Clinical Focus

  • Orthopaedic Surgery

Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Residency:Hospital for Special Surgery Orthopaedic Surgery Residency (1989) NY
  • Internship:Beth Israel Medical Center (1985) NY
  • Medical Education:McGill University Faculty of Medicine (1984) Canada
  • Board Certification: Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (1992)
  • Fellowship:Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center (1990) CA


2019-20 Courses


All Publications

  • Timing of Lumbar Spinal Fusion Affects Total Hip Arthroplasty Outcomes. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Global research & reviews Bala, A., Chona, D. V., Amanatullah, D. F., Hu, S. S., Wood, K. B., Alamin, T. F., Cheng, I. 2019; 3 (11): e00133


    Many patients are affected by concurrent disease of the hip and spine, undergoing both total hip arthroplasty (THA) and lumbar spinal fusion (LSF). Recent literature demonstrates increased prosthetic dislocation rates in patients with THA done after LSF. Evidence is lacking on which surgery to do first to minimize complications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of timing between the two procedures on postoperative outcomes.Methods: We queried the Medicare standard analytics files between 2005 and 2014. Four groups were identified and matched by age and sex: THA with previous LSF, LSF with previous THA, THA with spine pathology without fusion, and THA without spine pathology. Revision THA or LSF and bilateral THA were excluded. Comorbidities and Charlson Comorbidity Index were identified. Postoperative complications at 90 days and 2 years were calculated after the most recent surgery. Four-way chi-squared and standard descriptive statistics were calculated.Results: Thirteen thousand one hundred two patients had THA after LSF, 10,482 patients had LSF after THA, 104,820 had THA with spine pathology, and 492,654 had THA without spine pathology. There was no difference in the Charlson Comorbidity Index score between the THA after LSF and LSF after THA groups. There was a statistically significant difference in THA dislocation rate, with LSF after THA at 1.7%, THA without spine pathology at 2.3%, THA with spine pathology at 3.3%, and THA after LSF at 4.6%. There was a statistically significant difference in THA revision rate, with THA without spine pathology at 3.3%, LSF after THA at 3.7%, THA with spine pathology at 4.2%, and THA after LSF at 5.7%.Conclusion: LSF after THA is associated with a reduced dislocation rate compared with THA after LSF. Reasons may include decreasing pelvic mobility in a stable, well-healed THA or early postoperative spine precautions after LSF restricting positions of dislocation.

    View details for DOI 10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-19-00133

    View details for PubMedID 31875203

  • Short-Term Outcomes of Staged Versus Same-Day Surgery for Adult Spinal Deformity Correction. Spine deformity Arzeno, A. H., Koltsov, J., Alamin, T. F., Cheng, I., Wood, K. B., Hu, S. S. 2019; 7 (5): 796


    STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.OBJECTIVES: Assess differences between staged (≤3 days) and same-day surgery in perioperative factors, radiographic measures, and complications.SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Surgical adult spinal deformity correction may require combined anterior and posterior approaches. To modulate risk, some surgeons perform surgery that is expected to be longer and/or more complex in two stages. Prior studies comparing staged (≥7 days) and same-day surgery demonstrated mixed results and none have examined results with shorter staging intervals.METHODS: Retrospective review of adults undergoing combined anterior/posterior approaches for spinal deformity over a 3-year period at a single institution (n=92). Univariate differences between staged and same-day surgery were assessed with chi-squared, Fisher exact, and Mann-Whitney U tests. Generalized estimating equations assessed whether differences in perioperative outcomes between groups remained after adjusting for differences in demographic and surgical characteristics.RESULTS: In univariate analyses, staged surgery was associated with a length of stay (LOS) 3 days longer than same-day surgery (9.2 vs. 6.3 days, p < .001), and greater operative time, blood loss, transfusion requirement, and days in intensive care unit (p < .001 for each). Staged surgery had a higher rate of thrombotic events (p = .011) but did not differ in readmission rates or other complications. Radiographically, improvements in Cobb angle (average 13° vs. 17°, p = .028), lumbar lordosis (average 14° vs. 23°, p = .019), and PI-LL mismatch (average 10° vs. 2° p = .018) were greater for staged surgery, likely related to more extensive use of osteotomies in the staged group. After risk adjustment, taking into account the procedural specifics including longer fusion constructs and greater number of osteotomies, LOS no longer differed between staged and same-day surgery; however, the total operative time was 98 minutes longer for staged surgery (p < .001). Differences in blood loss between groups was accounted for by differences in operative time and patient and surgical characteristics.CONCLUSIONS: Although univariate analysis of our results were in accordance with previously published works, multivariate analysis allowing individual case risk adjustment revealed that LOS was not significantly increased in the staged group as reported in previous studies. There was no difference in infection rates as previously described but an increase in thrombotic events was observed.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jspd.2018.12.008

