Publications by authors named "Richard A Hostin"

26 Publications

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Reaching the medicare allowable threshold in adult spinal deformity surgery: multicenter cost analysis comparing actual direct hospital costs versus what the government will pay.

Spine Deform 2021 Sep 1. Epub 2021 Sep 1.

Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver, CO, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective multicenter cost analysis.

Objective: To (1) determine if index episode of care (iEOC) costs of Adult Spinal Deformity (ASD) surgeries are below the Medicare Allowable (MA) threshold, and (2) identify variables that can predict iEOC cases that are below MA. Previous studies have suggested that actual direct hospital cost of Adult Spinal Deformity (ASD) surgery is higher than Medicare Allowable (MA) rates, which has become the benchmark reimbursement target for hospital accounting systems.

Methods: From a prospective, multicenter ASD surgical database, patients undergoing long instrumented fusions (> 5 level) with cost data were identified. iEOC cost was calculated utilizing actual direct hospital cost. MA rates were calculated using hospital specific, year-appropriate CMS Inpatient Pricer Payment System. Recursive partitioning identified potentially modifiable variables that can predict iEOC cost < MA.

Results: Administrative direct cost data from 210 patients were obtained from 4 of 11 centers. Ninety-five (45%) patients had iEOC cost < MA. There was significant variation across the four centers in both iEOC cost ($56,788-$78,878, p < 0.0001) and reimbursement ($40,623-$91,351, p < 0.0001) across deformity-specific DRGs (453,454,456,457). Academic centers were more likely to have iEOC costs < MA (67.2% vs 8.9%, p < 0.0001). Recursive partitioning (r = 0.309) identified rhBMP-2 use of < 24 mg, sagittal plane deformity, a combined anterior/posterior approach, and an SF36-MCS < 39 as predictive for iEOC cost < MA. Performing an anterior/posterior approach reimburses between 14.7% and 121.1% more (2.2-fold) than posterior-only approach. This change in DRG allows iEOC cost to be more likely below the MA threshold.

Conclusion: There is significant institutional (private vs academic) variation in ASD reimbursement. BMP use, deformity type, approach, and baseline mental health impact ASD surgery cost being below Medicare reimbursement. ASD surgeries with anterior/posterior approaches are in DRGs that can potentially reimburse 2.2-fold the posterior-only surgery, making it more likely to fall below the MA threshold.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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September 2021

Global coronal decompensation and adult spinal deformity surgery: comparison of upper-thoracic versus lower-thoracic proximal fixation for long fusions.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Aug 27:1-13. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

18Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Objective: Deterioration of global coronal alignment (GCA) may be associated with worse outcomes after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. The impact of fusion length and upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) selection on patients with this complication is unclear. The authors' objective was to compare outcomes between long sacropelvic fusion with upper-thoracic (UT) UIV and those with lower-thoracic (LT) UIV in patients with worsening GCA ≥ 1 cm.

Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter database of consecutive ASD patients. Index operations involved instrumented fusion from sacropelvis to thoracic spine. Global coronal deterioration was defined as worsening GCA ≥ 1 cm from preoperation to 2-year follow-up.

Results: Of 875 potentially eligible patients, 560 (64%) had complete 2-year follow-up data, of which 144 (25.7%) demonstrated worse GCA at 2-year postoperative follow-up (35.4% of UT patients vs 64.6% of LT patients). At baseline, UT patients were younger (61.6 ± 9.9 vs 64.5 ± 8.6 years, p = 0.008), a greater percentage of UT patients had osteoporosis (35.3% vs 16.1%, p = 0.009), and UT patients had worse scoliosis (51.9° ± 22.5° vs 32.5° ± 16.3°, p < 0.001). Index operations were comparable, except UT patients had longer fusions (16.4 ± 0.9 vs 9.7 ± 1.2 levels, p < 0.001) and operative duration (8.6 ± 3.2 vs 7.6 ± 3.0 hours, p = 0.023). At 2-year follow-up, global coronal deterioration averaged 2.7 ± 1.4 cm (1.9 to 4.6 cm, p < 0.001), scoliosis improved (39.3° ± 20.8° to 18.0° ± 14.8°, p < 0.001), and sagittal spinopelvic alignment improved significantly in all patients. UT patients maintained smaller positive C7 sagittal vertical axis (2.7 ± 5.7 vs 4.7 ± 5.7 cm, p = 0.014). Postoperative 2-year health-related quality of life (HRQL) significantly improved from baseline for all patients. HRQL comparisons demonstrated that UT patients had worse Scoliosis Research Society-22r (SRS-22r) Activity (3.2 ± 1.0 vs 3.6 ± 0.8, p = 0.040) and SRS-22r Satisfaction (3.9 ± 1.1 vs 4.3 ± 0.8, p = 0.021) scores. Also, fewer UT patients improved by ≥ 1 minimal clinically important difference in numerical rating scale scores for leg pain (41.3% vs 62.7%, p = 0.020). Comparable percentages of UT and LT patients had complications (208 total, including 53 reoperations, 77 major complications, and 78 minor complications), but the percentage of reoperated patients was higher among UT patients (35.3% vs 18.3%, p = 0.023). UT patients had higher reoperation rates of rod fracture (13.7% vs 2.2%, p = 0.006) and pseudarthrosis (7.8% vs 1.1%, p = 0.006) but not proximal junctional kyphosis (9.8% vs 8.6%, p = 0.810).

Conclusions: In ASD patients with worse 2-year GCA after long sacropelvic fusion, UT UIV was associated with worse 2-year HRQL compared with LT UIV. This may suggest that residual global coronal malalignment is clinically less tolerated in ASD patients with longer fusion to the proximal thoracic spine. These results may inform operative planning and improve patient counseling.
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August 2021

Multicenter assessment of outcomes and complications associated with transforaminal versus anterior lumbar interbody fusion for fractional curve correction.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Aug 20:1-14. Epub 2021 Aug 20.

18Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Objective: Few studies have compared fractional curve correction after long fusion between transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) for adult symptomatic thoracolumbar/lumbar scoliosis (ASLS). The objective of this study was to compare fractional correction, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and complications associated with L4-S1 TLIF versus those of ALIF as an operative treatment of ASLS.

Methods: The authors retrospectively analyzed a prospective multicenter adult spinal deformity database. Inclusion required a fractional curve ≥ 10°, a thoracolumbar/lumbar curve ≥ 30°, index TLIF or ALIF performed at L4-5 and/or L5-S1, and a minimum 2-year follow-up. TLIF and ALIF patients were propensity matched according to the number and type of interbody fusion at L4-S1.

