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Revision surgery following minimally invasive decompression for lumbar spinal stenosis with and without stable degenerative spondylolisthesis: a 5- to 15-year reoperation survival analysis

Nizar Moayeri and Y. Raja Rampersaud

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive decompression (MID) is an effective procedure for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Long-term follow-up data on reoperation rates are lacking. The objective of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate reoperation rates in patients with LSS who underwent MID, stratified for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS), with a follow-up between 5 and 15 years.

METHODS

All consecutive patients with LSS who underwent MID between 2002 and 2011 were included. All patients had neurogenic claudication from central and/or lateral recess stenosis, without or with up to 25% of slippage (grade I spondylolisthesis), and no obvious dynamic instability on imaging (increase in spondylolisthesis by ≥ 5 mm demonstrated on supine-to-standing or flexion-extension imaging). Reoperation rates defined as any operation on the same or adjacent level were assessed. Revision decompression alone was considered if the aforementioned clinical and radiographic criteria were met; otherwise, patients underwent a minimally invasive posterior fusion.

RESULTS

A total of 246 patients (mean age 66 years) were included. Preoperative spondylolisthesis was present in 56.9%. The mean follow-up period was 8.2 years (range 5.0−14.9 years). The reoperation rates in patients with and without spondylolisthesis were 15.7% and 15.1%, respectively; fusion was required in 7.1% and 7.5%, with no significant difference (redecompression only, p = 0.954; fusion, p = 0.546). For decompression only, the mean times to reoperation were 3.9 years (95% CI 1.8−6.0 years) for patients with DLS and 2.8 years (95% CI 1.3−4.2 years) for patients without DLS; for fusion, the mean times to reoperation were 3.1 years (95% CI 1.0−5.3 years) and 3.1 years (95% CI 1.1−5.1 years), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In highly selected patients with stable DLS and leg-dominant pain from central or lateral recess stenosis, the long-term reoperation rate is similar between DLS and non-DLS patients undergoing MIS decompression.

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Perioperative outcomes and adverse events of minimally invasive versus open posterior lumbar fusion: meta-analysis and systematic review

Christina L. Goldstein, Kevin Macwan, Kala Sundararajan, and Y. Raja Rampersaud

OBJECT

The objective of this study was to determine the clinical comparative effectiveness and adverse event rates of posterior minimally invasive surgery (MIS) compared with open transforaminal or posterior lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF/PLIF).

METHODS

A systematic review of the Medline, EMBASE, PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases was performed. A hand search of reference lists was conducted. Studies were reviewed by 2 independent assessors to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or comparative cohort studies including at least 10 patients undergoing MIS or open TLIF/PLIF for degenerative lumbar spinal disorders and reporting at least 1 of the following: clinical outcome measure, perioperative clinical or process measure, radiographic outcome, or adverse events. Study quality was assessed using the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) protocol. When appropriate, a meta-analysis of outcomes data was conducted.

RESULTS

The systematic review and reference list search identified 3301 articles, with 26 meeting study inclusion criteria. All studies, including 1 RCT, were of low or very low quality. No significant difference regarding age, sex, surgical levels, or diagnosis was identified between the 2 cohorts (856 patients in the MIS cohort, 806 patients in the open cohort). The meta-analysis revealed changes in the perioperative outcomes of mean estimated blood loss, time to ambulation, and length of stay favoring an MIS approach by 260 ml (p < 0.00001), 3.5 days (p = 0.0006), and 2.9 days (p < 0.00001), respectively. Operative time was not significantly different between the surgical techniques (p = 0.78). There was no significant difference in surgical adverse events (p = 0.97), but MIS cases were significantly less likely to experience medical adverse events (risk ratio [MIS vs open] = 0.39, 95% confidence interval 0.23–0.69, p = 0.001). No difference in nonunion (p = 0.97) or reoperation rates (p = 0.97) was observed. Mean Oswestry Disability Index scores were slightly better in the patients undergoing MIS (n = 346) versus open TLIF/PLIF (n = 346) at a median follow-up time of 24 months (mean difference [MIS – open] = 3.32, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The result of this quantitative systematic review of clinical comparative effectiveness research examining MIS versus open TLIF/PLIF for degenerative lumbar pathology suggests equipoise in patient-reported clinical outcomes. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of adverse event data suggests equivalent rates of surgical complications with lower rates of medical complications in patients undergoing minimally invasive TLIF/PLIF compared with open surgery. The quality of the current comparative evidence is low to very low, with significant inherent bias.

