Publications by authors named "Oran Aaronson"

30 Publications

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Role of psychosocial factors on the effect of physical activity on physical function in patients after lumbar spine surgery.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2021 Oct 18;22(1):883. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Ave South, Nashville, TN, 37232, USA.

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the longitudinal postoperative relationship between physical activity, psychosocial factors, and physical function in patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery.

Methods: We enrolled 248 participants undergoing surgery for a degenerative lumbar spine condition. Physical activity was measured using a triaxial accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X) at 6-weeks (6wk), 6-months (6M), 12-months (12M) and 24-months (24M) following spine surgery. Physical function (computerized adaptive test domain version of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) and psychosocial factors (pain self-efficacy, depression and fear of movement) were assessed at preoperative visit and 6wk, 6M, 12M and 24M after surgery. Structural equation modeling (SEM) techniques were utilized to analyze data, and results are represented as standardized regression weights (SRW). Overall SRW were computed across five imputed datasets to account for missing data. The mediation effect of each psychosocial factor on the effect of physical activity on physical function were computed [(SRW for effect of activity on psychosocial factor X SRW for effect of psychosocial factor on function) ÷ SRW for effect of activity on function]. Each SEM model was tested for model fit by assessing established fit indexes.

Results: The overall effect of steps per day on physical function (SRW ranged from 0.08 to 0.19, p<0.05) was stronger compared to the overall effect of physical function on steps per day (SRW ranged from non-existent to 0.14, p<0.01 to 0.3). The effect of steps per day on physical function and function on steps per day remained consistent after accounting for psychosocial factors in each of the mediation models. Depression and fear of movement at 6M mediated 3.4% and 5.4% of the effect of steps per day at 6wk on physical function at 12M, respectively. Pain self-efficacy was not a statistically significant mediator.

Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that the relationship between physical activity and physical function is stronger than the relationship of function to activity. However, future research is needed to examine whether promoting physical activity during the early postoperative period may result in improvement of long-term physical function. Since depression and fear of movement had a very small mediating effect, additional work is needed to investigate other potential mediating factors such as pain catastrophizing, resilience and exercise self-efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-04622-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8522146PMC
October 2021

How Many Steps Per Day During the Early Postoperative Period are Associated With Patient-Reported Outcomes of Disability, Pain, and Opioid Use After Lumbar Spine Surgery?

Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2021 10 25;102(10):1873-1879. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN; Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN. Electronic address:

Objective: To investigate whether early postoperative walking is associated with "best outcome" and no opioid use at 1 year after lumbar spine surgery and establish a threshold for steps/day to inform clinical practice.

Design: Secondary analysis from randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Two academic medical centers in the United States.

Participants: We enrolled 248 participants undergoing surgery for a degenerative lumbar spine condition (N=248). A total of 212 participants (mean age, 62.8±11.4y, 53.3% female) had valid walking data at baseline.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measures: Disability (Oswestry Disability Index), back and leg pain (Brief Pain Inventory), and opioid use (yes vs no) were assessed at baseline and 1 year after surgery. "Best outcome" was defined as Oswestry Disability Index ≤20, back pain ≤2, and leg pain ≤2. Steps/day (walking) was assessed with an accelerometer worn for at least 3 days and 10 h/d at 6 weeks after spine surgery, which was considered as study baseline. Separate multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between steps/day at 6 weeks and "best outcome" and no opioid use at 1-year. Receiver operating characteristic curves identified a steps/day threshold for achieving outcomes.

Results: Each additional 1000 steps/d at 6 weeks after spine surgery was associated with 41% higher odds of achieving "best outcome" (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-1.74) and 38% higher odds of no opioid use (95% CI, 1.09-1.76) at 1 year. Walking ≥3500 steps/d was associated with 3.75 times the odds (95% CI, 1.56-9.02) of achieving "best outcome" and 2.37 times the odds (95% CI, 1.07-5.24) of not using opioids.

Conclusions: Walking early after surgery may optimize patient-reported outcomes after lumbar spine surgery. A 3500 steps/d threshold may serve as an initial recommendation during early postoperative counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2021.06.002DOI Listing
October 2021

Early postoperative physical activity and function: a descriptive case series study of 53 patients after lumbar spine surgery.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2020 Nov 27;21(1):783. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Avenue South, Medical Center East - South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN, 37232, USA.

Background: The purpose of this prospective case series study was to compare changes in early postoperative physical activity and physical function between 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months after lumbar spine surgery.

Methods: Fifty-three patients (mean [95% confidence interval; CI] age = 59.2 [56.2, 62.3] years, 64% female) who underwent spine surgery for a degenerative lumbar condition were assessed at 6 weeks and 3- and 6-months after surgery. The outcomes were objectively-measured physical activity (accelerometry) and patient-reported and objective physical function. Physical activity was assessed using mean steps/day and time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) over a week. Physical function measures included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and 10-Meter Walk (10 MW). We compared changes over time in physical activity and function using generalized estimating equations with robust estimator and first-order autoregressive covariance structure. Proportion of patients who engaged in meaningful physical activity (e.g., walked at least 4400 and 6000 steps/day or engaged in at least 150 min/week in MVPA) and achieved clinically meaningful changes in physical function were compared at 3 and 6 months.

Results: After surgery, 72% of patients initiated physical therapy (mean [95%CI] sessions =8.5 [6.6, 10.4]) between 6 weeks and 3 months. Compared to 6 weeks post-surgery, no change in steps/day or time in MVPA/week was observed at 3 or 6 months. From 21 to 23% and 9 to 11% of participants walked at least 4400 and 6000 steps/day at 3 and 6 months, respectively, while none of the participants spent at least 150 min/week in MVPA at these same time points. Significant improvements were observed on ODI, SF-12, TUG and 10 MW (p <  0.05), with over 43 to 68% and 62 to 87% achieving clinically meaningful improvements on these measures at 3 and 6 months, respectively.

Conclusion: Limited improvement was observed in objectively-measured physical activity from 6 weeks to 6 months after spine surgery, despite moderate to large function gains. Early postoperative physical therapy interventions targeting physical activity may be needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-020-03816-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7697379PMC
November 2020

Physical Performance Tests Provide Distinct Information in Both Predicting and Assessing Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Lumbar Spine Surgery.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Dec;45(23):E1556-E1563

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Study Design: Secondary analysis of randomized controlled trial data.

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine whether preoperative physical performance is an independent predictor of patient-reported disability and pain at 12 months after lumbar spine surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are commonly used to assess clinical improvement after lumbar spine surgery. However, there is evidence in the orthopedic literature to suggest that PROMs should be supplemented with physical performance tests to accurately evaluate long-term outcomes.

Methods: A total of 248 patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spine conditions were recruited from two institutions. Physical performance tests (5-Chair Stand and Timed Up and Go) and PROMs of disability (Oswestry Disability Index: ODI) and back and leg pain (Brief Pain Inventory) were assessed preoperatively and at 12 months after surgery.

Results: Physical performance tests and PROMs significantly improved over 12 months following lumbar spine surgery (P < 0.01). Weak correlations were found between physical performance tests and disability and pain (ρ = 0.15 to 0.32, P < 0.05). Multivariable regression analyses controlling for age, education, preoperative outcome score, fusion, previous spine surgery, depressive symptoms, and randomization group found that preoperative 5-Chair Stand test was significantly associated with disability and back pain at 12-month follow-up. Each additional 10 seconds needed to complete the 5-Chair Stand test were associated with six-point increase in ODI (P = 0.047) and one-point increase in back pain (P = 0.028) scores. The physical performance tests identified an additional 14% to 19% of patients as achieving clinical improvement that were not captured by disability or pain questionnaires.

