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Darryl Lau, John E. Ziewacz, Hai Le, Rishi Wadhwa and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECT

Cervical kyphosis can lead to spinal instability, spinal cord injury, and disability. The correction of cervical kyphosis is technically challenging, especially in severe cases. The authors describe the anterior sequential interbody dilation technique for the treatment of cervical kyphosis and evaluate perioperative outcomes, degree of correction, and long-term follow-up outcomes associated with the technique.

METHODS

In the period from 2006 to 2011, a consecutive cohort of adults with cervical kyphosis (Cobb angles ≥ 0°) underwent sequential interbody dilation, a technique entailing incrementally increased interbody distraction with the sequential placement of larger spacers (at least 1 mm) in the discectomy and/or corpectomy spaces. The authors retrospectively reviewed these patients, and primary outcomes of interest included kyphosis correction, blood loss, hospital stay, complications, Nurick grade, pain, reoperation, and pseudarthrosis. A subgroup analysis among patients with preoperative kyphosis of 0°–9° (mild), 10°–19° (moderate), and ≥ 20° (severe) was performed.

RESULTS

One hundred patients were included in the study: 74 with mild preoperative cervical kyphosis, 19 with moderate, and 7 with severe. The mean patient age was 53.1 years, and 54.0% of the patients were male. Mean estimated blood loss was 305.6 ml, and the mean length of hospital stay was 5.2 days. The overall complication rate was 9.0%, and there were no deaths. Sixteen percent of patients underwent supplemental posterior fusion. There was significant correction in cervical alignment (p < 0.001), and the mean overall kyphosis correction was 12.4°. Patients with severe preoperative kyphosis gained a correction of 24.7°, those with moderate kyphosis gained 17.8°, and those with mild kyphosis gained 10.1°. A mean correction of 32.0° was obtained if 5 levels were addressed. The mean follow-up was 26.8 months. The reoperation rate was 4.7%. At follow-up, there was significant improvement in visual analog scale neck pain (p = 0.020) and Nurick grade (p = 0.037). The pseudarthrosis rate was 6.3%.

CONCLUSIONS

Sequential interbody dilation is a feasible and effective method of correcting cervical kyphosis. Complications and reoperation rates are low. Similar benefits are seen among all severities of kyphosis, and greater correction can be achieved in more severe cases.

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Rishi Wadhwa, Michael Y. Wang, Alexandra Tien-Smith and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Minimally invasive spinal (MIS) surgery techniques have been used sporadically in thoracolumbar junction trauma cases in the past 5 years. A review of the literature on the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma treated with MIS surgery revealed no unifying algorithm to assist with treatment planning. Therefore, the authors formulated a treatment algorithm.

Methods

The authors reviewed the current literature on MIS treatment of thoracolumbar trauma. Based on the literature review, they then created an algorithm for the treatment of thoracolumbar trauma utilizing MIS techniques. This MIS trauma treatment algorithm incorporates concepts form the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System (TLICS).

Results

The authors provide representative cases of patients with thoracolumbar trauma who underwent MIS surgery utilizing the MIS trauma treatment algorithm. The cases involve the use of mini-open lateral approaches and/or minimally invasive posterior decompression with or without fusion.

Conclusions

Cases involving thoracolumbar trauma can safely be treated with MIS surgery in select cases of burst fractures. The role of percutaneous nonfusion techniques remains very limited (primarily to treat thoracolumbar trauma in patients with a propensity for autofusion [for example, those with ankylosing spondylitis]).

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Rishi Wadhwa, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Darryl Lau, Hai Le, Dean Chou and Sanjay S. Dhall

Object

The most common indications for circumferential cervical decompression and fusion are cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and cervical osteomyelitis (COM). Currently, the informed consent process prior to circumferential cervical fusion surgery is not different for these two groups of patients, as details of their diagnosis-specific risk profiles have not been quantified. The authors compared two patient cohorts with either CSM or COM treated using circumferential fusion. They sought to quantify perioperative morbidity and postoperative mortality in these two groups to assist with a diagnosis-specific informed consent process for future patients undergoing this type of surgery.

