Patient outcomes after circumferential minimally invasive surgery compared with those of open correction for adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 36:203–214, 2022

Circumferential minimally invasive spine surgery (cMIS) for adult scoliosis has become more advanced and powerful, but direct comparison with traditional open correction using prospectively collected data is limited. The authors performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected, multicenter adult spinal deformity data. The authors directly compared cMIS for adult scoliosis with open correction in propensity-matched cohorts using health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) measures and surgical parameters.

METHODS Data from a prospective, multicenter adult spinal deformity database were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria were age > 18 years, minimum 1-year follow-up, and one of the following characteristics: pelvic tilt (PT) > 25 , pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) > 10 , Cobb angle > 20 , or sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm. Patients were categorized as undergoing cMIS (percutaneous screws with minimally invasive anterior interbody fusion) or open correction (traditional open deformity correction). Propensity matching was used to create two equal groups and to control for age, BMI, preoperative PI-LL, pelvic incidence (PI), T1 pelvic angle (T1PA), SVA, PT, and number of posterior levels fused.

RESULTS A total of 154 patients (77 underwent open procedures and 77 underwent cMIS) were included after matching for age, BMI, PI-LL (mean 15  vs 17 , respectively), PI (54  vs 54 ), T1PA (21  vs 22 ), and mean number of levels fused (6.3 vs 6). Patients who underwent three-column osteotomy were excluded. Follow-up was 1 year for all patients. Postoperative Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) (p = 0.50), Scoliosis Research Society–total (p = 0.45), and EQ-5D (p = 0.33) scores were not different between cMIS and open patients. Maximum Cobb angles were similar for open and cMIS basepatients at baseline (25.9  vs 26.3 , p = 0.85) and at 1 year postoperation (15.0  vs 17.5 , p = 0.17). In total, 58.3% of open patients and 64.4% of cMIS patients (p = 0.31) reached the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in ODI at 1 year. At 1 year, no differences were observed in terms of PI-LL (p = 0.71), SVA (p = 0.46), PT (p = 0.9), or Cobb angle (p = 0.20). Open patients had greater estimated blood loss compared with cMIS patients (1.36 L vs 0.524 L, p < 0.05) and fewer levels of interbody fusion (1.87 vs 3.46, p < 0.05), but shorter operative times (356 minutes vs 452 minutes, p = 0.003). Revision surgery rates between the two cohorts were similar (p = 0.97).

CONCLUSIONS When cMIS was compared with open adult scoliosis correction with propensity matching, HRQOL improvement, spinopelvic parameters, revision surgery rates, and proportions of patients who reached MCID were similar between cohorts. However, well-selected cMIS patients had less blood loss, comparable results, and longer operative times in comparison with open patients.



Safety of lateral access to the concave side for adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 35:100–104, 2021

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques, particularly lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF), have become increasingly popular for adult spinal deformity (ASD) correction. Much discussion has been had regarding theoretical and clinical advantages to addressing coronal curvature from the convex versus concave side of the curve. In this study, the authors aimed to broadly evaluate the clinical outcomes of addressing ASD with circumferential MIS (cMIS) techniques while accessing the lumbar coronal curvature from the concave side.

METHODS A multi-institution, retrospective chart and radiographic review was performed for all ASD patients with at least a 10° curvature, as defined by the Scoliosis Research Society, who underwent cMIS correction. The data collected included convex versus concave access to the coronal curve, durable or sensory femoral nerve injury lasting longer than 6 weeks, vascular injury, visceral injury, and any additional major complication, with at least a 2-year follow-up. Neither health-related quality-of-life metrics nor spinopelvic parameters were included within the scope of this study.