Conclusion: Results indicate that physical performance tests may provide distinct information in both predicting and assessing clinical outcomes in patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery. Our findings suggest that the 5-Chair Stand test may be a useful test to include within a comprehensive risk assessment before surgery and as an outcome measure at long-term follow-up.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003665DOI Listing
December 2020

Bouncing back after lumbar spine surgery: early postoperative resilience is associated with 12-month physical function, pain interference, social participation, and disability.

Spine J 2021 01 28;21(1):55-63. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Ave South, Medical Center East-South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. Electronic address:

Background Context: Positive psychosocial factors early after surgery, such as resilience and self-efficacy, may be important characteristics for informing individualized postoperative care.

Purpose: To examine the association of early postoperative resilience and self-efficacy on 12-month physical function, pain interference, social participation, disability, pain intensity, and physical activity after lumbar spine surgery.

Study Design/setting: Pooled secondary analysis of prospectively collected trial data from two academic medical centers.

Patient Sample: Two hundred and forty-eight patients who underwent laminectomy with or without fusion for a degenerative lumbar condition.

Outcome Measures: Physical function, pain inference, and social participation (ability to participate in social roles and activities) were measured using the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. The Oswestry Disability Index, Numeric Rating Scale, and accelerometer activity counts were used to measure disability, pain intensity, and physical activity, respectively.

Methods: Participants completed validated outcome questionnaires at 6 weeks (baseline) and 12 months after surgery. Baseline positive psychosocial factors included resilience (Brief Resilience Scale) and self-efficacy (Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire). Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to assess the associations between early postoperative psychosocial factors and 12-month outcomes adjusting for age, sex, study site, randomized group, fusion status, fear of movement (Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia), and outcome score at baseline. This study was funded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and Foundation for Physical Therapy Research. There are no conflicts of interest.

Results: Resilience at 6 weeks after surgery was associated with 12-month physical function (unstandardized beta=1.85 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.29; 3.40]), pain interference (unstandardized beta=-1.80 [95% CI: -3.48; -0.12]), social participation (unstandardized beta=2.69 [95% CI: 0.97; 4.41]), and disability (unstandardized beta=-3.03 [95% CI: -6.04; -0.02]). Self-efficacy was associated with 12-month disability (unstandardized beta=-0.21 [95% CI: -0.37; -0.04].

Conclusions: Postoperative resilience and pain self-efficacy were associated with improved 12-month patient-reported outcomes after spine surgery. Future work should consider how early postoperative screening for positive psychosocial characteristics can enhance risk stratification and targeted rehabilitation management in patients undergoing spine surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2020.07.013DOI Listing
January 2021

Psychosocial Mechanisms of Cognitive-Behavioral-Based Physical Therapy Outcomes After Spine Surgery: Preliminary Findings From Mediation Analyses.

Phys Ther 2020 09;100(10):1793-1804

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Avenue S, Medical Center East - South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN 37232 (USA); Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Objective: Changing Behavior through Physical Therapy (CBPT), a cognitive-behavioral-based program, has been shown to improve outcomes after lumbar spine surgery in patients with a high psychosocial risk profile; however, little is known about potential mechanisms associated with CBPT treatment effects. The purpose of this study was to explore potential mediators underlying CBPT efficacy after spine surgery.

Methods: In this secondary analysis, 86 participants were enrolled in a randomized trial comparing a postoperative CBPT (n = 43) and education program (n = 43). Participants completed validated questionnaires at 6 weeks (baseline) and 3 and 6 months following surgery for back pain (Brief Pain Inventory), disability (Oswestry Disability Index), physical health (12-Item Short-Form Health Survey), fear of movement (Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia), pain catastrophizing (Pain Catastrophizing Scale), and pain self-efficacy (Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire). Parallel multiple mediation analyses using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) were conducted to examine whether 3- and 6-month changes in fear of movement, pain catastrophizing, and pain self-efficacy mediate treatment outcome effects at 6 months.

Results: Six-month changes, but not 3-month changes, in fear of movement and pain self-efficacy mediated postoperative outcomes at 6 months. Specifically, changes in fear of movement mediated the effects of CBPT treatment on disability (indirect effect = -2.0 [95% CI = -4.3 to 0.3]), whereas changes in pain self-efficacy mediated the effects of CBPT treatment on physical health (indirect effect = 3.5 [95% CI = 1.2 to 6.1]).

Conclusions: This study advances evidence on potential mechanisms underlying cognitive-behavioral strategies. Future work with larger samples is needed to establish whether these factors are a definitive causal mechanism.

Impact: Fear of movement and pain self-efficacy may be important mechanisms to consider when developing and testing psychologically informed physical therapy programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzaa112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530577PMC
September 2020

Safety and feasibility of an early telephone-supported home exercise program after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: a case series.

Physiother Theory Pract 2021 Oct 30;37(10):1096-1108. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

: To describe the safety, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of an early telephone-supported home exercise program (HEP) performed within the first 6 weeks after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery.: Eight patients (mean ± SD age = 53.4 ± 14.9 years, 5 females) were enrolled in this case series. Immediately after surgery, patients began a 6-week HEP including daily walking, deep breathing, distraction techniques, and cervical and upper body exercises. The HEP was supported by weekly telephone calls by a physical therapist. Safety for performing early exercise was examined with radiographic imaging at 6 months. Adverse events were assessed through weekly calls with a physical therapist. HEP adherence and acceptability data were obtained by patient self-report. Clinical measures were assessed preoperatively, at 6 weeks and at 6 months, and included the Neck Disability Index, Numeric Rating Scale for pain, Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, and accelerometry for physical activity.: Early radiographic imaging showed no signs of nonunion at 6 months. There were no reports of serious adverse events. At 6 months, all patients reported clinically significant changes in pain catastrophizing. Seven (88%) patients had clinically significant changes in disability and arm pain, six (75%) patients for neck pain and pain self-efficacy, and five (53%) patients for fear of movement. Only three (43%) of seven patients showed increased physical activity at 6 months.: Based on this small case series, an early telephone-supported HEP appears safe for patients, feasible to implement, and promising for clinical benefits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593985.2019.1683921DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7737349PMC
October 2021

Early Self-directed Home Exercise Program After Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: A Pilot Study.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Feb;45(4):217-225

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Study Design: Pilot randomized controlled trial.

Objective: To examine the acceptability and preliminary safety and outcome effects of an early self-directed home exercise program (HEP) performed within the first 6 weeks after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary Of Background Data: Little is known regarding optimal postoperative management after ACDF.

Methods: Thirty patients (mean ± standard deviation, age = 50.6 ± 11.0 years, 16 women) undergoing ACDF were randomized to receive an early HEP (n = 15) or usual care (n = 15). The early HEP was a 6-week self-directed program with weekly supportive telephone calls to reduce pain and improve activity. Treatment acceptability was assessed after the intervention period (6 weeks after surgery). Safety (adverse events, radiographic fusion, revision surgery) was determined at routine postoperative visits. Disability (Neck Disability Index), pain intensity (Numeric Rating Scale for neck and arm pain), physical and mental health (SF-12), and opioid use were assessed preoperatively, and at 6 weeks and 6 and 12 months after surgery by an evaluator blinded to group assignment.