Methods

Perioperative and follow-up data from two cohorts of patients who had undergone circumferential cervical decompression and fusion were analyzed. Estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay (LOS), perioperative complications, hospital readmission, 30-day reoperation rates, change in Nurick grade, and mortality were compared between the two groups.

Results

Twenty-two patients were in the COM cohort, and 24 were in the CSM cohort. Complications, hospital readmission, 30-day reoperation rates, EBL, and mortality were not statistically different, although patients with COM trended higher in each of these categories. There was a significantly greater LOS (p < 0.001) in the COM group and greater improvement in Nurick grade in the CSM group (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

When advising patients undergoing circumferential fusion about perioperative risk factors, it is important for those with COM to know that they are likely to have a higher rate of complications and mortality than those with CSM who are undergoing similar surgery. Furthermore, COM patients have less neurological improvement than CSM patients after surgery. This information may be useful to surgeons and patients in providing appropriate informed consent during preoperative planning.

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Rishi Wadhwa, Samer Shamieh, Justin Haydel, Gloria Caldito, Mallory Williams and Anil Nanda

Object

As a result of spinal trauma, approximately 12,000 individuals become quadriplegic or paraplegic each year in the US. The cervical spine is the most frequently injured part of the spinal column, and approximately 60% of spinal cord injuries involve the cervical region. The cervical collar remains the best method of prehospital spinal stabilization. Following trauma, difficulty securing an airway, the shielding of life-threatening injuries, and pressure ulcers are just a few of the serious problems that may be encountered in patients placed in cervical collars. The authors' goal was to develop an efficient method of clearing the cervical spine, by incorporating flexion and extension CT scanning with reconstruction (FECTR) into a trauma protocol.

Methods

This prospective study reviewed consecutive patients evaluated by the neurosurgery and trauma services who underwent FECTR. Imaging studies were reviewed using the Picture Activating and Communication System. The incidence of injury detection was recorded, and detection of otherwise-missed cervical spinal injuries using FECTR and CT scanning were also recorded. This technique was also applied, without causing any new neurological complications, for comatose patients if the original CT showed no suspicion of unstable injury. The study end point was determination of the presence of cervical spinal column injury that would pose a threat of instability or injury to the patient.

Results

Seventy-seven consecutive patients who underwent FECTR were identified. Far superior visualization of the cervicothoracic junction was achieved compared with flexion-extension cervical spine radiographs. In this case series, the sensitivity and specificity, respectively, of both FECTR and CT were 80% and 98.6% for all radiographic abnormalities. More importantly, for clinically unstable injuries, FECTR had a sensitivity of 100%. The use of FECTR added approximately 10–12 minutes to the time required for CT scanning.

Conclusions

The authors' initial findings show FECTR to be a safe, effective, and efficient method of posttraumatic cervical spine clearance. In unconscious or obtunded patients, FECTR facilitates cervical spine clearance with a high degree of accuracy. A larger prospective study is needed to confirm these findings.

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Ajay Jawahar, Rishi Wadhwa, Caglar Berk, Gloria Caldito, Allyson Delaune, Federico Ampil, Brian Willis, Donald Smith and Anil Nanda

Object

There are various surgical treatment alternatives for trigeminal neuralgia (TN), but there is no single scale that can be used uniformly to assess and compare one type of intervention with the others. In this study the objectives were to determine factors associated with pain control, pain-free survival, residual pain, and recurrence after gamma knife surgery (GKS) treatment for TN, and to correlate the patients' self-reported quality of life (QOL) and satisfaction with the aforementioned factors.

Methods

Between the years 2000 and 2004, the authors treated 81 patients with medically refractory TN by using GKS. Fifty-two patients responded to a questionnaire regarding pain control, activities of daily living, QOL, and patient satisfaction.

The median follow-up duration was 16.5 months. Twenty-two patients (42.3%) had complete pain relief, 14 (26.9%) had partial but satisfactory pain relief, and in 16 patients (30.8%) the treatment failed. Seven patients (13.5%) reported a recurrence during the follow-up period, and 25 (48.1%) reported a significant (> 50%) decrease in their pain within the 1st month posttreatment. The mean decrease in the total dose of pain medication was 75%. Patients' self-reported QOL scores improved 90% and the overall patient satisfaction score was 80%.

