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Krishn Khanna and Sigurd H. Berven

Vascular complications are an important adverse event that can be associated with spinal reconstructive surgery. Direct injury of vessels, or indirect traction or compression of vessels, can cause both arterial and venous injury. Indirect compression of the mesenteric vessels is a well-recognized complication of bracing and surgical care of children with spinal deformity (superior mesenteric artery syndrome), but the complication is not common or well recognized in the adult population with spinal deformity. The purpose of this case report is to detail the case of postoperative mesenteric ischemia in a 63-year-old man in whom a posterior approach was used to perform spinal deformity correction. Preoperatively, the patient had had significant lumbar hypolordosis. The reconstructive surgery with the use of posterior-based osteotomies resulted in a shortening of the posterior column of the spine but a relative lengthening of structures anterior to the spine. The significant lordosis achieved by the surgery led to an acute worsening of the mesenteric stenosis suffered by the patient. He required a vascular surgery intervention to restore perfusion to the bowel. Recognition of severe vasculopathy is important in anticipating potential postoperative vascular insufficiency. This case report will inform surgeons and clinicians to have a higher index of suspicion for the exacerbation of vascular insufficiency, including mesenteric pathology, in patients undergoing surgery that involves significant realignment of the spine. Preoperative recognition of vascular insufficiency and treatment of symptomatic disease may limit the occurrence of postoperative vascular complications in spinal reconstructive surgery.

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Bruce M. McCormack, Rafael C. Bundoc, Mario R. Ver, Jose Manuel F. Ignacio, Sigurd H. Berven and Edward F. Eyster

Object

The authors present 1-year results in 60 patients with cervical radiculopathy due to spondylosis and stenosis that was treated with a bilateral percutaneous facet implant. The implant consists of a screw and washer that distracts and immobilizes the cervical facet for root decompression and fusion. Clinical and radiological results are analyzed.

Methods

Between 2009 and 2011, 60 patients were treated with the DTRAX Facet System in a multicenter prospective single-arm study. All patients had symptomatic clinical radiculopathy, and conservative management had failed. The majority of patients had multilevel radiographically confirmed disease. Only patients with single-level radiculopathy confirmed by history, physical examination, and in some cases confirmatory nerve blocks were included. Patients were assessed preoperatively with Neck Disability Index, visual analog scale, quality of life questionnaire (Short Form-12 version 2), CT scans, MRI, and dynamic radiographs. Surgery was percutaneous posterior bilateral facet implants consisting of a screw and expandable washer and iliac crest bone aspirate. Patients underwent postoperative assessments at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year with validated outcome questionnaires. Alterations of segmental and overall cervical lordosis, foraminal dimensions, device retention and fusion criteria were assessed for up to 1 year with CT reconstructions and radiographs. Fusion criteria were defined as bridging trabecular bone between the facets, translational motion < 2 mm, and angular motion < 5°.

Results

All patients were followed to 1 year postoperatively. Ages in this cohort ranged from 40 to 75 years, with a mean of 53 years. Forty-two patients were treated at C5–6, 8 at C6–7, 7 at C4–5, and 3 at C3–4. Fifty-six had bilateral implants; 4 had unilateral implants due to intraoperative facet fracture (2 patients) and inability to access the facet (2 patients). The Neck Disability Index, Short Form-12 version 2, and visual analog scale scores were significantly improved at 2 weeks and remained significantly improved up to 1 year. At the treated level, 93% had intrafacet bridging trabecular bone on CT scans, translational motion was < 2 mm in 100% and angular movement was < 5° in 83% at the 1-year follow-up. There was no significant change in overall cervical lordosis. There was a 1.6° loss of segmental lordosis at the treated level at 1 year that was significant. Foraminal width, volume, and posterior disc height was significantly increased at 6 months and returned to baseline levels at 1 year. There was no significant decrease in foraminal width and height at adjacent levels. There were no reoperations or surgery- or device-related complications, including implant failure or retained hardware.

Conclusions

Results indicate that the DTRAX Facet System is safe and effective for treatment of cervical radiculopathy.

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John E. Ziewacz, Sigurd H. Berven, Valli P. Mummaneni, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Olaolu C. Akinbo, Russ Lyon and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

The purpose of this study was to provide an evidence-based algorithm for the design, development, and implementation of a new checklist for the response to an intraoperative neuromonitoring alert during spine surgery.

Methods

The aviation and surgical literature was surveyed for evidence of successful checklist design, development, and implementation. The limitations of checklists and the barriers to their implementation were reviewed. Based on this review, an algorithm for neurosurgical checklist creation and implementation was developed. Using this algorithm, a multidisciplinary team surveyed the literature for the best practices for how to respond to an intraoperative neuromonitoring alert. All stakeholders then reviewed the evidence and came to consensus regarding items for inclusion in the checklist.

