Publications by authors named "Maxwell Boakye"

153 Publications

Impact of age on mortality and complications in patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis spine fractures.

J Clin Neurosci 2022 Jan 17;95:188-197. Epub 2021 Dec 17.

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Yakima, WA, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to study the impact of age on in-hospital complications and mortality following surgery for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) associated spine fractures.

Methods: We extracted data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database (1998-2018) using ICD-9/10 codes. Patients with a primary diagnosis of AS associated spine fractures who underwent fusion surgery were included. Complications and in-hospital mortality were analyzed.

Results: A total cohort of 8526 patients was identified. Overall, the median age of the cohort was 69 years. AS associated fractures were equally distributed among cervical and thoracolumbar regions. Overall, complications were noted in 48% of patients and pulmonary complications were the most common (32%) followed by renal (13%) and infection (12%). Complications were seen in 57.3% of patients ≥ 70 years of age compared to 38.4% of patients < 70 years of age (p < .0001). Also, 9.9 % of patients ≥ 70 years of age had in-hospital mortality compared to 3.1 % of patients < 70 years of age (p < .0001). Based on surgical approaches, elderly patients (≥70 years) who underwent anterior, posterior, and anterior + posterior approaches had 19.8%, 7.4% and 16.4% in-hospital mortality compared to 5.3%, 2.2% and 7.4% respectively for patients < 70 years.

Conclusions: Elderly patients (≥70 years of age) were 3.2 times more likely to have in-hospital mortality and higher complications compared to younger patients (57% vs. 38%). Cervical compared to thoracolumbar fractures and anterior compared to posterior surgical approaches were associated with higher complications and in-hospital mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2021.11.035DOI Listing
January 2022

Longitudinal Trends and Prevalence of Bowel Management in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury.

Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil 2021 17;27(4):53-67. Epub 2021 Nov 17.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

Neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD) following spinal cord injury (SCI) represents a major source of morbidity, negatively impacting quality of life and overall independence. The long-term changes in bowel care needs are not well-reported, preventing consensus on the natural course and optimal management of NBD following injury. To understand the changes in bowel management needs over time following SCI. A retrospective observational study using the National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database evaluated the degree of independence with bowel management at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation across time (1988-2016). The prevalence and consecutive trajectory of bowel management was also evaluated at discharge and at each 5-year follow-up period, for 25 years. The majority of individuals discharged from inpatient rehabilitation ( = 17,492) required total assistance with bowel management, a trend that significantly increased over time. However, by 5-years post injury, there was a significant shift in bowel management needs from total assistance to modified independence. In those with consecutive 25-year follow-up data ( = 11,131), a similar shift in bowel management to a less dependent strategy occurred even at chronic time points post injury, primarily in individuals with paraplegia and classified as motor and sensory complete. The findings of this study highlight the need for providing continued multipronged interventions (e.g., rehabilitative, educational, psycho-social) at the different stages of SCI to support individuals not only in the immediate years after discharge but also well into the chronic stages after injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.46292/sci21-00008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8604503PMC
December 2021

Spinal cord imaging markers and recovery of standing with epidural stimulation in individuals with clinically motor complete spinal cord injury.

Exp Brain Res 2021 Dec 2. Epub 2021 Dec 2.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) is an intervention to restore motor function in those with severe spinal cord injury (SCI). Spinal cord lesion characteristics assessed via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may contribute to understand motor recovery. This study assessed relationships between standing ability with scES and spared spinal cord tissue characteristics at the lesion site. We hypothesized that the amount of lateral spared cord tissue would be related to independent extension in the ipsilateral lower limb. Eleven individuals with chronic, clinically motor complete SCI underwent spinal cord MRI, and were subsequently implanted with scES. Standing ability and lower limb activation patterns were assessed during an overground standing experiment with scES. This assessment occurred prior to any activity-based intervention with scES. Lesion hyperintensity was segmented from T2 axial images, and template-based analysis was used to estimate spared tissue in anterior, posterior, right, and left spinal cord regions. Regression analysis was used to assess relationships between imaging and standing outcomes. Total volume of spared tissue was related to left (p = 0.007), right (p = 0.005), and bilateral (p = 0.011) lower limb extension. Spared tissue in the left cord region was related to left lower limb extension (p = 0.019). A positive trend (p = 0.138) was also observed between right spared cord tissue and right lower limb extension. In this study, MRI measures of spared spinal cord tissue were significantly related to standing outcomes with scES. These preliminary results warrant future investigation of roles of supraspinal input and MRI-detected spared spinal cord tissue on lower limb motor responsiveness to scES.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00221-021-06272-9DOI Listing
December 2021

Impact of preoperative treatment of osteoporosis on re-operations, complications and health care utilization in patients undergoing thoraco-lumbar spine fusions. A 5-year national database analysis.

J Clin Neurosci 2021 Nov 17;93:122-129. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, 200 Abraham Flexner Hwy, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Identify the impact of preoperative treatment of Osteoporosis (OP) on reoperation rates, complications and healthcare utilization following thoraco-lumbar (TL) spine fusions.

Materials And Methods: We used ICD9/10 and CPT codes to extract data from MarketScan (2000-2018). Patients were divided into two groups based on preoperative treatment of OP within one year prior to the index spinal fusion: medication (m-OP) cohort and non-medication (nm-OP) cohort. Outcomes (re-operation rates, re-admission, complications, healthcare utilization) were analyzed at 1-, 12-, 24- and 60-months.

Results: Of 3606 patients, 65% (n = 2330) of patients did not receive OP medications (nm-OP). At index hospitalization, there were no difference in LOS (median nm-OP: 3 days vs. m-OP:4 days), discharge to home (nm-OP 80% vs. m-OP 75%) and complications (nm-OP 13% vs. m-OP 12%). Reoperation rates were not different among the cohorts at 1- (nm-OP 5.7% vs. m-OP 4.2%), 2- (nm-OP 9.4% vs. m-OP 7.8) and 5 years (nm-OP 16.9% vs. m-OP 14.8%). Patients in m-OP cohort incurred higher overall median payments at 1 year ($17,866 vs. $ 16,010), 2 years ($38,634 vs. $34,454) and 5 years ($94,797 vs. $91,072) compared to nm-OP cohort.

