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Justin K. Scheer, Jessica A. Tang, Justin S. Smith, Frank L. Acosta Jr., Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Benjamin Blondel, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

This paper is a narrative review of normal cervical alignment, methods for quantifying alignment, and how alignment is associated with cervical deformity, myelopathy, and adjacent-segment disease (ASD), with discussions of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Popular methods currently used to quantify cervical alignment are discussed including cervical lordosis, sagittal vertical axis, and horizontal gaze with the chin-brow to vertical angle. Cervical deformity is examined in detail as deformities localized to the cervical spine affect, and are affected by, other parameters of the spine in preserving global sagittal alignment. An evolving trend is defining cervical sagittal alignment. Evidence from a few recent studies suggests correlations between radiographic parameters in the cervical spine and HRQOL. Analysis of the cervical regional alignment with respect to overall spinal pelvic alignment is critical. The article details mechanisms by which cervical kyphotic deformity potentially leads to ASD and discusses previous studies that suggest how postoperative sagittal malalignment may promote ASD. Further clinical studies are needed to explore the relationship of cervical malalignment and the development of ASD. Sagittal alignment of the cervical spine may play a substantial role in the development of cervical myelopathy as cervical deformity can lead to spinal cord compression and cord tension. Surgical correction of cervical myelopathy should always take into consideration cervical sagittal alignment, as decompression alone may not decrease cord tension induced by kyphosis. Awareness of the development of postlaminectomy kyphosis is critical as it relates to cervical myelopathy. The future direction of cervical deformity correction should include a comprehensive approach in assessing global cervicalpelvic relationships. Just as understanding pelvic incidence as it relates to lumbar lordosis was crucial in building our knowledge of thoracolumbar deformities, T-1 incidence and cervical sagittal balance can further our understanding of cervical deformities. Other important parameters that account for the cervical-pelvic relationship are surveyed in detail, and it is recognized that all such parameters need to be validated in studies that correlate HRQOL outcomes following cervical deformity correction.

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Michael P. Kelly, Michael A. Kallen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Douglas C. Burton, Christopher P. Ames, Virginie Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Han Jo Kim, Eric O. Klineberg, Shay Bess and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

After using PROsetta Stone crosswalk tables to calculate Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Physical Function (PF) and Pain Interference (PI) scores, the authors sought to examine 1) correlations with Scoliosis Research Society–22r (SRS-22r) scores, 2) responsiveness to change, and 3) the relationship between baseline scores and 2-year follow-up scores in adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

PROsetta Stone crosswalk tables were used to converted SF-36 scores to PROMIS scores for pain and physical function in a cohort of ASD patients with 2-year follow-up. Spearman correlations were used to evaluate the relationship of PROMIS scores with SRS-22r scores. Effect size (ES) and adjusted standardized response mean (aSRM) were used to assess responsiveness to change. Linear regression was used to evaluate the association between baseline scores and 2-year follow-up scores.

RESULTS

In total, 425 (425/625, 68%) patients met inclusion criteria. Strong correlations (all |r| > 0.7, p < 0.001) were found between baseline and 2-year PROMIS values and corresponding SRS-22r domain scores. PROMIS-PI showed a large ES (1.09) and aSRM (0.88), indicating good responsiveness to change. PROMIS-PF showed a moderate ES (0.52) and moderate aSRM (0.69), indicating a moderate responsiveness to change. Patients with greater baseline pain complaints were associated with greater pain improvement at 2 years for both SRS-22r Pain (B = 0.39, p < 0.001) and PROMIS-PI (B = 0.45, p < 0.001). Higher functional scores at baseline were associated with greater average improvements in both SRS-22r Activity (B = 0.62, p < 0.001) and PROMIS-PF (B = 0.40, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found strong correlations between the SRS-22r Pain and Activity domains with corresponding PROMIS-PI and -PF scores. Pain measurements showed similar and strong ES and aSRM while the function measurements showed similar, moderate ES and aSRM at 2-year follow-up. These data support further exploration of the use of PROMIS–computer adaptive test instruments in ASD.

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Ferran Pellisé, Miquel Serra-Burriel, Justin S. Smith, Sleiman Haddad, Michael P. Kelly, Alba Vila-Casademunt, Francisco Javier Sánchez Pérez-Grueso, Shay Bess, Jeffrey L. Gum, Douglas C. Burton, Emre Acaroğlu, Frank Kleinstück, Virginie Lafage, Ibrahim Obeid, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Ahmet Alanay, Christopher Ames, the International Spine Study Group and the European Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery has a high rate of major complications (MCs). Public information about adverse outcomes is currently limited to registry average estimates. The object of this study was to assess the incidence of adverse events after ASD surgery, and to develop and validate a prognostic tool for the time-to-event risk of MC, hospital readmission (RA), and unplanned reoperation (RO).

