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Sean M. Jones-Quaidoo, Mladen Djurasovic, R. Kirk Owens II and Leah Y. Carreon


Recent studies have reported the incidence of superior facet joint violation using percutaneous techniques. These techniques have not been compared with the open midline approach. An increased incidence of superior facet violation may lead to adjacent-segment disease. In this paper, the authors' goal is to compare the rate of superior facet violation with the use of percutaneously placed pedicle screws versus midline approach open placement.


Patients who underwent a single-level fusion using a percutaneous approach from L-1 to S-1 who had undergone CT scanning within 1 year after surgery were identified. A cohort who underwent open fusion matched by level of surgery was identified. All CT scans were reviewed by 3 fellowship-trained spine surgeons to determine the degree of facet violation. The final categorization for each screw was based on the most frequent reading among the 6 evaluations. The Fisher test was used to determine the association of facet violation with approach.


There were 66 patients in each group. Patients in the Percutaneous group were younger (mean 42.5 years) than those in the Open group (mean 57.8 years, p = 0.000). There was no statistically significant difference in sex distribution, surgical levels fused, or time between surgery and CT scan between the groups. Thirty-six (13.6%) of 264 screws in the percutaneous and 16 (6%) of 263 screws in the Open group were in the facet joint (p = 0.005). Of these, 17 (12%) of the 132 proximal screws in the percutaneous and 7 (5%) of the 131 proximal screws in the Open group were in the facet joint (p = 0.052).


The use of a percutaneous method to insert pedicle screws results in a statistically significantly higher incidence of facet joint violation, even if only proximal screws are considered. Further studies are needed to determine if this leads to a higher incidence of symptomatic adjacent-level disease.

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Mladen Djurasovic, Katlyn E. McGraw, Kelly Bratcher, Charles H. Crawford III, John R. Dimar II, Rolando M. Puno, Steven D. Glassman, R. Kirk Owens II and Leah Y. Carreon


The goal of this study was to determine efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Cell Saver in 2- and 3-level lumbar decompression and fusion.


Patients seen at a tertiary care spine center who were undergoing a posterior 2- or 3-level lumbar decompression and fusion were randomized to have Cell Saver used during their surgery (CS group, n = 48) or not used (No Cell Saver [NCS] group, n = 47). Data regarding preoperative and postoperative hemoglobin and hematocrit, estimated blood loss, volume of Cell Saver blood reinfused, number of units and volume of allogeneic blood transfused intraoperatively and postoperatively, complications, and costs were collected. Costs associated with Cell Saver use were calculated based on units of allogeneic blood transfusions averted.


Demographics and surgical parameters were similar in both groups. The mean estimated blood loss was similar in both groups: 612 ml in the CS group and 742 ml in the NCS group. There were 53 U of allogeneic blood transfused in 29 patients in the NCS group at a total blood product cost of $67,688; and 38 U of allogeneic blood transfused in 16 patients in the CS group at a total blood cost of $113,162, resulting in a cost of $3031 per allogeneic blood transfusion averted using Cell Saver.


Cell Saver use produced lower rates of allogeneic transfusion but was found to be more expensive than using only allogeneic blood for 2- and 3-level lumbar degenerative fusions. This increased cost may be reasonable to patients who perceive that the risks associated with allogeneic transfusions are unacceptable.

CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: therapeutic; study design: randomized controlled trial; evidence: class III.

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Leah Y. Carreon, Mladen Djurasovic, John R. Dimar II, R. Kirk Owens II, Charles H. Crawford III, Rolando M. Puno, Kelly R. Bratcher, Katlyn E. McGraw and Steven D. Glassman


Studies have shown that anxious or depressed patients may have poorer outcomes after lumbar fusion. These conclusions were drawn from questionnaires specifically designed to measure anxiety and depression. The objective of this study is to determine if responses to the EQ-5D anxiety/depression domain or the items used to calculate the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) Mental Component Summary (MCS) can predict outcomes after lumbar fusion surgery.


Patients enrolled in the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database from a single center with 1-year follow-up were identified. The outcomes collected include the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, SF-36, and the back- and leg-pain numeric rating scales (range 0–10). Linear regression modeling was performed to predict the 1-year ODI scores using the EQ-5D anxiety/depression domain and the 14 items used to calculate SF-36 MCS.


Complete data were available for 312 (88%) of 353 eligible patients. The mean patient age was 58.5 years, 175 (56%) patients were women, and 52 patients were smokers. After controlling for other factors, the item in the SF-36 that asks “Have you felt downhearted and depressed?” is the strongest predictor of the 1-year ODI score (r2 = 0.191; p = 0.000) and 1-year EQ-5D score (r2 = 0.205; p = 0.000). Neither the EQ-5D anxiety/depression domain nor the diagnoses of anxiety or depression were predictors of 1-year outcomes.


Patient responses to SF-36 item “Have you felt downhearted and depressed?” account for 20% of the variability of the 1-year ODI and EQ-5D scores and can be used by clinicians to screen for anxiety or depression in patients prior to lumbar fusion surgery. Clinicians may offer psychological support to these patients preoperatively in order to improve treatment outcomes.