RESULTS A total of 152 patients with ASD treated with cMIS correction via lateral access were identified and analyzed. Of these, 126 (82.9%) were approached from the concave side and 26 (17.1%) were approached from the convex side. In the concave group, 1 (0.8%) motor and 4 (3.2%) sensory deficit cases remained at 6 weeks after the operation. No vascular, visceral, or catastrophic intraoperative injuries were encountered in the concave group. Of the 26 patients in the convex group, 2 (7.7%) experienced motor deficits lasting longer than 6 weeks and 5 (19.2%) had lower-extremity sensory deficits.

CONCLUSIONS It has been reported that lateral access to the convex side is associated with similar clinical and radiographic outcomes with fewer complications when compared with access to the concave side. Advantages to approaching the lumbar spine from the concave side include using one incision to access multiple levels, breaking the operative table to assist with curvature correction, easier access to the L4–5 disc space, the ability to release the contracted side, and, often, avoidance of the need to access or traverse the thoracic cavity. This study illustrates the largest reported cohort of concave access for cMIS scoliosis correction; few postoperative sensory and motor deficits were found.


Asymmetrical pedicle subtraction osteotomy for correction of concurrent sagittal-coronal imbalance in adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 33:822–829, 2020

Rigid multiplanar thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) cases are challenging and many require a 3-column osteotomy (3CO), specifically asymmetrical pedicle subtraction osteotomy (APSO). The outcomes and additional risks of performing APSO for the correction of concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity have yet to be adequately studied.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective review of all ASD patients who underwent 3CO during the period from 2006 to 2019. All cases involved either isolated sagittal deformity (patients underwent standard PSO) or concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity (coronal vertical axis [CVA] ≥ 4.0 cm; patients underwent APSO). Perioperative and 2-year follow-up outcomes were compared between patients with isolated sagittal imbalance who underwent PSO and those with concurrent sagittal-coronal imbalance who underwent APSO.

RESULTS A total of 390 patients were included: 338 who underwent PSO and 52 who underwent APSO. The mean patient age was 64.6 years, and 65.1% of patients were female. APSO patients required significantly more fusions with upper instrumented vertebrae (UIV) in the upper thoracic spine (63.5% vs 43.3%, p = 0.007). Radiographically, APSO patients had greater deformity with more severe preoperative sagittal and coronal imbalance: sagittal vertical axis (SVA) 13.0 versus 10.7 cm (p = 0.042) and CVA 6.1 versus 1.2 cm (p < 0.001). In APSO cases, significant correction and normalization were achieved (SVA 13.0–3.1 cm, CVA 6.1–2.0 cm, lumbar lordosis [LL] 26.3°–49.4°, pelvic tilt [PT] 38.0°–20.4°, and scoliosis 25.0°–10.4°, p < 0.001). The overall perioperative complication rate was 34.9%. There were no significant differences between PSO and APSO patients in rates of complications (overall 33.7% vs 42.3%, p = 0.227; neurological 5.9% vs 3.9%, p = 0.547; medical 20.7% vs 25.0%, p = 0.482; and surgical 6.5% vs 11.5%, p = 0.191, respectively). However, the APSO group required significantly longer stays in the ICU (3.1 vs 2.3 days, p = 0.047) and hospital (10.8 vs 8.3 days, p = 0.002). At the 2-year follow-up, there were no significant differences in mechanical complications, including proximal junctional kyphosis (p = 0.352), pseudarthrosis (p = 0.980), rod fracture (p = 0.852), and reoperation (p = 0.600).

CONCLUSIONS ASD patients with significant coronal imbalance often have severe concurrent sagittal deformity. APSO is a powerful and effective technique to achieve multiplanar correction without higher risk of morbidity and complications compared with PSO for sagittal imbalance. However, APSO is associated with slightly longer ICU and hospital stays.

A Staged Protocol for Circumferential Minimally Invasive Surgical Correction of Adult Spinal Deformity

Neurosurgery 81:733–739, 2017

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques used for management of adult spinal deformity (ASD) aim to decrease the physiological demand on patients and minimize postoperative complications. A circumferential MIS (cMIS) protocol offers the potential to maximize this advantage over standard open approaches, through the concurrent use of multiple MIS techniques.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate through a case example the execution of a cMIS protocol for management of an ASD patient with severe deformity.

