Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative

Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative


The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) is a statewide quality improvement collaborative involving orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons with the aim of improving the quality of care of spine surgery. The objective of this collaborative is to heighten patient care outcomes while consequently increasing the efficiency of treatment.

The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) is a prospectivelongitudinalmulticenterquality-improvement collaborative.

Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) prospectively collects data on all patients undergoing operations for degenerative and/or deformity indications.

In 2013, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) established the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) as a Collaborative Quality Initiative (CQI). MSSIC is one of the newest of 21 other CQIs that have significantly improved and continue to improve the quality of patient care throughout the state of Michigan. METHODS MSSIC focuses on lumbar and cervical spine surgery, specifically indications such as stenosis, disk herniation, and degenerative disease. Surgery for tumors, traumatic fractures, deformity, scoliosis, and acute spinal cord injury are currently not within the scope of MSSIC. Starting in 2014, MSSIC consisted of 7 hospitals and in 2015 included another 15 hospitals, for a total of 22 hospitals statewide. A standardized data set is obtained by data abstractors, who are funded by BCBSM/BCN. Variables of interest include indications for surgery, baseline patient-reported outcome measures, and medical history. These are obtained within 30 days of surgery. Outcome instruments used include the EQ-5D general health state score (0 being worst and 100 being the best health one can imagine) and EQ-5D-3 L. For patients undergoing lumbar surgery, a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for leg and back pain and the Oswestry Disability Index for back pain are collected. For patients undergoing cervical surgery, a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for arm and neck pain, Neck Disability Index, and the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score are collected. Surgical details, postoperative hospital course, and patient-reported outcome measures are collected at 90-day, 1-year, and 2-year intervals. RESULTS As of July 1, 2015, a total of 6397 cases have been entered into the registry. This number reflects 4824 eligible cases with confirmed surgery dates. Of these 4824 eligible cases, 3338 cases went beyond the 120-day window and were considered eligible for the extraction of surgical details, 90-day outcomes, and adverse events. Among these 3338 patients, there are a total of 2469 lumbar cases, 862 cervical cases, and 7 combined procedures that were entered into the registry.

In addition to functioning as a registry, MSSIC is also meant to be a platform for quality improvement with the potential for future initiatives and best practices to be implemented statewide in order to improve quality and lower costs. With its current rate of recruitment and expansion, MSSIC will provide a robust platform as a regional prospective registry. Its unique funding model, which is supported by BCBSM/BCN, will help ensure its longevity and viability, as has been observed in other CQIs that have been active for several years 1).

Macki et al. aimed to identify which factors are significantly associated with return-to-work after lumbar surgery at long-term follow-up.

Summary of background data: Prior publications have created a clinically relevant predictive model for return-to-work, wherein educationgenderrace, comorbidities, and preoperative symptoms increased the likelihood of return-to-work at 3 months after lumbar surgery. They sought to determine if these trends 1) persisted at 1 year and 2 years postoperatively, or 2) differed among preoperatively employed versus unemployed patients.

MSSIC was queried for all patients undergoing lumbar operations (2014-2019). All patients intended to return to work postoperatively. Patients were followed for up to 2 years postoperatively. Measures of association were calculated with multivariable generalized estimating equations (GEE).

Return-to-work increased from 63% (3542/5591) at 90 days postoperatively to 75% (3143/4147) at 1 year and 74% (2133/2866) at 2 years postoperatively. Following GEE, neither clinical nor surgical variables predicted return-to-work at all three-time intervals: 90 days, 1 year, and 2 years postoperatively. Only socioeconomic factors reached statistical significance at all follow-up points. Preoperative employment followed by insurance status had the greatest associations with return-to-work. In a sub-analysis of patients who were preoperatively employed, insurance was the only factor with significant associations with return-to-work at all three follow-up intervals. The return-to-work rates among unemployed patients at baseline increased from 29% (455/1100) at 90 days, 44% (495/608) at 1 year, and 46% (366/426) at 2 years postoperatively. The only two significant factors associated with return-to-work at all three follow-up intervals were Medicaid, as compared to private insurance, and male gender.