METHODS

Two models per outcome, created with a random survival forest algorithm, were trained in an 80% random split and tested in the remaining 20%. Two independent prospective multicenter ASD databases, originating from the European continent and the United States, were queried, merged, and analyzed. ASD patients surgically treated by 57 surgeons at 23 sites in 5 countries in the period from 2008 to 2016 were included in the analysis.

RESULTS

The final sample consisted of 1612 ASD patients: mean (standard deviation) age 56.7 (17.4) years, 76.6% women, 10.4 (4.3) fused vertebral levels, 55.1% of patients with pelvic fixation, 2047.9 observation-years. Kaplan-Meier estimates showed that 12.1% of patients had at least one MC at 10 days after surgery; 21.5%, at 90 days; and 36%, at 2 years. Discrimination, measured as the concordance statistic, was up to 71.7% (95% CI 68%–75%) in the development sample for the postoperative complications model. Surgical invasiveness, age, magnitude of deformity, and frailty were the strongest predictors of MCs. Individual cumulative risk estimates at 2 years ranged from 3.9% to 74.1% for MCs, from 3.17% to 44.2% for RAs, and from 2.67% to 51.9% for ROs.

CONCLUSIONS

The creation of accurate prognostic models for the occurrence and timing of MCs, RAs, and ROs following ASD surgery is possible. The presented variability in patient risk profiles alongside the discrimination and calibration of the models highlights the potential benefits of obtaining time-to-event risk estimates for patients and clinicians.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Justin K. Scheer, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Vedat Deviren, Bertrand Moal, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Eric Klineberg, Douglas C. Burton, Robert Hart, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab and the International Spine Study Group

Object

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors' objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.

Methods

A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.

Results

The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.

Conclusions

The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.

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Joshua Bakhsheshian, Justin K. Scheer, Jeffrey L. Gum, Richard Hostin, Virginie Lafage, Shay Bess, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Douglas C. Burton, Malla Kate Keefe, Robert A. Hart, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Mental disease burden can have a significant impact on levels of disability and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures. Therefore, the authors investigated the significance of mental health status in adults with spinal deformity and poor physical function.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter database of 365 adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients who had undergone surgical treatment was performed. Health-related QOL variables were examined preoperatively and at the 2-year postoperative follow-up. Patients were grouped by their 36-Item Short Form Health Survey mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) scores. Both groups had PCS scores ≤ 25th percentile for matched norms; however, the low mental health (LMH) group consisted of patients with an MCS score ≤ 25th percentile, and the high mental health (HMH) group included patients with an MCS score ≥ 75th percentile.

RESULTS

Of the 264 patients (72.3%) with a 2-year follow-up, 104 (28.5%) met the inclusion criteria for LMH and 40 patients (11.0%) met those for HMH. The LMH group had a significantly higher overall rate of comorbidities, specifically leg weakness, depression, hypertension, and self-reported neurological and psychiatric disease processes, and were more likely to be unemployed as compared with the HMH group (p < 0.05 for all). The 2 groups had similar 2-year postoperative improvements in HRQOL (p > 0.05) except for the greater improvements in the MCS and the Scoliosis Research Society-22r questionnaire (SRS-22r) mental domain (p < 0.05) in the LMH group and greater improvements in PCS and SRS-22r satisfaction and back pain domains (p < 0.05) in the HMH group. The LMH group had a higher rate of reaching a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) on the SRS-22r mental domain (p < 0.01), and the HMH group had a higher rate of reaching an MCID on the PCS and SRS-22r activity domain (p < 0.05). On multivariable logistic regression, having LMH was a significant independent predictor of failure to reach an MCID on the PCS (p < 0.05). At the 2-year postoperative follow-up, 14 LMH patients (15.1%) were categorized as HMH. Two LMH patients (2.2%), and 3 HMH patients (7.7%) transitioned to a PCS score ≥ 75th percentile for age- and sex-matched US norms (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

While patients with poor mental and physical health, according to their MCS and PCS scores, have higher medical comorbidity and unemployment rates, they still demonstrate significant improvements in HRQOL measurements postoperatively. Both LMH and HMH patient groups demonstrated similar improvements in most HRQOL domains, except that the LMH patients had difficulties in obtaining improvements in the PCS domain.