METHODS: Thorough preoperative assessment, surgical planning, and medical optimization were completed. Deformity correction was performed over 2 stages. During the first stage, interbody fusion was performed via an oblique lateral approach at all levels of the lumbar spine intended to be included in the final construct. The patient was kept as an inpatient and mobilized postoperatively. They were then re-imaged with standing films. The second stage occurred after 3 d and involved percutaneous instrumentation of all levels. Posterior fusion of the thoracic levels was achieved through decortication of pars and facets. These areas were accessed through the intermuscular plane established by the percutaneous screws. The patient was mobilizing on their first postoperative day.

RESULTS: In a 66-yr-old female with severe sagittal imbalance and debilitating back pain, effective use of this cMIS protocol allowed for correction of the Cobb angle from 52◦ to 4◦ correction of spinopelvic parameters and 13 cm of sagittal vertical axis improvement. No complications were identified by 2 yr postoperative.

CONCLUSION: As a systematization of multiple MIS techniques combined, in a specific and staged manner, this cMIS protocol could provide a safe and effective approach to the management of ASD.


Evolution of Sagittal Imbalance Following Corrective Surgery for Sagittal Plane Deformity

Neurosurgery 81:129–134, 2017

Sagittal balance in adult spinal deformity is a major predictor of quality of life. A temporary loss of paraspinalmuscle force and somatic pain following spine surgery may limit a patient’s ability to maintain posture.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the evolution of sagittal balance and clinical outcomes during recovery from adult spinal deformity surgery.

METHODS: Retrospective review of a prospective observational database identified a consecutive series of patients with sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 40mm undergoing adult deformity surgery. Radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes were measured out to 2 yr after surgery.

RESULTS: A total of 113 consecutive patients met inclusion criteria. Mean preoperative SVA was 90.3 mm, increased to 104.6mm in the first week, then gradually reduced at each follow-up interval to 59.2mm at 6wk, 45.0mm at 3mo, 38.6mm at 6mo, and 34.1mm at 1 yr (all P < .05). SVA did not change between 1 and 2 yr. Pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) corrected immediately from 25.3◦ to 8.5◦ (16.8◦ change; P < .01) and a decreased pelvic tilt from 27.6◦ to 17.6◦ (10◦ change; P < .01). No further change was noted in PILL. Pelvic tilt increased to 20.2◦ (P = .01) at 6wk and held steady through 2 yr. Mean Visual Analog Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form-36 scores all improved; pain rapidly improved, whereas disability measures improved as SVA improved.

CONCLUSION: Radiographic assessment of global sagittal alignment did not fully reflect surgical correction of sagittal balance until 6 months after adult deformity surgery. Sagittal balance initially worsened then steadily improved at each interval over the first year postoperatively. At 1 yr, all clinical and radiographic measures outcomes were significantly improved.


Does MIS Surgery Allow for Shorter Constructs in the Surgical Treatment of Adult Spinal Deformity?

Neurosurgery 80:489–497, 2017

The length of construct can potentially influence perioperative risks in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. A head-to-head comparison between open and minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques for treatment of ASD has yet to be performed.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of MIS approaches on construct length and clinical outcomes in comparison to traditional open approaches when treating similar ASD profiles.

METHODS: Two multicenter databases for ASD, 1 involving MIS procedures and the other open procedures, were propensity matched for clinical and radiographic parameters in this observational study. Inclusion criteria were ASD and minimum 2-year follow-up. Independent t-test and chi-square test were used to evaluate and compare outcomes.