Results: Of 135 potentially eligible consecutive patients, 106 (78.5%) achieved the minimum 2-year follow-up (mean ± SD age 60.6 ± 9.3 years, 85% women, 44.3% underwent TLIF, and 55.7% underwent ALIF). Index operations had mean ± SD 12.2 ± 3.6 posterior levels, 86.6% of patients underwent iliac fixation, 67.0% underwent TLIF/ALIF at L4-5, and 84.0% underwent TLIF/ALIF at L5-S1. Compared with TLIF patients, ALIF patients had greater cage height (10.9 ± 2.1 mm for TLIF patients vs 14.5 ± 3.0 mm for ALIF patients, p = 0.001) and lordosis (6.3° ± 1.6° for TLIF patients vs 17.0° ± 9.9° for ALIF patients, p = 0.001) and longer operative duration (6.7 ± 1.5 hours for TLIF patients vs 8.9 ± 2.5 hours for ALIF patients, p < 0.001). In all patients, final alignment improved significantly in terms of the fractional curve (20.2° ± 7.0° to 6.9° ± 5.2°), maximum coronal Cobb angle (55.0° ± 14.8° to 23.9° ± 14.3°), C7 sagittal vertical axis (5.1 ± 6.2 cm to 2.3 ± 5.4 cm), pelvic tilt (24.6° ± 8.1° to 22.7° ± 9.5°), and lumbar lordosis (32.3° ± 18.8° to 51.4° ± 14.1°) (all p < 0.05). Matched analysis demonstrated comparable fractional correction (-13.6° ± 6.7° for TLIF patients vs -13.6° ± 8.1° for ALIF patients, p = 0.982). In all patients, final HRQL improved significantly in terms of Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score (42.4 ± 16.3 to 24.2 ± 19.9), physical component summary (PCS) score of the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (32.6 ± 9.3 to 41.3 ± 11.7), and Scoliosis Research Society-22r score (2.9 ± 0.6 to 3.7 ± 0.7) (all p < 0.05). Matched analysis demonstrated worse ODI (30.9 ± 21.1 for TLIF patients vs 17.9 ± 17.1 for ALIF patients, p = 0.017) and PCS (38.3 ± 12.0 for TLIF patients vs 45.3 ± 10.1 for ALIF patients, p = 0.020) scores for TLIF patients at the last follow-up (despite no differences in these parameters at baseline). The rates of total complications were similar (76.6% for TLIF patients vs 71.2% for ALIF patients, p = 0.530), but significantly more TLIF patients had rod fracture (28.6% of TLIF patients vs 7.1% of ALIF patients, p = 0.036). Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that a 1-mm increase in L4-5 TLIF cage height led to a 2.2° reduction in L4 coronal tilt (p = 0.011), and a 1° increase in L5-S1 ALIF cage lordosis led to a 0.4° increase in L5-S1 segmental lordosis (p = 0.045).

Conclusions: Operative treatment of ASLS with L4-S1 TLIF versus ALIF demonstrated comparable mean fractional curve correction (66.7% vs 64.8%), despite use of significantly larger, more lordotic ALIF cages. TLIF cage height had a significant impact on leveling L4 coronal tilt, whereas ALIF cage lordosis had a significant impact on restoration of lumbosacral lordosis. The advantages of TLIF may include reduced operative duration and hospitalization; however, associated HRQL was inferior and more rod fractures were detected in the TLIF patients included in this study.
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August 2021

Examination of Adult Spinal Deformity Patients Undergoing Surgery with Implanted Spinal Cord Stimulators and Intrathecal Pumps.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Jul 23. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Department of Orthopaedics, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI Brown University, Providence, RI Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA Department of Orthopedics, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, New York, NY University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA Duke University, Durham, NC Washington University, St. Louis, MO University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA Norton Leatherman Spine Center, Louisville, KY Scripp's Clinic, La Jolla, CA Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD University of Calgary Spine Program, University of Calgary, Alberta Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Baylor Scoliosis Center, Dallas, TX University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, KS Denver International Spine Center, Denver, CO University of California-San Francisco, CA Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Seattle, WA.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study of a prospectively collected multi-center database of adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients.

Objective: We hypothesized that patients undergoing ASD surgery with and without previous SCS/ITP would exhibit increased complication rates but comparable improvement in HRQOL.

Summary Of Background Data: ASD patients sometimes seek pain management with spinal cord stimulators (SCS) or intrathecal medication pumps (ITP) prior to spinal deformity correction. Few studies have examined outcomes in this patient population.

Methods: Patients undergoing ASD surgery and eligible for 2-year follow-up were included. Pre-operative radiographs were reviewed for the presence of SCS/ITP. Outcomes included complications, ODI, SF-36 MCS, and SRS-22r. Propensity score matching was utilized.

Results: In total, out of 1,034 eligible ASD patients, a propensity score-matched cohort of 60 patients (30 with SCS/ITP, 30 controls) was developed. SCS/ITP were removed intra-operatively in most patients (56.7%, n = 17). The overall complication rate was 80.0% versus 76.7% for SCS/ITP versus control (p > 0.2), with similarly non-significant differences for intraoperative and infection complications (all p > 0.2). ODI was significantly higher among patients with SCS/ITP at baseline (59.2 versus 47.6, p = 0.0057) and at 2-year follow-up (44.4 versus 27.7, p = 0.0295). The magnitude of improvement, however, did not significantly differ (p = 0.45). Similar results were observed for SRS-22r pain domain. Satisfaction did not differ between groups at either baseline or follow-up (p > 0.2). No significant difference was observed in the proportion of patients with SCS/ITP versus control reaching MCID in ODI (47.6% versus 60.9%, p = 0.38). Narcotic usage was more common among patients with SCS/ITP at both baseline and follow-up (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: ASD patients undergoing surgery with SCS/ITP exhibited worse preoperative and post-operative ODI and SRS-22r pain domain; however, the mean improvement in outcome scores was not significantly different from patients without stimulators or pumps. No significant differences in complications were observed between patients with versus without SCS/ITP.Level of Evidence: 3.
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July 2021

Defining a Surgical Invasiveness Threshold for Increased Risk of a Major Complication Following Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Jul;46(14):931-938

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Study Design: Retrospective review.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to define a surgical invasiveness threshold that predicts major complications after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery; use this threshold to categorize patients into quartiles by invasiveness; and determine the odds of major complications by quartile.

Summary Of Background Data: Understanding the relationship between surgical invasiveness and major complications is important for estimating the likelihood of major complications after ASD surgery.

Methods: Using a multicenter database, we identified 574 ASD patients (more than 5 levels fused; mean age, 60 ± 15 years) with minimum 2-year follow-up. Invasiveness was calculated as the ASD Surgical and Radiographic (ASD-SR) score. Youden index was used to identify the invasiveness score cut-off associated with optimal sensitivity and specificity for predicting major complications. Resulting high- and low-invasiveness groups were divided in half to create quartiles. Odds of developing a major complication were analyzed for each quartile using logistic regression (alpha = 0.05).

Results: The ASD-SR cutoff score that maximally predicted major complications was 90 points. ASD-SR quartiles were 0 to 65 (Q1), 66 to 89 (Q2), 90 to 119 (Q3), and ≥120 (Q4). Risk of a major complication was 17% in Q1, 21% in Q2, 35% in Q3, and 33% in Q4 (P < 0.001). Comparisons of adjacent quartiles showed an increase in the odds of a major complication from Q2 to Q3 (odds ratio [OR] 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-3.0), but not from Q1 to Q2 or from Q3 to Q4. Patients with ASD-SR scores ≥90 were 1.9 times as likely to have a major complication than patients with scores <90 (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3-2.9). Mean ASD-SR scores above and below 90 points were 121 ± 25 and 63 ± 17, respectively.

Conclusion: The odds of major complications after ASD surgery are significantly greater when the procedure has an ASD-SR score ≥90. ASD-SR score can be used to counsel patients regarding these increased odds.Level of Evidence: 3.
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July 2021

Artificial intelligence clustering of adult spinal deformity sagittal plane morphology predicts surgical characteristics, alignment, and outcomes.