    View details for PubMedID 31495481

  • Local Application of Vancomycin in Spine Surgery Does Not Result in Increased Vancomycin-Resistant Bacteria-10-Year Data. Spine deformity Khanna, K., Valone, F. 3., Tenorio, A., Grace, T., Burch, S., Berven, S., Tay, B., Deviren, V., Hu, S. S. 2019; 7 (5): 696–701


    STUDY DESIGN: Case-control study.OBJECTIVES: To analyze the microbial flora in surgical spine infections and their antibiotic resistance patterns across time and determine the correlation between vancomycin application in the wound and vancomycin-resistant microbes.SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Prior studies show a reduction in surgical site infections with intrawound vancomycin placement. No data are available on the potential negative effects of this intervention, in particular, whether there would be a resultant increase in vancomycin-resistant organisms or bacterial resistance profiles.METHODS: All culture-positive surgical site infections at a single institution were analyzed from 2007 to 2017. Each bacterium was assessed independently for resistance patterns. The two-tailed Fisher exact test was used to determine the correlation between vancomycin application and the presence of vancomycin-resistant bacteria, polymicrobial infections, or gram-negative bacterial infections.RESULTS: One hundred and eight bacteria were isolated from 113 surgical site infections from 2007 to 2017. The most common organisms were staphylococcus with varying resistance patterns and Escherichia coli. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium was isolated in three infections. Out of the 4,878 surgical cases from 2011 to 2017, vancomycin was placed in 48.3%, and no vancomycin in 51.7%. There were 33 infections (1.4%) in the vancomycin group and 20 infections (0.8%) in the no-vancomycin group (chi2 = 0.0521). There was no correlation between vancomycin application in the wound and vancomycin-resistant microbes (chi2 = 0.2334) and polymicrobial infections (chi2 = 0.1328). There was an increased rate of gram-negative organisms in infections after vancomycin application in the wound versus no vancomycin (chi2 = 0.0254).CONCLUSIONS: Topical vancomycin within the surgical site is not correlated with vancomycin-resistant bacteria. However, there was an increased incidence of gram-negative organisms in infections after vancomycin application in the wound versus no vancomycin. Continued surveillance with prospectively collected randomized data is necessary to better understand bacterial evolution against current antimicrobial techniques.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jspd.2019.01.005

    View details for PubMedID 31495468

  • Reliability of radiological measurements of type 2 odontoid fracture SPINE JOURNAL Karamian, B. A., Liu, N., Ajiboye, R. M., Cheng, I., Hu, S. S., Wood, K. B. 2019; 19 (8): 1324–30
  • Asymmetric Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy for Adult Spinal Deformity with Coronal Imbalance: Complications, Radiographic and Surgical Outcomes. Operative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.) Chan, A. K., Lau, D., Osorio, J. A., Yue, J. K., Berven, S. H., Burch, S., Hu, S. S., Mummaneni, P. V., Deviren, V., Ames, C. P. 2019


    BACKGROUND: Asymmetric pedicle subtraction osteotomy (APSO) can be utilized for adult spinal deformity (ASD) with fixed coronal plane imbalance. There are few reports investigating outcomes following APSO and no series that include multiple revision cases.OBJECTIVE: To detail our surgical technique and experience with APSO.METHODS: All thoracolumbar ASD cases with a component of fixed, coronal plane deformity who underwent APSO from 2004 to 2016 at one institution were retrospectively reviewed. Preoperative and latest follow-up radiographic parameters and data on surgical outcomes and complications were obtained.RESULTS: Fourteen patients underwent APSO with mean follow-up of 37-mo. Ten (71.4%) were revision cases. APSO involved a mean 12-levels (range 7-25) and were associated with 3.0 L blood loss (range 1.2-4.5) and 457-min of operative time (range 283-540). Surgical complications were observed in 64.3%, including durotomy (35.7%), pleural injury (14.3%), persistent neurologic deficit (14.3%), rod fracture (7.1%), and painful iliac bolt requiring removal (7.1%). Medical complications were observed in 14.3%, comprising urosepsis and 2 cases of pneumonia. Two 90-d readmissions (14.3%) and 5 reoperations (4 patients, 28.6%) occurred. Mean thoracolumbar curve and coronal vertical axis improved from 31.5 to 16.4 degrees and 7.8 to 2.9 cm, respectively. PI-LL mismatch, mean sagittal vertical axis, and pelvic tilt improved from 40.0 to 27.9-degrees, 10.7 to 3.5-cm, and 34.4 to 28.3-degrees, respectively.CONCLUSION: The APSO, in both a revision and non-revision ASD population, provides excellent restoration of coronal balance-in addition to sagittal and pelvic parameters. Employment of APSO must be balanced with the associated surgical complication rate (64.3%).

