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Vedat Deviren, Justin K. Scheer and Christopher P. Ames

Object

Sagittal imbalance of the cervicothoracic spine often causes severe pain and loss of horizontal gaze. Historically, the Smith-Peterson osteotomy has been used to restore sagittal balance. Cervicothoracic junction pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) offers more controlled closure and greater biomechanical stability but has been infrequently reported in the literature. This study details the cervicothoracic PSO technique in 11 cases and correlates clinical kyphosis (chin-brow to vertical angle [CBVA]) with radiographic measurements.

Methods

Between February 2008 and September 2010, 11 patients (mean age 70 years) underwent a modified PSO (10 at C-7, 1 at T-1) for treatment of sagittal imbalance. Preoperative and postoperative sagittal plane radiographic measurements were made. The CBVA was measured on clinical photographs. Operative technique and perioperative correction were reported for all 11 patients and long-term follow-up data was reported for 9 patients, in whom the mean duration of follow-up was 23 months. Outcome measures used for these 9 patients were the Neck Disability Index, the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), and a visual analog scale for neck pain.

Results

The mean values for estimated blood loss, surgical time, and hospital stay in the 11 patients were 1100 ml, 4.3 hours, and 9.9 days, respectively. The mean preoperative and immediate postoperative values (± SD) for cervical sagittal imbalance were 7.9 ± 1.4 cm and 3.4 ± 1.7 cm. The mean overall correction was 4.5 ± 1.5 cm (42.8%), the mean PSO correction 19.0°, and the mean CBVA correction 36.7°. There was essentially no correlation between preoperative C2–T1 radiographic kyphosis and preoperative CBVA (R2 = 0.0165). There was a moderate correlation with PSO correction angle and postoperative CBVA (R2 = 0.38). There was a significant decrease in both the Neck Disability Index (51.1 to 38.6, p = 0.03) and visual analog scale scores for neck pain (8.1 to 3.9, p = 0.0021). The SF-36 physical component summary scores increased by 18.4% (30.2 to 35.8) with no neurological complications.

Conclusions

The cervicothoracic junction PSO is a safe and effective procedure for the management of cervicothoracic kyphotic deformity. It results in excellent correction of cervical kyphosis and CBVA with a controlled closure and improvement in health-related quality-of-life measures even at early time points.

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Darryl Lau, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Posterior-based thoracolumbar 3-column osteotomy (3CO) is a formidable surgical procedure. Surgeon experience and case volume are known factors that influence surgical complication rates, but these factors have not been studied well in cases of adult spinal deformity (ASD). This study examines how surgeon experience affects perioperative complications and operative measures following thoracolumbar 3CO in ASD.

METHODS

A retrospective study was performed of a consecutive cohort of thoracolumbar ASD patients who underwent 3CO performed by the senior authors from 2006 to 2018. Multivariate analysis was used to assess whether experience (years of experience and/or number of procedures) is associated with perioperative complications, operative duration, and blood loss.

RESULTS

A total of 362 patients underwent 66 vertebral column resections (VCRs) and 296 pedicle subtraction osteotomies (PSOs). The overall complication rate was 29.4%, and the surgical complication rate was 8.0%. The rate of postoperative neurological deficits was 6.2%. There was a trend toward lower overall complication rates with greater operative years of experience (from 44.4% to 28.0%) (p = 0.115). Years of operative experience was associated with a significantly lower rate of neurological deficits (p = 0.027); the incidence dropped from 22.2% to 4.0%. The mean operative time was 310.7 minutes overall. Both increased years of experience and higher case numbers were significantly associated with shorter operative times (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively). Only operative years of experience was independently associated with operative times (p < 0.001): 358.3 minutes from 2006 to 2008 to 275.5 minutes in 2018 (82.8 minutes shorter). Over time, there was less deviation and more consistency in operative times, despite the implementation of various interventions to promote fusion and prevent construct failure: utilization of multiple-rod constructs (standard, satellite, and nested rods), bone morphogenetic protein, vertebroplasty, and ligament augmentation. Of note, the use of tranexamic acid did not significantly lower blood loss.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgeon years of experience, rather than number of 3COs performed, was a significant factor in mitigating neurological complications and improving quality measures following thoracolumbar 3CO for ASD. The 3- to 5-year experience mark was when the senior surgeon overcame a learning curve and was able to minimize neurological complication rates. There was a continuous decrease in operative time as the surgeon’s experience increased; this was in concurrence with the implementation of additional preventative surgical interventions. Ongoing practice changes should be implemented and can be done safely, but it is imperative to self-assess the risks and benefits of those practice changes.

