The latest medical research on Spinal Surgery

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about spinal surgery gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Development and Internal Validation of the Postoperative Analgesic Intake Needs Score: A Predictive Model for Post-Operative Narcotic Requirement after Spine Surgery.

Global Spine Journal

A total of 1199 consecutive patients undergoing elective spine surgery over a 2-year period at a single center were included. Patients not requiring inpatient admission, those who received epidural analgesia, those who had two surgeries at separate sites under one anesthesia event, and those with a length of stay greater than 10 days were excluded. The remaining 860 patients were divided into a derivation and validation cohort. Pre-operative factors were collected by review of the electronic medical record. Total postoperative inpatient opioid intake requirements were converted into morphine milligram equivalents to standardize postoperative analgesic requirements.

The aim of this study was to develop a clinical tool to pre-operatively risk-stratify patients undergoing spine surgery based on their likelihood to have high postoperative analgesic requirements.

The postoperative analgesic intake needs (PAIN) score was developed after the following predictor variables were identified: age, race, history of depression/anxiety, smoking status, active pre-operative benzodiazepine use and pre-operative opioid use, and surgical type. Patients were risk-stratified based on their score with the high-risk group being more likely to have high opioid consumption postoperatively compared to the moderate and low-risk groups in both the derivation and validation cohorts.

The PAIN Score is a pre-operative clinical tool for patients undergoing spine surgery to risk stratify them based on their likelihood for high analgesic requirements. The information can be used to individualize a multi-modal analgesic regimen rather than utilizing a "one-size fits all" approach.

A Biomechanical Study on Cortical Bone Trajectory Screw Fixation Augmented With Cement in Osteoporotic Spines.

Global Spine Journal

Forty-nine CBT screws were inserted into lumbar vertebrae guided by three-dimensionally printed templates, and then injected with 0, .5, or 1.0 mL of polymethylmethacrylate. The screw placement accuracy, cement dispersion, and cement leakage rate were evaluated radiologically. Biomechanical tests were performed to measure the axial pull-out strength and torque value.

To evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of cement-augmented cortical bone trajectory (CBT) screw fixation.

Overall, 83.67% of the screws were inserted without pedicle perforation. In the 1.0 mL group, cement dispersed into the pedicle zone and formed a concentrated mass more often than in the .5 mL group, but not significantly more often (P > .05). The total cement leakage rate was 18.75%. Compared with the control group, the torque value was slightly higher in the .5 mL group (P = .735) and significantly higher in the 1.0 mL group (P = .026). However, there was no significant difference between the .5 and 1.0 mL groups (P = .431). The maximal pull-out force (Fmax) was increased by 52.85% and 72.73% in the .5 and 1.0 mL groups, respectively, compared with the control group (P < .05). However, the difference was not significant between the 2 cemented groups (P = .985).

Cement augmentation is a useful method for increasing CBT screw stability in osteoporotic spines. The cement injection volume is recommended to be 1 mL for each screw, and the cement should disperse into the vertebral body than the pedicle zones.

Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Practical Approach to Diagnosis.

Global Spine Journal


The objective of this review is to provide a stepwise approach to the assessment of patients with potential symptoms of degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM).

DCM is an overarching term used to describe progressive compression of the cervical spinal cord by age-related changes to the spinal axis. These alterations to normal anatomy narrow the spinal canal, reduce the space available for the spinal cord, and may ultimately compress the ascending and descending neural tracts. Patients with DCM present with a wide range of symptoms that can significantly impact quality of life, including bilateral hand numbness and paresthesia, gait impairment, motor weakness of the upper and lower extremities, and bladder and bowel dysfunction. Unfortunately, DCM is often misdiagnosed, resulting in delayed assessment and management by the appropriate specialist. The proper evaluation of a patient with suspected DCM includes obtaining a detailed patient history, conducting a comprehensive neurological examination, and ordering appropriate tests to rule in or out other diagnoses.

This review summarizes a stepwise approach to the diagnosis of patients with DCM.

How Knowledgeable Are Spine Surgeons Regarding EMG-NCS for Cervical Spine Conditions? An International Aospine Survey.

Global Spine Journal

All members of AO Spine International were emailed an anonymous survey to evaluate their clinical knowledge about the use of EMG and nerve conduction studies for DCC. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results, as well as to compare the answers among different groups of surgeons and assess demographic characteristics.

To evaluate the knowledge of spine surgeons regarding the use of electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) for degenerative cervical spine conditions (DCC).

