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Sheeraz A. Qureshi, Steven McAnany, Vadim Goz, Steven M. Koehler and Andrew C. Hecht

Object

In recent years, there has been increased interest in the use of cervical disc replacement (CDR) as an alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). While ACDF is a proven intervention for patients with myelopathy or radiculopathy, it does have inherent limitations. Cervical disc replacement was designed to preserve motion, avoid the limitations of fusion, and theoretically allow for a quicker return to activity. A number of recently published systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials have demonstrated positive clinical results for CDR, but no studies have revealed which of the 2 treatment strategies is more cost-effective. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of CDR and ACDF by using the power of decision analysis. Additionally, the authors aimed to identify the most critical factors affecting procedural cost and effectiveness and to define thresholds for durability and function to focus and guide future research.

Methods

The authors created a surgical decision model for the treatment of single-level cervical disc disease with associated radiculopathy. The literature was reviewed to identify possible outcomes and their likelihood following CDR and ACDF. Health state utility factors were determined from the literature and assigned to each possible outcome, and procedural effectiveness was expressed in units of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Using ICD-9 procedure codes and data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the authors calculated the median cost of hospitalization by multiplying hospital charges by the hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratio. Gross physician costs were determined from the mean Medicare reimbursement for each current procedural terminology (CPT) code. Uncertainty as regards both cost and effectiveness numbers was assessed using sensitivity analysis.

Results

In the reference case, the model assumed a 20-year duration for the CDR prosthesis. Cervical disc replacement led to higher average QALYs gained at a lower cost to society if both strategies survived for 20 years ($3042/QALY for CDR vs $8760/QALY for ACDF). Sensitivity analysis revealed that CDR needed to survive at least 9.75 years to be considered a more cost-effective strategy than ACDF. Cervical disc replacement becomes an acceptable societal strategy as the prosthesis survival time approaches 11 years and the $50,000/QALY gained willingness-to-pay threshold is crossed. Sensitivity analysis also indicated that CDR must provide a utility state of at least 0.796 to be cost-effective.

Conclusions

Both CDR and ACDF were shown to be cost-effective procedures in the reference case. Results of the sensitivity analysis indicated that CDR must remain functional for at least 14 years to establish greater cost-effectiveness than ACDF. Since the current literature has yet to demonstrate with certainty the actual durability and long-term functionality of CDR, future long-term studies are required to validate the present analysis.

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Branko Skovrlj, Justin R. Mascitelli, Martin B. Camins, Amish H. Doshi and Sheeraz A. Qureshi

A 65-year-old woman underwent an uneventful C3–4 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for a large, symptomatic disc herniation. On postoperative Day 1 the patient suffered a sudden, acute respiratory compromise. Emergency fiberoptic intubation revealed significant anterior neck swelling with concern for physical obstruction of the airway. Computed tomography of the neck did not demonstrate an expanding hematoma. The patient was managed with surgical wound exploration and washout. Examination of the anterior neck after incision of the prior surgical site revealed a large volume of Surgifoam under high pressure, which was greater than the amount used during the initial surgery. Thorough washout of the surgical site did not reveal any swelling of the prevertebral soft tissues or hematoma, and the Hemovac drain did not appear to be occluded. The patient was extubated on the 2nd postoperative day and is symptom free 12 months after surgery. To the authors' knowledge, this report represents the first reported complication of acute respiratory failure from Surgifoam overexpansion after anterior cervical surgery.

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Sheeraz Qureshi, Vadim Goz, Steven McAnany, Samuel K. Cho, Andrew C. Hecht, Rick B. Delamarter and Michael G. Fehlings

Object

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of medical interventions has become increasingly relevant to the discussion of optimization of care. The use of utility scales in CEA permits a quantitative assessment of effectiveness of a given intervention. There are no published utility values for degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the cervical spine, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), or cervical disc replacement (CDR). The purpose of this study was to define health utility values for those health states.

Methods

The 36-Item Short Form Health Survey data from the ProDisc-C investigational device exemption study were obtained for single-level DDD at baseline and 24 months postoperatively after ACDF or CDR procedures. Patients in the original study were randomized to either ACDF or CDR. Utilizing a commercially available Short Form–6 dimensions program, utility scores were calculated for each health state using a set of parametric preference weights obtained from a sample of the general population using the recognized valuation technique of standard gamble.

Results

The baseline health state utility (HSU) value for a patient with single-level DDD was 0.54 in both the ACDF and CDR groups. Postoperative changes in HSU values were seen in both intervention groups at 24 months. Cervical disc replacement had a HSU value of 0.72. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion was found to have a postoperative utility state of 0.71. No statistically significant difference was found in the HSU for ACDF and CDR at 24 months of follow-up.