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Ifije Ohiorhenuan, Vedat Deviren and Juan S. Uribe

Deformity correction using minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques can be challenging. Here the authors present a case in which an anterior column resection was performed using an MIS lateral approach to restore lumbar lordosis and improve sagittal balance. The authors demonstrate the technique and discuss potential complications and how they may be avoided.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/XjOdDeKrKEE.

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Darryl Lau, Joseph A. Osorio, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Three-column osteotomies are increasingly being used in the elderly population to correct rigid spinal deformities. There is hesitation, however, in performing the technique in older patients because of the high risk for blood loss, longer operative times, and complications. This study assesses whether age alone is an independent risk factor for complications and length of stay.

METHODS

All patients with thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) who underwent 3-column osteotomy (vertebral column resection or pedicle subtraction osteotomy) performed by the senior author from 2006 to 2016 were identified. Demographics, clinical baseline, and surgical details were collected. Outcomes of interest included perioperative complication, ICU stay, and hospital stay. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the association of age with outcomes of interest.

RESULTS

A total of 300 patients were included, and 38.3% were male. The mean age was 63.7 years: 10.3% of patients were younger than 50 years, 36.0% were 50–64 years, 45.7% were 65–79 years, and 8.0% were 80 years or older. The overall mean EBL was 1999 ml. The overall perioperative complication rate was 24.7%: 18.0% had a medical complication and 7.0% had a surgical complication. There were no perioperative or 30-day deaths. Age was associated with overall complications (p = 0.002) and medical-specific complications (p < 0.001); there were higher rates of overall and medical complications with increased age: 9.7% and 6.5%, respectively, for patients younger than 50 years; 16.7% and 10.2%, respectively, for patients 50–64 years; 31.4% and 22.6%, respectively, for patients 65–79 years; and 41.7% and 41.7%, respectively, for patients 80 years or older. However, after adjusting for relevant covariates on multivariate analysis, age was not an independent factor for perioperative complications. Surgical complication rates were similar among the 4 age groups. Longer ICU and total hospital stays were observed in older age groups, and age was an independent factor associated with longer ICU stay (p = 0.028) and total hospital stay (p = 0.003). ICU stays among the 4 age groups were 1.6, 2.3, 2.0, and 3.2 days for patients younger than 50 years, 50–64 years, 65–79 years, and 80 years or older, respectively. The total hospital stays stratified by age were 7.3, 7.7, 8.2, and 11.0 days for patients younger than 50 years, 50–64 years, 65–79 years, and 80 years or older, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Older age was associated with higher perioperative complication rates, but age alone was not an independent risk factor for complications following the 3-column osteotomy for ASD. Comorbidities and other unknown variables that come with age are likely what put these patients at higher risk for complications. Older age, however, is independently associated with longer ICU and hospital stays.

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Darryl Lau, Vedat Deviren, Rushikesh S. Joshi and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

The correction of severe cervicothoracic sagittal deformities can be very challenging and can be associated with significant morbidity. Often, soft-tissue releases and osteotomies are warranted to achieve the desired correction. There is a paucity of studies that examine the difference in morbidity and complication profiles for Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO) versus 3-column osteotomy (3CO) for cervical deformity correction.

METHODS

A retrospective comparison of complication profiles between posterior-based SPO (Ames grade 2 SPO) and 3CO (Ames grade 5 opening wedge osteotomy and Ames grade 6 closing wedge osteotomy) was performed by examining a single-surgeon experience from 2011 to 2018. Patients of interest were individuals who had a cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) > 4 cm and/or cervical kyphosis > 20° and who underwent corrective surgery for cervical deformity. Multivariate analysis was utilized.

