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Matthew J. Hagan, Albert E. Telfeian, Rahul Sastry, Rohaid Ali, Kai-Uwe Lewandrowski, Sanjay Konakondla, Sean Barber, Kendall Lane, and Ziya L. Gokaslan

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to describe a minimally invasive transforaminal surgical technique for treating awake patients presenting with lumbar radiculopathy and compressive facet cysts.

METHODS

Awake transforaminal endoscopic decompression surgery was performed in 645 patients over a 6-year period from 2014 to 2020. Transforaminal endoscopic decompression surgery utilizing a high-speed endoscopic drill was performed in 25 patients who had lumbar facet cysts. All surgeries were performed as outpatient procedures in awake patients. Nine of the 25 patients had previously undergone laminectomies at the treated level. A retrospective chart review of patient-reported outcome measures is presented.

RESULTS

At the 2-year follow-up, the mean (± standard deviation) preoperative visual analog scale leg score and Oswestry Disability Index improved from 7.6 ± 1.3 to 2.3 ± 1.4 and 39.7% ± 8.1% to 13.0% ± 7.4%, respectively. There were no complications, readmissions, or recurrence of symptoms during the 2-year follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

A minimally invasive awake procedure is presented for the treatment of lumbar facet cysts in patients with lumbar radiculopathy. Approximately one-third of the treated patients (9 of 25) had postlaminectomy facet cysts.

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Namhoo Kim, Kyung-Soo Suk, Ji-Won Kwon, Joonoh Seo, Hunjin Ju, Byung Ho Lee, Seong-Hwan Moon, Hak-Sun Kim, and Hwan-Mo Lee

OBJECTIVE

The C2 slope (C2S) is one of the parameters that can determine cervical sagittal alignment, but its clinical significance is relatively unexplored. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical significance of the C2S after multilevel cervical spine fusion.

METHODS

A total of 111 patients who underwent multilevel cervical spine fusion were included in this study. The C2S, cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA), C2–7 lordosis, and T1 slope (T1S) were measured in standing lateral cervical spine radiographs preoperatively and 2 years after the surgery. Clinical outcome measures were visual analog scale (VAS) neck and arm pain scores, Neck Disability Index (NDI), Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score, and patient-reported subjective improvement rate (IR) percentage. Statistical analysis was performed using a paired-samples t-test and Pearson’s correlation, and a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to determine the cutoff values of C2S.

RESULTS

C2S demonstrated a significant correlation with the cSVA, C2–7 lordosis, T1S, and T1S minus cervical lordosis. C2S revealed a significant correlation with the JOA, neck pain VAS, and NDI scores at 2 years after surgery. Change in the C2S correlated with postoperative neck pain and NDI scores. ROC curves demonstrated the cutoff values of C2S as 18.8°, 22.25°, and 25.35°, according to a cSVA of 40 mm, severe disability expressed by NDI, and severe myelopathy, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

C2S can be an additional cervical sagittal alignment parameter that can be a useful prognostic factor after multilevel cervical spine fusion.

Open access

Michael Yan, Lori Holden, Jay Detsky, Chia-Lin Tseng, Hany Soliman, Sten Myrehaug, Zain Husain, Sunit Das, Collins Yeboah, Nir Lipsman, Mark Ruschin, and Arjun Sahgal

OBJECTIVE

With the incorporation of real-time image guidance on the Gamma Knife system allowing for mask-based immobilization (Gamma Knife Icon [GKI]), conventionally fully fractionated (1.8–3.0 Gy/day) GKI radiation can now be delivered to take advantage of an inherently minimal margin for delivery uncertainty, sharp dose falloff, and inhomogeneous dose distribution. This case series details the authors’ preliminary experience in re-irradiating 7 complex primary intracranial tumors, which were considered to have been previously maximally radiated and situated adjacent to critical organs at risk.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients who received fractionated re-irradiation using GKI at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, between 2016 and 2021. Patients with brain metastases, and those who received radiotherapy courses in 5 or fewer fractions, were excluded. All radiotherapy doses were converted to the equivalent total dose in 2-Gy fractions (EQD2), with the assumption of an α/β ratio of 2 for late normal tissue toxicity and 10 for the tumor.