Eur Spine J 2021 08 15;30(8):2157-2166. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Alpert Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island, 1 Kettle Point Avenue, East Providence, RI, 02914, USA.

Purpose: AI algorithms have shown promise in medical image analysis. Previous studies of ASD clusters have analyzed alignment metrics-this study sought to complement these efforts by analyzing images of sagittal anatomical spinopelvic landmarks. We hypothesized that an AI algorithm would cluster preoperative lateral radiographs into groups with distinct morphology.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of a multicenter, prospectively collected database of adult spinal deformity. A total of 915 patients with adult spinal deformity and preoperative lateral radiographs were included. A 2 × 3, self-organizing map-a form of artificial neural network frequently employed in unsupervised classification tasks-was developed. The mean spine shape was plotted for each of the six clusters. Alignment, surgical characteristics, and outcomes were compared.

Results: Qualitatively, clusters C and D exhibited only mild sagittal plane deformity. Clusters B, E, and F, however, exhibited marked positive sagittal balance and loss of lumbar lordosis. Cluster A had mixed characteristics, likely representing compensated deformity. Patients in clusters B, E, and F disproportionately underwent 3-CO. PJK and PJF were particularly prevalent among clusters A and E. Among clusters B and F, patients who experienced PJK had significantly greater positive sagittal balance than those who did not.

Conclusions: This study clustered preoperative lateral radiographs of ASD patients into groups with highly distinct overall spinal morphology and association with sagittal alignment parameters, baseline HRQOL, and surgical characteristics. The relationship between SVA and PJK differed by cluster. This study represents significant progress toward incorporation of computer vision into clinically relevant classification systems in adult spinal deformity.

Level Of Evidence Iv: Diagnostic: individual cross-sectional studies with the consistently applied reference standard and blinding.
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August 2021

Scoliosis Research Society survey: brace management in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Spine Deform 2021 May 12;9(3):697-702. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Purpose: While the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) has established criteria for brace initiation in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), there are no recommendations concerning other management issues. As the BrAIST study reinforced the utility of bracing, the SRS Non-Operative Management Committee decided to evaluate the consensus or discord in AIS brace management.

Methods: 1200 SRS members were sent an online survey in 2017, which included 21 items concerning demographics, bracing indications, management, and monitoring. Free-text responses were analyzed and collated into common themes. Data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2013.

Results: Of 218 respondents; 207 regularly evaluate and manage patients with AIS, and 205 currently prescribe bracing. 99% of respondents use bracing for AIS and the majority (89%) use the published SRS criteria, or a modified version, to initiate bracing. 85% do not use brace monitoring and 66% use both %-Cobb correction and fit criteria to evaluate brace adequacy. In contrast, other aspects of brace management demonstrated a high degree of practice variability. This was seen with a radiographic assessment of maturity level, hours prescribed, timing and frequency of radiographic evaluation, the use of nighttime bracing only, and the method and timing of brace discontinuation.

Conclusion: Although there is consensus in brace management amongst SRS members with respect to brace initiation and evaluation of adequacy, there is striking variability in how bracing for AIS is used. This variability may impact the overall efficacy of brace treatment and may be decreased with more robust guidelines from the SRS.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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May 2021

Improvement in SRS-22R Self-Image Correlate Most with Patient Satisfaction after 3-Column Osteotomy.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Jun;46(12):822-827

Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver, CO.

Study Design: Longitudinal cohort.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between patient satisfaction, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and radiographic parameters in adult spine deformity (ASD) patients undergoing three-column osteotomies (3CO).

Summary Of Background Data: Identifying factors that influence patient satisfaction in ASD is important. Evidence suggests Scoliosis Research Society-22R (SRS-22R) Self-Image domain correlates with patient satisfaction in patients with ASD.

Methods: This is a retrospective review of ASD patients enrolled in a prospective, multicenter database undergoing a 3CO with complete SRS-22R pre-op and minimum 2-years postop. Spearman correlations were used to evaluate associations between the 2-year SRS Satisfaction score and changes in SRS-22R domain scores, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and radiographic parameters.

Results: Of 135 patients eligible for 2-year follow-up, 98 patients (73%) had complete pre- and 2-year postop data. The cohort was mostly female (69%) with mean BMI of 29.7 kg/m2 and age of 61.0 years. Mean levels fused was 12.9 with estimated blood loss of 2695 cc and OR time of 407 minutes; 27% were revision surgeries. There was a statistically significant improvement between pre- and 2-year post-op PROMs and all radiographic parameters except Coronal Vertical Axis. The majority of patients had an SRS Satisfaction score of ≥3.0 (90%) or ≥4.0 (68%), consistent with a moderate ceiling effect. Correlations of patient satisfaction was significant for Pain (0.43, P < 0.001), Activity (0.39, P < 0.001), Mental (0.38, P = 0.001) Self-Image (0.52, P < 0.001). ODI and Short-Form-36 Physical component summary had a moderate correlation as well, with mental component summary being weak. There was no statistically significant correlation between any radiographic or operative parameters and patient satisfaction.

Conclusion: There was statistically significant improvement in all PROMs and radiographic parameters, except coronal vertical axis at 2 years in ASD patients undergoing 3CO. Improvement in SRS Self-Image domain has the strongest correlation with patient satisfaction.Level of Evidence: 3.
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June 2021

Multicenter assessment of surgical outcomes in adult spinal deformity patients with severe global coronal malalignment: determination of target coronal realignment threshold.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Dec 4:1-14. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

18Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California.

Objective: The impact of global coronal malalignment (GCM; C7 plumb line-midsacral offset) on adult spinal deformity (ASD) treatment outcomes is unclear. Here, the authors' primary objective was to assess surgical outcomes and complications in patients with severe GCM, with a secondary aim of investigating potential surgical target coronal thresholds for optimal outcomes.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of a prospective multicenter database. Operative patients with severe GCM (≥ 1 SD above the mean) and a minimum 2-year follow-up were identified. Demographic, surgical, radiographic, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and complications data were analyzed.