Conclusions

The authors found that GKS is a minimally invasive and effective procedure that yields a favorable outcome for patients with recurrent or refractory TN. It may also be offered as a first-line surgical modality for any patients with TN who are unsuited or unwilling to undergo microvascular decompression.

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Ashish Sonig, Imad Saeed Khan, Rishi Wadhwa, Jai Deep Thakur and Anil Nanda

Object

Hospitalization cost and patient outcome after acoustic neuroma surgery depend on several factors. There is a paucity of data regarding the relationship between demographic features such as age, sex, race, insurance status, and patient outcome. Apart from demographic factors, there are several hospital-related factors and regional issues that can affect outcomes and hospital costs. To the authors' knowledge, no study has investigated the issue of regional disparity across the country in terms of cost of hospitalization and discharge disposition.

Methods

The authors analyzed the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database over the years 2005–2009. Several variables were analyzed from the database, including patient demographics, comorbidities, and surgical complications. Hospital variables, such as bedsize, rural/urban location, teaching status, federal or private ownership, and the region, were also examined. Patient outcome and increased hospitalization costs were the dependent variables studied.

Results

A total of 2589 admissions from 242 hospitals were analyzed from the NIS data over the years 2005–2009. The mean age was 48.99 ± 13.861 years (± SD), and 304 (11.7%) of the patients were older than 65 years. The cumulative cost incurred by the hospitals from 2005 to 2009 was $948.77 million. The mean expenditure per admission was $76,365.09 ± $58,039.93. The mean total charges per admission rose from $59,633.00 in 2005 to $97,370.00 in 2009. The factors that predicted most significantly with other than routine (OTR) disposition outcome were age older than 65 years (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.411–3.518; p < 0.001), aspiration pneumonia (OR 16.085, 95% CI 4.974–52.016; p < 0.001), and meningitis (OR 11.299, 95% CI 3.126–40.840; p < 0.001). When compared with patients with Medicare and Medicaid, patients with private insurance had a protective effect against OTR disposition outcome. Higher comorbidities predicted independently for OTR disposition outcome (OR 1.409, 95% CI 1.072–1.852; p = 0.014). The West region predicted negatively for OTR disposition outcome. Large hospitals were independently associated with higher hospital charges (OR 4.269, 95% CI 3.106–5.867; p < 0.001). The West region had significantly higher (p < 0.001) mean hospital charges than the other regions. Patient factors such as meningitis and aspiration pneumonia were strong independent predictors of increased hospital charges (p < 0.001). Higher comorbidities (OR 1.297, 95% CI 1.036–1.624; p = 0.023) and presence of neurofibromatosis Type 2 (OR 2.341, 95% CI 1.479–3.707; p < 0.001) were associated with higher hospital charges.

Conclusions

The authors' study shows that several factors can affect patient outcome and hospital charges for patients who have undergone acoustic neuroma surgery. Factors such as younger age, higher ZIP code income, less comorbidity, private insurance, elective surgery, and the West region predicted for better disposition outcome. However, the West region, higher comorbidities, and weekend admissions were associated with higher hospitalization costs.

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Jai Deep Thakur, Ashish Sonig, Prashant Chittiboina, Imad Saeed Khan, Rishi Wadhwa and Anil Nanda

Humphrey Ridley, M.D. (1653–1708), is a relatively unknown historical figure, belonging to the postmedieval era of neuroanatomical discovery. He was born in the market town of Mansfield, 14 miles from the county of Nottinghamshire, England. After studying at Merton College, Oxford, he pursued medicine at Leiden University in the Netherlands. In 1688, he was incorporated as an M.D. at Cambridge. Ridley authored the first original treatise in English language on neuroanatomy, The Anatomy of the Brain Containing its Mechanisms and Physiology: Together with Some New Discoveries and Corrections of Ancient and Modern Authors upon that Subject.