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Editorial: Computed tomography and pedicle screws

Y. Raja Rampersaud

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Microendoscopic approach to far-lateral lumbar disc herniation

Kevin T. Foley, Maurice M. Smith, and Y. Raja Rampersaud

The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of performing far-lateral lumbar discectomy by using the microendoscopic discectomy (MED) technique. The authors studied 11 consecutive patients with unilateral, single-level radiculopathy secondary to far-lateral disc herniation. There were eight men and three women, with an average age of 43 years. In all patients magnetic resonance imaging and/or computerized tomography scanning documented far-lateral disc herniations. Six patients experienced motor deficits, nine patients sensory abnormalities, and five depressed reflexes. All patients complained of radicular pain, which failed to improve with conservative care.

After induction of epidural anesthesia, single-level, unilateral percutaneous discectomies were performed using the MED technique. Five discectomies were performed at L3-4 and six at L4-5. There were four contained and seven sequestered disc herniations. All surgeries were performed on an outpatient basis. Follow up ranged from for 12 to 27 months. Improvement was shown in all patients postoperatively. Using modified Macnab criteria to assess results of surgery, there were 10 excellent results and one good result. None of the patients experienced residual motor deficits, four had residual decreased sensation, and one still had some degree of nonradicular pain. There were no complications.

Although various open techniques exist for the treatment of far-lateral disc herniation, MED is unique in that far-lateral pathological entities can be directly visualized and removed via a 15-mm paramedian incision. The percutaneous approach avoids larger, potentially denervating and destabilizing procedures. The need for general anesthesia can be avoided, and surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, thereby reducing hospital cost and length of stay.

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Editorial: Perioperative outcomes and adverse events of minimally invasive surgery during transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion/posterior lumbar interbody fusion

Robert F. Heary and Michael G. Kaiser

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Defining the inherent stability of degenerative spondylolisthesis: a systematic review

Andrea M. Simmonds, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Marcel F. Dvorak, Nicolas Dea, Angela D. Melnyk, and Charles G. Fisher

OBJECT

A range of surgical options exists for the treatment of degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS). The chosen technique inherently depends on the stability of the DLS. Despite a substantial body of literature dedicated to the outcome analysis of numerous DLS procedures, no consensus has been reached on defining or classifying the disorder with respect to stability or the role that instability should play in a treatment algorithm. The purpose of this study was to define grades of stability and to develop a guide for deciding on the optimal approach in surgically managing patients with DLS.

METHODS

The authors conducted a qualitative systematic review of clinical or biomechanical analyses evaluating the stability of and surgical outcomes for DLS for the period from 1990 to 2013. Research focused on nondegenerative forms of spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis without associated DLS was excluded. The primary extracted results were clinical and radiographic parameters indicative of DLS instability.

RESULTS

The following preoperative parameters are predictors of stability in DLS: restabilization signs (disc height loss, osteophyte formation, vertebral endplate sclerosis, and ligament ossification), no disc angle change or less than 3 mm of translation on dynamic radiographs, and the absence of low-back pain. The validity and magnitude of each parameter’s contribution can only be determined through appropriately powered prospective evaluation in the future. Identifying these parameters has allowed for the creation of a preliminary DLS instability classification (DSIC) scheme based on the preoperative assessment of DLS stability.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal stability is an important factor to consider in the evaluation and treatment of patients with DLS. Qualitative assessment of the best available evidence revealed clinical and radiographic parameters for the creation of the DSIC, a decision aid to help surgeons develop a method of preoperative evaluation to better stratify DLS treatment options.

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Spinal Adverse Events Severity System, version 2 (SAVES-V2): inter- and intraobserver reliability assessment

Y. Raja Rampersaud, Paul A. Anderson, John R. Dimar II, Charles G. Fisher, and on behalf of the Spine Trauma Study Group and Degenerative Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Reporting of adverse events (AEs) in spinal surgery uses inconsistent definitions and severity grading, making it difficult to compare results between studies. The Spinal Adverse Events Severity System, version 2 (SAVES-V2) aims to standardize the classification of spine surgery AEs; however, its inter- and intraobserver reliability are unknown. The objective of this study was to assess inter- and intraobserver reliability of the SAVES-V2 grading system for assessing AEs in spinal surgery.