Results

A checklist for responding to an intraoperative neuromonitoring alert was devised. It highlights the specific roles of the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and neuromonitoring personnel and encourages communication between teams. It focuses on the items critical for identifying and correcting reversible causes of neuromonitoring alerts. Following initial design, the checklist draft was reviewed and amended with stakeholder input. The checklist was then evaluated in a small-scale trial and revised based on usability and feasibility.

Conclusions

The authors have developed an evidence-based algorithm for the design, development, and implementation of checklists in neurosurgery and have used this algorithm to devise a checklist for responding to intraoperative neuromonitoring alerts in spine surgery.

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Robert Heary

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Takahito Fujimori, Shinichi Inoue, Hai Le, William W. Schairer, Sigurd H. Berven, Bobby K. Tay, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Motoki Iwasaki and Serena S. Hu

Object

Despite increasing numbers of patients with adult spinal deformity, it is unclear how to select the optimal upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) in long fusion surgery for these patients. The purpose of this study was to compare the use of vertebrae in the upper thoracic (UT) versus lower thoracic (LT) spine as the upper instrumented vertebra in long fusion surgery for adult spinal deformity.

Methods

Patients who underwent fusion from the sacrum to the thoracic spine for adult spinal deformity with sagittal imbalance at a single medical center were studied. The patients with a sagittal vertical axis (SVA) ≥ 40 mm who had radiographs and completed the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) preoperatively and at final follow-up (≥ 2 years postoperatively) were included.

Results

Eighty patients (mean age of 61.1 ± 10.9 years; 69 women and 11 men) met the inclusion criteria. There were 31 patients in the UT group and 49 patients in the LT group. The mean follow-up period was 3.6 ± 1.6 years. The physical component summary (PCS) score of the SF-12 significantly improved from the preoperative assessment to final follow-up in each group (UT, 34 to 41; LT, 29 to 37; p = 0.001). This improvement reached the minimum clinically important difference in both groups. There was no significant difference in PCS score improvement between the 2 groups (p = 0.8). The UT group had significantly greater preoperative lumbar lordosis (28° vs 18°, p = 0.03) and greater thoracic kyphosis (36° vs 18°, p = 0.001). After surgery, there was no significant difference in lumbar lordosis or thoracic kyphosis. The UT group had significantly greater postoperative cervicothoracic kyphosis (20° vs 11°, p = 0.009). The UT group tended to maintain a smaller positive SVA (51 vs 73 mm, p = 0.08) and smaller T-1 spinopelvic inclination (−2.6° vs 0.6°, p = 0.06). The LT group tended to have more proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), although the difference did not reach statistical significance. Radiographic PJK was 32% in the UT group and 41% in the LT group (p = 0.4). Surgical PJK was 6.4% in the UT group and 10% in the LT group (p = 0.6).

Conclusions

Both the UT and LT groups demonstrated significant improvement in clinical and radiographic outcomes. A significant difference was not observed in improvement of clinical outcomes between the 2 groups.

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Dominic Amara, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher P. Ames, Bobby Tay, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Many options exist for the surgical management of adult spinal deformity. Radiculopathy and lumbosacral pain from the fractional curve (FC), typically from L4 to S1, is frequently a reason for scoliosis patients to pursue surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of limited fusion of the FC only versus treatment of the entire deformity with long fusions.

METHODS

All adult scoliosis patients treated at the authors’ institution in the period from 2006 to 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. Patients with FCs from L4 to S1 > 10° and radiculopathy ipsilateral to the concavity of the FC were eligible for study inclusion and had undergone three categories of surgery: 1) FC only (FC group), 2) lower thoracic to sacrum (LT group), or 3) upper thoracic to sacrum (UT group). Primary outcomes were the rates of revision surgery and complications. Secondary outcomes were estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, and discharge destination. Spinopelvic parameters were measured, and patients were stratified accordingly.

RESULTS

Of the 99 patients eligible for inclusion in the study, 27 were in the FC group, 46 in the LT group, and 26 in the UT group. There were no significant preoperative differences in age, sex, smoking status, prior operation, FC magnitude, pelvic tilt (PT), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), coronal balance, pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch, or proportion of well-aligned spines (SVA < 5 cm, PI-LL mismatch < 10°, and PT < 20°) among the three treatment groups. Mean follow-up was 30 (range 12–112) months, with a minimum 1-year follow-up. The FC group had a lower medical complication rate (22% [FC] vs 57% [LT] vs 58% [UT], p = 0.009) but a higher rate of extension surgery (26% [FC] vs 13% [LT] vs 4% [UT], p = 0.068). The respective average estimated blood loss (592 vs 1950 vs 2634 ml, p < 0.001), length of hospital stay (5.5 vs 8.3 vs 8.3 days, p < 0.001), and rate of discharge to acute rehabilitation (30% vs 46% vs 85%, p < 0.001) were all lower for FC and highest for UT.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of the FC only is associated with a lower complication rate, shorter hospital stay, and less blood loss than complete scoliosis treatment. However, there is a higher associated rate of extension of the construct to the lower or upper thoracic levels, and patients should be counseled when considering their options.

