Publications by authors named "Michael P Steinmetz"

190 Publications

Assessment of L5-S1 anterior lumbar interbody fusion stability in the setting of lengthening posterior instrumentation constructs: a cadaveric biomechanical study.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Dec 17:1-9. Epub 2021 Dec 17.

1Center for Spine Health, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland.

Objective: Excessive stress and motion at the L5-S1 level can lead to degenerative changes, especially in patients with posterior instrumentation suprajacent to L5. Attention has turned to utilization of L5-S1 anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) to stabilize the lumbosacral junction. However, questions remain regarding the effectiveness of stand-alone ALIF in the setting of prior posterior instrumented fusions terminating at L5. The purpose of this study was to assess the biomechanical stability of an L5-S1 ALIF with increasing lengths of posterior thoracolumbar constructs.

Methods: Seven human cadaveric spines (T9-sacrum) were instrumented with pedicle screws from T10 to L5 and mounted to a 6 degrees-of-freedom robot. Posterior fusion construct lengths (T10-L5, T12-L5, L2-5, and L4-5) were instrumented to each specimen, and torque-fusion level relationships were determined for each construct in flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending. A stand-alone L5-S1 ALIF was then instrumented, and L5-S1 motion was measured as increasing pure moments (2 to 12 Nm) were applied. Motion reduction was calculated by comparing L5-S1 motion across the ALIF and non-ALIF states.

Results: The average motion at L5-S1 in axial rotation, flexion-extension, and lateral bending was assessed for each fusion construct with and without ALIF. After adding ALIF to a posterior fusion, L5-S1 motion was significantly reduced relative to the non-ALIF state in all but one fused surgical condition (p < 0.05). Longer fusions with ALIF produced larger L5-S1 motions, and in some cases resulted in motions higher than native state motion.

Conclusions: Posterior fusion constructs up to L4-5 could be appropriately stabilized by a stand-alone L5-S1 ALIF when using a nominal threshold of 80% reduction in native motion as a potential positive indicator of fusion. The results of this study allow conclusions to be drawn from a biomechanical standpoint; however, the clinical implications of these data are not well defined. These findings, when taken in appropriate clinical context, can be used to better guide clinicians seeking to treat L5-S1 pathology in patients with prior posterior thoracolumbar constructs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.9.SPINE21821DOI Listing
December 2021

Percutaneous image-guided cryoablation of spinal metastases: A systematic review.

J Clin Neurosci 2021 Nov 25. Epub 2021 Nov 25.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, United States.

Percutaneous cryoablation (PCA) is a minimally invasive technique that has been recently used to treat spinal metastases with a paucity of data currently available in the literature. A systematic review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Prospective or retrospective studies concerning metastatic spinal neoplasms treated with current generation PCA systems and with available data on safety and clinical outcomes were included. In the 8 included studies (7 retrospective, 1 prospective), a total of 148 patients (females = 63%) underwent spinal PCA. Tumors were located in the cervical (3/109 [2.8%], thoracic (74/109 [68.8%], lumbar (37/109 [33.9%], and sacrococcygeal (17/109 [15.6%] regions. Overall, 187 metastatic spinal lesions were treated. Thermo-protective measures (e.g., carbo-/hydro-dissection, thermocouples) were used in 115/187 [61.5%] procedures. For metastatic spinal tumors, the pooled mean difference (MD) in pain scores from baseline on the 0-10 numeric rating scale was 5.03 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.24 to 5.82) at a 1-month follow-up and 4.61 (95% CI: 3.27 to 5.95) at the last reported follow-up (range 24-40 weeks in 3/4 studies). Local tumor control rates ranged widely from 60% to 100% at varying follow-ups. Grade I-II complications were reported in 9/148 [6.1%] patients and grade III-V complications were reported in 3/148 [2.0%]) patients. PCA, as a stand-alone or adjunct modality, may be a viable therapy in appropriately selected patients with painful spinal metastases who were traditionally managed with open surgery and/or radiation therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2021.11.008DOI Listing
November 2021

Patient complaints in the postoperative period following spine surgery.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Oct 15:1-8. Epub 2021 Oct 15.

2Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.

Objective: Patient complaints are associated with a number of surgical and medical outcomes. Despite high rates of patient complaints regarding spine surgeons and efforts to study patient complaints across medicine and surgery, few studies have analyzed the complaints of patients undergoing spinal surgery. The authors present a retrospective analysis that, to their knowledge, is the first study to directly investigate the complaints of spine surgery patients in the postoperative period.

Methods: Institutional records were reviewed over a 5-year period (2015-2019) to identify patients who underwent spine surgery and submitted a complaint to the institution's ombudsman's office within 1 year of their surgery. A control group, comprising patients who underwent spine surgery without filing a complaint, was matched to the group that filed complaints by admission diagnosis and procedure codes through propensity score matching. Patient demographic and clinical data were obtained by medical record review and compared between the two groups. Patient complaints were reviewed and categorized using a previously established taxonomy.

Results: A total of 52 patients were identified who submitted a complaint after their spine surgery. There were 56 total complaints identified (4 patients submitted 2 each) that reported on 82 specific issues. Patient complaints were most often related to the quality of care received and communication breakdown between the healthcare team and the patient. Patients who submitted complaints were more likely to be Black or African American, have worse baseline health status, and have had prior spine surgery. After their surgery, these patients were also more likely to have longer hospital stays, experience postoperative complications, and require reoperation.

Conclusions: Complaints were most often related to the quality of care received and communication breakdown. A number of patient-level demographic and clinical characteristics were associated with an increased likelihood of a complaint being filed after spine surgery, and patients who filed complaints were more likely to experience postoperative complications. Improving communication with patients could play a key role in working to address and reduce postoperative complaints. Further study is needed to better understand patient complaints after spine surgery and investigate ways to optimize the care of patients with risks for postoperative complaints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.6.SPINE21637DOI Listing
October 2021

Evaluating stability of the craniovertebral junction after unilateral C1 lateral mass resection: implications for the direct lateral approach.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Oct 1:1-7. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic.

Objective: The direct lateral approach is an alternative to the transoral or endonasal approaches to ventral epidural lesions at the lower craniocervical junction. In this study, the authors performed, to their knowledge, the first in vitro biomechanical evaluation of the craniovertebral junction after sequential unilateral C1 lateral mass resection. The authors hypothesized that partial resection of the lateral mass would not result in a significant increase in range of motion (ROM) and may not require internal stabilization.

