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Open access

Kristen M. Scheitler, Megan M. J. Bauman, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Christopher S. Graffeo, and Fredric B. Meyer

BACKGROUND

Pituitary abscess is a rare clinical entity, typically precipitated by Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, or Aspergillus infection. Although Nocardia species–associated central nervous system abscesses have been documented in immunocompromised patients, no case of Nocardia pituitary abscesses has been previously reported.

OBSERVATIONS

A 44-year-old man presented with hemoptysis and was found to have a cavitary right lung nodule, which was presumed histoplasmosis, prompting antifungal treatment. Several months later, he developed panhypopituitarism. Magnetic resonance imaging identified a pituitary mass, which subsequently underwent transsphenoidal endoscopic biopsy. Infectious workup was negative, and the patient was discharged on intravenous ertapenem therapy. Over several months, he developed progressive headaches, and updated imaging confirmed interval enlargement of the mass with new cavernous sinus invasion. He underwent repeat endoscopic biopsy, which yielded positive cultures for Nocardia farcinica and prompted successful treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and linezolid.

LESSONS

The current study highlights a previously unreported clinical entity, the first pituitary abscess attributable to Nocardia sp. or N. farcinica, which arose in a young, immunocompetent individual. Although rare, atypical infections represent an important component in the differential diagnosis for sellar mass lesions.

Free access

Rohin Singh, Nicole M. De La Peña, Paola Suarez-Meade, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Bernard R. Bendok, Mohamad Bydon, Fredric B. Meyer, Robert J. Spinner, and David J. Daniels

Neurosurgical education is a continually developing field with an aim of training competent and compassionate surgeons who can care for the needs of their patients. The Mayo Clinic utilizes a unique mentorship model for neurosurgical training. In this paper, the authors detail the historical roots as well as the logistical and experiential characteristics of this teaching model.

This model was first established in the late 1890s by the Mayo brothers and then adopted by the Mayo Clinic Department of Neurological Surgery at its inception in 1919. It has since been implemented enterprise-wide at the Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona residency programs. The mentorship model is focused on honing resident skills through individualized attention and guidance from an attending physician. Each resident is closely mentored by a consultant during a 2- or 3-month rotation, which allows for exposure to more complex cases early in their training.

In this model, residents take ownership of their patients’ care, following them longitudinally during their hospital course with guided oversight from their mentors. During the chief year, residents have their own clinic, operating room (OR) schedule, and OR team and service nurse. In this model, chief residents conduct themselves more in the manner of an attending physician than a trainee but continue to have oversight from staff to provide a “safety net.” The longitudinal care of patients provided by the residents under the mentorship model is not only beneficial for the trainee and the hospital, but also has a positive impact on patient satisfaction and safety. The Mayo Clinic Mentorship Model is one of many educational models that has demonstrated itself to be an excellent approach for resident education.

Free access

Zach Pennington, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Aaron J. Biedermann, Jeffrey R. Ziegler, Sherri L. Durst, Robert J. Spinner, Fredric B. Meyer, David J. Daniels, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly changed clinical practice across US healthcare. Increased adoption of telemedicine has emerged as an alternative to in-person contact for patient-physician interactions. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of telemedicine on workflow and care delivery from January 2019 to December 2021 in a neurosurgical department at a quaternary care center.

METHODS

Prospectively captured data on clinic appointment utilization, duration, and outcomes were queried. Visits were divided into in-person visits and telemedicine appointments, categorized as follow-up visits of previously surgically treated patients, internal consultations, new patient visits, and early postoperative returns after surgery. Appointment volume was compared pre- and postpandemic using March 2020 as the pandemic onset. Clinical efficiency was measured by time to appointment, rate of on-time appointments, proportion of appointments resulting in surgical intervention (surgical yield), and patient-reported satisfaction, the latter measured as the proportion of patients indicating “high likelihood to recommend practice.”

