Cervical decompression and reconstruction without intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring.
ABSTRACT The primary goal of this study was to review the immediate postoperative neurological function in patients surgically treated for symptomatic cervical spine disease without intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. The secondary goal was to assess the economic impact of intraoperative monitoring (IOM) in this patient population.
This study is a retrospective review of 720 consecutively treated patients who underwent cervical spine procedures. The patients were identified and the data were collected by individuals who were not involved in their care.
A total of 1534 cervical spine levels were treated in 720 patients using anterior, posterior, and combined (360°) approaches. Myelopathy was present preoperatively in 308 patients. There were 185 patients with increased signal intensity within the spinal cord on preoperative T2-weighted MR images, of whom 43 patients had no clinical evidence of myelopathy. Three patients (0.4%) exhibited a new neurological deficit postoperatively. Of these patients, 1 had a preoperative diagnosis of radiculopathy, while the other 2 were treated for myelopathy. The new postoperative deficits completely resolved in all 3 patients and did not require additional treatment. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for IOM during cervical decompression include 95925 and 95926 for somatosensory evoked potential monitoring of the upper and lower extremities, respectively, as well as 95928 and 95929 for motor evoked potential monitoring of the upper and lower extremities. In addition to the charge for the baseline [monitoring] study, patients are charged hourly for ongoing electrophysiology testing and monitoring using the CPT code 95920. Based on these codes and assuming an average of 4 hours of monitoring time per surgical case, the savings realized in this group of patients was estimated to be $1,024,754.
With the continuing increase in health care costs, it is our responsibility as providers to minimize expenses when possible. This should be accomplished without compromising the quality of care to patients. This study demonstrates that decompression and reconstruction for symptomatic cervical spine disease without IOM may reduce the cost of treatment without adversely impacting patient safety.
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ABSTRACT: Object The authors have reported in Part 1 of this study on a novel neuromonitoring test for the prevention of medial malpositioning of thoracic pedicle screws. In the present paper they examine the impact of providing the results of the test as intraoperative feedback to the surgical team. Methods This is the second part of a 2-part report of a prospective, blinded and randomized neuromonitoring study designed to lower the incidence of medially malpositioned thoracic pedicle screws. Details of the neuromonitoring technique and data supporting the alarm criteria used are contained in the companion article (Part 1). For the majority of pedicle screw placements, intraoperative test results were withheld from the study team (that is, the team members were blinded to the test results). However, for a limited number of pedicle sites the authors provided one of 2 forms of testing feedback to the surgical team: 1) "break the blind" feedback, if testing suggested that screw placement would result in direct contact between screw and the dura mater; and 2) "planned" feedback, beginning during the later stages of the study and provided for 50% of pedicle sites. Feedback gave the surgeon the opportunity to adjust the trajectory that the screw would ultimately take within the pedicle. The final screw position relative to the pedicle's medial wall for all sites in which feedback was withheld from the surgical team was compared with the screw position for those sites in which either form of feedback ("break the blind" or "planned") was provided to and acted upon by the surgical team. Results Of the 820 pedicle tracks tested among the 71 surgical cases included in this study, a total of 684 were operated upon without any form of feedback. Planned feedback was provided for an additional 107 pedicle tracks, of which 15 triggered an intraoperative alarm (evoked electromyogram response in leg muscles to stimulus intensity ≤ 10 mA) leading to a warning to the surgical team of a medially biased pedicle track. Finally, the blind was broken 29 times, in each case when testing revealed a particularly low threshold (≤ 4 mA) for evoked responses in leg muscles when stimulating along the pedicle track with the ball-tipped probe. As detailed in the companion paper to this one, there were 32 screws with threads lying at least 2 mm medial to the pedicle wall. In all 32 instances (100%), either these screws were in the "no feedback" category (n = 29) or they were in a feedback category but the surgeon elected to not revise the pedicle-track trajectory. Two patients returned to the operating room for revision of screw placements because the screws were encroaching upon the central canal; the pedicle tracks for these screws had been in the "no feedback" category. Conclusions This is the first blinded and randomized study to prove that implementing a novel neuromonitoring strategy during placement of thoracic pedicle screws can significantly reduce the incidence of clinically relevant thoracic pedicle screw medial malpositioning.Journal of neurosurgery. Spine 04/2014; · 1.61 Impact Factor
- Journal of neurosurgery. Spine 08/2013; · 1.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring for surgeries of the spine has been performed in clinical practice for several decades, but recent alterations in reimbursement schemes by third party payers have raised issues of the value of these procedures. Decision modeling using comparative effectiveness techniques holds the promise of evidence-based assessment of both cost and meaningful outcomes. In this article, we review the elements of comparative effectiveness analyses followed by a critical appraisal of the small but growing body of cost-effectiveness literature for intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring in spine.Journal of clinical neurophysiology: official publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society 04/2014; 31(2):112-7. · 1.47 Impact Factor