    View details for DOI 10.1093/ons/opz106

    View details for PubMedID 31214712

  • Outcomes and Quality of Life Improvement After Multilevel Spinal Fusion in Elderly Patients GLOBAL SPINE JOURNAL Ibrahim, J. M., Singh, P., Beckerman, D., Hu, S. S., Tay, B., Deviren, V., Burch, S., Berven, S. H. 2019
  • Reliability of Radiological Measurements of Type-2 Odontoid Fracture. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society Karamian, B. A., Liu, N., Ajiboye, R. M., Cheng, I., Hu, S. S., Wood, K. B. 2019


    It is recognized that radiological parameters of type 2 dens fractures, including displacement and angulation, are predictive of treatment outcomes and are used to guide surgical decision-making. The reproducibility of such measurements, therefore, is of critical importance. Past literature has shown poor inter-observer reliability for both displacement and angulation measurements of type 2 dens fractures. Since such studies however, various advancements of radiological review systems and measurement tools have evolved to potentially improve such measurements.To re-examine the interrater reliability of measuring displacement and angulation of type 2 dens fractures utilizing modern radiologic review systems. Besides quantitative measurements, the reliability of raters in identifying diagnostic classifications based on translational and angulational displacement was also examined.Radiographic measurement reliability and agreement study.Thirty-seven patients seen at a single institution between 2002 and 2017 with primary diagnosis of acute type II dens fracture with complete CT imaging.Radiological measurements included displacement and angulation. Diagnostic classifications based on consensus-based clinical cut-off points were also recorded.Measurements were performed by five surgeons with varying years of experience in spine surgery using the hospital's electronic medical record radiological measuring tools. The radiological measurements included displacement and angulation. Diagnostic classifications based on consensus-based clinical cut-off points were also recorded. Each rater received a graphic demonstration of the measurement methods, but had the autonomy to select a best cut from the sagittal CT to measure. All raters were blinded to patient information.Measurements for displacement and angulation among the five raters demonstrated "excellent" reliability. Intra-rater reliability was also "excellent" in measuring displacement and angulation. The reliability of diagnostic classification of displacement (above vs. below 5mm), was found to be "very good" among the raters. The reliability of diagnostic classification of angulation (above vs. below 11°) demonstrated "good" reliability.Advancement of radiological review systems, including review tools and embedded image processing software, has facilitated more reliable measurements for type-2 odontoid fractures.

    View details for PubMedID 31078698

  • The Relationship Between Lumbar Lateral Listhesis and Radiculopathy in Adult Scoliosis. Spine Kleimeyer, J. P., Liu, N., Hu, S. S., Cheng, I., Alamin, T., Grottkau, B. E., Kukreja, S., Wood, K. B. 2019; 44 (14): 1003–9


    Retrospective review and prospective validation study.To develop a classification system of lumbar lateral listhesis that suggests different likelihoods of having radiculopathy in adult scoliosis.The association of lumbar lateral listhesis with radiculopathy remains uncertain.A retrospective cohort of patients with adult scoliosis enrolled from 2011 to 2015 was studied to develop a classification system of lateral listhesis that can stratify the likelihood of having radiculopathy. Four radiological aspects of lateral listhesis, including Nash and Moe vertebral rotation, L4-L5 lateral listhesis, the number of consecutive listheses, and the presence of a contralateral lateral listhesis at the thoracolumbar junction above a caudal listhesis, were evaluated on radiographs. Their associations with the presence of radicular leg pain were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression. The classification system of lateral listhesis was thus developed using the most influential radiological factors and then validated in a prospective cohort from 2016 to 2017.The retrospective cohort included 189 patients. Vertebral rotation is more than or equal to grade 2 (odds ratio [OR] = 9.45, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.07-25.14) and L4-5 listhesis (OR = 4.56, 95%CI: 1.85-12.35) were the two most influential listhesis factors associated with radiculopathy. The classification system of lateral listhesis was thus built based on the combinations of their respective presence: Type 0, 1, 2, 3 were defined as not having listhesis at all, none of the two factors present, one of the two presents, and both present, respectively. This classification significantly stratified the probability of radiculopathy, in both the retrospective cohort (0%, 6.4%, 33.8%, and 68.4% in Type 0, 1, 2, and 3, respectively; P < 0.001) and a prospective cohort of 105 patients (0%, 16.7%, 46.9%, and 72.7%; P < 0.001).Lumbar lateral listhesis is associated with the presence of radiculopathy in adult scoliosis. Types 2 and 3 lateral listhesis on radiographs may alert surgeons treating patients with spinal deformity.2.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002986

