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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Dylan Griswold, Pooneh Mokhtari, Andre Payman, Halima Tabani, Sonia Yousef, and Arnau Benet

OBJECTIVE

In various disease processes, including unclippable aneurysms, a bypass to the upper posterior circulation (UPC) including the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) and posterior cerebral artery (PCA) may be needed. Various revascularization options exist, but the role of intracranial (IC) donors has not been scrutinized. The objective of this study was to evaluate the anatomical feasibility of utilizing the anterior temporal artery (ATA) for revascularization of the UPC.

METHODS

ATA-SCA and ATA-PCA bypasses were performed on 14 cadaver specimens. After performing an orbitozygomatic craniotomy and opening the basal cisterns, the ATA was divided at the M3-M4 junction and mobilized to the crural cistern to complete an end-to-side bypass to the SCA and PCA. The length of the recipient artery between the anastomosis and origin was measured.

RESULTS

Seventeen ATAs were found. Successful anastomosis was performed in 14 (82%) of the ATAs. The anastomosis point on the PCA was 14.2 mm from its origin on the basilar artery. The SCA anastomosis point was 10.1 mm from its origin. Three ATAs did not reach the UPC region due to a common opercular origin with the middle temporal artery. The ATA-SCA bypass was also applied to the management of an incompletely coiled SCA aneurysm.

CONCLUSIONS

The ATA is a promising IC donor for UPC revascularization. The ATA is exposed en route to the proximal SCA and PCA through the pterional-orbitozygomatic approach. Also, the end-to-side anastomosis provides an efficient and straightforward bypass without the need to harvest a graft or perform multiple or difficult anastomoses.

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Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Ethan A. Winkler, George F. Lasker, John K. Yue, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Compressive cranial nerve syndromes can be useful bedside clues to the diagnosis of an enlarging intracranial aneurysm and can also guide subsequent evaluation, as with an acute oculomotor nerve (cranial nerve [CN] III) palsy that is presumed to be a posterior communicating artery aneurysm and a surgical emergency until proven otherwise. The CN VI has a short cisternal segment from the pontomedullary sulcus to Dorello’s canal, remote from most PICA aneurysms but in the hemodynamic pathway of a rupturing PICA aneurysm that projects toward Dorello’s canal. The authors describe a cranial nerve syndrome for posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms that associates subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and an isolated abducens nerve (CN VI) palsy.

METHODS

Clinical and radiological data from 106 surgical patients with PICA aneurysms (66 ruptured and 40 unruptured) were retrospectively reviewed. Data from a group of 174 patients with other aneurysmal SAH (aSAH) were analyzed in a similar manner to control for nonspecific effects of SAH. Univariate statistical analysis compared incidence and risk factors associated with CN VI palsy in subarachnoid hemorrhage.

RESULTS

Overall, 13 (4.6%) of 280 patients had CN VI palsy at presentation, and all of them had ruptured aneurysms (representing 13 [5.4%] of the 240 cases of ruptured aneurysms). CN VI palsies were observed in 12 patients with ruptured PICA aneurysms (12/66 [18.1%]) and 1 patient with other aSAH (1/174 [0.1%], p < 0.0001). PICA aneurysm location in ruptured aneurysms was an independent predictor for CN VI palsy on multivariate analysis (p = 0.001). PICA aneurysm size was not significantly different in patients with or without CN VI palsy (average size 4.4 mm and 5.2 mm, respectively). Within the PICA aneurysm cohort, modified Fisher grade (p = 0.011) and presence of a thick cisternal SAH (modified Fisher Grades 3 and 4) (p = 0.003) were predictors of CN VI palsy. In all patients with ruptured PICA aneurysms and CN VI palsy, dome projection and presumed direction of rupture were directed toward the ipsilateral and/or contralateral Dorello’s canal, in agreement with laterality of the CN palsy. In patients with bilateral CN VI palsies, a medial projection with extensive subarachnoid blood was observed near bilateral canals.

CONCLUSIONS

This study establishes a localizing connection between an isolated CN VI palsy, SAH, and an underlying ruptured PICA aneurysm. CN VI palsy is an important clinical sign in aSAH and when present on initial clinical presentation may be assumed to be due to ruptured PICA aneurysms until proven otherwise. The deficit may be ipsilateral, contralateral, or bilateral and is determined by the direction of the aneurysm dome projection and extent of subarachnoid bleeding toward Dorello’s canal, rather than by direct compression.

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Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Ethan A. Winkler, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Deep medial parietooccipital arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are traditionally resected through an ipsilateral posterior interhemispheric approach (IPIA), which creates a deep, perpendicular perspective with limited access to the lateral margins of the lesion. The contralateral posterior interhemispheric approach (CPIA) flips the positioning, with the midline positioned horizontally for retraction due to gravity, but with the AVM on the upper side and the approach from the contralateral, lower side. The aim of this paper was to analyze whether the perpendicular angle of attack that is used in IPIA would convert to a parallel angle of attack with the CPIA, with less retraction, improved working angles, and no significant increase in risk.