RESULTS

A total of 95 patients were included: 49 who underwent 3CO and 46 who underwent SPO. Twelve of the SPO patients underwent an anterior release procedure. The patients’ mean age was 63.2 years, and 60.0% of the patients were female. All preoperative radiographic parameters showed significant correction postoperatively: cSVA (6.2 cm vs 4.5 cm [preoperative vs postoperative values], p < 0.001), cervical lordosis (6.8° [kyphosis] vs −7.5°, p < 0.001), and T1 slope (40.9° and 35.2°, p = 0.026). The overall complication rate was 37.9%, and postoperative neurological deficits were seen in 16.8% of patients. The surgical and medical complication rates were 17.9% and 23.2%, respectively. Overall, complication rates were higher in patients who underwent 3CO compared to those who underwent SPO, but this was not statistically significant (total complication rate 42.9% vs 32.6%, p = 0.304; surgical complication rate 18.4% vs 10.9%, p = 0.303; and new neurological deficit rate 20.4% vs 13.0%, p = 0.338). Medical complication rates were similar between the two groups (22.4% [3CO] vs 23.9% [SPO], p = 0.866). Independent risk factors for surgical complications included male sex (OR 10.88, p = 0.014), cSVA > 8 cm (OR 10.36, p = 0.037), and kyphosis > 20° (OR 9.48, p = 0.005). Combined anterior-posterior surgery was independently associated with higher odds of medical complications (OR 10.30, p = 0.011), and preoperative kyphosis > 20° was an independent risk factor for neurological deficits (OR 2.08, p = 0.011).

CONCLUSIONS

There was no significant difference in complication rates between 3CO and SPO for cervicothoracic deformity correction, but absolute surgical and neurological complication rates for 3CO were higher. A preoperative cSVA > 8 cm was a risk factor for surgical complications, and kyphosis > 20° was a risk factor for both surgical and neurological complications. Additional studies are warranted on this topic.

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Darryl Lau, Alexander F. Haddad, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

There is an increased recognition of disproportional lumbar lordosis (LL) and artificially high pelvic incidence (PI) as a cause for positive sagittal imbalance and spinal pelvic mismatch. For such cases, a sacral pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) may be indicated, although its morbidity is not well described. In this study, the authors evaluate the specific complication risks associated with S1 PSO.

METHODS

A retrospective review of all adult spinal deformity patients who underwent a 3-column osteotomy (3CO) for thoracolumbar deformity from 2006 to 2019 was performed. Demographic, clinical baseline, and radiographic parameters were recorded. The primary outcome of interest was perioperative complications (surgical, neurological, and medical). Secondary outcomes of interest included case length, blood loss, and length of stay. Multivariate analysis was used to assess the risk of S1 PSO compared with 3CO at other levels.

RESULTS

A total of 405 patients underwent 3CO in the following locations: thoracic (n = 55), L1 (n = 25), L2 (n = 29), L3 (n = 141), L4 (n = 129), L5 (n = 17), and S1 (n = 9). After S1 PSO, there were significant improvements in the sagittal vertical axis (14.8 cm vs 6.7 cm, p = 0.004) and PI-LL mismatch (31.7° vs 9.6°, p = 0.025) due to decreased PI (80.3° vs 65.9°, p = 0.006). LL remained unchanged (48.7° vs 57.8°, p = 0.360). The overall complication rate was 27.4%; the surgical, neurological, and medical complication rates were 7.7%, 6.2%, and 20.0%, respectively. S1 PSO was associated with significantly higher rates of overall complications: thoracic (29.1%), L1 (32.0%), L2 (31.0%), L3 (19.9%), L4 (32.6%), L5 (11.8%), and S1 (66.7%) (p = 0.018). Similarly, an S1 PSO was associated with significantly higher rates of surgical (thoracic [9.1%], L1 [4.0%], L2 [6.9%], L3 [5.7%], L4 [10.9%], L5 [5.9%], and S1 [44.4%], p = 0.006) and neurological (thoracic [9.1%], L1 [0.0%], L2 [6.9%], L3 [2.8%], L4 [7.0%], L5 [5.9%], and S1 [44.4%], p < 0.001) complications. On multivariate analysis, S1 PSO was independently associated with higher odds of overall (OR 7.93, p = 0.013), surgical (OR 20.66, p = 0.010), and neurological (OR 14.75, p = 0.007) complications.