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Renaud Lafage, Ibrahim Obeid, Barthelemy Liabaud, Shay Bess, Douglas Burton, Justin S. Smith, Cyrus Jalai, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher Ames, Han Jo Kim, Eric Klineberg, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The surgical correction of adult spinal deformity (ASD) often involves modifying lumbar lordosis (LL) to restore ideal sagittal alignment. However, corrections that include large changes in LL increase the risk for development of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). Little is known about the impact of cranial versus caudal correction in the lumbar spine on the occurrence of PJK. The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of the location of the correction on acute PJK development.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of a prospective multicenter database. Surgically treated ASD patients with early follow-up evaluations (6 weeks) and fusions of the full lumbosacral spine were included. Radiographic parameters analyzed included the classic spinopelvic parameters (pelvic incidence [PI], pelvic tilt [PT], PI−LL, and sagittal vertical axis [SVA]) and segmental correction. Using Glattes’ criteria, patients were stratified into PJK and noPJK groups and propensity matched by age and regional lumbar correction (ΔPI−LL). Radiographic parameters and segmental correction were compared between PJK and noPJK patients using independent t-tests.

RESULTS

After propensity matching, 312 of 483 patients were included in the analysis (mean age 64 years, 76% women, 40% with PJK). There were no significant differences between PJK and noPJK patients at baseline or postoperatively, or between changes in alignment, with the exception of thoracic kyphosis (TK) and ΔTK. PJK patients had a decrease in segmental lordosis at L4-L5-S1 (−0.6° vs 1.6°, p = 0.025), and larger increases in segmental correction at cranial levels L1-L2-L3 (9.9° vs 7.1°), T12-L1-L2 (7.3° vs 5.4°), and T11-T12-L1 (2.9° vs 0.7°) (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Although achievement of an optimal sagittal alignment is the goal of realignment surgery, dramatic lumbar corrections appear to increase the risk of PJK. This study was the first to demonstrate that patients who developed PJK underwent kyphotic changes in the L4–S1 segments while restoring LL at more cranial levels (T12–L3). These findings suggest that restoring lordosis at lower lumbar levels may result in a decreased risk of developing PJK.

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Blake N. Staub, Renaud Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard Hostin, Douglas Burton, Lawrence Lenke, Munish C. Gupta, Christopher Ames, Eric Klineberg, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Numerous studies have attempted to delineate the normative value for T1S−CL (T1 slope minus cervical lordosis) as a marker for both cervical deformity and a goal for correction similar to how PI-LL (pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis) mismatch informs decision making in thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD). The goal of this study was to define the relationship between T1 slope (T1S) and cervical lordosis (CL).

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospective database. Surgical ASD cases were initially analyzed. Analysis across the sagittal parameters was performed. Linear regression analysis based on T1S was used to provide a clinically applicable equation to predict CL. Findings were validated using the postoperative alignment of the ASD patients. Further validation was then performed using a second, normative database. The range of normal alignment associated with horizontal gaze was derived from a multilinear regression on data from asymptomatic patients.

RESULTS

A total of 103 patients (mean age 54.7 years) were included. Analysis revealed a strong correlation between T1S and C0–7 lordosis (r = 0.886), C2–7 lordosis (r = 0.815), and C0–2 lordosis (r = 0.732). There was no significant correlation between T1S and T1S−CL. Linear regression analysis revealed that T1S−CL assumed a constant value of 16.5° (R2 = 0.664, standard error 2°). These findings were validated on the postoperative imaging (mean absolute error [MAE] 5.9°). The equation was then applied to the normative database (MAE 6.7° controlling for McGregor slope [MGS] between −5° and 15°). A multilinear regression between C2–7, T1S, and MGS demonstrated a range of T1S−CL between 14.5° and 26.5° was necessary to maintain horizontal gaze.

CONCLUSIONS

Normative CL can be predicted via the formula CL = T1S − 16.5° ± 2°. This implies a threshold of deformity and aids in providing a goal for surgical correction. Just as pelvic incidence (PI) can be used to determine the ideal LL, T1S can be used to predict ideal CL. This formula also implies that a kyphotic cervical alignment is to be expected for individuals with a T1S < 16.5°.

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Amit Jain, Hamid Hassanzadeh, Varun Puvanesarajah, Eric O. Klineberg, Daniel M. Sciubba, Michael P. Kelly, D. Kojo Hamilton, Virginie Lafage, Aaron J. Buckland, Peter G. Passias, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Renaud Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khaled M. Kebaish and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Using 2 complication-reporting methods, the authors investigated the incidence of major medical complications and mortality in elderly patients after surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD) during a 2-year follow-up period.

