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Clinical Spine Surgery - Current Issue

Clinical Spine Surgery - Current Issue
  1. Nerve Root and Lumbar Plexus Proximity to Different Extraforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion Trajectories: A Cadaver Study
    imageStudy Design: Cadaver study. Objective: To investigate the safety of the extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion approach. Summary of Background Data: Over the last decade the number of techniques available for lumbar interbody fusion has increased. Recent interest has developed in an extraforaminal approach to the intervertebral disc to reduce the morbidity associated with facetectomy. The safety of this extraforaminal corridor with regards to the exiting nerve root and lumbar plexus has yet to be assessed. Methods: With the cadaver prone, the C-arm was positioned over the disc of interest and aligned perpendicular to the superior endplate of the inferior vertebral body, with the superior articular process bisecting the available disc space. Three needles were passed into the disc and labeled medial, middle, and lateral. After needle placement, each nerve root and the lumbar plexus were dissected. The distance of each needle to these structures was measured and discectomy was performed to assess potential graft length from a transforaminal and extraforaminal approach. Results: We performed the method on levels L1–L5 bilaterally on 2 cadavers, totaling 16 attempts for each needle position. The average distance to nerve of the medial approach (3.2±1.1 mm) was statistically greater than both the middle (1.1±1.4 mm) and lateral (−0.2±2.9 mm) approaches (P<0.0001 for both). The distance to plexus of the medial approach (14.3±6.2 mm) was greater than the middle (9.2±6.1 mm) approach and statistically greater than the lateral (5.2±5.6 mm) approach (P=0.001). There was a greater graft length available by the extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion approach (36.1±2.7 mm) than the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion approach (29.3±3.5 mm, P<0.0001). Conclusions: The safest trajectory was the medial, passing adjacent to the superior articular process. The close proximity, however, means that neuromonitoring and tubular dilators would be necessary to use this technique in a clinical setting. Level: Level V.



  2. Initial Experience With Real-Time Continuous Physical Activity Monitoring in Patients Undergoing Spine Surgery
    imageStudy Design: Multicenter prospective pilot study. Objective: To evaluate if continuous physical activity monitoring by a personal electronic 3-dimensional accelerometer device is feasible and can provide objective data that correlates with patient-reported outcomes following spine surgery. Summary of Background Data: Self-reported health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) metrics are inherently limited by being very subjective, having a low frequency of data collection, and inconsistent follow-up. Methods: Inclusion criteria: adults (18+), thoracolumbar deformity or degenerative disease, and regular access to a computer with internet connection. Physical activity parameters included: number of daily steps, maximum hourly steps, and activity intensity. Patients completed the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), the Short-Form Health Survey 36 (SF-36), and the Scoliosis Research Society-22r (SRS22) preoperatively and postoperatively at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Results: Thirty-two patients were enrolled, 8 (25%) withdrew, 1 (3.1%) died, and 1 (3.1%) did not end up undergoing surgery resulting in 22 (68.8%) available patients. Mean preoperative and postoperative step ranges were 1278±767 to 17,800±6464 and 891±587 to 12,655±7038, respectively. Eleven patients improved in mean total daily steps at the final postoperative month with 2 having significant improvements (P<0.05). Five patients did not significantly change (P>0.05) and 6 patients had significantly lower mean total daily steps at 6 months (P<0.05). The entire cohort significantly improved in ODI, SF-36 Physical Component Summary, SRS Activity, SRS Appearance, SRS Mental, SRS Satisfaction, and SRS Total score at 6 months postoperative (P<0.05 for all). Both ODI and Physical Component Summary were significantly correlated with preoperative average total daily steps (r=−0.61, P=0.0058 and r=0.60, P=0.0114, respectively). No other HRQOL metrics were significantly correlated at baseline or at 6 months postoperative (P>0.05). Conclusions: A prospective pilot study for continuous real-time physical activity monitoring was successfully completed. This is the first study of its kind and demonstrates a foundation to continuous physical activity monitoring following spine surgery. A larger and longer prospective study is needed to confirm long-term results and its relationship with HRQOL scores.