In patients inquiring about long-term return-to-work after lumbar surgery, health insurance status represents the important determinant of employment status.Level of Evidence: 2 2).

While a complex myriad of socio-economic factors interplay between race and surgical success, they identified modifiable risk factors, specifically depression, that may improve patient-reported outcomes (PROs) among African American patients after elective lumbar spine surgery 3).

Correction of sagittal balance is associated with greater odds of discharge to home. These findings, coupled with the recognized implications of admission to a rehabilitation facility, will emphasize the importance of spine surgeons accounting for the sagittal vertical axis (SVA) in their surgical planning of MIS lumbar interbody fusions 4)

Using MSSIC, Zakaria et al. sought to identify the relationship between a positive Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) screening, which is predictive of depression, and patient satisfactionreturn to work, and achieving Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) minimal clinically important difference (MCID) scores up to 2 years after lumbar fusion.

Data from a total of 8585 lumbar fusion patients were analyzed. Patient satisfaction was measured by the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index. A positive PHQ-2 score is one that is ≥ 3, which has an 82.9% sensitivity and 90.0% specificity in detecting major depressive disorder. Generalized estimating equation models were constructed; variables tested include age, sex, race, past medical history, severity of surgery, and preoperative opioid usage.

Multivariate analysis was performed. Patients with a positive PHQ-2 score (i.e., ≥ 3) were less likely to be satisfied after lumbar fusion at 90 days (relative risk [RR] 0.93, p < 0.001), 1 year (RR 0.92, p = 0.001), and 2 years (RR 0.92, p = 0.028). A positive PHQ-2 score was also associated with decreased likelihood of returning to work at 90 days (RR 0.76, p < 0.001), 1 year (RR 0.85, p = 0.001), and 2 years (RR 0.82, p = 0.031). A positive PHQ-2 score was predictive of failure to achieve an ODI MCID at 90 days (RR 1.07, p = 0.005) but not at 1 year or 2 years after lumbar fusion.

A multivariate analysis based on information from a large, multicenter, prospective database on lumbar fusion patients was performed. The authors found that a positive score (≥ 3) on the PHQ-2, which is a simple and accurate screening tool for depression, predicts an inability to return to work and worse satisfaction up to 2 years after lumbar fusion. Depression is a treatable condition, and so in the same way that patients are medically optimized before surgery to decrease postoperative morbidity, perhaps patients should have preoperative psychiatric optimization to improve postoperative functional outcomes 5).

Ninety-day readmission occurred in 9.0% of patients, mainly for painwound infection, and radicular symptoms. Increased focus on postoperative pain may decrease readmissions. Among factors impacting the likelihood of 90-d readmission, early postoperative ambulation may be most easily modifiable. Optimization of preexisting medical conditions could also potentially decrease readmission risk 6).

Multivariate analysis identified the common adverse events after cervical spine surgery, along with their associated risk factors. They found that early mobilization after cervical spine surgery has the potential to significantly decrease adverse events 7).


Chang V, Schwalb JM, Nerenz DR, Pietrantoni L, Jones S, Jankowski M, Oja-Tebbe N, Bartol S, Abdulhak M. The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative: a statewide Collaborative Quality Initiative. Neurosurg Focus. 2015 Dec;39(6):E7. doi: 10.3171/2015.10.FOCUS15370. PMID: 26621421.

Macki M, Anand SK, Hamilton T, Lim S, Mansour T, Bazydlo M, Schultz L, Abdulhak MM, Khalil JG, Park P, Aleem I, Easton R, Schwalb JM, Nerenz D, Chang V. Analysis of Factors associated with Return to Work After Lumbar Surgery up to 2-years follow-up: A Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) Study. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Jul 7. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000004163. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34265812.

Macki M, Hamilton T, Lim S, Telemi E, Bazydlo M, Nerenz DR, Zakaria HM, Schultz L, Khalil JG, Perez-Cruet MJ, Aleem IS, Park P, Schwalb JM, Abdulhak MM, Chang V. Disparities in outcomes after spine surgery: a Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative study. J Neurosurg Spine. 2021 May 7:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2020.10.SPINE20914. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33962387.