Results: Participants reported high levels of acceptability and no serious adverse events with the early HEP. No difference in fusion rate was observed between groups (P > 0.05) and no participants underwent revision surgery. The early self-directed HEP group reported lower 6-week neck pain than the usual care group (F = 3.3, P = 0.04, r = 0.3, mean difference = -1.7 [-3.4; -0.05]) and lower proportion of individuals (13% vs. 47%) using opioids at 12 months (P = 0.05). No other between-group outcome differences were observed (P > 0.05).

Conclusion: An early self-directed HEP program was acceptable to patients and has the potential to be safely administered to patients immediately after ACDF. Benefits were noted for short-term neck pain and long-term opioid utilization. However, larger trials are needed to confirm safety with standardized and long-term radiograph assessment and treatment efficacy.

Level Of Evidence: 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003239DOI Listing
February 2020

Drivers of Variability in 90-day Cost for Primary Single-level Microdiscectomy.

Neurosurgery 2018 12;83(6):1153-1160

Department of Orthopedics Surgery, Department of Neurological surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Background: The healthcare reimbursement models are rapidly transitioning to pay-per-performance episode of care payment models. These models, if designed well, must account for the variability in the cost of index surgeries during the global period.

Objective: To analyze the variability in 90-d cost and determine the drivers of the variability in total 90-d cost associated with single-level microdiscectomy.

Methods: A total of 203 patients undergoing primary microdiscectomy for degenerative lumbar conditions were included in the study. The total 90-d cost was derived as the sum of cost of surgery, cost associated with postdischarge utilization. A multivariable linear regression model for total 90-d cost was built.

Results: The mean total cost within 90-d after single-level primary microdiscectomy was $7962 ± $2092. In a multivariable linear regression model, obesity, history of myocardial infarction, factors that lengthen the time of surgery and hospital stay, complications and readmission within 90-d, postdischarge healthcare utilization including emergency room visits, time to opioid independence, number of days on nonopioid pain medications, diagnostic imaging, and the number of days in outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation contribute to the total 90-d cost. The model performance as measured by R2 is 0.76.

Conclusion: Utilizing prospectively collected data, we highlight major drivers of variation in cost following a single-level primary microdiscectomy. Our model explains about three-quarters of the variation in cost. The risk-adjusted cost estimates powered by models such as the one presented here can be used to formulate a sustainable total 90-d episode of care bundle payment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyy209DOI Listing
December 2018

Are Low Patient Satisfaction Scores Always Due to the Provider?: Determinants of Patient Satisfaction Scores During Spine Clinic Visits.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2018 Jan;43(1):58-64

Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute, Vanderbilt University Medical CenterNashville, TN.

Study Design: A prospective study.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of various components on patient satisfaction scores SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Patient satisfaction has become an important component of quality assessments. However, with many of these sources collecting satisfaction data reluctant to disclose detailed information, little remains known about the potential determinants of patient satisfaction.

Methods: Two hundred patients were contacted via phone within 3 weeks of new patient encounter with 11 spine providers. Standardized patient satisfaction phone survey consisting of 25 questions (1-10 rating scale) was administered. Questions inquired about scheduling, parking, office staff, teamwork, wait-time, radiology, provider interactions/behavior, treatment, and follow-up communication. Potential associations between these factors and three main outcome measures were investigated: (1) provider satisfaction, (2) overall clinic visit satisfaction, and (3) quality of care.

Results: Significant associations (P < 0.0001) with provider satisfaction, overall clinic visit satisfaction, and perceived overall quality of care were found with appointment scheduling, parking, office staff, teamwork, wait time, radiology, provider interactions/behavior, treatment, and follow-up communication. Nurse-practitioner/resident involvement was positively associated with scores (P ≤ 0.03). A "candy-man" effect was not noted, as pain medication prescribing did not play a significant role in satisfaction (P > 0.05).In multivariate regression analysis, explanation of medical condition/treatment (P = 0.002) and provider empathy (P = 0.04) were significantly associated with provider satisfaction scores, while the amount of time spent with the provider was not. Conversely, teamwork of staff/provider and follow-up communication were significantly associated with both overall clinic visit satisfaction and quality of care (P ≤ 0.03), while provider behaviors or satisfaction were not.

Conclusion: Satisfaction with the provider was associated with better explanations of the spine condition/treatment plan and provider empathy, but was not a significant factor in either overall clinic visit satisfaction or perceived quality of care. Patients' perception of teamwork between staff and providers along with reliable follow-up communication were found to be significant determinants of overall patient satisfaction and perceived quality of care.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000001453DOI Listing
January 2018

Cognitive-Behavioral-Based Physical Therapy for Patients With Chronic Pain Undergoing Lumbar Spine Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Pain 2016 01 23;17(1):76-89. Epub 2015 Oct 23.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Unlabelled: The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral-based physical therapy (CBPT) program for improving outcomes in patients after lumbar spine surgery. A randomized controlled trial was conducted on 86 adults undergoing a laminectomy with or without arthrodesis for a lumbar degenerative condition. Patients were screened preoperatively for high fear of movement using the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia. Randomization to either CBPT or an education program occurred at 6 weeks after surgery. Assessments were completed pretreatment, posttreatment and at 3-month follow-up. The primary outcomes were pain and disability measured by the Brief Pain Inventory and Oswestry Disability Index. Secondary outcomes included general health (SF-12) and performance-based tests (5-Chair Stand, Timed Up and Go, 10-Meter Walk). Multivariable linear regression analyses found that CBPT participants had significantly greater decreases in pain and disability and increases in general health and physical performance compared with the education group at the 3-month follow-up. Results suggest a targeted CBPT program may result in significant and clinically meaningful improvement in postoperative outcomes. CBPT has the potential to be an evidence-based program that clinicians can recommend for patients at risk for poor recovery after spine surgery.

Perspective: This study investigated a targeted cognitive-behavioral-based physical therapy program for patients after lumbar spine surgery. Findings lend support to the hypothesis that incorporating cognitive-behavioral strategies into postoperative physical therapy may address psychosocial risk factors and improve pain, disability, general health, and physical performance outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2015.09.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4709178PMC
January 2016

A comparative effectiveness trial of postoperative management for lumbar spine surgery: changing behavior through physical therapy (CBPT) study protocol.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2014 Oct 1;15:325. Epub 2014 Oct 1.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: The United States has the highest rate of lumbar spine surgery in the world, with rates increasing over 200% since 1990. Medicare spends over $1 billion annually on lumbar spine surgery. Despite surgical advances, up to 40% of patients report chronic pain and disability following surgery. Our work has demonstrated that fear of movement is a risk factor for increased pain and disability and decreased physical function in patients following lumbar spine surgery for degenerative conditions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and self-management treatments have the potential to address psychosocial risk factors and improve outcomes after spine surgery, but are unavailable or insufficiently adapted for postoperative care. Our research team developed a cognitive-behavioral based self-management approach to postoperative rehabilitation (Changing Behavior through Physical Therapy (CBPT)). Pilot testing of the CBPT program demonstrated greater improvement in pain, disability, physical and mental health, and physical performance compared to education. The current study compares which of two treatments provided by telephone - a CBPT Program or an Education Program about postoperative recovery - are more effective for improving patient-centered outcomes in adults following lumbar spine surgery for degenerative conditions.

