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Darryl Lau, Alexander F. Haddad, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Rigid multiplanar thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) cases are challenging and many require a 3-column osteotomy (3CO), specifically asymmetrical pedicle subtraction osteotomy (APSO). The outcomes and additional risks of performing APSO for the correction of concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity have yet to be adequately studied.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all ASD patients who underwent 3CO during the period from 2006 to 2019. All cases involved either isolated sagittal deformity (patients underwent standard PSO) or concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity (coronal vertical axis [CVA] ≥ 4.0 cm; patients underwent APSO). Perioperative and 2-year follow-up outcomes were compared between patients with isolated sagittal imbalance who underwent PSO and those with concurrent sagittal-coronal imbalance who underwent APSO.

RESULTS

A total of 390 patients were included: 338 who underwent PSO and 52 who underwent APSO. The mean patient age was 64.6 years, and 65.1% of patients were female. APSO patients required significantly more fusions with upper instrumented vertebrae (UIV) in the upper thoracic spine (63.5% vs 43.3%, p = 0.007). Radiographically, APSO patients had greater deformity with more severe preoperative sagittal and coronal imbalance: sagittal vertical axis (SVA) 13.0 versus 10.7 cm (p = 0.042) and CVA 6.1 versus 1.2 cm (p < 0.001). In APSO cases, significant correction and normalization were achieved (SVA 13.0–3.1 cm, CVA 6.1–2.0 cm, lumbar lordosis [LL] 26.3°–49.4°, pelvic tilt [PT] 38.0°–20.4°, and scoliosis 25.0°–10.4°, p < 0.001). The overall perioperative complication rate was 34.9%. There were no significant differences between PSO and APSO patients in rates of complications (overall 33.7% vs 42.3%, p = 0.227; neurological 5.9% vs 3.9%, p = 0.547; medical 20.7% vs 25.0%, p = 0.482; and surgical 6.5% vs 11.5%, p = 0.191, respectively). However, the APSO group required significantly longer stays in the ICU (3.1 vs 2.3 days, p = 0.047) and hospital (10.8 vs 8.3 days, p = 0.002). At the 2-year follow-up, there were no significant differences in mechanical complications, including proximal junctional kyphosis (p = 0.352), pseudarthrosis (p = 0.980), rod fracture (p = 0.852), and reoperation (p = 0.600).

CONCLUSIONS

ASD patients with significant coronal imbalance often have severe concurrent sagittal deformity. APSO is a powerful and effective technique to achieve multiplanar correction without higher risk of morbidity and complications compared with PSO for sagittal imbalance. However, APSO is associated with slightly longer ICU and hospital stays.

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Nitin Agarwal, Diego D. Luy, Joanne M. Bonaminio, Chris A. Philips, Kathryn A. Dattomo, Robert F. Heary, Charles L. Branch Jr., Jon H. Robertson, Michael W. Groff and Regis W. Haid Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF), previously known as the Research Foundation of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), was established in 1980 to encourage and facilitate innovation through financial support to young neurosurgeons in the process of honing their competencies in neurosciences and neurological surgery. This article provides a historical overview of NREF, its mission, and charitable contributions and the ever-expanding avenues for neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents and fellows, and medical students to supplement clinical training and to further neurosurgical research advances.

METHODS

Data were collected from the historical archives of the AANS and NREF website. Available data included tabulated revenue, geographic and institutional records of funding, changes in funding for fellowships and awards, advertising methods, and sources of funding.

RESULTS

Since 1984, NREF has invested more than $23 million into the future of neurosurgery. To date, NREF has provided more than 500 fellowship opportunities which have funded neurosurgeons’ education and research efforts at all stages of training and practice.

CONCLUSIONS

NREF is designed to serve as the vehicle through which the neurosurgical community fosters the continued excellence in the care of patients with neurosurgical diseases.

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Naoki Ikegaya, Masaki Iwasaki, Yuu Kaneko, Takanobu Kaido, Yuiko Kimura, Tetsuya Yamamoto, Noriko Sumitomo, Takashi Saito, Eiji Nakagawa, Kenji Sugai, Masayuki Sasaki, Akio Takahashi and Taisuke Otsuki

OBJECTIVE

Cognitive risk associated with insular cortex resection is not well understood. The authors reviewed cognitive and developmental outcomes in pediatric patients who underwent resection of the epileptogenic zone involving the insula.