A total of 402 participants answered the survey, 91.79% were men from the 5 continents. There were 221 orthopedic surgeons (55.39%) and 171 neurosurgeons (42.86%), more than a half of them with a complete spinal fellowship (56.44%). The most common reasons that surgeons obtain the test is to differentiate a radiculopathy from a peripheral nerve compression (88.06%). As a group, the responding surgeons' knowledge regarding EMG-NCS was poor. Only 53.46% of surgeons correctly answered that EMG-NCS is unable to differentiate a C5 from a C6 radiculopathy. Only 23.47% of the surgeons knew that EMG-NCS are not able to diagnose a pre vs a post-fixed brachial plexus. Only 25% of the surgeons correctly answered a question regarding the test's ability to diagnose other neurological diseases.

We found that our respondents' knowledge regarding EMG-NCS for DCC was poor. Identifying the weak points of knowledge about EMG-NCS may help to educate surgeons on the indications for the test and the proper way to interpret the results.

What can we learn from long-term studies on chronic low back pain? A scoping review.

European Spine Journal

A scoping review was conducted with the objective to identify and map the available evidence from long-term studies on chronic non-specific low back pain (LBP), to examine how these studies are conducted, and to address potential knowledge gaps.

We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE up to march 2021, not restricted by date or language. Experimental and observational study types were included. Inclusion criteria were: participants between 18 and 65 years old with non-specific sub-acute or chronic LBP, minimum average follow-up of > 2 years, and studies had to report at least one of the following outcome measures: disability, quality of life, work participation, or health care utilization. Methodological quality was assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project quality assessment. Data were extracted, tabulated, and reported thematically.

Ninety studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies examined invasive treatments (72%), conservative (21%), or a comparison of both (7%). No natural cohorts were included. Methodological quality was weak (16% of studies), moderate (63%), or strong (21%) and generally improved after 2010. Disability (92%) and pain (86%) outcomes were most commonly reported, followed by work (25%), quality of life (15%), and health care utilization (4%). Most studies reported significant improvement at long-term follow-up (median 51 months, range 26 months-18 years). Only 10 (11%) studies took more than one measurement > 2 year after baseline.

Patients with persistent non-specific LBP seem to experience improvement in pain, disability and quality of life years after seeking treatment. However, it remains unclear what factors might have influenced these improvements, and whether they are treatment-related. Studies varied greatly in design, patient population, and methods of data collection. There is still little insight into the long-term natural course of LBP. Additionally, few studies perform repeated measurements during long-term follow-up or report on patient-centered outcomes other than pain or disability.

Association between back and neck pain and workplace absenteeism in the USA: the role played by walking, standing, and sitting difficulties.

European Spine Journal

There is a paucity of literature identifying factors that influence the back and neck pain (BNP)-workplace absenteeism relationship. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the association between BNP and workplace absenteeism and potential mediating variables in a large sample of the US population.

Nationally representative data collected in 2019 from the RAND American Life Panel (ALP) were used for this retrospective study. Workplace absenteeism was defined as the number of days of absence in the past 12 months for health-related reasons (count variable), while BNP corresponded to the presence of back pain due to spinal stenosis, back pain due to other causes, or neck pain (dichotomous variable). Control variables included sex, age, ethnicity, marital status, education, occupation, annual family income, health insurance, obesity, and diabetes. There were eight influential variables (depression, anxiety, sleep disorder, alcohol dependence, opioid dependence, walking difficulty, standing difficulty, and sitting difficulty). The association between BNP and workplace absenteeism was analyzed using a negative binomial regression model.

There were 1,471 adults aged 22-83 years included in this study (52.9% of men; mean [standard deviation] age 44.5 [13.0] years). After adjusting for control variables, BNP was positively and significantly associated with workplace absenteeism (incidence rate ratio = 1.40, 95% confidence interval: 1.07-1.83). Walking, standing, and sitting difficulties individually explained between 24 and 43% of this association.

Workplace interventions focusing on the management of BNP and overcoming difficulties in walking, standing, and sitting, potentially utilizing exercise, therapy, and ergonomic interventions, may prevent absenteeism.

Value of MRI in assessing back pain after thoracolumbar osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures and discussion on the underlying mechanisms by tissue biopsy.

European Spine Journal

The specific radiological feature of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) is bone marrow oedema (BME) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, the relationship between BME and back pain (BP) is unclear. We investigated the value of MRI in assessing BP and discussed the relevant mechanisms by tissue biopsy.