RESULTS

A total of 7 patients were included in this case series. Three patients had recurrent meningiomas, as well as 1 patient each with ependymoma, intracranial sarcoma, pituitary macroadenoma, and papillary pineal tumor. Six patients had undergone prior linear accelerator–based conventional fractionated radiotherapy and 1 patient had undergone prior proton therapy. Patients were re-irradiated with a median (range) total dose of 50.4 (30–63.4) Gy delivered in a median (range) of 28 (10–38) fractions with GKI. The median (range) target volume was 6.58 (0.2–46.3) cm3. The median (range) cumulative mean EQD2 administered to the tumor was 121.1 (107.9–181.3) Gy, and the median (range) maximum point EQD2 administered to the brainstem, optic nerves, and optic chiasm were 91.6 (74.0–111.5) Gy, 58.9 (6.3–102.9) Gy, and 59.9 (36.7–127.3) Gy, respectively. At a median (range) follow-up of 15 (6–42) months, 6 of 7 patients were alive with 4 having locally controlled disease. Only 3 patients experienced treatment-related toxicities, which were self-limited.

CONCLUSIONS

Fractionated radiotherapy using GKI may be a safe and effective method for the re-irradiation of complex progressive primary intracranial tumors, where the aim is to minimize the potential for serious late effects.

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Bao Wang, Wei Shi, Yu Zhang, Yue Wang, Chen Yang, Tao Huang, Qi-long Tian, Yan Qu, and Ju-lei Wang

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to explore the safety and efficacy of an autologous nuchal ligament for dural repair in pediatric patients undergoing tumor resection through a suboccipital midline approach.

METHODS

Pediatric patients diagnosed with posterior fossa neoplasia who underwent surgery through a suboccipital midline approach were retrospectively reviewed. The patients were divided into artificial graft and autograft groups according to whether artificial duraplasty material or autologous nuchal ligament was used to repair the dura. Postoperative complications were reviewed and analyzed, including CSF leak, pseudomeningocele, and meningitis, during hospitalization and follow-up. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the relationship between duraplasty material and postoperative complications, as well as other risk factors for postoperative complications. Furthermore, multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to clarify which postoperative complications the autologous nuchal ligament tended to reduce.

RESULTS

This retrospective study included 66 pediatric patients who underwent tumor resection through a suboccipital midline approach. The clinical baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups. The results showed that the autograft group had significantly fewer postoperative complications, especially pseudomeningocele, compared with the artificial graft group. Moreover, the time required to repair the dura in the autograft group was significantly less than that in the artificial graft group. Further results revealed that the duraplasty material, ependymoma, preoperative severe hydrocephalus requiring an external ventricular drain (EVD), and postoperative hydrocephalus exacerbation were independent risk factors for postoperative complications. In particular, the autologous fascia of the nuchal ligament tended to reduce pseudomeningocele more than CSF leak and meningitis. However, compared with pseudomeningocele and CSF leak, both ependymoma and postoperative hydrocephalus exacerbation were more likely to increase the occurrence of meningitis. In contrast, preoperative severe hydrocephalus requiring EVD led to increased rates of postoperative complications.

CONCLUSIONS

For pediatric patients with intracranial tumors who need to undergo resection through a suboccipital midline approach, dural repair using the nuchal ligament is safe, cost-effective, and time saving and significantly reduces postoperative complications.

Open access

Mark J. Lambrechts, Gregory D. Schroeder, Brian A. Karamian, Jose A. Canseco, F. Cumhur Oner, Lorin M. Benneker, Richard J. Bransford, Frank Kandziora, Shanmuganathan Rajasekaran, Mohammad El-Sharkawi, Rishi Kanna, Andrei Fernandes Joaquim, Klaus Schnake, Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro, and

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this paper was to determine the interobserver reliability and intraobserver reproducibility of the AO Spine Upper Cervical Injury Classification System based on surgeon experience (< 5 years, 5–10 years, 10–20 years, and > 20 years) and surgical subspecialty (orthopedic spine surgery, neurosurgery, and "other" surgery).