Conclusion: Preoperative treatment of OP had no impact on complications, LOS, discharge disposition following TL fusions at index hospitalization. Similarly, no impact of preoperative treatment was noted in terms of reoperation rates at 12-, 24- and 60 months following the index spine fusion. Patients who received preoperative treatment for OP incurred higher health care utilization at 12-, 24- and 60 months following surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2021.09.024DOI Listing
November 2021

Spine Surgery in the Octogenarian Population: A Comparison of Demographics, Surgical Approach, and Healthcare Utilization With the PearlDiver Database.

Cureus 2021 Apr 19;13(4):e14561. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Medicine, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Yakima, USA.

Background With the recent advances in technology and healthcare, increasing numbers of individuals over the age of 80 will require surgical intervention for spinal pathology. Given the risk of increased complications in the elderly, a limited number of spinal surgeries are performed on octogenarians every year. This makes it difficult to generalize the trends and outcomes of these surgeries to a greater population. This study attempts to understand the trends in the safety profile and healthcare utilization across the United States for octogenarians undergoing spinal fusion and/or decompression surgery for spinal stenosis and/or degenerative disease using the PearlDiver database. Methodology Patients who underwent fusion and/or decompression for stenosis and/or degenerative diseases were extracted using International Classification of Disease ninth and tenth revisions (ICD-9 prior to October 2015, ICD-10 after) from 2007 to 2016 in the PearlDiver database. Three comparative groups were considered: (1) primary fusion without concurrent decompression, (2) primary decompression with concurrent fusion, and (3) fusion with concurrent decompression. Outcomes of interest were patient characteristics, demographics, length of stay, surgery hospitalization payments, and discharge disposition. These outcomes were compared to patients over the age of 20 who also underwent spinal surgery. Results A total of 9,715 patients who underwent spinal surgery were identified in the search. Of the 9,139 patients, 503 were octogenarians and 73 were nonagenarians. Octogenarians and nonagenarians diagnosed with spinal stenosis were more likely to undergo decompression alone rather than fusion or both fusion and decompression (21 for both fusion and decompression; p < 0.0001). Patients diagnosed with both spinal stenosis and degeneration were more likely to undergo both fusion and decompression than fusion or decompression alone (239 for both, 208 for decompression alone, and 23 for fusion alone; p < 0.0001). No statistically significant difference was found in the percentage of patients discharged home following either fusion or decompression or both surgeries (p = 0.0737). The mean length of stay for patients in the 20-79-year age group was 2.79 days, whereas for the octogenarian and nonagenarian cohort it was 3.85 days. The index hospitalization pay for patients in the 20-79-year age group was $19,220, whereas for the octogenarians and nonagenarians cohort it was $15,091. Conclusions Patients over the age of 80 were more likely to undergo either a fusion procedure or a decompression procedure alone rather than both unless they were diagnosed with spinal degeneration. The PearlDiver database analysis indicates that the length of stay for octogenarians and nonagenarians is longer than that for patients in the 20-79-year age group, and that younger patients are more likely to be discharged earlier than patients over the age of 80. Moreover, we observed that the index hospitalization pay was higher for patients over the age of 20 than for octogenarians and nonagenarians in all cases except for a fusion procedure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.14561DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8133513PMC
April 2021

Impact of US hospital center and interhospital transfer on spinal cord injury management: An analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank.

J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2021 06;90(6):1067-1076

From the Department of Neurosurgery (T.W., S.H., M.G., C.I.S., C.R.G., I.O.K., S.L., M.A.-.E.-B.), Duke University School of Medicine; Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (L.Z.Y., H.-.J.L.), Duke University; and Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, Department of Neurosurgery (B.U., M.B.), School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious public health problem. Outcomes are determined by severity of immediate injury, mitigation of secondary downstream effects, and rehabilitation. This study aimed to understand how the center type a patient presents to and whether they are transferred influence management and outcome.

Methods: The National Trauma Data Bank was used to identify patients with SCI. The primary objective was to determine association between center type, transfer, and surgical intervention. A secondary objective was to determine association between center type, transfer, and surgical timing. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit on surgical intervention and timing of the surgery as binary variables, adjusting for relevant clinical and demographic variables.

Results: There were 11,744 incidents of SCI identified. A total of 2,883 patients were transferred to a Level I center and 4,766 presented directly to a level I center. Level I center refers to level I trauma center. Those who were admitted directly to level I centers had a higher odd of receiving a surgery (odds ratio, 1.703; 95% confidence interval, 1.47-1.97; p < 0.001), but there was no significant difference in terms of timing of surgery. Patients transferred into a level I center were also more likely to undergo surgery than those at a level II/III/IV center, although this was not significant (odds ratio, 1.213; 95% confidence interval, 0.099-1.48; p = 0.059).

Conclusion: Patients with traumatic SCI admitted to level I trauma centers were more likely to have surgery, particularly if they were directly admitted to a level I center. This study provides insights into a large US sample and sheds light on opportunities for improving pre hospital care pathways for patients with traumatic SCI, to provide the timely and appropriate care and achieve the best possible outcomes.

Level Of Evidence: Care management, Level IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TA.0000000000003165DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243877PMC
June 2021

Longitudinal Impact of Acute Spinal Cord Injury on Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Riluzole, a Potential Neuroprotective Agent.

J Clin Pharmacol 2021 09 9;61(9):1232-1242. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, Texas, USA.

Riluzole, a benzothiazole sodium channel blocker that received US Food and Drug Administration approval to attenuate neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1995, was found to be safe and potentially efficacious in a spinal cord injury (SCI) population, as evident in a phase I clinical trial. The acute and progressive nature of traumatic SCI and the complexity of secondary injury processes can alter the pharmacokinetics of therapeutics. A 1-compartment with first-order elimination population pharmacokinetic model for riluzole incorporating time-dependent clearance and volume of distribution was developed from combined data of the phase 1 and the ongoing phase 2/3 trials. This change in therapeutic exposure may lead to a biased estimate of the exposure-response relationship when evaluating therapeutic effects. With the developed model, a rational, optimal dosing scheme can be designed with time-dependent modification that preserves the required therapeutic exposure of riluzole.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcph.1876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8457124PMC
September 2021

Burden of preoperative opioid use and its impact on healthcare utilization after primary single level lumbar discectomy.

Spine J 2021 10 17;21(10):1700-1710. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, 200 Abraham Flexner Hwy, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. Electronic address:

Background Context: The complication profile and higher cost of care associated with preoperative opioid use and spinal fusion is well described. However, the burden of opioid use and its impact in patients undergoing lumbar discectomy is not known. Knowledge of this, especially for a relatively benign and predictable procedure will be important in bundled and value-based payment models.