Methods: The authors performed multidirectional in vitro ROM testing using a robotic spine testing system on 8 fresh cadaveric specimens. We evaluated ROM in 3 primary movements (axial rotation [AR], flexion/extension [FE], and lateral bending [LB]) and 4 coupled movements (AR+E, AR+F, LB + left AR, and LB + right AR). Testing was performed in the intact state, after C1 hemilaminectomy, and after sequential 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% C1 lateral mass resection.

Results: There were no significant increases in occipital bone (Oc)-C1, C1-2, or Oc-C2 ROM after C1 hemilaminectomy and 25% lateral mass resection. After 50% resection, Oc-C1 AR ROM increased by 54.4% (p = 0.002), Oc LB ROM increased by 47.8% (p = 0.010), and Oc-C1 AR+E ROM increased by 65.8% (p < 0.001). Oc-C2 FE ROM increased by 7.2% (p = 0.016) after 50% resection; 75% and 100% lateral mass resection resulted in further increases in ROM.

Conclusions: In this cadaveric biomechanical study, the authors found that unilateral C1 hemilaminectomy and 25% resection of the C1 lateral mass did not result in significant biomechanical instability at the occipitocervical junction, and 50% resection led to significant increases in Oc-C2 ROM. This is the first biomechanical study of lateral mass resection, and future studies can serve to validate these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.4.SPINE21226DOI Listing
October 2021

Do-It-Yourself Augmented Reality Heads-Up Display (DIY AR-HUD): A Technical Note.

Int J Spine Surg 2021 Aug 15;15(4):826-833. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Neurosurgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: We present a "Do-It-Yourself" method to build an affordable augmented reality heads-up display system (AR-HUD) capable of displaying intraoperative images. All components are commercially available products, which the surgeons may use in their own practice for educational and research purposes.

Methods: Moverio BT 35-E smart glasses were connected to operating room imaging modalities (ie, fluoroscopy and 3D navigation platforms) via a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) converter, allowing for continuous high-definition video transmission. The addition of an HDMI transmitter-receiver makes the AR-HUD system wireless.

Results: We used our AR-HUD system in 3 patients undergoing instrumented spinal fusion. AR-HUD projected fluoroscopy images onto the surgical field, eliminating shift of surgeon focus and procedure interruption, with only a 40- to 100-ms delay in transmission, which was not clinically impactful.

Conclusions: An affordable AR-HUD capable of displaying real-time information into the surgeon's view can be easily designed, built, and tested in surgical practice. As wearable heads-up display technology continues to evolve rapidly, individual components presented here may be substituted to improve its functionality and usability. Surgeons are in a unique position to conduct clinical testing in the operating room environment to optimize the augmented reality system for surgical use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14444/8106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8375690PMC
August 2021

The change in postoperative opioid prescribing after lumbar decompression surgery following state-level opioid prescribing reform.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Jul 9:1-9. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

1Center for Spine Health, Neurological Institute, and.

Objective: On August 31, 2017, the state of Ohio implemented legislation limiting the dosage and duration of opioid prescriptions. Despite the widespread adoption of such restrictions, few studies have investigated the effects of these reforms on opioid prescribing and patient outcomes. In the present study, the authors aimed to evaluate the effect of recent state-level reform on opioid prescribing, patient-reported outcomes (PROs), and postoperative emergency department (ED) visits and hospital readmissions after elective lumbar decompression surgery.

Methods: This study was a retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent elective lumbar laminectomy for degenerative disease at one of 5 hospitals within a single health system in the years prior to and after the implementation of the statewide reform (September 1, 2016-August 31, 2018). Patients were classified according to the timing of their surgery relative to implementation of the prescribing reform: before reform (September 1, 2016-August 31, 2017) or after reform (September 1, 2017- August 31, 2018). The outcomes of interest included total outpatient opioids prescribed in the 90 days following discharge from surgery as measured in morphine-equivalent doses (MEDs), total number of opioid refill prescriptions written, patient-reported pain at the first postoperative outpatient visit as measured by the Numeric Pain Rating Scale, improvement in patient-reported health-related quality of life as measured by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System-Global Health (PROMIS-GH) questionnaire, and ED visits or hospital readmissions within 90 days of surgery.

Results: A total of 1031 patients met the inclusion criteria for the study, with 469 and 562 in the before- and after-reform groups, respectively. After-reform patients received 26% (95% CI 19%-32%) fewer MEDs in the 90 days following discharge compared with the before-reform patients. No significant differences were observed in the overall number of opioid prescriptions written, PROs, or postoperative ED or hospital readmissions within 90 days in the year after the implementation of the prescribing reform.

Conclusions: Patients undergoing surgery in the year after the implementation of a state-level opioid prescribing reform received significantly fewer MEDs while reporting no change in the total number of opioid prescriptions, PROs, or postoperative ED visits or hospital readmissions. These results demonstrate that state-level reforms placing reasonable limits on opioid prescriptions written for acute pain may decrease patient opioid exposure without negatively impacting patient outcomes after lumbar decompression surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.11.SPINE201046DOI Listing
July 2021

Osteobiologics.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2021 06;21(Suppl 1):S2-S9

Center for Spine Health, Department of Neurosurgery, Neurologic Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Background: Osteobiologics are engineered materials that facilitate bone healing and have been increasingly used in spine surgery. Autologous iliac crest bone grafts have been used historically, but morbidity associated with graft harvesting has led surgeons to seek alternative solutions. Allograft bone, biomaterial scaffolds, growth factors, and stem cells have been explored as bone graft substitutes and supplements.

Objective: To review current and emerging osteobiologic technologies.

Methods: A literature review of English-language studies was performed in PubMed. Search terms included combinations of "spine," "fusion," "osteobiologics," "autologous," "allogen(e)ic," "graft," "scaffold," "bone morphogenic protein," and "stem cells."

Results: Evidence supports allograft bone as an autologous bone supplement or replacement in scenarios where minimal autologous bone is available. There are promising data on ceramics and P-15; however, comparative human trials remain scarce. Growth factors, including recombinant human bone morphogenic proteins (rhBMPs) 2 and 7, have been explored in humans after successful animal trials. Evidence continues to support the use of rhBMP-2 in lumbar fusion in patient populations with poor bone quality or revision surgery, while there is limited evidence for rhBMP-7. Stem cells have been incredibly promising in promoting fusion in animal models, but human trials to this point have only involved products with questionable stem cell content, thereby limiting possible conclusions.

Conclusion: Engineered stem cells that overexpress osteoinductive factors are likely the future of spine fusion, but issues with applying viral vector-transduced stem cells in humans have limited progress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ons/opaa383DOI Listing
June 2021

Identifying treatment patterns in patients with Bertolotti syndrome: an elusive cause of chronic low back pain.

