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John K. Houten, Lucien C. Alexandre, Rani Nasser and Adam L. Wollowick

A lateral transpsoas approach to achieve interbody fusion in the lumbar spine using either the extreme lateral interbody fusion or direct lateral interbody fusion technique is an increasingly popular method to treat spinal disease. Dissection and dilation through the iliopsoas muscle places the lumbosacral plexus at risk for injury, but there is very limited information in the published literature about adverse clinical events resulting in postoperative motor deficits or reports of failure of electrophysiological monitoring to detect nerve injury. The authors present 2 cases of postoperative motor deficits following the transpsoas approach not detected by intraoperative monitoring, review the medical literature, and discuss strategies for complication avoidance.

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Rani Nasser, Kimberly Ashayeri, Alan D. Legatt and John K. Houten

The authors describe the case of a 48-year-old man found to have the first reported intramedullary spinal cord spindle cell hemangioma. Previous research indicates that spindle cell hemangiomas are rarely found in the spine. Only 3 previous cases exist, all in the intradural, extramedullary space. In the present case, gross-total resection of the tumor was possible with no loss of function from baseline. This report presents the successful resection of the first reported intramedullary spindle cell hemangioma and reports 4-month follow-up, demonstrating the biological behavior of this rare tumor.

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Alan D. Legatt, Avra S. Laarakker, Jonathan P. Nakhla, Rani Nasser and David J. Altschul

The authors report herein a case of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery in which findings on somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring led to the correction of carotid artery compression in a patient with a vascularly isolated hemisphere (no significant collateral blood vessels to the carotid artery territory). The amplitude of the cortical SSEP component to left ulnar nerve stimulation progressively decreased in multiple runs, but there were no changes in the cervicomedullary SSEP component to the same stimulus. When the lateral (right-sided) retractor was removed, the cortical SSEP component returned to baseline. The retraction was then intermittently relaxed during the rest of the operation, and the patient suffered no neurological morbidity. Magnetic resonance angiography demonstrated a vascularly isolated right hemisphere.

During anterior cervical spine surgery, carotid artery compression by the retractor can cause hemispheric ischemia and infarction in patients with inadequate collateral circulation. The primary purpose of SSEP monitoring during ACDF surgery is to detect compromise of the dorsal column somatosensory pathways within the cervical spinal cord, but intraoperative SSEP monitoring can also detect hemispheric ischemia. Concurrent recording of cervicomedullary SSEPs can help differentiate cortical SSEP changes due to hemispheric ischemia from those due to compromise of the dorsal column pathways. If there are adverse changes in the cortical SSEPs but no changes in the cervicomedullary SSEPs, the possibility of hemispheric ischemia due to carotid artery compression by the retractor should be considered.

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David Altschul, Andrew Kobets, Jonathan Nakhla, Ajit Jada, Rani Nasser, Merritt D. Kinon, Reza Yassari and John Houten

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative urinary retention (POUR) is a common problem leading to morbidity and an increased hospital stay. There are limited data regarding its baseline incidence in patients undergoing spinal surgery and the risk factors with which it may be associated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of POUR in elective spine surgery patients and determine the factors associated with its occurrence.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of patients who had undergone elective spine surgery and had been prospectively monitored for POUR during an 18-month period. Collected data included operative positioning, surgery duration, volume of intraoperative fluid, length of hospital stay, and patient characteristics such as age, sex, and medical comorbidities. Dialysis patients or those with complete urinary retention preoperatively were excluded from analysis.

RESULTS

Of the 397 patients meeting the study inclusion criteria, 35 (8.8%) developed POUR. An increased incidence of POUR was noted in those who underwent posterior lumbar surgery, those with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), those with chronic constipation or prior urinary retention, and those using a patient-controlled analgesia pump postoperatively. An increased incidence of POUR was seen with a longer operative time but not with intraoperative intravenous fluid administration. A significant relationship between the female sex and POUR was noted after controlling for BPH, yet there was no association between POUR and diabetes or intraoperative instrumentation. Postoperative retention significantly prolonged the hospital stay. Three patients developed epidural hematomas necessitating operative reexploration, and while they experienced POUR, they also developed the full constellation of cauda equina syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS

Awareness of the risk factors for POUR may be useful in perioperative Foley catheter management and in identifying patients who need particular vigilance when they are due to void postprocedure. A greater understanding of POUR may also prevent longer hospital stays in select at-risk patients. Postoperative retention is rarely caused by a postoperative cauda equina syndrome due to epidural hematoma, which is also associated with saddle anesthesia, leg pain, and weakness, yet the delineation of isolated POUR from this urgent complication is necessary for optimal patient care.

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Peter G. Campbell, Sanjay Yadla, Rani Nasser, Jennifer Malone, Mitchell G. Maltenfort and John K. Ratliff

Object

Present attempts to control health care costs focus on reducing the incidence of complications and hospital-acquired conditions (HACs). One approach uses restriction or elimination of hospital payments for HACs. Present approaches assume that all HACs are created equal and that payment restrictions should be applied uniformly. Patient factors, and especially patient comorbidities, likely impact complication incidence. The relationship of patient comorbidities and complication incidence in spine surgery has not been prospectively reported.