CONCLUSIONS

S1 PSO is a powerful technique for correction of rigid sagittal imbalance due to an artificially elevated PI in patients with rigid high-grade spondylolisthesis and chronic sacral fractures. However, the technique and intraoperative corrective maneuvers are challenging and associated with high surgical and neurological complications. Additional investigations into the learning curve associated with S1 PSO and complication prevention are needed.

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Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Christopher P. Ames, Vedat Deviren and Darryl Lau

OBJECTIVE

Spinal deformity causing spinal imbalance is directly correlated to pain and disability. Prior studies suggest adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have more complex deformities and are at higher risk for complications. In this study the authors compared outcomes of ASD patients with RA following thoracolumbar 3-column osteotomies to outcomes of a matched control cohort.

METHODS

All patients with RA who underwent 3-column osteotomy for thoracolumbar deformity correction performed by the senior author from 2006 to 2016 were identified retrospectively. A cohort of patients without RA who underwent 3-column osteotomies for deformity correction was matched based on multiple clinical factors. Data regarding demographics and surgical approach, along with endpoints including perioperative outcomes, reoperations, and incidence of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) were reviewed. Univariate analyses were used to compare patients with RA to matched controls.

RESULTS

Eighteen ASD patients with RA were identified, and a matched cohort of 217 patients was generated. With regard to patients with RA, 11.1% were male and the mean age was 68.1 years. Vertebral column resection (VCR) was performed in 22.2% and pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) in 77.8% of patients. Mean case length was 324.4 minutes and estimated blood loss (EBL) was 2053.6 ml. Complications were observed in 38.9% of patients with RA and 29.0% of patients without RA (p = 0.380), with a trend toward increased medical complications (38.9% vs 21.2%, p = 0.084). Patients with RA had a significantly higher incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)/pulmonary embolism (PE) (11.1% vs 1.8%, p = 0.017) and wound infections (16.7% vs 5.1%, p = 0.046). PJK occurred in 16.7% of patients with RA, and 33.3% of RA patients underwent reoperation. Incidence rates of PJK and reoperation in matched controls were 12.9% and 25.3%, respectively (p = 0.373, p = 0.458). At follow-up, mean sagittal vertical axis (SVA) was 6.1 cm in patients with RA and 4.5 cm in matched controls (p = 0.206).

CONCLUSIONS

Findings from this study suggest that RA patients experience a higher incidence of medical complications, specifically DVT/PE. Preoperative lower-extremity ultrasounds, inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement, and/or early initiation of DVT prophylaxis in RA patients may be indicated. Perioperative complications, morbidity, and long-term outcomes are otherwise similar to non-RA patients.

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Russell G. Strom, Junseok Bae, Jun Mizutani, Frank Valone III, Christopher P. Ames and Vedat Deviren

OBJECTIVE

Lateral interbody fusion (LIF) with percutaneous screw fixation can treat adult spinal deformity (ASD) in the coronal plane, but sagittal correction is limited. The authors combined LIF with open posterior (OP) surgery using facet osteotomies and a rod-cantilever technique to enhance lumbar lordosis (LL). It is unclear how this hybrid strategy compares to OP surgery alone. The goal of this study was to evaluate the combination of LIF and OP surgery (LIF+OP) for ASD.

METHODS

All thoracolumbar ASD cases from 2009 to 2014 were reviewed. Patients with < 6 months follow-up, prior fusion, severe sagittal imbalance (sagittal vertical axis > 200 mm or pelvic incidence-LL > 40°), and those undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion were excluded. Deformity correction, complications, and outcomes were compared between LIF+OP and OP-only surgery patients.