Purpose: To study the burden of pre-operative opioid use and its effect on postoperative healthcare utilization, cost, and opioid use in patients undergoing primary single level lumbar discectomy.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Patient Sample: A 29,745 patients undergoing primary single level lumbar discectomy from the IBM MarketScan (2000-2018) database.

Outcome Measures: Ninety-day and 1-year utilization of lumbar epidural steroid injections, emergency department (ED) services, lumbar magnetic resonance imaging, hospital readmission, and revision lumbar surgery. Continued opioid use beyond 3-months postoperatively until 1-year was also studied. We have reported costs associated with healthcare utilization among opioid groups.

Methods: Patients were categorized in opioid use groups based on the duration and number of oral prescriptions before discectomy (opioid naïve, < 3-months opioid use, chronic preoperative use, chronic preoperative opioid use with 3-month gap before surgery, and other). The risk of association of preoperative opioid use with outcome measures was studied using multivariable logistic regression analysis with adjustment for various demographic and clinical variables.

Results: A total of 29,745 patients with mean age of 45.3±9.6 years were studied. Pre-operatively, 29.0% were opioid naïve, 35.0% had < 3-months use and 12.0% were chronic opioid users. There was a significantly higher rate of post-operative lumbar epidural steroid injections, magnetic resonance imaging , ED visits, readmission and revision surgery within 90-days and 1-year after surgery in chronic pre-operative opioid users as compared with patients with < 3-months use and opioid naïve patients (p<.001). Chronic post-operative opioid use was present in 62.6% of the preoperative chronic opioid users as compared with 5.6% of patients with < 3-months opioid use. A 3-month prescription free period before surgery in chronic pre-operative opioid users cut the incidence of chronic post-operative opioid use by more than half, at 25.7%. Cost of care and adjusted analysis of risk have been described.

Conclusion: Chronic preoperative opioid use was present in 12% of a national cohort of lumbar discectomy patients. Such opioid use was associated with significantly higher post-operative healthcare utilization, risk of revision surgery, and costs at 90-days and 1-year postoperatively. Two-third of chronic preoperative opioid users had continued long-term postoperative opioid use. However, a 3-month prescription free period before surgery in chronic opioid users reduces the risk of long-term postoperative use. This data will be useful for patient education, pre-operative opioid use optimization, and risk-adjustment in value-based payment models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2021.04.013DOI Listing
October 2021

Patterns and Impact of Electronic Health Records-Defined Depression Phenotypes in Spine Surgery.

Neurosurgery 2021 06;89(1):E19-E32

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Yakima, Washington, USA.

Background: Preoperative depression is a risk factor for poor outcomes after spine surgery.

Objective: To understand effects of depression on spine surgery outcomes and healthcare resource utilization.

Methods: Using IBM's MarketScan Database, we identified 52 480 patients who underwent spinal fusion. Retained patients were classified into 6 depression phenotype groups based on International Classification of Disease, 9th/10th Revision (ICD-9/10) codes and use/nonuse of antidepressant medications: major depressive disorder (MDD), other depression (OthDep), antidepressants for other psychiatric condition (PsychRx), antidepressants for physical (nonpsychiatric) condition (NoPsychRx), psychiatric condition only (PsychOnly), and no depression (NoDep). We analyzed baseline demographics, comorbidities, healthcare utilization/payments, and chronic opioid use.

Results: Breakdown of groups in our cohort: MDD (15%), OthDep (12%), PsychRx (13%), NonPsychRx (15%), PsychOnly (12%), and NoDep (33%). Postsurgery: increased outpatient resource utilization, admissions, and medication refills at 1, 2, and 5 yr in the NoDep, PsychOnly, NonPsychRx, PsychRx, and OthDep groups, and highest in MDD. Postoperative opioid usage rates remained unchanged in MDD (44%) and OthDep (36%), and reduced in PsychRx (40%), NonPsychRx (31%), and PsychOnly (20%), with greatest reduction in NoDep (13%). Reoperation rates: 1 yr after index procedure, MDD, OthDep, PsychRx, NonPsychRx, and PsychOnly had more reoperations compared to NoDep, and same at 2 and 5 yr. In NoDep patients, 45% developed new depressive phenotype postsurgery.

Conclusion: EHR-defined classification allowed us to study in depth the effects of depression in spine surgery. This increased understanding of the interplay of mental health will help providers identify cohorts at risk for high complication rates, and health care utilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyab096DOI Listing
June 2021

Clinical Trial Designs for Neuromodulation in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Using Epidural Stimulation.

Neuromodulation 2021 Apr 1;24(3):405-415. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Neurological Surgery, and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.

Study Design: This is a narrative review focused on specific challenges related to adequate controls that arise in neuromodulation clinical trials involving perceptible stimulation and physiological effects of stimulation activation.

Objectives: 1) To present the strengths and limitations of available clinical trial research designs for the testing of epidural stimulation to improve recovery after spinal cord injury. 2) To describe how studies can control for the placebo effects that arise due to surgical implantation, the physical presence of the battery, generator, control interfaces, and rehabilitative activity aimed to promote use-dependent plasticity. 3) To mitigate Hawthorne effects that may occur in clinical trials with intensive supervised participation, including rehabilitation.

Materials And Methods: Focused literature review of neuromodulation clinical trials with integration to the specific context of epidural stimulation for persons with chronic spinal cord injury.

Conclusions: Standard of care control groups fail to control for the multiple effects of knowledge of having undergone surgical procedures, having implanted stimulation systems, and being observed in a clinical trial. The irreducible effects that have been identified as "placebo" require sham controls or comparison groups in which both are implanted with potentially active devices and undergo similar rehabilitative training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ner.13381DOI Listing
April 2021

Long-term impact of abusive head trauma in young children: Outcomes at 5 and 11 years old.

J Pediatr Surg 2021 Dec 19;56(12):2318-2325. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of California, Davis Medical Center, 2335 Stockton Blvd, Room 5107, Sacramento, CA, United States; Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA, United States.

Background: Abusive head trauma (AHT) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among young children. We aimed to evaluate the long-term impact of AHT.

Methods: Using administrative claims from 2000-2018, children <3 years old with documented AHT who had follow-up through ages 5 and 11 years were identified. The primary outcome was incidence of neurodevelopmental disability and the secondary outcome was the effect of age at time of AHT on long-term outcomes.