Conclusions

This study represents the first calculated HSU value for a patient with single-level cervical DDD. Additionally, 2 common treatment interventions for this disease state were assessed. Both treatments were found to have significant impact on the HSU values. These values are integral to future CEA of ACDF and CDR.

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Ellen M. Soffin, Douglas S. Wetmore, Lauren A. Barber, Avani S. Vaishnav, James D. Beckman, Todd J. Albert, Catherine H. Gang and Sheeraz A. Qureshi

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathways are associated with improved outcomes, lower morbidity and complications, and higher patient satisfaction in multiple surgical subspecialties. Despite these gains, there are few data to guide the application of ERAS concepts to spine surgery. The authors report the development and implementation of the first ERAS pathway for patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA).

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of prospectively collected data. The authors created a multidisciplinary pathway based on best available evidence for interventions that positively influence outcomes after anterior cervical spine surgery. Patients were followed prospectively up to postoperative day 90. Patient data were collected via electronic medical record review and included demographics, comorbidities, baseline and perioperative opioid use, postoperative complications, and length of hospital stay (LOS). ERAS process measures and compliance with pathway elements were also tracked.

RESULTS

Thirty-three patients were cared for under the pathway (n = 25 ACDF; n = 8 CDA). The median LOS was 416 minutes (interquartile range [IQR] 210–1643 minutes). Eight patients required an extended stay—longer than 23 hours. Reasons for extended admission included pain (n = 4), dyspnea (n = 1), hypoxia (n = 1), hypertension (n = 1), and dysphagia (n = 1). The median LOS for the 8 patients who required extended monitoring prior to discharge was 1585 minutes (IQR 1423–1713 minutes). Overall pathway compliance with included process measures was 85.6%. The median number of ERAS process elements delivered to each patient was 18. There was no strong association between LOS and number of ERAS process elements provided (Pearson’s r = −0.20). Twelve percent of the cohort was opioid tolerant on the day of surgery. There were no significant differences between total intraoperatively or postanesthesia care unit–administered opioid, or LOS, between opioid-tolerant and opioid-naïve patients. There were no complications requiring readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

An ERAS pathway for anterior cervical spine surgery facilitates safe, prompt discharge. The ERAS pathway was associated with minimal complications, and no readmissions within 90 days of surgery. Pain and respiratory compromise were both linked with extended LOS in this cohort. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm the potential benefits of ERAS for anterior cervical spine surgery, including longer-term complications, cost, and functional outcomes.

Free access

Ellen M. Soffin, Douglas S. Wetmore, James D. Beckman, Evan D. Sheha, Avani S. Vaishnav, Todd J. Albert, Catherine H. Gang and Sheeraz A. Qureshi

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) and multimodal analgesia are established care models that minimize perioperative opioid consumption and promote positive outcomes after spine surgery. Opioid-free anesthesia (OFA) is an emerging technique that may achieve similar goals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate an OFA regimen within an ERAS pathway for lumbar decompressive surgery and to compare perioperative opioid requirements in a matched cohort of patients managed with traditional opioid-containing anesthesia (OCA).

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data. They included 36 patients who underwent lumbar decompression under their ERAS pathway for spinal decompression between February and August 2018. Eighteen patients who received OFA were matched in a 1:1 ratio to a cohort managed with a traditional OCA regimen. The primary outcome was total perioperative opioid consumption. Postoperative pain scores (measured using the numerical rating scale [NRS]), opioid consumption (total morphine equivalents), and length of stay (time to readiness for discharge) were compared in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU). The authors also assessed compliance with ERAS process measures and compared compliance during 3 phases of care: pre-, intra-, and postoperative.

RESULTS

There was a significant reduction in total perioperative opioid consumption in patients who received OFA (2.43 ± 0.86 oral morphine equivalents [OMEs]; mean ± SEM), compared to patients who received OCA (38.125 ± 6.11 OMEs). There were no significant differences in worst postoperative pain scores (NRS scores 2.55 ± 0.70 vs 2.58 ± 0.73) or opioid consumption (5.28 ± 1.7 vs 4.86 ± 1.5 OMEs) in the PACU between OFA and OCA groups, respectively. There was a clinically significant decrease in time to readiness for discharge from the PACU associated with OFA (37 minutes), although this was not statistically significantly different. The authors found high overall compliance with ERAS process measures (91.4%) but variation in compliance according to phase of care. The highest compliance occurred during the preoperative phase (94.71% ± 2.88%), and the lowest compliance occurred during the postoperative phase of care (85.4% ± 5.7%).

CONCLUSIONS

OFA within an ERAS pathway for lumbar spinal decompression represents an opportunity to minimize perioperative opioid exposure without adversely affecting pain control or recovery. This study reveals opportunities for patient and provider education to reinforce ERAS and highlights the postoperative phase of care as a time when resources should be focused to increase ERAS adherence.