    View details for PubMedID 30664100

  • Selective Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion for Low Back Pain Associated With Degenerative Disc Disease Versus Nonsurgical Management SPINE Kleimeyer, J. P., Cheng, I., Alamin, T. F., Hu, S. S., Cha, T., Yanamadala, V., Wood, K. B. 2018; 43 (19): 1372–80


    This is a retrospective cohort study.To evaluate the long-term outcomes of selective one- to two-level anterior lumbar interbody fusions (ALIFs) in the lower lumbar spine versus continued nonsurgical management.Low back pain associated with lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration is common with substantial economic impact, yet treatment remains controversial. Surgical fusion has previously provided mixed results with limited durable improvement of pain and function.Seventy-five patients with one or two levels of symptomatic Pfirrmann grades 3 to 5 disc degeneration from L3-S1 were identified. All patients had failed at least 6 months of nonsurgical treatment. Forty-two patients underwent one- or two-level ALIFs; 33 continued multimodal nonsurgical care. Patients were evaluated radiographically and the visual analog pain scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EuroQol five dimensions (EQ-5D), and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System scores for pain interference, pain intensity, and anxiety. As-treated analysis was performed to evaluate outcomes at a mean follow-up of 7.4 years (range: 2.5-12).There were no differences in pretreatment demographics or nonsurgical therapy utilization between study arms. At final follow-up, the surgical arm demonstrated lower VAS, ODI, EQ-5D, and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System pain intensity scores versus the nonsurgical arm. VAS and ODI scores improved 52.3% and 51.1% in the surgical arm, respectively, versus 15.8% and -0.8% in the nonsurgical arm. Single-level fusions demonstrated improved outcomes versus two-level fusions. The pseudarthrosis rate was 6.5%, with one patient undergoing reoperation. Asymptomatic adjacent segment degeneration was identified in 11.9% of patients.Selective ALIF limited to one or two levels in the lower lumbar spine provided improved pain and function when compared with continued nonsurgical care. ALIF may be a safe and effective treatment for low back pain associated with disc degeneration in select patients who fail nonsurgical management.3.

    View details for PubMedID 29529003

  • Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Herniation and Stenosis: Incidence and Risk Factors of Subsequent Surgery. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society Koltsov, J. C., Smuck, M. W., Zagel, A., Alamin, T. F., Wood, K. B., Cheng, I., Hu, S. S. 2018


    BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Lumbosacral ESIs have increased dramatically despite a narrowing of the clinical indications for use. One potential indication is to avoid or delay surgery, yet little information exists regarding surgery rates after ESI.PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to determine the proportion of patients having surgery after lumbar epidural steroid injection (ESI) for disc herniation or stenosis and to identify the timing and factors associated with this progression STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: This study was a retrospective review of nationally-representative administrative claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan databases from 2007 - 2014.PATIENT SAMPLE: The study cohort was comprised of 179,025 patients (54±15 years, 48% female) having lumbar epidural steroid injections (ESIs) for diagnoses of stenosis and/or herniation.OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was the time from ESI to surgery.METHODS: Inclusion criteria were ESI for stenosis and/or herniation, age ≥18 years, and health plan enrollment for 1 year prior to ESI to screen for exclusions. Patients were followed longitudinally until they progressed to surgery or had a lapse in enrollment, at which time they were censored. Rates of surgery were assessed with the Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Demographic and treatment factors associated with surgery were assessed with multivariable Cox proportional hazard models. No external funding was procured for this research and the authors' conflicts of interest are not pertinent to the present work.RESULTS: Within 6 months, 12.5% of ESI patients underwent lumbar surgery. By 1 year, 16.9% had surgery, and by 5 years, 26.1% had surgery. Patients with herniation had surgery at rates of up to 5 to 7 fold higher, with the highest rates of surgery in younger patients and those with both herniation and stenosis. Other concomitant spine diagnoses, male sex, previous tobacco use, and residence a rural areas or regions other than the Northeastern United States were associated with higher surgery rates. Medical comorbidities (previous treatment for drug use, CHF, obesity, COPD, hypercholesterolemia, and other cardiac complications) were associated with lower surgery rates.CONCLUSIONS: In the long-term, more than 1 out of every 4 patients undergoing ESI for lumbar herniation or stenosis subsequently had surgery, and nearly 1 of 6 had surgery within the first year. After adjusting for other patient demographics and comorbidities, patients with herniation were more likely have surgery than those with stenosis. The improved understanding of the progression from lumbar ESI to surgery will help to better inform discussions regarding the value of ESI and aid in the shared decision making process.