METHODS

A review was conducted of 15 patients who underwent resective epilepsy surgery involving the insular cortex for focal cortical dysplasia, with a minimum follow-up of 12 months. The median age at surgery was 5.6 years (range 0.3–13.6 years). Developmental/intelligence quotient (DQ/IQ) scores were evaluated before surgery, within 4 months after surgery, and at 12 months or more after surgery. Repeated measures multivariate ANOVA was used to evaluate the effects on outcomes of the within-subject factor (time) and between-subject factors (resection side, anterior insular resection, seizure control, and antiepileptic drug [AED] reduction).

RESULTS

The mean preoperative DQ/IQ score was 60.7 ± 22.8. Left-side resection and anterior insular resection were performed in 9 patients each. Favorable seizure control (International League Against Epilepsy class 1–3) was achieved in 8 patients. Postoperative motor deficits were observed in 9 patients (permanent in 6, transient in 3). Within-subject changes in DQ/IQ were not significantly affected by insular resection (p = 0.13). Postoperative changes in DQ/IQ were not significantly affected by surgical side, anterior insular resection, AED reduction, or seizure outcome. Only verbal function showed no significant changes before and after surgery and no significant effects of within-subject factors.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection involving the insula in children with impaired development or intelligence can be performed without significant reduction in DQ/IQ, but carries the risk of postoperative motor deficits.

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Ying Meng, Christopher B. Pople, Suneil K. Kalia, Lorraine V. Kalia, Benjamin Davidson, Luca Bigioni, Daniel Zhengze Li, Suganth Suppiah, Karim Mithani, Nadia Scantlebury, Michael L. Schwartz, Clement Hamani and Nir Lipsman

OBJECTIVE

The development of transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) has revitalized the practice of lesioning procedures in functional neurosurgery. Previous health economic analysis found MRgFUS thalamotomy to be a cost-effective treatment for patients with essential tremor, supporting its reimbursement. With the publication of level I evidence in support of MRgFUS thalamotomy for patients with tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease (TDPD), the authors performed a health economic comparison between MRgFUS, deep brain stimulation (DBS), and medical therapy.

METHODS

The authors used a decision tree model with rollback analysis and one-factor sensitivity analysis. Literature searches of MRgFUS thalamotomy and unilateral DBS of the ventrointermediate nucleus of the thalamus for TDPD were performed to determine the utility and probabilities for the model. Costs in Canadian dollars (CAD) were derived from the Schedule of Benefits and Fees in Ontario, Canada, and expert opinion on usage.

RESULTS

MRgFUS was associated with an expected cost of $14,831 CAD. Adding MRgFUS to continued medical therapy resulted in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $30,078 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY), which remained cost-effective under various scenarios in the sensitivity analysis. Comparing DBS to MRgFUS, while DBS did not achieve the willingness-to-pay threshold ($56,503 per QALY) in the base case scenario, it did so under several scenarios in the sensitivity analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

MRgFUS thalamotomy is a cost-effective treatment for patients with TDPD, particularly over continued medical therapy. While MRgFUS remains competitive with DBS, the cost-effectiveness advantage is less substantial. These results will help inform the integration of this technology in the healthcare system.

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Russell R. Lonser, Luke G. F. Smith, Michael Tennekoon, Kavon P. Rezai-Zadeh, Jeffrey G. Ojemann and Stephen J. Korn

OBJECTIVE

To increase the number of independent National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded neurosurgeons and to enhance neurosurgery research, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) developed two national comprehensive programs (R25 [established 2009] for residents/fellows and K12 [2013] for early-career neurosurgical faculty) in consultation with neurosurgical leaders and academic departments to support in-training and early-career neurosurgeons. The authors assessed the effectiveness of these NINDS-initiated programs to increase the number of independent NIH-funded neurosurgeon-scientists and grow NIH neurosurgery research funding.

METHODS

NIH funding data for faculty and clinical department funding were derived from the NIH, academic departments, and Blue Ridge Institute of Medical Research databases from 2006 to 2019.

RESULTS

Between 2009 and 2019, the NINDS R25 funded 87 neurosurgical residents. Fifty-three (61%) have completed the award and training, and 39 (74%) are in academic practice. Compared to neurosurgeons who did not receive R25 funding, R25 awardees were twice as successful (64% vs 31%) in obtaining K-series awards and received the K-series award in a significantly shorter period of time after training (25.2 ± 10.1 months vs 53.9 ± 23.0 months; p < 0.004). Between 2013 and 2019, the NINDS K12 has supported 19 neurosurgeons. Thirteen (68%) have finished their K12 support and all (100%) have applied for federal funding. Eleven (85%) have obtained major individual NIH grant support. Since the establishment of these two programs, the number of unique neurosurgeons supported by either individual (R01 or DP-series) or collaborative (U- or P-series) NIH grants increased from 36 to 82 (a 2.3-fold increase). Overall, NIH funding to clinical neurological surgery departments between 2006 and 2019 increased from $66.9 million to $157.3 million (a 2.2-fold increase).