One hundred nineteen patients with thoracolumbar OVCFs were included in this study. We divided all patients into two groups: the low-oedema group (BME ≤ 75%) and the high-oedema group (BME > 75%). To reduce the error generated in the acute phase of fracture, we separately analysed patients in phases I (within one month) and II (more than one month). We compared the differences between the groups using the Mann-Whitney U test and investigated the correlations using Spearman's correlation test.

The degree of BP was significantly correlated with BME (p < 0.001; p < 0.001) and fibrous tissue content (p = 0.006; p = 0.035) in both phases. Further, the fibrous tissue content in the low-oedema group (12.49 ± 7.37%; 15.25 ± 13.28%) was significantly lower than that in the high-oedema group (25.68 ± 20.39%, p = 0.014; 23.92 ± 14.61%, p = 0.022) in both phases. The lamellar bone content was significantly correlated with BP (p = 0.021) in phase II.

BME signals on MRI can accurately predict the degree of BP, and the main mechanisms are related to the stimulation of fibrous tissue.

Psoas Muscle Index as a Predictor of Perioperative Outcomes in Geriatric Patients Undergoing Spine Surgery.

Global Spine Journal

We included geriatric patients undergoing thoracolumbar spinal surgery. Total psoas surface area (TPA) was measured on preoperative axial computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging at the L3 vertebra and normalized to the L3 vertebral body area. Patients were divided into quartiles by normalized TPA, and the fourth quartile (Q4) was compared to quartiles 1-3 (Q1-3). Outcomes included perioperative transfusions, length of stay (LOS), delirium, pseudoarthrosis, readmission, discharge disposition, revision surgery, and mortality.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of psoas muscle mass defined sarcopenia with perioperative outcomes in geriatric patients undergoing elective spine surgery.

Of the patients who met inclusion criteria (n = 196), the average age was 73.4 y, with 48 patients in Q4 and 148 patients in Q1-3. Q4 normalized TPA cut-off was <1.05. Differences in Q4 preoperative characteristics included significantly lower body mass index, baseline creatinine, and a greater proportion of females (Table 1). Q4 patients received significantly more postoperative red blood cell and platelet transfusions and had longer ICU LOS (P < .05; Table 2). There was no difference in intraoperative transfusion volumes, delirium, initiation of walking, discharge disposition, readmission, pseudoarthrosis, or revision surgery (Tables 2 and 3). Mortality during follow-up was higher in Q4 but was not statistically significant (P = .075).

Preoperative TPA in geriatric patients undergoing elective spine surgery is associated with increased need for intensive care and postoperative blood transfusion. Preoperative normalized TPA is a convenient measurement and could be included in geriatric preoperative risk assessment algorithms.

Clinical Trial Quality Assessment in Adult Spinal Surgery: What Do Publication Status, Funding Source, and Result Reporting Tell Us?

Global Spine Journal

All prospective, comparative, therapeutic (intervention-based) trials of adult spinal disease that were registered on with a start date of January 1, 2000 and completion date before December 17, 2018 were included. Primary outcome was publication status of published or unpublished. A bivariate analysis was used to compare publication status to funding source of industry vs non-industry.

The objective of this study was to compare publication status of clinical trials in adult spine surgery registered on by funding source as well as to identify other trends in clinical trials in adult spine surgery.

Our search identified 107 clinical trials. The most common source of funding was industry (62 trials, 57.9% of total), followed by University funding (26 trials, 24.3%). The results of 76 trials (71.0%) were published, with industry-funded trials less likely to be published compared to non-industry-funded trials (62.9% compared to 82.2%, P = .03). Of the 31 unpublished studies, 13 did not report any results on, and of those with reported results, none was a positive trial.

Clinician researchers in adult spine surgery should be aware that industry-funded trials are less likely to go on to publication compared to non-industry-funded trials, and that negative trials are frequently not published. Future opportunities include improvement in result reporting and in publishing negative studies.

Treatment of restenosis after lumbar decompression surgery: decompression versus decompression and fusion.

J Neurosurg Spine

The aim of this study was to compare perioperative complications and postoperative outcomes between patients with lumbar recurrent stenosis without lumbar instability and radiculopathy who underwent decompression surgery and those who underwent decompression with fusion surgery.