    View details for PubMedID 29959098

  • What Is the State of Quality Measurement in Spine Surgery? CLINICAL ORTHOPAEDICS AND RELATED RESEARCH Bennett, C., Xiong, G., Hu, S., Wood, K., Kamal, R. N. 2018; 476 (4): 725–31


    Value-based healthcare models rely on quality measures to evaluate the efficacy of healthcare delivery and to identify areas for improvement. Quality measure research in other areas of health care has generally shown that there is a limited number of available quality measures and that those that exist disproportionately focus on processes as opposed to outcomes. The purpose of this study was to assess the current state of quality measures and candidate quality measures in spine surgery.(1) How many quality measures and candidate quality measures are currently available? (2) According to Donabedian domains and National Quality Strategy (NQS) priorities, what aspects or domains of care do the present quality measures and candidate quality measures represent?We systematically reviewed the National Quality Forum, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Physician Quality Reporting System for quality measures relevant to spine surgery. A systematic search for candidate quality measures was also performed using MEDLINE/PubMed and Embase as well as publications from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the North American Spine Society. Clinical practice guidelines were included as candidate quality measures if their development was in accordance with Institute of Medicine criteria for the development of clinical practice guidelines, they were based on consistent clinical evidence including at least one Level I study, and they carried the strongest possible recommendation by the developing body. Quality measures and candidate quality measures were then pooled for analysis and categorized by clinical focus, NQS priority, and Donabedian domain. Our initial search yielded a total of 3940 articles, clinical practice guidelines, and quality measures, 74 of which met criteria for inclusion in this study.Of the 74 measures studied, 29 (39%) were quality measures and 45 (61%) were candidate quality measures. Fifty of 74 (68%) were specific to the care of the spine, and 24 of 74 (32%) were related to the general care of spine patients. The majority of the spine-specific measures were process measures (45 [90%]) and focused on the NQS priority of "Effective Clinical Care" (44 [88%]). The majority of the general care measures were also process measures (14 [58%]), the highest portion of which focused on the NQS priority of "Patient Safety" (10 [42%]).Given the large number of pathologies treated by spine surgeons, the limited number of available quality measures and candidate quality measures in spine surgery is inadequate to support the transition to a value-based care model. Additionally, current measures disproportionately focus on certain aspects or domains of care, which may hinder the ability to appropriately judge an episode of care, extract usable data, and improve quality. Physicians can steward the creation of meaningful quality measures by participating in clinical practice guideline development, assisting with the creation and submission of formal quality measures, and conducting the high-quality research on which effective guidelines and quality measures depend.

    View details for PubMedID 29480884

  • Does timing of transplantation of neural stem cells following spinal cord injury affect outcomes in an animal model? Journal of spine surgery (Hong Kong) Cheng, I., Park, D. Y., Mayle, R. E., Githens, M., Smith, R. L., Park, H. Y., Hu, S. S., Alamin, T. F., Wood, K. B., Kharazi, A. I. 2017; 3 (4): 567–71


    Background: We previously reported that functional recovery of rats with spinal cord contusions can occur after acute transplantation of neural stem cells distal to the site of injury. To investigate the effects of timing of administration of human neural stem cell (hNSC) distal to the site of spinal cord injury on functional outcomes in an animal model.Methods: Thirty-six adult female Long-Evans hooded rats were randomized into three experimental and three control groups with six animals in each group. The T10 level was exposed via posterior laminectomy, and a moderate spinal cord contusion was induced by the Multicenter Animal Spinal Cord Injury Study Impactor (MASCIS, W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Piscataway, NJ, USA). The animals received either an intrathecal injection of hNSCs or control media through a separate distal laminotomy immediately, one week or four weeks after the induced spinal cord injury. Observers were blinded to the interventions. Functional assessment was measured immediately after injury and weekly using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor rating score.Results: A statistically significant functional improvement was seen in all three time groups when compared to their controls (acute, mean 9.2 vs. 4.5, P=0.016; subacute, mean 11.1 vs. 6.8, P=0.042; chronic, mean 11.3 vs. 5.8, P=0.035). Although there was no significant difference in the final BBB scores comparing the groups that received hNSCs, the group which achieved the greatest improvement from the time of cell injection was the subacute group (+10.3) and was significantly greater than the chronic group (+5.1, P=0.02).Conclusions: The distal intrathecal transplantation of hNSCs into the contused spinal cord of a rat led to significant functional recovery of the spinal cord when injected in the acute, subacute and chronic phases of spinal cord injury (SCI), although the greatest gains appeared to be in the subacute timing group.