Results: Of 691 potentially eligible operative patients (mean GCM 4 ± 3 cm), 80 met the criteria for severe GCM ≥ 7 cm. Of these, 62 (78%; mean age 63.7 ± 10.7 years, 81% women) had a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean follow-up 3.3 ± 1.1 years). The mean ASD-Frailty Index was 3.9 ± 1.5 (frail), 50% had undergone prior fusion, and 81% had concurrent severe sagittal spinopelvic deformity with GCM and C7-S1 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) positively correlated (r = 0.313, p = 0.015). Surgical characteristics included posterior-only (58%) versus anterior-posterior (42%) approach, mean fusion of 13.2 ± 3.8 levels, iliac fixation (90%), 3-column osteotomy (36%), operative duration of 8.3 ± 3.0 hours, and estimated blood loss of 2.3 ± 1.7 L. Final alignment and HRQOL significantly improved (p < 0.01): GCM, 11 to 4 cm; maximum coronal Cobb angle, 43° to 20°; SVA, 13 to 4 cm; pelvic tilt, 29° to 23°; pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis mismatch, 31° to 5°; Oswestry Disability Index, 51 to 37; physical component summary of SF-36 (PCS), 29 to 37; 22-Item Scoliosis Research Society Patient Questionnaire (SRS-22r) Total, 2.6 to 3.5; and numeric rating scale score for back and leg pain, 7 to 4 and 5 to 3, respectively. Residual GCM ≥ 3 cm was associated with worse SRS-22r Appearance (p = 0.04) and SRS-22r Satisfaction (p = 0.02). The minimal clinically important difference and/or substantial clinical benefit (MCID/SCB) was met in 43%-83% (highest for SRS-22r Appearance [MCID 83%] and PCS [SCB 53%]). The severity of baseline GCM (≥ 2 SD above the mean) significantly impacted postoperative SRS-22r Satisfaction and MCID/SCB improvement for PCS. No significant partial correlations were demonstrated between GCM or SVA correction and HRQOL improvement. There were 89 total complications (34 minor and 55 major), 45 (73%) patients with ≥ 1 complication (most commonly rod fracture [19%] and proximal junctional kyphosis [PJK; 18%]), and 34 reoperations in 22 (35%) patients (most commonly for rod fracture and PJK).

Conclusions: Study results demonstrated that ASD surgery in patients with substantial GCM was associated with significant radiographic and HRQOL improvement despite high complication rates. MCID improvement was highest for SRS-22r Appearance/Self-Image. A residual GCM ≥ 3 cm was associated with a worse outcome, suggesting a potential coronal realignment target threshold to assist surgical planning.
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December 2020

Practical answers to frequently asked questions for shared decision-making in adult spinal deformity surgery.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Oct 16:1-10. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

1Norton Leatherman Spine Center, Louisville, Kentucky.

Objective: The shared decision-making (SDM) process provides an opportunity to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs). The authors aimed to present a concise list of answers to FAQs to aid in SDM for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

Methods: From a prospective, multicenter ASD database, patients enrolled between 2008 and 2016 who underwent fusions of 5 or more levels with a minimum 2-year follow-up were included. All deformity types were included to provide general applicability. The authors compiled a list of FAQs from patients undergoing ASD surgery and used a retrospective analysis to provide answers. All responses are reported as either the means or the proportions reaching the minimal clinically important difference at the 2-year follow-up interval.

Results: Of 689 patients with ASD who were eligible for 2-year follow-up, 521 (76%) had health-related quality-of-life scores available at the time of that follow-up. The mean age at the initial surgery was 58.2 years, and 78% of patients were female. The majority (73%) underwent surgery with a posterior-only approach. The mean number of fused levels was 12.2. Revision surgery accounted for 48% of patients. The authors answered 12 FAQs as follows:1. Will my pain improve? Back and leg pain will both be reduced by approximately 50%.2. Will my activity level improve? Approximately 65% of patients feel improvement in their activity level.3. Will I feel better about myself? More than 70% of patients feel improvement in their appearance.4. Is there a chance I will get worse? 4.1% feel worse at 2 years postoperatively.5. What is the likelihood I will have a complication? 67.8% will have a major or minor complication, with 47.8% having a major complication.6. Will I need another surgery? 25.0% will have a reoperation within 2 years.7. Will I regret having surgery? 6.5% would not choose the same treatment.8. Will I get a blood transfusion? 73.7% require a blood transfusion.9. How long will I stay in the hospital? You need to stay 8.1 days on average.10. Will I have to go to the ICU? 76.0% will have to go to the ICU.11. Will I be able to return to work? More than 70% will be working at 1 year postoperatively.12. Will I be taller after surgery? You will be 1.1 cm taller on average.

Conclusions: The above list provides concise, practical answers to FAQs encountered in the SDM process while counseling patients for ASD surgery.
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October 2020

Cost-effectiveness of surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity: comparison of posterior-only versus anteroposterior approach.

Spine J 2020 09 12;20(9):1464-1470. Epub 2020 Apr 12.

Norton Leatherman Spine Center, 210 East Gray Street, Suite 900, Louisville, KY 40204, USA.

Background Context: Considerable debate exists regarding the optimal surgical approach for adult spinal deformity (ASD). It remains unclear which approach, posterior-only or combined anterior-posterior (AP), is more cost-effective. Our goal is to determine the 2-year cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) for each approach.

Purpose: To compare the 2-year cost-effectiveness of surgical treatment for ASD between the posterior-only approach and combined AP approach.

Study Design: Retrospective economic analysis of a prospective, multicenter database PATIENT SAMPLE: From a prospective, multicenter surgical database of ASD, patients undergoing five or more level fusions through a posterior-only or AP approach were identified and compared.

Methods: QALYs gained were determined using baseline, 1-year, and 2-year postoperative Short Form 6D. Cost was calculated from actual, direct hospital costs including any subsequent readmission or revision. Cost-effectiveness was determined using cost/QALY gained.

Results: The AP approach showed significantly higher index cost than the posterior-only approach ($84,329 vs. $64,281). This margin decreased at 2-year follow-up with total costs of $89,824 and $73,904, respectively. QALYs gained at 2 years were similar with 0.21 and 0.17 in the posterior-only and the AP approaches, respectively. The cost/QALY at 2 years after surgery was significantly higher in the AP approach ($525,080) than in the posterior-only approach ($351,086).

Conclusions: We assessed 2-year cost-effectiveness for the surgical treatment through posterior-only and AP approaches. The posterior-only approach is less expensive both for the index surgery and at 2-year follow-up. The QALY gained at 2-years was similar between the two approaches. Thus, posterior-only approach was more cost-effective than the AP approach under our study parameters. However, both approaches were not cost-effective at 2-year follow-up.
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September 2020

Cost-Utility Analysis of rhBMP-2 Use in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Jul;45(14):1009-1015

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Baylor Scoliosis Center, Plano, TX.

Study Design: Economic modeling of data from a multicenter, prospective registry.

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the cost utility of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP) in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: ASD surgery is expensive and presents risk of major complications. BMP is frequently used off-label to reduce the risk of pseudarthrosis.

Methods: Of 522 ASD patients with fusion of five or more spinal levels, 367 (70%) had at least 2-year follow-up. Total direct cost was calculated by adding direct costs of the index surgery and any subsequent reoperations or readmissions. Cumulative quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained were calculated from the change in preoperative to final follow-up SF-6D health utility score. A decision-analysis model comparing BMP versus no-BMP was developed with pseudarthrosis as the primary outcome. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3%. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was performed using mixed first-order and second-order Monte Carlo simulations. One-way sensitivity analyses were performed by varying cost, probability, and QALY estimates (Alpha = 0.05).

Results: BMP was used in the index surgery for 267 patients (73%). The mean (±standard deviation) direct cost of BMP for the index surgery was $14,000 ± $6400. Forty patients (11%) underwent revision surgery for symptomatic pseudarthrosis (BMP group, 8.6%; no-BMP group, 17%; P = 0.022). The mean 2-year direct cost was significantly higher for patients with pseudarthrosis ($138,000 ± $17,000) than for patients without pseudarthrosis ($61,000 ± $25,000) (P < 0.001). Simulation analysis revealed that BMP was associated with positive incremental utility in 67% of patients and considered favorable at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $150,000/QALY in >52% of patients.