METHODS

A total of 11,601 assessments of upper cervical spine injuries were evaluated based on the AO Spine Upper Cervical Injury Classification System. Reliability and reproducibility scores were obtained twice, with a 3-week time interval. Descriptive statistics were utilized to examine the percentage of accurately classified injuries, and Pearson’s chi-square or Fisher’s exact test was used to screen for potentially relevant differences between study participants. Kappa coefficients (κ) determined the interobserver reliability and intraobserver reproducibility.

RESULTS

The intraobserver reproducibility was substantial for surgeon experience level (< 5 years: 0.74 vs 5–10 years: 0.69 vs 10–20 years: 0.69 vs > 20 years: 0.70) and surgical subspecialty (orthopedic spine: 0.71 vs neurosurgery: 0.69 vs other: 0.68). Furthermore, the interobserver reliability was substantial for all surgical experience groups on assessment 1 (< 5 years: 0.67 vs 5–10 years: 0.62 vs 10–20 years: 0.61 vs > 20 years: 0.62), and only surgeons with > 20 years of experience did not have substantial reliability on assessment 2 (< 5 years: 0.62 vs 5–10 years: 0.61 vs 10–20 years: 0.61 vs > 20 years: 0.59). Orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons had substantial intraobserver reproducibility on both assessment 1 (0.64 vs 0.63) and assessment 2 (0.62 vs 0.63), while other surgeons had moderate reliability on assessment 1 (0.43) and fair reliability on assessment 2 (0.36).

CONCLUSIONS

The international reliability and reproducibility scores for the AO Spine Upper Cervical Injury Classification System demonstrated substantial intraobserver reproducibility and interobserver reliability regardless of surgical experience and spine subspecialty. These results support the global application of this classification system.

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Nathaniel Toop, Connor S. Gifford, Ben G. McGahan, David Gibbs, Shelby Miracle, Jan M. Schwab, Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi, and H. Francis Farhadi

OBJECTIVE

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is routinely treated with surgical decompression, but disparate postoperative outcomes are frequently observed, ranging from complete neurological recovery to persistent decline. Although numerous clinical and radiological factors have been independently associated with failure to improve, the relative impact of these proposed risk factors remains obscure. In this study, the authors assess the combined role of clinical and radiographic parameters in contributing to failure to attain neurological improvement after surgery.

METHODS

A consecutive series of patients who underwent surgery for DCM between July 2013 and August 2018 at a single institution was identified from a prospectively maintained database. Retrospective chart review was undertaken to record perioperative clinical and radiographic parameters. Failure to improve on the last follow-up evaluation after surgery, defined as a change in modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score less than 2, was the primary outcome in univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS

The authors included 183 patients in the final cohort. In total, 109 (59.6%) patients improved (i.e., responders with ΔmJOA score ≥ 2) after surgery and 74 (40.4%) were nonresponders with ΔmJOA score < 2. Baseline demographic variables and comorbidity rates were similar, whereas baseline Nurick score was the only clinical variable that differed between responders and nonresponders (2.7 vs 3.0, p = 0.02). In contrast, several preoperative radiographic variables differed between the groups, including presence and degree of cervical kyphosis, number of levels with bidirectional cord compression, presence and number of levels with T2-weighted signal change, intramedullary lesion (IML) length, Torg ratio, and both narrowest spinal canal and cord diameter. On multivariate analysis, preoperative degree of kyphosis at C2–7 (OR 1.19, p = 0.004), number of levels with bidirectional compression (OR 1.83, p = 0.003), and IML length (OR 1.14, p < 0.001) demonstrated the highest predictive power for nonresponse (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.818). A risk factor point system that predicted failure of improvement was derived by incorporating these 3 variables.

CONCLUSIONS

When a large spectrum of both clinical and radiographic variables is considered, the degree of cervical kyphosis, number of levels with bidirectional compression, and IML length are the most predictive of nonresponse after surgery for DCM. Assessment of these radiographic factors can help guide surgical decision-making and more appropriately stratify patients in clinical trials.