Spine J 2021 09 16;21(9):1497-1503. Epub 2021 May 16.

Center for Spine Health, Department of Neurosurgery, Neurologic Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Av, Suite S40, Cleveland, OH, 44195, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Background Context: Bertolotti Syndrome is a diagnosis given to patients with lower back pain arising from a lumbosacral transitional vertebra (LSTV). These patients can experience symptomatology similar to common degenerative diseases of the spine, making Bertolotti Syndrome difficult to diagnose with clinical presentation alone. Castellvi classified the LSTV seen in this condition and specifically in types IIa and IIb, a "pseudoarticulation" is present between the fifth lumbar transverse process and the sacral ala, resulting in a semi-mobile joint with cartilaginous surfaces.Treatment outcomes for Bertolotti Syndrome are poorly understood but can involve diagnostic and therapeutic injections and ultimately surgical resection of the pseudoarticulation (pseudoarthrectomy) or fusion of surrounding segments.

Purpose: To examine spine and regional injection patterns and clinical outcomes for patients with diagnosed and undiagnosed Bertolotti Syndrome.

Design: Retrospective observational cohort study of patients seen at a single institution's tertiary spine center over a 10-year period.

Patient Sample: Cohort consisted of 67 patients with an identified or unidentified LSTV who were provided injections or surgery for symptoms related to their chronic low back pain and radiculopathy.

Outcome Measures: Self-reported clinical improvement following injections and pseudoarthrectomy.

Methods: Patient charts were reviewed. Identification of a type II LSTV was confirmed through provider notes and imaging. Variables collected included demographics, injection history and outcomes, and surgical history for those who underwent pseudoarthrectomy.

Results: A total of 22 out of 67 patients (33%) had an LSTV that was not identified by their provider. Diagnosed patients underwent fewer injections for their symptoms than those whose LSTV was never previously identified (p = 0.031). Only those diagnosed received an injection at the LSTV pseudoarticulation, which demonstrated significant symptomatic improvement at immediate follow up compared to all other injection types (p = 0.002). Patients who responded well to pseudoarticulation injections were offered a pseudoarthrectomy, which was more likely to result in symptom relief at most recent follow up than patients who underwent further injections without surgery (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Undiagnosed patients are subject to a higher quantity of injections at locations less likely to provide relief than pseudoarticulation injections. These patients in turn cannot be offered a pseudoarthrectomy which can result in significant relief compared to continued injections alone. Proper and timely identification of an LSTV dramatically alters the clinical course of these patients as they can only be offered treatment directed towards the LSTV once it is identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2021.05.008DOI Listing
September 2021

Predictors of Operative Duration and Complications in Single-Level Posterior Interbody Fusions for Degenerative Spondylolisthesis.

World Neurosurg 2021 07 18;151:e317-e323. Epub 2021 Apr 18.

Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Background: The goal of this study was to identify predictors of prolonged operative time (OT) in patients receiving posterior/transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (P/TLIF) and examine the relationship between prolonged OT and perioperative outcomes in this population.

Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for patients undergoing single-level P/TLIF (Common Procedural Terminology code) between 2012 and 2018. Multivariable linear regression models were constructed to identify factors independently associated with changes in OT and examine the relationship between prolonged OT and perioperative outcomes (overall complications, surgical complications, medical complications, 30-day readmission, 30-day reoperation, and length of stay). All models were adjusted for sociodemographic variables, comorbidities, and procedure-specific variables.

Results: Our cohort included 6260 patients. After adjusting for baseline covariates, age between 19 and 39 years increased OT by 15.14 minutes, male sex increased OT by 12.91 minutes, African American race increased OT by 17.82 minutes, other race increased OT by 18.13 minutes, obesity class III increased OT by 27.80 minutes, and the use of navigation increased OT by 10.83 minutes. Our multivariate logistic regression also found that after 2 hours, each additional hour of OT was associated with an increased risk of any complication (3-3.99 hours, odds ratio [OR], 1.68; 4-4.99 hours, OR, 2.33; and >5 hours, OR, 4.65). Incremental increases in OT were also associated with an increased risk of extended length of stay, readmission, and return to the operating room.

Conclusions: The results of this study highlight several factors associated with prolonged OT and underscore its association with poorer perioperative outcomes. These data can be used to risk stratify patients before single-level P/TLIF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2021.04.034DOI Listing
July 2021

Late-week surgery and discharge to specialty care associated with higher costs and longer lengths of stay after elective lumbar laminectomy.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Apr 6:1-7. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

2Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland; and.

Objective: In a healthcare landscape in which costs increasingly matter, the authors sought to distinguish among the clinical and nonclinical drivers of patient length of stay (LOS) in the hospital following elective lumbar laminectomy-a common spinal surgery that may be reimbursed using bundled payments-and to understand their relationships with patient outcomes and costs.

Methods: Patients ≥ 18 years of age undergoing laminectomy surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis within the Cleveland Clinic health system between March 1, 2016, and February 1, 2019, were included in this analysis. Generalized linear modeling was used to assess the relationships between the day of surgery, patient discharge disposition, and hospital LOS, while adjusting for underlying patient health risks and other nonclinical factors, including the hospital surgery site and health insurance.

Results: A total of 1359 eligible patients were included in the authors' analysis. The mean LOS ranged between 2.01 and 2.47 days for Monday and Friday cases, respectively. The LOS was also notably longer for patients who were ultimately discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or rehabilitation center. A prolonged LOS occurring later in the week was not associated with greater underlying health risks, yet it nevertheless resulted in greater costs of care: the average total surgical costs for lumbar laminectomy were 20% greater for Friday cases than for Monday cases, and 24% greater for late-week cases than for early-week cases ultimately transferred to SNFs or rehabilitation centers. A Poisson generalized linear model fit the data best and showed that the comorbidity burden, surgery at a tertiary care center versus a community hospital, and the incidence of any postoperative complication were associated with significantly longer hospital stays. Discharge to home healthcare, SNFs, or rehabilitation centers, and late-week surgery were significant nonclinical predictors of LOS prolongation, even after adjusting for underlying patient health risks and insurance, with LOSs that were, for instance, 1.55 and 1.61 times longer for patients undergoing their procedure on Thursday and Friday compared to Monday, respectively.