Methods/design: A multi-center, comparative effectiveness trial will be conducted. Two hundred and sixty patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery for degenerative conditions will be recruited from two medical centers and community surgical practices. Participants will be randomly assigned to CBPT or Education at 6 weeks following surgery. Treatments consist of six weekly telephone sessions with a trained physical therapist. The primary outcome will be disability and secondary outcomes include pain, general health, and physical activity. Outcomes will be assessed preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months after surgery by an assessor masked to group allocation.

Discussion: Effective rehabilitation treatments that can guide clinicians in their recommendations, and patients in their actions will have the potential to effect change in current clinical practice.

Trial Registration: NCT02184143.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-15-325DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192328PMC
October 2014

Long-term outcomes after revision neural decompression and fusion for same-level recurrent lumbar stenosis: defining the effectiveness of surgery.

J Spinal Disord Tech 2014 Oct;27(7):353-7

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Study Design: Single-cohort study of patients undergoing revision neural decompression and fusion for same-level recurrent lumbar stenosis.

Objective: To assess the long-term outcomes of revision surgery using validated patient-reported outcomes measures.

Summary Of Background Data: Recurrent lumbar stenosis may occur after lumbar spine surgery, leading to significant discomfort and radicular pain. Although numerous studies have reported clinical outcomes after primary lumbar surgery, there remains a paucity of data on the outcomes after revision surgery for recurrent same-level stenosis.

Methods: Fifty-three patients undergoing revision neural decompression and instrumented fusion for same-level recurrent stenosis-associated back and leg pain were included in this study. Baseline and 2-year visual analog scale for leg pain (LP-VAS), visual analog scale for low back pain (BP-VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Zung self-reported depression score (ZDS), time to narcotic independence, time to return to work, health-state utility [EuroQol (EQ-5D)], and physical and mental quality of life [SF-12 physical and mental component scores (PCS and MCS)] were assessed.

Results: Mean±SD duration of time between index surgery and revision surgery was 4.00±4.19 years. A significant improvement from baseline was observed in BP-VAS (9.28±1.01 vs. 5.00±2.94, P=0.001), LP-VAS (9.55±0.93 vs. 3.45±2.95, P=0.001), and ODI (36.02±6.01 vs. 21.75±12.08, P=0.001). Mean±SD SF-12 PCS (7.17±11.22, P=0.001), SF-12 MCS (12.57±13.03, P=0.001), ZDS (12.37±16.80, P=0.001), and EQ-5D (0.42±0.34, P=0.001) were also significantly improved. The mean cumulative 2-year gain in health-utility state was 0.84 QALY. Median (interquartile range) duration of postoperative narcotic use was 6 (1.4-12.2) months and time of missed work was 6 (4.0-10.0) months.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that revision neural decompression and instrumented fusion for recurrent same-level stenosis provides significant improvement in all patient-assessed outcome metrics and should be offered as a viable treatment option.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BSD.0b013e31826105a5DOI Listing
October 2014

Cost per quality-adjusted life year gained of revision fusion for lumbar pseudoarthrosis: defining the value of surgery.

J Spinal Disord Tech 2015 Apr;28(3):101-5

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Study Design: Single cohort study of patients undergoing revision fusion for lumbar pseudoarthrosis.

Objective: To assess the 2-year comprehensive costs of revision arthrodesis for lumbar pseudoarthrosis at our institution and determine the associated cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained in this patient population.

Summary Of Background Data: The proportion of lumbar spine operations involving a fusion procedure has increased over the past 2 decades. Similarly, there has been a corresponding increase in the incidence and prevalence of pseudoarthrosis. However, the cost-effectiveness of revision surgery for pseudoarthrosis-associated back pain has yet to be examined.

Methods: Forty-seven patients undergoing revision instrumented arthrodesis for pseudoarthrosis-associated back pain were included. Two-year total back-related medical resource utilization, missed work, and health-state values (QALYs, calculated from EuroQuol 5D with US valuation) were assessed. Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts (direct cost) and patient and care-giver work-day losses were multiplied by the self-reported gross-of-tax wage rate (indirect cost). The mean total 2-year cost per QALY gained after revision surgery was assessed.

Results: The mean (±SD) duration of time between prior fusion and development of symptomatic pseudoarthrosis was 2.69±3.09 years. None of the patients developed symptomatic pseudoarthrosis after 2 years of revision surgery. A mean cumulative 2-year gain of 0.35 QALYs was reported. The mean (±SD) total 2-year cost of revision fusion was $41,631±$9691 (surgery cost: $23,865±$270; outpatient resource utilization cost: $4885±$2301; indirect cost: $12,879±$8171). Revision instrumented arthrodesis was associated with a mean 2-year cost per QALY gained of $118,945.

Conclusions: Revision arthrodesis was associated with improved 2-year quality of life in patients with pseudoarthrosis-related back pain. Nevertheless, in our experience revision surgery was shown to be marginally cost-effective at $118,945 per QALY gained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BSD.0b013e318269cc4aDOI Listing
April 2015

Cognitive-behavioral-based physical therapy to improve surgical spine outcomes: a case series.

Phys Ther 2013 Aug 18;93(8):1130-9. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Medical Center East-South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

Background And Purpose: Fear of movement is a risk factor for poor postoperative outcomes in patients following spine surgery. The purposes of this case series were: (1) to describe the effects of a cognitive-behavioral-based physical therapy (CBPT) intervention in patients with high fear of movement following lumbar spine surgery and (2) to assess the feasibility of physical therapists delivering cognitive-behavioral techniques over the telephone.

Case Description: Eight patients who underwent surgery for a lumbar degenerative condition completed the 6-session CBPT intervention. The intervention included empirically supported behavioral self-management, problem solving, and cognitive restructuring and relaxation strategies and was conducted in person and then weekly over the phone. Patient-reported outcomes of pain and disability were assessed at baseline (6 weeks after surgery), postintervention (3 months after surgery), and at follow-up (6 months after surgery). Performance-based outcomes were tested at baseline and postintervention. The outcome measures were the Brief Pain Inventory, Oswestry Disability Index, 5-Chair Stand Test, and 10-Meter Walk Test.

Outcomes: Seven of the patients demonstrated a clinically significant reduction in pain, and all 8 of the patients had a clinically significant reduction in disability at 6-month follow-up. Improvement on the performance-based tests also was noted postintervention, with 5 patients demonstrating clinically meaningful change on the 10-Meter Walk Test.

Discussion: The findings suggest that physical therapists can feasibly implement cognitive-behavioral skills over the telephone and may positively affect outcomes after spine surgery. However, a randomized clinical trial is needed to confirm the results of this case series and the efficacy of the CBPT intervention. Clinical implications include broadening the availability of well-accepted cognitive-behavioral strategies by expanding implementation to physical therapists and through a telephone delivery model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20120426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3732232PMC
August 2013

Laminectomy and extension of instrumented fusion improves 2-year pain, disability, and quality of life in patients with adjacent segment disease: defining the long-term effectiveness of surgery.

World Neurosurg 2013 Dec 24;80(6):893-6. Epub 2011 Dec 24.

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Vanderbilt University Spinal Column Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research Laboratory, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Objective: Adjacent segment disease (ASD) may occur as a long-term consequence of spinal fusion and is associated with significant back and leg pain. Surgical management of symptomatic ASD consists of neural decompression and extension of fusion. However, conflicting results have been reported with respect to the long-term clinical effectiveness of revision surgery in this setting. We set out to comprehensively assess the long-term clinical outcome after revision surgery and determine its effectiveness in the treatment of adjacent segment disease.