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Kai-Ming G. Fu, Justin S. Smith, David W. Polly Jr., Christopher P. Ames, Sigurd H. Berven, Joseph H. Perra, Richard E. McCarthy, D. Raymond Knapp Jr. and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Patients with varied medical comorbidities often present with spinal pathology for which operative intervention is potentially indicated, but few studies have examined risk stratification in determining morbidity and mortality rates associated with the operative treatment of spinal disorders. This study provides an analysis of morbidity and mortality data associated with 22,857 cases reported in the multicenter, multisurgeon Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality database stratified by American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification, a commonly used system to describe preoperative physical status and to predict operative morbidity.

Methods

The Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality database was queried for the year 2007, the year in which ASA data were collected. Inclusion criterion was a reported ASA grade. Cases were categorized by operation type and disease process. Details on the surgical approach and type of instrumentation were recorded. Major perioperative complications and deaths were evaluated. Two large subgroups—patients with adult degenerative lumbar disease and patients with major deformity—were also analyzed separately. Statistical analyses were performed with the chi-square test.

Results

The population studied comprised 22,857 patients. Spinal disease included degenerative disease (9409 cases), scoliosis (6782 cases), spondylolisthesis (2144 cases), trauma (1314 cases), kyphosis (831 cases), and other (2377 cases). The overall complication rate was 8.4%. Complication rates for ASA Grades 1 through 5 were 5.4%, 9.0%, 14.4%, 20.3%, and 50.0%, respectively (p = 0.001). In patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar diseases and major adult deformity, similarly increasing rates of morbidity were found in higher-grade patients. The mortality rate was also higher in higher-grade patients. The incidence of major complications, including wound infections, hematomas, respiratory problems, and thromboembolic events, was also greater in patients with higher ASA grades.

Conclusions

Patients with higher ASA grades undergoing spinal surgery had significantly higher rates of morbidity than those with lower ASA grades. Given the common application of the ASA system to surgical patients, this grade may prove helpful for surgical decision making and preoperative counseling with regard to risks of morbidity and mortality.

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Kai-Ming G. Fu, Justin S. Smith, David W. Polly Jr., Christopher P. Ames, Sigurd H. Berven, Joseph H. Perra, Steven D. Glassman, Richard E. McCarthy, D. Raymond Knapp Jr., Christopher I. Shaffrey and Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Committee

Object

Currently, few studies regarding morbidity and mortality associated with operative treatment of spinal disorders in children are available to guide the surgeon. This study provides more detailed morbidity and mortality data with an analysis of 23,918 pediatric cases reported in the multicenter, multisurgeon Scoliosis Research Society morbidity and mortality database.

Methods

The Scoliosis Research Society morbidity and mortality database was queried for the years from 2004 to 2007. The inclusion criterion was age 18 years or younger. Cases were categorized by operation type and diagnosis. Details on the surgical approach, use of neurophysiological monitoring, and type of instrumentation were recorded. Major perioperative complications and deaths were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed with chi-square testing, with a p value < 0.05 considered significant.

Results

A total of 23,918 patients were included. The mean age was 13 ± 3.6 years (± SD). Spinal pathology included the following: scoliosis (in 19,642 patients), kyphosis (in 1455), spondylolisthesis (in 748), trauma (in 478), and other (in 1595 patients). The overall complication rate was 8.5%. Major complications included wound infections (2.7%), new neurological deficits (1.4%), implant-related complications (1.6%), and hematomas (0.4%). The most common medical complications were respiratory related (0.9%). Morbidity rates differed based on pathology, with patients undergoing treatment for kyphosis and spondylolisthesis having higher overall rates of morbidity (14.7% and 9.6%, respectively). Patients undergoing revision procedures (2034) or corrective osteotomies (2787) were more likely to suffer a complication or new neurological deficit. The majority of these deficits improved at least partially. Thirty-one deaths were reported for an overall rate of 1.3 per 1000. Respiratory complications were the most common cause of mortality (13 cases). Twenty-six of the deaths occurred in children undergoing scoliosis correction.

Conclusions

Spinal surgery in children is associated with a range of complications depending on the type of operation. Mortality rates for all indications and operations were low. Patients undergoing more aggressive corrective procedures for deformity are more likely to suffer complications and new neurological deficits.