Conclusions: Late-week surgeries are associated with a prolonged LOS, particularly when discharge is to an SNF or rehabilitation center. These findings point to opportunities to lower costs and improve outcomes associated with elective surgical care. Interventions to optimize surgical scheduling and perioperative care coordination could help reduce prolonged LOSs, lower costs, and, ultimately, give service line management personnel greater flexibility over how to use existing resources as they remain ahead of healthcare reforms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.11.SPINE201403DOI Listing
April 2021

Key drivers of patient satisfaction with spine surgeons in the outpatient setting.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Mar 19:1-8. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

1Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic.

Objective: The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) was developed as a result of the value-based purchasing initiative by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It allows patients to rate their experience with their provider in the outpatient setting. These ratings are then reported in aggregate and made publicly available, allowing patients to make informed choices during physician selection. In this study, the authors sought to elucidate the primary drivers of patient satisfaction in the office-based spine surgery setting as represented by the CG-CAHPS.

Methods: All patients who underwent lumbar spine surgery between 2009 and 2017 and completed a patient experience survey were studied. The satisfied group comprised patients who selected a top-box score (9 or 10) for overall provider rating (OPR) on the CG-CAHPS, while the unsatisfied group comprised the remaining patients. Demographic and surgical characteristics were compared using the chi-square test for categorical variables and the Student t-test for continuous variables. A multivariable logistic regression model was developed to analyze the association of patient and surgeon characteristics with OPR. Survey items were then added to the baseline model individually, adjusting for covariates.

Results: The study population included 647 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery. Of these patients, 564 (87%) selected an OPR of 9 or 10 on the CG-CAHPS and were included in the satisfied group. Patient characteristics were similar between the two groups. The two groups did not differ significantly regarding patient-reported health status measures. After adjusting for potential confounders, the following survey items were associated with the greatest odds of selecting a top-box OPR: did this provider show respect for what you had to say? (OR 21.26, 95% CI 9.98-48.10); and did this provider seem to know the important information about your medical history? (OR 20.93, 95% CI 11.96-45.50).

Conclusions: The present study sought to identify the key drivers of patient satisfaction in the postoperative office-based spine surgery setting and found several important associations. After adjusting for potential confounders, several items relating to physician communication were found to be the strongest predictors of patient satisfaction. This highlights the importance of effective communication in the patient-provider interaction and elucidates avenues for quality improvement efforts in the spine care setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.9.SPINE201292DOI Listing
March 2021

Effect of Ventral vs Dorsal Spinal Surgery on Patient-Reported Physical Functioning in Patients With Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2021 03;325(10):942-951

Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.

Importance: Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction worldwide. It remains unknown whether a ventral or dorsal surgical approach provides the best results.

Objective: To determine whether a ventral surgical approach compared with a dorsal surgical approach for treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy improves patient-reported physical functioning at 1 year.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Randomized clinical trial of patients aged 45 to 80 years with multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy enrolled at 15 large North American hospitals from April 1, 2014, to March 30, 2018; final follow-up was April 15, 2020.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to undergo ventral surgery (n = 63) or dorsal surgery (n = 100). Ventral surgery involved anterior cervical disk removal and instrumented fusion. Dorsal surgery involved laminectomy with instrumented fusion or open-door laminoplasty. Type of dorsal surgery (fusion or laminoplasty) was at surgeon's discretion.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was 1-year change in the Short Form 36 physical component summary (SF-36 PCS) score (range, 0 [worst] to 100 [best]; minimum clinically important difference = 5). Secondary outcomes included 1-year change in modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale score, complications, work status, sagittal vertical axis, health resource utilization, and 1- and 2-year changes in the Neck Disability Index and the EuroQol 5 Dimensions score.

Results: Among 163 patients who were randomized (mean age, 62 years; 80 [49%] women), 155 (95%) completed the trial at 1 year (80% at 2 years). All patients had surgery, but 5 patients did not receive their allocated surgery (ventral: n = 1; dorsal: n = 4). One-year SF-36 PCS mean improvement was not significantly different between ventral surgery (5.9 points) and dorsal surgery (6.2 points) (estimated mean difference, 0.3; 95% CI, -2.6 to 3.1; P = .86). Of 7 prespecified secondary outcomes, 6 showed no significant difference. Rates of complications in the ventral and dorsal surgery groups, respectively, were 48% vs 24% (difference, 24%; 95% CI, 8.7%-38.5%; P = .002) and included dysphagia (41% vs 0%), new neurological deficit (2% vs 9%), reoperations (6% vs 4%), and readmissions within 30 days (0% vs 7%).

Conclusions And Relevance: Among patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy undergoing cervical spinal surgery, a ventral surgical approach did not significantly improve patient-reported physical functioning at 1 year compared with outcomes after a dorsal surgical approach.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02076113.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.1233DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944378PMC
March 2021

Patient-specific prediction model for clinical and quality-of-life outcomes after lumbar spine surgery.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Jan 29;34(4):580-588. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

2Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland.

Objective: Patient demographics, comorbidities, and baseline quality of life (QOL) are major contributors to postoperative outcomes. The frequency and cost of lumbar spine surgery has been increasing, with controversy revolving around optimal management strategies and outcome predictors. The goal of this study was to generate predictive nomograms and a clinical calculator for postoperative clinical and QOL outcomes following lumbar spine surgery for degenerative disease.

Methods: Patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery for degenerative disease at a single tertiary care institution between June 2009 and December 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Nomograms and an online calculator were modeled based on patient demographics, comorbidities, presenting symptoms and duration of symptoms, indication for surgery, type and levels of surgery, and baseline preoperative QOL scores. Outcomes included postoperative emergency department (ED) visit or readmission within 30 days, reoperation within 90 days, and 1-year changes in the EuroQOL-5D (EQ-5D) score. Bootstrapping was used for internal validation.

Results: A total of 2996 lumbar surgeries were identified. Thirty-day ED visits were seen in 7%, 30-day readmission in 12%, 90-day reoperation in 3%, and improvement in EQ-5D at 1 year that exceeded the minimum clinically important difference in 56%. Concordance indices for the models predicting ED visits, readmission, reoperation, and dichotomous 1-year improvement in EQ-5D were 0.63, 0.66, 0.73, and 0.84, respectively. Important predictors of clinical outcomes included age, body mass index, Charlson Comorbidity Index, indication for surgery, preoperative duration of symptoms, and the type (and number of levels) of surgery. A web-based calculator was created, which can be accessed here: https://riskcalc.org/PatientsEligibleForLumbarSpineSurgery/.