Conclusion: BMP use was associated with reduction in revisions for symptomatic pseudarthrosis in ASD surgery. Cost-utility analysis suggests that BMP use may be favored in ASD surgery; however, this determination requires further research.

Level Of Evidence: 2.
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July 2020

Durability of Satisfactory Functional Outcomes Following Surgical Adult Spinal Deformity Correction: A 3-Year Survivorship Analysis.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2020 02;18(2):118-125

Rocky Mountain Scoliosis and Spine, Denver, Colorado.

Background: Despite reports showing positive long-term functional outcomes following adult spinal deformity (ASD)-corrective surgery, it is unclear which factors affect the durability of these outcomes.

Objective: To assess durability of functional gains following ASD-corrective surgery; determine predictors for postoperative loss of functionality.

Methods: Surgical ASD patients > 18 yr with 3-yr Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) follow-up, and 1-yr postoperative (1Y) ODI scores reaching substantial clinical benefit (SCB) threshold (SCB < 31.3 points). Patients were grouped: those sustaining ODI at SCB threshold beyond 1Y (sustained functionality) and those not (functional decline). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis determined postoperative durability of functionality. Multivariate Cox regression assessed the relationship between patient/surgical factors and functional decline, accounting for age, sex, and levels fused.

Results: All 166 included patients showed baseline to 1Y functional improvement (mean ODI: 35.3 ± 16.5-13.6 ± 9.2, P < .001). Durability of satisfactory functional outcomes following the 1Y postoperative interval was 88.6% at 2-yr postoperative, and 71.1% at 3-yr postoperative (3Y). Those sustaining functionality after 1Y had lower baseline C2-S1 sagittal vertical axis (SVA) and T1 slope (both P < .05), and lower 1Y thoracic kyphosis (P = .035). From 1Y to 3Y, patients who sustained functionality showed smaller changes in alignment: pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis, SVA, T1 slope minus cervical lordosis, and C2-C7 SVA (all P < .05). Those sustaining functionality beyond 1Y were also younger, less frail at 1Y, and had lower rates of baseline osteoporosis, hypertension, and lung disease (all P < .05). Lung disease (Hazard Ratio:4.8 [1.4-16.4]), 1Y frailty (HR:1.4 [1.1-1.9]), and posterior approach (HR:2.6 [1.2-5.8]) were associated with more rapid decline.

Conclusion: Seventy-one percent of ASD patients maintained satisfactory functional outcomes by 3Y. Of those who failed to sustain functionality, the largest functional decline occurred 3-yr postoperatively. Frailty, preoperative comorbidities, and surgical approach affected durability of functional gains following surgery.
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February 2020

Cost-utility of revisions for cervical deformity correction warrants minimization of reoperations.

J Spine Surg 2018 Dec;4(4):702-711

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Background: Cervical deformity (CD) surgery has become increasingly more common and complex, which has also led to reoperations for complications such as distal junctional kyphosis (DJK). Cost-utility analysis has yet to be used to analyze CD revision surgery in relation to the cost-utility of primary CD surgeries. The aim of this study was to determine the cost-utility of revision surgery for CD correction.

Methods: Retrospective review of a multicenter prospective CD database. CD was defined as at least one of the following: C2-C7 Cobb >10°, cervical lordosis (CL) >10°, cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) >4 cm, chin-brow vertical angle (CBVA) >25°. Quality-adjusted life year (QALY) were calculated by EuroQol Five-Dimensions questionnaire (EQ-5D) and Neck Disability Index (NDI) mapped to SF-6D index and utilized a 3% discount rate to account for residual decline to life expectancy (men: 76.9 years, women: 81.6 years). Medicare reimbursement at 30 days assigned costs for index procedures (9+ level posterior fusion, 4-8 level posterior fusion with anterior fusion, 2-3 level posterior fusion with anterior fusion, 4-8 level anterior fusion) and revision fusions (2-3 level, 4-8 level, or 9+ level posterior refusion). Cost per QALY gained was calculated.

Results: Eighty-nine CD patients were included (61.6 years, 65.2% female). CD correction for these patients involved a mean 7.7±3.7 levels fused, with 34% combined approach surgeries, 49% posterior-only and 17% anterior-only, 19.1% three-column osteotomy. Costs for index surgeries ranged from $20,001-55,205, with the average cost for this cohort of $44,318 and cost per QALY of $27,267. Eleven revision surgeries (mean levels fused 10.3) occurred up to 1-year, with an average cost of $41,510. Indications for revisions were DJK (5/11), neurologic impairment [4], infection [1], prominent/painful instrumentation [1]. Average QALYs gained was 1.62 per revision patient. Cost was $28,138 per QALY for reoperations.

Conclusions: CD revisions had a cost of $28,138 per QALY, in addition to the $27,267 per QALY for primary CD surgeries. For primary CD patients, CD surgery has the potential to be cost effective, with the caveats that a patient livelihood extends long enough to have the benefits and durability of the surgery is maintained. Efforts in research and surgical technique development should emphasize minimization of reoperation causes just as DJK that significantly affect cost utility of these surgeries to bring cost-utility to an acceptable range.
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December 2018

Development of a Modified Cervical Deformity Frailty Index: A Streamlined Clinical Tool for Preoperative Risk Stratification.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2019 Feb;44(3):169-176

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Study Design: Retrospective review.

Objective: Develop a simplified frailty index for cervical deformity (CD) patients.

Summary Of Background Data: To improve preoperative risk stratification for surgical CD patients, a CD frailty index (CD-FI) incorporating 40 health deficits was developed. While novel, the CD-FI is clinically impractical due to the large number of factors needed for its calculation. To increase clinical utility, a simpler, modified CD-FI (mCD-FI) is necessary.

Methods: CD patients (C2-C7 Cobb>10°, CL>10°, cSVA>4 cm, or CBVA>25°) >18 year with preoperative CD-FI component factors. Pearson bivariate correlation assessed relationships between component deficits of the CD-FI and overall CD-FI score. Top deficits contributing to CD-FI score were included in multiple stepwise regression models. Deficits from model with largest R were dichotomized, and the mean score of all deficits calculated, resulting in mCD-FI score from 0 to 1. Patients were stratified by mCD-FI: Not Frail (NF, <0.3), Frail (0.3-0.5), Severely Frail (SF, >0.5). Means comparison tests established correlations between frailty category and clinical outcomes.

Results: Included: 121 CD patients (61 ± 11 yr, 60%F). Multiple stepwise regression models identified 15 deficits as responsible for 86% of the variation in CD-FI; these factors were used to construct the mCD-FI. Overall, mean mCD-FI was 0.31 ± 0.14. Breakdown of patients by mCD-FI category: NF: 47.9%, Frail: 46.3%, SF: 5.8%. Compared with NF and Frail, SF patients had the longest inpatient hospital stays (P = 0.042), as well as greater baseline neck pain (P = 0.033), inferior Neck Disability Index scores (P<0.001) and inferior EQ-5D scores (P < 0.001). Frail patients had higher odds of superficial infection (OR:1.1[1.0-1.2]), and SF patients had increased odds of mortality (OR:8.3[1.3-53.9]).