  3. Lateral Atlantoaxial Osteoarthritis: A Narrative Literature Review
    imageLateral atlantoaxial osteoarthritis (AAOA), or C1-C2 lateral mass arthritis (LMA), is an unfamiliar degenerative cervical disease with a clinical presentation that markedly differs from subaxial spondylosis. The prevalence of LMA in the nonsurgical outpatient setting is 4%. Risk factors include age and occupation. The typical patient is between 50 and 90 years old, presents with upper cervical or occipital pain, has limited rotation, and has pain provocation during passive rotation to the affected side. Pain stems from degeneration of the lateral C1-C2 articulation and may be referred or radicular, through the greater occipital nerve. Although there is no consensus on diagnostic work-up, the disease is classically seen on the open-mouth odontoid radiograph. Computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, bone scan, and diagnostic injections are also useful. Initial treatment is conservative, and upwards of two-thirds of LMA patients obtain lasting relief with noninvasive measures and injections. In patients with severe, recalcitrant pain, limited C1-C2 fusion offers satisfactory and reliable relief. The goals of this review article are to provide a synthesis of the literature on LMA, to offer a treatment approach to LMA, and to identify problems with the current state of knowledge on LMA.



  4. The Utility of Routinely Obtaining Postoperative Laboratory Studies Following a Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion
    imageStudy Design: This is a retrospective analysis. Objective: To test the hypothesis that there is limited utility in routinely obtaining postoperative laboratory values following minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF). Background Data: At many institutions, it is routine to obtain a complete blood count and basic metabolic profile (BMP) following a MIS TLIF. However, the utility of this practice has not been well characterized. Methods: A total of 332 consecutive patients who underwent a primary, 1-level MIS TLIF for degenerative spinal pathology between 2007 and 2013 were identified. Patients were stratified into low-risk and high-risk cohorts based upon risk for postoperative laboratory abnormalities. Inclusion criteria for the high-risk cohort were malignancy, complicated diabetes, renal failure, liver disease, hematologic disease, or significant intraoperative blood loss (>300 mL). Preoperative and postoperative hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit, and BMP values were compared. Any interventions that were potentially related to laboratory values were identified. Results: Totals of 270 low-risk and 62 high-risk patients were identified. Mean postoperative Hb, hematocrit, blood urea nitrogen, sodium, potassium, and calcium values were decreased compared with preoperative values (P<0.001 for each) in both cohorts. Similar changes from preoperative levels were demonstrated in each cohort. No patients received blood product transfusion. Eleven low-risk (4.1%) and 5 high-risk patients (8.1%) received oral potassium supplementation. All patients who received potassium supplementation were asymptomatic. Most patients who were given potassium replacement consumed medications known to decrease serum potassium levels. No other interventions were performed in either group. Conclusions: Despite a significant decrease in mean Hb concentration following surgery, no patients required a transfusion. In total, 16 patients received potassium supplementation likely related to medication-related potassium deficits. Overall, these findings suggest that the utility of routinely obtaining a complete blood count or BMP following uncomplicated MIS TLIF may be limited except in the setting of select preoperative comorbidities and/or perioperative risk factors or events. Level of Evidence: Level III.



  5. Iliac Crest Bone Graft: A Minimally Invasive Harvesting Technique
    imageTypical sources for graft material utilized in minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion include both autograft and allograft. Autograft is frequently utilized due to its theorized benefits in promoting fusion. During minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, autograft is often obtained locally during the laminectomy and facetectomy. However, this locally obtained bone graft has exhibited questionable osteoconductive properties, often necessitating the addition of biologics to improve fusion rates. Iliac crest bone graft (ICBG) has previously been reported to be a safe and efficacious source for bone graft. Although ICBG has been noted to be an excellent material for facilitating fusion, concern for harvest site morbidity has substantially decreased its popularity. The purpose of this surgical technique is to provide a method of minimally invasive ICBG harvesting to potentially reduce the need for extra incisions, shorten operative times, and prevent postoperative graft site morbidity.