Conclusions: The prediction tools derived from this study constitute important adjuncts to clinical decision-making that can offer patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery realistic and personalized expectations of postoperative outcome. They may also aid physicians in surgical planning, referrals, and counseling to ultimately lead to improved patient experience and outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.8.SPINE20577DOI Listing
January 2021

Corrigendum to 'Surgical Outcomes in Patients with Congenital Cervical Spinal Stenosis' [World Neurosurgery 141 (2020) e645-e650].

World Neurosurg 2021 Mar 1;147:274. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.11.074DOI Listing
March 2021

The Impact of Preoperative Depression on Patient Satisfaction With Spine Surgeons in the Outpatient Setting.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Feb;46(3):184-190

Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.

Study Design: Retrospective review.

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between preoperative depression and patient satisfaction in the outpatient spine clinic after lumbar surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: The Clinician and Group Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) survey is used to measure patient experience in the outpatient setting. CG-CAHPS scores may be used by health systems in physician incentive programs and quality improvement initiatives or by prospective patients when selecting spine surgeons. Although preoperative depression has been shown to predict poor patient-reported outcomes and less satisfaction with the inpatient experience following lumbar surgery, its impact on patient experience with spine surgeons in the outpatient setting remains unclear.

Methods: Patients who underwent lumbar surgery and completed the CG-CAHPS survey at postoperative follow-up with their spine surgeon between 2009 and 2017 were included. Data were collected on patient demographics, Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) scores, and Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System Global Health Physical Health (PROMIS-GPH) subscores. Patients with preoperative PHQ-9 scores ≥10 (moderate-to-severe depression) were included in the depressed cohort. The association between preoperative depression and top-box satisfaction ratings on several dimensions of the CG-CAHPS survey was examined.

Results: Of the 419 patients included in this study, 72 met criteria for preoperative depression. Depressed patients were less likely to provide top-box satisfaction ratings on CG-CAHPS metrics pertaining to physician communication and overall provider rating (OPR). Even after controlling for patient-level covariates, our multivariate analysis revealed that depressed patients had lower odds of reporting top-box OPR (odds ratio [OR]: 0.19, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.06-0.63, P = 0.007), feeling that their spine surgeon provided understandable explanations (OR: 0.32, 95% CI: 0.11-0.91, P = 0.032), and feeling that their spine surgeon provided understandable responses to their questions or concerns (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.06-0.63, P = 0.007).

Conclusion: Preoperative depression is independently associated with lower OPR and satisfaction with spine surgeon communication in the outpatient setting after lumbar surgery.Level of Evidence: 3.
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February 2021

The association between patient rating of their spine surgeon and quality of postoperative outcome.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Dec 18:1-7. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

1Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic.

Objective: The Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) survey was developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a result of their value-based purchasing initiative. It allows patients to rate their experience with their provider in the outpatient setting. This presents a unique situation in healthcare in which the patient experience drives the marketplace, and since its creation, providers have sought to improve patient satisfaction. Within the spine surgery setting, however, the question remains whether improved patient satisfaction correlates with improved outcomes.

Methods: All patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery between 2009 and 2017 and who completed a CG-CAHPS survey after their procedure were studied. Demographic and surgical characteristics were then obtained. The primary outcomes of this study include patient-reported health outcomes measures such as the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health (PROMIS-GH) surveys for both mental health (PROMIS-GH-MH) and physical health (PROMIS-GH-PH), and the visual analog scale for back pain (VAS-BP). A multivariable linear regression analysis was used to assess whether patient satisfaction with their provider was associated with changes in each health status measure after adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: The study population included 647 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery. Of these, 564 (87%) indicated that they were satisfied with the care they received. Demographic and surgical characteristics were largely similar between the two groups. Multivariable linear regression demonstrated that patient satisfaction with their provider was not a significant predictor of change in two of the three patient-reported outcomes (PROMIS-GH-MH and PROMIS-GH-PH) assessed at 1 year. However, top-box patient satisfaction with their provider was a significant predictor of improvement in VAS-BP scores at 1 year.

Conclusions: The authors found that after adjusting for patient-level covariates such as age, diagnosis of disc displacement, self-reported mental health, self-reported overall health, and preoperative patient-reported outcome measure status, a significant association was observed between top-box overall provider rating and 1-year improvement in VAS-BP, but no such association was observed for PROMIS-GH-PH and PROMIS-GH-MH. This suggests that pain-related outcome measures may serve as better predictors of patients' satisfaction with their spine surgeons. Furthermore, this suggests that the current method by which patient satisfaction is being assessed and publicly reported may not necessarily correlate with validated measures that are used within the spine surgery setting to assess surgical efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.7.SPINE20478DOI Listing
December 2020

A Retrospective Cohort Study of Effects of Antihypertensive and Anticholinergic Medications on Outcomes Following Elective Posterior Lumbar Spine Surgery.

Clin Spine Surg 2020 Dec 7. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Department of Neurosurgery, Center for Spine Health, Neurologic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.

Study Design: This was a retrospective consecutive cohort analysis.

Objective: This study aimed to examine the association between commonly prescribed medications and outcomes following posterior lumbar spine surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: Postoperative complications and prolonged length of stay significantly increase costs following posterior lumbar spine surgery and worsen patient outcomes. To control costs and complications, providers should focus on modifiable risk factors, such as preoperative medications. Antihypertensive and anticholinergic drugs are among the most commonly prescribed medications but can carry significant risks in the perioperative period.

Materials And Methods: This study was a retrospective cohort analysis of patients undergoing posterior lumbar spine surgery from January 2014 through December 2015 at a large tertiary care center. The variable selection followed by multivariable logistic and negative binomial regressions were performed. An α threshold of 0.0056 was used for significance after correction for multiple comparisons. A secondary analysis was performed to evaluate confounding or effect modifying variables.

Results: This study included 1577 patients. Postoperative urinary retention risk was increased in patients taking loop diuretics. Acute kidney injury risk was increased for patients on nondihydropyridine calcium-channel blockers. Surgical site infection risk was increased for patients on aldosterone receptor blockers. Urinary tract infection risk was increased for patients on anticholinergics for urinary incontinence. Length of stay was decreased for patients on angiotensin II antagonists and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.

Conclusion: A care path should be established in the perioperative period for patients who are deemed to be at higher risk due to medication status to either modify medications or improve postoperative monitoring.

Level Of Evidence: Level III.
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December 2020

Palliative Spine Surgery in a Patient with Advanced Cancer: A Case Report and Decision-Making Guide.