Results:   1,165 children were identified with follow-up through age 5; 358 also had follow-up through age 11.  The incidence of neurodevelopmental disability was 68.0% (792/1165) at 5 years of age and 81.6% (292/358) at 11 years of age.  The incidence of disability significantly increased for the 358 children followed from 5 to 11 years old (+14.3 percentage points, p<0.0001).  Children <1 year old at the time of AHT were more likely to develop disabilities when compared to 2 year olds.

Conclusions: AHT is associated with significant long-term disability by age 5 and the incidence increased by age 11 years.  There is an association between age at time of AHT and long-term outcomes. Efforts to improve comprehensive follow-up as children continue to age is important.

Level Of Evidence: IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.02.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8374003PMC
December 2021

Preoperative and Postoperative Opioid Dependence in Patients Undergoing Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion for Degenerative Spinal Disorders.

J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2021 May 4;82(3):232-240. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

Background:  Anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a procedure for effectively relieving radiculopathy. Opioids are commonly overprescribed in postsurgical settings and prescriptions vary widely among providers. We identify trends in opioid dependence before and after ACDF.

Methods:  We used the Truven Health MarketScan data to identify adult patients undergoing ACDF for degenerative cervical spine conditions between 2009 and 2015. Patients were segregated in four cohorts of preoperative and postoperative opioid nondependence (ND) or dependence (D) with 15 months of postoperative follow-up.

Results:  A total of 25,403 patients with median age of 52 years (18-92) who underwent ACDF met the inclusion criteria. Breakdown of the four cohorts was as follows: prior nondependent who remain nondependent (NDND): 62.76% ( = 15,944); prior nondependent who become dependent (NDD): 4.6% ( = 1,168); prior dependent who become nondependent (DND): 14.03% ( = 3,564); and prior dependent who remain dependent (DD): 18.61% ( = 4,727). Opioid dependence decreased 9.43% postoperatively. Overall payments and 30-day readmissions increased 1.96 and 1.79 times for opioid dependent versus nondependent cohorts, respectively. Adjusted payments at 3 to 15 months were significantly increased for dependent cohorts with 3.56-fold increase for the DD cohort when compared with the NDND cohort. Length of stay, complications, medication refills, outpatient measures, and hospital admissions were also higher in those groups with postoperative opioid dependence when compared with those who were not opioid dependent.

Conclusions:  Opioid dependence after ACDF is associated with increased hospital readmissions, complication rates at 30 days, and payments within 3 months and 3 to 15 months postdischarge. Overall opioid dependence was decreased after ACDF procedure, however, a smaller number of opioid-dependent and opioid-naive patients became dependent postoperatively and should be followed carefully.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1718759DOI Listing
May 2021

Predictors of volitional motor recovery with epidural stimulation in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

Brain 2021 03;144(2):420-433

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) has enabled volitional lower extremity movements in individuals with chronic and clinically motor complete spinal cord injury and no clinically detectable brain influence. The aim of this study was to understand whether the individuals' neuroanatomical characteristics or positioning of the scES electrode were important factors influencing the extent of initial recovery of lower limb voluntary movements in those with clinically motor complete paralysis. We hypothesized that there would be significant correlations between the number of joints moved during attempts with scES prior to any training interventions and the amount of cervical cord atrophy above the injury, length of post-traumatic myelomalacia and the amount of volume coverage of lumbosacral enlargement by the stimulation electrode array. The clinical and imaging records of 20 individuals with chronic and clinically motor complete spinal cord injury who underwent scES implantation were reviewed and analysed using MRI and X-ray integration, image segmentation and spinal cord volumetric reconstruction techniques. All individuals that participated in the scES study (n = 20) achieved, to some extent, lower extremity voluntary movements post scES implant and prior to any locomotor, voluntary movement or cardiovascular training. The correlation results showed that neither the cross-section area of spinal cord at C3 (n = 19, r = 0.33, P = 0.16) nor the length of severe myelomalacia (n = 18, r = -0.02, P = 0.93) correlated significantly with volitional lower limb movement ability. However, there was a significant, moderate correlation (n = 20, r = 0.59, P = 0.006) between the estimated percentage of the lumbosacral enlargement coverage by the paddle electrode as well as the position of the paddle relative to the maximal lumbosacral enlargement and the conus tip (n = 20, r = 0.50, P = 0.026) with the number of joints moved volitionally. These results suggest that greater coverage of the lumbosacral enlargement by scES may improve motor recovery prior to any training, possibly because of direct modulatory effects on the spinal networks that control lower extremity movements indicating the significant role of motor control at the level of the spinal cord.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa423DOI Listing
March 2021

Tumors in the cauda equina: A SEER analysis of tumor types and predictors of outcome.

J Clin Neurosci 2020 Nov 14;81:227-233. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Neurological Surgery, Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center; University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA.

Caudaequinatumors are histologically diverse. International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O3) confers dedicated site code (C72. 1) for cauda equina. This code is excluded during analyses of other primary spinal cord tumors. In this retrospective study, the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data for primary cauda equina tumors (PCET, C72. 1) excluding the tumors of spinal meninges (C70. 1) from 1992 to 2015 were reviewed. Demographic characteristics, tumor types, and clinical outcomes were analyzed using univariable analysis. Overall survival was estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods and compared for age, histology and treatment type. 293 patients with PCET met inclusion criteria. The most common tumors comprised schwannoma (32%), myxopapillary ependymoma (21%), malignant ependymoma (22%). The median age at diagnosis was 50 years (range < 1 year to 98 years), 57% of patients were males. 77% of the patients underwent surgery. Median follow up time for these patients was 70 months. Of the 293 patients, 250 (85%) were living at the end of 2015. The cause of death was tumor or CNS related in 15 patients. 136 patients were followed for <5 years, of which 102 were censored and 34 died (11.6%) before 5 years. Using univariable analysis, age at diagnosis (Hazard Ratio, HR 1.05; confidence interval, CI 1.03-1.07; p < 0.001), malignant tumor type (HR 2.88, CI 1.15-7.19, p = 0.0239) and absence of surgical intervention (HR 2.54, CI1.26-5.11, p = 0.0092) were predictors of increased mortality. Although most patients did well, older age and lack of surgical intervention were associated with worse survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2020.09.068DOI Listing
November 2020

Spinal Cord Imaging Markers and Recovery of Volitional Leg Movement With Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation in Individuals With Clinically Motor Complete Spinal Cord Injury.