  6. The Influence of Single-level Versus Multilevel Decompression on the Outcome in Multisegmental Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Analysis of the Lumbar Spinal Outcome Study (LSOS) Data
    imageStudy Design: This is prospective multicenter cohort study. Objective: To assess whether patients with confirmed multisegmental lumbar spinal stenosis benefit more from a single-level or a multilevel decompression. Summary of Background Data: In multisegmental lumbar spinal stenotic cases, the decision as to how many levels of stenosis need to be operated to achieve the best possible clinical outcome is still unknown and remains a controversy between spine surgeons. Materials and Methods: Patients of the Swiss Lumbar Stenosis Outcome Study (LSOS) with confirmed multisegmental LSS undergoing first-time decompression without fusion were enrolled in this study. The main outcomes of this study were Spinal Stenosis Measure (SSM) symptoms and function over time, measured at baseline, 6, 12, and 24 months follow-up. Further outcomes of interest were changes in SSM, numeric rating scale, feeling thermometer, the EQ-5D-EL, and the Roland and Morris disability questionnaire from baseline to 6, 12, and 24 months. Results: After 12 months, a total of 141 patients met the inclusion criteria; of these, 33 (23%) underwent a single-level and 108 (77%) a multilevel decompression. Multilevel decompression was associated with a significantly less favorable SSM symptoms and function score, respectively, as compared with single-level decompression. In all further outcomes of interest single-level as well as multilevel patients improved over time. Conclusions: Our study showed that in multisegmental stenotic cases a single-level decompression was associated with a significantly more favorable SSM symptoms and function score, respectively, as compared with multilevel decompression. This study provides evidence that in multisegmental stenotic cases a single-level decompression might be sufficient to improve patient’s symptoms and function.



  7. Treatment of Axis Body Fractures: A Systematic Review
    imageStudy Design: Evidence-based systematic review. Objectives: To define the optimal treatment of fractures involving the C2 body, including those with concomitant injuries, based upon a systematic review of the literature. Summary of Background Data: Axis body fractures have customarily been treated nonoperatively, but there are some injuries that may require operative intervention. High-quality literature is sparse and there are few class I or class II studies to guide treatment decisions. Materials and Methods: A literature search was conducted using PubMed (MEDLINE), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Scopus (EMBASE, MEDLINE, COMPENDEX). The quality of literature was rated according to a grading tool developed by the Center for Evidence-based Medicine. Operative and nonoperative treatment of axis body fractures were compared using fracture bony union as the primary outcome measure. As risk factors for nonunion were not consistently reported, cases were analyzed individually. Results: The literature search identified 62 studies, of which 10 were case reports which were excluded from the analysis. A total of 920 patients from 52 studies were included. The overall bony union rate for all axis body fractures was 91%. Although the majority of fractures were treated nonoperatively, there has been an increasing trend toward operative intervention for Benzel type III (transverse) axis body fractures. Nearly 76% of axis body fractures were classified as type III fractures, of which 88% united successfully. Nearly all Benzel type I and type II axis body fractures were successfully treated nonoperatively. The risk factors for nonunion included: a higher degree of subluxation, fracture displacement, comminution, concurrent injuries, delay in treatment, and older age. Conclusions: High rates for fracture union are reported in the literature for axis body fractures with nonoperative treatment. High-quality prospective studies are required to develop consensus as to which C2 body fractures require operative fixation.