J Palliat Med 2021 05 22;24(5):793-796. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

The spine is a frequent site of cancer metastasis leading to intractable pain, functional impairment, and poor quality of life. When analgesic regimens and nonpharmacological interventions fail, spine surgery may be indicated. For patients with advanced disease, the decision to operate can become a dilemma. A patient with colon cancer metastatic to his spine, who had undergone multiple procedures for back pain, was admitted to a palliative care unit, where pain persisted despite high-dose opioids and adjuvant analgesics. Owing to progressive disease, he was told of a prognosis of six months by his oncologist. He eventually underwent percutaneous pedicle screw fixation. Shortly after surgery, he settled on a regimen merely equivalent to 45 mg of morphine per day. The article explores the role of palliative spine surgery in managing intractable cancer-related back pain. The authors offer a guide when considering surgical procedures for patients with limited prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2020.0219DOI Listing
May 2021

Comparative Effectiveness Between Primary and Revision Foraminotomy for the Treatment of Lumbar Foraminal Stenosis.

Int J Spine Surg 2020 Aug 31;14(4):511-517. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Cleveland Clinic Center for Spine Health, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: Foraminotomy has demonstrated clinical benefit in patients with lumbar foraminal stenosis (LFS), as evidenced by several small retrospective investigations. However, there is a subset of patients who have recurrent symptoms following the operation and therefore require revision surgery. Yet, despite this phenomenon, the relative efficacy of revision foraminotomy (RF) is not well elucidated due to limited literature on the quality of life (QOL) outcomes and cost associated with primary foraminotomy (PF) and RF.

Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of PF and RF in terms of QOL outcomes and relative costs.

Study Design/setting: This is a retrospective cohort study conducted at a single tertiary-care institution. The patient sample consisted of patients undergoing foraminotomy for the treatment of LFS between 2008 and 2016. The primary outcome measure was improvement in postoperative QOL, as measured by EuroQol 5-Dimensions (EQ-5D), and secondary outcome measures included Pain Disability Questionnaire (PDQ) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) perioperative cost as well as minimum clinically important difference (MCID).

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify individuals who underwent PF or RF for LFS and to collect clinical, operative, and demographic data. QOL scores (EQ-5D, PDQ, and PHQ-9) were collected between 2008 and 2016, and perioperative financial data were extracted via the institution's cost utilization engine. Paired tests were used to assess changes within treatment groups, and Fisher exact tests were used for intercohort comparisons.

Results: Five hundred seventy-nine procedures were eligible: 476 (82%) PF and 103 (18%) RF. A significantly higher proportion of males underwent RF than PF (71% versus 59%, = .03), and PF was done on a significantly higher number of vertebral levels (2.2 versus 2.0, = .04). There were no other significant differences in demographics. Preoperatively, mean PDQ-Functional scores (50 versus 54, = .04) demonstrated significantly poorer QOL in the RF cohort. Postoperatively, EQ-5D index showed significant improvement in both the PF (0.547→0.648, < .0001) and the RF (0.507→0.648, < .0001) cohorts. Similarly, total PHQ-9 improved significantly in the PF cohort (7.84→5.91, < .001) and in the RF cohort (8.55→5.53, = .02), as did total PDQ (PF: 77→63, < .0001; RF: 85→70, = .04). QOL scores were also compared between groups preoperatively and postoperatively, and the only significant difference between PF and RF was observed in the preoperative PDQ-Functional score (49.7 versus 54.3, = .04). The proportion of patients achieving MCID was not significantly associated with cohort. Finally, perioperative cost did not differ significantly between cohorts (PF: $13,383 versus RF: $13,595, = .82).

Conclusions: Both PF and RF produced significant improvement in nearly all measures in patients with LFS. There was no significant difference in cost between PF and RF, but both PF and RF showed postoperative QOL improvements as compared with preoperative scores, indicating that RF remains a reasonable treatment option for patients with recurrent symptoms of LFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14444/7067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7478060PMC
August 2020

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Spine Surgery.

Global Spine J 2021 May 1;11(4):556-564. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

2569Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Study Design: Narrative review.

Objectives: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have emerged as disruptive technologies with the potential to drastically affect clinical decision making in spine surgery. AI can enhance the delivery of spine care in several arenas: (1) preoperative patient workup, patient selection, and outcome prediction; (2) quality and reproducibility of spine research; (3) perioperative surgical assistance and data tracking optimization; and (4) intraoperative surgical performance. The purpose of this narrative review is to concisely assemble, analyze, and discuss current trends and applications of AI and ML in conventional and robotic-assisted spine surgery.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive PubMed search of peer-reviewed articles that were published between 2006 and 2019 examining AI, ML, and robotics in spine surgery. Key findings were then compiled and summarized in this review.

Results: The majority of the published AI literature in spine surgery has focused on predictive analytics and supervised image recognition for radiographic diagnosis. Several investigators have studied the use of AI/ML in the perioperative setting in small patient cohorts; pivotal trials are still pending.

Conclusions: Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential in revolutionizing comprehensive spine care. Evidence-based, predictive analytics can help surgeons improve preoperative patient selection, surgical indications, and individualized postoperative care. Robotic-assisted surgery, while still in early stages of development, has the potential to reduce surgeon fatigue and improve technical precision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568220915718DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8119909PMC
May 2021

The Association Between Physicians' Communication and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Spine Surgery.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Aug;45(15):1073-1080

Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study using prospectively collected data.

Objective: Determine the association between satisfaction with physician communication and patient-reported outcomes in the inpatient spine surgery setting.

Summary Of Background Data: Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys measure the patient experience of care and influence reimbursement for hospital systems and providers in the United States. It is not known whether patient satisfaction with physician communication is associated with better outcomes after spine surgery. Therefore, we evaluated the association between patient satisfaction with physician communication on the HCAHPS survey and improvements in validated patient-reported outcomes measures in a spine surgery population.

Methods: HCAHPS responses were obtained for patients undergoing elective cervical or lumbar spine surgery from 2013 to 2015. Patient-reported health status measures were the primary outcomes, including EuroQol Five Dimensions (EQ-5D), Pain Disability Questionnaire (PDQ), and Visual Analog Scores for Back and Neck Pain (VAS-BP/NP). The association between satisfaction with communication and preoperative to 1 year postoperative changes in each health status measure was evaluated utilizing multivariable linear regression models.

Results: Our study included 648 patients, of which, 479 (74.4%) created our satisfied cohort. Demographically, our two cohorts were similar with regards to preoperative clinical measures; however, the satisfied cohort had a higher self-rating of their mental health (P < 0.01), and overall health (P < 0.01). After adjusting for clinically relevant confounders, our results demonstrated no significant association between satisfaction with physician communication and improvement in EQ-5D (P = 0.312), PDQ (P = 0.498), or VAS pain scores (P = 0.592).