Front Syst Neurosci 2020 21;14:559313. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, United States.

Previous studies have shown that epidural stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord (scES) can re-enable lower limb volitional motor control in individuals with chronic, clinically motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI). This observation entails that residual supraspinal connectivity to the lumbosacral spinal circuitry still persisted after SCI, although it was non-detectable when scES was not provided. In the present study, we aimed at exploring further the mechanisms underlying scES-promoted recovery of volitional lower limb motor control by investigating neuroimaging markers at the spinal cord lesion site magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Spinal cord MRI was collected prior to epidural stimulator implantation in 13 individuals with chronic, clinically motor complete SCI, and the spared tissue of specific regions of the spinal cord (anterior, posterior, right, left, and total cord) was assessed. After epidural stimulator implantation, and prior to any training, volitional motor control was evaluated during left and right lower limb flexion and ankle dorsiflexion attempts. The ability to generate force exertion and movement was not correlated to any neuroimaging marker. On the other hand, spared tissue of specific cord regions significantly and importantly correlated with some aspects of motor control that include activation amplitude of antagonist (negative correlation) muscles during left ankle dorsiflexion, and electromyographic coordination patterns during right lower limb flexion. The fact that amount and location of spared spinal cord tissue at the lesion site were not related to the ability to generate volitional lower limb movements may suggest that supraspinal inputs through spared spinal cord regions that differ across individuals can result in the generation of lower limb volitional motor output prior to any training when epidural stimulation is provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2020.559313DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7654217PMC
October 2020

Impact of Surgical Approaches on Complications, Emergency Room Admissions, and Health Care Utilization in Patients Undergoing Lumbar Fusions for Degenerative Disc Diseases: A MarketScan Database Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2021 01 15;145:e305-e319. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Neurosurgery, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Yakima, Washington, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To identify the impact of different surgical approaches for lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) on complications, reoperations/readmissions, and health care utilization.

Methods: We used International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision and Tenth Revision and Current Procedural Terminology codes to extract data from MarketScan. Patients were divided into 6 groups: single-level anterior only (sA), single-level anterior + posterior (sAP), single-level posterior (sP), multilevel anterior (mA), multilevel anterior + posterior (mAP), and multilevel posterior only (mP). Outcomes of interest were cumulative complication rates, reoperation rates, readmission, and health care utilization at 6, 12, and 24 months.

Results: Of 148,499 patients, 3% had sA fusion and 54% had mP procedures. Patients in the mAP cohort incurred higher cumulative complication rates (21%) compared with sA (13%), sAP (15%), sP (14%), mA (18%), and mP (18%). Emergency room admissions within 30 days were highest in the mA cohort (14%) followed by mAP (11%) and mP (8%). At 12 and 24 months, patients with mA procedures were most likely to have either new fusion or refusion (8% and 12%) followed by sA (7% and 10%), sAP (4% and 7%), mAP (4% and 8%) mP (4% and 7%), and sP (3% and 7%). Compared with the mP cohort, patients in the mA cohort incurred 1.2 times the overall median payments, whereas mAP and sA incurred 1.1 times the payments at 12 months. This difference was further reduced at 24 months.

Conclusions: mAP procedures are associated with higher cumulative complications and health care utilization compared with other procedures and the difference in health care utilization tends to decrease over 12 and 24 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.10.048DOI Listing
January 2021

Rapid high-fidelity contour shaping of titanium mesh implants for cranioplasty defects using patient-specific molds created with low-cost 3D printing: A case series.

Surg Neurol Int 2020 12;11:288. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

Background: Cranioplasty is a neurosurgical procedure to repair skull defects. Sometimes, the patients' bone flap cannot be used for various reasons. Alternatives include a custom polyether ether ketone (PEEK) implant or titanium mesh; both incur an additional cost. We present a technique that uses a 3D printer to create a patient- specific 3D model used to mold a titanium mesh preoperatively.

Case Description: We included three patients whose bone flap could not be used. We collected the patients' demographics, cost, and time data for implants and the 3D printer. The patients' computed tomography DICOM images were used for 3D reconstruction of the cranial defect. A 3D printer (Flashforge, CA) was used to print a custom mold of the defect, which was used to shape the titanium mesh. All patients had excellent cosmetic results with no complications. The time required to print a 3D model was ~ 6 h and 45 min for preoperative shaping of the titanium implant. The intraoperative molding (IOM) of a titanium mesh needed an average of 60 min additional operative room time which incurred $4000. The average cost for PEEK and flat titanium mesh is $12,600 and $6750. Our method resulted in $4000 and $5500 cost reduction in comparison to flat mesh with IOM and PEEK implant.

Conclusion: 3D printing technology can create a custom model to shape a titanium mesh preoperatively for cranioplasty. It can result in excellent cosmetic results and significant cost reduction in comparison to other cranioplasty options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.25259/SNI_482_2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7538793PMC
September 2020

Recombinant Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Use in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Comparative Analysis and Healthcare Utilization at 24 Months' Follow-up.

Global Spine J 2022 Jan 26;12(1):92-101. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

5170University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Objective: Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) is used to achieve fusion in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. Our aim was to investigate the long-term impact of rhBMP-2 use for clinical outcomes and health care utilization in this patient population.

Methods: We conducted an analysis using MarketScan to identify health resource utilization of rhBMP-2 use for ASD after surgical intervention compared to fusion without rhBMP-2 at 24 months' follow-up. Outcomes assessed included length of stay, complications, pseudoarthrosis, reoperation, outpatient services, and health care payments.

Results: Of 7115 patients who underwent surgery for ASD, 854 received rhBMP-2 and 6261 were operated upon without use of rhBMP-2. One month after discharge, the rhBMP-2 cohort had a nonsignificant trend in fewer complications (15.38%) than those who did not receive rhBMP-2 (18.07%), = .0558. At 12 months, pseudoarthrosis was reported in 2.8% of cases with no BMP and 01.14% of cases with BMP, = .0048. Average payments at 12 months were $120 138 for the rhBMP-2 group and $118 373 for the no rhBMP-2 group, = .8228. At 24 months, payments were $141 664 for the rhBMP-2 group and $144 179 for the group that did not receive rhBMP-2, = .5946.