    View details for PubMedID 29354733

  • Predicting complication risk in spine surgery: a prospective analysis of a novel risk assessment tool. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine Veeravagu, A., Li, A., Swinney, C., Tian, L., Moraff, A., Azad, T. D., Cheng, I., Alamin, T., Hu, S. S., Anderson, R. L., Shuer, L., Desai, A., Park, J., Olshen, R. A., Ratliff, J. K. 2017: 1-11


    OBJECTIVE The ability to assess the risk of adverse events based on known patient factors and comorbidities would provide more effective preoperative risk stratification. Present risk assessment in spine surgery is limited. An adverse event prediction tool was developed to predict the risk of complications after spine surgery and tested on a prospective patient cohort. METHODS The spinal Risk Assessment Tool (RAT), a novel instrument for the assessment of risk for patients undergoing spine surgery that was developed based on an administrative claims database, was prospectively applied to 246 patients undergoing 257 spinal procedures over a 3-month period. Prospectively collected data were used to compare the RAT to the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) and the American College of Surgeons National Surgery Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) Surgical Risk Calculator. Study end point was occurrence and type of complication after spine surgery. RESULTS The authors identified 69 patients (73 procedures) who experienced a complication over the prospective study period. Cardiac complications were most common (10.2%). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to compare complication outcomes using the different assessment tools. Area under the curve (AUC) analysis showed comparable predictive accuracy between the RAT and the ACS NSQIP calculator (0.670 [95% CI 0.60-0.74] in RAT, 0.669 [95% CI 0.60-0.74] in NSQIP). The CCI was not accurate in predicting complication occurrence (0.55 [95% CI 0.48-0.62]). The RAT produced mean probabilities of 34.6% for patients who had a complication and 24% for patients who did not (p = 0.0003). The generated predicted values were stratified into low, medium, and high rates. For the RAT, the predicted complication rate was 10.1% in the low-risk group (observed rate 12.8%), 21.9% in the medium-risk group (observed 31.8%), and 49.7% in the high-risk group (observed 41.2%). The ACS NSQIP calculator consistently produced complication predictions that underestimated complication occurrence: 3.4% in the low-risk group (observed 12.6%), 5.9% in the medium-risk group (observed 34.5%), and 12.5% in the high-risk group (observed 38.8%). The RAT was more accurate than the ACS NSQIP calculator (p = 0.0018). CONCLUSIONS While the RAT and ACS NSQIP calculator were both able to identify patients more likely to experience complications following spine surgery, both have substantial room for improvement. Risk stratification is feasible in spine surgery procedures; currently used measures have low accuracy.

    View details for DOI 10.3171/2016.12.SPINE16969

    View details for PubMedID 28430052

  • Intervertebral disc/bone marrow cross-talk with Modic changes. European spine journal Dudli, S., Sing, D. C., Hu, S. S., Berven, S. H., Burch, S., Deviren, V., Cheng, I., Tay, B. K., Alamin, T. F., Ith, M. A., Pietras, E. M., Lotz, J. C. 2017


    Cross-sectional cohort analysis of patients with Modic Changes (MC).Our goal was to characterize the molecular and cellular features of MC bone marrow and adjacent discs. We hypothesized that MC associate with biologic cross-talk between discs and bone marrow, the presence of which may have both diagnostic and therapeutic implications.MC are vertebral bone marrow lesions that can be a diagnostic indicator for discogenic low back pain. Yet, the pathobiology of MC is largely unknown.Patients with Modic type 1 or 2 changes (MC1, MC2) undergoing at least 2-level lumbar interbody fusion with one surgical level having MC and one without MC (control level). Two discs (MC, control) and two bone marrow aspirates (MC, control) were collected per patient. Marrow cellularity was analyzed using flow cytometry. Myelopoietic differentiation potential of bone marrow cells was quantified to gauge marrow function, as was the relative gene expression profiles of the marrow and disc cells. Disc/bone marrow cross-talk was assessed by comparing MC disc/bone marrow features relative to unaffected levels.Thirteen MC1 and eleven MC2 patients were included. We observed pro-osteoclastic changes in MC2 discs, an inflammatory dysmyelopoiesis with fibrogenic changes in MC1 and MC2 marrow, and up-regulation of neurotrophic receptors in MC1 and MC2 bone marrow and discs.Our data reveal a fibrogenic and pro-inflammatory cross-talk between MC bone marrow and adjacent discs. This provides insight into the pain generator at MC levels and informs novel therapeutic targets for treatment of MC-associated LBP.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00586-017-4955-4