Macki M, Fadel HA, Hamilton T, Lim S, Massie LW, Zakaria HM, Pawloski J, Chang V. The influence of sagittal spinopelvic alignment on patient discharge disposition following minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion. J Spine Surg. 2021 Mar;7(1):8-18. doi: 10.21037/jss-20-596. PMID: 33834123; PMCID: PMC8024762.

Zakaria HM, Mansour TR, Telemi E, Asmaro K, Macki M, Bazydlo M, Schultz L, Nerenz DR, Abdulhak M, Schwalb JM, Park P, Chang V. Use of Patient Health Questionnaire-2 scoring to predict patient satisfaction and return to work up to 1 year after lumbar fusion: a 2-year analysis from the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative. J Neurosurg Spine. 2019 Aug 23:1-8. doi: 10.3171/2019.6.SPINE1963. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31443085.

Park P, Nerenz DR, Aleem IS, Schultz LR, Bazydlo M, Xiao S, Zakaria HM, Schwalb JM, Abdulhak MM, Oppenlander ME, Chang VW. Risk Factors Associated With 90-Day Readmissions After Degenerative Lumbar Fusion: An Examination of the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) Registry. Neurosurgery. 2019 Sep 1;85(3):402-408. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyy358. PMID: 30113686.

Zakaria HM, Bazydlo M, Schultz L, Pahuta MA, Schwalb JM, Park P, Aleem I, Nerenz DR, Chang V; MSSIC Investigators. Adverse events and their risk factors 90 days after cervical spine surgery: analysis from the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative. J Neurosurg Spine. 2019 Feb 15:1-13. doi: 10.3171/2018.10.SPINE18666. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 30771759.

Neurosurgery and ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP)

VP shunts were placed in 3,984 patients either as an initial placement (n = 1,093) or as a revision (n = 2,891). Compared to the initial-placement group, the revision group was significantly more likely to experience shunt failure (14 vs. 8%, p < 0.0001). In the initial-placement group, congenital hydrocephalus was independently associated with shunt failure (OR 1.83; 95% CI 1.01-3.31, p = 0.047). In the revision group, cardiac risk factors (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.00-1.90, p = 0.047), a chronic history of seizures (OR 1.33; 95% CI 1.04-1.71, p = 0.022), and a history of neuromuscular disease (OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.41-0.90, p = 0.014) were independently associated with shunt failure.
Identifying the factors associated with VP shunt failure may allow the development of interventions to decrease failures. Further refinement of the collected variables in the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) Pediatric specific to neurosurgical procedures is necessary to identify modifiable risk factors 1).

Cote et al., performed a search of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database for all patients undergoing operations with a neurosurgeon from 2006 to 2013. They analyzed demographics, past medical history, and post-operative respiratory failure, defined as unplanned intubation and/or ventilator dependence for more than 48 h post-operatively.
Of 94,621 NSQIP-reported neurosurgical patients from 2006 to 2013, 2325 (2.5 %) developed post-operative respiratory failure. Of these patients, 1270 (54.6 %) were male, with an overall mean age of 60.59 years; 571 (24.56 %) were current smokers and 756 (32.52 %) were ventilator-dependent. Past medical history included dyspnea in 204 patients (8.8 %), COPD in 198 (8.5 %), and congestive heart failure in 66 (2.8 %). The rate of post-operative respiratory failure decreased from 4.1 % in 2006 to 2.1 % in 2013 (p < 0.001). Of the 2325 patients with respiratory failure, 1061 (45.6 %) underwent unplanned intubation post-operatively and 1900 (81.7 %) were ventilator-dependent for more than 48 h. The rate of both unplanned intubation (p < 0.001) and ventilator dependence (p < 0.001) decreased significantly from 2006 to 2013. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that significant risk factors for respiratory failure included inpatient status (p < 0.001, OR = 0.165), age (p < 0.001, OR = 1.014), diabetes (p = 0.001, OR = 1.489), functional dependence prior to surgery (p < 0.001, OR = 2.081), ventilator dependence (p < 0.001, OR = 10.304), hypertension requiring medication (p = 0.005, OR = 1.287), impaired sensorium (p < 0.001, OR = 2.054), CVA/stroke with or without neurological deficit (p < 0.001, OR = 2.662; p = 0.002, OR = 1.816), systemic sepsis (p < 0.001, OR = 1.916), prior operation within 30 days (p = 0.026, OR = 1.439), and operation type (cranial relative to spine, p < 0.001, OR = 4.344).
Based on the NSQIP database, risk factors for respiratory failure after neurosurgery include pre-operative ventilator dependence, alcohol use, functional dependence prior to surgery, stroke, and recent operation. The overall rate of respiratory failure decreased from 4.1 % in 2006 to 2.1 % in 2013 according to these data 2).