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Charles G. Fisher, Tony Goldschlager, Stefano Boriani, Peter Paul Varga, Laurence D. Rhines, Michael G. Fehlings, Alessandro Luzzati, Mark B. Dekutoski, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Dean Chou, Sigurd H. Berven, Richard P. Williams, Nasir A. Quraishi, Chetan Bettegowda and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object

The National Institutes of Health recommends strategies to obtain evidence for the treatment of rare conditions such as primary tumors of the spine (PTSs). These tumors have a low incidence and are pathologically heterogeneous, and treatment approaches are diverse. Appropriate evidence-based care is imperative. Failure to follow validated oncological principles may lead to unnecessary mortality and profound morbidity. This paper outlines a scientific model that provides significant evidence guiding the treatment of PTSs.

Methods

A four-stage approach was used: 1) planning: data from large-volume centers were reviewed to provide insight; 2) recruitment: centers were enrolled and provided the necessary infrastructure; 3) retrospective stage: existing medical records were reviewed and completed with survival data; and 4) prospective stage: prospective data collection has been implemented. The AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor designed six modules: demographic, clinical, diagnostic, therapeutic, local recurrence, survival, and perioperative morbidity data fields and provided funding.

Results

It took 18 months to implement Stages 1–3, while Stage 4 is ongoing. A total of 1495 tumor cases were captured and diagnosed as one of 18 PTS histotypes. In addition, a PTS biobank network has been created to link clinical data with tumor pathology and molecular analysis.

Conclusions

This scientific model has not only aggregated a large amount of PTS data, but has also established an international collaborative network of spine oncology centers. Access to large volumes of data will generate further research to guide and enhance PTS clinical management. This model could be applied to other rare neoplastic conditions. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01643174 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Yoon Ha, Keishi Maruo, Linda Racine, William W. Schairer, Serena S. Hu, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Bobby Tay, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher P. Ames and Sigurd H. Berven

Object

Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) is a common and significant complication after corrective spinal deformity surgery. The object of this study was to compare—based on clinical outcomes, postoperative proximal junctional kyphosis rates, and prevalence of revision surgery—proximal thoracic (PT) and distal thoracic (DT) upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) in adults who underwent spine fusion to the sacrum for the treatment of spinal deformity.

Methods

In this retrospective study the authors evaluated clinical and radiographic data from consecutive adults (age > 21 years) with a deformity treated using long instrumented posterior spinal fusion to the sacrum in the period from 2007 to 2009. The PT group included patients in whom the UIV was between T-2 and T-5, whereas the DT group included patients in whom the UIV level was between T-9 and L-1. Perioperative surgical data were compared between the PT and DT groups. Additionally, segmental, regional, and global spinal alignments, as well as the sagittal Cobb angle at the proximal junction, were analyzed on preoperative, early postoperative, and final standing 36-in. radiographs. Patient-reported outcome measurements (visual analog scale, Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire-22, Oswestry Disability Index, and the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) were compared.

Results

Eighty-nine patients, 22 males and 67 females, had a minimum follow-up of 2 years, and thus were eligible for participation in this study. Sixty-seven patients were in the DT group and 22 were in the PT group. Operative time (p = 0.387) and estimated blood loss (p < 0.05) were slightly higher in the PT group. The overall rate of revision surgery was 48.0% and 54.5% in the DT and PT groups, respectively (p = 0.629). The prevalence of PJK according to radiological criteria was 34% in the DT group and 27% in the PT group (p = 0.609). The percent of patients with PJK that required surgical correction (surgical PJK) was 11.9% (8 of 67) in the DT group and 9.1% (2 of 22) in the PT group (p = 1.0). The onset of surgical PJK was significantly earlier than radiological PJK in the DT group (p < 0.01). The types of PJK were different in the PT and DT groups. Compression fracture at the UIV was more prevalent in the DT group, whereas subluxation was more prevalent in the PT group. Postoperatively, the PT group had less thoracic kyphosis (p = 0.02), less sagittal imbalance (p < 0.01), and less pelvic tilt (p = 0.04). In the DT group, early postoperative radiographs demonstrated that the proximal junctional angle of patients with surgical PJK was greater than in those without PJK and those with radiological PJK (p < 0.01). Clinical outcomes were significantly improved in both groups, and there was no significant difference between the groups.

Conclusions

Both PT and DT UIVs improve segmental and global sagittal plane alignment as well as patient-reported quality of life in those treated for adult spinal deformity. The prevalence of PJK was not different in the PT and DT groups. However, compression fracture was the mechanism more frequently observed with DT PJK, and subluxation was the mechanism more frequently observed in PT PJK. Strategies to avoid PJK may include vertebral augmentation to prevent fracture at the DT spine and mechanical means to prevent vertebral subluxation at the PT spine.