  8. Impact of Inpatient Venous Thromboembolism Continues After Discharge: Retrospective Propensity Scored Analysis in a Longitudinal Database
    imageStudy Design: Propensity score matched retrospective study using a nationwide longitudinal database. Objective: To quantify the longitudinal economic impact of venous thromboembolism (VTE) complications in spinal fusion patients. Summary of Background Data: VTE is a rare and serious complication that may occur after spine surgery. The long-term socioeconomic impact understanding of these events has been limited by small sample sizes and a lack of longitudinal follow-up. We provide a comparative economic outcomes analysis of these complications. Methods: We identified 204,308 patients undergoing spinal fusion procedures in a national billing claims database (MarketScan) between 2006 and 2010. Cohorts were balanced using 50:1 propensity score matching and outcome measures compared at 6, 12, and 18 months postoperation. Results: A total of 1196 (0.6%) patients developed postoperative VTE, predominantly occurring following lumbar fusion (69.7%). Postoperative VTE patients demonstrated an increase in hospital length of stay (7.8 vs. 3.3 d, P<0.001) and a decreased likelihood of being discharged home (71% vs. 85%, P<0.001). A $26,306 increase in total hospital payments (P<0.001) was observed, with a disproportionate increase seen in hospital payments ($22,103, P<0.001), relative to physician payments ($1766, P=0.001). At 6, 12, and 18 months postfusion, increased rates of readmission and follow-up clinic visits were observed. Delayed readmissions were associated with decreased length of stay (3.6 vs. 4.6 d, P<0.001), but increased total payments, averaging at $21,270 per readmission. VTE patients generated greater cumulative outpatient service payments, costing $8075, $11,134, and $13,202 more at 6, 12, and 18 months (P<0.001). Conclusions: VTEs are associated with longer hospitalizations, a decreased likelihood of being discharged home, and overall increases of hospital resource utilization and cost in inpatient and outpatient settings. VTE patients generate greater charges in the outpatient setting and are more likely to become readmitted at 6, 12, and 18 months after surgery, demonstrating a significant socioeconomic impact long after occurrence. Level of Evidence: Level III—therapeutic.



  9. Subsidizing the Sick: How Community Rating Works
    Insurance premium rates have typically been calculated using a variety of rating algorithms. Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated that all individual and small group plans must use the community rating method. This method gives the same insurance rate to all members of a community, with adjustments only being allowed based on age, geography, and tobacco use. This effectively raises rates on low-risk individuals to subsidize high-risk individuals. With President Trump and Congressional Republicans vowing to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this lesser-known but controversial portion of the law may be abolished. This paper will review the various rating methods used by insurance companies in determining premiums.



  10. Minimally Invasive Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy: Freiburg Experience With 34 Patients
    imageStudy Design: Retrospective cohort study. Objective: Assessment of outcome after minimally invasive posterior cervical foraminotomy (MI-PCF). Summary of Background Data: Surgical management of cervical radiculopathy represents a controversial area in spinal surgery. Preferred approaches include both anterior cervical discectomy and posterior cervical foraminotomy (PCF). Numerous studies showed comparable results. Employing PCF eliminates risks associated with anterior approach. PCF as originally described by Spurling and Scoville necessitates extensive stripping of cervical muscles to expose the cervical spine, resulting in muscle injury, impaired muscle function, prolonged postoperative neck pain, and increased use of narcotics. There are only few studies investigating outcome after employing MI-PCF. Materials and Methods: Retrospective review of 34 patients who underwent MI-PCF for presenting complaints, postoperative and follow-up outcome. Results: In the last follow-up the weakness resolved completely in 62.6% of patients, in 4.1% improved and in 16.5% remained unchanged. In the last follow-up 76.7% of patients originally presenting with pain reported complete resolution of pain and 10% reported partial improvement of pain. In total, 23.5% of patients were lost during follow-up as far as pain was concerned. In the last follow-up, 75% of patients achieved relative neck-pain-freedom (Visual Analog Scale≤3) at rest and 62.5% of patients under strain. The mean neck pain on Visual Analog Scale at rest was 2.13 (SD=2.42) and 3.34 (SD=3.01) under strain. In total, 93.8% (n=15) of patients would undergo the same procedure for the same achieved result. Conclusions: Minimally invasive cervical foraminotomy is an effective procedure for decompression of cervical nerve roots regardless the type of the stenosis. Even employing minimally invasive technique still causes neck pain in the long term affecting up to 25% of patients. More randomized control studies are required to clarify the benefits of minimally invasive PCF.