Data from adult patients who underwent surgery for spinal tumors (2011-2014) were extracted from the prospective National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) registry. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors of reoperation, readmission, and major complications (death, neurological, cardiopulmonary, venous thromboembolism [VTE], surgical site infection [SSI], and sepsis). Variables screened included patient age, sex, tumor location, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical classification, preoperative functional status, comorbidities, preoperative laboratory values, case urgency, and operative time. Additional variables that were evaluated when analyzing readmission included complications during the surgical hospitalization, hospital length of stay (LOS), and discharge disposition.
Among the 2207 patients evaluated, 51.4% had extradural tumors, 36.4% had intradural extramedullary tumors, and 12.3% had intramedullary tumors. By spinal level, 20.7% were cervical lesions, 47.4% were thoracic lesions, 29.1% were lumbar lesions, and 2.8% were sacral lesions. Readmission occurred in 10.2% of patients at a median of 18 days (interquartile range [IQR] 12-23 days); the most common reasons for readmission were SSIs (23.7%), systemic infections (17.8%), VTE (12.7%), and CNS complications (11.9%). Predictors of readmission were comorbidities (dyspnea, hypertension, and anemia), disseminated cancer, preoperative steroid use, and an extended hospitalization. Reoperation occurred in 5.3% of patients at a median of 13 days (IQR 8-20 days) postoperatively and was associated with preoperative steroid use and ASA Class 4-5 designation. Major complications occurred in 14.4% of patients: the most common complications and their median time to occurrence were VTE (4.5%) at 9 days (IQR 4-19 days) postoperatively, SSIs (3.6%) at 18 days (IQR 14-25 days), and sepsis (2.9%) at 13 days (IQR 7-21 days). Predictors of major complications included dependent functional status, emergency case status, male sex, comorbidities (dyspnea, bleeding disorders, preoperative systemic inflammatory response syndrome, preoperative leukocytosis), and ASA Class 3-5 designation (p < 0.05). The median hospital LOS was 5 days (IQR 3-9 days), the 30-day mortality rate was 3.3%, and the median time to death was 20 days (IQR 12.5-26 days).
In a ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program analysis, 10.2% of patients undergoing surgery for spinal tumors were readmitted within 30 days, 5.3% underwent a reoperation, and 14.4% experienced a major complication. The most common complications were SSIs, systemic infections, and VTE, which often occurred late (after discharge from the surgical hospitalization). Patients were primarily readmitted for new complications that developed following discharge rather than exacerbation of complications from the surgical hospital stay. The strongest predictors of adverse events were comorbidities, preoperative steroid use, and higher ASA score. These models can be used by surgeons to risk-stratify patients preoperatively and identify those who may benefit from increased surveillance following hospital discharge 3).