Conclusion: Increased frailty, assessed by mCD-FI, correlated with increased length of stay, neck pain, and decreased health-related quality of life. Frail patients were at greater risk for infection, and severely frail patients had greater odds of mortality. This relationship between frailty and clinical outcomes suggests that mCD-FI offers clinical utility as a preoperative risk stratification tool.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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February 2019

Peak Timing for Complications After Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery.

World Neurosurg 2018 Jul 22;115:e509-e515. Epub 2018 Apr 22.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Background: Overall complication rates for adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery have been reported; however, little data exist on the peak timing associated with specific complications. This study quantifies the peak timing for multiple complication types in an ASD cohort at minimum 2-year follow-up.

Methods: Multicenter, prospective analysis of all complications after ASD surgery in a consecutively enrolled cohort was performed. Inclusion criteria were ASD, age ≥18 years, spinal fusion ≥4 levels, and minimum 2-year follow-up. Complications included major and minor and specific complication types. Peak timing of specific complications was identified and described. Regression analysis was performed to assess correlation between patient/surgical factors and complication timing.

Results: There were 280 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Mean follow-up time was 2.9 years (range, 2-5 years). Of the patients, 209 (74.6%) had at least 1 complication, accounting for 529 total complications (258 minor and 271 major). Both major and minor complications peaked at <3 months. Infection and neurologic complications peaked at <3 months. Proximal junctional kyphosis had bimodal peaks at <3 and >24 months. Implant failure peaked at 12-24 and >24 months. There was a significant positive correlation between preoperative sagittal vertical axis and total complications at 6-12 months, major complications at 24 months, and reoperation. Body mass index was associated with total complications and implant failure at 12-24 and >24 months.

Conclusions: The peak timing of specific complications after ASD surgery is identifiable. Understanding when these complications are likely to occur may improve patient counseling, early diagnosis, and prophylactic interventions and may help inform future reimbursement models.
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July 2018

Impact of Readmissions in Episodic Care of Adult Spinal Deformity: Event-Based Cost Analysis of 695 Consecutive Cases.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2018 Mar;100(6):487-495

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Baylor Scoliosis Center, Plano, Texas.

Background: Readmissions following adult spinal deformity surgical procedures frequently occur, placing a substantial burden on patients and providers. Existing literature on readmission costs, including reason-specific readmission costs, is limited. The purposes of this study were to determine the most expensive reasons for readmission, to assess the impact of reasons and timing on readmission costs, and to estimate the drivers of total costs associated with adult spinal deformity surgical procedures.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 695 patients with adult spinal deformity (≥18 years of age) who underwent a corrective spine surgical procedure at a single center from 2005 to 2013. Demographic, surgical, and direct cost data expressed in 2010 dollars for the entire inpatient episode of care were obtained from the hospital administrative database. A multivariable linear regression model with a gamma distribution and log-link function was used to estimate the impact of reasons and timing on readmission costs and to identify the primary drivers of long-term costs.

Results: The mean age (and standard deviation) of the patients was 50.6 ± 15.8 years, 589 patients (85%) were women, and 637 patients (92%) were Caucasian. The observed readmission rates were 24% overall (costing $10.1 million), 8.8% for 30 days (costing $3.2 million), and 11.7% for 90 days (costing $4.6 million). The most expensive readmissions and their mean readmission cost were pseudarthrosis ($92,755), infection ($75,172), and proximal junctional kyphosis ($66,713), after adjusting for patient and surgical factors. The mean readmission cost after 2 years was $86,081. Older age (p = 0.001), ≥8 levels fused (p = 0.01), and length of index stay at the hospital (p < 0.0001) were independently associated with higher total cost. Surgical procedures in patients with a thoracic-only curve (p = 0.004) or a double curve (p = 0.05) and a surgical approach that was anterior-only (p < 0.0001) or posterior-only (p = 0.01) were independently associated with lower total costs.

Conclusions: Compared with readmission cost due to medical reasons, readmission due to pseudarthrosis increases mean readmission cost by 105%, readmission due to infection increases mean readmission cost by 72%, and readmission due to proximal junctional kyphosis increases mean readmission cost by 63%. Together, these 3 reasons accounted for 73% of readmission costs. This study identifies potential areas for cost reduction and opportunities for reducing readmission rates.

Clinical Relevance: Although reducing the 30-day and 90-day readmission rates and costs are important; adult spinal deformity surgery is unique, because the most common and most expensive complications occur after 1 year. We believe that our paper is clinically relevant as it will help to guide clinical focus on the most impactful complications.
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March 2018

Association of Patient-Reported Narcotic Use With Short- and Long-Term Outcomes After Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Multicenter Study of 425 Patients With 2-year Follow-up.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2018 Oct;43(19):1340-1346

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of a prospective registry OBJECTIVE.: To investigate associations of preoperative narcotic use with outcomes after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: We hypothesized that preoperative narcotic use would predict longer hospital stays, greater postoperative narcotic use, and greater disability 2 years after ASD surgery.

Methods: A multicenter database of surgical ASD patients was analyzed retrospectively for patients with self-reported data on preoperative narcotic use. Patients were categorized as using narcotics daily or non-daily (including those who used no narcotics), according to self-report. Outcomes were prolonged length of hospital stay (LOS) (>7 days); length of intensive care unit (ICU) stay; and daily narcotic use and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores 2 years postoperatively. Groups were compared by demographic characteristics, pain, disability, radiographic deformity, and surgical invasiveness. Multivariate logistic and linear regression were used to determine associations between preoperative narcotic use and outcomes.

Results: Of 575 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 425 (74%) had complete 2-year follow-up data. Forty-four percent reported daily preoperative narcotic use. Compared with non-daily users, daily narcotic users were older, had more comorbidities, more severe back pain, higher ODI scores, longer operative times, and worse preoperative malalignment and were more likely to undergo 3-column osteotomy (all, P < 0.05). Daily narcotic use independently predicted prolonged LOS (odds ratio [OR] = 1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-2.9), longer ICU stay (difference = 16 hours, 95% CI = 1.9-30 hours), and daily narcotic use 2 years postoperatively (OR = 6.9, 95% CI = 3.7-13), as well as worse 2-year ODI score (difference = 4.5, 95% CI: 0.7-8.3, P = 0.021).

Conclusion: Daily narcotic use before ASD surgery was associated with prolonged LOS, longer ICU stays, and increased risk of daily narcotic use and greater disability 2 years postoperatively.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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October 2018

Early Detection of Scoliosis-What the USPSTF "I" Means for Us.

JAMA Pediatr 2018 03;172(3):216-217

Southwest Scoliosis Institute, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center, Plano, Texas.

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March 2018

Early Patient-Reported Outcomes Predict 3-Year Outcomes in Operatively Treated Patients with Adult Spinal Deformity.

World Neurosurg 2017 Jun 11;102:258-262. Epub 2017 Mar 11.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Background: For patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD), surgical treatment may improve their health-related quality of life. This study investigates when the greatest improvement in outcomes occurs and whether incremental improvements in patient-reported outcomes during the first postoperative year predict outcomes at 3 years.

Methods: Using a multicenter registry, we identified 84 adults with ASD treated surgically from 2008 to 2012 with complete 3-year follow-up. Pairwise t tests and multivariate regression were used for analysis. Significance was set at P < 0.01.