    View details for PubMedID 28138783

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5409869

  • Adult Lumbar Scoliosis: Nonsurgical Versus Surgical Management. Instructional course lectures Falakassa, J., Hu, S. S. 2017; 66: 353–60


    Adult spinal deformity has become an increasingly recognized condition, with a 32% incidence in the adult population and a 68% incidence in the elderly population. Often, patients with adult spinal deformity are initially offered nonsurgical treatment for their symptoms despite the lack of data to support its efficacy because of the high complication rate associated with surgical treatment in this age group. Determining which patients would benefit the most from nonsurgical versus surgical treatment remains a challenge. Limited evidence exists to support guidelines on the most effective way to treat patients with adult spinal deformity. Treatment decisions for patients with adult spinal deformity often rely on individual surgeon experience and patient preferences.

    View details for PubMedID 28594511

  • A Comparison of Implants Used in Open-Door Laminoplasty: Structural Rib Allografts Versus Metallic Miniplates. Clinical spine surgery Tabaraee, E., Mummaneni, P., Abdul-Jabbar, A., Shearer, D., Roy, E., Amin, B., Ames, C., Burch, S., Deviren, V., Berven, S., Hu, S., Chou, D., Tay, B. K. 2017; 30 (5): E523–E529


    A retrospective case-controlled study.Open-door laminoplasty has been successfully used to address cervical spondylotic myelopathy and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. Two common implants include rib allograft struts and metallic miniplates.The goals of this study were to compare outcomes, complications, and costs associated with these 2 implants.A retrospective review was done on 51 patients with allograft struts and 55 patients with miniplates. Primary outcomes were neck visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores and Nurick scores. Secondary outcomes included length of the procedure, estimated blood loss, rates of complications, and the direct costs associated with the surgery and inpatient hospitalization.There were no differences in demographic characteristics, diagnoses, comorbidities, and preoperative outcome scores between the 2 treatment groups. Mean follow-up was 27 months. The postoperative neck VAS scores and Nurick scores improved significantly from baseline to final follow-up for both groups, but there was no difference between the 2 groups. The average length of operation (161 vs. 136 min) and number of foraminotomies (2.7 vs. 1.3) were higher for the allograft group (P=0.007 and 0.0001, respectively). Among the miniplate group, there was no difference in complications but a trend for less neck pain for patients treated without hard collar at final follow-up (1.8 vs. 2.3, P=0.52). The mean direct costs of hospitalization for the miniplate group were 15% higher.Structural rib allograft struts and metallic miniplates result in similar improvements in pain and functional outcome scores with no difference in the rate of complications in short-term follow-up. Potential benefits of using a plate include shorter procedure length and less need for postoperative immobilization. When costs of bracing and operative time are included, the difference in cost between miniplates and allograft struts is negligible.

    View details for PubMedID 28525472

  • In Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Adding Fusion Surgery to Decompression Surgery Did Not Improve Outcomes at 2 Years. journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume Hu, S. S. 2016; 98 (22): 1936-?

    View details for PubMedID 27852913

  • The Relationship Between Cervical Degeneration and Global Spinal Alignment in Patients With Adult Spinal Deformity. Clinical spine surgery Fujimori, T., Le, H., Schairer, W., Inoue, S., Iwasaki, M., Oda, T., Hu, S. S. 2016: -?


    To examine the relationship between cervical degeneration and spinal alignment by comparing patients with adult spinal deformity versus the control cohort.The effect of degeneration on cervical alignment has been controversial.Cervical and full-length spine radiographs of 57 patients with adult spinal deformity and 78 patients in the control group were reviewed. Adult spinal deformity was classified into 3 types based on the primary characteristics of the deformity: "Degenerative flatback" group, "Positive sagittal imbalance" group, and "Hyperthoracic kyphosis" group. Cervical degeneration was assessed using the cervical degeneration index scoring system.The "Degenerative flatback" group had significantly higher total cervical degeneration index score (25±7) than the control group (16±8), the "Positive sagittal imbalance" group (18±8), and the "Hyperthoracic kyphosis" group (12±7) (P<0.01). The "Degenerative flatback" group had significantly less cervical lordosis than the other groups. This reduced amount of cervical lordosis was thought to be induced by a compensatory decrease in thoracic kyphosis. In this group, increased cervical degeneration was significantly associated with a decrease in cervical lordosis. Significantly greater compensatory increase in cervical lordosis was noted in the "Positive sagittal imbalance" group (20±15 degrees) and the "Hyperthoracic kyphosis" group (26±9 degrees) compared with the control group (11±12 degrees) (P<0.02).Flat cervical spine coexisted with cervical degeneration when compensatory hypothoracic kyphosis was induced by degenerative flatback. In other situations, cervical lordosis could increase as a compensatory reaction against sagittal imbalance or hyperthoracic kyphosis.