Conclusion: Patient satisfaction with physician communication was not associated with 1-year postoperative improvement in EQ-5D, PDQ, and VAS-Pain after spine surgery. These findings do not diminish the importance of effective communication between doctor and patient, but instead suggest that within the spine surgery setting, using only patient experience data may not accurately reflect the true quality of care received during their inpatient stay.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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August 2020

Preoperative Hyponatremia and Perioperative Complications in Cervical Spinal Fusion.

World Neurosurg 2020 09 14;141:e864-e872. Epub 2020 Jun 14.

Cleveland Clinic Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; The Cleveland Clinic, Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Orthopaedic and Rheumatologic Institute, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Preoperative patient optimization is increasingly recognized as key to good surgical outcomes. Preoperative hyponatremia is a modifiable risk factor linked to poorer postoperative outcomes in other surgical fields. We provide the first investigation of the association of preoperative hyponatremia with morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing cervical spine surgery.

Methods: We queried the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program registry for patients who underwent cervical spine fusion. Preoperative serum sodium levels were classified as normal (135-145 mEq/L) or hyponatremic (<135 mEq/L); hypernatremic patients were excluded from the analysis. Multivariable logistic analyses using a multiple imputations methodology were performed to determine significant predictors of major morbidity and mortality (MMM).

Results: We included 20,817 patients, of whom 5.2% were hyponatremic at presentation. Preoperative hyponatremia was a significant predictor of MMM (odds ratio [OR], 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-1.39), mortality (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.03-1.77), major morbidity (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.10-1.40), and odds of prolonged hospitalization (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.04-1.23). Other significant predictors of MMM included age, undergoing an emergent versus nonemergent operation, having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, having disseminated malignancy, being functionally dependent, presenting with sepsis or septic shock, and having an American Society of Anesthesiologists status of 3, 4, or 5. Similar results were seen in analyses using only complete cases and in sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: Using the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database, hyponatremia is observed in approximately 1 in every 20 patients undergoing cervical spine fusion. More importantly, it is a predictor of mortality, major morbidity, and prolonged hospitalization. From a systems-level perspective, preoperative hyponatremia may therefore represent a point of intervention for preoperative patient optimization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.06.068DOI Listing
September 2020

Surgical Outcomes in Patients with Congenital Cervical Spinal Stenosis.

World Neurosurg 2020 09 6;141:e645-e650. Epub 2020 Jun 6.

Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To evaluate the differences in surgical outcomes of patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy with and without congenital cervical spinal stenosis (CCSS).

Methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained to conduct a retrospective chart review of patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy who underwent decompression and fusion surgeries from 2010-2016 at a single institution. CCSS was identified using the Torg-Pavlov ratio on lateral cervical radiographs. Pre- and postoperative outcome measures were assessed using the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association (mJOA) and the EuroQol 5-dimension questionnaire (EQ-5D).

Results: Of 208 patients, Torg-Pavlov ratio identified 85 patients with CCSS. There were no significant differences between the CCSS patient and control patient groups in EuroQol 5-dimension questionnaire and mJOA scores at all 4 designated time points in the study (preoperative, earliest postoperative, 6 month postoperative, and 1 year postoperative). Although not statistically significantly, there was a notable trend for patients with CCSS to be less likely to have mJOA-defined severe myelopathy at the postoperative (odds ratio [OR], 0.75; P = 0.38), 6 month postoperative (OR, 0.66; P = 0.20), and 1 year postoperative (OR, 0.64; P = 0.14) time points.

Conclusions: Postoperatively, compared with non-CCSS patients, patients with congenital cervical stenosis reported equal quality of life for all markers. Our findings suggest that in patients with CCSS and relatively mild symptoms of myelopathy, equal consideration should be given for surgical intervention. The findings of this study warrant further large-scale, multi-institutional investigation to further understand the generalizability of these surgical outcome results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.05.252DOI Listing
September 2020

Associations Between Preoperative Hyponatremia and 30-Day Perioperative Complications in Lumbar Interbody Spinal Fusion.

Clin Spine Surg 2021 02;34(1):E7-E12

Cleveland Clinic Center for Spine Health.

Study Design: Retrospective population database study.

Objective: To investigate the relationship of preoperative hyponatremia to postoperative morbidity and mortality in lumbar interbody fusion patients.

Summary Of Background Data: Optimization of preoperative patient selection and perioperative management can improve patient outcomes in spinal surgery. Hyponatremia, incidentally identified in 1.7% of the US population, has previously been tied to poorer postoperative outcomes in both the general surgery and orthopedic surgery populations.

Materials And Methods: Using the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database, the authors identified all lumbar interbody fusion patients treated between 2012 and 2014. Patients were classified as hyponatremic (Na<135 mEq/L) or as having normal sodium levels (135-145 mEq/L) preoperatively. The primary outcome was major morbidity and secondary endpoints were prolonged hospitalization, 30-day readmission, and reoperation. Multivariable linear regression was used to find independent predictors of these outcomes.

Results: Of 10,654 patients, 45.6% were male individuals, 5.5% were hyponatremic, and 4.2% experienced a major postoperative complication. On multivariable analysis, preoperative hyponatremia was independently associated with major morbidity (odds ratio, 1.22; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.44; P<0.05) and prolonged hospitalization (odds ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.27).

Conclusions: Here the authors provide the first evidence suggesting preoperative hyponatremia is an independent predictor of major morbidity after lumbar interbody fusion. Hyponatremia may represent a modifiable risk factor for improved patient care and preoperative risk counseling.
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February 2021

Evolution of Minimally Invasive Lumbar Spine Surgery.

World Neurosurg 2020 08 17;140:622-626. Epub 2020 May 17.

Center for Spine Health, Department of Neurosurgery, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Electronic address:

Spine surgery has evolved over centuries from first being practiced with Hippocratic boards and ladders to now being able to treat spinal pathologies with minimal tissue invasion. With the advent of new imaging and surgical technologies, spine surgeries can now be performed minimally invasively with smaller incisions, less blood loss, quicker return to daily activities, and increased visualization. Modern minimally invasive procedures include percutaneous pedicle screw fixation techniques and minimally invasive lateral approach for lumbar interbody fusion (i.e., minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, extreme lateral interbody fusion, oblique lateral interbody fusion) and midline lumbar fusion with cortical bone trajectory screws. Just as evolutions in surgical techniques have helped revolutionize the field of spine surgery, imaging technologies have also contributed significantly. The advent of computer image guidance has allowed spine surgeons to advance their ability to refine surgical techniques, increase the accuracy of spinal hardware placement, and reduce radiation exposure to the operating room staff. As the field of spine surgery looks to the future, many novel technologies are on the horizon, including robotic spine surgery, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help improve preoperative planning, improve surgical execution, and optimize patient selection to ensure improved postoperative outcomes and patient satisfaction. As more spine surgeons begin incorporating these novel minimally invasive techniques into practice, the field of minimally invasive spine surgery will continue to innovate and evolve over the coming years.
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August 2020

Analyzing the role of adjuvant or salvage radiotherapy for spinal myxopapillary ependymomas.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 May 1:1-6. Epub 2020 May 1.