Methods: Fifty patients undergoing revision surgery for ASD-associated back and leg pain were included in this study. Baseline and 2-year Visual Analog Scale-Back Pain (VAS-BP), Visual Analog Scale-Leg Pain (VAS-LP), Oswestry Disability Index, physical and mental quality of life (Short Form-12 [SF-12] physical and mental component score [PCS and MCS]) and health-state utility (EuroQol [EQ-5D]) were assessed.

Results: A sustained improvement in VAS-BP (8.72 ± 1.85 vs. 3.92 ± 2.84, P = 0.001), VAS-LP (6.30 ± 3.90 vs. 3.02 ± 3.03, P = 0.001), Oswestry Disability Index (28.72 ± 9.64 vs. 18.48 ± 11.31, P = 0.001), SF-12 PCS (26.89 ± 8.85 vs. 35.58 ± 11.97, P = 0.001) and SF-12 MCS (44.66 ± 12.85 vs. 53.16 ± 9.46, P = 0.001) was observed 2 years after revision surgery, with a cumulative mean 2-year gain of 0.76 quality-adjusted life-years (EQ-5D). Median (interquartile range) time to narcotic independence and return to work was 1.7 (1.0-8.0) months and 2.0 (1.0-4.75) months, respectively.

Conclusions: Patients undergoing decompression and extension of fusion for adjacent segment disease-associated back and leg pain reported long-term improvement in pain, disability, and both physical and mental quality of life, suggesting that revision surgery is a highly effective treatment strategy in this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2011.12.082DOI Listing
December 2013

Association of extent of local tumor invasion and survival in patients with malignant primary osseous spinal neoplasms from the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER) database.

World Neurosurg 2011 Dec;76(6):580-5

Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: Malignant osseous spinal neoplasms are aggressive tumors associated with poor outcomes despite aggressive multidisciplinary measures. It remains unknown whether increased local tumor invasion at time of treatment predicts worse survival. The surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER) registry was reviewed to determine whether extent of local tumor invasion at presentation was independently associated with overall survival.

Methods: The SEER registry (1973-2003) was queried to identify cases of histologically confirmed primary spinal chordoma, chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, or Ewing sarcoma. Extent of local invasion was defined at time of care by histology, radiology, or intraoperative assessment and classified as confined (tumor within periosteum), local invasion (extension to surrounding tissues), or distal metastasis. The association of extent of local tumor invasion with overall survival was assessed by Cox analysis.

Results: One thousand eight hundred ninety-two patients were identified (414 chordoma, 579 chondrosarcoma, 430 osteosarcoma, 469 Ewing sarcoma). Overall median survival was histology specific (osteosarcoma, 11 months; Ewing sarcoma, 26 months; chondrosarcoma, 37 months; chordoma, 50 months) and correlated with extent of local tissue invasion or metastasis at presentation. Presence of metastasis was associated with marked decrease in survival (P < 0.001) for all tumor types. For patients with isolated spine tumors, neoplasms confined within the periosteum were associated with improved overall survival independent of age, radiotherapy, or surgical resection for chordoma (hazard ratio [HR], 0.50; P = 0.08), chondrosarcoma (HR, 0.62; P = 0.03), and osteosarcoma (HR, 0.68; P = 0.05), but not Ewing sarcoma (HR, 0.62; P = 0.27).

Conclusions: The preoperative radiographic recognition of local tissue invasion may identify patients with a more aggressive tumor and help guide the level of aggressiveness in subsequent treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2011.05.016DOI Listing
December 2011

Cauda equina syndrome secondary to an absent inferior vena cava managed with surgical decompression.

J Neurosurg Spine 2012 Feb 25;16(2):201-5. Epub 2011 Nov 25.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-2380, USA.

The authors report on the case of a 24-year-old man who presented with back pain and radiculopathy due to epidural venous engorgement in the setting of a congenitally absent inferior vena cava. Despite initial improvement after steroid administration, the patient's health ultimately declined over a period of weeks, and signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome manifested. Lumbar decompression was performed and involved coagulation and resection of the compressive epidural veins. No complications occurred, and the patient made a full neurological recovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2011.10.SPINE1121DOI Listing
February 2012

Cost per quality-adjusted life year gained of revision neural decompression and instrumented fusion for same-level recurrent lumbar stenosis: defining the value of surgical intervention.

J Neurosurg Spine 2012 Feb 4;16(2):135-40. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.

Object: Despite advances in technology and understanding in spinal physiology, reoperation for symptomatic same-level recurrent stenosis continues to occur. Although revision lumbar surgery is effective, attention has turned to the question of the utility and value of revision decompression and fusion procedures. To date, an analysis of cost and heath state gain associated with revision lumbar surgery for recurrent same-level lumbar stenosis has yet to be described. The authors set out to assess the 2-year comprehensive cost of revision surgery and determine its value in the treatment of same-level recurrent stenosis.

Methods: Forty-two patients undergoing revision decompression and instrumented fusion for same-level recurrent stenosis-associated leg and back pain were included in this study. Two-year total back-related medical resource utilization, missed work, and health state values (quality-adjusted life years [QALYs], calculated from the EQ-5D with US valuation) were assessed. Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts (direct cost), and patient and caregiver workday losses were multiplied by the self-reported gross-of-tax wage rate (indirect cost). Mean total 2-year cost per QALY gained after revision surgery was assessed.

Results: The mean (± SD) interval between prior and revision surgery was 4.16 ± 4.64 years. Bone morphogenetic protein was used in 7 cases of revision arthrodesis (16.7%). A mean cumulative 2-year gain of 0.84 QALY was observed after revision surgery. The mean total 2-year cost of revision fusion was $49,431 ± $7583 (surgery cost $21,060 ± $4459; outpatient resource utilization cost $9748 ± $5292; indirect cost $18,623 ± $9098). Revision decompression and extension of fusion was associated with a mean 2-year cost per QALY gained of $58,846.

Conclusions: In the authors' practice, revision decompression and fusion provided a significant gain in health state utility for patients with symptomatic same-level recurrent stenosis, with a 2-year cost per QALY gained of $58,846. When indicated, revision surgery for same-level recurrent stenosis is a valuable treatment option for patients experiencing back and leg pain secondary to this disease. The authors' findings provide a value measure of surgery that can be compared with the results of future cost-per-QALY-gained studies of medical management or alternative surgical approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2011.9.SPINE11308DOI Listing
February 2012

Cost-utility analysis of minimally invasive versus open multilevel hemilaminectomy for lumbar stenosis.

J Spinal Disord Tech 2013 Feb;26(1):42-7

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Study Design: Two-year cost-utility study comparing minimally invasive (MIS) versus open multilevel hemilaminectomy in patients with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine whether MIS versus open multilevel hemilaminectomy for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis is a cost-effective advancement in lumbar decompression surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: MIS-multilevel hemilaminectomy for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis allows for effective treatment of back and leg pain while theoretically minimizing blood loss, tissue injury, and postoperative recovery. No studies have evaluated comprehensive healthcare costs associated with multilevel hemilaminectomy procedures, nor assessed cost-effectiveness of MIS versus open multilevel hemilaminectomy.