METHODS

The authors queried a multicenter, prospective, surgeon-maintained database (SMD) to identify patients 65 years or older who underwent surgical correction of ASD from 2008 through 2014 and had a minimum 2 years of follow-up (n = 153). They also queried a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims database (MCD) for patients 65 years or older who underwent fusion of 8 or more vertebral levels from 2005 through 2012 (n = 3366). They calculated cumulative rates of the following complications during the first 6 weeks after surgery: cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure, deep venous thrombosis, myocardial infarction, pneumonia, and pulmonary embolism. Significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

During the perioperative period, rates of major medical complications were 5.9% for pneumonia, 4.1% for deep venous thrombosis, 3.2% for pulmonary embolism, 2.1% for cerebrovascular accident, 1.8% for myocardial infarction, and 1.0% for congestive heart failure. Mortality rates were 0.9% at 6 weeks and 1.8% at 2 years. When comparing the SMD with the MCD, there were no significant differences in the perioperative rates of major medical complications except pneumonia. Furthermore, there were no significant intergroup differences in the mortality rates at 6 weeks or 2 years. The SMD provided greater detail with respect to deformity characteristics and surgical variables than the MCD.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of most major medical complications in the elderly after surgery for ASD was similar between the SMD and the MCD and ranged from 1% for congestive heart failure to 5.9% for pneumonia. These complications data can be valuable for preoperative patient counseling and informed consent.

Free access

Pierce D. Nunley, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Richard G. Fessler, Paul Park, Joseph M. Zavatsky, Juan S. Uribe, Robert K. Eastlack, Dean Chou, Michael Y. Wang, Neel Anand, Kelly A. Frank, Marcus B. Stone, Adam S. Kanter, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Praveen V. Mummaneni and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to educate medical professionals about potential financial impacts of improper diagnosis-related group (DRG) coding in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

Medicare’s Inpatient Prospective Payment System PC Pricer database was used to collect 2015 reimbursement data for ASD procedures from 12 hospitals. Case type, hospital type/location, number of operative levels, proper coding, length of stay, and complications/comorbidities (CCs) were analyzed for effects on reimbursement. DRGs were used to categorize cases into 3 types: 1) anterior or posterior only fusion, 2) anterior fusion with posterior percutaneous fixation with no dorsal fusion, and 3) combined anterior and posterior fixation and fusion.

RESULTS

Pooling institutions, cases were reimbursed the same for single-level and multilevel ASD surgery. Longer stay, from 3 to 8 days, resulted in an additional $1400 per stay. Posterior fusion was an additional $6588, while CCs increased reimbursement by approximately $13,000. Academic institutions received higher reimbursement than private institutions, i.e., approximately $14,000 (Case Types 1 and 2) and approximately $16,000 (Case Type 3). Urban institutions received higher reimbursement than suburban institutions, i.e., approximately $3000 (Case Types 1 and 2) and approximately $3500 (Case Type 3). Longer stay, from 3 to 8 days, increased reimbursement between $208 and $494 for private institutions and between $1397 and $1879 for academic institutions per stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Reimbursement is based on many factors not controlled by surgeons or hospitals, but proper DRG coding can significantly impact the financial health of hospitals and availability of quality patient care.

Free access

Taemin Oh, Justin K. Scheer, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Chessie Robinson, Jeffrey L. Gum, Frank Schwab, Robert A. Hart, Virginie Lafage, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Eric O. Klineberg, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) experience significant quality of life improvements after surgery. Treatment, however, is expensive and complication rates are high. Predictive analytics has the potential to use many variables to make accurate predictions in large data sets. A validated minimum clinically important difference (MCID) model has the potential to assist in patient selection, thereby improving outcomes and, potentially, cost-effectiveness.

METHODS

The present study was a retrospective analysis of a multiinstitutional database of patients with ASD. Inclusion criteria were as follows: age ≥ 18 years, radiographic evidence of ASD, 2-year follow-up, and preoperative Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) > 15. Forty-six variables were used for model training: demographic data, radiographic parameters, surgical variables, and results on the health-related quality of life questionnaire. Patients were grouped as reaching a 2-year ODI MCID (+MCID) or not (−MCID). An ensemble of 5 different bootstrapped decision trees was constructed using the C5.0 algorithm. Internal validation was performed via 70:30 data split for training/testing. Model accuracy and area under the curve (AUC) were calculated. The mean quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and QALYs gained at 2 years were calculated and discounted at 3.5% per year. The QALYs were compared between patients in the +MCID and –MCID groups.

RESULTS

A total of 234 patients met inclusion criteria (+MCID 129, −MCID 105). Sixty-nine patients (29.5%) were included for model testing. Predicted versus actual results were 50 versus 40 for +MCID and 19 versus 29 for −MCID (i.e., 10 patients were misclassified). Model accuracy was 85.5%, with 0.96 AUC. Predicted results showed that patients in the +MCID group had significantly greater 2-year mean QALYs (p = 0.0057) and QALYs gained (p = 0.0002).

CONCLUSIONS

A successful model with 85.5% accuracy and 0.96 AUC was constructed to predict which patients would reach ODI MCID. The patients in the +MCID group had significantly higher mean 2-year QALYs and QALYs gained. This study provides proof of concept for using predictive modeling techniques to optimize patient selection in complex spine surgery.