Using the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) dataset, a retrospective analysis of the complications experienced by patients that underwent surgical management of a UIA between the years of 2007 and 2013. The primary outcomes of interest were mortality within the 30-day perioperative period and adverse discharge disposition to a location other than home. Predictors of morbidity and mortality were elucidated using multivariable logistic regression analyses controlling for available patient demographic, comorbidity, and operative characteristics.
662 patients were identified in the ACS-NSQIP dataset for operative management of an unruptured aneurysm. The observed rates of 30-day mortality and adverse discharge disposition were 2.27% and 19.47%, respectively. A hundred and eight (16.31%) patients developed at least one major complication. On multivariable analysis, death within 30days was significantly associated with increased operative time (OR 1.005 per minute, 95% CI 1.002-1.008) and chronic preoperative corticosteroid use (OR 28.4, 95% CI 1.68-480.42), whereas major complication development was associated with increased operative time (OR 1.004 per minute, 95% CI 1.002-1.006), age (OR 1.017 per year, 95% CI 1-1.034), preoperative dependency (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.16-9.40) and diabetes mellitus (OR 2.89, 95% CI 1.45-5.75). Lastly, increasing age (OR 1.017 per year, 95% CI 1-1.034) as well as ASA Class 3 (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.08-2.77) and 4 (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.1-4.72) were independent predictors of discharge to a location other than home.
The study yields morbidity and mortality benchmarks for UIA surgery in a representative, national surgical registry. It will hopefully aid in recognizing those patients at greater risk for postoperative complications following surgical management, leading to appropriate changes in treatment strategies for this selected group of patients 4).

2351 patients underwent peripheral nerve surgery, 120 complications were identified in 100 patients (4.25%), and 103 patients (4.38%) received nerve grafting. Thirty-one (1.95%) of the 1593 patients underwent unplanned readmission. Nerve grafting procedures had no association with postoperative complications and unplanned readmission rates. Patients who experienced an inpatient procedure (OR= 2.54, P<0.001), a longer operative time (OR= 1.00, P<0.001) and worse wound classifications (OR= 1.83, P<0.001) all had increased odds of postoperative complications. An inpatient procedure (OR= 2.74, P=0.014) and any complications (OR= 24.43, P<0.001) were significantly associated with unplanned readmission.
The study confirms that peripheral nerve surgery and nerve graft procedures can be safely performed with low complication risks and low unplanned readmission rates. We also identified the risks associated with perioperative adverse outcomes, and these data may be used as an adjunct for risk stratification for patients under consideration for peripheral nerve surgery. This approach may enable the improved targeting of the most costly and harmful complications of preventive measures 5).

1) Gonzalez DO, Mahida JB, Asti L, Ambeba EJ, Kenney B, Governale L, Deans KJ, Minneci PC. Predictors of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Failure in Children Undergoing Initial Placement or Revision. Pediatr Neurosurg. 2017;52(1):6-12. PubMed PMID: 27490129.
2) Cote DJ, Karhade AV, Burke WT, Larsen AM, Smith TR. Risk factors for post-operative respiratory failure among 94,621 neurosurgical patients from 2006 to 2013: a NSQIP analysis. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2016 Sep;158(9):1639-45. doi: 10.1007/s00701-016-2871-8. Epub 2016 Jun 23. PubMed PMID: 27339268.
3) Karhade AV, Vasudeva VS, Dasenbrock HH, Lu Y, Gormley WB, Groff MW, Chi JH, Smith TR. Thirty-day readmission and reoperation after surgery for spinal tumors: a National Surgical Quality Improvement Program analysis. Neurosurg Focus. 2016 Aug;41(2):E5. doi: 10.3171/2016.5.FOCUS16168. PubMed PMID: 27476847.
4) Kerezoudis P, McCutcheon BA, Murphy M, Rayan T, Gilder H, Rinaldo L, Shepherd D, Maloney PR, Hirshman BR, Carter BS, Bydon M, Meyer F, Lanzino G. Predictors of 30-day perioperative morbidity and mortality of unruptured intracranial aneurysm surgery. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2016 Oct;149:75-80. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2016.07.027. Epub 2016 Jul 27. PubMed PMID: 27490305.
5) Hu K, Zhang T, Hutter MM, Xu W, Williams ZM. Thirty-Day Perioperative Adverse Outcomes Following Peripheral Nerve Surgery: An Analysis of 2351 Patients in the ACS NSQIP Database. World Neurosurg. 2016 Jul 16. pii: S1878-8750(16)30545-9. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.07.023. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27436210.
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