Results: Mean Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and Scoliosis Research Society-22r total (SRS-22r) scores improved by 13 and 0.8 points, respectively, from preoperatively to 3 years (both P < 0.001). From preoperatively to 6 weeks postoperatively, ODI scores worsened by 5 points (P = 0.049) and SRS-22r scores improved by 0.3 points (P < 0.001). Between 6 weeks and 1 year, ODI and SRS-22r scores improved by 19 and 0.5 points, respectively (both P < 0.001). Incremental improvements during the first postoperative year predicted 3-year outcomes in ODI and SRS-22r scores (adjusted R = 0.52 and 0.42, respectively). There were no significant differences in the measured or predicted 3-year ODI (P = 0.991) or SRS-22r scores (P = 0.986).

Conclusions: In surgically treated patients with ASD, the greatest improvements in outcomes occurred between 6 weeks and 1 year postoperatively. A model with incremental improvements from baseline to 6 weeks and from 6 weeks to 1 year can be used to predict ODI and SRS-22r scores at 3 years.
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June 2017

Validity, Reliability, and Responsiveness of SRS-7 as an Outcomes Assessment Instrument for Operatively Treated Patients With Adult Spinal Deformity.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2016 Sep;41(18):1463-1468

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Study Design: A retrospective analysis.

Objective: The aim of our study was to compare the normality, concurrent validity, internal consistency, responsiveness, and dimensionality of an item response theory-derived seven-question instrument (SRS-7), against the Scoliosis Research Society-22r (SRS-22r) questionnaire in operatively treated patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD).

Summary Of Background Data: Compared with SRS-22r, SRS-7 (which has been validated in operatively treated patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis) has advantages of being short, unidimensional, and linear.

Methods: A prospective database of ASD patients was queried for patients 18 years or older who were operatively treated, and who answered pre- and postoperative (at 2-year follow-up) SRS-22r questions (n = 276). Corresponding SRS-7 scores were calculated using answers to SRS-22r items 1, 4, 6, 10, 18, 19, and 20. Significance was set at a P value less than 0.01.

Results: SRS-7 and SRS-22r were normally distributed preoperatively but not postoperatively. SRS-7 and SRS-22r scores had high correlation both preoperatively (r = 0.76, P < 0.01) and postoperatively (r = 0.83, P < 0.01). The internal consistency reliability Cronbach α values were 0.61 (SRS-7) and 0.83 (SRS-22r) preoperatively and 0.91 (SRS-7) and 0.95 (SRS-22r) postoperatively. SRS-7 was found to be more responsive than SRS-22r with measures of effect size: Cohen d = 1.21 versus 1.13, Hedge g = 1.21 versus 1.13, and effect size correlation r = 0.52 versus 0.49. Iterative principal factor analysis of pre- and postoperative scores showed the presence of one dominant latent factor in SRS-7 (unidimensionality) and four latent factors in SRS-22r (multidimensionality).

Conclusion: SRS-7 is a valid, reliable, responsive, and unidimensional instrument, which can be used as a short-form alternative to the SRS-22r for assessing global changes in patient-reported outcomes over time in patients with ASD.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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September 2016

Preoperative Planning for Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy: Does Pelvic Tilt Matter?

Spine Deform 2014 Sep 27;2(5):358-366. Epub 2014 Aug 27.

Spine Division, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, 306 E 15th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.

Study Design: Multicenter, retrospective radiographic analysis.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact that preoperative spinopelvic parameters have on postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA). The researchers hypothesized that patients with a large preoperative pelvic tilt (PT) would require more extensive lumbar pedicle subtraction osteotomy (LPSO) procedures to reestablish anatomic postoperative SVA than patients with normal preoperative PT.

Summary Of Background Data: Restoration of anatomic sagittal spinal alignment has been demonstrated to improve clinical outcomes. However, the degree to which spinopelvic parameters contribute to sagittal spinal malalignment is poorly understood.

Methods: Multicenter, retrospective analysis of 183 consecutively enrolled adult spinal deformity patients treated with LPSO procedures for correction of sagittal malalignment. Preoperative and postoperative freestanding full-length sagittal X-rays were analyzed for regional curves, pelvic parameters, and global alignment. Only patients with a preoperative SVA greater than 10 cm and a postoperative SVA less than 5 cm were retained for analysis. Patients were divided into 2 groups according to preoperative PT (low PT, less than 30°; and high PT, ≥30°). Independent t test analysis was used to determine differences in correction required to achieve postoperative SVA less than 5 cm.

Results: A total of 55 patients were identified for analysis. Low PT (n = 30) had lower preoperative PT than high PT (n = 25; 25° vs. 42°, respectively; p < .001). Analysis of the osteotomy performed demonstrated that the high PT group required a larger osteotomy resection (30° vs. 23°; p = .039) and a larger correction of lumbar lordosis (-43° vs. -31°; p = .006) to achieve an acceptable postoperative SVA (less than 5 cm).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that patients with high PT in conjunction with sagittal spinal malalignment require larger lumbar osteotomy procedures, including a greater osteotomy resection and larger lumbar lordosis correction, to obtain a satisfactory postoperative SVA. Surgeons performing LPSO procedures must evaluate preoperative spinopelvic parameters, including PT, to avoid undercorrection and residual deformity after complex sagittal realignment procedures.
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September 2014

Total hospital costs of surgical treatment for adult spinal deformity: an extended follow-up study.

Spine J 2014 Oct 24;14(10):2326-33. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

University of Minnesota, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2512 South 7th St, Suite R200, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA.

Background Context: Whereas the costs of primary surgery, revisions, and selected complications for adult spinal deformity (ASD) have been individually reported in the literature, the total costs over several years after surgery have not been assessed. The determinants of such costs are also not well understood in the literature.

Purpose: This study analyzes the total hospital costs and operating room (OR) costs of ASD surgery through extended follow-up.

Study Design/setting: Single-center retrospective analysis of consecutive surgical patients.

Patient Sample: Four hundred eighty-four consecutive patients undergoing surgical treatment for ASD from January 2005 through January 2011 with minimum three levels fused.

Outcome Measures: Costs were collected from hospital administrative data on the total hospital costs incurred for the operation and any related readmissions, expressed in 2010 dollars and discounted at 3.5% per year. Detailed data on OR costs, including implants and biologics, were also collected.

Methods: We performed a series of paired t tests and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests for differences in total hospital costs over different follow-up periods. The goal of these tests was to identify a time period over which average costs plateau and remain relatively constant over time. Generalized linear model regression was used to estimate the effect of patient and surgical factors on hospital inpatient costs, with different models estimated for different follow-up periods. A similar regression analysis was performed separately for OR costs and all other hospital costs.

Results: Patients were predominantly women (n=415 or 86%) with an average age of 48 (18-82) years and an average follow-up of 4.8 (2-8) years. Total hospital costs averaged $120,394, with primary surgery averaging $103,143 and total readmission costs averaging $67,262 per patient with a readmission (n=130 or 27% of all patients). Operating room costs averaged $70,514 per patient, constituting the majority (59%) of total hospital costs. Average total hospital costs across all patients significantly increased (p<.01) after primary surgery, from $111,807 at 1-year follow-up to $126,323 at 4-year follow-up. Regression results also revealed physician preference as the largest determinant of OR costs, accounting for $14,780 of otherwise unexplained OR cost differences across patients, with no significant physician effects on all other non-OR costs (p<.05).