Methods

The authors conducted a prospective assessment of complications in spine surgery during a 6-month period; an independent auditor and a validated definition of perioperative complications were used. Initial demographics captured relevant patient comorbidities. The authors constructed a model of relative risk assessment based on the presence of a variety of comorbidities. They examined the impact of specific comorbidities and the cumulative effect of multiple comorbidities on complication incidence.

Results

Two hundred forty-nine patients undergoing 259 procedures at a tertiary care facility were evaluated during the 6-month duration of the study. Eighty percent of the patients underwent fusion procedures. One hundred thirty patients (52.2%) experienced at least 1 complication, with major complications occurring in 21.4% and minor complications in 46.4% of the cohort. Major complications doubled the median duration of hospital stay, from 6 to 12 days in cervical spine patients and from 7 to 14 days in thoracolumbar spine patients. At least 1 comorbid condition was present in 86% of the patients. An increasing number of comorbidities strongly correlated with increased risk of major, minor, and any complications (p = 0.017, p < 0.0001, and p < 0.0001, respectively). Patient factors correlating with increased risk of specific complications included systemic malignancy and cardiac conditions other than hypertension.

Conclusions

Comorbidities significantly increase the risk of perioperative complications. An increasing number of comorbidities in an individual patient significantly increases the risk of a perioperative adverse event. Patient factors significantly impact the relative risk of HACs and perioperative complications.

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Rani Nasser, Doniel Drazin, Jonathan Nakhla, Lutfi Al-Khouja, Earl Brien, Eli M. Baron, Terrence T. Kim, J. Patrick Johnson and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

The use of intraoperative stereotactic navigation has become more available in spine surgery. The authors undertook this study to assess the utility of intraoperative CT navigation in the localization of spinal lesions and as an intraoperative tool to guide resection in patients with spinal lesions.

METHODS

This was a retrospective multicenter study including 50 patients from 2 different institutions who underwent biopsy and/or resection of spinal column tumors using image-guided navigation. Of the 50 cases reviewed, 4 illustrative cases are presented. In addition, the authors provide a description of surgical technique with image guidance.

RESULTS

The patient group included 27 male patients and 23 female patients. Their average age was 61 ± 17 years (range 14–87 years). The average operative time (incision to closure) was 311 ± 188 minutes (range 62–865 minutes). The average intraoperative blood loss was 882 ± 1194 ml (range 5–7000 ml). The average length of hospitalization was 10 ± 8.9 days (range 1–36 days). The postoperative complications included 2 deaths (4.0%) and 4 radiculopathies (8%) secondary to tumor burden.

CONCLUSIONS

O-arm 3D imaging with stereotactic navigation may be used to localize lesions intraoperatively with real-time dynamic feedback of tumor resection. Stereotactic guidance may augment resection or biopsy of primary and metastatic spinal tumors. It offers reduced radiation exposure to operating room personnel and the ability to use minimally invasive approaches that limit tissue injury. In addition, acquisition of intraoperative CT scans with real-time tracking allows for precise targeting of spinal lesions with minimal dissection.

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Rani Nasser, Sanjay Yadla, Mitchell G. Maltenfort, James S. Harrop, D. Greg Anderson, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Ashwini D. Sharan and John K. Ratliff

Object

The overall incidence of complications or adverse events in spinal surgery is unknown. Both prospective and retrospective analyses have been performed, but the results have not been critically assessed. Procedures for different regions of the spine (cervical and thoracolumbar) and the incidence of complications for each have been reported but not compared. Authors of previous reports have concentrated on complications in terms of their incidence relevant to healthcare providers: medical versus surgical etiology and the relevance of perioperative complications to perioperative events. Few authors have assessed complication incidence from the patient's perspective. In this report the authors summarize the spine surgery complications literature and address the effect of study design on reported complication incidence.

Methods

A systematic evidence-based review was completed to identify within the published literature complication rates in spinal surgery. The MEDLINE database was queried using the key words “spine surgery” and “complications.” This initial search revealed more than 700 articles, which were further limited through an exclusion process. Each abstract was reviewed and papers were obtained. The authors gathered 105 relevant articles detailing 80 thoracolumbar and 25 cervical studies. Among the 105 articles were 84 retrospective studies and 21 prospective studies. The authors evaluated the study designs and compared cervical, thoracolumbar, prospective, and retrospective studies as well as the durations of follow-up for each study.

Results

In the 105 articles reviewed, there were 79,471 patients with 13,067 reported complications for an overall complication incidence of 16.4% per patient. Complications were more common in thoracolumbar (17.8%) than cervical procedures (8.9%; p < 0.0001, OR 2.23). Prospective studies yielded a higher incidence of complications (19.9%) than retrospective studies (16.1%; p < 0.0001, OR 1.3). The complication incidence for prospective thoracolumbar studies (20.4%) was greater than that for retrospective series (17.5%; p < 0.0001). This difference between prospective and retrospective reviews was not found in the cervical studies. The year of study publication did not correlate with the complication incidence, although the duration of follow-up did correlate with the complication incidence (p = 0.001).