Methods: Fifty-four consecutive patients with lumbar stenosis undergoing multilevel hemilaminectomy through an MIS paramedian tubular approach (n=27) versus midline open approach (n=27) were included. Total back-related medical resource utilization, missed work, and health state values [quality adjusted life years (QALYs), calculated from EuroQuol-5D with US valuation] were assessed after 2-year follow-up. Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts (direct cost) and work-day losses were multiplied by the self-reported gross-of-tax wage rate (indirect cost). Difference in mean total cost per QALY gained for MIS versus open hemilaminectomy was assessed as incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER: COST(MIS)-COST(OPEN)/QALY(MIS)-QALY(OPEN)).

Results: MIS versus open cohorts were similar at baseline. MIS and open hemilaminectomy were associated with an equivalent cumulative gain of 0.72 QALYs 2 years after surgery. Mean direct medical costs, indirect societal costs, and total 2-year cost ($23,109 vs. $25,420; P=0.21) were similar between MIS and open hemilaminectomy. MIS versus open approach was associated with similar total costs and utility, making it a cost equivalent technology compared with the traditional open approach.

Conclusions: MIS versus open multilevel hemilaminectomy was associated with similar cost over 2 years while providing equivalent improvement in QALYs. In our experience, MIS versus open multilevel hemilaminectomy is a cost equivalent technology for patients with lumbar stenosis-associated radicular pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BSD.0b013e318232313dDOI Listing
February 2013

Preoperative Zung Depression Scale predicts outcome after revision lumbar surgery for adjacent segment disease, recurrent stenosis, and pseudarthrosis.

Spine J 2012 Mar 21;12(3):179-85. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Department of Neurosurgery, The Spinal Column Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research Laboratory, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 4347 Village at Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN 37232-8618, USA.

Background Context: Persistent back pain and leg pain after index surgery is distressing to patients and spinal surgeons. Revision surgical treatment is technically challenging and has been reported to yield unpredictable outcomes. Recently, affective disorders, such as depression and anxiety, have been considered potential predictors of surgical outcomes across many disease states of chronic pain. There remains a paucity of studies assessing the predictive value of baseline depression on outcomes in the setting of revision spine surgery.

Purpose: To assess the predictive value of preoperative depression on 2-year postoperative outcome after revision lumbar surgery for symptomatic pseudarthrosis, adjacent segment disease (ASD), and same-level recurrent stenosis.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Patient Sample: One hundred fifty patients undergoing revision surgery for symptomatic ASD, pseudarthrosis, and same-level recurrent stenosis.

Outcome Measures: Patient-reported outcome measures were assessed using an outcomes questionnaire that included questions on health-state values (EQ-5D), disability (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]), pain (visual analog scale), depression (Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale), and 12-Item Short Form Health Survey physical and mental component scores.

Methods: One hundred fifty patients undergoing revision neural decompression and instrumented fusion for ASD (n=50), pseudarthrosis (n=47), or same-level recurrent stenosis (n=53) were included in this study. Preoperative Zung Self-Reported Depression Scale score was assessed for all patients. Preoperative and 2-year postoperative visual analog scale for back pain and leg pain scores and ODI were assessed. The association between preoperative Zung Depression Scale score and 2-year improvement in disability was assessed via multivariate regression analysis.

Results: Compared to preoperative status, VAS-BP was significantly improved 2 years after surgery for ASD (8.72±1.85 vs. 3.92±2.84, p=.001), pseudoarthrosis (7.31±0.81 vs. 5.06±2.64, p=.001), and same-level recurrent stenosis (9.28±1.00 vs. 5.00±2.94, p=.001). Two-year ODI was also significantly improved after surgery for ASD (28.72±9.64 vs. 18.48±11.31, p=.001), pseudoarthrosis (29.74±5.35 vs. 25.42±6.00, p=.001), and same-level recurrent stenosis (36.01±6.00 vs. 21.75±12.07, p=.001). Independent of age, BMI, symptom duration, smoking, comorbidities, and level of preoperative pain and disability, increasing preoperative Zung depression score was significantly associated with less 2-year improvement in disability (ODI) after revision surgery for ASD, pseudoarthrosis, and recurrent stenosis.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that the extent of preoperative depression is an independent predictor of functional outcome after revision lumbar surgery for ASD, pseudoarthrosis, and recurrent stenosis. Future comparative effectiveness studies assessing outcomes after revision lumbar surgery should account for depression as a potential confounder. The Zung depression questionnaire may help risk stratify patients presenting for revision lumbar surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2011.08.014DOI Listing
March 2012

Long-term outcomes of revision fusion for lumbar pseudarthrosis: clinical article.

J Neurosurg Spine 2011 Oct 24;15(4):393-8. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Object: The number of low-back fusion procedures for the treatment of spine disorders has increased steadily over the past 10 years. Lumbar pseudarthrosis is a potential complication of lumbar arthrodesis and can be associated with significant pain and disability. The aim of this study was to assess, using validated patient-reported outcomes measures, the long-term effectiveness of revision arthrodesis in the treatment of symptomatic pseudarthrosis.

Methods: This is a retrospective study of 47 patients who underwent revision lumbar arthrodesis for pseudarthrosis-associated back pain. Baseline 2-year outcomes were assessed using the following: visual analog scale (VAS) for back pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, time to narcotic independence, time to return to work, EuroQol health-state utility, and physical and mental quality of life (Short Form [SF]-12 Physical and Mental Component Summary scores).

Results: The mean duration of time between prior fusion and development of symptomatic pseudarthrosis was 2.69 years. Bone morphogenetic protein was used in 4 cases (8.5%) of revision arthrodesis. A significant improvement in VAS back pain (7.31 ± 0.81 vs 5.06 ± 2.64, p = 0.001), ODI (29.74 ± 5.35 vs 25.42 ± 6.0, p = 0.001), and physical health SF-12 (23.83 ± 6.89 vs 27.85 ± 8.90, p = 0.001) scores was observed when comparing baseline and 2-year post-revision arthrodesis scores, respectively, with a mean cumulative 2-year gain of 0.35 quality-adjusted life years. The median time to narcotics independence was 12.16 (interquartile range 1.5-24.0) months and the median time to return to work was 4 months (interquartile range 3-5 months). By 2 years after revision surgery, no patients had experienced pseudarthrosis. The SF-12 Mental Component Summary (44.72 ± 7.90 vs 43.46 ± 7.51, p = 0.43) and Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale scores (39.36 ± 7.48 vs 41.39 ± 10.72, p = 0.37) were not significantly improved by 2 years.

Conclusions: The authors' study suggests that revision lumbar arthrodesis for symptomatic pseudarthrosis provides improvement in low-back pain, disability, and quality of life. Revision lumbar arthrodesis should be considered a viable treatment option for patients with pseudarthrosis-related back pain. Mental health symptoms from pseudarthrosis-associated back pain may be more refractory to revision surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2011.4.SPINE10822DOI Listing
October 2011

Cost-effectiveness of multilevel hemilaminectomy for lumbar stenosis-associated radiculopathy.

Spine J 2011 Aug 8;11(8):705-11. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 4347 Village at Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN 37232-8618, USA.

Background Context: Laminectomy for lumbar stenosis-associated radiculopathy is associated with improvement in pain, disability, and quality of life. However, given rising health-care costs, attention has been turned to question the cost-effectiveness of lumbar decompressive procedures. The cost-effectiveness of multilevel hemilaminectomy for radiculopathy remains unclear.

Purpose: To assess the comprehensive medical and societal costs of multilevel hemilaminectomy at our institution and determine its cost-effectiveness in the treatment of degenerative lumbar stenosis.

Study Design: Prospective single cohort study.