RESULTS: A total of 1215 patients were identified, with 84 patients matched in each group. Statistical significance was found for mean levels fused (4.8 for circumferential MIS [cMIS] and 10.1 for open), mean interbody fusion levels (3.6 cMIS and 2.4 open), blood loss (estimated blood loss 488 mL cMIS and 1762 mL open), and hospital length of stay (6.7 days cMIS and 9.7 days open). There was no significant difference in preoperative radiographic parameters or postoperative clinical outcomes (Owestry Disability Index and visual analog scale) between groups. There was a significant difference in postoperative lumbar lordosis (43.3◦ cMIS and 49.8◦ open) and pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis correction (10.6◦ cMIS and 5.2◦ open) in the open group. There was no significant difference in reoperation rate between the 2 groups.

CONCLUSION: MIS techniques for ASD may reduce construct length, reoperation rates, blood loss, and length of stay without affecting clinical and radiographic outcomes when compared to a similar group of patients treated with open techniques.

Outcomes of Operative and Nonoperative Treatment for Adult Spinal Deformity

adult lumbar scoliosis

Neurosurgery 78:851–861, 2016

High-quality studies that compare operative and nonoperative treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD) are needed.

OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes of operative and nonoperative treatment for ASD.

METHODS: This is a multicenter, prospective analysis of consecutive ASD patients opting for operative or nonoperative care. Inclusion criteria were age .18 years and ASD. Operative and nonoperative patients were propensity matched with the baseline Oswestry Disability Index, Scoliosis Research Society-22r, thoracolumbar/lumbar Cobb angle, pelvic incidence–to–lumbar lordosis mismatch (PI-LL), and leg pain score. Analyses were confined to patients with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up.

RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-six operative and 403 nonoperative patients met the criteria, with mean ages of 53 and 55 years, 2-year follow-up rates of 86% and 55%, and mean follow-up of 24.7 and 24.8 months, respectively. At baseline, operative patients had significantly worse health-related quality of life (HRQOL) based on all measures assessed (P < .001) and had worse deformity based on pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence–to– lumbar lordosis mismatch, and sagittal vertical axis (P ≤ .002). At the minimum 2-year follow-up, all HRQOL measures assessed significantly improved for operative patients (P < .001), but none improved significantly for nonoperative patients except for modest improvements in the Scoliosis Research Society-22r pain (P = .04) and satisfaction (P < .001) domains. On the basis of matched operative-nonoperative cohorts (97 in each group), operative patients had significantly better HRQOL at follow-up for all measures assessed (P < .001), except Short Form-36 mental component score (P = .06). At the minimum 2-year follow-up, 71.5% of operative patients had ≥1 complications.

CONCLUSION: Operative treatment for ASD can provide significant improvement of HRQOL at a minimum 2-year follow-up. In contrast, nonoperative treatment on average maintains presenting levels of pain and disability.

Outcomes of Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery Based on Indication: A Prospective Study

Outcomes of Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery Based on Indication- A Prospective Study

Neurosurgery 76:7–24, 2015

There is limited information on clinical outcomes after anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) based on the indications for surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the clinical and radiological outcomes of ALIF for each surgical indication.

METHODS: This prospective clinical study included 125 patients who underwent ALIF over a 2-year period. The patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively. Outcome measures included the Short Form-12, Oswestry Disability Index, Visual Analog Scale, and Patient Satisfaction Index.

RESULTS: After a mean follow-up of 20 months, the clinical condition of the patients was significantly better than their preoperative status across all indications. A total of 108 patients had a Patient Satisfaction Index score of 1 or 2, indicating a successful clinical outcome in 86%. Patients with degenerative disk disease (with and without radiculopathy), spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis had the best clinical response to ALIF, with statistically significant improvement in the Short Form-12, Oswestry Disability Index, and Visual Analog Scale. Failed posterior fusion and adjacent segment disease showed statistically significant improvement in all of these clinical outcome scores, although the mean changes in the Short Form-12 Mental Component Summary, Oswestry Disability Index, and Visual Analog Scale (back pain) were lower. The overall radiological fusion rate was 94.4%. Superior radiological outcomes (fusion .90%) were observed in patients with degenerative disk disease (with and without radiculopathy), spondylolisthesis, and failed posterior fusion, whereas in adjacent segment disease, it was 80%.