RESULTS

A total of 54,562 visits occurred, most commonly for follow-up for previously operated patients (51.8%), internal new patient referrals (24.5%), and external new patient referrals (19.8%). Total visit volume was stable pre- to postpandemic (1521.3 vs 1512, p = 0.917). However, in-person visits significantly decreased (1517/month vs 1220/month, p < 0.001), with a nadir in April 2020, while telemedicine appointment utilization increased significantly (0.3% vs 19.1% of all visits). Telemedicine utilization remained stable throughout the 1st calendar year following the pandemic. Telemedicine appointments were associated with shorter time to appointment than in-person visits both before and after the pandemic onset (0–5 days from appointment request: 60% vs 33% vs 29.8%, p < 0.001). Patients had on-time appointments in 87% of telemedicine encounters. Notably, telemedicine appointments resulted in surgery in 31.8% of internal consultations or new patient visits, a significantly lower rate than that for in-person visits (51.8%). After the widespread integration of telemedicine, patient satisfaction for all visits was higher than before the pandemic onset (85.9% vs 88.5%, p = 0.027).

CONCLUSIONS

Telemedicine use significantly increased following the pandemic onset, compensating for observed decreases in face-to-face visits. Utilization rates have remained stable, suggesting effective integration, and delays between referrals and appointments were lower than for in-person visits. Importantly, telemedicine integration was not associated with a decrease in overall patient satisfaction, although telemedicine appointments had a lower surgical yield. These data suggest that telemedicine smoothened the impact of the pandemic on clinical workflow and helped to maintain continuity and quality of outpatient care.

Restricted access

Hirotaka Hasegawa, Akitoshi Inoue, Ahmed Helal, Kosuke Kashiwabara, and Fredric B. Meyer

OBJECTIVE

Pineal cyst (PC) is a relatively common true cyst in the pineal gland. Its long-term natural course remains ill defined. This study aims to evaluate the long-term natural history of PC and examine MRI risk factors for cyst growth and shrinkage to help better define which patients might benefit from surgical intervention.

METHODS

The records and MRI of 409 consecutive patients with PC were retrospectively examined (nonsurgical cohort). Cyst growth and shrinkage were defined as a ≥ 2-mm increase and decrease in cyst diameter in any direction, respectively. In addition to size, MRI signal intensity ratios were analyzed.

RESULTS

The median radiological follow-up period was 10.7 years (interquartile range [IQR] 6.4–14.3 years). The median change in maximal diameter was −0.6 mm (IQR −1.5 to 1.3 mm). During the observation period, cyst growth was confirmed in 21 patients (5.1%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that only age (odds ratio [OR] 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.93–0.99, p < 0.01) was significantly associated with cyst growth. No patient required resection during the observation period. Cyst shrinkage was confirmed in 57 patients (13.9%). Multivariate analysis revealed that maximal diameter (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.12–1.35, p < 0.01) and cyst CSF T2 signal intensity ratio (OR 9.06, 95% CI 1.38–6.62 × 101, p = 0.02) were significantly associated with cyst shrinkage.

CONCLUSIONS

Only 5% of PCs, mainly in patients younger than 50 years of age, have the potential to grow, while cyst shrinkage is more likely to occur across all age groups. Younger age is associated with cyst growth, while larger diameter and higher signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging are associated with shrinkage. Surgery is rarely needed for PCs, despite the possibility of a certain degree of growth.

Restricted access

Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Brian N. Lundstrom, Fredric B. Meyer, Gregory A. Worrell, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Epilepsy originating from the central lobule (i.e., the primary sensorimotor cortex) is a challenging entity to treat given its involvement of eloquent cortex. The objective of this study was to review available evidence on treatment options for central lobule epilepsy.

METHODS

A comprehensive literature search (PubMed/Medline, EMBASE, and Scopus) was conducted for studies (1990 to date) investigating postoperative outcomes for central lobule epilepsy. The primary and secondary endpoints were seizure freedom at last follow-up and postoperative neurological deficit, respectively. The following procedures were included: open resection, multiple subpial transections (MSTs), laser and radiofrequency ablation, deep brain stimulation (DBS), responsive neurostimulation (RNS), and continuous subthreshold cortical stimulation (CSCS).

