UIV (OR 2.11), and more aggressive reduction in |PI-LL| (OR 1.03) were independent predictors of radiographic PJK on multivariate logistic regression.

CONCLUSIONS

A more positive postoperative global sagittal alignment and smaller paraspinal musculature at the UIV most strongly predicted PJK following thoracolumbosacral fusion.

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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.

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Amit Jain, Hamid Hassanzadeh, Varun Puvanesarajah, Eric O. Klineberg, Daniel M. Sciubba, Michael P. Kelly, D. Kojo Hamilton, Virginie Lafage, Aaron J. Buckland, Peter G. Passias, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Renaud Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khaled M. Kebaish and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Using 2 complication-reporting methods, the authors investigated the incidence of major medical complications and mortality in elderly patients after surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD) during a 2-year follow-up period.

METHODS

The authors queried a multicenter, prospective, surgeon-maintained database (SMD) to identify patients 65 years or older who underwent surgical correction of ASD from 2008 through 2014 and had a minimum 2 years of follow-up (n = 153). They also queried a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims database (MCD) for patients 65 years or older who underwent fusion of 8 or more vertebral levels from 2005 through 2012 (n = 3366). They calculated cumulative rates of the following complications during the first 6 weeks after surgery: cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure, deep venous thrombosis, myocardial infarction, pneumonia, and pulmonary embolism. Significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

During the perioperative period, rates of major medical complications were 5.9% for pneumonia, 4.1% for deep venous thrombosis, 3.2% for pulmonary embolism, 2.1% for cerebrovascular accident, 1.8% for myocardial infarction, and 1.0% for congestive heart failure. Mortality rates were 0.9% at 6 weeks and 1.8% at 2 years. When comparing the SMD with the MCD, there were no significant differences in the perioperative rates of major medical complications except pneumonia. Furthermore, there were no significant intergroup differences in the mortality rates at 6 weeks or 2 years. The SMD provided greater detail with respect to deformity characteristics and surgical variables than the MCD.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of most major medical complications in the elderly after surgery for ASD was similar between the SMD and the MCD and ranged from 1% for congestive heart failure to 5.9% for pneumonia. These complications data can be valuable for preoperative patient counseling and informed consent.

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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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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.