Ridley described the venous anatomy of the eponymous circular sinus in connection with the parasellar compartment. His methods were novel, unique, and effective. To appreciate the venous anatomy, he preferred to perform his anatomical dissections on recently executed criminals who had been hanged. These cadavers had considerable venous engorgement, which made the skull base venous anatomy clearer. To enhance the appearance of the cerebral vasculature further, he used tinged wax and quicksilver in the injections. He set up experimental models to answer questions definitively, in proving that the arachnoid mater is a separate meningeal layer. The first description of the subarachnoid cisterns, blood-brain barrier, and the fifth cranial nerve ganglion with its branches are also attributed to Ridley.

This historical vignette revisits Ridley's life and academic work that influenced neuroscience and neurosurgical understanding in its infancy. It is unfortunate that most of his novel contributions have gone unnoticed and uncited. The authors hope that this article will inform the neurosurgical community of Ridley's contributions to the field of neurosurgery.

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Rishi K. Wadhwa, Junichi Ohya, Todd D. Vogel, Leah Y. Carreon, Anthony L. Asher, John J. Knightly, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Steven D. Glassman and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to use a prospective, longitudinal, multicenter outcome registry of patients undergoing surgery for lumbar degenerative disease in order to assess the incidence and factors associated with 30-day reoperation and 90-day readmission.

METHODS

Prospectively collected data from 9853 patients from the Quality and Outcomes Database (QOD; formerly known as the N2QOD [National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database]) lumbar spine registry were retrospectively analyzed. Multivariate binomial regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with 30-day reoperation and 90-day readmission after surgery for lumbar degenerative disease. A subgroup analysis of Medicare patients stratified by age (< 65 and ≥ 65 years old) was also performed. Continuous variables were compared using unpaired t-tests, and proportions were compared using Fisher’s exact test.

RESULTS

There was a 2% reoperation rate within 30 days. Multivariate analysis revealed prolonged operative time during the index case as the only independent factor associated with 30-day reoperation. Other factors such as preoperative diagnosis, body mass index (BMI), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, diabetes, and use of spinal implants were not associated with reoperations within 30 days. Medicare patients < 65 years had a 30-day reoperation rate of 3.7%, whereas those ≥ 65 years had a 30-day reoperation rate of 2.2% (p = 0.026). Medicare beneficiaries younger than 65 years undergoing reoperation within 30 days were more likely to be women (p = 0.009), have a higher BMI (p = 0.008), and have higher rates of depression (p < 0.0001). The 90-day readmission rate was 6.3%. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that higher ASA class (OR 1.46 per class, 95% CI 1.25–1.70) and history of depression (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.04–1.54) were factors associated with 90-day readmission. Medicare beneficiaries had a higher rate of 90-day readmissions compared with those who had private insurance (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.17–1.76). Medicare patients < 65 years of age were more likely to be readmitted within 90 days after their index surgery compared with those ≥ 65 years (10.8% vs 7.7%, p = 0.017). Medicare patients < 65 years of age had a significantly higher BMI (p = 0.001) and higher rates of depression (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

In this analysis of a large prospective, multicenter registry of patients undergoing lumbar degenerative surgery, multivariate analysis revealed that prolonged operative time was associated with 30-day reoperation. The authors found that factors associated with 90-day readmission included higher ASA class and a history of depression. The 90-day readmission rates were higher for Medicare beneficiaries than for those who had private insurance. Medicare patients < 65 years of age were more likely to undergo reoperation within 30 days and to be readmitted within 90 days after their index surgery.

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Rajiv Saigal, Darryl Lau, Rishi Wadhwa, Hai Le, Morsi Khashan, Sigurd Berven, Dean Chou and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

Long-segment spinal instrumentation ending at the sacrum places substantial biomechanical stress on sacral screws. Iliac (pelvic) screws relieve some of this stress by supplementing the caudal fixation. It remains an open question whether there is any clinically significant difference in sacropelvic fixation with bilateral versus unilateral iliac screws. The primary purpose of this study was to compare clinical and radiographic complications in the use of bilateral versus unilateral iliac screw fixation.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 102 consecutive spinal fixation cases that extended to the pelvis at a single institution (University of California, San Francisco) in the period from 2005 to 2012 performed by the senior authors. Charts were reviewed for the following complications: reoperation, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, sacral insufficiency fracture, hardware prominence, iliac screw loosening, and infection. The t-test, Pearson chi-square test, and Fisher exact test were used to determine statistical significance.