CONCLUSION: ALIF is an effective treatment for degenerative disk disease (with and without radiculopathy) and spondylolisthesis. Although results were promising for scoliosis, failed posterior fusion, and adjacent segment disease, further studies are necessary to establish the effectiveness of ALIF in these conditions.

Combined “Hybrid” Open and Minimally Invasive Surgical Correction of Adult Thoracolumbar Scoliosis: A Retrospective Cohort Study


Neurosurgery 72:151–159, 2013

Surgery for scoliosis requires extensive exposure, resulting in significant tissue injury and longer recovery times. To minimize morbidity in scoliosis surgery, several studies have shown successful application of a combination of minimally invasive techniques; however, the extent of scoliosis treated has been modest.

OBJECTIVE: To achieve some of the benefits of minimally invasive surgery and yet treat curves of greater degree, we have used a combined approach, incorporating both open and minimally invasive techniques.

METHODS: We analyzed a prospectively acquired database in addition to reviewing electronic records of patients undergoing hybrid surgery for thoracolumbar scoliosis. Nine patients were identified. The minimally invasive portion involved the lumbar region in all cases. Pain was assessed by the visual analog scale and disability was measured by the Oswestry Disability Index.

RESULTS: Mean preoperative scoliosis was 47.8 degrees, which was corrected to a mean 15.2 degrees. An average of 7.8 spinal levels was treated. Estimated blood loss averaged 1094.4 mL, and length of hospital stay averaged 7.2 days. Acute complications occurred in 2 patients. Longer term complications occurred in 2 patients, consisting of adjacent segment disease. The mean improvement in the visual analog scale score was 3.7 and the mean improvement on the Oswestry Disability Index was 30.5. Average follow-up was 29.2 months.

CONCLUSION: The hybrid approach for the treatment of scoliosis results in acceptable radiographic and clinical outcomes. Complications did not appear increased compared with those expected with scoliosis surgery. Although decreased adjacent tissue injury was achieved with the minimally invasive component of the procedure, a larger comparative study is required to determine magnitude of this benefit.

Effects of age on perioperative complications of extensive multilevel thoracolumbar spinal fusion surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 12:402–408, 2010. DOI: 10.3171/2009.10.SPINE08741

The elderly compose a substantial proportion of patients presenting with complex spinal pathology. Several recent studies have suggested that fusion of 4 or more levels increases the risk of perioperative complications in elderly patients. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of age in persons undergoing multilevel (≥ 5 levels) thoracolumbar fusion surgery.

Methods. A retrospective review of all hospital records, operative reports, and clinic notes was conducted for 124 consecutive patients who underwent surgery between 2000 and 2007 with an average follow-up of 3.5 years and a minimum follow-up of 1.2 years. The most frequent preoperative diagnoses included scoliosis, tumor, osteomyelitis, vertebral fracture, and degenerative disc disease with stenosis. Complications were classified as intraoperative and major and minor postoperative as well as the need for revision surgery. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine the effects of age and other potentially prognostic factors.

Results. After controlling for other factors, increasing age was associated with an elevated risk for major postoperative complications (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.00–1.10) as were increasing levels of fusion (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1–2.1) and male sex (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.3–16.2). In patients 65 years of age or older, rates of intraoperative complications, major and minor postoperative complications, and reoperation were 14.1, 23.4, 29.7, and 26.6%, respectively. The number of comorbidities was associated with a greater risk for perioperative complications in elderly patients (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1–2.8).

Conclusions. Age is a positive risk factor for major postoperative complications in extensive thoracolumbar spinal fusion surgery. Complication rates in the elderly are high, and good clinical judgment and careful patient selection are needed before performing extensive thoracolumbar reconstruction in older persons.

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