METHODS

Two multinational, multicenter surgical study groups assessed surgical case vignettes (10 trauma and 12 degenerative cases) for AE occurrence by using SAVES-V2. Thirty-four members of the Spine Trauma Study Group (STSG) and 17 members of the Degenerative Spine Study Group (DSSG) participated in the first round of case vignettes. Six months later, the same case vignettes were randomly reorganized and presented in an otherwise identical manner. Inter- and intraobserver agreement on the presence, severity, number, and type of AE, as well as the impact of the AE on length of stay (LOS) were assessed using intraclass correlation (ICC), Cohen's kappa value, and the percentage of participants in agreement.

RESULTS

Agreement on the presence of AEs ranged from 97% to 100% in the 2 groups. Severity classification showed substantial interobserver (ICC = 0.75 for both groups) and intraobserver (ICC = 0.70 in DSSG, 0.71 in STSG) agreement. Judgments on the number of AEs showed high interobserver agreement and moderate intraobserver agreement in both groups. Both the STSG and DSSG had high intraobserver agreement on the type of AE; interobserver agreement for AE type was high in the STSG and fair in the DSSG. Agreement on impact of the AE on LOS was excellent in the DSSG and fair in the STSG.

CONCLUSIONS

There was good agreement on the presence, severity, and number of AEs in both trauma and degenerative cases in using the SAVES-V2. This grading system is a simple, reliable tool for identifying and capturing AEs in spinal surgery.

Free access

Clinical predictors of achieving the minimal clinically important difference after surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: an external validation study from the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network

Nathan Evaniew, David W. Cadotte, Nicolas Dea, Christopher S. Bailey, Sean D. Christie, Charles G. Fisher, Jerome Paquet, Alex Soroceanu, Kenneth C. Thomas, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Neil A. Manson, Michael Johnson, Andrew Nataraj, Hamilton Hall, Greg McIntosh, and W. Bradley Jacobs

OBJECTIVE

Recently identified prognostic variables among patients undergoing surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) are limited to two large international data sets. To optimally inform shared clinical decision-making, the authors evaluated which preoperative clinical factors are significantly associated with improvement on the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale by at least the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) 12 months after surgery, among patients from the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN).

METHODS

The authors performed an observational cohort study with data that were prospectively collected from CSM patients at 7 centers between 2015 and 2017. Candidate variables were tested using univariable and multiple binomial logistic regression, and multiple sensitivity analyses were performed to test assumptions about the nature of the statistical models. Validated mJOA MCIDs were implemented that varied according to baseline CSM severity.

RESULTS

Among 205 patients with CSM, there were 64 (31%) classified as mild, 86 (42%) as moderate, and 55 (27%) as severe. Overall, 52% of patients achieved MCID and the mean change in mJOA score at 12 months after surgery was 1.7 ± 2.6 points (p < 0.01), but the subgroup of patients with mild CSM did not significantly improve (mean change 0.1 ± 1.9 points, p = 0.8). Univariate analyses failed to identify significant associations between achieving MCID and sex, BMI, living status, education, smoking, disability claims, or number of comorbidities. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds of achieving MCID were significantly reduced with older age (OR 0.7 per decade, 95% CI 0.5–0.9, p < 0.01) and higher baseline mJOA score (OR 0.8 per point, 95% CI 0.7–0.9, p < 0.01). The effects of symptom duration (OR 1.0 per additional month, 95% CI 0.9–1.0, p = 0.2) and smoking (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2–1.0, p = 0.06) were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery is effective at halting the progression of functional decline with CSM, and approximately half of all patients achieve the MCID. Data from the CSORN confirmed that older age is independently associated with poorer outcomes, but novel findings include that patients with milder CSM did not experience meaningful improvement, and that symptom duration and smoking were not important. These findings support a nuanced approach to shared decision-making that acknowledges some prognostic uncertainty when weighing the various risks, benefits, and alternatives to surgical treatment.

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The impact of pathoanatomical diagnosis on elective spine surgery patient expectations: a Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network study

R. Andrew Glennie, Mayilee Canizares, Anthony V. Perruccio, Edward Abraham, Fred Nicholls, Andrew Nataraj, Philippe Phan, Najmedden Attabib, Michael G. Johnson, Eden Richardson, Greg McIntosh, Henry Ahn, Charles G. Fisher, Neil Manson, Kenneth Thomas, and Y. Raja Rampersaud

OBJECTIVE

Patients undergoing spine surgery generally have high expectations for improvement postoperatively. Little is known about how these expectations are affected by the diagnosis. The purpose of this study was to examine whether preoperative expectations differ based on diagnostic pathoanatomical patterns in elective spine surgery patients.