RESULTS

A total of 52 studies and 504 patients were analyzed. Most evidence was based on open resection, yielding a total of 400 patients (24 studies), of whom 62% achieved seizure freedom at a mean follow-up of 48 months. A new or worsened motor deficit occurred in 44% (permanent in 19%). Forty-six patients underwent MSTs, of whom 16% achieved seizure freedom and 30% had a neurological deficit (permanent in 12%). There were 6 laser ablation cases (cavernomas in 50%) with seizure freedom in 4 patients and 1 patient with temporary motor deficit. There were 5 radiofrequency ablation cases, with 1 patient achieving seizure freedom, 2 patients each with Engel class III and IV outcomes, and 2 patients with motor deficit. The mean seizure frequency reduction at the last follow-up was 79% for RNS (28 patients), 90% for CSCS (15 patients), and 73% for DBS (4 patients). There were no cases of temporary or permanent neurological deficit in the CSCS or DBS group.

CONCLUSIONS

This review highlights the safety and efficacy profile of resection, ablation, and stimulation for refractory central lobe epilepsy. Resection of localized regions of epilepsy onset zones results in good rates of seizure freedom (62%); however, nearly 20% of patients had permanent motor deficits. The authors hope that this review will be useful to providers and patients when tailoring decision-making for this intricate pathology.

Free access

Mohamad Bydon, Anshit Goyal, Aaron Biedermann, Allie J. Canoy Illies, Travis Paul, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Bernard Bendok, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Robert J. Spinner, and Fredric B. Meyer

In an era when healthcare “value” remains a much-emphasized concept, measuring and reporting the quality of neurosurgical care and costs remains a challenge for large multisite health systems. Ensuring cohesion in outcomes across multiple sites is important to the development of a holistic competitive marketing strategy that seeks to promote “brand” performance characterized by a superior quality of patient care. This requires mechanisms for data collection and development of a single uniform outcomes measurement system site wide. Operationalizing a true multidisciplinary effort in this space requires intersection of a vast array of information technology and administrative resources along with the neurosurgeons who provide subject-matter expertise relevant to patient care. To measure neurosurgical quality and safety as well as improve payor contract negotiations, a practice analytics dashboard was created to allow summary visualization of operational indicators such as case volumes, quality outcomes, and relative value units and financial indicators such as total hospital costs and charges in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the “value” of surgical care. The current version of the dashboard summarizes these metrics by site, surgeon, and procedure for nearly 30,000 neurosurgical procedures that have been logged into the Mayo Clinic Enterprise Neurosurgery Registry since transition to the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system. In this article, the authors sought to review their experience in launching this EHR-linked data-driven neurosurgical practice initiative across a large, national multisite academic medical center.

Free access

Shashwat Tripathi, Tito Vivas-Buitrago, Ricardo A. Domingo, Gaetano De Biase, Desmond Brown, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, Andres Ramos-Fresnedo, Wendy Sherman, Vivek Gupta, Erik H. Middlebrooks, David S. Sabsevitz, Alyx B. Porter, Joon H. Uhm, Bernard R. Bendok, Ian Parney, Fredric B. Meyer, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Kristin R. Swanson, and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

OBJECTIVE

Recent studies have proposed resection of the T2 FLAIR hyperintensity beyond the T1 contrast enhancement (supramarginal resection [SMR]) for IDH–wild-type glioblastoma (GBM) to further improve patients’ overall survival (OS). GBMs have significant variability in tumor cell density, distribution, and infiltration. Advanced mathematical models based on patient-specific radiographic features have provided new insights into GBM growth kinetics on two important parameters of tumor aggressiveness: proliferation rate (ρ) and diffusion rate (D). The aim of this study was to investigate OS of patients with IDH–wild-type GBM who underwent SMR based on a mathematical model of cell distribution and infiltration profile (tumor invasiveness profile).