CONCLUSIONS

Targeted research education and career development programs initiated by the NINDS led to a rapid and dramatic increase in the number of NIH-funded neurosurgeon-scientists and total NIH neurosurgery department funding.

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Nicolai Maldaner, Marketa Sosnova, Anna M. Zeitlberger, Michal Ziga, Oliver P. Gautschi, Luca Regli, Astrid Weyerbrock, Martin N. Stienen and for the International 6WT Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Digital transformation enables new possibilities to assess objective functional impairment (OFI) in patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD). This study examines the psychometric properties of an app-based 6-minute walking test (6WT) and determines OFI in patients with lumbar DDD.

METHODS

The maximum 6-minute walking distance (6WD) was determined in patients with lumbar DDD. The results were expressed as raw 6WDs (in meters), as well as in standardized z-scores referenced to age- and sex-specific values of spine-healthy volunteers. The 6WT results were assessed for reliability and content validity using established disease-specific patient-reported outcome measures.

RESULTS

Seventy consecutive patients and 330 volunteers were enrolled. The mean 6WD was 370 m (SD 137 m) in patients with lumbar DDD. Significant correlations between 6WD and the Core Outcome Measures Index for the back (r = −0.31), Zurich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ) symptom severity (r = −0.32), ZCQ physical function (r = −0.33), visual analog scale (VAS) for back pain (r = −0.42), and VAS for leg pain (r = −0.32) were observed (all p < 0.05). The 6WT revealed good test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.82), and the standard error of measurement was 58.3 m. A 4-tier severity stratification classified patients with z-scores > −1 (no OFI), −1 to −1.9 (mild OFI), −2 to −2.9 (moderate OFI), and ≤ −3 (severe OFI).

CONCLUSIONS

The smartphone app-based self-measurement of the 6WT is a convenient, reliable, and valid way to determine OFI in patients with lumbar DDD. The 6WT app facilitates the digital evaluation and monitoring of patients with lumbar DDD.

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Sohrab Virk, Avani S. Vaishnav, Jung Kee Mok, Steven McAnany, Sravisht Iyer, Todd J. Albert, Catherine Himo Gang and Sheeraz A. Qureshi

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative pain assessment is often used to gauge the amount of disability in patients with lumbar disc herniation. How high preoperative pain scores impact the clinical course and outcomes of patients after lumbar microdiscectomy is not always clear. Here, the authors aimed to determine whether patients reporting higher preoperative pain scores have worse outcomes after lumbar microdiscectomy than those reporting lower preoperative scores.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of patients with symptomatic lumbar disc herniations that had failed to improve with nonsurgical methods and who had undergone tubular lumbar microdiscectomy. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores had been collected in the preoperative and postoperative period. The anatomical severity of disease was graded based on lumbar disc health (Pfirrmann classification), facet degeneration, thecal sac cross-sectional area, and disc herniation grade. Data on each patient’s narcotic consumption and length of stay were collected. A Student t-test and chi-square test were used to compare patients with high preoperative pain scores (HP cohort) and those with lower preoperative scores (non-HP cohort).

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-eight patients were included in this analysis. The 47 patients in the HP cohort had taken more preoperative opioids (12.0 ± 21.2 vs 3.6 ± 11.1 morphine equivalent doses, p = 0.01). However, there was no statistically significant difference in Pfirrmann classification (p > 0.15), facet grade (p > 0.11), thecal sac cross-sectional area (p = 0.45), or disc herniation grade (p = 0.39) between the HP and non-HP cohorts. The latter cohort had statistically significant higher preoperative PROMIS scores (36.5 ± 7.0 vs 29.9 ± 6.4, p < 0.001), SF-12 mental component summary scores (48.7 ± 11.5 vs 38.9 ± 16.1, p < 0.001), and SF-12 physical component summary scores (PCS; 32.4 ± 8.6 vs 27.5 ± 10.0, p = 0.005), but a lower Oswestry Disability Index (56.4 ± 22.1 vs 35.4 ± 15.5, p < 0.001). There were only two time points after microdiscectomy when the HP cohort had worse HRQOL scores: at the 2-week follow-up for SF-12 PCS scores (32.4 ± 8.6 vs 29.3 ± 7.1, p = 0.03) and the 12-week follow-up for PROMIS scores (45.2 ± 9.5 vs 39.5 ± 7.1, p = 0.01). All other postoperative HRQOL measurements were similar between the two cohorts (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

A patient’s perceived severity of disease often does not correlate with the actual clinical pathology on imaging. Although patients who report high pain and have a symptomatic lumbar disc herniation may describe their pain as more extreme, they should be counseled that the outcomes of microdiscectomy are positive.