METHODS

A retrospective review of pre- and postoperative clinical and radiographic data was performed in 8 patients who underwent a CPIA.

RESULTS

Three AVMs and 5 CCMs were resected using the CPIA, with an average nidus size of 2.3 cm and CCM diameter of 1.7 cm. All lesions were resected completely, as confirmed on postoperative catheter angiography or MRI. All patients had good neurological outcomes, with either stable or improved modified Rankin Scale scores at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The CPIA is a safe alternative approach to the IPIA for deep medial parietooccipital vascular malformations that extend 2 cm or more off the midline. Contralaterality and retraction due to gravity optimize the interhemispheric corridor, the surgical trajectory to the lesion, and the visualization of the lateral margin, without resection or retraction of adjacent normal cortex. Although the falx is a physical barrier to accessing the lesion, it stabilizes the ipsilateral hemisphere while gravity delivers the dissected lesion through the transfalcine window. Patient positioning, CSF drainage, venous preservation, and meticulous dissection of the deep margins are critical to the safety of this approach.

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Brian P. Walcott, Jae Seung Bang, Omar Choudhri, Sirin Gandhi, Halima Tabani, Arnau Benet, and Michael T. Lawton

A 46-year-old male presented with an incidentally discovered left ventricular body arteriovenous malformation (AVM). It measured 2 cm in diameter and had drainage via an atrial vein into the internal cerebral vein (Spetzler-Martin Grade III, Supplementary Grade 4). Preoperative embolization of the posterior medial choroidal artery reduced nidus size by 50%. Subsequently, he underwent a right-sided craniotomy for a contralateral transcallosal approach to resect the AVM. This case demonstrates strategic circumferential disconnection of feeding arteries (FAs) to the nidus, the use of aneurysm clips to control large FAs, and the use of dynamic retraction and importance of a generous callosotomy. Postoperatively, he was neurologically intact, and angiogram confirmed complete resection.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/j0778LfS3MI.

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Robert M. Starke, Felipe C. Albuquerque, and Michael T. Lawton

It is with great pleasure that we present this Neurosurgical Focus video supplement on supratentorial cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). We were privileged to view a remarkable number of outstanding videos demonstrating current state-of-the-art management of brain AVMs using endovascular and microsurgical modalities. Careful and critical review was required to narrow down the submitted videos to a workable volume for this supplement, which reflects the excellent work being done at multiple centers with these lesions.

This issue consists of videos that represent modern microsurgical and neuroendovascular techniques for the treatment of supratentorial cerebral AVMs. The videos demonstrate cutting-edge therapies as well as standard ones, which will be valuable to both novice and expert neurointerventionists and neurosurgeons. We are honored to be involved with this project and proud of its content and expert authors. We believe you will enjoy the video content of this supplement and hope that it will raise the collective expertise of our community of AVM surgeons.

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Kimon Bekelis, Daniel J. Gottlieb, Yin Su, A. James O'Malley, Nicos Labropoulos, Philip Goodney, Michael T. Lawton, and Todd A. MacKenzie

OBJECTIVE

The comparative effectiveness of the 2 treatment options—surgical clipping and endovascular coiling—for unruptured cerebral aneurysms remains an issue of debate and has not been studied in clinical trials. The authors investigated the association between treatment method for unruptured cerebral aneurysms and outcomes in elderly patients.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study of 100% of Medicare fee-for-service claims data for elderly patients who had treatment for unruptured cerebral aneurysms between 2007 and 2012. To control for measured confounding, the authors used propensity score conditioning and inverse probability weighting with mixed effects to account for clustering at the level of the hospital referral region (HRR). An instrumental variable (regional rates of coiling) analysis was used to control for unmeasured confounding and to create pseudo-randomization on the treatment method.

RESULTS

During the study period, 8705 patients underwent treatment for unruptured cerebral aneurysms and met the study inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 2585 (29.7%) had surgical clipping and 6120 (70.3%) had endovascular coiling. Instrumental variable analysis demonstrated no difference between coiling and clipping in 1-year postoperative mortality (OR 1.25, 95% CI 0.68–2.31) or 90-day readmission rate (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.66–1.62). However, clipping was associated with a greater likelihood of discharge to rehabilitation (OR 6.39, 95% CI 3.85–10.59) and 3.6 days longer length of stay (LOS; 95% CI 2.90–4.71). The same associations were present in propensity score–adjusted and inverse probability–weighted models.

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort of Medicare patients, there was no difference in mortality and the readmission rate between clipping and coiling of unruptured cerebral aneurysms. Clipping was associated with a higher rate of discharge to a rehabilitation facility and a longer LOS.