Conclusions: In ASD surgery, use of rhBMP-2 was not associated with increased complications or reoperations at index hospitalization and 1-month follow-up. Overall payments, including index hospitalization, readmissions, reoperations, and outpatient services were not different compared to those without the use of rhBMP-2 at 12 months and 24 months after discharge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568220947377DOI Listing
January 2022

Economics of the Management of Craniospinal Chordoma and Chondrosarcoma and the feasibility of the bundled payment model.

BMC Neurol 2020 Aug 21;20(1):312. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, 220 Abraham Flexner way, Ste.1500, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA.

Background: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created a new reimbursement model "Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI)" which reimburses providers a predetermined payment in advance to cover all possible services rendered within a certain time window. Chordoma and Chondrosarcoma are locally aggressive malignant primary bony tumors. Treatment includes surgical resection and radiotherapy with substantial risk for recurrence which necessitates monitoring and further treatment. We assessed the feasibility of the BPCI model in these neurosurgical diseases.

Methods: We selected patients with chordoma/chondrosarcoma from inpatient admission table using the International Classification of Disease, 9th (ICD-9), and 10th (ICD-10) revision codes. We collected the patients' demographics and insurance type at the index hospitalization. We recorded the following outcomes length of stay, total payment, discharge disposition, and complications for the index hospitalization. For post-discharge, we collected the 30 days and 3/6/12 months inpatient admission, outpatient service, and medication refills. Continuous variables were summarized by means with standard deviations, median with interquartile and full ranges (minimum-maximum); Continuous outcomes were compared by nonparametric Wilcoxson rank-sum test. All tests were 2-sided with a significance level of 0.05. Statistical data analysis was performed in SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute, Inc, Cary, NC).

Results: The population size was 2041 patients which included 1412 patients with cranial (group1), 343 patients with a mobile spine (group 2), and 286 patients with sacrococcygeal (group 3) chordoma and chondrosarcoma. For index hospitalization, the median length of stay (days) was 4, 6, and 7 for groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively (P<.001). The mean payments were ($58,130), ($84,854), and ($82,440), for groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively (P=.02). The complication rates were 30%, 35%, and 43% for groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively (P<.001). Twelve months post-discharge, the hospital readmission rates were 44%, 53%, and 65% for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P<.001). The median payments for this period were ($72,294), ($76,827), and ($101,474), for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P <.001).

Conclusion: The management of craniospinal chordoma and chondrosarcoma is costly and may extend over a prolonged period. The success of BPCI requires a joint effort between insurers and hospitals. Also, it should consider patients' comorbidities, the complexity of the disease. Finally, the adoptionof quality improvement programs by hospitals can help with cost reduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-01850-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7441625PMC
August 2020

Surgical Release of a Dorsal Thoracic Arachnoid Web.

World Neurosurg 2020 11 7;143:289. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Dorsal arachnoid web (DAW) is a rare clinical entity with unknown etiology, and it can mimic other conditions on imaging. We present a surgical video of a patient with DAW that was misdiagnosed as ventral cord herniation. A 35-year-old woman presented with upper back pain and progressive bilateral lower extremity weakness and numbness for a few months. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the thoracic spine (T) showed ventral cord displacement with a syrinx that extended from T2-4. The computed tomography myelogram showed no contrast anterior to the spinal cord. The patient underwent T3-5 laminectomy. Intraoperatively, we found a thoracic DAW and cord displacement with no herniation (Video 1). We performed adhesiolysis to restore the cerebrospinal fluid circulation. On 4-month follow-up, the patient examination had demonstrated progressive improvement of her previous symptoms (weakness, numbness, and urinary retention), and the repeat MRI scan showed a significant reduction in the size of the syrinx. DAW can mimic other pathologies on preoperative imaging, such as ventral cord herniation and arachnoid cyst. The presence of "scalpel sign" and a syrinx on MRI with no arachnoid cyst on myelography support the diagnosis of DAW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.08.011DOI Listing
November 2020

Treadmill-Based Gait Kinematics in the Yucatan Mini Pig.

J Neurotrauma 2020 11 10;37(21):2277-2291. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Department of Neurological Surgery and Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Yucatan miniature pigs (YMPs) are similar to humans in spinal cord size as well as physiological and neuroanatomical features, making them a useful model for human spinal cord injury. However, little is known regarding pig gait kinematics, especially on a treadmill. In this study, 12 healthy YMPs were assessed during bipedal and/or quadrupedal stepping on a treadmill at six speeds (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 km/h). Kinematic parameters, including limb coordination and proximal and distal limb angles, were measured. Findings indicate that YMPs use a lateral sequence footfall pattern across all speeds. Stride and stance durations decreased with increasing speed whereas swing duration showed no significant change. Across all speeds assessed, no significant differences were noted between hindlimb stepping parameters for bipedal or quadrupedal gait with the exception of distal limb angular kinematics. Specifically, significant differences were observed between locomotor tasks during maximum flexion (quadrupedal > bipedal), total excursion (bipedal > quadrupedal), and the phase relationship between the timing of maximum extension between the right and left hindlimbs (bipedal > quadrupedal). Speed also impacted maximum flexion and right-left phase relationships given that significant differences were found between the fastest speed (3.5 km/h) relative to each of the other speeds. This study establishes a methodology for bipedal and quadrupedal treadmill-based kinematic testing in healthy YMPs. The treadmill approach used was effective in recruiting primarily the spinal circuitry responsible for the basic stepping patterns as has been shown in cats. We recommend 2.5 km/h (0.7 m/sec) as a target walking gait for pre-clinical studies using YMPs, which is similar to that used in cats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7050DOI Listing
November 2020

Factors Impacting Outcomes and Health Care Utilization in Osteoporotic Patients Undergoing Lumbar Spine Fusions: A MarketScan Database Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2020 09 22;141:e976-e988. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To identify factors impacting long-term complications, reoperations, readmission rates, and health care utilization in patients with osteoporosis (OP) following lumbar fusions.

Methods: We used International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision, International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision , and Current Procedural Terminology codes to extract data from MarketScan (2000-2016). Patients undergoing lumbar spine fusion were divided into 2 groups based on preoperative diagnosis: OP or non-OP. We used multivariable generalized linear regression models to analyze outcomes of interest (reoperation rates, readmissions, complications, health care utilization) at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months after discharge.