  11. Radiologic and Functional Outcomes in Unstable Thoracolumbar Fractures Treated With Short-segment Pedicle Instrumentation
    imageStudy Design: A retrospective review of radiographs, clinical charts, and health questionnaires of 40 patients. Objective: To evaluate the radiologic and functional results of unstable thoracolumbar fractures treated with short-segment pedicle instrumentation (SSPI). A Summary of Background Data: Although earlier publications report a risk of correction loss or material failure after short-segment fixation in unstable thoracolumbar fractures, more current data suggest that improvements in this technique could offer good clinical and radiologic results. Materials and Methods: We undertook a retrospective review of 40 patients with unstable thoracolumbar fractures treated with SSPI. Radiographs and computed tomogrphic scans were analyzed to determine fracture classification and sagittal plane deformity, estimated by the Cobb method. The rates of final kyphosis and correction loss and their relationship with the Load Sharing Classification (LSC) and the AO classification were analyzed. We reviewed the hospital charts to identify complications and outcomes. At the final follow-up, the Short-Form 36 health survey was carried out to evaluate the functional outcome. The relationship between conditions such as polytrauma, neurological compromise or fracture site, and radiological and functional outcomes was also analyzed. Results: We observed mean values of 5.9 degrees of final follow-up kyphosis and 5.1 degrees of correction loss. One case of material failure was seen. The severity in the LSC or the AO classification, polytrauma, neurological compromise, or fracture site had no relationship with worse radiologic or functional outcomes. Conclusions: SSPI shows good results in fracture reduction, with good functional outcomes despite the loss of correction seen at the final follow-up. Although no investigated variable was found to be predictive of radiographic failure, a trend was identified (P=0.07) that patients with a higher LSC had an increased loss of correction.



  12. Should TLIF be Routinely Used in a 60-Year-Old Man With a Mild Degenerative Spondylolisthesis?
    No abstract available



  13. Minimally Invasive Cervical Pedicle Screw Fixation by a Posterolateral Approach for Acute Cervical Injury
    imageStudy Design: This is a retrospective case series. Objective: To avoid lateral misplacement of midcervical pedicle screws, T.T., one of our authors, developed a method for minimally invasive cervical pedicle screw (MICEPS) fixation by a posterolateral approach. We reviewed our initial experience with this fixation for trauma cases. Summary of Background Data: Excellent clinical results with cervical screws have been reported for trauma cases. Although cervical pedicle screw fixation can be an essential part of reconstruction in spinal disorders, there is also a risk for injury to the vertebral artery. Methods: This study included 56 consecutive patients who received surgery for cervical fractures. We inserted a total of 203 cervical pedicle screws. Nineteen patients were treated by conventional methods. Thirty-seven patients were treated by MICEPS fixation. According to the MICEPS fixation, 12 patients were treated by unilateral fusion, 25 patients by bilateral fusion. All pedicle screws were inserted using spinal navigation system in the both groups. Results: The average surgical time was 217 minutes with the conventional pedicle screw fixation and 165 minutes with the MICEPS fixation (P=0.0014). The average intraoperative bleeding was 560 mL in the conventional fixation and 140 mL in the MICEPS fixation (P<0.0001). Clinically significant screw deviation was significantly lower in the MICEPS fixation group than in the conventional cervical pedicle screw group (P=0.0039). There was not any deep wound infection in both groups. Conclusions: This intramuscular approach allows for horizontal pedicle screw insertion. This technique is probably useful for reducing intraoperative bleeding. In this study, incidence of screw perforation was significantly lower in the MICEPS fixation group than in the conventional cervical pedicle screw group. In particular, neither of the misplaced screws was laterally deviated in the MICEPS group.