For this retrospective study, the authors identified 2606 consecutive patients who underwent posterior surgery for lumbar spinal canal stenosis at eight affiliated hospitals between April 2017 and June 2019. Among these patients, those with a history of prior decompression surgery and central canal restenosis with cauda equina syndrome were included in the study. Those patients with instability or radiculopathy were excluded. The patients were divided between the decompression group and decompression with fusion group. The demographic characteristics, numerical rating scale score for low-back pain, incidence rates of lower-extremity pain and lower-extremity numbness, Oswestry Disability Index score, 3-level EQ-5D score, and patient satisfaction rate were compared between the two groups using the Fisher's exact probability test for nominal variables and the Student t-test for continuous variables, with p < 0.05 as the level of statistical significance.

Forty-six patients met the inclusion criteria (35 males and 11 females; 19 patients underwent decompression and 27 decompression and fusion; mean ± SD age 72.5 ± 8.8 years; mean ± SD follow-up 18.8 ± 6.0 months). Demographic data and perioperative complication rates were similar. The percentages of patients who achieved the minimal clinically important differences for patient-reported outcomes or satisfaction rate at 1 year were similar.

Among patients with central canal stenosis who underwent revision, the short-term outcomes of the patients who underwent decompression were comparable to those of the patients who underwent decompression and fusion. Decompression surgery may be effective for patients without instability or radiculopathy.

Change in sagittal alignment after decompression alone in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis without significant deformity: a prospective cohort study.

J Neurosurg Spine

The authors' objective was to investigate whether sagittal balance improves in patients with spinal stenosis after decompression alone.

This prospective longitudinal cohort study compared preoperative and 6-month postoperative 36-inch full-length radiographs in patients aged older than 60 years. Patients underwent decompression alone for central lumbar spinal stenosis with either a minimally invasive bilateral laminotomy for central decompression, unilateral laminectomy as an over-the-top procedure for bilateral decompression, or traditional wide laminectomy with removal of the spinous processes on both sides. The following radiographic parameters were measured: sagittal vertical axis (SVA), lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic tilt (PT), pelvic incidence (PI), PI-LL mismatch, coronal Cobb angle, and sacral slope (SS). Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were collected, including scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS) for leg and back pain, and EQ-5D.

Forty-five patients (24 males) with a mean ± SD age of 71.8 ± 5.6 years were included. Sagittal balance showed statistically significant improvement, with the mean SVA decreasing from 52.3 mm preoperatively to 33.9 mm postoperatively (p = 0.0001). The authors found an increase in LL, from mean -41.5° preoperatively to -43.9° postoperatively, but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.055). A statistically significant decrease in PI-LL mismatch from mean 8.4° preoperatively to 5.8° postoperatively was found (p = 0.002). All PROM scores showed significant improvement after spinal decompression surgery. The correlations between SVA and all PROMs were statistically significant at both preoperative and postoperative time points, although most correlations were weak except for those between preoperative SVA and ODI (r = 0.55) and between SVA and VAS for leg pain (r = 0.58).

Sagittal balance and PROMs show improvement at short-term follow-up evaluations in patients who have undergone decompression alone for lumbar spinal stenosis.

Hospital Frailty Risk Score and Healthcare Resource Utilization After Surgery for Primary Spinal Intradural/Cord Tumors.

Global Spine Journal

The Hospital Frailty Risk Score (HFRS) is a metric that measures frailty among patients in large national datasets using ICD-10 codes. While other metrics have been utilized to demonstrate the association between frailty and poor outcomes in spine oncology, none have examined the HFRS. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of frailty using the HFRS on complications, length of stay, cost of admission, and discharge disposition in patients undergoing surgery for primary tumors of the spinal cord and meninges.

A retrospective cohort study was performed using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database from 2016 to 2018. Adult patients undergoing surgery for primary tumors of the spinal cord and meninges were identified using ICD-10-CM codes. Patients were categorized into 2 cohorts based on HFRS score: Non-Frail (HFRS<5) and Frail (HFRS≥5). Patient characteristics, treatment, perioperative complications, LOS, discharge disposition, and cost of admission were assessed.

Of the 5955 patients identified, 1260 (21.2%) were Frail. On average, the Frail cohort was nearly 8 years older (P < .001) and experienced more postoperative complications (P = .001). The Frail cohort experienced longer LOS (P < .001), a higher rate of non-routine discharge (P = .001), and a greater mean cost of admission (P < .001). Frailty was found to be an independent predictor of extended LOS (P < .001) and non-routine discharge (P < .001).

Our study is the first to use the HFRS to assess the impact of frailty on patients with primary spinal tumors. We found that frailty was associated with prolonged LOS, non-routine discharge, and increased hospital costs.