Results: MarketScan identified 116,749 patients who underwent lumbar fusion with ≥24 months of follow-up; 6% had OP. OP patients had a higher incidence of complications (14% vs. 9%); were less likely to be discharged home (77% vs. 86%, P < 0.05); had more new fusions or refusions at 6 months (2.9% vs. 2.1%), 12 months (5% vs. 3.8%), and 24 months (8.5% vs. 7.4%); incurred more outpatient services at 12 months (80 vs. 61) and 24 months (148 vs. 115); and incurred higher overall costs at 12 months ($22,932 vs. $17,017) and 24 months ($48,379 vs. $35,888). Elderly OP patients (>65 years old) who underwent multilevel lumbar fusions had longer hospitalization, had higher complication rates, and incurred lower costs at 6, 12, and 24 months compared with young non-OP patients who underwent single-level lumbar fusion.

Conclusions: Patients of all ages with OP had higher complication rates and required revision surgeries at 6, 12, and 24 months compared with non-OP patients. Elderly OP patients having multilevel lumbar fusions were twice as likely to have complications and lower health care utilization compared with younger non-OP patients who underwent single-level fusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.06.107DOI Listing
September 2020

Rare dorsal thoracic arachnoid web mimics spinal cord herniation on imaging.

Surg Neurol Int 2020 11;11:66. Epub 2020 Apr 11.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

Background: Dorsal arachnoid webs (DAWs) are rare clinical entities that can mimic other conditions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, we present a case of DAW that was misdiagnosed on MR as a ventral cord herniation.

Case Description: A 35-year-old female presented with a 1-year history of lower extremity weakness and numbness. The MRI of the thoracic spine showed ventral cord displacement with syringomyelia. The computed tomography myelogram demonstrated ventral cord herniation. Intraoperatively, the patient had a dorsal thoracic web in the absence of cord herniation. Within 8 postoperative weeks, the patient had improved, and the follow-up MI showed a significant reduction in the syrinx size.

Conclusion: On MR scans, DAWs may look like ventral cord herniation. However, the positive "scalpel sign" and syrinx, the absence of an arachnoid cyst on myelography, and the findings on cine MR help differentiate DAWs from ventral cord herniation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.25259/SNI_98_2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193193PMC
April 2020

Failure of C2-3 anterior arthrodesis for the treatment of atypical Hangman's fractures: A three case series.

Surg Neurol Int 2020 21;11:52. Epub 2020 Mar 21.

Departments of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, Iraq.

Background: Hangman's fractures (HF) are defined by bilateral fractures of pars interarticularis of the axis. Most can be treated with a collar. However, the treatment strategies for atypical HF (AHF) involve the pedicles, are unstable, and require fusion. Here, we present three cases of AHF that failed anterior arthrodesis warranting repeat anterior (one case), and posterior fusions (three cases).

Case Description: One female and two males, ranging from 48 to 69 years of age, presented with AHF. All three were originally treated with C2-3 anterior cervical discectomy/fusion, and all three failed (e.g., resulted in pseudarthrosis/ anterolisthesis/instability). The first patient required a secondary C3 corpectomy/C2-4 arthrodesis, with C1-C4 posterior instrumentation. The latter two patients required secondary C1-C3 posterior fusions. For all three patients, 3-12 months follow-up X-rays confirmed the excellent alignment of the instrumentation and bony fusion.

Conclusion: Anterior arthrodesis can be utilized to treat AHF, but often fail when addressing AHF. All AHF warranted secondary posterior fusions (e.g., C1-C3 two cases; and C1-C4 one case) and a subset may additionally require more extensive anterior fusions (e.g., C2-C4 with corpectomy of C3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.25259/SNI_49_2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7110422PMC
March 2020

National Trends and Factors Predicting Outcomes Following Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Brain Lesions: Nationwide Inpatient Sample Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2020 07 3;139:e88-e97. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a stereotactic-guided technique, which is increasingly being performed for brain lesions. The aim of our study was to report the national trends and factors predicting the clinical outcomes following LITT using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

Methods: We extracted data from 2011-2016 using ICD-9/10 codes. Patients with a primary procedure of LITT were included. Patient demographics, complications, length of hospital stay, discharge disposition, and index-hospitalization charges were analyzed.

Results: A cohort of 1768 patients was identified from the database. Mean length of hospital stay was 3.2 days, 82% of patients were discharged to home, and in-hospitalization cost was $124,225. Complications and mortality were noted in 12.9% and 2.5% of patients following LITT, respectively. Non-Caucasian patients (estimate ratio [ER] 4.26), those with other insurance (compared with commercial, ER: 5.35), 3 and 4+ comorbidity indexes, patients with higher quartile median household income (second, third, and fourth quartile compared with first quartile), and those who underwent nonelective procedures were likely to have higher complications and less likely to be discharged home. Patients with 4+ comorbidity indexes were likely to have longer length of hospital stay (ER 1.39) and higher complications (ER: 7.95) and were less likely to be discharged home (ER: 0.17) and have higher in-hospitalization cost (ER: 1.21).

Conclusions: LITT is increasingly being performed with low complication rates. Non-Caucasian race, higher comorbidity index, noncommercial insurance, and nonelective procedures were predictors of higher complications and being less likely to be discharged home. In-hospitalization charges were higher in patients with higher comorbidity index and those with noncommercial insurance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.03.124DOI Listing
July 2020

Inverse national trends of laser interstitial thermal therapy and open surgical procedures for refractory epilepsy: a Nationwide Inpatient Sample-based propensity score matching analysis.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 04;48(4):E11

Objective: Surgery for medically refractory epilepsy (RE) is an underutilized treatment modality, despite its efficacy. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), which is minimally invasive, is increasingly being utilized for a variety of brain lesions and offers comparable seizure outcomes. The aim of this study was to report the national trends of open surgical procedures for RE with the advent of LITT.

Methods: Data were extracted using the ICD-9/10 codes from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS, 2012-2016) in this retrospective study. Patients with a primary diagnosis of RE who underwent either open surgeries (lobectomy, partial lobectomy, and amygdalohippocampectomy) or LITT were included. Patient demographics, complications, hospital length of stay (LOS), discharge disposition, and index hospitalization costs were analyzed. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to analyze outcomes.