  14. Complications, Readmissions, and Revisions for Spine Procedures Performed by Orthopedic Surgeons Versus Neurosurgeons: A Retrospective, Longitudinal Study
    imageStudy Design: Retrospective database analysis. Objective: To examine the impact of training pathway, either neurosurgical or orthopedic, on complications, readmissions, and revisions in spine surgery. Summary of Background Data: Training pathway has been shown to have an impact on outcomes in various surgical subspecialties. Although training pathway has not been shown to have a significant impact on spine surgery outcomes in the perioperative period, long-term results are unknown. Materials and Methods: A retrospective analysis of 197,682 patients receiving 1 of 3 common spine surgeries [lumbar laminectomy, lumbar fusion, and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)] between 2006 and 2010 was conducted. Patient data were obtained from a large claims database. Postoperative adverse effects, all-cause readmission, revision surgery rates, and intermediary payments in these cohorts of patients were compared between spine surgeons with either neurosurgical or orthopedic backgrounds. Results: Patient demographics, hospital-stay characteristics, and medical comorbidities were similar between neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons. The risks of surgical complications, all-cause readmission, and revision surgery were also similar between neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons across all procedure types assessed, with several minor exceptions: neurosurgeons had marginally higher odds of any complication for lumbar fusions [odds ratio (OR) 1.14; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09–1.20] and ACDFs (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.04–1.15). Neurosurgeons also had slightly higher rates of revision surgery for concurrent lumbar laminectomy with fusion (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.08–1.22), and ACDFs (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.14–1.28). No associations between surgeon type and any particular complication were consistently observed for all procedure groups. There were also no associations between surgeon type and 30-day all-cause readmission. Median total intermediary payments were somewhat higher for neurosurgery patients for all procedure groups assessed. Conclusions: Few significant associations between surgeon type and patient outcomes exist in the context of spine surgery. Those which do are small and unlikely to be clinically meaningful. Level of Evidence: Level 3.



  15. Incidental Durotomy in Open Versus Tubular Revision Microdiscectomy: A Retrospective Controlled Study on Incidence, Management, and Outcome
    imageStudy Design: Retrospective case-control study. Objective: To compare the incidence, management, and outcome of incidental durotomy in revision microdiscectomy with open and minimal-access surgery. Summary of Background Data: Incidental durotomy occurs with a variable incidence of 3%–27% in spine surgery. The highest rate occurs in revision microdiscectomy. The intraoperative and postoperative management of dural tears varies in the literature and the definite impact on clinical outcome has to be clarified. Methods: This is a retrospective study of medical records of 135 patients who underwent revision microdiscectomy, divided into 2 subgroups: OPEN (n=82) versus minimal-access surgery (MINI, n=53). Occurrence of intraoperative dural tears, intraoperative and postoperative management of durotomy, and clinical outcomes, according to MacNab criteria, were retrospectively examined. Statistical comparisons for categorical values between groups were accomplished using the 2-tailed Fisher exact test. P-values <0.05 were considered to be statistically significant. Results: The incidence of durotomy in group OPEN was 19.5% (n=16/82) and in group MINI 17.0% (n=9/53) (P=0.822). The majority of durotomies (23/25) were repaired with an absorbable fibrin sealant patch alone. Postoperative cerebrospinal fluid fistula occurred only in 1 case of the OPEN group and was treated with lumbar drainage without the need for a reoperation. Patients with durotomy of the MINI group tended to have better outcome compared with those of the OPEN group without being statistically significant. Conclusions: The incidence of durotomy and postoperative cerebrospinal fluid fistula in lumbar revision microdiscectomy does not significantly differ between minimal-access and standard open procedures. The application of a fibrin sealant patch alone is an effective strategy for dural repair in revision lumbar microdiscectomy.


  16. Preoperative Mental Health is not Predictive of Patient-reported Outcomes Following a Minimally Invasive Lumbar Discectomy
    imageStudy Design: This is a retrospective cohort study. Objective: To determine if preoperative mental health is associated with patient-reported outcomes (PROs) following a minimally invasive lumbar discectomy. Summary of Background Data: PROs are commonly used to quantify a patient’s perceived health status. Recently, mental health has been theorized to directly affect patients’ perception of their disability and pain after spine surgery. Materials and Methods: A registry of patients who underwent a primary, single-level minimally invasive lumbar discectomy was reviewed. The association between preoperative Short-Form Health Survey mental composite score (MCS) and change in PROs [Oswestry Disability Index, back and leg visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores] from preoperative to postoperative (6-week, 12-week, 6-month) timepoints was assessed using multivariate regression controlling for patient demographics and the respective preoperative PRO. Patients in the top and bottom quartiles of preoperative MCS were compared regarding achievement of minimum clinically important difference for each PRO. Results: A total of 110 patients were included in the analysis. Better preoperative mental health was associated with lower preoperative disability and decreased preoperative back VAS (P<0.05 for each). Higher preoperative MCS was also associated with greater improvements in back VAS at 6-weeks postoperatively (P<0.05). There was no association between preoperative MCS and change in any PROs at the 12-week or 6-month postoperative visits. Patients in the bottom quartile of preoperative MCS achieved minimum clinically important difference in all PROs at similar rates to patients in the top quartile of preoperative MCS. Conclusions: Patients with better preoperative mental health scores are more likely to report decreased disability and pain preoperatively. However, preoperative mental health was not predictive of changes in long-term disability or pain. As a result, patients with a wide range of preoperative mental health scores can achieve satisfactory long-term reductions in disability and pain levels after a lumbar discectomy. Level of Evidence: Level IV.