METHODS

Volumetric measurements were obtained from the selected regions of interest from pre- and postoperative MRI studies of included patients. The tumor invasiveness profile (proliferation/diffusion [ρ/D] ratio) was calculated using the following formula: ρ/D ratio = (4π/3)2/3 × (6.106/[VT2 1/1 − VT1 1/1 ])2, where VT2 and VT1 are the preoperative FLAIR and contrast-enhancing volumes, respectively. Patients were split into subgroups based on their tumor invasiveness profiles. In this analysis, tumors were classified as nodular, moderately diffuse, or highly diffuse.

RESULTS

A total of 101 patients were included. Tumors were classified as nodular (n = 34), moderately diffuse (n = 34), and highly diffuse (n = 33). On multivariate analysis, increasing SMR had a significant positive correlation with OS for moderately and highly diffuse tumors (HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98–0.99; p = 0.02; and HR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96–0.99; p = 0.04, respectively). On threshold analysis, OS benefit was seen with SMR from 10% to 29%, 10% to 59%, and 30% to 90%, for nodular, moderately diffuse, and highly diffuse, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The impact of SMR on OS for patients with IDH–wild-type GBM is influenced by the degree of tumor invasiveness. The authors’ results show that increasing SMR is associated with increased OS in patients with moderate and highly diffuse IDH–wild-type GBMs. When grouping SMR into 10% intervals, this benefit was seen for all tumor subgroups, although for nodular tumors, the maximum beneficial SMR percentage was considerably lower than in moderate and highly diffuse tumors.

Free access

Hirotaka Hasegawa, Kunal Vakharia, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Matthew L. Carlson, Fredric B. Meyer, and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ objective was to reevaluate the role of microsurgery for epidermoid tumors by examining the associations between extent of resection (EOR), tumor control, and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study of patients with microsurgically treated intracranial epidermoid tumors. The recurrence-free and intervention-free rates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. EOR was graded as gross-total resection (GTR) (total resection without residual on MRI), near-total resection (NTR) (a cyst lining was left in place), subtotal resection (STR) (> 90% resection), and partial resection (PR) (any other suboptimal resection) and used to stratify outcomes.

RESULTS

Sixty-three patients with mean clinical and radiological follow-up periods of 87.3 and 81.8 months, respectively, were included. Sixteen patients underwent second resections, and 5 underwent third resections. The rates of GTR/NTR, STR, and PR were 43%, 35%, and 22%, respectively, for the initial resections; 44%, 13%, and 44% for the second resections; and 40%, 0%, and 60% for the third resections (p < 0.001). The 5- and 10-year cumulative recurrence-free rates after initial resection were 64% and 32%, respectively. When stratified according to EOR, the 10-year recurrence-free rate after GTR/NTR was marginally better than that after STR (61% vs 35%, p = 0.130) and significantly better than that after PR (61% vs 0%, p < 0.001). The recurrence-free rates after initial microsurgery were marginally better than those after second surgery (p = 0.102) and third surgery (p = 0.065). The 5- and 10-year cumulative intervention-free rates after initial resection were 91% and 58%, respectively. When stratified according to EOR, the 10-year intervention-free rate after GTR/NTR was significantly better than that after STR (100% vs 51%, p = 0.022) and PR (100% vs 27%, p < 0.001). The 5-year intervention-free rate after initial surgery was marginally better than that after second surgery (52%, p = 0.088) and significantly better than that after third surgery (0%, p = 0.004). After initial, second, and third resections, permanent neurological complications were observed in 6 (10%), 1 (6%), and 1 (20%) patients, respectively. At the last follow-up visit, 82%, 23%, and 7% of patients were free from radiological recurrence after GTR/NTR, STR, and PR as the initial surgical procedure, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

GTR/NTR seems to contribute to better disease control without significantly impairing functional status. Initial resection offers the best chance to achieve better EOR, leading to better disease control.