Patient Sample: Fifty-four consecutive patients undergoing multilevel hemilaminectomy for lumbar stenosis-associated radiculopathy after at least 6 months of failed conservative therapy were included.

Outcome Measures: Self-reported measures were assessed using an outcomes questionnaire that incorporated total back-related medical resource utilization, missed work, and improvement in leg pain (visual analog scale for leg pain [VAS-LP]), disability (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]), quality of life (Short Form-12 [SF-12]), and health state values (quality-adjusted life years [QALYs], calculated from EuroQuol 5D [EQ-5D] with US valuation).

Methods: Over a 2-year period, total back-related medical resource utilization, missed work, and improvement in leg pain (VAS-LP), disability (ODI), quality of life (SF-12), and health state values (QALYs, calculated from EQ-5D with US valuation) were assessed. Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts (direct cost), and patient and caregiver workday losses were multiplied by the self-reported gross-of-tax wage rate (indirect cost). Mean total 2-year cost per QALY gained after multilevel hemilaminectomy was assessed.

Results: Compared with preoperative health states reported after at least 6 months of medical management, a significant improvement in VAS-LP, ODI, and SF-12 (physical and mental components) was observed 2 years after multilevel hemilaminectomy, with a mean 2-year gain of 0.72 QALYs. Mean±standard deviation total 2-year cost of multilevel hemilaminectomy was $24,264±10,319 (surgery cost, $10,220±80.57; outpatient resource utilization cost, $3,592±3,243; and indirect cost, $10,452±9,364). Multilevel hemilaminectomy was associated with a mean 2-year cost per QALY gained of $33,700.

Conclusions: Multilevel hemilaminectomy improved pain, disability, and quality of life in patients with lumbar stenosis-associated radiculopathy. Total cost per QALY gained for multilevel hemilaminectomy was $33,700 when evaluated 2 years after surgery with Medicare fees, suggesting that multilevel hemilaminectomy is a cost-effective treatment of lumbar radiculopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2011.04.024DOI Listing
August 2011

Cost-effectiveness of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis.

J Neurosurg Spine 2011 Aug 6;15(2):138-43. Epub 2011 May 6.

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Object: Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for spondylolisthesis-associated back and leg pain is associated with improvement in pain, disability, and quality of life. However, given the rising health care costs associated with spinal fusion procedures and varying results of recent cost-utility studies, the cost-effectiveness of TLIF remains unclear. The authors set out to assess the comprehensive costs of TLIF at their institution and to determine its cost-effectiveness in the treatment of degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Methods: Forty-five patients undergoing TLIF for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis-associated back and leg pain after 6-12 months of conservative therapy were included. The authors assessed the 2-year back pain visual analog scale (VAS) score, leg pain VAS score, Oswestry Disability Index, and total back-related medical resource utilization, missed work, and health-state values (quality-adjusted life years [QALYs], calculated from EQ-5D with US valuation). Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts (direct cost), and patient and caregiver workday losses were multiplied by the self-reported gross-of-tax wage rate (indirect cost). The mean total 2-year cost per QALY gained after TLIF was assessed.

Results: Compared with preoperative health states reported after at least 6 months of medical management, a significant improvement in back pain VAS score, leg pain VAS score, and Oswestry Disability Index was observed 2 years after TLIF, with a mean 2-year gain of 0.86 QALYs. The mean ± SD total 2-year cost of TLIF was $36,836 ± $11,800 (surgery cost, $21,311 ± $2800; outpatient resource utilization cost, $3940 ± $2720; indirect cost, $11,584 ± $11,363). Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion was associated with a mean 2-year cost per QALY gained of $42,854.

Conclusions: Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion improved pain, disability, and quality of life in patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis-associated back and leg pain. The total cost per QALY gained for TLIF was $42,854 when evaluated 2 years after surgery with Medicare fees, suggesting that TLIF is a cost-effective treatment of lumbar spondylolisthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2011.3.SPINE10562DOI Listing
August 2011

Utility of minimum clinically important difference in assessing pain, disability, and health state after transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

J Neurosurg Spine 2011 May 18;14(5):598-604. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Department of Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Object: Outcome studies for spine surgery rely on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to assess treatment effects. Commonly used health-related quality-of-life questionnaires include the following scales: back pain and leg pain visual analog scale (BP-VAS and LP-VAS); the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI); and the EuroQol-5D health survey (EQ-5D). A shortcoming of these questionnaires is that their numerical scores lack a direct meaning or clinical significance. Because of this, the concept of the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) has been put forth as a measure for the critical threshold needed to achieve treatment effectiveness. By this measure, treatment effects reaching the MCID threshold value imply clinical significance and justification for implementation into clinical practice.

Methods: In 45 consecutive patients undergoing transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for low-grade degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis-associated back and leg pain, PRO questionnaires measuring BP-VAS, LPVAS, ODI, and EQ-5D were administered preoperatively and at 2 years postoperatively, and 2-year change scores were calculated. Four established anchor-based MCID calculation methods were used to calculate MCID, as follows: 1) average change; 2) minimum detectable change (MDC); 3) change difference; and 4) receiver operating characteristic curve analysis for two separate anchors (the health transition index [HTI] of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36], and the satisfaction index).

Results: All patients were available at the 2-year follow-up. The 2-year improvements in BP-VAS, LP-VAS, ODI, and EQ-5D scores were 4.3 ± 2.9, 3.8 ± 3.4, 19.5 ± 11.3, and 0.43 ± 0.44, respectively (mean ± SD). The 4 MCID calculation methods generated a range of MCID values for each of the PROs (BP-VAS, 2.1-5.3; LP-VAS, 2.1-4.7; ODI, 11-22.9; and EQ-5D, 0.15-0.54). The mean area under the curve (AUC) for the receiver operating characteristic curve from the 4 PRO-specific calculations was greater for the HTI versus satisfaction anchor (HTI [AUC 0.73] vs satisfaction [AUC 0.69]), suggesting HTI as a more accurate anchor.

Conclusions: The TLIF-specific MCID is highly variable based on calculation technique. The MDC approach with the SF-36 HTI anchor appears to be most appropriate for calculating MCID because it provided a threshold above the 95% CI of the unimproved cohort (greater than the measurement error), was closest to the mean change score reported by improved and satisfied patients, and was least affected by the choice of anchor. Based on the MDC method with HTI anchor, MCID scores following TLIF are 2.1 points for BP-VAS, 2.8 points for LP-VAS, 14.9 points for ODI, and 0.46 quality-adjusted life years for EQ-5D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2010.12.SPINE10472DOI Listing
May 2011

Survival of patients with malignant primary osseous spinal neoplasms: results from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database from 1973 to 2003.

J Neurosurg Spine 2011 Feb 24;14(2):143-50. Epub 2010 Dec 24.

Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Object: Malignant primary osseous spinal neoplasms are aggressive tumors that remain associated with poor outcomes despite aggressive multidisciplinary treatment measures. To date, prognosis for patients with these tumors is based on results from small single-center patient series and controlled trials. Large population-based observational studies are lacking. To assess national trends in histology-specific survival, the authors reviewed patient survival data spanning 30 years (1973-2003) from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry, a US population-based cancer registry.

Methods: The SEER registry was queried to identify cases of histologically confirmed primary spinal chordoma, chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, or Ewing sarcoma using coding from the International Classification of Disease for Oncology, Third Edition. Association of survival with histology, metastasis status, tumor site, and year of diagnosis was assessed using Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis.