Results

The mean follow-up was 31 months. Thirty cases were excluded: 12 for inadequate follow-up, 15 for lack of L5–S1 interbody fusion, and 3 for preoperative osteomyelitis. The mean age among the 72 remaining cases was 62 years (range 39–79 years). Forty-six patients underwent unilateral and 26 bilateral iliac screw fixation. Forty-one percent (n = 19) of the unilateral cases and 50% (n = 13) of the bilateral cases were treated with reoperation (p = 0.48). In addition, 13% (n = 6) of the unilateral and 19% (n = 5) of the bilateral cases developed L5–S1 pseudarthrosis (p = 0.51). There were no sacral insufficiency fractures. Thirteen percent (n = 6) of the unilateral and 7.7% (n = 2) of the bilateral cases developed postoperative infection (p = 0.70).

Conclusions

In a retrospective single-institution study, single versus dual pelvic screws led to comparable rates of reoperation, iliac screw removal, postoperative infection, pseudarthrosis, and sacral insufficiency fractures. For spinopelvic fixation, placing bilateral (vs unilateral) pelvic screws produced no added clinical benefit in most cases.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Robert G. Whitmore, Jill N. Curran, John E. Ziewacz, Rishi Wadhwa, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Anthony L. Asher, Robert F. Heary, Joseph S. Cheng, R. John Hurlbert, Andrea F. Douglas, Justin S. Smith, Neil R. Malhotra, Stephen J. Dante, Subu N. Magge, Michael G. Kaiser, Khalid M. Abbed, Daniel K. Resnick and Zoher Ghogawala

Object

There is significant practice variation and uncertainty as to the value of surgical treatments for lumbar spine disorders. The authors' aim was to establish a multicenter registry to assess the efficacy and costs of common lumbar spinal procedures by using prospectively collected outcomes.

Methods

An observational prospective cohort study was completed at 13 academic and community sites. Patients undergoing single-level fusion for spondylolisthesis or single-level lumbar discectomy were included. The 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were obtained preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Power analysis estimated a sample size of 160 patients: lumbar disc (125 patients) and lumbar listhesis (35 patients). The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) data were calculated using 6-dimension utility index scores. Direct costs and complication costs were estimated using Medicare reimbursement values from 2011, and indirect costs were estimated using the human capital approach with the 2011 US national wage index. Total costs equaled $14,980 for lumbar discectomy and $43,852 for surgery for lumbar spondylolisthesis.

Results

There were 198 patients enrolled over 1 year. The mean age was 46 years (49% female) for lumbar discectomy (n = 148) and 58.1 years (60% female) for lumbar spondylolisthesis (n = 50). Ten patients with disc herniation (6.8%) and 1 with listhesis (2%) required repeat operation at 1 year. The overall 1-year follow-up rate was 88%. At 30 days, both lumbar discectomy and single-level fusion procedures were associated with significant improvements in ODI, visual analog scale, and SF-36 scores (p = 0.0002), which persisted at the 1-year evaluation (p < 0.0001). By 1 year, more than 80% of patients in each cohort who were working preoperatively had returned to work. Lumbar discectomy was associated with a gain of 0.225 QALYs over the 1-year study period ($66,578/QALY gained). Lumbar spinal fusion for Grade I listhesis was associated with a gain of 0.195 QALYs over the 1-year study period ($224,420/QALY gained).

Conclusions

This national spine registry demonstrated successful collection of high-quality outcomes data for spinal procedures in actual practice. These data are useful for demonstrating return to work and cost-effectiveness following surgical treatment of single-level lumbar disc herniation or spondylolisthesis. One-year cost per QALY was obtained, and this cost per QALY is expected to improve further by 2 years. This work sets the stage for real-world analysis of the value of health interventions.