  17. Impact of Anemia and Transfusion on Readmission and Length of Stay After Spinal Surgery: A Single-center Study of 1187 Operations
    imageStudy Design: Retrospective cohort study. Objective: To determine whether receipt of blood transfusion and preoperative anemia are associated with increased rates of 30-day all-cause readmission, and secondarily with a prolonged hospital stay after spinal surgery. Summary of Background Data: Increased focus on health care quality has led to efforts to determine postsurgical readmission rates and predictors of length of postoperative hospital stay. Although there are still no defined outcome measures specific to spinal surgery to which providers are held accountable, efforts to identify appropriate measures and to determine modifiable risk factors to optimize quality are ongoing. Methods: Records from 1187 consecutive spinal surgeries at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in 2010 were retrospectively reviewed and data were collected that described the patient, surgical procedure, hospital course, complications, and readmissions. Presence or absence of transfusion during the surgery and associated hospital course was treated as a binary variable. Multivariate negative binomial regression and logistic regression were used to model length of stay and readmission, respectively. Results: Nearly one fifth (17.8%) of surgeries received transfusions, and the overall readmission rate was 6.1%. After controlling for potential confounders, we found that the presence of a transfusion was associated with a 60% longer hospital stay [adjusted incidence rate ratio=1.60 (1.34–1.91), P<0.001], but was not significantly associated with an increased rate of readmission [adjusted odds ratio=0.81 (0.39–1.70), P=0.582]. Any degree of preoperative anemia was associated with increased length of stay, but only severe anemia was associated with an increased rate of readmission. Conclusions: Both receipt of blood transfusion and any degree of preoperative anemia were associated with increased length of hospital stay after controlling for other variables. Severe anemia, but not receipt of blood transfusion, was associated with increased rate of readmission. Our findings may help define actions to reduce length of stay and decrease rates of readmission.



  18. Comparison of Decompression With and Without Fusion for Patients With Synovial Facet Cysts
    imageStudy Design: This is a retrospective study. Objective: To compare (1) recurrence of radiculopathy and (2) back pain after decompression with and without fusion for patients with a symptomatic synovial cyst. Background: Previous work described favorable outcomes following cyst excision with and without fusion. Because of the association of facet cysts with spinal instability it is hypothesized that a decompression with fusion will lead to better outcomes. However, previous studies present contradicting results. Methods: We included 314 consecutive patients that underwent operative treatment for a facet cyst between 2003 and 2013 at 2 tertiary spine referral centers: 224 (71%) underwent decompression without fusion (35% spondylolisthesis), 90 (29%) underwent decompression with fusion (63% spondylolisthesis). Baseline data were compared between the groups. Bivariate log-rank analysis was used to compare outcomes between groups, followed by multivariable Cox regression analysis accounting for differences in baseline characteristics. Results: Patients undergoing decompression with fusion presented with a higher incidence of back pain (P=0.004) and spondylolisthesis (P<0.001), had more often bilateral decompressions (P<0.001), more facetectomies (P<0.001), and more levels of decompression (P=0.004) than those who underwent decompression alone. We found a difference in recurrence of radiculopathy (no fusion: 25% vs. fusion: 9.4%, P=0.029) in bivariate analysis. However, this difference did not hold when accounting for confounders (hazard ratio, 0.50, 95% confidence interval, 0.19–1.31, P=0.16). There was no difference in recurrence of back pain in bivariate (no fusion: 29% vs. fusion: 22%, P=0.51) and multivariable analysis (hazard ratio 0.51, 95% confidence interval, 0.23–1.14, P=0.10). Conclusions: We found, with the numbers evaluated, no difference in recurrence of radiculopathy or back pain between patients undergoing decompression with or without fusion after accounting for confounders. The decision for fusion should be considered in light of the extent of decompression and the existence of other pathology. Level of Evidence: Level III—therapeutic study.