Results: A total of 1892 patients were identified with primary osseous spinal neoplasms (414 with chordomas, 579 with chondrosarcomas, 430 with osteosarcomas, and 469 with Ewing sarcomas). Chordomas presented in older patients (60 ± 17 years; p < 0.01) whereas Ewing sarcoma presented in younger patients (19 ± 11 years; p < 0.01) compared with patients with all other tumors. The relative incidence of each tumor type remained similar per decade from 1973 to 2003. African Americans comprised a significantly greater proportion of patients with osteosarcomas than other tumors (9.6% vs 3.5%, respectively; p < 0.01). Compared with the sacrum, the mobile spine was more likely to be the site of tumor location for chordomas than for all other tumors (47% vs 23%, respectively; p < 0.05). Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma were 3 times more likely than chondrosarcoma and chordoma to present with metastasis (31% vs 8%, respectively). Resection was performed more frequently for chordoma (88%) and chondrosarcoma (89%) than for osteosarcoma (61%) and Ewing sarcoma (53%). Overall median survival was histology-specific (osteosarcoma, 11 months; Ewing sarcoma, 26 months; chondrosarcoma, 37 months; chordoma, 50 months) and significantly worse in patients with metastasis at presentation for all tumor types. Survival did not significantly differ as a function of site (mobile spine vs sacrum/pelvis) for any tumor type, but more recent year of diagnosis was associated with improved survival for isolated spinal Ewing sarcoma (hazard ration [HR] 0.95; p = 0.001), chondrosarcoma (HR 0.98; p = 0.009), and chordoma (HR 0.98; p = 0.10), but not osteosarcoma.

Conclusions: In this analysis of a 30-year, US population-based cancer registry (SEER), the authors provide nationally representative prognosis and survival data for patients with malignant primary spinal osseous neoplasms. Overall patient survival has improved for isolated spine tumors with advancements in care over the past 4 decades. These results may be helpful in providing historical controls for understanding the efficacy of new treatment paradigms, patient education, and guiding level of aggressiveness in treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2010.10.SPINE10189DOI Listing
February 2011

Quadriparesis due to the delayed formation of a compressive epidural cerebrospinal fluid collection following suboccipital craniectomy with duraplasty for Chiari malformation Type I. Case report.

J Neurosurg Spine 2007 Oct;7(4):450-3

Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, Charlotte, North Carolina 28204, USA.

The authors describe a previously undocumented complication of suboccipital craniectomy combined with duraplasty for the treatment of Chiari malformation Type I and propose techniques to prevent its occurrence. Although there have been reports of epidural pseudomeningoceles in the setting of spontaneous intracranial hypotension and intracranial hygromas following suboccipital craniectomy with duraplasty, the authors believe this case to be the first instance of quadriparesis caused by the delayed formation of a compressive epidural cerebrospinal fluid collection after suboccipital craniectomy with duraplasty. This complication is significant and must be recognized given the potential severity of neurological insult and the number of these procedures performed yearly in both the pediatric and adult populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/SPI-07/10/450DOI Listing
October 2007

Thoracic microendoscopic discectomy: a human cadaver study.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2005 May;30(10):1226-31

Spine Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

Study Design: Feasibility analysis of percutaneous posterolateral thoracic microendoscopic discectomy in a human cadaver model.

Objective: To describe a new, minimally invasive, posterolateral approach to the thoracic spine for the treatment of disc herniations.

Summary Of Background: Thoracoscopic discectomy offers surgeons direct ventral access to thoracic disc herniations but requires entry into the chest. Many surgeons favor a posterolateral approach to the thoracic spine, thereby avoiding morbidity associated with entry into the thoracic cavity. By adapting minimal access surgical techniques to the thoracic spine, effective treatment of thoracic disc herniations should be possible and may help expedite recovery.

Methods: Two cadaveric human torsos were used. Using simple adaptations of our standard lumbar microendoscopic discectomy technique, endoscopic discectomies were performed throughout the mid and lower thoracic spine. Operative time was recorded. The extent of the discectomy as well as the extent of bony removal was evaluated using computed tomography myelography.

Results: Nine discectomies were performed in two cadaveric specimens, from T5-T6-T9-T10. Operative times ranged from 46 to 77 minutes (mean 60 minutes). The procedure required removing 3.4 mm (+/-1.9 mm) of the ipsilateral facet, which amounted to 35.4% (+/-17.5%) of the facet complex. Canal decompression averaged 73.5% (+/-7.9%).

Conclusions: Thoracic microendoscopic discectomy allows for a posterolateral approach to thoracic disc herniation without entry into the chest cavity that consistently gives access to the majority of the canal while requiring only a minimal amount of bone removal. This technique provides an approach angle similar to that obtained with other posterolateral discectomy techniques while limiting the morbidity associated with exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.brs.0000162275.95579.eeDOI Listing
May 2005

Myelomeningocele: prenatal evaluation--comparison between transabdominal US and MR imaging.

Radiology 2003 Jun 24;227(3):839-43. Epub 2003 Apr 24.

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, A-2219 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

Purpose: To compare transabdominal ultrasonography (US) with fetal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in the prenatal evaluation of myelomeningocele lesion level.

Materials And Methods: Prenatal US images, pre- and postnatal MR images, and postnatal spinal radiographs obtained in the first 100 fetuses who underwent intrauterine myelomeningocele repair were the basis for this study. Each image was used to assign a lesion level. The assigned levels were compared by means of the kappa statistic, as an index of agreement.

Results: All fetuses underwent prenatal US. Sixty-one fetuses underwent prenatal MR imaging. Fifty fetuses underwent both postnatal spinal radiography and postnatal MR imaging, and an additional 34 fetuses underwent one postnatal study but not the other. When findings on prenatal US images were compared with those on postnatal radiographs, the findings agreed within one spinal level in 79% (55 of 70, kappa = 0.60) of cases. When findings on prenatal MR images were compared with those on postnatal radiographs, the findings agreed in 82% (31 of 38, kappa = 0.63) of cases. Findings on postnatal MR images and those on postnatal spinal radiographs agreed within one spinal level in 100% (50 of 50, kappa = 1.0) of cases.

Conclusion: Findings at prenatal MR imaging and prenatal US are equally accurate for the assignment of a lesion level in a fetus with myelomeningocele. Given that findings with both modalities will lead to misdiagnosis of the spinal level by two or more segments in at least 20% of cases, care should be exercised when neurologic outcome is predicted on the basis of these studies alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2273020535DOI Listing
June 2003

Robot-assisted endoscopic intrauterine myelomeningocele repair: a feasibility study.

Pediatr Neurosurg 2002 Feb;36(2):85-9

Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

Background: Animal experiments have suggested that the intrauterine environment causes secondary injury to the congenitally dysplastic spinal cord. This in turn suggests that early closure of the myelomeningocele sac might prevent secondary injury and therefore improve neurologic outcome. This study was designed to examine the technical feasibility of performing intrauterine myelomeningocele repair using a robot-assisted endoscopic system in an animal model.

Methods: Six fetal sheep underwent creation and repair of a full-thickness skin lesion using the da Vinci system.

Results: With the device's advanced articulated instruments and three-dimensional optics, it was possible to endoscopically repair the induced skin defects.

Conclusion: We conclude that, with the recent evolution in robotics and minimally invasive techniques, intrauterine endoscopic surgery has become a realistic goal that promises to reduce the associated risks of fetal surgery and extend the indications for its use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000048358DOI Listing
February 2002
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