Results: A cohort of 128,525 in-hospital patients with RE was included and 5.5% (n = 7045) of these patients underwent either open surgical procedures (94.3%) or LITT (5.7%). LITT is increasingly being performed at a rate of 1.09 per 1000 epilepsy admissions/year, while open surgical procedures are decreasing at a rate of 10.4/1000 cases/year. The majority of procedures were elective (92%) and were performed at large-bed-size hospitals (86%). All LITT procedures were performed at teaching facilities and the majority were performed in the South (37%) and West (30%) regions. The median LOS was 1 day for the LITT cohort and 4 days for the open cohort. Index hospitalization charges were significantly lower following LITT compared to open procedures ($108,332 for LITT vs $124,012 for open surgery, p < 0.0001). LITT was associated with shorter median LOS, high likelihood of discharge home, and lower median index hospitalization charges compared to open procedures for RE on PSM analysis.

Conclusions: LITT is increasingly being performed in favor of open surgical procedures. LITT is associated with a shorter LOS, a higher likelihood of being discharged home, and lower index hospitalization charges compared to open procedures. LITT is a safe treatment modality in carefully selected patients with RE and offers an opportunity to increase the utilization of surgical treatment in patients who may be opposed to open surgery or have contraindications that preclude open surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.1.FOCUS19935DOI Listing
April 2020

Inverse National Trends in Decompressive Craniectomy versus Endovascular Thrombectomy for Stroke.

World Neurosurg 2020 06 13;138:e642-e651. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Endovascular thrombectomy (ET) for acute large vessel occlusion reduces infarct size, and it should hypothetically decrease the incidence of major ischemic strokes requiring decompressive craniectomy (DC). The aim of this retrospective cohort study is to determine trends in the utilization of ET versus DC for stroke in the United States over a 10-year span.

Methods: We extracted data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample using International Classification of Diseases-9/10 codes from 2006-2016. Patients with a primary diagnosis of stroke were included. Baseline demographics, outcomes, and hospital charges were analyzed.

Results: The study cohort comprised 14,578,654 patients diagnosed with stroke. During the study period, DC and ET were performed in 124,718 and 62,637 patients, respectively. The number of stroke patients who underwent either ET or DC increased by 266% from 2006 to 2016. During that time period, the ET utilization rate increased (0.19% in 2006 to 14.07% in 2016, P < 0.0004), whereas the DC utilization rate decreased (7.07% in 2006 to 6.43% in 2016, P < 0.0001). In 2015, the utilization rate of ET (9.73%) exceeded that of DC (9.67%). ET-treated patients had shorter hospitalization durations (mean 8.8 vs. 16.8 days, P < 0.0001), lower mortality (16.2% vs. 19.3%), higher likelihood of discharge home (27.1% vs. 24.1%, P < 0.0001), and reduced hospital charges (mean $189,724 vs. $261,314, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: We identified an inverse relationship between national trends in rising ET and diminishing DC utilization for stroke treatment over a recent decade. Although direct causation cannot be inferred, our findings suggest that ET curtails the necessity for DC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.03.022DOI Listing
June 2020

Impact of Surgical Timing and Approaches to Health Care Utilization in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Acute Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.

Cureus 2019 Nov 15;11(11):e6166. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Neurosurgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, USA.

Objective Acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (AcSCI) causes significant morbidity and has an impact on health care utilization. The aim of our study was to analyze health care utilization in patients undergoing surgical decompression and fusion for AcSCI based on timing and type of surgical approaches.  Patient and methods Data were extracted using ICD9/10 and CPT codes from MarketScan (IBM Corp. Armonk, New York [v. 2000-2015]). We defined the comparative groups based on the timing of surgery (early <24 hours and late >24 hours) and surgical approaches: anterior, posterior and circumferential. Outcomes of interest were: length of hospital stay, discharge disposition and health care utilization in the index hospitalization, within 30 days after discharge and 12 months following injury. Results Of 1604 patients, 80.9% had early procedures and 55.7% of these had anterior-only procedures. Overall, the median age was 46 years in the early surgery group and 47 years in the late surgery group. Patients in the early surgical group incurred higher outpatient services and there was no difference in cumulative median payments (index + 12 months) across the cohorts (early: $127,379, late: $121,049). The incidence of repeat surgery at the index level did not differ based on the timing of surgery (early 5% vs. late 7%). Complications were higher in the circumferential surgery cohort irrespective of the timing of surgery. Overall, combined median payment (index hospitalization + 12 months) was significantly higher for early circumferential cohorts compared to the anterior or posterior-only cohort ($195,990 and $109,977 vs. $121,236 respectively). Conclusion Late (>24 hours) surgeries were associated with a higher likelihood to be discharged home, lower utilization of outpatient services, higher hospital readmissions and no differences in payments (index and cumulative) compared to early surgeries. Circumferential approaches were associated with higher complication rates, lesser likelihood to be discharged home, higher utilization of outpatient services compared to anterior-only approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913951PMC
November 2019

A Two-decade Assessment of Changing Practice for Surgical Decompression and Fixation after Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury - Impact on Healthcare Utilization and Cost.

Cureus 2019 Nov 14;11(11):e6156. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Neurosurgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, USA.

Early surgery after traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) has been associated with a greater neurological recovery and reduced secondary complications. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the trend of early TSCI surgery (within 24 hours) over two decades and the effect on length of hospitalization, complications, and hospital charges. We extracted emergency admissions of adults diagnosed with TSCI from the National Inpatient Sample database (1998-2016). We analyzed the trend of early surgery and concurrent trends of complication rate, length of stay (LOS) and hospital charges. These outcomes were then compared between early and late surgery cohorts. There were 3942 (53%) TSCI patients who underwent early surgery, and 3446 (47%) were operated after 24 hours. The combined patient group characteristics consisted of median age 43 years (IQR: 29-59), 73% males, 72% white, 44% private payer, 18% Medicare, 17% Medicaid, 51% cervical, 30% thoracic, 75% from large hospitals, and 79% from teaching hospitals. The trend of early surgery, adjusted for annual case-mix, increased from 45% in 1998 to 64% in 2016. Each year was associated with 1.60% more patients undergoing early surgery than the previous year (-value <0.05). During these years, the total LOS decreased, while hospital charges increased. Patients who underwent early surgery spent four fewer days in the hospital, accrued $28,705 lower in hospital charges and had 2.8% fewer complications than those with delay surgery. We found that the rate of early surgery has significantly increased from 1998 to 2016. However, as of 2016, one-third of patients still did not undergo spinal surgery within 24 hours. Late surgery is associated with higher complications, longer stays, and higher charges. The causes of delayed surgery are undoubtedly justified in some situations but require further delineation. Surgeons should consider performing surgery within 24 hours on patients with TSCI whenever feasible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6156DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913978PMC
November 2019
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