    View details for PubMedID 26469769

  • The fellowship match process: the history and a report of the current experience. journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume Cannada, L. K., Luhmann, S. J., Hu, S. S., Quinn, R. H. 2015; 97 (1)

    View details for DOI 10.2106/JBJS.M.01251

    View details for PubMedID 25568401

  • The Increased Prevalence of Cervical Spondylosis in Patients With Adult Thoracolumbar Spinal Deformity JOURNAL OF SPINAL DISORDERS & TECHNIQUES Schairer, W. W., Carrer, A., Lu, M., Hu, S. S. 2014; 27 (8): E305-E308


    Retrospective cohort study.To assess the concomitance of cervical spondylosis and thoracolumbar spinal deformity.Patients with degenerative cervical spine disease have higher rates of degeneration in the lumbar spine. In addition, degenerative cervical spine changes have been observed in adult patients with thoracolumbar spinal deformities. However, to the best of our knowledge, there have been no studies quantifying the association between cervical spondylosis and thoracolumbar spinal deformity in adult patients.Patients seen by a spine surgeon or spine specialist at a single institution were assessed for cervical spondylosis and/or thoracolumbar spinal deformity using an administrative claims database. Spinal radiographic utilization and surgical intervention were used to infer severity of spinal disease. The relative prevalence of each spinal diagnosis was assessed in patients with and without the other diagnosis.A total of 47,560 patients were included in this study. Cervical spondylosis occurred in 13.1% overall, but was found in 31.0% of patients with thoracolumbar spinal deformity (OR=3.27, P<0.0001). Similarly, thoracolumbar spinal deformity was found in 10.7% of patients overall, but was increased at 23.5% in patients with cervical spondylosis (OR=3.26, P<0.0001). In addition, increasing severity of disease was associated with an increased likelihood of the other spinal diagnosis. Patients with both diagnoses were more likely to undergo both cervical (OR=3.23, P<0.0001) and thoracolumbar (OR=4.14, P<0.0001) spine fusion.Patients with cervical spondylosis or thoracolumbar spinal deformity had significantly higher rates of the other spinal diagnosis. This correlation was increased with increased severity of disease. Patients with both diagnoses were significantly more likely to have received a spine fusion. Further research is warranted to establish the cause of this correlation. Clinicians should use this information to both screen and counsel patients who present for cervical spondylosis or thoracolumbar spinal deformity.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000119

    View details for Web of Science ID 000359974800009

    View details for PubMedID 24901877

  • Venous Thromboembolism After Spine Surgery. Spine Schairer, W. W., Pedtke, A. C., Hu, S. S. 2014; 39 (11): 911–18


    Retrospective cohort study.To measure the rate of postoperative venous thromboembolic events (VTE) after spine decompression and fusion procedures.VTE after spine surgery is a serious complication, but chemoprophylaxis is not without significant risk due to the concern of epidural hematoma. Current literature report widely variable rates of VTE, and have weaknesses in sample size, specificity of diagnosis, and methodological problems with adequate patient follow-up.State-level inpatient, ambulatory surgery, and emergency department administrative databases were used to track patients for clinically significant VTE within 90 days of discharge after a spine procedure.Of 357,926 patients enrolled, one-third underwent spine decompression alone, whereas two-thirds received a spine fusion. The overall rate of VTE was 1.37% (95% CI: 1.33-1.41), but varied widely depending on diagnosis, 1.03% for structural degenerative diagnoses to 10.7% for spine infection. Posterior cervical fusion had a higher rate of VTE than anterior cervical fusion, whereas anterior thoracolumbar and lumbosacral fusions had higher rates than the respective posterior approaches. Additional risk factors included patients receiving long spine fusions and having multiple procedures during the hospitalization. Forty percent of VTEs discovered after discharge were diagnosed at a different hospital.The rate of spine VTE varies widely depending on diagnosis and procedure. It is important to risk-stratify patients who present for spine surgery to identify patients at increased risk who should be monitored for the development of VTE. It is important to know that nearly half of VTEs that occur after discharge are diagnosed at different hospitals, and thus the primary surgeon may be initially unaware of the complication. These results from a large selection of historical patients may provide a tool for estimating patient risk depending on diagnosis and type of procedure.2.

    View details for PubMedID 24718077