RESULTS

LIF+OP (n = 32) and OP-only patients (n = 60) had similar baseline features and posterior fusion levels. On average, 3.8 LIFs were performed. Patients who underwent LIF+OP had less blood loss (1129 vs 1833 ml, p = 0.016) and lower durotomy rates (0% vs 23%, p = 0.002). Patients in the LIF+OP group required less ICU care (0.7 vs 2.8 days, p < 0.001) and inpatient rehabilitation (63% vs 87%, p = 0.015). The incidence of new leg pain, numbness, or weakness was similar between groups (28% vs 22%, p = 0.609). All leg symptoms resolved within 6 months, except in 1 OP-only patient. Follow-up duration was similar (28 vs 25 months, p = 0.462). LIF+OP patients had significantly less pseudarthrosis (6% vs 27%, p = 0.026) and greater improvement in visual analog scale back pain (mean decrease 4.0 vs 1.9, p = 0.046) and Oswestry Disability Index (mean decrease 21 vs 12, p = 0.035) scores. Lumbar coronal correction was greater with LIF+OP surgery (mean [± SD] 22° ± 13° vs 14° ± 13°, p = 0.010). LL restoration was 22° ± 13°, intermediately between OP-only with facet osteotomies (11° ± 7°, p < 0.001) and pedicle subtraction osteotomy (29° ± 10°, p = 0.045).

CONCLUSIONS

LIF+OP is an effective strategy for ASD of moderate severity. Compared with the authors' OP-only operations, LIF+OP was associated with faster recovery, fewer complications, and greater relief of pain and disability.

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Michael M. Safaee, Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Corinna C. Zygourakis, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is associated with reduced rates of pseudarthrosis and has the potential to decrease the need for revision surgery. There are limited data evaluating the cost-benefit of BMP for pseudarthrosis-related prevention surgery in adult spinal deformity.

METHODS

The authors performed a single-center retrospective review of 200 consecutive patients with adult spinal deformity. Demographic data and costs of BMP, primary surgery, and revision surgery for pseudarthrosis were collected. Patients with less than 12 months of follow-up or with infection, tumor, or neuromuscular disease were excluded.

RESULTS

One hundred fifty-one patients (107 [71%] women) with a mean age of 65 years met the inclusion criteria. The mean number of levels fused was 10; BMP was used in 98 cases (65%), and the mean follow-up was 23 months. Fifteen patients (10%) underwent surgical revision for pseudarthrosis; BMP use was associated with an 11% absolute risk reduction in the rate of reoperation (17% vs 6%, p = 0.033), with a number needed to treat of 9.2. There were no significant differences in age, sex, upper instrumented vertebra, or number of levels fused in patients who received BMP. In a multivariate model including age, sex, number of levels fused, and the upper instrumented vertebra, only BMP (OR 0.250, 95% CI 0.078–0.797; p = 0.019) was associated with revision surgery for pseudarthrosis. The mean direct cost of primary surgery was $87,653 ± $19,879, and the mean direct cost of BMP was $10,444 ± $4607. The mean direct cost of revision surgery was $52,153 ± $26,985. The authors independently varied the efficacy of BMP, cost of BMP, and cost of reoperation by ± 50%; only reductions in the cost of BMP resulted in a cost savings per 100 patients. Using these data, the authors estimated a price point of $5663 in order for BMP to be cost-neutral.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of BMP was associated with a significant reduction in the rates of revision surgery for pseudarthrosis. At its current price, the direct in-hospital costs for BMP exceed the costs associated with revision surgery; however, this likely underestimates the true value of BMP when considering the savings associated with reductions in rehabilitation, therapy, medication, and additional outpatient costs.

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Vincent Y. Wang, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

Aneurysmal bone cysts (ABCs) are rare benign tumors with a prevalence of 0.14 cases per 100,000 people. A majority of cases arise during adolescence, and there is a female predominance. This lesion accounts for 1.4% of all primary bone tumors. Aneurysmal bone cysts occur mainly in the long bones, with spinal involvement in 10–30% of cases. Cervical spine ABCs account for about one-third of spinal ABCs, and atlas involvement occurs in 1% of cases. Resection of ABCs at the atlas is difficult because of the location and the lack of proper instrumentation for reconstruction of C-1. The authors present a case of an ABC at C-1 in a child who underwent resection of the lesion and reconstruction of the lateral mass with a titanium mesh cage.