Free access

Tito Vivas-Buitrago, Ricardo A. Domingo, Shashwat Tripathi, Gaetano De Biase, Desmond Brown, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, Andres Ramos-Fresnedo, David S. Sabsevitz, Bernard R. Bendok, Wendy Sherman, Ian F. Parney, Mark E. Jentoft, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Fredric B. Meyer, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ goal was to use a multicenter, observational cohort study to determine whether supramarginal resection (SMR) of FLAIR-hyperintense tumor beyond the contrast-enhanced (CE) area influences the overall survival (OS) of patients with isocitrate dehydrogenase–wild-type (IDH-wt) glioblastoma after gross-total resection (GTR).

METHODS

The medical records of 888 patients aged ≥ 18 years who underwent resection of GBM between January 2011 and December 2017 were reviewed. Volumetric measurements of the CE tumor and surrounding FLAIR-hyperintense tumor were performed, clinical variables were obtained, and associations with OS were analyzed.

RESULTS

In total, 101 patients with newly diagnosed IDH-wt GBM who underwent GTR of the CE tumor met the inclusion criteria. In multivariate analysis, age ≥ 65 years (HR 1.97; 95% CI 1.01–2.56; p < 0.001) and contact with the lateral ventricles (HR 1.59; 95% CI 1.13–1.78; p = 0.025) were associated with shorter OS, but preoperative Karnofsky Performance Status ≥ 70 (HR 0.47; 95% CI 0.27–0.89; p = 0.006), MGMT promotor methylation (HR 0.63; 95% CI 0.52–0.99; p = 0.044), and increased percentage of SMR (HR 0.99; 95% CI 0.98–0.99; p = 0.02) were associated with longer OS. Finally, 20% SMR was the minimum percentage associated with beneficial OS (HR 0.56; 95% CI 0.35–0.89; p = 0.01), but > 60% SMR had no significant influence (HR 0.74; 95% CI 0.45–1.21; p = 0.234).

CONCLUSIONS

SMR is associated with improved OS in patients with IDH-wt GBM who undergo GTR of CE tumor. At least 20% SMR of the CE tumor was associated with beneficial OS, but greater than 60% SMR had no significant influence on OS.

Free access

Hirotaka Hasegawa, Jamie J. Van Gompel, W. Richard Marsh, Robert E. Wharen Jr., Richard S. Zimmerman, David B. Burkholder, Brian N. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Fredric B. Meyer

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a rare but significant complication after vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) placement. Treatment options range from antibiotic therapy alone to hardware removal. The optimal therapeutic strategy remains open to debate. Therefore, the authors conducted this retrospective multicenter analysis to provide insight into the optimal management of VNS-related SSI (VNS-SSI).

METHODS

Under institutional review board approval and utilizing an institutional database with 641 patients who had undergone 808 VNS-related placement surgeries and 31 patients who had undergone VNS-related hardware removal surgeries, the authors retrospectively analyzed VNS-SSI.

RESULTS

Sixteen cases of VNS-SSI were identified; 12 of them had undergone the original VNS placement procedure at the authors’ institutions. Thus, the incidence of VNS-SSI was calculated as 1.5%. The mean (± standard deviation) time from the most recent VNS-related surgeries to infection was 42 (± 27) days. Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus was the usual causative bacteria (58%). Initial treatments included antibiotics with or without nonsurgical procedures (n = 6), nonremoval open surgeries for irrigation (n = 3), generator removal (n = 3), and total or near-total removal of hardware (n = 4). Although 2 patients were successfully treated with antibiotics alone or combined with generator removal, removal of both the generator and leads was eventually required in 14 patients. Mild swallowing difficulties and hoarseness occurred in 2 patients with eventual resolution.

CONCLUSIONS

Removal of the VNS including electrode leads combined with antibiotic administration is the definitive treatment but has a risk of causing dysphagia. If the surgeon finds dense scarring around the vagus nerve, the prudent approach is to snip the electrode close to the nerve as opposed to attempting to unwind the lead completely.