Conclusions: The incidence of readmissions increased the average cost of ASD surgery by more than 70%, illustrating the financial burden of revisions/reoperations; however, the cost burden resulting from readmissions appeared to taper off within 5 years after surgery. The estimated impact of physician preference on OR costs also highlights the variation in current practice and the opportunity for large cost reductions via a more standardized approach in the use of implants and biologics.
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October 2014

Analysis of the direct cost of surgery for four diagnostic categories of adult spinal deformity.

Spine J 2013 Dec;13(12):1843-8

Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement, Baylor Health Care System, 8080 N. Central Expy, Suite 500, Dallas, TX 75206, USA; Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University, PO Box 750235, Dallas, TX 75275, USA. Electronic address:

Background Context: Existing literature on adult spinal deformity (ASD) offers little guidance regarding an evidence-based approach to care. To optimize the value of medical treatment, a thorough understanding of the cost of surgical treatment for ASD is required.

Purpose: To evaluate four clinically and radiographically distinct groups of ASD and identify and compare the cost of surgical treatment among the groups.

Study Design/setting: Multicenter retrospective study of consecutive surgeries for ASD.

Patient Sample: Three hundred twenty-five consecutive ASD patients treated between 2008 and 2010.

Outcome Measures: Cost data were collected from hospital administrative records on the direct costs (DCs) incurred for the episode of surgical care, excluding overhead.

Methods: Based on preoperative radiographs and history, patients were categorized into one of four diagnostic categories of deformity: primary idiopathic scoliosis (PIS), primary degenerative scoliosis (PDS), primary sagittal plane deformity (PSPD), and revision (R). Analysis of variance and generalized linear model regressions were used to analyze the DCs of surgery and to assess differences in costs across the four diagnostic categories considered.

Results: Significant differences were observed in DC of surgery for different categories of ASD, with surgical treatment for PDS the most expensive followed in decreasing order by PSPD, PIS, and R (p<.01). Results further revealed a significant positive relationship between age and DC (p<.01) and a significant positive relationship between length of stay and DC (p<.01). Among PIS patients, for every incremental increase in levels fused, the expected DC increased by $3,997 (p=.00). Fusion to pelvis also significantly increased the DC of surgery for patients aged 18 to 29 years (p<.01) and 30 to 59 years (p<.01) but not for 60 years or more (p=.86).

Conclusions: There is an increasing DC of surgery with increasing age, length of hospital stay, length of fusion, and fusions to the pelvis. Revision surgery is the least expensive surgery on average and should therefore not preclude its consideration from a pure cost perspective.
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December 2013

Sagittal realignment failures following pedicle subtraction osteotomy surgery: are we doing enough?: Clinical article.

J Neurosurg Spine 2012 Jun 30;16(6):539-46. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York, USA.

Object: Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) is a surgical procedure that is frequently performed on patients with sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. Although it allows for substantial spinopelvic realignment, suboptimal realignment outcomes have been reported in up to 33% of patients. The authors' objective in the present study was to identify differences in radiographic profiles and surgical procedures between patients achieving successful versus failed spinopelvic realignment following PSO.

Methods: This study is a multicenter retrospective consecutive PSO case series. The authors evaluated 99 cases involving patients who underwent PSO for sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. Because precise cutoffs of acceptable residual postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) values have not been well defined, comparisons were focused between patient groups with a postoperative SVA that could be clearly considered either a success or a failure. Only cases in which the patients had a postoperative SVA of less than 50 mm (successful PSO realignment) or more than 100 mm (failed PSO realignment) were included in the analysis. Radiographic measures and PSO parameters were compared between successful and failed PSO realignments.

Results: Seventy-nine patients met the inclusion criteria. Successful realignment was achieved in 61 patients (77%), while realignment failed in 18 (23%). Patients with failed realignment had larger preoperative SVA (mean 217.9 vs 106.7 mm, p < 0.01), larger pelvic tilt (mean 36.9° vs 30.7°, p < 0.01), larger pelvic incidence (mean 64.2° vs 53.7°, p < 0.01), and greater lumbar lordosis-pelvic incidence mismatch (-47.1° vs -30.9°, p < 0.01) compared with those in whom realignment was successful. Failed and successful realignments were similar regarding the vertebral level of the PSO, the median size of wedge resection 22.0° (interquartile range 16.5°-28.5°), and the numerical changes in pre- and postoperative spinopelvic parameters (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Patients with failed PSO realignments had significantly larger preoperative spinopelvic deformity than patients in whom realignment was successful. Despite their apparent need for greater correction, the patients in the failed realignment group only received the same amount of correction as those in the successfully realigned patients. A single-level standard PSO may not achieve optimal outcome in patients with high preoperative spinopelvic sagittal malalignment. Patients with large spinopelvic deformities should receive larger osteotomies or additional corrective procedures beyond PSOs to avoid undercorrection.
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June 2012

A biomechanical evaluation of three revision screw strategies for failed lateral mass fixation.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2008 Oct;33(22):2415-21

Twin Cities Spine Center, Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA.

Study Design: This is a biomechanical study evaluating 3 revision strategies for failed cervical lateral mass screw fixation.

Objective: Our primary objective was to compare, following a Magerl trajectory screw failure in the subaxial cervical spine, the pullout strength of (1) a revision screw in the same trajectory, (2) a Roy-Camille trajectory, and (3) pedicle screw fixation. We additionally analyzed the contributions of bone mineral density (BMD) and peak insertional torque to pullout strength.

Summary Of Background Data: Biomechanical studies that have examined revision screw strategies for lateral mass fixation have found either unsatisfactory or highly variable performance.

Methods: Fresh frozen cervical spinal segments were harvested and BMD testing performed. Bicortical (3.5-mm Vertex) lateral mass screws were placed in a Magerl trajectory in 57 fresh frozen human subaxial cervical vertebrae. All screws were then stripped and revision screws (4.0-mm Vertex) placed using either the same screw path or conversion to a Roy-Camille trajectory. In line pullout testing was performed on each of the revision screws (57 in Magerl revision group, 55 in Roy-Camille). Specimens that had not fractured during testing then had cervical pedicle screws (3.5-mm Vertex) placed and in-line pullout testing repeated (64 pedicles were instrumented) The pullout failure results of the Magerl revision, Roy-Camille revision, and pedicle screw revision groups were compared.

Results: No significant difference was noted in insertional torque (0.28-Nm Magerl, 0.35 Nm Roy-Camille, P > 0.05) or pullout (382-N Magerl, 351 N Roy-Camille, P > 0.05) between the Magerl and Roy-Camille revision groups. Pedicle screw revision had greater pullout strength (566 N) when compared with either the Magerl (382 N) or Roy-Camille (351 N) revision groups (P < 0.01) but also had a 20% pedicle wall breech rate by visual inspection. Insertional torque and pullout strength increased with increased BMD and were significantly correlated in all 3 revision groups (P < 0.05). Similarly, increased BMD was associated with increased pullout strength as demonstrated by the significant positive correlation (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Conversion of a stripped lateral mass screw to an alternate trajectory appears to offer no biomechanical advantage over placement of an increased diameter salvage screw using the same trajectory. Pedicle screw fixation provides superior biomechanical fixation but was associated with a significant breech rate.
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October 2008