  19. Posterior or Single-stage Combined Anterior and Posterior Approach Decompression for Treating Complex Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Coincident Multilevel Anterior and Posterior Compression
    imageStudy Design: A single-center, retrospective, longitudinal matched cohort clinical study of prospectively collected outcomes. Objective: To compare retrospectively the clinical outcomes and complications of the posterior approach laminoplasty and single-stage anterior approach laminoplasty combined with anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for treating patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy coincident multilevel anterior and posterior compression, known as complex cervical spondylotic myelopathy (cCSM) here. Summary of Background Data: The optimal surgical management of this type of cCSM remains controversial. Methods: Sixty-seven patients with multilevel cCSM underwent decompression surgery from 1996 to 2007. Among these patients, 31 underwent a single-stage combined approach with decompression (combined approach group) and 36 underwent laminoplasty for posterior approach (posterior approach group). Average operative duration, operative estimated blood loss, surgical costs, and cervical alignment were measured. Results: Average operative duration, operative estimated blood loss, and surgical costs were significantly lower in the posterior approach group than those in the combined approach group (P<0.001). Visual analog scale and modified Japanese Orthopedic Association scale were insignificantly different at each data collection period (P>0.05). No statistical difference was observed in the preoperative Cobb angle (P>0.05), whereas a significant statistical difference was observed for the postoperative Cobb angle (P<0.05) and variation of Cobb angle (P<0.05) between the 2 groups. The surgical incidences of complications were 22.2% and 48.4% in the posterior and combined approach groups (P<0.05), respectively. Conclusions: For treating multilevel cCSM, both the posterior approach laminoplasty and single-stage combined approach led to significant neurological improvement and pain reduction in the majority of patients. Both approaches showed similar results in terms of decompression and neurological improvement. The posterior approach was superior to the combined approach in terms of surgical costs, surgical time, blood loss, and complication rate.



  20. Clinical Outcomes After Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Comparison of Cortical Bone Trajectory and Conventional Pedicle Screw Insertion
    imageStudy Design: This study is a retrospective cohort study using prospectively collected data. Objective: To compare the effectiveness of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using the cortical bone trajectory (CBT) and conventional pedicle screw (PS) techniques. Summary of Background Data: There are few published studies to date comparing PLIF using CBT technique with PLIF using the conventional PS technique. Methods: We studied 119 consecutive patients who underwent single-level PLIF between 2010 and 2014 with a minimum 12-month follow-up. Forty-two patients underwent CBT-PLIF (the CBT group) and 77 underwent conventional PS-PLIF (the PS group). Clinical outcomes were assessed by the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ) and visual analog scale (VAS). To assess perioperative pain, a 6-point Numeric Rating Scale score and the total amount of diclofenac sodium suppositories used were recorded. The operative time and blood loss were recorded. Muscle damage was evaluated by serum creatine kinase concentrations. Fusion status was evaluated using 3-dimensional computed tomography 12 months postoperatively. We used inverse probability of treatment weighting based on the propensity score to reduce confounding factors. Results: There were no significant between-group differences in operative time or fusion rates, whereas the CBT group experienced significantly less blood loss, lower postoperative creatine kinase levels, less diclofenac sodium suppositories, and lower Numeric Rating Scale scores than the PS group did. The change in the JOABPEQ subdomain score for social life function 1 month postoperatively was the only significantly different factor among the JOABPEQ and VAS scores. Conclusions: Both procedures were comparable in terms of clinical outcomes and fusion rates, but CBT-PLIF provided the additional benefits of less blood loss, less intraoperative muscle damage, less perioperative pain, and earlier recovery to normal activities.


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