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Bhavya Pahwa and Mohamed A. Zaazoue

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Jeongman Park, Jeongmin Sim, Juwon Ahn, Yu Jin Kim, Sojung Hwang, Kyunggi Cho, Da-Young Chang, Jin-Hwa Jung, Ju Hyung Moon, KyoungSu Sung, and Jaejoon Lim

OBJECTIVE

Several limitations are associated with the early diagnosis and treatment of incidental lower-grade glioma (iLGG), and due to its unknown molecular features, its management is categorized as either the “wait-and-see” strategy or immediate treatment. Therefore, in this study the authors explored iLGG’s clinical and molecular landscape to improve its management.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively assessed the differences between the molecular and clinical characteristics of iLGG and symptomatic lower-grade glioma (sLGG) samples filtered based on symptom data corresponding to The Cancer Genome Atlas cohort with mutations. Thereafter, genomic and transcriptomic analysis was performed.

RESULTS

There was no significant difference between iLGG and sLGG with respect to mutation status; however, there was an increase in the interaction between major mutations in sLGG, depending on the histological subtype and the IDH1 mutation status. Furthermore, the IDH1 mutation characteristics corresponding to wild-type glioma were much more obvious in sLGG than in iLGG. Additionally, in sLGG, genes associated with malignancy, including cell proliferation–related, cell migration–related, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition–related, and negative regulation of cell death–related genes, were significantly upregulated, and groups showing higher expression levels of these genes were associated with worse prognosis. Also, 8 of the 75 identified upregulated genes showed positive correlation with resistance to the drugs that are normally used for glioma treatment, including procarbazine, carmustine, vincristine, and temozolomide.

CONCLUSIONS

The new insights regarding the different molecular features of iLGG and sLGG indicated that the immediate management of iLGG could result in better prognosis than the wait-and-see strategy.

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David Chi, Ella Gibson, Sarah N. Chiang, Koeun Lee, Sybill D. Naidoo, Amy Lee, Craig Birgfeld, Ian F. Pollack, Jesse Goldstein, Michael Golinko, Christopher M. Bonfield, Faizi A. Siddiqi, John R. W. Kestle, Matthew D. Smyth, Kamlesh B. Patel, and

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment of sagittal craniosynostosis is challenging in older patients. This study aimed to assess the effect of increasing age on open surgical technique selection and patient outcomes using the multi-institutional Synostosis Research Group (SynRG) collaboration.

METHODS

Surgeons in SynRG were surveyed for key influences on their preferred open calvarial vault remodeling techniques at various patient ages: < 6, 6–12, and > 12 months. The SynRG database was then queried for open repairs of nonsyndromic sagittal craniosynostosis performed for patients older than 12 months of age. Perioperative measures, complications, and preoperative and postoperative cephalic indices were reviewed.

RESULTS

All surgeons preferred to treat patients at an earlier age, and most (89%) believed that less-optimal outcomes were achieved at ages older than 12 months. The modified pi procedure was the dominant technique in those younger than 12 months, while more involved open surgical techniques were performed for older patients, with a wide variety of open calvarial vault remodeling techniques used. Forty-four patients met inclusion criteria, with a mean (± SD) age at surgery of 29 ± 16 months. Eleven patients underwent parietal reshaping, 10 parietal-occipital switch, 9 clamshell craniotomy, 7 geometric parietal expansion, 6 modified pi procedure, and 1 parietal distraction. There were no readmissions, complications, or mortality within 30 days postoperatively. Patients’ cephalic indices improved a mean of 6.4% ± 4.0%, with a mean postoperative cephalic index of 74.2% ± 4.9%. Differences in postoperative cephalic index (p < 0.04) and hospital length of stay (p = 0.01) were significant between technique cohorts. Post hoc Tukey-Kramer analysis identified the parietal reshaping technique as being significantly associated with a reduced hospital length of stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Patient age is an important driver in technique selection, with surgeons selecting a more involved calvarial vault remodeling technique in older children. A variety of surgical techniques were analyzed, with the parietal reshaping technique being significantly associated with reduced length of stay; however, multiple perioperative factors may be contributory and require further analysis. When performed at high-volume centers by experienced pediatric neurosurgeons and craniofacial surgeons, open calvarial vault techniques can be a safe method for treating sagittal craniosynostosis in older children.