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Kimon Bekelis, Daniel J. Gottlieb, Yin Su, Giuseppe Lanzino, Michael T. Lawton, and Todd A. MacKenzie

OBJECTIVE

The impact of treatment method—surgical clipping or endovascular coiling—on the cost of care for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is debated. Here, the authors investigated the association between treatment method and long-term Medicare expenditures in elderly patients with aneurysmal SAH.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study of 100% of the Medicare fee-for-service claims data for elderly patients who had undergone treatment for ruptured cerebral aneurysms in the period from 2007 to 2012. To control for measured confounding, the authors used propensity score–adjusted multivariable regression analysis with mixed effects to account for clustering at the hospital referral region (HRR) level. An instrumental variable (regional rates of coiling) analysis was used to control for unmeasured confounding by creating pseudo-randomization on the treatment method.

RESULTS

During the study period, 3210 patients underwent treatment for ruptured cerebral aneurysms and met the inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 1206 (37.6%) had surgical clipping and 2004 (62.4%) had endovascular coiling. The median total Medicare expenditures in the 1st year after admission for SAH were $113,000 (IQR $77,500–$182,000) for surgical clipping and $103,000 (IQR $72,900–$159,000) for endovascular coiling. When the authors adjusted for unmeasured confounders by using an instrumental variable analysis, clipping was associated with increased 1-year Medicare expenditures by $19,577 (95% CI $4492–$34,663).

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort of Medicare patients with aneurysmal SAH, after controlling for unmeasured confounding, surgical clipping was associated with increased 1-year expenditures in comparison with endovascular coiling.

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Corinna C. Zygourakis, Ethan Winkler, Lawrence Pitts, Lisa Hannegan, Benjamin Franc, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative head CT scanning is performed routinely at the authors' institution on all neurosurgical patients after elective aneurysm clippings. The goal of this study was to determine how often these scans influence medical management and to quantify the associated imaging costs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the medical records and accounting database of 304 patients who underwent elective (i.e., nonruptured) aneurysm clipping performed by 1 surgeon (M.T.L.) from 2010 to 2014 at the University of California, San Francisco. Specifically, the total number of postoperative head CT scans, radiographic findings, and the effect of these studies on patient management were determined. The authors obtained the total hospital costs for these patients, including the cost of imaging studies, from the hospital accounting database.

RESULTS

Overall, postoperative CT findings influenced clinical management in 3.6% of cases; specifically, they led to permissive hypertension in 4 patients for possible ischemia, administration of mannitol for edema and high-flow oxygen for pneumocephalus in 2 patients each, seizure prophylaxis in 1 patient, Plavix readjustment in 1 patient, and return to the operating room for an asymptomatic epidural hematoma evacuation in 1 patient. When patients were stratified on the basis of postoperative neurological examination, findings on CT scans altered management in 1.1%, 4.8%, and 9.0% of patients with no new neurological deficits, a nonfocal examination, and focal deficits, respectively. The mean total hospital cost for treating patients who undergo elective aneurysm clipping was $72,227 (± $53,966) (all values are US dollars), and the cost of obtaining a noncontrast head CT scan was $292. Neurologically intact patients required 99 head CT scans, at a cost of $28,908, to obtain 1 head CT scan that influenced medical management. In contrast, patients with a focal neurological deficit required only 11 head CT scans, at a cost of $3212, to obtain 1 head CT scan that changed clinical management.

CONCLUSIONS

Although there are no clear guidelines, the large number and high cost of CT scans needed to treat neurologically intact elective aneurysm patients suggest that careful neurological monitoring may be more clinically useful and a better use of hospital resources than routine postoperative CT.

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Corinna C. Zygourakis, Seungwon Yoon, Victoria Valencia, Christy Boscardin, Christopher Moriates, Ralph Gonzales, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Disposable supplies constitute a large portion of operating room (OR) costs and are often left over at the end of a surgical case. Despite financial and environmental implications of such waste, there has been little evaluation of OR supply utilization. The goal of this study was to quantify the utilization of disposable supplies and the costs associated with opened but unused items (i.e., “waste”) in neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

Every disposable supply that was unused at the end of surgery was quantified through direct observation of 58 neurosurgical cases at the University of California, San Francisco, in August 2015. Item costs (in US dollars) were determined from the authors' supply catalog, and statistical analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Across 58 procedures (36 cranial, 22 spinal), the average cost of unused supplies was $653 (range $89-$3640, median $448, interquartile range $230–$810), or 13.1% of total surgical supply cost. Univariate analyses revealed that case type (cranial versus spinal), case category (vascular, tumor, functional, instrumented, and noninstrumented spine), and surgeon were important predictors of the percentage of unused surgical supply cost. Case length and years of surgical training did not affect the percentage of unused supply cost. Accounting for the different case distribution in the 58 selected cases, the authors estimate approximately $968 of OR waste per case, $242,968 per month, and $2.9 million per year, for their neurosurgical department.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows a large variation and significant magnitude of OR waste in neurosurgical procedures. At the authors' institution, they recommend price transparency, education about OR waste to surgeons and nurses, preference card reviews, and clarification of supplies that should be opened versus available as needed to reduce waste.

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Fred G. Barker II