Conclusions

Retrospective reviews significantly underestimate the overall incidence of complications in spine surgery. This analysis is the first to critically assess differing complication incidences reported in prospective and retrospective cervical and thoracolumbar spine surgery studies.

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Niketh Bhashyam, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Rani Nasser, Ajit Jada, Taylor E. Purvis, Daniel M. Sciubba, Merritt D. Kinon and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to compare 30-day readmission and reoperation rates after single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) versus those after cervical disc replacement (CDR).

METHODS

The authors used the 2013–2014 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Included were adult patients who underwent first-time single-level ACDF or CDR for cervical spondylosis or disc herniation. Primary outcome measures were readmission and/or reoperation within 30 days of the original surgery. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the independent effect of the procedure (ACDF or CDR) on outcome, and results are presented as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS

A total of 6077 patients met the inclusion criteria; 5590 (92.0%) patients underwent single-level ACDF, and 487 (8.0%) patients underwent CDR. The readmission rates were 2.6% for ACDF and 0.4% for CDR (p = 0.003). When stratified according to age groups, only patients between the ages of 41 and 60 years who underwent ACDF had a significantly higher readmission rate than those who underwent CDR (2.5% vs 0.7%, respectively; p = 0.028). After controlling for patient age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, steroid use, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, patients who underwent CDR were significantly less likely to undergo readmission within 30 days than patients who underwent ACDF (OR 0.23 [95% CI 0.06–0.95]; p = 0.041). Patients with a history of COPD (OR 1.97 [95% CI 1.08–3.57]; p = 0.026) or hypertension (OR 1.62 [95% CI 1.10–2.38]; p = 0.013) and those at ASA Class IV (OR 14.6 [95% CI 1.69–125.75]; p = 0.015) were significantly more likely to require readmission within 30 days. The reoperation rates were 1.2% for ACDF and 0.4% for CDR (p = 0.086), and multivariate analysis revealed that CDR was not associated with lower odds of reoperation (OR 0.60 [95% CI 0.14–2.55]; p = 0.492). However, increasing age was associated with a higher risk (OR 1.02 [95% CI 1.00–1.05]; p = 0.031) of reoperation; a 2% increase in risk per year of age was found.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who underwent single-level ACDF had a higher readmission rate than those who underwent single-level CDR in this study. When stratified according to age, this effect was seen only in the 41- to 60-year age group. No significant difference in the 30-day single-level ACDF and single-level CDR reoperation rates was found. Although patients in the ACDF group were older and sicker, other unmeasured covariates might have accounted for the increased rate of readmission in this group, and further investigation is encouraged.

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Rani Nasser, Jacob F. Schulz, Taylor E. Purvis, Daniel M. Sciubba, Merritt D. Kinon and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

Obesity is an increasing public health concern in the pediatric population. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of body mass index (BMI) on 30-day outcomes after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric database (2013 and 2014) was reviewed. Patients 10–18 years of age who had undergone fusion of 7 or more spinal levels for AIS were included. Thirty-day outcomes (complications, readmissions, and reoperations) were compared based on patient BMI per age- and sex-adjusted growth charts as follows: normal weight (NW; BMI < 85th percentile), overweight (OW; BMI 85th–95th percentile), and obese (OB; BMI > 95th percentile).

RESULTS

Patients eligible for study numbered 2712 (80.1% female and 19.9% male) and had a mean age of 14.4 ± 1.8 years. Average BMI for the entire cohort was 21.9 ± 5.0 kg/m2; 2010 patients (74.1%) were classified as NW, 345 (12.7%) as OW, and 357 (13.2%) as OB. The overall complication rate was 1.3% (36/2712). For NW and OW patients, the complication rate was 0.9% in each group; for OB patients, the rate was 4.2% (p < 0.001). The 30-day readmission rate was 2.0% (55/2712) for all patients, 1.6% for NW patients, 1.2% for OW patients, and 5.0% for OB patients (p < 0.001). The 30-day reoperation rate was 1.4% (39/2712). Based on BMI, this reoperation rate corresponded to 0.9%, 1.2%, and 4.8% for NW, OW, and OB patients, respectively (p < 0.001). After controlling for patient age, number of spinal levels fused, and operative/anesthesia time on multiple logistic regression analysis, obesity remained a significant risk factor for complications (OR 4.61), readmissions (OR 3.16), and reoperations (OR 5.33; all p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Body mass index may be significantly associated with short-term outcomes after long-segment fusion procedures for AIS. Although NW and OW patients may have similar 30-day outcomes, OB patients had significantly higher wound complication, readmission, and reoperation rates and longer hospital stays than the NW patients. The findings of this study may help spine surgeons and patients in terms of preoperative risk stratification and perioperative expectations.

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Adam L. Sandler, Oren M. Tepper, James T. Goodrich, Rani Nasser, Arundhati Biswas and Rick Abbott

While autologous split calvaria remains the preferred material for use in pediatric cranioplasty, it may be difficult to split the bone neatly into two distinct pieces, especially in infants and young children. In this paper, the authors present a technique in which numerous split pieces of bone can be readily joined together and conformed to the shape of the specific defect using a customized template and 3D trellis-like basket.