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Hiroki Ushirozako, Tomohiko Hasegawa, Shigeto Ebata, Tetsuro Ohba, Hiroki Oba, Keijiro Mukaiyama, Satoshi Shimizu, Yu Yamato, Koichiro Ide, Yosuke Shibata, Toshiyuki Ojima, Jun Takahashi, Hirotaka Haro and Yukihiro Matsuyama

OBJECTIVE

Nonunion after posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is associated with poor long-term outcomes in terms of health-related quality of life. Biomechanical factors in the fusion segment may influence spinal fusion rates. There are no reports on the relationship between intervertebral union and the absorption of autografts or vertebral endplates. Therefore, the purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the risk factors of nonunion after PLIF and identify preventive measures.

METHODS

The authors analyzed 138 patients who underwent 1-level PLIF between 2016 and 2018 (75 males, 63 females; mean age 67 years; minimum follow-up period 12 months). Lumbar CT images obtained soon after the surgery and at 6 and 12 months of follow-up were examined for the mean total occupancy rate of the autograft, presence of a translucent zone between the autograft and endplate (more than 50% of vertebral diameter), cage subsidence, and screw loosening. Complete intervertebral union was defined as the presence of both upper and lower complete fusion in the center cage regions on coronal and sagittal CT slices at 12 months postoperatively. Patients were classified into either union or nonunion groups.

RESULTS

Complete union after PLIF was observed in 62 patients (45%), while nonunion was observed in 76 patients (55%). The mean total occupancy rate of the autograft immediately after the surgery was higher in the union group than in the nonunion group (59% vs 53%; p = 0.046). At 12 months postoperatively, the total occupancy rate of the autograft had decreased by 5.4% in the union group and by 11.9% in the nonunion group (p = 0.020). A translucent zone between the autograft and endplate immediately after the surgery was observed in 14 and 38 patients (23% and 50%) in the union and nonunion groups, respectively (p = 0.001). The nonunion group had a significantly higher proportion of cases with cage subsidence and screw loosening at 12 months postoperatively in comparison to the union group (p = 0.010 and p = 0.009, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

A lower occupancy rate of the autograft and the presence of a translucent zone between the autograft and endplate immediately after the surgery were associated with nonunion at 12 months after PLIF. It may be important to achieve sufficient contact between the autograft and endplate intraoperatively for osseous union enhancement and to avoid excessive absorption of the autograft. The achievement of complete intervertebral union may decrease the incidence of cage subsidence or screw loosening.

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Travis J. Atchley, Galal A. Elsayed, Blake Sowers, Harrison C. Walker, Gustavo Chagoya, Matthew C. Davis, Joshua D. Bernstock, Nidal B. Omar, Daxa M. Patel and Barton L. Guthrie

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of seizures following deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode implantation and to evaluate factors associated with postoperative seizures.

METHODS

The authors performed a single-center retrospective case-control study. The outcome of interest was seizure associated with DBS implantation. Univariate analyses were performed using the Student t-test for parametric continuous outcomes. The authors used the Kruskal-Wallis test or Wilcoxon rank-sum test for nonparametric continuous outcomes, chi-square statistics for categorical outcomes, and multivariate logistic regression for binomial variables.

RESULTS

A total of 814 DBS electrode implantations were performed in 645 patients (478 [58.7%] in men and 520 [63.9%] in patients with Parkinson’s disease). In total, 22 (3.4%) patients who had undergone 23 (2.8%) placements experienced seizure. Of the 23 DBS implantation–related seizures, 21 were new-onset seizures (3.3% of 645 patients) and 2 were recurrence or worsening of a prior seizure disorder. Among the 23 cases with postimplantation-related seizure, epilepsy developed in 4 (17.4%) postoperatively; the risk of DBS-associated epilepsy was 0.50% per DBS electrode placement and 0.63% per patient. Nine (39.1%) implantation-related seizures had associated postoperative radiographic abnormalities. Multivariate analyses suggested that age at surgery conferred a modest increased risk for postoperative seizures (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.10). Sex, primary diagnosis, electrode location and sidedness, and the number of trajectories were not significantly associated with seizures after DBS surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Seizures associated with DBS electrode placement are uncommon, typically occur early within the postoperative period, and seldom lead to epilepsy. This study suggests that patient characteristics, such as age, may play a greater role than perioperative variables in determining seizure risk. Multiinstitutional studies may help better define and mitigate the risk of seizures after DBS surgery.