3Department of Radiation Oncology, Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic; and Departments of.

Objective: The authors sought to describe the long-term recurrence patterns, prognostic factors, and effect of adjuvant or salvage radiotherapy (RT) on treatment outcomes for patients with spinal myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE).

Methods: The authors reviewed a tertiary institution IRB-approved database and collected data regarding patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics for all patients treated consecutively from 1974 to 2015 for histologically confirmed spinal MPE. Key outcomes included relapse-free survival (RFS), postrecurrence RFS, failure patterns, and influence of timing of RT on recurrence patterns. Cox proportional hazards regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses were utilized.

Results: Of the 59 patients included in the study, the median age at initial surgery was 34 years (range 12-74 years), 30 patients (51%) were female, and the most common presenting symptom was pain (n = 52, 88%). Extent of resection at diagnosis was gross-total resection (GTR) in 39 patients (66%), subtotal resection (STR) in 15 (25%), and unknown in 5 patients (9%). After surgery, 10 patients (17%) underwent adjuvant RT (5/39 GTR [13%] and 5/15 STR [33%] patients). Median follow-up was 6.2 years (range 0.1-35.3 years). Overall, 20 patients (34%) experienced recurrence (local, n = 15; distant, n = 5). The median RFS was 11.2 years (95% CI 77 to not reached), and the 5- and 10-year RFS rates were 72.3% (95% CI 59.4-86.3) and 54.0% (95% CI, 36.4-71.6), respectively.STR was associated with a higher risk of recurrence (HR 6.45, 95% CI 2.15-19.23, p < 0.001) than GTR, and the median RFS after GTR was 17.2 years versus 5.5 years after STR. Adjuvant RT was not associated with improved RFS, regardless of whether it was delivered after GTR or STR. Of the 20 patients with recurrence, 12 (60%) underwent salvage treatment with surgery alone (GTR, n = 6), 4 (20%) with RT alone, and 4 (20%) with surgery and RT. Compared to salvage surgery alone, salvage RT, with or without surgery, was associated with a significantly longer postrecurrence RFS (median 9.5 years vs 1.6 years; log-rank, p = 0.006).

Conclusions: At initial diagnosis of spinal MPE, GTR is key to long-term RFS, with no benefit to immediate adjuvant RT observed in this series. RT at the time of recurrence, however, is associated with a significantly longer time to second disease recurrence. Surveillance imaging of the entire neuraxis remains crucial, as distant failure is not uncommon in this patient population.
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May 2020

Exploring perioperative complications of anterior lumber interbody fusion in patients with a history of prior abdominal surgery: A retrospective cohort study.

Spine J 2020 07 19;20(7):1037-1043. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Department of Neurosurgery, Center for Spine Health, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Background Context: Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) exposes the anterior aspect of the spine through a retroperitoneal approach. Access to the anterior spine requires mobilization of intra-abdominal viscera/vasculature, which can become complicated as scarring and/or adhesions develop from prior abdominal surgical interventions, increasing risk of intraoperative complications. The literature suggests that "significant prior abdominal surgery" is a relative contraindication of ALIF surgery; however, there is no consensus within the literature as to what defines "major/significant" abdominal surgeries. Additionally, the association between the number of prior abdominal surgeries and perioperative complications in ALIF surgery has not been explored within the literature.

Purpose: This study seeks to explore the association between perioperative complications of ALIF surgery and the type (major and/or minor) and number of prior abdominal surgeries.

Design: A retrospective cohort study was performed to examine perioperative complications in ALIF patients with or without prior history of abdominal surgery.

Patient Sample: All consecutive patients undergoing ALIF with or without a history of prior abdominal surgery from 2008 to 2018 at a single tertiary center were evaluated. Patients under the age of 18, patients with spinal malignancy, or patients who had ALIF above L3 were excluded.

Outcome Measures: Perioperative complications included intraoperative complications during ALIF surgery and postoperative complications within 90 days of ALIF surgery. Intraoperative complications include vascular injury, ureter injury, retroperitoneal hematoma, etc. Postoperative complications include urinary tract infection, revision of abdominal scar, ileus, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, etc. Other outcome measures include readmission within 90 days, length of ALIF surgery, and length of hospital stay.

Methods: Electronic medical records of 660 patients who underwent ALIF between 2008 and 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, Charleston Comorbidity Index (CCI), level of fusion, past abdominal surgical history, use of access surgeon during exposure, intraoperative, and postoperative complications were collected. Predictors of intraoperative and postoperative complications were analyzed using simple and multivariable logistic regression. Statistical analysis was performed using JMP 14.0 (SAS, Cary, NC, USA) software.

Results: After controlling for age, length of ALIF, gender, multilevel ALIF, and the use of an access surgeon, there was no significant association between the type of prior abdominal surgery (major and/or minor) and intraoperative complications on multivariable logistic regression analysis (Minor: odds ratio [OR]=1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.58-4.86 & Major: OR=1.99; 95% CI: 0.80-4.91). On multivariable logistic regression, the odds of developing an intraoperative complication increases by 52% for each additional prior abdominal surgery after adjusting for age, length of ALIF, gender, multilevel ALIF, and the use of an access surgeon (OR=1.52, 95% CI: 1.10-2.11). Iliac vein laceration was the most common intraoperative complication (n=27, 4%). Neither the type (major and/or minor) nor the number of prior abdominal surgeries were significant predictors of postoperative complications (Minor: OR=1.29; 95% CI: .72-2.31, Major: OR=1.24; 95% CI: 0.77-2.00, & Number: OR=1.03; 95% CI: .84-1.26).

Conclusion: With each additional prior abdominal surgery, accumulation of scarring and adhesions can likely obscure anatomical landmarks and increase the risk of developing an intraoperative complication. Therefore, the number of prior abdominal surgeries should be taken into consideration during planning and operative exposure of the anterior spine via a retroperitoneal approach.
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July 2020
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