METHODS

Patients with common degenerative cervical/lumbar pathology (lumbar/cervical stenosis, lumbar spondylolisthesis, and cervical/lumbar disc herniation) who had given their consent for surgery were analyzed using the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN). Patients reported the changes they expected to experience postoperatively in relation to 7 separate items using a modified version of the North American Spine Society spine questionnaire. Patients were also asked about the most important item that would make them consider the surgery a success. Sociodemographic, lifestyle, and clinical variables were also collected.

RESULTS

There were 3868 eligible patients identified within the network for analysis. Patients with lumbar disc herniation had higher expectations for relief of leg pain compared with stenosis and lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis cohorts within the univariate analysis. Cervical stenosis (myelopathy) patients were more likely to rank general physical capacity as their most important expectation from spine surgery. The multinomial regression analysis showed that cervical myelopathy patients have lower expectations for relief of arm or neck pain from surgery (OR 0.54, 0.34–0.88; p < 0.05). Patient factors, including age, symptoms (pain, disability, depression), work status, and lifestyle factors, were significantly associated with expectation, whereas the diagnoses were not.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with degenerative spinal conditions consenting for spine surgery have high expectations for improvement in all realms of their daily lives. With the exception of patients with cervical myelopathy, patient symptoms rather than diagnoses had a more substantial impact on the dimensions in which patients expected to improve or their most important expected change. Determination of patient expectation should be individualized and not biased by pathoanatomical diagnosis.

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Factors associated with using an interbody fusion device for low-grade lumbar degenerative versus isthmic spondylolisthesis: a retrospective cohort study

Clayton Inculet, Jennifer C. Urquhart, Parham Rasoulinejad, Hamilton Hall, Charles Fisher, Najmedden Attabib, Kenneth Thomas, Henry Ahn, Michael Johnson, Andrew Glennie, Andrew Nataraj, Sean D. Christie, Alexandra Stratton, Albert Yee, Neil Manson, Jérôme Paquet, Y. Raja Rampersaud, and Christopher S. Bailey

OBJECTIVE

Many studies have utilized a combined cohort of patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) and isthmic spondylolisthesis (IS) to evaluate indications and outcomes. Intuitively, these are very different populations, and rates, indications, and outcomes may differ. The goal of this study was to compare specific patient characteristics associated with the utilization of a posterior lumbar interbody device between cohorts of patients with DS and IS, as well as to compare rates of interbody device use and patient-rated outcomes at 1 year after surgical treatment.

METHODS

The authors included patients who underwent posterior lumbar interbody fusion or instrumented posterolateral fusion for grade I or II DS or IS and had been enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network registry from 2009 to 2016. The outcome measures were score on the Oswestry Disability Index, scores for back pain and leg pain on the numeric rating scale, and mental component summary (MCS) score and physical component summary score on the 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey. Descriptive statistics were used to compare spondylolisthesis groups, logistic regression was used to compare interbody device use, and the chi-square test was used to compare the proportions of patients who achieved a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) at 1 year after surgery.

RESULTS

In total, 119 patients had IS and 339 had DS. Patients with DS were more commonly women, older, less likely to smoke, and more likely to have neurogenic claudication and comorbidities, whereas patients with IS more commonly had radicular pain, neurological deficits, and worse back pain. Spondylolisthesis was more common at the L4–5 level in patients with DS and at the L5–S1 level in patients with IS. Similar proportions of patients had an interbody device (78.6% of patients with DS vs 82.4% of patients with IS, p = 0.429). Among patients with IS, factors associated with interbody device utilization were BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 and increased baseline leg pain intensity. Factors associated with interbody device utilization in patients with DS were younger age, increased number of total comorbidities, and lower baseline MCS score. For each outcome measure, similar proportions of patients in the surgical treatment and spondylolisthesis groups achieved the MCID at 1 year after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the demographic and patient characteristics associated with interbody device utilization differed between cohorts, similar proportions of patients attained clinically meaningful improvement at 1 year after surgery.